Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's a Miracle...

Hear the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, as told in Mark 6:30-44 (NIrV). Jesus spent the last three years of his life teaching and sharing his love for God. He traveled around the countryside, meeting people where they lived…in towns, on hillsides, along the road. One day he had been out with his disciples teaching all day long. But people were still coming to hear Jesus. Jesus and his friends hadn’t even had time to eat, so Jesus told them, “Come away with me to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So the friends all got in a boat and sailed away, but the people saw them and figured out where they were going. By the time Jesus came ashore, a large crowd had gathered. Jesus, always the Good Shepherd, wanted to care for these people and feed their spirits, so he began to teach, even though it was late in the day and neither he, nor his disciples, had eaten. Jesus’ disciples were not happy. Jesus had promised them a time of rest. They went to Jesus and said, “It’s late. There is nothing here for the people to eat. They can go into the nearby villages and buy something.”

But Jesus said, “No, you give them something to eat.”

The disciples were amazed. They complained to Jesus, “But that would be too expensive. How are we supposed to buy bread for all these people.”

So Jesus said, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

Well, the disciples went off and when they came back they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” Jesus surprised them again by telling the disciples to gather the people on the grass in groups of hundreds and fifties. Then Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and looked up to heaven and gave thanks. Then he broke the food into pieces and gave them to his disciples to hand out to people. Do you know what happened? All of the people ate and all were satisfied. At the end of the evening when the disciples picked up the leftovers, there were still 12 baskets of broken pieces of bread and fish.

With each new Food Pantry and the steady increase in visitors, the volunteers often wonder if our shelves will be full enough to provide food for everyone who comes. Yet, as Jenn (the Pantry coordinator) says, the food is just a tool, and God will provide so that we can minister to our brothers and sisters in Christ. He always has and he always will. And New Life Church is so thankful when congregation members respond with donations, and friends and neighbors of members respond with donations and when community members respond with donations. It’s amazing to see God at work in this world through everyday people living out their faith in everyday life. God is good all the time. Amen!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To Sing or Not To Sing

All the Earth Bows Down to You
By Donna Bradley
New Life Church Write4Him Author
“Make a joyful shout to the Lord all your lands, serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2)

It’s really OK to sing in church, just open up your mouth let your heart speak to Him. To me singing is a release…I can worship God without having to think of things to say. I can give Him my full love, praise and focus because the words are already there. It’s a time for me to express joy from my innermost self, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew12:34)

It doesn’t matter if you can’t carry a tune. The One who is listening hears you at perfect pitch. We all have images in our heads about angels and their harps and trumpets that seem to accompany them everywhere, but the only instruments we have on our body is our mouths. (Yes, it was me behind you when you were singing Freebird on your car radio!) To prepare our hearts for worship, consider a little private prelude on the way to church in your car. Some songs that help get me in the spirit are “Shackles” by Mary Mary, and “I Have Been Blessed” by Martina McBride. Or simply turn on your radio to 89.7 (Shine FM) or 104.7 FM (WBGL), both contemporary Christian stations and come into His presence with singing. By doing so, you are making yourself more open to receive His word.

When we participate in worship not only are we praising God, we are proclaiming to the body of Christ how we feel about Him. We are encouraging and pulling from each other the presence of the Holy Spirit. In doing that, we are showing appreciation for the church band for their using their gifts in producing the music we all enjoy. If you can’t express your love for Him in His house with your fellow Christians, how are you going to let others know how you feel about Him in the world?

Just sing!

This week make a date with God and focus on worshipping Him through musical praise…try reading the scriptural foundation for a few praise songs or hop on iTunes, listen to a variety of Christian artists and buy a few songs if you’re so moved. Some possibilities include…

Chris Tomlin, Holy Is the Lord – Revelation 4:1-11
Hillsongs, Shout to the Lord – Psalm 66
Casting Crowns, Love Them Like Jesus – Matthew 11:25-30
Lincoln Brewster, Love the Lord Your God—Deuteronomy 6:1-19
Matt Redman, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made—Psalm 139

Dear Diary, Behind the Scenes

Have you heard the buzz? New Life Church's Big House Productions is serving up a Dessert Theater experience this fall, and you're invited! New Lifer Jon Zemke will be directing 6 youth in Dear Diary, a play about youth for youth and adults ages 12 and up. Mark September 26, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. on your calendars and prepare to experience teenage drama that truly ends in a life or death situation. Tickets will be on sale on-line a month before the show. Adults/$8, Students and Seniors/$6. Both include a dessert reception during intermission. Proceeds will go to support New Life Church's Big House Student Ministries.

In the meantime, here's what the cast and crew have to say about their work so far...

Jillian B., Assistant Director:

"This play is really coming together!"

Sarah A., Grandmother:

"The play is really fun because we're all just laughing and having fun back stage."

Jon Z., Director:

"I should really check back stage more often!"

Taylor K., Mother:

"Well, from my experience, this play will be the next one on Broadway because we're all coming together as a family."

Vinnie B., Father:

"It's given me tips for how to be a dramatic person." (Big groan from the cast..."Like you need tips on being dramatic, Vinnie!")

Kelly S., Billie:

"This is the first play I've been in since I said, 'And the Big Bad Wolf said...'"

Don't let the jokes fool you...This play is teenage angst at its real-ist because it's being performed by those who know best. Don't miss this opportunity to support our youth while getting a sneak peek inside their 24/7 brains. More to come. Stay tuned...