News & Views September 1

SEPTEMBER MEMORY VERSE
"Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long."
Psalm 25:5


SEPTEMBER 5th WORSHIP and COMMUNION SERVICE
NEW Adult: "Voyagers" Class (Philippians) - 8:30 A.M. - Room 113
Adult: "Welcome" Class (Colossians) - 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: Wherever"
with sharing by Tom Regier
Read ahead: Acts 8

NLC Kids  - 10:00 A.M. - Rooms 101,103
Adult: "Just the Bible" - 11:15 A.M. - Rooms 114-115

The Week Ahead

Tuesday (7th)
6-7 a.m. NEW Men's Bible Study group - Louie Giglio's "Acts of the Apostles" - Dining Room
9:00 a.m. NEW Women's LIFT Bible Study group - Angie Smith's "Seamless" - Rooms 114-115
Wednesday (8th)
6:30 p.m. NLC Prayer Gathering - all are welcome - Dining Room
6:30 p.m. GriefShare -all are welcome - Youth Room in Gym
7:00 p.m. Faith & Finances - Rooms 114-115
Saturday (11th)
8:00-3:30 p.m. SHED BUILDING DAY with Mennonite Disaster Service for survivors of the 2020 Creek Fire - To volunteer, please email Steve Bell at mds.centralcalif@gmail.com

New Men's Study (Tuesdays)

New Women's Study (1st/3rd Tuesdays)

Hating Herod

I've been listening to the New Testament read to me through the Bible app on my smartphone this summer on my walks. It's a new way to hear the Word of God. Add to that, the Bible reading plan I've been listening to is a chronological version of the New Testament--one where the four Gospel stories are put in the order in which the events happened, rather than one book after another. It means I hear Matthew's telling of the feeding of the 5,000, for instance, followed by Mark's telling of the same event, and then Luke's and then John's, before moving on to the next place Jesus went.
What this kind of Bible "reading" does is to both compress such events into greater focus while also to expand the perspectives of the events. It's like bundling an event into one package and then turning that package around four times to see it from all sides. And having traveled to the sites of those events in Israel and Palestine, I imagine myself back there to view the packaged event where it actually happened. As Matthew and Mark and Luke and John each tell it, I have the time to go back in my mind and smell the grassy hillside and see the sun shining on the Sea of Galilee. It's an exciting and enlightening way to engage the Bible!
I also find that I am more emotionally engaged in the stories when they're read to me like this. When one writer after another tells about the suspicions and then the evil actions of King Herod after Jesus was born, or about his son's jailing of John the Baptist and then his beheading after his step-daughter's lurid dancing, I find myself responding emotionally in ways I don't usually feel when I read such stories. I want to leave the room into which I have been transported as if I were a fly on the wall. I want to fly away, or divebomb Herod and his son on the way out!
It's made me ask myself, why do I hate Herod (and his sons)?
If I answered that I hate Herod because of all the evil things he did, that still doesn't answer the question of why I hate Herod. Just because people do bad things doesn't mean that I have to choose to hate them for it. I have to take responsibility for how I feel. Jesus knew far more about Herod's atrocities, and yet Jesus didn't choose to hate him. Even as people cursed and whipped him, and ultimately hung him on a cross to kill him, Jesus didn't choose to hate them. Instead, he said, "Father, forgive them..." (Luke 23:34).
I also know I'm not alone in my hatred of Herod, and maybe that helps me justify the hateful feelings I've chosen. Other Christians, like audience members at a melodrama, shout "boo" along with me whenever the villain, Herod, comes onto the stage of Scripture. And yet Jesus told us as his followers to "love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). No matter how many of us make the same choice to hate, it doesn't make it a Christ-like choice.
You see, Herod isn't the only one I've learned to hate. All throughout life, and especially now with politics as they are, there are those that I feel it's okay to hate or express disgust over. It's a pattern. And now that I think of it, maybe it all started with hating Herod. Was he the first?
As I'm hearing the events of the New Testament read to me now, I'm asking God for a new heart to love as I hear Jesus loving, to stay focused on his plan of redemption, and to forgive as he forgave. I'm still unsettled by the policies and actions of the "Herods" of the world, but I don't have to conform my heart into a hateful one because of them or what others express about them. I can disagree with them, and I can do it with Jesus' heart of love. Today, praise God, I can say I'm done hating Herod!
  • Pray for firefighters battling wildfires throughout the state, especially near Lake Tahoe. Pray also for emergency and utility workers in the South after the hurricanes and flooding. Pray for those displaced through evacuation orders in all these places, that they'll be safe and able to return to their homes, jobs, churches, and schools soon.
  • Pray for the 29 million refugees around the world, including 100,000 arriving from the  war-torn country of Afghanistan. May they find the open arms of Christians to receive them and show them the joy of following Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for returning American military troops, diplomats, and civilians, especially those injured and traumatized from days, months, and years of war and terror in Afghanistan. May they find comfort and peace through Christ Jesus.
  • Pray for Leo Olea, who lost his grandfather this week.
  • Continue to pray for Joyce and Duane Penner and Saphira and Blake at the loss of her son and the children's father, Frederick. 
  • Continue to lift people with ongoing health issues before the Lord: JR Southard, Mike Naylor, Marilyn Chappell, Bob Heinrichs, Glen Zimmerman, Brian Smith, and Galen Wiest and Travis Jost with Multiply. Pray for people battling COVID-19, especially families with young children.
  • Pastor Mark's niece, Amber Janzen, walked out of the rehab hospital on her own and is now working at full recovery at her parents' home in Hillsboro, Kansas. Praise the Lord!
  • Johnny & Denise Esposito are quarantining in Bangkok, Thailand, for 2 weeks before being able to travel to their contacts in northern Thailand. Pray for health and peace.
  • Pray for God's provision for Good News Clubs as they begin soon. The Jefferson club is in need of a music leader.
  • Pray for Henry Serrato on sabbatical from YFC and as our volunteer worship leader. 
  • Ask God to provide all that is needed to carry out the mission he has given New Life Community.
The DRESS A GIRL ministry is back!
A nice dress makes girls less vulnerable to traffickers. By sewing a simple dress you are being the hands and feet of Jesus. To participate, please pick up a dress kit with all the materials, trim, thread and instructions from the table in the Dining Room.  
Last month, fifty dresses went to the Congo and 100 more will go to southern Brazil next month. They'll be used by Brazilian Mennonites to spread the gospel as they are distributed. Help us sew a dress!  Any questions talk to Terry Chappell (filling in for Marilyn).

Fiscal Year End Giving Report

NLC finished it's fiscal year ending August 31st, slightly behind expenses.

Offerings Received Last Week (thru 8/31):......$11,937
Total Offerings/Income received to date: ....$456,200
Estimated Fiscal Year Expenses: …………......$460,698
Expenses greater than income: ……....…....……$4,498


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 or are completely free of symptoms.

Mark Isaac

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