News & Views August 18

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him."
Nahum 1:7

Adult "Welcome" Class - 8:45 A.M. - Rooms 114-115
Connecting Point - 9:30 A.M. - Dining Room
Worship  - 10:00 A.M. -  Family Center Gym and Online
Pastor Mark preaching on "An Acts Attitude: Unstoppable"
Read ahead: Acts 5:12-42

NLC Kids  - 10:00 A.M. - Rooms 101,103
Adults "ACE Overcomers" Class - 11:00 - Youth Room (in Gym)
NEW!  Just the Bible - 11:15 a.m. - Rooms 114-115

The Week Ahead at NLC

Tuesday (24th):
6-7 a.m. Men's Bible Study group - Tony Dungy's "Uncommon Character" - Dining Room
Wednesday (25th):
6:30 p.m. NLC Kids' "Wacky Wednesdays" - Rooms 101, 103
6:30 p.m. NLC Prayer Gathering - all are welcome - Dining Room
7:00 p.m. Faith & Finances
Thursday (26th):
10:00 a.m. Child Evangelism Fellowship (Good News Clubs) Area Meeting - Dining Room
7:00 p.m. Life Skills Class
Hartland Fall Festival - Hartland Camp, Badger, CA
Sunday (29th):
11:00 a.m. Grab N Go Meals

Following the Prince of Peace

Like you, I'm sure, I am disheartened by the news coming from around the world. Haiti is having a particularly challenging time after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake followed by Tropical Storm Grace. With nearly 2,000 people confirmed dead already, flooding and mudslides may mean the loss of more lives in the hours and days ahead. Please pray for them.
The ongoing political fight in Afghanistan that has cost Americans over 2,300 lives and $2.6 trillion has moved into a new stage with the Taliban retaking control of the Afghan government, which they lost to American and mujahedeen forces nearly 20 years ago. In a country that has endured decades of war, they are now experiencing more unrest alongside the reinstitution of extreme Islamic religious values. Please pray for them.
The same kind of thing has been happening in other countries around the world, though not as acutely chaotic as in Afghanistan this week. In India, Hindu nationalists have been in power for the last 3-4 years and have been steadily ramping up a shift in the country toward their religious values. This has brought considerable harassment and even killing of Muslims and Christians who don't share those same values. Please pray for them.
In China the Muslim minority Uyghurs are being "re-educated" toward atheistic Communist Party values. In Myanmar, the nationalist Buddhist military are systematically killing Muslim Rohingya and Baptist Kachin people. More Christians are being killed at the hands of Muslim Boko Haram and Fulani militants in the African country of Nigeria than anywhere else in the world. And Christians are killing Muslims in South Sudan to preserve their governing power. Please pray for them.
Each of these conflicts and so many more (Israeli/Palestinian, Syrian, and etc.) have various sides.  What seems evident is that religious people are fighting all around the world. That isn't what the Prince of Peace, Jesus, wants for his followers. He told his disciples who have passed his message to us in the Bible that we would all face suffering and opposition, insults and injury for his name. He told them to strap on the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And that, if they chose instead to live by the sword (as a physical weapon), they would die by the sword. We have witnessed the truth of that word in our time as in times past.
This is not the place to argue whether or not governments should wage wars. I am asking you to seek the guidance of Jesus--the living word of God--in how you handle the conflicts in your life, and to trust him to handle the greater conflicts around the world. Christians in those places are called as we are to bring the peace of Christ to their neighbors in his love. Please pray for them.
There are many followers of Jesus who have roles within our government or among our nation's troops. Their role(s) may require them to make decisions or take actions that put the lives of others at risk or even to take lives. As citizens we get to choose these leaders. As Christians we are to pray for them.
Finally, if given the opportunity, will you reach for a sword or for the sword of the Spirit when you encounter conflict with others? For which sword's success will you pray? I hope you reach for the sword of the Spirit and pray for its truth to fall like rain from the heavens on the righteous and unrighteous alike. And remember, as you choose to pick up the sword of the Spirit, know that it will first transform you. It will make you into the likeness of Jesus, our Prince of Peace. And isn't that what the world needs most?
  • Johnny & Denise Esposito are preparing to leave for Thailand on the 31st of this month. Pray their preparations go smoothly, and that visas and COVID-related travel documents will be in place. Pick up a prayer card this Sunday or in the office.
  • Pray for peace in the name of Christ Jesus for people in places of conflict and disaster: Haiti, Afghanistan, Nigeria, China, Myanmar, Syria, South Sudan, and so many other places. Pray for Jesus' followers to persevere in their love for neighbors and enemies alike.
  • Pray for teachers, staff, parents, and students as schools open and homeschooling begins. Pray for wisdom and provision for our Good News Club leaders at Monson-Sultana and at Jefferson, that they will find the right space to welcome children soon. CEF, which directs Good News Clubs, will be orienting area club leaders this week at NLC.
  • Continue to lift people with ongoing health issues before the Lord: Joyce Penner and her son Frederick, Edith's brother Roger Jost, Mike Naylor, Marilyn Chappell, JR Southard, Bob Heinrichs, Brian Smith, and Travis Jost (Multiply missionary in Burundi).
  • Praise the Lord that Glen Zimmerman's body is handling this round of chemotherapy and immunotherapy well! Pray for rest, peace, strength, and healing.
  • Pray for the family and friends of those who have recently passed: Gary Schnitzler, Joe De Luna, Kevin Buhler, Isaac "Junior" Regier. 
  • Ask for God's wisdom for the Trustees, Stewardship, Elders, and church staff as they prepare a new budget for NLC. Pray for God's provision for the ministries to which He has called us and for wisdom in hiring staff for areas of needed ministry.

Our Giving - Fiscal Year Ending 8/31

Received Last Week (8/8):.................$8,487
Received this year to date:...........$424,830
Expenses to Fiscal Year End (Aug. 31):……………...………..$459,312
   (includes anticipated expenses for August)
Offerings Needed to Cover Expenses by Aug. 31:....….…$34,482

COVID-19 Update

Spread the Gospel, not the virus. There are currently no health mandates in effect for NLC related to COVID-19. However, as cases are rising in the United States and in Fresno and Tulare counties it may be prudent to wear a mask when indoors in public settings, to wash hands frequently, and to consult your physician about receiving a vaccination if you haven't already received one.
If you are sick, please avoid church gatherings for the health and safety of others. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please avoid church gatherings until you have received a negative COVID-19 test and are free of symptoms.

Requests for religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine.  Workplaces and universities have begun to require a COVID-19 vaccination to be eligible for work or for living in the dorms. There may be more such mandates coming from the military or other schools, companies, and organizations in the weeks ahead as the vaccines receive full FDA approval. These mandates generally allow for exemptions from the vaccine for disability, medical, or religious reasons.
Requests have already come for letters of support in seeking a religious exemption. This week our denominational leaders issued a statement regarding religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine. The statement makes clear that "our Confession of Faith and our current and historical practice do not provide the necessary rationale for granting a religious exemption based on the theological convictions of the denomination".
You can read the USMB statement here. 
The statement considers that individuals may have a personal objection to receiving the  COVID-19 vaccine(s), and that they should consider several options when pursuing a request for a religious exemption based on those objections:
  1. Carefully and with personal integrity, consider whether that objection is rooted in your own personal religious convictions or if it is rooted in other concerns and/or fears about the vaccine and the unknowns surrounding it. You may want to seek the counsel of your pastor and/or church leadership to help you differentiate and sort through those issues.
  2. Carefully read and understand the personal religious exemption being offered at your workplace or school. It may be that a denominational exemption is not required and that an individual exemption may be allowed. It may still require a pastor’s affirmation of your personal convictions based on conversations he/she has had with you to help you sort through the concerns you have.
  3. You may want to seek the advice of an attorney to determine whether your community or state, business or school allows for a personal religious exemption to any specific vaccine mandates.
  4. Above all, have integrity with your faith and your convictions.

If you are facing such a requirement and wish to seek a religious exemption from the vaccine, please contact Pastor Mark to make an appointment to discuss this. Thank you.

Mark Isaac

1 Comment

Martha Sawatzky - August 18th, 2021 at 10:38pm

GriefShare will be continuing on Wednesday nights! 6:30 at 8 o’clock, in the youth room! We are on session 7, and there are 13 sessions!