There are so many things going on right now that I thought I would update everyone in this note. I first want to say how excited I am for these things that are happening. We will try to update you at the beginning of September as to where we are with these projects.
After talking with Jason Collert, the project has been on hold waiting for the Architect to finish a few items on the drawings. As of last week, the foundation permit has been approved by Wood County. We are in hopes to have all the approvals within the next 3 weeks. Since the delay and not being able to set a date of construction, we must find new sub-contractors (excavation, concrete, and framing). There currently seems to be a labor shortage so we need everyone to pray that we find some. We are hoping to break ground this Fall.
All the sound equipment is in, and they are installing the system this week. When you come for Worship on Sunday you will notice a big difference. Thank you to all who contributed to this project. They are hoping to get to the Family Life Center this week and finish up hanging the speakers there as well.
Director of Connections
Bridget Powell stepped down from this position to be able to spend more time to care for their new foster adventure. We will miss her. After much prayer, we have hired Jennifer Lopez as our new Director of Connections. Jennie brings a lot of energy and passion to the table. If anyone would like to step forward and help in connecting people, then let Jennie know.
We are still in the process of finding our next Children’s Pastor/Director. We are following up with a few names and hope to find one soon. We are so blessed to have so many people on our Children’s Ministry Team. Erica Stacy has stepped in as the Director this Summer and she will be returning to the classroom in just a few weeks. We appreciate all the behind the scenes work she has done.
Pastor Jin and Meiling continue to see many open doors of ministry in our community. They have been meeting every Sunday for worship at 10:45am in our Family Life Center, and meeting for Bible Study on Friday night. The word is getting out and new people have been checking it out. Pray for harvest.
I am excited for what the Lord is doing. I want to leave you with a Psalm that expresses the strength the Lord provides through His body. It is a great place to be a part of. Better is one day in His house than thousands elsewhere.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah 9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
May God richly bless you this day as we faithfully follow where He leads us.
Joy in Jesus!
Just like everyone has a nose, everyone has an attitude. Some are good and some not so much. The longer I live the more I realize that your attitude can determine the kind of day you will have. It can also determine the kind of day others who are closest to you will have. Paul writes about that in Philippians 2 when he says, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” Philippians 2:1-3.
This is talking about having the spirit and attitude of Jesus who gave himself for us. Notice the word, “same.” It has to do with harmony and unity in the body of Christ. When there is disunity, the Spirit of God is not present. It all begins with attitude.
Think on this today…
“Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than success, than failures, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, or a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in certain ways. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is your attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react. And so it is with you, we are in charge of our attitudes.” Charles Swindoll
Choose to be the same as Christ Jesus when things happen to you today. You will be better off in the long run and so will those around you.
I am looking forward to Sunday as we continue our series on, “What the Bible says about…”
Joy in Jesus!
A Heart Cry for Something Better
By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!” 8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! 9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
Psalm 137 was written during one of the saddest times in Judah’s history. Jerusalem was highjacked and many of the leading citizens were taken captive in Babylon. This Psalm was composed with great passion. The unnamed writer believed that there was a new beginning in the future for Jerusalem. So, this psalm became a revival hymn for the captives. This was a heart cry for something better. Singing this over and over again kept their freedom on their minds and hearts as they were living out their captivity.
I don’t know why I thought to write about this Psalm today. Maybe it is because I just returned from a 3 night and 4 day get-away. I had the privilege of being with third and fourth graders as a counselor. No, I didn’t feel like I was a captive. It was tiring but it was fun and rewarding. I came away with a new appreciation for our parents. Imagine trying to settle 10 boys down at night to go to sleep. One can be a challenge, but 10… Overall, we had a great time. I got to know some of our kids a little better. We have some great kids at our church. I believe we will have over 45 go to children and youth camps this summer from our church. What a great investment that will be remembered the rest of their lives.
One of the things the Lord brought to my heart were the children who are having a little reprieve from the chaos happening in their life. These kids had a taste of heaven for just a few days. Ok, maybe it’s not fair to compare it to heaven but for some it may be. There was one particular little guy who was in the foster care system. I don’t know his whole story but from what I gathered; he has been moving from home to home. Of the 92 children there that week for Middler Camp, who knows the percentage of children that are in toxic situations or in environments that will not promote godliness and holiness. We are called as believers to look for opportunities to pour into this generation and make a difference by showing love and acceptance to them. The same kind of love Jesus freely gave us on the cross. I tried to encourage and challenge these kids one at a time to trust the Lord and live up to the life God so desperately wants us to live. Life may not always bring good things, but God will always provide ways to remind us of His protection and provision in all situations. He gave up His life so that we could live a new life in His name.
Revival begins with a discontent of our present situation. People who are satisfied with life as it is typically aren’t interested in the possibility of a new beginning. I prayed for the kids in my cabin to not settle for mediocrity but to go all in with Christ. I remember one night not being able to sleep for some reason and I just spent the time praying for all the boys in my cabin.
