Weekly e-News Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly e-News

Friday, May 31, 2013

 

Looking Ahead:

            Intro to Faith Bible Study begins on Sunday, June 2, at noon.

 

Worship this Sunday will be a single service at 10:00 a.m. The Session also voted to have a combined worship on the first Sundays of June, July, and August.

Our Summer worship schedule will begin on June 9 and will be the same as last summer. The first service will remain at 8:45 a.m. for those who want to have most of the day available for activities after worship. The Adult Sunday School class will meet at 9:45 a.m. and the 2nd service will follow at 10:30 a.m.

            On our 2nd Sunday of the month Movie Matinee at 3:00 on June 9 we will watch The Wager starring Randy Travis.

            The Sermon Sunday is “Where Can I Find Such Faith?” from Psalm 96:1-13- sing praises to the greatness of the Lord; and Luke 7:1-10- Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant. This is a powerful statement by Jesus bearing witness to amazing faith. Do you ever wish your faith was stronger?

“[Jesus] said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” Luke 7:9.

 

Around Church this Week:

            As I asked around, it seemed everyone appreciated Rev. Ken Newell in the pulpit on Sunday. A further blessing to appreciate was that he donated his honorarium to the ministry of Wild Flower.

            The privilege of baptizing my grandson, Lance, on Sunday was a special blessing, and I am thankful for being able to participate in that worship service at the Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church in Apple Valley, MN. We enjoyed a refreshing weekend, although, I made the mistake of honoring my son’s request to bring my splitting mall along and split the wood from the trees I had cut on my previous visit. I kept hoping that someone else would want to swing my monster mall, but they were all happy to spectate and carry the pieces away to stack, while I made smaller chunks.

            The Memorial Day weekend shortened up the week at church, and especially for me as Judy and I were “trapped” at our son, Nate’s, home near Storm Lake, IA by a lot of flooding on many roads and the transmission failing in our car (we thought he would have to tow us up his driveway when we were stopped in the soft gravel before I was able to drive on in) that caused us to choose to come home when businesses would be open on Tuesday. We no longer had reverse, but the forward gears held out to get us home. It was a faithful vehicle for 234,000 miles…

            Have you noticed how beautiful the flowers are by our sign on 6th Street? We give out a BIG thank you to Joyce Carpenter for the constant attention she gives that flower bed throughout the growing season.

            Milt Opland Electric from Baltic was here on Friday to replace all of the wiring in the Storage Building with conduit. The church is officially designated as a commercial building, so the standards are different. The initial installation was done according to normal codes, not realizing that our building was classified as Commercial. Here is Milt at work, and take note of some of the nicely organized shelves as the process continues week by week of transferring equipment and items to their new home.

 

 

One last shot of the remaining piles along 6th St that were picked up this afternoon.

 

 

We have struggled to get started with our Garden Project. Rain day after day has been a challenge. The Wild Flower Presbyterian Church has had a Vision Statement since it began. A vision statement says what we are to do. Ours starts like this:  We believe God has called us to be the church of Jesus Christ.  As Christ’s church we are called to reach the unchurched in our community. The most powerful way to reach out to the unchurched is at a point of felt need. We have been reaching out and offering worship, and to be honest, people who don’t go to worship don’t usually feel a need to start doing so. However, those who are working to start a new life, and struggling to put food on the table, have a real felt need to increase their ability to do so in a way they are familiar with.

Please pray that this project can be the beginning of a powerful way Wild Flower Church can minister to real needs in our community with resources God has given to us (unused ground); and pray that God will be glorified through these efforts.

On Sunday I am looking to begin a Bible Study with a group who are exploring Christianity and what having Jesus can mean in our lives. I have given out some Bibles, and thanks to the First Presbyterian Church in Algona, I have a box of their former pew Bibles to share with others who don’t have a Bible. Please pray regularly that this might grow into a powerful outreach to others who do not yet know Jesus.

 

Chuckle:

An atheist scientist came to God and said, “We’ve figured out how to make a man without you.”

God said, “OK, let me see you do it.”

So the atheist bent down to the ground and scooped up a handful of dirt. But God stopped him and said, “Oh, no you don’t. Make your own dirt!”

 

Birthdays this Week:

1                      Richard Jaragoske

2                      Jim Thuringer

2                      Ben Smith

4                      Madalynn Hanson

 

Prayer Thought:

I hope you have been blessed by my comments about The Prayer of Jabez in recent issues of the Weekly e-News. I have been praying for God’s blessings each day and I have felt that I have been specially blessed. Perhaps a part of that feeling has come because I have been going through each day expecting that prayer to be answered and looking for the ways God will bless me. I pray that God has answered your prayers for blessing.

