HMC Youth: Jonah 4:5-11

Hey HMC Youth!  

The passage for this week is Jonah 4:5-11, take some time to read it and connect with God.  


As Jonah sat east of Nineveh waiting to see what would become of the city, I imagine he felt a sense of self-righteousness.  Sure Jonah messed up once in a while, but he tried, and ultimately he knew and trusted God.  He also knew the Ninevites, and that their true nature would once again show.  Then, God in His perfection would have to being judgement on their wickedness.  

As we enjoy the comforts of God’s blessings or “shade plants” in our lives, we can be tempted to look at the hard-to-love people in our lives with judgment, waiting for God to give them what they deserve.  If we become more concerned with the comfort of our life over the eternal salvation of others we may not like, we have misunderstood God’s love.  Jonah waited and watched from outside the city, probably not wanting to get caught up in God’s judgement of the Ninvevites.  Contrast that with Jesus, who came to us while we were sinners just like the Ninevites.  Jesus didn’t deliver the message of what we should and shouldn’t do and take off.  He invested himself into our lives, and guided us on the way.  And when we failed to measure up to God’s standard, rather than duck out of the way, Jesus took the full punishment and wrath of God for us.

As we come to the end of our Jonah study, let’s think about how we can show our enemies God’s love.  Instead of telling our enemies what we stand against in relation to them, let’s tell them what we stand for so we can point them towards salvation.

1.    After reading the text, what thoughts or details jump out at you right away?
2.    Spend a bit of time praying about and reflecting on the text.  What is God bringing to your attention?
3.    How does this passage apply to your life?

See you Friday!

Sunday Morning Live Stream: How Are Your Shaped in Challenging Times?

How Are You Shaped In Challenging Times?
Sunday May 9, 2021

Object Lessons:
Children and those with a childlike heart – I have an activity for you. I would like you to make a paper airplane….. you can do that right? Go ahead. How long does it take you to make a paper airplane…. 15- 30 – 60 – 90 sec – what you are done! That was amazingly quick…. does it fly? Cool. If you have not made your paper airplane let us make one together – listen to some instruction of how to make one… it flies too.

“Todays focus is on How Are We Shaped In Challenging Time”

Now I wonder what are some challenging times you have faced?

  • Each time we come up with a tough challenging time – we are going to trim the wings of the airplane: (because we know it is challenging to fly when wings are cut)
    ** Can you help me with what is a tough time…..?
    not getting a hug when I see people I love …. that is tough!
    Now your turn….. call out a challenging time
    yes that is tough
    Another idea…
    wow that is tough
    Challenging times, difficult times, shape us. Just like the airplane has changed its shape.
    Let us all open up the hood of our paper airplanes to see its engine…. open up the paper and lay it flat…. see anything?

This one has the shape of a cross… it took a little longer to make! However it reminds me:
that in tough/challenging times God is with me.
that it is God who is my strength
3) not to rush ahead on my own …. it is important to pray – listen for/ask for God to help…. for God will carry us in tough/hard/difficult times.
So remember be shaped by God’s word…


Message:
We all face difficult/tough/challenging times in our lives and how we navigate the situation is critical as it shapes us – it impact our call to respond to life. So when I face those times – I think about biblical stories or a biblical character – trying to see if there is one that resonates with my heart, my soul, my mind during that circumstance.

My favourite biblical character is Moses … So I often look at Moses’ journey in life. For today I share what resonated with me as life presents challenges/tough times. This Scripture is taken from the story of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) and their tough/difficult/challenging experience in Egypt.

Exodus 3:7-8
Then the Lord said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and so I have come down to rescue them.

Did you hear that?
God had seen cruel treatment,
God has heard them cry out and
God known all about their suffering

God response is to his people -

“so I have come down to rescue them.”
Our relational God “comes down” to be in the midst of the people and their circumstances.
Our Relational God -who knows us – knows our need for guidance. So he comes to be with his people.
Does that not give you hope?
Does that not encourage you in the midst of you challenges, tough times?