I had such a good time with these boys, I think I will try to do it again next year. Does anyone want to join me?
Joy in Jesus!
There was a group of ministers getting ready for a city-wide evangelistic meeting many years ago. They were talking about having D.L. Moody as their evangelist. One of the young ministers stood up and said, “Why Moody? Does he have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” There was silence and then an older pastor stood to his feet and said, “No, he does not have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on D.L. Moody.”
In John 14:16-18 and 16:7-15, Jesus begins to get specific in His description of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. He reveals that the Holy Spirit’s ministry will look very much like His, except that He will indwell all believers at once, and, if we’ll let Him, empower those believers to live and look like Jesus. Unfortunately, many believers have reduced their daily life by participating in safe endeavors and operating in human strength. Someone once said that if the Holy Spirit ever left the earth, then about 98% of what Christians would attempt to do would be unaffected. A.W. Tozer once said, “Satan knows that Spiritless evangelicalism is as deadly as modernism or heresy, and he has done everything in his power to prevent us from enjoying our true Christian heritage.” In other words, doing things apart from the Holy Spirit is ineffective.
The Holy Spirit not only wants to dwell in us, but He wants to be on us in power. He wants to empower us for the task at hand each and every day. He is a person, just like Jesus, who has a mind, will, and emotions and wants to gift and enable every Christian for kingdom living with a supernatural outcome.
Look at what the Holy Spirit does:
He is our Helper (Comforter) John 14:16
He is our Guide (Counselor) John 14:26
He is the Foreteller (Revealer) John 16:13
He is the Empowerer (Source of Power) Acts 1:8
He is our Advocate (Lawyer) Romans 8:26-27
He is our Enabler (Gift giver) 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Be faithful and open your life up to the Holy Spirit through your radical obedience.
On Sunday, we will complete the book of Acts as we look at the last half of chapter 28. Just over two years in the making. I pray that you have been as enriched as I have been.
Joy in Jesus!
The Book of Nehemiah is an account of the rebuilding of the Nation of Israel, in particular, the walls of Jerusalem. This rebuilding was not only the walls but the people. Sin had encroached on them, and they were a broken people.
At one point there was a lot of opposition of those who did not want them to thrive but there was also opposition from within as well. It is always discouraging when one of your own sow’s seeds of discontent. We see that when people are surrounded by their problems and feelings of hopelessness, a few things happen.
10 In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” 11 And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” Nehemiah 4:10-11
They lost a few things in that time of opposition. They lost their strength, vision, confidence, and security. That speaks volumes to me about their morale.
The only person who can smile when everything is going wrong is the repairman. I will let that sink in for a moment.
A group of psychologists met together in Buffalo to define life. After a week of discussion, their definition of life was… “Life is stress and you’d better like it.”
This past Sunday I quoted a girl who was on America’s Got Talent last year who eventually passed away from cancer. She said, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” I believe that is exactly what the Apostle Paul would say. I know that because when Paul was in prison or house arrest in Rome, he writes a letter to the church in Philippi. Here is what he says, “4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).
Choose to be happy and take things as they come. If you choose that path, you will begin to get back exactly what the Israelites lost during a difficult time. Their strength, vision, confidence, and security were renewed. God eventually frustrated the plans of their enemies and they returned to rebuilding the walls.
We have two more nights of Vacation Bible Adventure. The atmosphere is electric as our children are learning about the Lord and what He has given us. I am excited to see so many people helping to make this a great week. If you haven’t been able to make it, come on out tonight from 6-8:30pm and join in on the excitement.
This Sunday is the conclusion of our Vacation Bible Adventure. We will have our regular 8:00am and 9:15am services. Then at 10:45am we will be in the Family Life Center for our service. Following that service, we will transition the floor and have tables set up for us to enjoy a wonderful picnic together. There will be activities in the field for our kids and plenty of time to meet others and enjoy fellowship with others. It will be a great day! Plan on coming and being a part of what the Lord is doing.
Joy in Jesus!
I have just returned from vacation and am excited to be in church on Sunday. Next week will be Vacation Bible Adventure and I am hearing that it is going to be a wonderful week. Registrations are coming in; people are stepping up to help make this a life transforming week. If you haven’t had the opportunity to sign up, then call the church office. We will need help on Sunday to clear the Worship Center after the 3rd service. Then we will need help on Saturday, July 16 at 1pm to put things back and prepare for Sunday Funday. There are other needs throughout the week as well. I am clearing my schedule to be a part of the fun and excitement. I hope you join me.
