NLC Connect May 1 2024

connect with God's Word

New Verse for a New Month!

This is kind of a "keep on keeping on" verse when it comes to living your faith in Jesus.
Think of it like planting a garden, or a fruit tree. The seed is the Gospel you received when you accepted Jesus as your Savior and decided to trust him as your Lord.

Seeds need to grow roots in order for a plant or tree to begin growing, and so our faith needs to be nurtured in the "soil" of our hearts and minds. That's reading the Bible, worshipping with others, and praying. Roots have to push into tough soil sometimes, and so it is with the soil of our hearts. The roots of our faith are strengthened as we choose to trust and obey Jesus day after day. In time, the new plant begins to emerge from the soil revealing the health of the plant. This is like sharing the Gospel with someone else for the first time, or  like those who have recently been baptized, to publicly share your faith.

"First a leaf blade pushes through,
then the heads of wheat are formed,
and finally the grain ripens." (Mark 4:28b)

Our new memory verse ends with "and overflowing with thankfulness". I think of that like the fruit on a fruit tree, or corn cobs on the cornstalk, or grapes on the vine. It's what the seed was planted for in the first produce fruit! Thankfulness and praise are the fruit of the seed of faith you received. Share it in abundance!

For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians  2:10

connect your calendar

6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

THURSDAY, MAY 2 - National Day of Prayer
5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups

10 a.m. and 3 p.m. - Fresno Pacific University Commencement - Selland Arena, Fresno
9 a.m. - 8 p.m. - Dinuba's Cinco de Mayo Parade & Festival - Downtown and RoseAnn Vuich Park
8:30 a.m. - GROWTH CLASS for ADULTS
  • Ephesians - Salt & Light Class, Rooms 114-115 (all are welcome!)
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
  • Pastor Mark preaching the 1st of a new series on a Vision for God's Glory (Luke 9)
  • Communion
11:15 a.m. - DEACON TEAM meeting - Community Room
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207


6:00 pm - CR Worship Team rehearsal

6:00 am - Men’s Bible Study on JOSHUA- Gym
6:30 p.m. - The Healing Rooms of Dinuba - West patio of Worship Center
6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups
8:30 a.m. - GROWTH CLASS for ADULTS
  • Ephesians - Salt & Light Class, Rooms 114-115 (all are welcome!)
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
  • Pastor Mark preaching the 2nd of a new series on a Vision for God's Glory (Luke 10)
  • Pick up a bottle to participate in Dawnings Pregnancy Resource Center’s “Change for Life” fundraiser through June 16
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207



We love to celebrate your achievements!
Please email your graduate's information to:  or call the church office at (559) 591-1176

3. GRADE or DEGREE (include area of study)
4. FUTURE SCHOOL/WORK PLANS (what HS/College/Career is next)



40th Anniversary and Retirement Celebration
for Pastor Mark & Laurie
Sunday, June 16, 10a.m. - noon

connect through giving

Received Last Week (4/28):……...... $5,258
Received this year to date: ....……..$240,488
Budget to Date: …….......................... $269,461
Budget Goal: …………...…...….............$400,342
Needed Weekly: …………….……..........…$9,403

Pick up a bottle to participate in Dawnings' “Change for Life” fundraiser through June 16

Look for NLC Crew Youth Group selling baked goods this Sunday
to support their participation in Multiply's Fresno SOAR program in June!
 Talk with Josh or Jessica Aquino for details or additional ways to support.
  • Pray for Karen Madrid's mother as she heals from two serious medical procedures this past week.
  • Pray for families and students who are going through some difficult challenges. Please pray for wisdom, rest, peace, and the assurance of their identity and purpose in Christ.
  • Pray for health and peace for: Doris Siebert, Marilyn Chappell, Paulie Romero, Michelle Perez, Mary Salazar, Zach Clemmer, and Ron Froese.
  • Remember those dealing with cancer: Elva Cardona's sister Connie Gomes, Eugene Enns, Carolina Coralles, Lanisha Washington, and Glen Zimmerman. 
  • Ron Froese's sister-in-law Garinel passed away last week. Please pray for Ron's brother, Garry, and family.
  • Keep our SEARCH TEAM in prayer as they launch their work. Please use the prayer calendar to keep each member in prayer as well as the entire process.
  • Pray for John & Geri Warkentin filming and encouraging Gospel workers in Tanzania. Next they fly to Nairobi, Kenya, to train young adults from across the African continent to use their smartphones in recording and sharing the work of the Gospel.
  • Pray for our missionaries: Johnny & Denise Esposito in SE Asia, Pablo & Maricela Chavez in Peru, Cecil & Tracy Ramos in Thailand, Jonathan & Joanna Gutierrez in Portugal, and Ruddy & Cristina Ancheta in San Francisco.
  • Pray for peace as violence and war affect so many families and children in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, in the Middle East, and in parts of Africa.