****That is the story of the Israelites. What is your story – what is/are the challenges you face in life?

Who are you crying out to in challenging times?
who or what is shaping your heart, your soul, your mind during challenging – difficult- tough times?
who do you call out to…. ?
who are you listening to…?
who is walking/guiding you…?
God is in the midst of our life circumstance – in our object lesson the cross was at the core of the paper airplane – it did not look like it originally did – beautifully and unexpectedly – at the core was the cross!
…are you allowing God to be at the core?
…are you allowing God to shape you?

In life our character:
can grow by feeding on external circumstances or it
can grow by feeding on the internal strength and love of the Lord

What shape is your internal – spiritual heart in?
Has hardship/challenges hardened your spiritual heart? If so, delight and rest in these words
Hear these words from Ezekiel 36:26
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
God can turn a heart stone to flesh pumping love of Lord through us

b) Do your actions align with your spiritual heart? Do you present well/health to people yet your heart holds grudges, bitterness, anger Hear these words form 1 Samuel 16:7b
“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God sees – turn to him and release the grudges, bitterness – receive in return joy and peace.

c) Our relationship with God takes time to nurture…. we need to tend to it otherwise like the Parable of sower who scatters seed ….found in Matthew13:6-9
 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

The world is facing challenging times – Allow God to shape you. Allow the cross to be the at the core of who you are. Jesus at the centre of your life circumstance. Perhaps you long to experience joy again, the abundant blessing of God – pause right now and talk with God tell him…. your longing, your desire.

Let us long to be people God shaped to encourage others to come follow Jesus – who is the Giver of True Life… Jesus our hope and strength.
Some ideas that can help us be SHAPED by God so we have strength and hope in times of trouble/challenges.

Read the Word of God – get to know God – discover that God is relational – we talk about how important relationship is and spending time building into one another life …. it beings with a healthy relationship with God.
There are great Bible Apps that can keep us daily in the Word of God, present a daily devotion. Reading an actual copy of the Bible. These can be a few verses , they need to be Meaningful, helping us Grow in faith. Keeping is connected to scripture presents opportunities to discover more about God.
Memory verse – Mrs Faye has been helpful and I know she has plans to continue with Bible memory verse – let us rise up and learn to grow strong in God Word.
Prayer
Talk openly to God sharing what is truly going on in our heart. Importantly we also need to LISTEN.
sit and be still in God’s presence… God I just want to be with you.
Sometime we struggle to find words:
use a passage of scripture – often psalms
use lyrics from a song or listen to a song as a prayer
Breath Prayers

  • literal breath – Yahweh inhale & exhale
  • short prayers
    Name of God which reveal his attribute
    (Shalom (peace); Jehovah Jire (Provider); El Shaddai (All sufficient One/ Lord Almighty)
    Image of God – Shepherd, Light, Gardner, Potter
    Posture
    I CANNOT (hands down) – YOU CAN LORD (hands raised)
    Kneel
    Gather up concerns/needs (cup hands), then offer (keep hands cupped and extend them forward to God) and then give release them into God’s care (raise and open hands).
    lift hands in thanksgiving or pleading with God
    tears – of sadness, grief or joy
    Imagination
    Immense yourself into a biblical story
    Engage with the story and pray as if talking to Jesus who is present in story.

Being in God’s Word, Praying are ways in which we are shaped by the Spirit of God.

So I encourage you to allow yourself to be shaped by God rather than being shaped by the circumstances surrounding you.

Be assured that in joyful times, in challenging times the Spirit of God which is within us…. longs to lead us, guide us, counsel us… providing wisdom from God to shape our response to life.

Let us be shaped into relational people of God, reflecting the love of God to those who are around us.

Let us be generations that gather together, grow together, goes together into the world – our homes, our community – shaped by God sharing generously the Good News of Jesus.

How
continue to reach out and connect with someone within the generation and someone from your community
continue to read scripture & pray
continue to pray for leadership in world, country, province, church

Special – we ask that you take time this week to draw a picture (children & you can call the office and) and send it to a shut-in from our church family
you can call the office and provide a name and address
or drop picture off in mailbox and we will post

Mother’s Day – take time to connect your Mother today, the women who have been positive influences in your life. If not possible to connect offer silent prayer of thanks or perhaps forgiveness.

Please remember Verlie, Doug, Jasmine, Nick and Chris – mail a card
Please remember Pastor Dave, Shannon, Josh, Andrew & Caleb too – meal, cards
Please remember Carol and Peter – call, card, email
Please remember Larry and Joan too.