A lot has happened in our world since I have been on vacation. One major event was the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs Wade. It was in 1973 that the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. This is a big deal. I have been shocked at some of the response to this decision. We as a church, believe in the sanctity of life. We don’t apologize for that because it is what we believe the Bible says on the matter. Below I want to pull out a statement from the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene:
“Induced Abortion. The Church of the Nazarene affirms the sanctity of human life as established by God the Creator and believes that such sanctity extends to the child not yet born. Life is a gift from God. All human life, including life developing in the womb, is created by God in His image and is, therefore, to be nurtured, supported, and protected. From the moment of conception, a child is a human being with all of the developing characteristics of human life, and this life is dependent on the mother for its continued development. Therefore, we believe that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception. We oppose induced abortion by any means, when used for either personal convenience or population control. We oppose laws that allow abortion. Realizing that there are rare, but real medical conditions wherein the mother or the unborn child, or both, could not survive the pregnancy, termination of the pregnancy should only be made after sound medical and Christian counseling.
Responsible opposition to abortion requires our commitment to the initiation and support of programs designed to provide care for mothers and children. The crisis of an unwanted pregnancy calls for the community of believers (represented only by those for whom knowledge of the crisis is appropriate) to provide a context of love, prayer, and counsel. In such instances, support can take the form of counseling centers, homes for expectant mothers, and the creation or utilization of Christian adoption services.” (Paragraphs 30-30.1).
As people were weighing in on this decision by our Supreme Court, some from personal experience, some from a Biblical Worldview, some from a selfish standpoint, I couldn’t help but think of how ignorant we can be at times. Social media posts lit up the sky like fireworks on July 4th. Facebook or Twitter is not a good place to have discussions on this matter. I think some heartfelt conversations and understanding would be the order of the day.
We have an opportunity to minister to so many through these times. I am proud and humbled that we support the Women’s Resource Center who are on the frontlines and working with families struggling with these issues. They have been able to help so many people make decisions for life for over 23 years. We support them as we line up on the issue of life beginning at conception. I also want to mention that there are several families in our church that have adopted or are fostering children. This gives so many families hope in knowing that there is someone there to love these children.
We must take the position of being the hands and feet of Jesus as we respond to so many on this issue. It is a great day concerning matters of life but there is no room for gloating. We must respond with grace not knowing the events that have led up to people’s opinions. You may even be talking to someone who had an abortion or was part of the decision to have one.
Let’s join together as we make a difference in this world by prayer, reflect the heart of God, and give people hope in Jesus. Your response to this historical decision can change the world one person at a time.
I am looking forward to worshipping together on Sunday as we look at the final chapter of the Book of Acts.
Joy in Jesus!
In his insightful devotional book, “And the Angels Were Silent,” Max Lucado writes of an incident in the filming of the 1960’s film, Ben Hur.
As you may recall, there is an incredibly well-photographed and exciting chariot race in this magnificent film. The story is told that Charlton Heston had trouble learning how to drive the chariot. So, after a great deal of work and practice, Heston mastered the art of driving the chariot but felt impelled to go to the director, Cecil B. DeMille, and say, “I think I can drive the chariot, but I’m not sure I can win the race.”
DeMille is said to have responded with, “You just stay in the race… I’ll make sure you win.”
That is exactly what Jesus does for us. He rewards our faithfulness. It is always worth giving the Lord all of our life and everything about it. Many times, the enemy will whisper something in our ear that goes something like this, “You aren’t good enough. Look at all the things you have done. God is not going to forgive you for that, but you can work for it and maybe He will be lenient.” It may not be those exact words, but it has to do with the fact that you are not good enough for God. That’s where Jesus comes in. Without Him, we are not good enough. But through the blood of Jesus, we are acceptable, forgiven, and have all we need to live a victorious life.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Jesus made it possible for us to run this race we are on. Not only that but He has a host of witnesses, that have run the race, rooting us on. We are able through the power of the Holy Spirit. Along the way, we begin to focus on the race and then we begin to waver and stumble. It would be like someone trying to cut a straight line with their lawnmower and staring at the wheels instead of looking at the goal. The intended straight line would end up looking like a diagonal line at best.
Stay focused on Jesus and let him take care of the rest. Keep your heart and mind meditating on the things that He wants you to focus on. When we do that then there will be no room for thoughts to discourage or distract you. As it says in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God.”
Speaking of surrounding yourself with good things, take the time to go down to The Gathering in St. Marys. The address is 272 Jack Oak Point, St. Marys, Ohio. It is exactly one hour from our church. You will be glad you did. Services are at 10:30am or 7:00pm.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. It’s going to be a great service. Plan to come and honor your father and bring your fathers with you. Or better yet, bring your kids with you. I am looking forward to worshipping together with my church family.
Joy in Jesus!
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
After a great message from the word, many were baptized and about three thousand souls were added to the church that day. Then Luke shares verse 42-47. Within it, he shares the rhythm of the church. It is what takes place in order to help these new believers and seasoned believers to grow in the faith. They were constantly getting together and sharing, teaching, and fellowshipping. Needs were being met so there must have been a serving component. This is what doing life together is all about.
This Summer there are a few things that are coming up out of the regular routine that would be beneficial to our growth and our families. I remember when my children were younger, I would take them to our district camp meeting. They loved running on the grounds and meeting other people. The atmosphere was so inviting. I often chose to do things that would build them up spiritually and get them out of their normal routine. Let me share with you a few options to take advantage of this summer whether you have young children at home or not. It’s always good to get together with other believers and be encouraged in the Lord as we use that opportunity to encourage someone else.
Being a part of Northwestern Ohio Church of the Nazarene, we have the benefit of having a campground where you can enjoy many features. There are cabins, places to bring campers and tents, a large dining room, chapel, recreation areas, and a beautiful, wooded area with swings and playgrounds. Beginning on Sunday, June 12, services will happen every day. On Sunday at 6pm and every weeknight at 7pm. There are different speakers coming that will help give you tools and encouragement along your journey. Every weekday morning there are services at 10:30am. You can pick up a listing at church or in the office during the week.
A bus will be going Monday through Thursday and will be leaving at 5:30pm. Call the office to sign up to go. Space is limited so get your reservation soon. This will help during these high gas prices. If you would like to drive there then the address is: 272 Jack Oak Point Road, St. Marys, Ohio. It is 65 miles away so should take you about an hour.
Let me also share with you that tonight in the parking lot, our children can bring their bikes, scooters, and roller blades and enjoy ice cream sundaes while doing chalk art on the parking lot. It will be a fun event. While that is going on, our parents are invited to join a class in Room 104 where parents will come together and discuss the issues of raising our children and different ideas to help build their faith. Come tonight at 6:00pm at the church and spend time with families who are wanting to mature in the faith. You will be glad you did.
May God bless you today as you make a difference in the world.
Joy in Jesus!
What if I told you that you have all you need in order to be victorious today? Would you take me at my word? How about taking Simon Peter at his word? I want to look at the message paraphrase in order for you to grab hold of this thought.
“I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours! What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
1 Peter 1:1-7
No matter what obstacle or frustration today, you have exactly what you need to be victorious. There is a future in heaven awaiting you, but the future also starts now. Through the resurrection of Jesus, there’s a better future for us today. We don’t have to wait for the future to experience it. When we are faithful to Jesus, then the trials we walk through will show the enemy that you believe what you say you believe. If you are having a hard time believing, then saturate in God’s Word today. Take this passage and internalize it. It will fill you up with what you need. I believe you can be an overcomer today, and so does Jesus who lives in you. For He is more than able to keep you and supply you with the grace needed today. Then tomorrow there will be a fresh supply awaiting you to bask in. God is so good!
This Sunday we will be honoring our graduates. Come and support these young men and women as they take the next step in their journey of faith. Have I told you lately that I love my Church? I surely do…
Joy in Jesus!
I just returned from a Primed lunch where 54 of us gathered together to eat, fellowship, and hear about the ministry of the City Mission. We are grateful for how they meet the needs of the homeless and those trying to get back on their feet after hard times. Pray for their ministry impact in our community.
I have been thinking about how our church people are planting so many seeds all around our community and around the world. I hear and see daily how someone is doing something for God’s glory. I was meeting with some men this past Saturday and we discussed what Peter wrote concerning being a blessing.
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
Let me just mention a few touches that people have made without mentioning names. Someone mentioned to me the other day how they were blessed by a person who spoke at a local graduation. Another person was mentioning how they were seeing many people being helped through our grief share on Thursday. Someone out of the blue came into my office and shared a gift that will go a long way in meeting many needs. I am hearing rumblings of how a particular person is stirring things up in a good way in our school system. People are really encouraged about a direction with a public-school issue. Someone from our church is helping to organize another person by going through a mound of paperwork. Some people just spent time preparing and cleaning up for a meal.
The list could go on. These people are setting themselves up to be blessed. The wonderful thing about it is that they are not doing it for that reason. I am telling you that we have some people who are being Jesus wherever they go.
I will mention a particular name on this one. I just recently received a text with a picture mentioning a birthday of an individual that has made a major impact on so many. Her name is Dorothy Powell. She just recently had surgery on her hip and is up and about. Nothing can get this lady down. I have seen how the Lord has used her over the years and have heard many others fill in the blank of many years of impact before I got to know her. God is still not finished with her. She may not be able to get around as good as she used to but that won’t stop her.
Praise the Lord for our people and the many ways they just naturally serve. If I did not mention you in some way, don’t be alarmed. The word will get out and you will be found out. That’s the kind of people we have in our church.
Only God knows the full impact that is being made by so many. We are blessed to be able to see a few.
Pray for our Summer Bash happening tonight from 5-7pm. Come out and be a blessing!
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene