NLC Connect May 15 2024

connect with God's Word

connect your calendar

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

5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups
  • Foundations in Finance begins June 9th - Room 111 (all are welcome!)
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
  • Pastor Mark preaching the 3rd message of a series: Vision for God's Glory (Philippians 2)
  • Testimony and Baptism: Ron Carrasco
  • Highlight our High School graduates' Bibles - table in the Dining Room
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207

Look for the Graduate Bible table on Sunday


6:00 pm - CR Worship Team rehearsal

6:00 a.m. - Men’s Bible Study on JOSHUA - Dining Room
9:00 a.m. - LIFT Women's Bible Study - Final session before summer break
6:30 p.m. - The Healing Rooms of Dinuba - West patio of Worship Center
7:00 p.m. - GRIEFSHARE group - Rooms 114/115
6:30 pm - Prayer Gathering, Room 113
6:30 pm- Worship Team rehearsal

5:30 pm - CELEBRATE RECOVERY meal, worship, groups

Ron & Margarita Carrasco church wedding and reception (by invitation) - Fresno
  • Foundations in Finance begins June 9th - Room 111 (all are welcome!)
  • Come meet and encourage others over coffee and snacks - Dining Room
  • Elder Chinoh Aquino preaching
  • Testimony and Baptism: Alex Rivera
5:00 p.m. - NLC CREW  (youth group) - Room 207

You can still join Griefshare...


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)

Start the Summer with a Handle on Your Money!

Final Sign-ups are Happening Now...


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

connect through giving

Received Last Week (5/12):……...... $3,700
Received this year to date:……...... $251,674
Budget to Date: ………..................... $284,859
Budget Goal: …………...…...….............. 400,342
Needed Weekly: …………….…….............. $9,911
  • Pray for Lafayette Brooks who was hospitalized this week.
  • Keep praying for Emma, Karen Madrid's mother. She is home from the hospital.
  • Elva Cardona's sister, Connie, is also home from a recent trip to the hospital for cancer.
  • Remember others dealing with cancer: Eugene Enns, Carolina Coralles, Lanisha Washington, and Glen Zimmerman. 
  • Pray for health and peace for: Doris Siebert, Marilyn Chappell, Paulie Romero, Michelle Perez, Mary Salazar, Zach Clemmer, and Ron Froese. It was great to see Mary Salazar in church, though her leg continues to be a problem.
  • 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.
  • Keep our SEARCH TEAM and ELDERS in prayer as they lead into the pastoral transition. Remember to use the prayer calendar to keep each member in prayer as well as the entire process, especially team leader Tristan Ringhofer.
  • Praise the Lord for three (3) interns serving NLC this summer, and for Jessica Aquino, who will be supervising them. Bella Celaya, Dulce Gonzalez, Amelia Villareal will be starting their internships in June.
  • Pray for John & Geri Warkentin filming and encouraging Gospel workers in Kenya. They will be returning soon after training 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 - #5: "Mental Health"

I debated between several different titles for this particular highlight of ministry: depression, counseling, emotions, and burnout, to name a few. I chose "mental health" because I thought it might snag more readers, if only for the sake of curiosity. If that's you, please keep reading. I hope it grows your empathy for others as you get a glimpse of one pastor's mental/emotional challenges. If you identified with the title or any of the other options I had, then know you're not alone. As the worship song says, "God will make a way" for you, too.

My first experience with depression came during college. It was probably connected to an earlier childhood experience of not feeling loved, though I recognize now, as I think I always knew, that I was very much loved. I just didn't feel it that way at the time. Only later in life did I learn that we don't always feel love in the ways it is shown to us (and that the way we show love to others isn't always felt as love by them, either).