Closing:
Remember our paper airplane – those built quick did not have the shape of the cross. Those that took a little longer to make for they took time to listen to instruction – were shaped by the cross.

i) Please slow down – sit with God – immerse yourself with a few verse of scripture each day. Commit to memory the Word of God.
ii) Pray – be honest as you talk to God and allow God to shape your heart. 
iii) Don’t react to circumstances – allow the Spirit of God to shape our response to life circumstance.

Lord be gracious – the world is in turmoil and we desperately need you … we long for your return. Lord
Mother Day

HMC Youth: Jonah 4:1-4

Hey HMC Youth!  

The passage for this week is Jonah 4:1-4, take some time to read it and connect with God.  

When God spares the Ninevites from destruction Jonah is very upset.  It seems like an odd reaction, since one would think God’s kingdom being built up and love being displayed would be a cause for great celebration.  What we actually read is that Jonah is so upset that he thinks he would rather die than live with the knowledge that his enemies have been offered grace and forgiveness!

Before we condemn Jonah for his ridiculous behaviour however, we should pause and realize that his situation is probably just an extreme example of something we all struggle with in our own hearts.  Why are we so ready to accept God’s grace and forgiveness for the mistakes we make again and again, yet are so ready to point an accusing finger and condemn others who are also imperfect?  Maybe someone else being pushed down gives us the illusion of being raised up a little?  Let’s reflect on the truth that our status and worth comes not from anything we could ever do, rather from our loving God and creator, king of the universe! 

As you read and reflect, here are some questions for you to think about.  We will explore them more at youth group on Friday night

1.    After reading the text, what thoughts or details jump out at you right away?
2.    Spend a bit of time praying about and reflecting on the text.  What is God bringing to your attention?
3.    How does this passage apply to your life?

See you Friday!

Sunday Morning Live Steam: Peace (Communion Sunday)

Peace: Communion Reflections
John 14:1-6
May 2nd, 2021

Has your heart ever been troubled? Have you ever been scared about something? Been concerned or uncertain? Maybe a bit worried? Or have anxiety?

Back when I was in grade 11, so about 23 years ago now, I had something that caused me to have fear. It was an afternoon like any other. I was walking home from school like I would any other day. I had only been going to that school for a few months as my family moved halfway across the city, roughly the distance of Hanover to Walkerton. By coincidence, on the walk home, I crossed paths with a guy from my old school that was on the other end of the city. He did not know where I moved to and had no idea that I would be there at that time. But what he did know is that he didn’t like me, and for whatever reason, he had a score to settle. And this was in the day when wearing army boots, black leather jackets, and dog collars was the in thing…. And this dude who was the better part of 6’4 decided that as I was walking down a walkway between two buildings, that he was going to come running at me. I turned around and stood there as he planted his army boot square in my chest. By the grace and protection of God, I didn’t fall… which then caused him to run.

After the attack, I remember how much fear I had. For a few days, I did not want to walk home because this guy knew where I lived. And even as time passed and I began to feel safer, I still was always looking over my shoulder. And if I saw someone down the street who looked like they were wearing a dark jacket, I would feel fear.

And because the police got involved with dealing with the attack, I had to go to court to testify against him. And I remember the fear when I saw him sitting in the hallway outside the court room, and all the anxiety that filled my heart and mind.

Concern, fear, worry, and anxiety are things that we all experience at some time or other. Is your heart troubled today?

The disciples even had ‘troubled hearts’. There were things that bothered them. Prior to Jesus death:
a. Jesus gathers them for a final Passover supper.
b. During the supper He shares that He will be going away from them. Can you picture their anxiety? Their teacher, their leader who they devoted three years of their life to was now leaving them. What would happen next?
c. He breaks bread and pours the cup as a symbol of His impending death, and talks about his death that is about to come.
d. John 13:21 says that Jesus was troubled in spirit as he talked.
e. He says that one of the disciples will betray him. Peter asks John to ask Jesus who it could be as they all wonder.
f. He tells Peter that he will deny Jesus 3X after Peter pledges his allegiance to Jesus.
This was not an easy dinner conversation. On top of that, Jesus knows what is about to happen to all of them in the coming hours, days, weeks, and months. It is out of this that Jesus speaks the following words:

