Last Sunday we announced a campaign that will go through July. We have been updating our Family Life Center and celebrating all the ministry that has happened over the past 21 years. Can you imagine with me how many lives have been impacted over these past 21 years? There have been multiple Upward Basketball games, youth and children events, crusades, dinners, services, not to mention all the parties for families of every age. We have been blessed to be able to use this facility for the building up of souls. I think of the verse in Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Sometimes the biggest impact is in the smallest gesture and not the biggest event.
For the next few months we are going to be giving toward our Family Life Center in order to complete the whole project. The goal is to collect $54,000 through the month of July. If just 54 families would give $1,000 then we could move past the green carpet and put a gym floor down that will withstand the spills. Some may be able to do a little more or a little less. Whatever the case, let’s work together. We’ve often said that the stains on the floor is a reminder that we use the building for many events. I don’t know about you but some of those stains would be good to see go. By the way, if you are partial to one of them then we could make sure we set it aside for you. Ok, maybe not.
Do what you can and help us reach our goal as we pray for an open door to see another 20 plus years of ministry to families.
What a great day on Sunday as we celebrated the many babies in our church through Baby Day. To think that we were able to dedicate 8 and be blessed with 5 more new births through the month of September. Thank you for being the type of church that supports our families and their ministry to their children. I know that Vickie and I have been so grateful over the years to raise our children in this great church.
I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday as we honor the members who have passed away this past church year, and continue the series, “What We Need from the Cradle to the Grave.”
Joy in Jesus!
And He (Jesus) answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” Matthew 19:4-6.
Graduation is in the air. For the next several weeks our local High Schools will be graduating seniors who are ready to move to the next chapter. There will be many parents with mixed emotions, sitting in the audience, watching what their grown children walk down the aisle before they move into adulthood. It is a necessary day but it is also a reminder that time is moving by fast.
Many couples choose to get married during this season of the year. According to the Bible, it’s a big deal. Genesis talks about it being between a man a woman, and Revelation closes with a wedding between a groom and a bride. There is no way around it, this ceremony of the two becoming one is the foundation of the family God intended from the very beginning. Neither the male nor the female can fully represent all there is about the image of God. We may be created by God and are individual, but we express the fullest image of God when the two halves of humanity complement each other and become one.
This is significant to look at – especially in our world of gender equality to the point of losing our identity as male and female. Bear with me for a moment.
In Genesis 2:18, it states that it is not good for man to be alone. We naturally think that God created male and then He needed to create female to complete the two. Yes and no. When you go directly from the Hebrew, it says, “It is not good from humankind to be at one.” In other words God was saying it is not good for humankind to live in solitude. When adam, or humankind was split apart, we ended up with male and female. I know what you are thinking, “What about the rib?” Good question. The word rib does not appear in the ancient Hebrew text. The word that is there is tsela. It is translated half or side. Don’t miss the significance of this next sentence. Instead of God creating Adam and taking his rib to create Eve, the text says that God created humankind, observed that it was not good for humankind to be alone, so God took a side or half of humankind and created a female (Eve). What remained was male (Adam). In other words, the whole (humanity) that was created in the full image of God (with both the strength of masculinity and the tenderness of femininity) is now the two complimentary halves of humanity: male and female.
One of the reasons for the strong sexual attraction of males and females to each other is the desire for the two halves of humanity to come back together (undoing the splitting of the adam) and reuniting male and females as halves to make the whole, now reflecting the full image of God. That is why the enemy of our soul is attacking this culture with confusion on this matter. If satan can erase the fingerprint and image of God from our foundation, then he will erase the burden of proof and have people believe in partial truths. Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let no one separate.” If that were said today it would say, “What I have defined, let no Supreme Court ever redefine!”
Let’s not forget the ultimate Marriage found in Revelation. Remember, God did not borrow the imagery of groom and bride from marriage. It is actually the opposite. The real Marriage is the one at the culmination of history, the Marriage of the Groom (Jesus) and the Bride (the Church). It takes place at the end of time as we know it. With earthly marriage we are only getting the appetizer before the main course. Earthly marriage is only a glimpse of the true Marriage. I don’t know if we can fully grasp it all. Paul states that it is a profound mystery in Ephesians 5.
So the next time you are at a wedding, think of the image of God expressed in the male and female coming together in this covenantal relationship called marriage. It is a ceremony celebrating a glimpse of the image of God. It matters to God and thus should matter to us. Looking forward to the reception…
Enjoy the beautiful day today as we see the season transition to something we can be out in.
Joy in Jesus!
