NLC Connect May 8 2024

connect with God's Word

connect your calendar

WEDNESDAY, MAY 8
6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

THURSDAY, MAY 9 
5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups
SUNDAY, MAY 12 - MOTHERS' DAY
8:30 a.m. - GROWTH CLASS for ADULTS
  • Ephesians - Salt & Light Class, Rooms 114-115 (all are welcome!)
9:30 a.m. - CONNECTING POINT
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
10:00 a.m. - WORSHIP/NLC KIDS/NURSERY
  • Pastor Mark preaching the 2nd of a new series on a Vision for God's Glory (Luke 10)
  • Pastor Jordan will be leading worship with Tristan and team
  • 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

THE COMING WEEK:

MONDAY, MAY 13
6:00 pm - CR Worship Team rehearsal

TUESDAY, MAY 14
6:00 a.m. - Men’s Bible Study on JOSHUA- Gym
9:00 a.m. - LIFT Women's Bible Study - Rooms 114/115
6:30 p.m. - The Healing Rooms of Dinuba - West patio of Worship Center
7:00 p.m. - GRIEFSHARE - Rooms 114/115
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

THURSDAY, MAY 16
5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups
NEXT SUNDAY, MAY 19 
9:30 a.m. - CONNECTING POINT
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
10:00 a.m. - WORSHIP/NLC KIDS/NURSERY
  • Pastor Mark preaching the 3rd of a new series on a Vision for God's Glory
  • Pray for Chinoh serving on base at the 144th Fighter Wing
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207

COOKIES NEEDED!

If you can, please bake a batch of cookies for Dinuba High School graduates and families for their Baccalaureate service, Sunday, May 19th.
Let YFC/Campus Life director, Al Serna, know you can help: (559) 859-5364

GRADUATE SUNDAY - JUNE 2

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

1. GRADUATE'S NAME
2. SCHOOL/COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY
3. GRADE or DEGREE (include area of study)
4. FUTURE SCHOOL/WORK PLANS (what HS/College/Career is next)

YES! THIS CAMPING TRIP IS FOR YOU!

SAVE THE DATE:

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

connect through giving

Received Last Week (5/05):……..... $7,487
Received this year to date: ...……..$247,974
Budget to Date: ……......................... $277,160
Budget Goal: …………...…...…..........$400,342
Needed Weekly: …………….……........…$9,523


NLC SUMMER CAMP AND INTERNSHIP FUNDS
Thank you for purchasing baked goods last Sunday. We raised over $350 for our youth to participate in Multiply's summer SOAR program, which we're hosting at NLC.
 Talk with Josh or Jessica Aquino for details or additional ways to support.
PRAYER
  • Continue praying for Karen Madrid's mother,  Emma, as she recovers. Pray also for Doris Siebert, Marilyn Chappell, Paulie Romero, Michelle Perez, Mary Salazar, Zach Clemmer, Marjorie Ekk, and Ron Froese. 
  • 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.
  • Remember those dealing with cancer: Elva Cardona's sister Connie Gomes (who was hospitalized recently), Eugene Enns, Carolina Coralles, Lanisha Washington, and Glen Zimmerman. 
  • Remember Otto & Marjorie in Portugal for the next two weeks.
  • Pray for John & Geri Warkentin as they train young leaders in smartphone technology for filming the work of the Gospel throughout eastern Africa. Thank the Lord for his safety over them during the recent cyclone and rains.
  • 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 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. Cecil Ramos was in Fresno last week to celebrate his graduation from FPU Biblical Seminary!
  • 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.
NEED A PRAYER CALENDAR FOR THE SEARCH TEAM?
CLICK HERE

40 Years of Ministry Highlights - #4: "Gifts"

I don't remember hearing about spiritual gifts when I was growing up in my family's Mennonite Brethren church. Apparently the first "spiritual gifts inventory" was published in 1972, when I was 10, but I don't recall that our church promoted it. It wasn't until I was an adult in ministry in San Jose, when spiritual gifts were tied to the Church Growth movement, that I was introduced to them. In the 80s and 90s it had become the trend in churches to "discover your spiritual gifts" so the church would grow. I wholeheartedly joined in.

My first spiritual gifts inventory showed I had the gifts of faith, wisdom, and administration. I wasn't sure how those gifts fit into ministry at first, especially in youth ministry. What I felt I needed most were gifts of patience, endurance, and energy! I soon learned in talking with others that they felt the same way about the spiritual gifts they had "discovered". We had done the work of knowing our spiritual gifts, but weren't connecting them well with ministry.

When I arrived at the Methodist Church in Visalia in 1986, I wasn't asked about my spiritual gifts. I was simply put to work. Beyond my role as Youth Pastor, I was assigned as the "liturgist" (worship service leader) for one or two of the three Sunday morning worship services each week, welcoming people, praying, serving Communion, taking the offering, and making the announcements. Thursdays were assigned as my hospital/shut-in visitation days. And I was put in charge of the Sunday night service, alongside a lay person who led the worship and prayer. He invited me to attend and observe the first Sunday night.

That first Sunday night worship service, I quickly realized, was a charismatic service. People spoke and prayed in tongues, there was healing, and everyone worshiped with their hands raised in the air to God. I hadn't experienced ANY of those things at that time in my life, and had no idea how it was that I had been assigned to lead this service! Remember? My gifts were faith, wisdom, and administration. I was not gifted with tongues nor healing. And I don't recall ever raising my hands in worship.

Before I finish the story, let me make my point: spiritual gifts are best "discovered" by doing ministry, not simply by knowing the results of an inventory. Doing ministry in various settings and among many different populations over 40 years has helped me to see that the Holy Spirit's gifts to us are only important if they're used. Though I've never tested as having the gift of evangelism, for instance, I have had led many people to accept Jesus simply because I was with them: on campuses, in homes and backyards, camping, visiting in the hospital, or coming alongside someone at the "altar" to pray with them. Being assigned to lead those Sunday night charismatic worship services was a much better way to learn about spiritual gifts than any inventory I've ever taken.

People in those Sunday night services were extremely gracious to me. They accepted me and my leadership, but also showed me by their lives and worship a new way of being the church. I listened and learned far more than I led! One couple invited me to their home and offered to pray over me. Laurie and I were invited to a dinner to hear a prophetic speaker. I read. I prayed. And I tried. I forced myself to raise my hands in worship. At first it was all I could do to try not to think about myself and if I was doing it right or how stupid I must look. Over time, I forgot about myself and simply focused on God and what he wanted to do in my life and through my life and the life of the body of Christ gathered in his name.

A few years later, when the secretary of the church I pastored in Tulsa encouraged me to attend a service of anointing at Oral Roberts University (a charismatic Christian college), I went. It was led by the pastor of the Texas church where the "Brownsville Revival" had taken place. I watched as hundreds went forward and were "slain in the Spirit". In 1 Corinthians 12 it says to "desire the greater gifts," and so I told the Lord that night that I was open to whatever gifting he might have for me, even the gift of tongues or healing or prophecy. I was open to going forward as he prompted.

As I sat there in the balcony of the university's auditorium, the very place where The Rev. Oral Roberts had broadcast countless charismatic television programs, I waited for God to speak. I waited for him to move me as I'd felt him do at times before. Nothing. In the rack on the pew in front of me was a songbook. I opened it for inspiration, knowing how music can move the heart and mind in ways the words of a preacher cannot always do. Inside the front cover were the words of Oral Roberts written in dedication to his longtime beloved professor and director music at ORU. Through this truly gifted man, Rev. Roberts wrote, God had moved the hearts of countless souls to Spirit-filled ministry. I never turned the page. I recognized that professor's name the moment I read it. He had grown up in a Mennonite Brethren church just like me, and attended the same college I had. It was Dr. Paul Wohlgemuth, brother to Carl, who attends New Life Community!

In that moment, I remember an overwhelming and deep sense of gratitude to God for the gifts he had been using in me all along, just as I was. And I have remained open to God gifting me as he sees fit for his kingdom and his glory. Yet I am content to serve today with what he's given me: faith to see a vision for the church, wisdom to rely on him through prayer in all things, and administration to see the process of vision become a reality. What were once the cold results of a test have, through years of doing actual ministry in so many varied ways, become true spiritual gifts for which I am grateful and give glory to God.

Otto Ekk

1 Comment


Ron Froese - May 8th, 2024 at 12:11pm

Love these snippets of the history of your spiritual pilgrimage and service, Mark!

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