In college, my depression came from feelings of rejection and failure. I had lost a relationship that mattered very much to me, and I was struggling to succeed in three challenging courses: Quantitative Analysis, Physics, and Calculus. I felt hopeless. Thankfully my "second mom", Beverly Holmskog, a professor at the college, saw what I was feeling and took me home, fed me, and let me sleep the weekend away. She and her husband, Norm, saved my life that weekend. And I got better. And I finished my classes with a passing grade. And I learned not to pile up so many difficult classes in one semester again!

A few years later, one Sunday morning, as I was stepping onto the stage at the Methodist church to open the service, one of my youth sponsors stopped me and began to ask a series of "urgent" questions about what was planned for the coming Wednesday night youth group. I snapped at her. I remember the six words I said and the anger I felt as I growled them at her. I turned, stepped to the pulpit and, with a kind voice and a sweet smile, welcomed everyone to church. I remember seeing her in the front pew with her husband, eyes wide, still stunned by the way I had just spoken to her. As I took my seat next to the pastor on the stage, I knew something was wrong with me. I just didn't know what.

The next morning I told the pastor what had happened, and asked him if he thought I should see a counselor. He smiled and said it would be a good investment in myself since I was headed into a life of ministry. He had benefited from counseling, himself. I contacted the youth sponsor I had hurt and apologized to her. Then I began to look for a counselor. I didn't want a Christian counselor, because I was afraid they'd just pat me on the back and encourage me to trust God. Little did I know about counseling back then or the true value and effectiveness of Christian counselors! What I wanted was someone to give me the cold hard facts about what had happened to me that Sunday morning. Three weeks into my sessions with the Jewish doctor of psychology I picked, I got my answer. I was experiencing an identity crisis, he said, struggling to hold together my personality and my new profession. "Pastors don't get mad"...and I had just blasted one of the flock.

I found a Christian counselor at the seminary and began to work through my identity crisis. It's been a lifelong process, being me and the man of God people expect me to be. Thank God for his grace! By my 19th year in ministry, though, I was in tough shape. I felt that I spent all day with Jesus, but knew him less than ever before. My tank was empty. I felt I had nothing to say. On vacation that summer I felt I couldn't go on. We came home a day early and I stopped by the church. I sat with a fellow pastor and wept. I poured it all out to a confidante later that day and together we went to my doctor. He wrote a note to the church, which agreed to give me a "sabbatical" to recover and regain my strength for ministry. I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. And I was afraid, unsure what to do.

My doctor was a Christian and encouraged me to go to the Career Counseling Center for pastors in Kansas City. I did. A former Catholic priest led me through a long process: lots of tests, inventories, questions, conversations, and listening ears for two days. By the third morning, the day I would hear from him and the team as to whether or not they would encourage me to return to pastor my church, I already knew in my spirit that I would. God had made clear to me that I was not done. I didn't know how I would be able to continue, but I truly felt I could trust him. On the way to that final counseling session a song came on the radio I don't remember ever hearing before. It was as if God himself was singing to me. I pulled over, listened, and wept as I told him I would, indeed, trust him once again.

I leave that same song with you here as an encouragement in the hopelessness you may be feeling today. I know God's arms are big enough to hold you as he has held me, and to strengthen you for what's ahead in your life as in mine.
Come stop your crying
It will be alright
Just take my hand
Hold it tight
I will protect you
From all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry

For one so small
You seem so strong
My arms will hold you
Keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here don't you cry

'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart

Listen by clicking this link: Songwriters: Phil Collins You’ll Be in My Heart 
© Walt Disney Music Company 

(I know... I found out later the song is from the animated Tarzan movie. 
God will use anything, it seems, to reach us with his love!)

Otto Ekk


Ron - May 15th, 2024 at 11:59am

Another great story, Mark! And what a beautiful song by Phil Collins. I don't know whether I have ever heard it before, but what a great LOVE song. As far as I'm concerned, it does 'double duty' describing God's love for us and my love for my wife!

Mark Isaac - May 15th, 2024 at 12:04pm

Thank you, Ron. Glad you're blessed!