As I was praying this morning, I was reminded of how big our God is. He wants to lead and guide us to places He wants to minister today. Have you spent time listening and resting in the Lord in order to get in the right frame of mind for God to work through you?
There have been days when I was totally distracted and too busy to see the things the Lord was trying to show me. Ok, yesterday I was immersed in a project that totally rearranged my priorities. When you walk away from things like that, you realize that even though you finished it you are still consumed by it. It is almost as if you need to reboot.
So this is for me more than for you. God desires to do an awesome work today. He will open doors that were not open before. The door that opens is meant for you to walk through. Be attentive and seize the moment He has designed just for you. Trust the Lord who wants to lead you to fruitful days filled with his Spirit. Be faithful and fruitful where God leads you.
Take the time to read the following verses and pray for a willingness to participate in what God is doing all around you.
Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
What a great Mission’s Weekend we had. Paul Jetter did a wonderful job relaying the story of Cuba and the impact God is having on this world area. Continue to pray and seek the Lord as to what He wants to give through you to Global Missions this year (Faith Promise). There may also be some who want to join us for our next Work and Witness trip to Cuba in 2020. We will be sharing details in the weeks to come.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. There will be a small gift for all the mothers who attend services this weekend. Be sure and remember to thank the Lord for our mothers.
May God show you new and fresh ways to serve him today.
Joy in Jesus!
I was looking around during worship on Sunday and I was thinking of the story of each person my eyes came across. It was as if the experiences and victories were flowing out like words on a page. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with joy as I saw many people worshipping the only One who could have ever done such a miracle. We are so blessed to walk this journey of life along with the people God has brought together in this place called Findlay First Nazarene. God continues to do a great work in and through us.
This year we have baptized 31 people. There is a part of me that says, “There are many more to come.” To think of the many stories of victory that we have heard during these services. I love the fact that we have our children join us as we celebrate New Life through baptism. I couldn’t help but see our District Superintendent taking pictures of the great atmosphere that we are experiencing every Sunday.
I want to thank all of those who have helped during Camp ReVamp in recent days. It was a joy to see so many people come together to work on our church and family life center. It is really looking good. Just a few more projects to complete and we will see it ready for many more ministry opportunities.
I have been reminded this week of the beginning days of the Church of the Nazarene. The very first organizational service that occurred on October 20, 1895, “It was with holy awe and sacred thanksgiving that they waited and plighted themselves anew, to Him who had so lovingly called them to each other. They at once began to tell the old-new story and to seek souls to Jesus Christ.” They were asked to leave that location on Main Street in Los Angeles due to “their earnest prayers and triumphant songs” after only 4 weeks. They moved to another location down the street and to a few others before finding a more stable location a few months later.
We are blessed to have such a wonderful facility to meet in each week. It is in this place that we are seeing old and new stories come together to form a brand new work among generations to come. I don’t think we will be asked to leave due to our earnest prayers and triumphant songs, but if we did – we are staying because we are not renting as the very first church was at the time.
One of the other parts of our history that is still a vital part of our church is how we impact the world for Jesus Christ. This Saturday night we are going to meet in the Family Life Center for our Missions Focus we call Faith Promise. It will begin at 5:30pm with a delicious meal with a Cuban flare. Paul Jetter will be speaking to us about World Missions and specifically about what God is doing in Cuba. We plan to take a trip to Cuba in 2020. Come and see our Kinderchoir perform and enjoy a night of seeing how we are impacting over 160 world areas for Christ. It will be a great weekend to celebrate God’s provision.
Joy in Jesus!
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
Praise the Lord for His Word. He has given us exactly what we need to live a victorious life not only by writing His words down for us to read, but by paying the penalty for my sin that I may live forgiven. Then He gave us what He promised by sending His Holy Spirit to live in me and through me. To top it all off, I am able to live in unity with the body of Christ and live out my faith in community. That is what we celebrated on Sunday when we looked at the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Wasn’t it good to be together on Easter? I am praying that some of our new friends will return this Sunday as we celebrate baptism together. Our District Superintendent, Geoff Kunselman, will be worshipping with us on Sunday. You will enjoy meeting Geoff and Mona as they lead our Northwestern Ohio District and Lighthouse Camp and Conference Center located in St. Marys, Ohio.
I thought I would bring our attention to Psalm 119. The whole chapter is rich with the what, the why, the how to, and the importance of living out the Word of God. I would encourage you to go to your Bible and read all 176 verses and thank the Lord for the gift of His Living Word.
Here are 10 things to remember about the Bible:
May God fill you through and through today as you seek Him with all your heart. We prayed for you to experience God in every situation today.
