Weekly e-News Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking Ahead

            Worship and Youth Sunday School at 10:00 a.m. and Children’s Christmas Program; 1:00 p.m. Worship in Nepali.

            Bible Studies: Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. – choosing the next study books, so be sure to be there to share your opinions; and Wednesday at 1:00 p.m.

Monday, January 2 Session meets at 6:30 p.m.

Installation of officers elected in November will be this Sunday, January 1, plus A special treat with Michaela Ausland Peters bringing us an interpretive dance as she is home from her studies at the University of Minnesota at Mankato; and Children’s Christmas Program.

 

The Sermon Sunday will be “Herod and Christmas”(actually I won’t preach this sermon, but just read the scriptures- I prepared it before knowing of the postponement) from Isaiah 63:7-9- Remember the mercy and steadfast love of the Lord; and Matthew 2:13-23- Herod killing children and Joseph and Mary fleeing to Egypt

“I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us.” Isaiah 63:7.

Around Church this Week:

Thank you very much for the special gift we received on Christmas Eve. Your generosity and caring is greatly appreciated. ~Pastor Dave and Judy

            The high winds and even stronger gusts tore apart the snow fence running east and west along the 6th St .sidewalk where it took the direct blasts. The heavy wire in the fences broke in many places as it was buffeted. Thank you to Larry Anderson who came on Thursday and we got everything wired back together and reconnected to the posts. My neighbor had a section of their backyard fence blow down, snapping posts off at the ground.

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Unfortunately, I slipped on the ice on the sidewalk along Marquette St. on Wednesday when I went to set the lighted cross and one of the trees back up on their bases after Monday’s wind, with the consequence of losing the connection to the screen on my laptop computer. I am still able to use it by connecting to a desktop monitor since I am using it for the office and the sanctuary until we receive the two donated computers from Lanny Auringer.

I discovered this week that I have been your Pastor longer than any other Pastor in the history of Riverside and Wild Flower. There have been  average length of serving of 2.5 years. Rev. Tom Lewis is second and Rev Jennifer Swier third, both just over 6 years.

Thank you to Gerry Van Holland and Joyce Carpenter who put the newsletter, and put it in the boxes and mailed on Thursday

 

Calendars are available on the table in the sanctuary for $7.00 to support our Youth ministries.

Chuckle:  “The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing. . . .” (Psalms 2:4)

Here is a smattering of wry observations on life and work:

  1. Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.
  2. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  3. Borrow money from a pessimist. They don’t expect it back.
  4. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  5. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  6. The sooner you fall behind the more time you will have to catch up.
  7. If at first you don’t succeed, then sky diving isn’t for you.

David Holdaway, Scotland, United Kingdom; source unknown

Birthdays this Week:

31 Edith St. Clair

Prayer Thought:   “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon.

This story of prayer and faith came from an e-mail list I receive daily: the Daily Encounter;

Friday, December 30, 2016 – A Voice in the Night

“Sit up!” the voice in the night said, “and take a deep breath.”

It was a stormy night, a personal friend shared, and we were awakened by an extremely loud clap of thunder. After the initial fright, checking the kids and the house, we went back to bed and to sleep.

Then came the voice. I was certain I heard someone speaking. “Sit up and take in a deep breath,” it said.

I only half-awoke and thought I must have been dreaming, so rolled over and went back to sleep.

The voice spoke again with more insistence, “Sit up and take in a deep breath.”

“This is weird,” I thought so again rolled over and went back to sleep.

“SIT UP! Take in a deep breath!” the voice spoke again with great urgency.

So I sat up and took in a deep breath … and smelled smoke! I was fully awake in an instant … awakened my husband … rushed to wake the children … we had the oldest one phone 911 (for emergency) … my husband took over the phone … the operator asked if the lights were working … my husband said they were going out one room at a time.

“Get OUT of the house immediately,” declared the operator. “Your house has been struck by lightning.”

As quick as a flash the family rushed outside … immediately the house exploded and burst into flames. It took firemen six hours to put the fire out. The house was totally destroyed … but the entire family was saved. Talk about a wake-up call!

Surely this was a God thing. Fortunately the members of this family were committed followers of Jesus Christ and even though they lost their house, their lives were saved.

God doesn’t usually speak to most of us with an audible voice. He doesn’t have to because his wake-up call is spoken to us repeatedly in his Word, the Bible. “Wake up!” God says to every one of us, “Flee from the wrath to come” (God’s judgment of sin and evil for the world that has turned from God will be judged and purified by fire). Wake up, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.” Wake up,  “I will come again,” Jesus promised “to take all who believe in me to be with me in heaven forever.”

“Wake up,” Jesus is coming again … it may be today. Are you ready? Again Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in….”

Whatever you do don’t miss God’s wake-up call. Have you opened the door of life and invited Jesus, the Son of God, to come into your heart and life as your God and your Savior? If not, may I urge you to do that today … right now … by praying a simple prayer confessing your sins and inviting Jesus as Lord.

Please keep in prayer: Elvena Hyronimus, Jayden Ausland, Betty Peters, Jeanne Marsh, Jeff Lewis, Rose Thuringer, Esther Bakker; Ardella Kjergaard; Don Crichton; Cami Kuchta;. Candace Roelfsema-Stansbury.

The site claiming to be the tomb of Jesus since the 3rd century A.D. in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, has been opened for the first time in 500 years.  You can view a 2.5 minute video at http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/161028-jesus-christ-tomb-discovery-holy-sepulchre-vin?utm_source=NatGeocom&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=video_20161230&utm_campaign=Content&utm_rd=2977816795

This from CBS News: JERUSALEM — In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where Jesus’ body was laid.

Many historians have long believed that the original cave, identified a few centuries after Jesus’ death as his tomb, was obliterated ages ago.

But an archaeologist accompanying the restoration team said ground penetrating radar tests determined that cave walls are in fact standing — at a height of six feet and connected to bedrock — behind the marbled panels of the chamber at the center of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

“What was found,” said National Geographic archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert, “is astonishing.”

The work is part of a historic renovation project to reinforce and preserve the Edicule, the chamber housing the cave where Jesus is said to have been entombed and resurrected. It is the centerpiece of one of Christianity’s oldest churches and one of its most important shrines.

“I usually spend my time in Tut’s tomb,” said Hiebert about the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s burial site, “but this is more important.”

National Geographic is partnering with Greek restoration experts to document the work.

A 12th-century building sitting on 4th-century remains, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the only place where six Christian denominations practice their faith at the same site.

The Edicule was last restored in 1810 following a fire, and is in need of reinforcement after years of exposure to humidity and candle smoke. A hulking iron cage built around the Edicule by British authorities in 1947 for support still stands, but is not enough.

Renovations at this holiest of spots require mutual agreement by the church’s various custodians, and that is notoriously hard to secure. The denominations jealously guard different parts of the site and often object to even the slightest of changes.

Last year, Israeli police briefly shut down the building after Israel’s Antiquities Authority deemed it unsafe. It prompted the Christian denominations to green light the repairs, which began in June.

Pilgrims line up throughout the day for the chance to crouch in the Edicule’s tiny room. They kneel before a white marble encasing, said to cover a surface hewn from the side of the limestone cave where Jesus’ body was laid before his resurrection.

Church officials closed the Edicule to pilgrims beginning Wednesday evening, and workers used a pulley to slide open the marble slab, in hopes of reaching the burial surface. Hiebert said the slab hadn’t been removed since the year 1550.

Underneath the marble was a layer of debris. By Thursday afternoon, workers had finished removing the debris, revealing something unexpected: another marble slab.

Hiebert said he thinks the second slab, which is grey and features a small etching of a cross, dates to the 12th century. It is cracked down the middle, and underneath it is a whitish layer.