The power foundation of our prayers is in scripture. Please meditate on I Chronicles 4:10, “Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!’ And God granted what he asked.” The next part of the prayer is asking God to enlarge your life so you can make a greater impact for Him, have greater influence. It is a prayer asking for more ministry. I have found myself resisting this part of the prayer on a nearly subconscious level. I have never sought larger ministry. I have felt God calling me to minister in smaller congregations, and even with the Algona congregation (which I don’t consider small), I had two different minister friends challenging me at the School for Pastors I attended in Hastings.  One asked why I haven’t sought a larger congregation and larger salary, and the other said he always thought my talents were being wasted in a smaller church. I think I have always looked on those thoughts as egotistical- I want to glorify God and not myself.

A second internal resistance I have felt is the thought that I am already doing more than I have time to do, I have very few evenings to spend with my family, how can I responsibly find time to do more in the church? In Zechariah 4:6 we read, “He said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.’” The prayer asking for God to increase our borders, to increase our ministry, is scripturally based, and this verse in Zechariah affirms that we do not seek to minister by our own might or power, but instead through the Holy Spirit.

Wilkerson used the formula “my willingness + my weakness + God’s will and supernatural power = my expanding territory.” He goes on to say that when you start to ask in earnest for more influence and responsibility with which to honor Him, God will bring opportunity and people into your path. To pray for larger borders is to ask for a miracle – it is that simple.

The “flip side” of this prayer is somewhat frightening. As God’s chosen, blessed sons and daughters, we are expected to attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed… unless God steps in. The second you are not feeling dependent on God is the second you have backed away from truly living by faith.

I have been thinking about this part of the prayer in connection to our church, and I would like very much to expand our borders of ministry. It is important for you to stop at the homes of new people moving into our community to welcome them and invite them to come and check out our worship, and to please let me know of new people as they move into the community so that I may stop in as well. It truly means a lot when someone hears from you, a lay person, that you enjoy our worship and care about our church enough that you are willing to invite them to come along to worship. Pray for a special anointing on my visits to encourage people.

I would also like to ask you to join with me in praying for our Sunday School and youth ministries, that our borders might be enlarged, that we might effectively minister to each of the young people within our congregation, and that we might be able to reach out to others in our community. Pray for specific ways that unchurched youth might be identified and that we might effectively contact them. Pray for our youth leaders and teachers to have effective and interesting class presentations to attract our young people.

I expect that when we pray together that things will happen. I believe it is important for you to have similar expectations that God will answer promises. Believe with me in God’s answer to prayer. As Jesus promises in Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Let’s start asking.

 

Please keep in prayer: Rev. Dean Meeter; Esther Bakker; Jeff Lewis. For Arlene Lewis, Dale Klutman, Pete and Dolores Van Regenmorter– pray for balance, core strength and protection from falls.

 

Why Great Sermons Also Include Listening

By Ryan Huguley

Preachers face a lot of pressure these days. We live in a day and age marked by easy access to an amazing caliber of preaching. This means the bar is set extraordinarily high for the average preacher. It’s intimidating to know that your audience podcasts pastors like Mark Driscoll, Andy Stanley, James MacDonald, Steven Furtick, Matt Chandler, and John Piper throughout the week and then shows up to hear you on Sunday.

Pastors should be working hard to preach the best sermons possible, but the best sermon is only as good as the audience listening.

Preaching is a two way street. The preacher is responsible for preaching well, and the audience is responsible for listening well.

Listening is a lost art in our culture, so how should we listen to a sermon?

 

1. Prayerfully

Pray for yourself. Pray that the Spirit would prepare your heart to receive what He would say to you. Pray for your preacher. Pray the Spirit would empower him to preach with clarity, courage and conviction. Getting God’s Word into your heart is a supernatural act, and we are dependent upon the Spirit for this work.  This means we should listen to sermons prayerfully.

 

2. Expectantly

In Luke 16:17, Jesus told His disciples, “The one who hears you hears me … ” This means that when God’s Word is faithfully preached, it’s not the preacher who speaks, but the very Spirit of God. Do you get that?! Do you expect to hear from God when you’re listening to your preacher? When we gather, God speaks! This means we should listen to sermons expectantly.

 

3. Actively

Preachers aren’t performers. It’s not your preacher’s job to put on a show for you and keep you entertained for 30-40 minutes on Sunday mornings. You’re not a passive participant, you’re an active element in the sermon. Take notes. Pay attention. It’s ok to laugh at your poor preachers jokes. Steward your body language. Say, “Amen,” if your tradition allows it and the content calls for it. Help your preacher preach. We should listen to sermons actively.

 

4. Humbly

We sit “under” preaching in order to receive instruction, correction, conviction, and encouragement from the Word of God. Receiving requires humility. Listen carefully and critically, but do so humbly. Don’t be a judge with a score card, but a beggar in need of biblical nourishment. Don’t resist the Spirit. Kill your pride, submit to God and listen to sermons humbly.

Preaching is a gift from God by which He speaks to His people. If we take this for granted, grow apathetic or become calloused to this gift, we will miss God’s grace in it.

