News & Views January 6 2022

Jesus said to the people who believed in him,
“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32
Life Lesson Classes
Adult "Welcome" Class: The Book of James - Leroy Bumbaca & Laurie Isaac teaching
8:45 A.M. - Rooms 114-115
NEW Adult Class: Psalm 119 video series - Ron & Judy Brown leading
8:30 A.M. - Room 111
Connecting Point
9:30 A.M. - Dining Room
10:00 A.M. -  Family Center Gym/Online
Pastor Mark - STEP IT UP! - Read ahead - Philippians 2:12-30
NLC Kids
10:00 A.M. - Rooms 101,103
Click above to RSVP by email
New Life Lesson Class starting January 9th - Video series on Psalm 119
8:30-9:30 a.m. Sundays - Room 111

Happy 162nd Birthday!

Today (January 6th) marks the 162nd birthday of the Mennonite Brethren denomination of which New LIfe Community is a member. That may seem old to some of us, but it’s actually pretty young in the scope of church history. Mennonite Brethren are still growing around the world as the Gospel is shared and churches are planted. Our church here in Dinuba is nearing its 100th birthday and that, too, seems old. And yet we’re also showing signs of newness, praise the Lord! 
What triggered the beginning of our denomination was a desire to serve the Lord before all else. Back in what is now Ukraine, the founders of our denomination were not satisfied with “church as usual”. Worship had become ritualized and witness to unbelievers non-existent in order to preserve a valuable freedom from conscription into military service. So long as they kept the Gospel to themselves and their families and didn’t share it with neighbors or anyone else, their men and boys would not be expected to serve in the army. Choosing to be witnesses of the Gospel to others drove them to relinquish that freedom. They wanted to serve the Lord before all else.

 That’s pretty much the way Mennonites came to be in the Reformation 500 years ago. The Church had become so connected to the government that taxes and tithes were one and the same! Priests like Menno Simons (above) began to experience the truth of God’s word and gave up their role in the church in order to start fresh. Communities of Christians began to form around their new life in Christ, apart from any government. It was a radical idea, but very much in tune with the way Jesus began his kingdom. He once said that new wine could not be kept in old wineskins. New skins had to be used.
Our story at New Life Community carries this radical heritage today. We have always witnessed to our neighbors about the power and love of God in Christ Jesus to save, but we’ve also valued our heritage in ways that  hindered the spread of the Gospel in Dinuba. For the first few decades our worship was entirely in German, and after the switch to English we continued in German for the benefit of the few who didn’t know English well or simply preferred German. To effectively spread the Gospel in Dinuba today we have added Spanish to our services and lessened the place our European heritage has in defining our identity as a church. Like our ancestors, we’re setting aside something valuable in order to serve the Lord before all else.
When our denomination was beginning in Europe in 1860, the United States was devolving into a Civil War. Some states wanted to keep slavery as a valuable economic tool while others wanted slavery abolished. A confederation of 11 states seceded from the United States, which only had 34 states at the time. That was a third of the US breaking away from the rest! What is most sad to me is that churches took sides as well, with whole denominations breaking apart in favor or opposition to slavery. Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians all had “civil wars'' and broke into separate northern and southern denominations. Baptists still haven’t reunited.
Mennonite Brethren didn’t come to America until after the Civil War was over. We’re here now, though, during a time of widespread unrest and incivility in the United States again. January 6th is not only our birthday, but the anniversary of a violent attack on the US Capitol that reflects the intensity of a festering national division. Will Mennonite Brethren churches like ours become fractured in this climate or will we risk living out our commitment to Jesus before and above all else? I know what I desire.
A birthday, like a New Year, is an opportunity to reflect on what’s behind and look forward to what’s ahead. So whether you’re new to New Life Community and just learning of its Mennonite Brethren heritage or you’ve known it all your life, let’s hold onto each other with the love of Christ as we commit to living and giving this Gospel in Dinuba before all else. We may have to sacrifice more and more as we do this, but we’ll remember that in Christ Jesus we have really lost nothing at all. 
Pastor Mark
  • Ask the Lord how he wants to move you forward as his follower this New Year. Where does he want you to “step it up”
  • The Young Adult Life Group is camping out at Morro Bay this weekend. Pray for growing faith and relationship building. 
  • Pray for the transformational community ministries of NLC, that people will come and find God’s grace, healing, and truth through Christ Jesus: ACE Overcomers (Feb 4-5 weekend session), Celebrate Recovery (leaders start training January 6th), Faith & Finances, Good News Clubs, Griefshare, Life Skills, LIFT women’s Bible study, the Men’s Bible study, NLC Kids, and our Life Groups and Life Lesson classes
  • Pray for open doors into relationships through NLC’s outreach ministries where we are meeting people who need the love of Jesus: Grab & Go Meals, Pray & Go, and our Home Resource Center
  • Give thanks for our Deacon Team and for Ken & Martha Sawatzky who we will dedicate as new deacons soon. They join Stan & Ann Isaac, Nelly Lopez, and Don & Janet Warkentin.
  • Pray for those currently in skilled nursing: Olga Brandt, Barbara Friesen, Chris Holmen, Marilyn Chappell, Annie Enns, and Vicky Barkman
  • Pray also for those recuperating from surgery: Grace Castillo’s young son Anthony, Lois Brittel and JR Southard (JR was in church with Janet last Sunday!) 
  • And remember Glen Zimmerman, Kelly Friesen's sister-in-law Dana Friesen, Galen Wiest, Brian Smith, and Ron Brown's sister Bonnie all undergoing treatment for cancer or related health issues.
  • Remember Chinoh Aquino in USAF training in Texas, and wife Jessica and the family here. Give thanks for so many who have stepped up to provide meals and support to her.
  • NLC is looking to hire a youth ministries leader. Pray for God’s direction and provision!
“Thank you” from the church staff for the end-of-year love gifts! 
We are blessed to serve at NLC and thank God for you. 
(Cece Olea, Elaine Isaak, Henry Serrato, Jessica Aquino, Joe Ehoff, Kelly Friesen, and Pastor Mark)

Thank you to Jane Jantzen and Martha Sawatzky for mixing the dough for more than 160 fritters! Cindy Donaldson, Norma Froese, Ruth Serrato, and Laurel Smith pitched in with the frying and sugar-coating. They were served during Connecting Point on January 2nd.
Thanks also to Cindy Donaldson, Elaine Isaak, and Jane Jantzen for packing up

150 Christmas “toots” (goodie bags) for Christmas Eve!
And thanks to Bill & Carol Goerzen and their Golden Farms Express for the oranges!

Our Giving

Received Last Week (1/2):..........$10,186
Received this year to date:......$161,176
Benevolence Fund............................$641
Budget to Date:...……..…...….....$153,349
Budget Goal: …..……….…...........$443,008
Needed Weekly: …….….…..….....…$8,519

COVID Update

Per CA Department of Health mandate, "masks are to be worn in all indoor public settings, irrespective of vaccination status" through February 15, 2022.

Mark Isaac

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