“I don’t believe … that is the original rock,” Hiebert said. “We still have more to go.”

The main Christian communities that govern the church have allowed the work crew only 60 hours to excavate the inner sanctum, Hiebert said. Experts are working day and night to reach the tomb’s core and to analyze it.

“We will close the tomb after we document it,” said Antonia Moropoulou, an architect at the National Technical University of Athens, which is supervising the renovation.

The restoration team wants to tightly seal the core of the tomb before injecting parts of the shrine with mortar for reinforcement, so the material doesn’t seep inside what is considered to be the holy rock.

One part of the tomb will remain exposed. Experts on Thursday cut a rectangular window in one of the Edicule’s marble walls, so pilgrims will be able to glimpse, for the first time, a part of the limestone wall thought to be the tomb of Jesus.

David Grenier, secretary of a group that oversees Roman Catholic church properties in the Holy Land, stood with a few other Franciscan friars, watching the work crew in awe.

“What happened here 2,000 years ago completely changed the history of the world,” he said. “To be able to dig, let’s say, to the rock where the body of Jesus was laid … it’s overwhelming joy.”

At one point, a National Geographic film crew documented the site as clergy burned incense around them in a daily church rite.

After the film crew cleared out, a pair of clergymen in brown frocks, and an Israeli policeman stationed at the church to help keep the peace, clambered over a pile of work tools, electrical wires and a yellow hard hat on the Edicule floor to lean into the inner chamber and snap cell phone photos of the exposed tomb.

“It’s a historic moment, huh?” the policeman said.

 

This from www.breakingchristiannews.com     Steve Rees (Oct 6, 2016)

A Muslim Woman Lay Dead in a Morgue for Two Days: She Heard Jesus Speak and Now She’s…

After laying naked and cold in a morgue for two days, Sabina saw herself hopelessly stuck at the bottom of a deep well.

Surrounded by corpses covered with linen sheets, Sabina had a vision of a tree growing at the top of the well. From its trunk, a branch moved toward her as she lay on a hospital gurney. Close enough to reach, the branch changed into flesh as Sabina heard the words, “If you grab onto My hand, I will bring you back to life.”

Taking hold of it with her cold, lifeless hand, Sabina woke to find her body covered from the neck down with a white sheet like other corpses around her.

Hearing voices of doctors in search of a cadaver, Sabina sat up on the frigid metal surface below her body.

“I’m alive. Don’t worry,” she shouted as doctors entered the morgue a second time after running out scared moments before. Offering Sabina water, food and clothes, the medical staff arranged to transport her to a university research hospital in Moscow, Russia, where she had traveled to visit a son imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Baffled hospital personnel refused to officially or publicly comment after Sabina spent two days in a coma and two more in the morgue.

Returning to Central Asia, Sabina surprised family members on her first Sunday morning at home by leaving early, telling her stunned daughters: “There’s somewhere I have to go.”

A church in a largely Islamic community was Sabina’s destination. Inside, she professed faith in Jesus Christ, leaving behind her Muslim faith.

Since then, Sabina’s six daughters and another son (the other died inside a Russian prison where he suffered injuries and brain damage) became Christians and entered full-time ministry or, at least, are studying the Bible.

At 63 years of age, Sabina saw her 92-year-old mother and a niece come to faith in Jesus last year, demonstrating that entire household salvation exists even among Muslims. It was two of Sabina’s daughters who led their grandmother and cousin to the Lord.

In a big surprise, Sabina’s oldest daughter recently came to know Jesus as well. Until the summer of 2016, she was vehemently opposed to the Gospel and even having a Bible in her home.

Sabina shares her life-from-the-dead experience and testimony of conversion from Islam to Christianity in her native language within the Central Asian country she calls home.

A spiritual vision brought Sabina back from the dead and another vision—this one by her future son-in-law—drew him to the country where he now ministers with Sabina’s daughter as full-time missionaries.

