He’d just gone to see Amanda and was writing to tell me he was quite sure it was the last time he’d see her and wanted me to know since I had spent a good bit of time with her. She was dying. Her kidneys were in failure. She was frail and far too thin. And by his estimation it was probably a matter of days.
I met Amanda in the children’s psych ward; she was 15 I think. Depending on who you asked, she may or may not have tried to kill herself. Amanda was a cutter, and though she’d tried many times in the past, she assured me this had not been an attempt to take her life. Just an innocent bout of cutting that had gone wrong at the local movie theatre that resulted in her being found nearly unconscious and the walls and floor covered in blood. Ya know, just a typical Friday night at the movies. [I’ll spare you the graphic details- but the scene belonged in a horror flick]
So, here we were in the psych ward. Someone had called the church asking for help, and I was dispatched to talk with Amanda. Now I had known kids who cut before, but Amanda was different. If I had taken a dime out of my pocket and tried to place on Amanda’s arms or legs without hitting a scar from her cutting addiction, I couldn’t have done it. She was covered in small thin lines. She wanted desperately to kill herself, and told me so many times.
In fact, I would venture to say that I spent more time in hospitals with Amanda than in any other setting, many times after a failed attempt. There was the one at the movie theater and then the one at home. The one at school that caused an evacuation, and the one in the car while mom was in the supermarket.
And it broke my heart- she wouldn’t be talked into living.
Occasionally, after moving from Detroit, I’d shoot her a text, always expecting that this would be the time I wouldn’t hear back from her because she had finally succeeded in doing what she wanted to do. But, to my surprise, I’d always heard back from her.
But now this. And so I set off to do the only thing I knew to do which was to pray and to ask others to pray for her as well. And hope for a miracle.
A few weeks passed, and I hadn’t heard anything. Which I figured most likely meant she had gone. Perhaps it was just a couple of days later, and the funeral and business took precedent and that’s why I hadn’t heard any news. My faith, as it so often is, was small.
So, I decided to check back in, to hear the news from the senior pastor at the church. I could have floated when I heard the news.
She was alive, and not only alive but making a recovery; gaining ground and gaining weight.
And maybe the greatest news. Amanda had decided to give her life to Christ and was baptized. She had become part of recovery group at the church, and they had taken her under their wings. That, my friends, is a full blown miracle. There is no explanation for it except that God stepped in and did His God thang.
There are times when I pray, and I feel quite certain it was of no consequence. As a pastor there are times when I pray and it’s primarily for show. But every so often I pray and God works a miracle like he did in the life of Amanda. And my faith is restored and strengthened.
I wonder how many times in my life God has had to allow a situation to become dire before I would throw myself before the Lord and beg for his intervention. I’m regularly surprised by his patience with me.
Because I believe God wants to intervene. I believe He desperately wants to redeem and restore the broken, to do miracles that will strengthen and restore the faith of his children- that He’s a God who wants to give good gifts. If only we would seek Him and ask Him to be God because we know we are not; I wonder how many more miracles like Amanda’s we might hear.
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
“Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Are you looking for a place in the church where you can serve? Well, look no further! Children’s Ministry has over 30 opportunities available for you to begin serving on June 2. If you would like to spend some of the best time of your week serving children here at NCC, please fill out the connect card in the bulletin on Sunday or stop by the Children’s Ministry table in the lobby. This is a meaningful opportunity where you can help children know God and His love in fun and creative ways like teaching, singing, and playing.
Baby Land (ages 6wks-1year)
2nd Sunday / 9:00 / 1 person
3rd Sunday / 9:00 / 1 person
3rd Sunday / 10:45 / 2 people
4th Sunday / 9:00 / 3 people
Ark Landing (ages 1 year walking-2years 11months)
1st Sunday / 10:45 Giraffe / 3 people
2nd Sunday / 10:45 Giraffe / 1 person
3rd Sunday / 10:45 Giraffe / 3 people
3rd Sunday / 10:45 Zebra / 2 people
4th Sunday / 10:45 Zebra / 1 person
Jesus Junction (ages 3years-kindergarten)
1st Sunday / 10:45 Truck / 1 person
2nd Sunday / 9:00 Train / 1 person
2nd Sunday / 10:45 Truck / 1 person
3rd Sunday / 9:00 Stagecoach / 2 people
3rd Sunday / 10:45 Truck / 1 person
4th Sunday / 10:45 Stagecoach / 1 person
4th Sunday / 10:45 Truck / 1 person
The Rock (1st-5th grades)
Every Sunday / 10:45 / 4th & 5th Grade Boys / 1 helper
2 Sundays a month / 9:00 / 3rd grade / 1 teacher
Every Sunday / 9:00 / 3rd grade / 1 helper
Adventureland Door Greeters/Security
1st Sunday / 8:30-10:15 / Jesus Junction
1st Sunday / 10:15-12:15 / Jesus Junction
2nd Sunday / 10:15-12:15 / The Rock (IN)
Whether it is Wall Street or clipping coupons, we all want to be the best stewards of our resources. So, do we have a deal for you! Beginning this Sunday, May 5, 2013, we will be offering “The Art of Marriage” seminar in six weekly installments in the gym at 10:45 a.m. Our heart’s desire for you is that you will have additional tools for your marriage and other relationships in your life. We currently have 74 people registered plus our hosts from the jOURneys group.
As I read the Bible, often I will come across a verse that I know I have read before, but for some reason I never noticed it until now. That’s like finding money in my pocket! Then there are those verses that are like old friends. I underlined them years ago and they have been blessing, encouraging, and challenging me for decades. One of these “old friends” for me is Matthew 28:18-20 …
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
These are the final words from Jesus before He ascended into heaven. When I think about Jesus giving this speech before He departs earth, I envision Him giving us something that is crucial, noteworthy, and vitally important. This message is all of that and more. It was so important that it has been named the Great Commission. This passage is the mission for those who are followers of Jesus. What makes this last talk from Jesus so important? First of all, Jesus said it! To me, its simple … if God speaks, we should listen and respond! The other reason that this is so important is because there is so much at stake. If we respond to this message, people will be in heaven in the future, and if you don’t respond, then they could end up in hell! There is a lot at stake here!
We decided that this passage was so important that we made it our strategy for NCC. Our plan is to make disciples that make disciples! Can I ask you, are you discipling another person? I sense that sometimes we think that passages like the Great Commission are written to the ministry professionals in the church. The truth is this passage was written to all followers of Jesus. All of us have a responsibility to be making disciples. Before you dismiss this, please just take one month to pray asking God to show you one person, just one, He would have you disciple. Don’t be surprised when a person comes to your mind. Keep in mind you don’t have to be a Bible College professor. You just need to be a person of prayer and the Bible who is spiritually more mature than the one you are discipling. So once you know who that person is, invite them to do the Timothy Project Study ncclex.org/the-timothy-project with you. This isn’t as hard as we make it out to be! Pray for courage, and if you have questions, call us. One last thought: the person God brings to your mind might not be a follower of Jesus yet. Remember that the first step to becoming a disciple of Jesus is when we accept Him as our Lord and savior. Therefore, every person we lay eyes on potentially is a future disciple. As we make disciples that make disciples, we WILL change the attendance numbers in heaven! I hope you will help us accomplish!
A couple of Friday nights ago, about 25 women took over the church gymnasium along with their family photos, wreaths, sewing machines, and lots of other fun pinterest projects! It’s our version of girl’s night out, and we had a blast! Whether you sew, scrapbook, or are just into getting out of the house and hanging with other Christian women, craft night is the perfect opportunity to do just that! And, as if that isn’t enough of a reason to come, we always have delicious food!
As usual, we started the night out with a devotion. Jennifer Whittington, who organizes our craft night fun, shared this about how to have a servant’s heart: As Christians, we can model our lives after Jesus, ask for the Holy Spirit, and use our God-given gifts, but, ultimately we have to submit to Him for His will to be done.
If you’re interested in studying the verses she used for her devotion, grab your Bible and check these out:
Mark 10:45 – Jesus’ main service was his life.
Galatians 5:14 – Paul tells us not to abuse our freedom but to serve in love; that’s how freedom grows.
Romans 7-6 – Paul also says we are released from the law through Christ’s death so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the law.
1 Peter 4:10-11 – When serving, use grace and talents given by God with all the strength he provides so that He may receive all the Praise.
Romans 12:6-7 – We all have different spiritual gifts given by grace.
We will schedule our next craft soon, and we would love to have you join us. Sign up for our email by contacting Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monte’s Easter sermon was about how we all have a story. And, it’s these personal stories, our testimonies that we all relate to. Our friend, Alishia Pugh, gave her video testimony during service, and we have no doubt there were several people sitting right there in our church who could completely relate. These stories give us hope. They renew our faith. They reflect the love of Jesus Christ. And, we believe they are very important … to share … and to hear. That’s why we would love to hear your story. We’ve kicked this post off by sharing a few from our staff, and we would love for you to share yours. Simply comment below. Bless others and be blessed.
Children’s Ministry at NorthEast is always a fun and exciting place to be. Recently though, we’ve had two events that have really added to the fun. I am so proud of our 4th and 5th grade puppeteers who, under the direction of David Lindemuth, presented the “Star Shoot Review” a few weeks ago. Along with help from the Worship Department, they were able to give families a night filled with laughter and some great teaching on finances. The next weekend, children ages birth through third grade were busy collecting candy-filled eggs at the annual Easter Treasure Hunt. A special thanks to everyone who helped with this event and especially to our 4th and 5th grade helpers. This week we are busy planning special activities for all the kids who will be here on Easter Sunday to celebrate that Jesus is alive! All The Rock kids will want to make sure they are back the following week when Remix will be leading our 10:45 service. If you are not sure what that means, just think giant hamster balls and toilet paper flying through the air and you will be on the right track. See you Sunday.
BURN OUT: “Someone in a state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.”
Does that describe you? If so, what is the Biblical answer? In 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah suffered burn out. He was very fatigued and frustrated when he said, “I’ve had enough, Lord.” Elijah was down because he stopped depending on the power of God. It’s possible he was praying, but forgetting the most important element of prayer: LISTENING! God ministered to Elijah by letting him rest and feeding him. Elijah was then sent up to the mountain to seek the Lord’s presence. A great wind came and a fire came, but the Lord was not in those. “And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (verse 12, NIV)
Not one of us is immune to failure without God and neglect of prayer results in our working out of our own power. God is waiting to minister to us and speak to use in the “still, small voice” and the choice to listen is ours.
Leaders can become so engrossed in the “activity” of ministry that the communication with God begins to fall by the wayside. Knowing the Bible or praying over something that we decided to do, and even doing good things and gathering great ideas from other leaders, does not provide what the times of being alone and listening to God provide. Daily discipline of time with God is a requirement for leadership.
Dr. Pat Rohach, Director of Women’s Ministry
At the beginning of the year, I answered the question, “What’s Next?” and outlined a plan for NorthEast to go DEEP and WIDE as a body of believers, deepening our relationship with Christ and broadening our impact in our community.
The Growth Process funnel he outlined showed how the Four L’s – LISTEN, LEARN, LIVE, LEAD – act as steps to help each member go deeper and expand their impact. As you think about how God wants to use you to advance His kingdom in 2013, put these steps into practice and pray for one “Timothy” in whom you can invest truth and life in. For more on how to invest in others and live out the Great Commission, check out the Timothy Project.