News & Views Jan 7

January Memory Verse
Galatians 2:20
"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no 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 10th
Worship Services
Online--9:00 a.m. premiere on Facebook (New Life Community Dinuba). Aaron Bryan-music.
On-campus--10:00 a.m. outdoor worship on the patio. Henry Serrato/Phyllis Enns-music.

The Peace of Christ Be With You

The pastors and ministry leaders of Dinuba came together on Zoom for our monthly meeting Wednesday. We miss being with each other in person and so it's no surprise how quickly we welcome each other and ask how we're all doing. I'm sure we could fill the hour just with spontaneous conversations! We always have some agenda items and then get to a lengthy time of prayer.

As we gathered on Zoom the halls of the U.S. Congress were being breached by a violent mob. Our nation's elected leaders were evacuated to secure locations. At least one person was shot. Among the mob that had infiltrated the Capitol one man was shown waving the Confederate Flag in the rotunda while another was carrying the Christian Flag in the overrun Senate chamber. With Jesus' name and the symbol of the cross so much a part of the violence, I asked the pastors and ministry leaders, "Is it possible for us to find agreement in our prayers right now for our nation in this time of crisis?"

Why would I have to ask? I believed the answer would be "yes," and yet the division in our nation is so wrapped up in religious ideology that I needed to hear the answer from my colleagues that we could find unity in our prayers in Jesus. We did. And we prayed.

It was also important for us as pastors to lift our colleague, the Chaplain of the Senate, The Reverend Barry Black, in prayer. His "congregation"--the members of the Senate and House, including the Vice President of the United States conducting his role as President of the Senate--were under attack by people using the name of Jesus and the symbol of the cross as a basis for their violence. His ministry mattered. He could bring peace in the name of Jesus.

As a retired Navy rear admiral and Chief Chaplain of the Navy he understood the power of Jesus' name to bring peace in places of violence. As a Black man he also knows what it means to live the peace of Christ in the face of violent racism in America. As his brothers and sisters in ministry, we were grateful that God had selected such a man of God for such a time as this. His prayer at the conclusion of the electoral process in the wee hours of the morning was a humble call upon God and for us: "We need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image... Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world."

One of the ministry leaders on our local Zoom call said that the message they were receiving from their national headquarters is to pray against a second civil war in America. To pray for peace. It was shocking to hear such language. Have we really come to this place again in our nation when Americans justify violence against each other, and do so in the name of Jesus?

As New Life Community we are committed to following Jesus, to let him transform our lives so that we might live for him. "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no 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." As our old lives die with Christ and we deny its desires that only fester quarrels and division among us, we embrace the new life of Christ within us--the Prince of Peace--to guide and strengthen our witness in loving words and actions toward our fellow citizens and all humanity.

They'll know we are Christians by our love. May the peace of Christ be with you and spread through you.

A new printed church directory is being prepared for distribution.
Please provide any updates to your contact information by:
(1) Going onto Breeze and updating your information by the 15th, OR
(2) Calling or emailing the church office so Elaine can update your information.


Serious health concerns:
Agatha Enns (surgery recovery, 24-hr care), Jean Wohlgemuth and Bob Heinrichs (24-hr care), Mary Kay Elrich (cancer, infection), Marilyn Chappell (surgery recovery, pneumonia), Julia Choy and Randy Reiswig (surgery recovery), JR Southard, several people in the NLC family battling COVID, including Jack & Annabelle Zimmerman's daughter Annette and family (Frank is on a ventilator).
    Joe Morgan's older brother, Ralph, passed away.
     Several NLC families are providing round-the-clock care for their loved ones. Remember, too,
     the hospital and other healthcare workers and first-responders as they serve the hurting.
Our nation:
     Pray for peace to prevail, that governing officials will honor the Lord in their decisions and      
     actions, and that we may peacefully live out and express our faith in Jesus Christ.

Stewardship  Report

Received Last Week (1/3/21): ........................ $7,169.02
Received this year to date:......................... $180,703.87
Budget Goal: ................................................ $521,591.00
Budget to Date: ........................................... $177,144.11
Needed Weekly to Meet Budget: .................. $9,841.34
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Otto Ekk

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