Family members agreed to share their testimonies of Christian faith with conditions that real names, ministry title and precise locations in the Middle East and Central Asia were not be published.

Sabina’s son-in-law, Jamal, a Westerner who spent time in the Middle East as a young boy, had a vision the same year his future mother-in-law walked out of the morgue and into a Pentecostal church.

“God called me to (the Middle East) in 2000 when I had a vision of myself preaching the Gospel on the steps of a mosque,” says Jamal who, as a youngster, disliked the country where he ministers today with his wife, Aisha.

They met at a world missions meeting in 2006 and married afterward, discovering that Jamal’s spiritual vision corresponded with Aisha’s heart for people in the same Islamic country in the Middle East, despite her upbringing in Central Asia.

Jamal and Aisha find that Sabina’s death and resurrection story provides an open door for them to talk about Jesus with their Muslim friends and neighbors because it’s emotional and powerful.

“The first day I was a university student, a classmate in our online group asked me if my wife was Muslim.

“I shared my mother-in-law’s story briefly and, as a result of their openness to it, the students’ interest in the Gospel made it easier for me to share two days later with a group of about 30 Muslims,” says Jamal.

Before Jamal married Aisha, he ministered to his best friend, a Muslim, by telling him a simple Gospel message. Upon sharing Jesus’ love for him, Jamal says his friend began to have dreams and visions and, within a month, he gave his heart to the Savior.

“When we prayed together he began to weep,” says Jamal. “After settling himself, he told me, ‘Jamal, I just saw Jesus again. This time He had His arms open wide, welcoming me home,'”

The next day Jamal’s friend was in tears again because his Muslim wife threatened divorce from her husband for his conversion from Islam.

After praying for his wife, both of them were baptized three months later.

More recently, Jamal and Aisha have been reading the Bible with Abdul, who they’ve known for several years. When they shared the Gospel with Abdul, he ended the relationship.

“He texted me recently, asking if we could get together, so Aisha and I had Abdul and his wife over.

“During the course of the evening, Abdul pulled me aside and said, ‘Jesus really did die on the cross, didn’t He?'” says Jamal.

Abdul is now sharing Jesus with his co-workers, one of whom is interested in reading the Bible with the group Jamal and Aisha lead.
“Just recently, we got to go over to Abdul’s house and pray over it,” Jamal says.

Besides a vision in 2000, Jamal says his call to the Middle East was confirmed in 2003 when he heard God speak to him at a conference, indicating which missions group to partner with.

“I had never heard the name before, so I was kind of puzzled when I heard God’s words.

“Five minutes later, the main speaker introduced himself and the organization’s name I had just heard God speak.

“I literally went to the back of the room that night and applied for (the organization’s) training school,” says Jamal.

Two of Aisha’s sisters and their husbands are part of the same global missions’ organization to which she and Jamal belong. It encourages Bible studies among friends and neighbors in homes or churches planted by indigenous leaders.

The vision is based on the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 15:20: “And thus I aspired to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation.”

Jamal and Aisha are team leaders of seven adults and five children. The team has formed two house churches in another province and, over the summer of 2016, it planted seven churches among unreached and unengaged people.

Some team members, including Aisha, are ministering to Syrian refugees, which total almost one million registered and unregistered people in just one of the Middle Eastern countries hosting them, making it impossible to reach everybody without help from established churches. (Photo via ANS)

“Last year we adopted an entire refugee camp before winter set in because many babies and toddlers die from the cold. We raised enough money to pay for heat and insulation in their tents,” Jamal says.

Aisha requests prayer for her work with Syrian refugees, other partners to join them, unrest in the Middle East, the love of Jesus to be revealed to friends and neighbors, university ministry, travel and health for five children of team members, two of whom belong to her and Jamal.

Eternally Blessed,    

Pastor Dave Ullom <*}}}<  

 

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