Instead, let’s strive to honor God and our preachers by listening to sermons prayerfully, expectantly, actively and humbly.

 

 

Congregations tend the soil and the soul with vegetable gardens

Religion News Service
DEBRA RUBIN – May 29, 2013

 

The Rev. Morris G. Henderson wasn’t sure what do with a vacant city block of land behind his 31st Street Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. The church had purchased the plots, but didn’t have the funding to build a planned family life center.
Then, he had a vision.
“Why not build a garden and people can learn to be self-sufficient and we can grow food?” Henderson said.
With an 80-year-old congregant heading the project, the congregation planted its first garden in 2008: watermelons, tomatoes, okra, squash, strawberries and blueberries.
By the second year, even after the gardening chief had passed away, congregants were getting guidance from the Virginia Cooperative Extension; this year, the church has at least two dozen raised beds, with the bulk of the harvest used for the church’s Monday-Friday soup kitchen.
The nutrition program serves at least 70, rising to 250 people in the summer when kids don’t have access to school lunch programs, Henderson said. Extras are available for congregants, food program participants and the community, for a donation. A flower garden provides pollination for the plants and flowers for the sanctuary.
Henderson’s congregation is one of a growing number throughout the country that are raising fruits and vegetables for soup kitchens and food pantries in what are often called food justice programs; in some synagogues they’re known as mitzvah gardens.
The gardens serve a multifold purpose. In addition to providing fresh food to those who might not otherwise have access, the gardens are educational tools; they increase awareness of land sustainability; they teach congregants about farming and remind them of religious imperatives to care for the land.
One of the largest is at Chicago’s KAM Isaiah Israel synagogue, with a food program that supports gardens in its own yard as well as in that of two churches just blocks away.
The food program began in 2009 when Robert Nevel, the synagogue’s social justice coordinator, and a group of volunteers ripped out much of the synagogue’s lawn to create the Star of David vegetable garden in the shape of a six-pointed Star of David, with produce grown in each 30-square-foot point.
The congregation has since planted a second vegetable garden and an herb garden on other sides of its 1923 building, which sits directly across the street from the Hyde Park home of the nation’s gardeners-in-chief, President and Michelle Obama.
In 2011, with a grant from the community group One Chicago, One Nation, KAM helped Kenwood United Church of Christ establish its garden, and last year assisted St. Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church in creating one.
“We think of all the gardens in the neighborhood as one farm for purposes of plant rotation and harvesting,” Nevel said. “Together, we remain a network for the harvesting and distribution of the food.”
The produce is distributed to six different hot-meal programs, four of them affiliated with houses of worship and all of them within a mile and a half of KAM, Nevel said.
Through the combined 5,000-square-foot-plus gardens, KAM’s food justice and sustainability program last year donated — within an hour or two of harvest — 4,500 pounds of produce. This year’s plantings include six or seven varieties of tomatoes, collards, kale, chard, squash, okra, lettuces, carrots, peas, pole and bush beans, radishes, herbs, onions, cucumbers and peppers.
“We are probably the sole source of fresh food for four or five months of the year for a significant number of people in Chicago,” Nevel says.
At Chicago’s Living Room Cafe, a nonprofit that provides dinners twice weekly and breakfast on weekends, chef Royal Green calls the produce a “big plus.”
“They’re saving us a lot of money; it’s fresh and it’s more nutritious” than canned goods that otherwise would be used, he said.
Citing a line from Leviticus 25, “for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and settlers with me,” Nevel said, “The synagogue doesn’t own that land, the church doesn’t own that land, no one really owns it; we need to be stewards of the land.”
Nan Onest, the pastoral associate at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Cedar Lake, Ind., which began its garden last year, makes similar comments.
“Some of the key principles of Catholic social teaching speak to importance of caring for God’s creations,” she said, also noting that its food program deals with “proper use of the land, food distribution justice issues and human dignity issues all at once.”
The congregation, which donates its harvest through its own ministry for shut-ins, as well as to a local soup kitchen, food bank and a home for unwed mothers, more than doubled its garden from 1,300 square feet last year, which yielded 1,000 pounds of produce, to 3,000 square feet this year. The number of volunteers also has tripled from about a dozen to 35.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” says Anita Torok, the garden’s organizer. “Some like the spiritual solitude of seeing the plants grow and working with soil. Some like the family experience; a grandmother brings her grandchild and they hunt for the food to harvest. Some like the sense of purpose they’re involved with a good cause.”
Organizers at all the gardens say it’s not just congregants who volunteer to do the farming, but members of the larger community.
“The thing I feel most proud of about the garden is that a true marker and measure of a buy-in by our community is we have no fence around our garden. People watch it and keep us from being robbed blind,” Henderson, of Richmond, said. “The community has allowed us to keep our garden for the needy.”

 

Eternally Blessed,  

 Pastor Dave Ullom <*}}}<  .

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