Joy in Jesus!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I love the Spring. Seeing the beauty of the flowers, the smell of fresh green grass being cut evenly across the yard, birds singing a new melody – what a creative God we serve. Have you noticed how many birds are out and about? It seems like there are more this year than last. Maybe I am just noticing them more this year. The Easter season is all about Jesus coming down to earth to save us from our sin. The Apostle John refers to Jesus as the Word (or Logos in the original Greek). John says that he was with God in before all of creation, that Christ was with God, and that he is God. We also learn from this passage that the Word created the world, or was God’s agent of creation, and that “without him not one thing came into being.” The word Logos speaks volumes about the sacrificial nature of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the third chapter of John, we see the wonder of the incarnation. Imagine it this way: Jesus is God (the only begotten Son) who exists before all worlds, and who, by his work, creates the universe. Jesus is not only present at the moment of creation, he brings it into being. He makes galaxies, moons, stars, animals, the trees, and then one day Jesus decides to become human and go through the birth cycle to enter the world. The God who made air is now dependent on air to survive. The God who made humans must now be dependent on two humans (Mary and Joseph) to feed and care for him.
Only a holy God would choose to put himself through something he did not have to endure. It is his nature. We serve a God of love and this love is self-sacrificing. He emptied himself of his power and authority as God, and humbled himself and became obedient to a cross to pay our sin penalty. Jesus sacrificed himself because of his great love for us. It was the only way. It was love that drove him to the cross. It was not a weak moment, it was his way of life.
This Sunday we will gather together and celebrate the power that lives within us. It is that power that enables us to walk in victory as a way of life. It will be worth inviting your neighbors to come and see what God has done for them. The first service begins at 8:30am and the second service begins at 10:45am. There will be a breakfast in between the services. Some of you need to make a call this very minute and give an invitation to come and experience Jesus like never before.
On Thursday, I want to encourage you to come and participate in Maundy Thursday Communion. We will have 20 minute segments of communion starting at 5:30pm and going until 7:00pm. We want to actually step into the Upper Room and experience that very last night Jesus shared the bread and cup.
Let’s continue to experience the God of grace and truth as we travel in this Holy Week.
Joy in Jesus!
We have been working hard for the past 3 days at sprucing up our building and storage areas. We have had several people come and work many hours. They have painted, constructed, put drywall up, put LED lights up in the kitchen and dining area, painted, cleaned out, reorganized, put lighting in the upper Family Life Center, painted, prepared meals, prepared to paint, put scaffolding together, cleaned… Did I mention that we have been painting? Our children and teens worked hard on different projects outside from mulching to raking to picking up sticks to carrying different items to the dumpster. Things are really looking good and coming together. Let me mention that if you have time today or tomorrow to come and paint, we will not turn you away. We have to be done with the Family Life Center before Friday at 4pm so we can transition it over for our Easterrific event happening on Saturday. Call the church office and let us know if you plan on coming and if you will be joining us for supper or lunch. We need as many as we can as we finish these areas up.
As we have been renovating, I can’t help but think of the continual renovation that goes into our lives as we grow in our faith. Psalm 90:1-17 is a good passage to read and be reminded to number our days and seek for the wisdom of God. As we number our days we quickly realize how fast they go by and how we are to be intentional with the things we get involved in. I want to live my life on point and be intentional at everything I do. As I work to revamp, I want to work as to the Lord.
Let me encourage you to take a spiritual inventory. Sit down and take a serious look at what you are doing to grow in your relationship with Christ. Ask questions like: Am I more spiritually mature than I was a year ago? What contributed to that? Do I love more like Jesus today than I did yesterday? When facing conflicts, do I run or do I work to resolve? If I am married, do I love and serve my spouse more today than yesterday? What is the priority of my heart?
In Proverbs 24:3 it says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” Seek to understand before you are understood today.
May God bless you as you seek to grow in your relationship with the Lord today. If you want to have a place to ponder and work with your hands, join us in the Family Life Center.
Joy in Jesus!
I am so thankful for our church. Sunday night was a wonderful time of worship and hearing testimonies about how God is working in the lives of our people. Then on Monday we had the funeral of Georgia Durain and on Tuesday the funeral of Margaret August. God helped us to celebrate the home going of two wonderful women. I was able to see our people in action as they served the families by providing a meal following the funerals. We had to have it in the classrooms by the office because our Twice Blessed Sale is going on. Our people didn’t complain about all the extra trips they had to make due to it not being down near our kitchen. Which reminds me of how many people are working Twice Blessed together in the Family Life Center and how people are going out of their way to meet and serve new people bringing their items to sell. There were many who came and helped set up all the tables and hanging devices for the sale following the service. This is such a loving and grace-filled atmosphere all across this place. I love our church.
