News & Views Oct 20

"Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge."
Psalm 62:8

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

featuring testimony from Isaac Lopez
Read ahead - Matthew 5:8, 1 John 1:8-10, Psalm 32, James 5:16

NLC Kids  - 10:00 A.M. - Rooms 101,103

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, 26th
6-7 a.m.   Men's Bible Study group - Louie Giglio's "Acts of the Apostles" - Dining Room
Wednesday, 27th
6:30 p.m. NLC Prayer Gathering - all are welcome - Dining Room
6:30 p.m. Griefshare - High School Room
Thursday, 21st
7:00 p.m. Life Skills - Dining Room
Saturday, 30th
5:30-6:30 p.m. Community Worship Night - Rose Ann Vuich Park bandshell
Sunday, 31st
Pastor Mark continues the series: "Road to Recovery" as a launch to Celebrate Recovery at NLC
5:00-7:00 p.m. Family Fun Night / Trunk or Treat / Free dinner / Music / Crafts - NLC parking lot

Good Grief

A young man confided in me recently that he had found himself in a group setting involuntarily weeping. It had surprised him. He was there to exercise and build up his body. He hadn't gone there for therapy or to process a particular loss, and yet he had simply and suddenly sobbed--the kind of crying he couldn't just stop. It hadn't lasted long, but it was significant to him. It was obvious he was still processing what happened to him and what it was that had caused it.

His confession began to resonate in me. It immediately brought to mind the last time I cried. It had come suddenly and surprisingly to me, too, and had happened only a few weeks ago. I'm the kind of person that can't remember the last time I cried about anything. Yes, I get choked up at movies about dads and daughters, but that's not the kind of crying this young man or I had experienced. I can count on one hand the number of times I've cried like this. I'm sure my mom remembers me crying as a child, but that's not the kind of crying I'm talking about, either. These were tears that came up from way beneath my rational adult mind, sincere faith, and strong hope. Like the young man, I have a feeling there's more to it all than one good cry will resolve.

My educational background is in science and so I formed a hypothesis to test--that the last year and half have contributed to compounding grief that was finding its own way out. So I Googled some terms to see what the experts might have to say about such an experience. I typed in "compounded grief" and began to look through the websites that addressed it. Turns out it's a real thing. So are similar terms like: complicated grief, cumulative grief, and profound grief. People can be overwhelmed by one loss after another and find themselves dealing with grief itself rather than dealing with losses through a "normal" or healthy grieving process. Sometimes this accumulation of loss spills out of us in the kind of sudden release of tears the young man and I experienced. Sometimes others are needed to help us recognize our need to process the grief to which we've become numb.

This Sunday I'm preaching about openly examining and confessing our faults (and sins) to ourselves, to God, and to another trusted person. It's an important step in recovery as we yield our lives and wills to God's transforming power through Christ Jesus (see James 5:16). I know, personally, how important that process is. But it occurs to me now that a similar process might be helpful to deal with the losses we've experienced over the last year and a half (if not longer for some of us). What kind of healing might we find if we took time alone, with paper and pencil, to write down the losses we've experienced in the last 22 months, asking God to guide us in recalling them, and then processing those things with a trusted, Christian brother or sister?

I'm glad we offer the Griefshare ministry at NLC. Martha Sawatzky and John Regier have helped several people find healing through the grief process. I am confident they could help more of us and our friends and families if we sought them out. There are others at NLC who I know would be there for you if you asked them to simply come and listen to you read your list of losses, no matter how small or petty they might seem to you now--the loss of a pet, the loss of time spent with loved ones during lockdowns, the loss of trips and vacations, friends who no longer attend church with you, an athletic season, a graduation ceremony, funeral, or a big wedding. The fact that 1 out of 500 Americans have died from COVID-19 has also touched our lives deeply. And it's not over.

If you can identify in your own actions and emotions such things as denial, anger, bargaining, or depression, then you've been grieving. Acceptance is the last step in that process. I'd like to help you get there and find the healing that God gives to us. We're just finite human beings, vulnerable to the effects of sin, fallen creation, loss, accidents, hurts, and self-inflicted pain. Thank God he is there to help and heal us, hold and protect us, forgive, restore, and bless us so we can do the same, in his name, for others.
  • Keep Timothy and Lyubov Heinrichs and their family in prayer. Tim's dad, Robert Heinrichs, passed away in his sleep on Friday.
  • Pray for our church to be clear and bold in our witness for Jesus. Pray that God opens doors for the message of the Gospel and that we will move through those doors. Pray that people accept the forgiveness that God offers them through Jesus' death and resurrection.
  • Thank the Lord for the opportunity to minister to potentially hundreds of people through our Family Fun Night coming October 31st. Pray we'll have enough food and candy to serve, but especially that God will open our hearts to those who come. Pray for Martha Sawatzky as she presents the Gospel that night using pumpkins.
  • Pray for Bob & Sandy Sorber's grandchildren, Jesse & Elizabeth (Abe & Holly Isaak's daughter). The two were in a motorcycle accident and are recovering from broken bones and other injuries. Praise the Lord they survived. They have two children, ages 3 and 6. 
  • Continue to lift people with ongoing health issues before the Lord: Glen Zimmerman, JR Southard, Mike Naylor, Marilyn Chappell, Bob Heinrichs, Brian Smith, and Galen Wiest and Travis Jost with Multiply. We rejoice at answered prayer, healing, and recovery for others as well.
  • Nori Naylor's brother Ralph was approved for housing in Visalia.
  • Pastor Marques Mentes, pastor of the Loures MB Church in Portugal and co-worker for the Gospel alongside Otto & Marjorie Ekk, will be ordained for pastoral ministry on November 7th in Portugal. Our church will be sending a letter of celebration.
  • Fire crews remain active in the mountains and foothills near us. Pray for their endurance, for comfort far from home and family, and for success in controlling and extinguishing the fires.
  • Remember the 17 missionaries and children who were abducted in Haiti. They are from a Mennonite-related background and had 5 children with them--the youngest is 8 months. Pray for their safety, their ability to share the love of Christ with their captors, and for their quick return.
  • Ask God what he wants to give through you toward our church's missionaries and their work. We will be gathering an offering on November 21st to cover their entire year's support.

Our Giving

Received Last Week (10/17):…...$8,389
Received this year to date…… $54,257
Budget to Date: …………......….. $59,636
Budget Goal: …………..….........$443,008
Needed Weekly: ……….…......……$8,639

Mark Isaac

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