News & Views Jan 14

January Memory Verse
Galatians 2:20
"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is not longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Sunday, January 17th
Worship Services
Online worship premieres at 9:00 a.m. on Facebook (New Life Community Dinuba).
Special prayer and praise service.
On-campus worship is cancelled due to limited COVID exposure among some staff and volunteers. Will resume on Sunday, January 24th.

Our Joy is Our Strength

My last name, Isaac, in Hebrew means, "he laughs".  it comes from the story in Genesis when the Lord promised Abraham and Sarah a child in their old age. She was in her 90s and Abraham was 100 years old at the time! As Abraham had done when he heard the news, so Sarah laughed when she heard it. Their laughter might have been fine if done in praise, but it was instead filled with the cynicism of unbelief caused by pride. They knew better. That cynicism would disappear when Sarah became pregnant. As a reminder of their misplaced laughter and the real joy of the Lord's fulfilled promise they named the boy Isaac as the Lord had said--"he laughs". I can't help but think that's exactly what the Lord was doing the whole time!

I resemble my name. People have known me for my laughter and joking nature since I was a kid. Little has changed. My tendency is to see the humor in things and, like Abraham and Sarah, I have been caught laughing at the wrong time and at the wrong things, even with cynicism at times. I hope my sense of humor has shown some maturity over the years, because I'm committed to keeping it. But laughter is not real goal.

The Bible says there is "a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to grieve and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3). If I could shorten the time of crying and grieving and lengthen the time of laughing and dancing, I would do it. Not because I prefer laughing over crying, but because "the joy of the Lord is [our] strength" (Nehemiah 8). That's the deeper prize.

Strength from joy is an important concept to understand. When we talk about our strength it is often a matter of pride. Little boys compare "my dad is stronger than your dad," and nations take great pride in parading their military might. "Might makes right," we have understood as humans for ages and so pride and strength are linked. Not so for followers of Jesus, who considered himself nothing in order to redeem us and give us life in abundance. For us, the joy of the Lord--given to us in his grace--is our true strength.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 

G.K. Chesterton once explained, "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." He went on to say that Satan fell because of the weight (gravity) of his pride. "Pride cannot rise to levity..." Chesterton wrote, for pride "is the downward drag of all things..."

I invite and encourage you to let go of the pride that makes you think you know better, that insists you be right, that justifies the use of power and might over others, and that divides and drags you down along with those around you. Have a little humility. Let Jesus fill your life with his so that the joy of the Lord becomes your strength. Then you can face the day and difficulties ahead with the truth of his promise: "He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy" (Job 8:21).

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NLC DIRECTORY UPDATE
Please contact the office with any updates on your contact information, mobile phone #, etc.
You may also make updates yourself on the Breeze app.
PRAYER
  • Mary Kay Elrich is home from the hospital. She and Gary are trusting the Lord for his grace as doctors have exhausted their efforts to treat the cancer and infection.
  • Agatha Enns is home with family following a recent hospitalization, infection, and second surgery. She is doing better.
  • Marilyn Chappell is recovering from surgery and a serious bout with pneumonia.
  • Others with health concerns: Julia Choy, JR Southard, Bob Heinrichs, Jean Wohlgemuth
  • Pray for several who have lost loved ones in their families: Jack & Annabelle Zimmerman's daughter Annette lost her fiancé Frank to COVID, Barbara Friesen's daughter Vivian lost her husband Leroy Swiney (brother-in-law to Glen Friesen), and Joe Morgan's brother Ralph passed away a week ago.
  • Continue to lift healthcare workers and caregivers at home to the Lord for strength, endurance, rest, and joy.
  • Our nation is in turmoil as many turn to violence and acts of terror. Pray for peace, and that many will turn to Jesus in repentance. Pray for courage and protection for law enforcement and elected officials as they carry out their roles. Pray that the President and President-elect will yield themselves to the wisdom and Word of the Lord.

Stewardship Report

Received Last Week (1/10/21): ............. $8,145.07
Received this year to date:................ $188,848.94
Budget Goal: ....................................... $521,591.00
Budget to Date: .................................. $186,985.45
Needed Weekly to Meet Budget: ......... $9,841.34
A Word From Our Treasurer
Some at NLC have creatively turned their recently received government checks from the CARES Stimulus Act into a special blessing for others. If perhaps you do not really need the extra money the stimulus check has brought you, consider as options any of
the special projects our church is engaged in, including:
NLC Deacon Benevolence Fund (assisting those in the NLC  family),
NLC Home Resource Center (helping Open Gate residents transition out),
NLC ROPES Ministry Fund (helping individuals make sustainable changes in their life path).
COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS
For on-campus activities and for your safety and the safety of 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.

Questions? Call 559-591-1176 or office@newlifedinuba.org  
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Mark Isaac

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