Let me tell you a random story…
The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up..
He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.
He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally....I assumed you had stolen the car."
I hope that you aren’t accused of acting like a heathen instead of a child of God. Thought you would enjoy a good laugh today.
Remember to sign up for Camp ReVamp starting on Monday, April 8. Text REVAMP to 419-408-6174. It’s going to be fun to work together.
Joy in Jesus!
There is a story in 1 Samuel 4:12-22, that tells of a dark day in Israel. The Ark of God was captured by the Philistines but there was more tragedy that took place. Ichabod’s mother, father, grandfather, and uncle all died on the day of his birth. The midwife gave Ichabod his name which means, “no glory.” While a parent might not approve of the name Ichabod, this attendant apparently felt it was appropriate. With the “glory having departed,” life became hard on the people who were left.
But the hardship and pain prompted the people of Israel to again seek the Lord. Samuel proclaimed God’s revival message to all who had gathered, and their response was to seek God with all their heart. “Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the Lord with all of your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’ So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only” 1 Samuel 7:3-4.
The Philistines thought they would attack Israel and the people were frightened. Samuel continued to trust in the Lord by crying out to Him and making sacrifices to Him. The Lord protected Israel and it says that the Philistines were subdued and did not invade their territory again. When God stops our enemies, they feel the wrath of God and know that He will always be there to protect his faithful ones.
When Jesus said, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’”Luke 4:8, during the testing of the enemy, He was giving the enemy and us a clear statement as to what it takes to put our enemies in their place. It was when the Israelites got serious and put down other things that tried to steal their allegiance and trust in the Lord, that they fell under God’s protection. We must learn from this that in hard times, we too must stay focused and committed to the One true God who can deliver and sustain us.
Samuel gave them another name to remember instead of dwelling on Ichabod. He named a stone, “Ebenezer,” saying that the Lord has helped us. It was commemorating a divine assistance. Instead of dwelling on Ichabod, they had a new name. I think I would change my name if I was Ichabod. He could be called Ike – better yet, call him Mike.
Sounds like something we could institute. We need to start putting some reminders of when the Lord has interceded instead of remembering a day when things were in chaos.
Remember, Camp ReVamp is coming up April 8-13. We need all hands on deck. Text REVAMP to 419-408-6174. It is going to be a good week to work together.
Joy in Jesus!
The word is getting out about our Camp ReVamp. I was asked this morning, “What it Camp ReVamp?” Not many people have heard about it yet so let me try to describe it to you.
The week of April 8-13, we are going to ReVamp our Church. I was thinking one day about how much use our church gets from week to week. There are many ministries like Upward, youth and children’s ministries, ministry to men and women, Beast Feast, Twice Blessed, Easter activities, banquets of many kinds. We have 6 precincts come in and vote during national elections. Don’t forget the birthdays, graduations, NWO District events, anniversary parties, wedding receptions, baby showers, baby gender reveal parties, funeral dinners, preschool screening, and the list goes on. There are thousands of people who have come into our building and enjoyed a large space to hold events.
Families have enjoyed our Family Life Center for 21 years. I think our building is showing its age and wear and tear. It is time that we all pitch in together and ReVamp our facilities. There is going to be projects for all skill levels. Would you join us as we give back and make our building like new again?
In Exodus 35-40, it portrays large numbers of talented people – both men and women – working together to build the tabernacle and all the different parts. It is amazing to see how detailed it was written out. The generosity of time and resources was so outstanding that an order had to be given to stop (36:6-7). “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary. And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work” Exodus 36:6-7. Just think of all the ministry that you have participated in or even the activities you have used the facility for a family get together. It’s time to ReVamp our facility.
In the Family Life Center, we will be renovating the lower bathrooms, painting the walls and trim to match the upper renovated parts, replacing the carpet on the north wall, painting the beams, moving cabinets in the kitchen, dry walling the entry by the Pepsi machine, adding and changing lights in different areas, and reorganizing storage areas. The list is long and let me just say that we aren’t going to turn anyone away.
This is going to be all hands on deck. We will be providing family style meals in the evening and meeting people we have never met before. Would you help us ReVamp our Church? We are calling our big family to come out and work together.
On Sunday there is going to be an insert where you can sign up for different time slots to help. You will be able to write in what you would like to help with. We have anything from painting to electrical to construction to moving equipment to cleaning to cooking, we have it all. There will be slots for the day time and the evening. Supper will bring them both together.
Let’s come together and work as unto the Lord. I look forward to working alongside of some very skilled people. It’s going to fun.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene