News & Views: Feb 4

2 Chronicles 7:14
"Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."

ONLINE - premieres 9:00 a.m. on Facebook
OUTDOORS - 10:00 a.m. on the church patio, with COMMUNION
Pastor Mark, preaching  -  Henry Serrato and Phyllis Enns, music
Colossians Series: "Put off the Old Life"
Read ahead: Colossians 3:5-11


When the same word pops up more than once in a day, you notice. Last night a friend used the word, "weary," to describe her feelings to me on the phone. It resonated with me. I asked Laurie to pray for me this morning because I was feeling "weary".  When I saw the same word in an article this morning it just jumped off the page at me. It seems there's a lot of weariness around! And now that I think about it, the word came up during the Dinuba Christian Ministerial Association meeting on Zoom yesterday. Weariness is definitely getting around.

Weariness is contagious, like yawning. The old adage "misery loves company" is mostly true. We may not feel like doing this when we're feeling weary, but we need to connect with people whose faith and energy will encourage us and spur us on to love and good deeds. And when we're the ones who encounter others who are weary, we need to be willing to do the same for them once we've first taken the time to listen with empathy to the burdens they're carrying.

But might I also say that weariness does not love company? It sometimes thrives in isolation, like the kind of separation we've been experiencing throughout this pandemic. The more we stay away from others the more weary we can become ourselves, carrying our burdens alone. We feel them grow in size to press us down further and hold us back from being with others. And then, when worse stuff comes our way, we're even less prepared to handle it well.

The article I read mentioned the word "stamina" as an antidote to weariness. Stamina can be increased over time, like runners who build stamina as they train for marathons or ultras. But a person's stamina has limits. I think back to my own experience of the pandemic and see how I at first dove into solving problems, making decisions, and increasing contacts. Then when the pandemic looked to be longer than a few months, I had to set a new pace for myself and others. By autumn I found I was often out of ideas and frustrated at the constant demand to make decisions. It took a bit of quiet reflection to grasp just how sad I had become. I was hurting over the loss of time spent with my family, particularly my two little grandchildren. And the intensity of the division in society and the way it was creeping into family and church relationships discouraged me further. Just how much stamina can one person build up when you don't know how much you're going to need, or for how long?!

One of the roots of the word "stamina" comes from weaving--like threads woven on a loom. Stamina is what happens when one strand is woven in with many other strands. You get where I'm going, don't you? It's one thing to build up personal stamina--reading and memorizing Scripture, being faithful in prayer, keeping a journal of thanksgiving in every circumstance, for instance. That's vital. But we must also let ourselves be woven together with others. I think that's what the Bible means just after it urges us to spur one another on to love and good deeds: "Don't give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:23-25). Like our February memory verses reminds us, this takes humility, possibly repentance, and always the grace of God.

Our online services are meant to encourage you, and I'm glad to hear that they're doing just that. But if you can come to the outdoor services, especially now that the sun is warming things again, you may find yourself woven with others in ways you've missed while apart. Come, as weary as you may be. Let's find our strength together, in the Lord.

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  • For Gary Elrich, Kathy Manning, and the whole family as they mourn Mary Kay's passing. Her memorial service will be Feb. 27th at 10:00 a.m. in the Immanuel Schools chapel.
  • For Agatha Enns, who is on hospice.
  • Remember those who have lost loved ones, and those who are caregiving for family.
  • Praise the Lord that 210 meals were served to the church and community last Sunday, with four families seeking prayer.
  • For our national, state, and local leaders.  1 Tim. 2:1-2.
  • For Palm Village and Sierra View and others that are isolated.
  • For students, teachers, parents, and staff in the education system, from preschool to college.
  • For your neighbors, family members and those in your circle of influence that need the Lord.
  • For Open Gate Ministries. A staff member has COVID-19. Pray it won't spread in the shelter.
  • For God’s mercy and healing, and for health care workers and their families.
  • For two of our outward-focused ministries running now: Life Skills, and Faith & Finance.
  • For Bob Heinrichs, Marilyn Chappell, Jean Wohlgemuth, JR Southard, and Mary Salazar.
  • For Pastor Mark preparing for the Sunday message and online, and for Marlin Hiett who will be preaching next Sunday.
  • For our Elders, Trustees and church staff as they seek the Lord’s direction and lead us.
NLC Vision Timeline Update
  • Fall 2018--"Imagine2024 Team" launched to discern new church vision and develop church plan for implementation; work begins!
  • Spring 2019--Church vision and plan approved at business meeting
  • Summer 2019--Imagine2024 Team becomes "Implement2024 Team"
  • Fall 2019--New church name approved and rolled out
  • Winter 2019/20--Church ministry teams reorganized to prioritize welcome readiness, ministry involvement, and outward focus; work of Implement2024 Team shifts to ministry team leaders, Elders, Trustees
  • Spring 2020--Community Strategist hired; COVID-19 stay-at-home orders interrupt ministry
  • Summer 2020--Continue church plan with facility redesign, and reorganization of budget
  • Fall 2020--budget approved at business meeting; Worship Center redesign put on hold
  • Winter 2020/21--reorganization of church staff (more information coming next week) 

Stewardship Report

Received Last Week (1/31/21): .............. $9,247.34
Received this year to date: ................ $211,681.85
Budget Goal: ........................................ $521,591.00
Budget to Date: ................................... $216,509.47
Needed Weekly to Meet Budget: ......... $9,997.07
*COVID-19 precautions: For on-campus activities and for your safety and others' please
maintain 6' of distance and wear a face covering when not seated as households apart from others. Indoor gatherings are not permitted at this time...BUT STAY TUNED!

Questions? Call 559-591-1176 or
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Mark Isaac

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