News & Views July 8

"Give Praise to the Lord, Proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done."
I Chronicles  16:8

Connecting Point - 9:30 A.M. - Dining Hall
Worship  - 10:00 A.M. -  Family Center Gym and Online
Pastor Mark preaching: ACTS Series: "Don't Look Up, Look Around You"
Read ahead - Acts chapter 1
NLC Kids - 10:00 A.M. - Rooms 101,103

Direct Speech

by Pastor Mark
One of the hallmarks of healthy relationships is direct speech--talking with each other and not about each other. While that sounds rather uncomplicated, it remains a challenge for many people. Direct speech can feel like confrontation if an issue arises between two people. And most people avoid confrontation. Avoiding confrontation may not always be a bad choice, especially when we hit our knees in prayer and wait on God for direction. Eventually we will need to trust God to guide us in approaching the other person in order to resolve the issue. When we talk about that issue with other people, though, we create an entirely new issue, one that is usually much deeper and more damaging than the first issue. That new issue is distrust.

Even healthy relationships will deteriorate in an environment of distrust. Marriages often dissolve when one spouse feels he/she can no longer trust their spouse. Couples who have fought to save their marriages through distrust have told me it's a long-term process. Friendships that have been damaged by distrust are hard to keep, as well. To resolve and restore such a friendship requires much more work than the original confrontation would have taken! Distrust can damage entire families and groups, too. Even churches.

Jesus watched his disciples behave in ways that not only damaged their relationships, but put his entire mission in jeopardy. In Matthew 18 a disagreement between two or more of the disciples about who was greater among them spilled over to Jesus' ears. Jesus spoke directly to the disciples, confronting their notions of greatness by calling a child to stand among them and pointing out that the child's lowly position was, in God's eyes, true greatness. Welcome the child, Jesus said, and you've welcomed me. Cause the child to stumble, Jesus added, and you've set yourself against God himself! Don't despise one of these little ones.

Immediately after confronting their petty argument by highlighting the child, Jesus applies the lesson to their own relationships. Treat each other with the care and gentleness with which you would treat a child. "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you" (Matt. 18:15).  Jesus is urging them toward direct speech. We already know from his "sermon on the mount" that before we go we're to deal with God about the sin in our own life--the log in our own eye. Because no human besides Jesus could ever confront another person without sin in their own life, we approach each other as Jesus advises with humility.

Jesus specifically identified sin as the cause for confrontation. Situations arise every day that don't constitute sin. As humans we see things differently than each other, and we have different roles and responsibilities that require decisions to be made that others may not understand or agree with. None of that is sinful. Still, direct speech is helpful in maintaining healthy relationships through such disagreements. Even when we simply have differences that don't amount to sin, we should practice direct speech. Telling others that you disagree with what someone else has done fosters distrust and gives birth to sin in our own lives. We can recognize such sin when we harbor bitterness in our hearts toward that person, then we are the ones who need to be confronted.

So when is it appropriate to tell others about your issue(s) with someone? Jesus included an answer to that question, but only when it pertains to sin. "If they will not listen (be won over), take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church..." It's a rare situation for a church to reach such a point. Pastor/author Ray Stedman posted a sermon online where his church needed to apply this process from Matthew 18. You can read it here. His example as well as Jesus' use of the child among the disciples should give us all warning that taking a matter to others is a last resort that itself requires great care. It's not done to get our way or prove we're right. It's a matter of eternal consequence that cannot be undertaken with bitter envy, wrath, malice, or slander, but with kindness, tenderheartedness, and readiness to forgive as Christ has forgiven us.

 The changes in our church have opened up many opportunities for differences between us. As your pastor alongside our church's elders, we have been careful to guide our church in ways that reflect his call to reach our community with the Good News of new and eternal life through Jesus Christ. We have relied on your prayerful support as well as the gifts God has given you for this task by his Holy Spirit. We rejoice at the fruit of this work. We have also done our best to listen to those who have come to us with concerns. Please continue to come to us directly as you encounter directions and decisions of the church that trouble you. If your concerns are about another person in the church, we will ask if you have already met with them and urge you to do so in a humble way if you haven't. We call you in the name of Jesus to avoid damaging his body by carrying your issues about each other to other people. Go to each other in humility and speak directly with each other, trusting God to do his work in them and in you for his name's sake.

NLC Kids Ministries

Outreach Opportunities

New Men's Study, Tuesdays, 6-7 a.m.

LIFT-Women's Summer Study
Tuesday, July 20th, 10 a.m.

  • Ask God for His heart for mission; the motivation of his Spirit to drive you toward others with the love of Jesus and the message of new life in him.
  • Praise the Lord for over 50 children already registered for Vacation Bible School, and for a great team of leaders, helpers, and willing supporters to make it happen. Pray for Jessica Aquino as she directs this ministry, NLC Kids on Sundays, and the new NLC Kids Wacky Wednesday night program
  • Thank the Lord for those willing to serve as Trustees, Stewardship, and Personnel Team members. Pray for unity and power in our members meeting on Sunday evening.
  • Mae Ewert has been hospitalized and is regaining her strength. Pray she will be able to go home soon and fully recover.
  • Praise the Lord that Glen Zimmerman is home and gaining strength! Pray his appetite continues to increase and that his body will be ready for another round of chemo. Ask the Lord to heal him of multiple myeloma.
  • Tom Regier is well, and Mike Naylor is starting physical therapy after successful shoulder surgery. Continue to lift others with ongoing health issues before the Lord: Marilyn Chappell, JR Southard, Bob Heinrichs, Joe DeLuna, Brian Smith, and our senior adults.
  • Our Good News Club program has a full team and is ready to launch when school begins at Jefferson Elementary. Praise the Lord for the principal's support and for guidance in finding a space large enough to host the many children we're praying will be drawn to it by God. Pray for Norma Froese as she takes over the administration of the program that Mary Kay Elrich did so well. Pray that children will come to know Jesus as their Savior and follow his as Lord.
  • Continue to lift our church's community ministries and global missionaries before the Lord.
  • Ask God for wisdom and leaders to begin new Life Groups, particularly one in Spanish.

Our Giving

Received Last Week (7/04):.......$4,905
Received this year to date: ..$384,636
Budget to Date: ………..…...... $441,346
Budget Goal: ……….......……...$521,591
Needed Weekly: ……......………$17,119

A budget and financial report will be provided at the Members Meeting on Sunday, July 11th.

Otto Ekk

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