40 Years of Ministry Highlights - #3: "The Painter"

The first church I pastored was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The folks there told me the church's glory days were in the past, but that they'd like to have them back. Turns out those "golden years" were 20 years in the past and the people they wanted back were long gone. They'd moved to the suburbs and raised their children in other churches. If we were going to grow as a church, we would need to reach the families who lived in the church's neighborhood now.

We announced a "walk through the neighborhood" event where church members would walk the streets around the church, meet people, and invite them to church. Laurie and I and our two kids were joined by only one other family. I was discouraged. What would it take for God to move the hearts of the church for those living around it? What would be the sign to encourage me in providing that kind of leadership?
And then one day it struck me. I would know that God was at work among us when the men of the church painted Bill & Sandy's house. It hadn't had a coat of paint since it was built right after World War 2, and sat at the edge of the church parking lot. You couldn't miss it. Anyone who drove up to the church would see it. And so I prayed, "Lord, move in the hearts of the men to paint Bill's house." I never mentioned it to anyone else.

Bill & Sandy went to another church, but we quickly became friends. Bill had lost his job and so money was tight. Yet they were rich in faith and encouragement. They had me over for lunch sometimes and I played basketball in the church parking lot with their son, Andy. Soon more boys came to shoot hoops, and before long a couple of them came to Sunday School. Still, I mentioned nothing to anyone about painting their house. It would be the Lord's doing.

The third summer I was there, we announced Super Summer Sundays. A woman in church wanted to lead an intercessory prayer meeting at 9:00 a.m., then we would have 30 minutes of worship with everyone, kids included, and then split up for "body life" where I would preach to the adults and the kids would go to learning activities. It was less formal than the way we'd be doing things, and we'd focus on prayer and people instead of bulletins and orders of worship.

The first Sunday of Super Summer Sundays I stood at the entrance of the church, waiting for people to join me and Mary for intercessory prayer. No one was coming. Then I noticed a man in white painter's clothes turn up the sidewalk to the church, carrying a cup of coffee. His car had broken down and so he'd walked to the QuikTrip to get coffee instead of going to his church. God told him to come to ours, instead, as he put it, and so he just came.

I told Robert that we were on a new summer schedule, but that an older adult Sunday School class was already in session if he'd like to join in. No, he said, he'd be fine just finding a place to pray. He was an intercessory prayer warrior, he informed me. I looked at my watch and saw the second hand hit 9:00 a.m. "Robert," I said, "we're just starting our first intercessory prayer meeting right now. Would you like to join me and Mary?" And he did. And I remember what he prayed that morning. Robert prayed that my church would become a house of prayer for the nations, with prayer happening 24 hours a day. I remember thinking, "Oh boy, that's not going to happen." Robert continued coming each Sunday that summer, praying the same prayer. I wondered if it was from God or just crazy.

One day during the week, Robert showed up at the church, dressed as he always did, every day, Monday through Sunday, in his white painter's clothes, He asked me if I would let him ask the men of the church to help him paint the neighbor's house--Bill's house. Without showing my absolute shock that he'd said the very thing I had been praying for and waiting for, I gave him my permission to present it to the men. He figured it would take at least eight Saturdays from power-washing the house to replacing boards to scraping paint to sanding to painting it with linseed oil to priming it and finally painting one or two top coats. I truly thought that Robert would be doing all of that work alone. Not one of the men had befriended Robert the entire summer he'd been coming to the church.

Robert got Bill's permission to start the job and power-washed the house by himself one Saturday. Two Saturdays later the work would begin with the men. I drove up to the church that morning thinking that Robert and I would be the only ones. But that Saturday and every Saturday for 7 more weeks there were never less than 12-18 men working on Bills' house! And when it was finished, they spent two more Saturdays putting on a new roof! When I drove up to church after that, the sun was so bright off that fresh coat of white paint I had to wear sunglasses! It was a shining miracle of God's work, and everyone noticed.

It wasn't long before an offer came from another ministry to buy our church building. It took time, but it was apparent that God intended for them to have it. Our church sold it to them and merged with our "mother church" north of town with enough cash from the sale to plant a new church in the suburbs where most of the church family actually lived. It's still going strong today.

The ministry that bought our old church building invited us and the neighborhood to attend their inaugural service. Bill was there. So was Robert. So was I. The place was packed, and they opened the service by praising God in 30 languages. At the end of the service the pastor announced they were launching a prayer vigil as their first work in that location. It would be for the purpose of reaching the nations for the Gospel, and it would be through the day and through night, 24-hours. Robert's prayer had been answered.

There is far more to this story than what I have written here or could tell on a Sunday morning. Know this: God created the church to be the body of Christ on this earth until Jesus comes, and he will not leave his church to wither and die. He intends to use the church to reach the nations (starting with our neighborhood) for the Gospel. All we have to do is remain open and willing to be and do the things God calls us to be and do, no matter how crazy it seems in the moment. God will make a way. God will provide leaders. And if He decides that one is needed, God will even send a painter.

No Comments