John 14:1-6
Jesus says to them: don’t be troubled. Paraphrased, He says:

Don’t be afraid, anxious, worried, uncertain, concerned, or on edge. Yes, what is coming wont be easy. I know what you are about to face, and I know what you are thinking even right now, and I know things will be hard. But don’t be discouraged by all that is going on and will happen. Instead, keep believing in God, and believe in me! Keep your eyes on me. Everything I am about to face is so that I can give to you a life beyond compare in Heaven, for eternity, with Me and My Father. Through what I am about to go through, I am going on ahead to get ready your place, your room in God’s big house. Don’t get caught up in the worries of the here and now. Don’t get caught up in what could happen. Instead, know that I am the way to life. I am the way to eternity. I am the way to God.

The lesson to us is that when we are living life with God, and living Jesus’ life through us, with life in Heaven before us, the things around us suddenly begin to lose their value. We know that as difficult as things get here, this life isn’t it. Yet even when everything around us seems to be falling apart, and even in the face of incredible difficulty, somehow we can still have hope because of what is to come.

Last week I talked from the very next chapter in John about being connected to the Vine, and finding life because we grow out of the Vine. When we understand, accept, and receive that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and that no one comes to God except through Him, we are connecting ourselves to life in the Vine. In that Vine, even when things seem uncertain, chaotic, frightening, stressful, anxious, and concerning all around us, because of what Jesus did for us through His death on the Cross and His rising from the dead, through Him beating the power of darkness, evil, and death itself, we have the hope of a life yet to come that continues on and can not be taken away from us. We do not need to let our hearts be troubled.

Jesus says in John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

As we take communion in a moment, it is a statement that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is a statement that He is the Vine and we are the branches. And it is a statement that because of the hope of eternity in Heaven that He gives us, we do not need to let our hearts be troubled here, knowing that nothing here can change what is waiting for us on the other side in the presence of our God and Father.
So this morning, ask yourself this question as we prepare for communion: Where is your heart troubled today? And where do you need to embrace, accept, and receive the life of Christ, the life in the Vine today?

HMC Youth: Jonah 1:4-6

Hey HMC Youth!  

We hope you are having a fantastic start to your week! It was so great to see you last Friday, and we are looking forward to youth group again this Friday.

The passage for this week is Jonah 3:1-5, take some time to read it and connect with God.  

This week we are studying Jonah 3:1-5.  Having just experienced his own need for God’s grace, Jonah is finally prepared to go and deliver a message of grace to others.  What is holding us back from sharing God’s love and message of salvation with others?  Jonah sacrificed and suffered a great deal before he realized his faith was not fully in God.  Is our faith sometimes misplaced in things in our life that seem most stable and comfortable rather than God?  Are you prepared to step out in faith beyond the familiar and safe, to bring a message of love and salvation to those who need it most?  Jonah delivered what seems like a pretty unconvincing message after a pitiful show of faith in God, yet God opened the hearts of the Ninevites to receive the message.  Be encouraged, we are just the kind of messengers that God can use!

As you read and reflect, here’s some questions for you to think about.  We will explore them more at youth group on Friday night

1.    After reading the text, what thoughts or details jump out at you right away?
2.    Spend a bit of time praying about and reflecting on the text.  What is God bringing to your attention?
3.    How does this passage apply to your life?

See you Friday!

Sunday Morning Live Stream: Committed

Committed
Mark 14:1-11, John 12:1-8
April 18, 2021

How many of us have ever been, or known someone who was so committed to something that others may have viewed it as crazy?

Have you ever heard of Fauja Singh? What a story! So here is a guy who is a runner, now is 110, and didn’t retire from official running events until 104. That is crazy! That is commitment right there. He, at an age where most of us would probably like to relax a bit and slow down is doing more than people 1/3 his age. He started running at the age of 81 and ran his first race at 89. At 100, ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. 42 kms in just under 8.5 hours. At 102, he ran a 10km race. And now, he is the subject of a children’s book!

As crazy as this example is, it is truly an example of commitment to a cause – a cause he believes in and has devoted his life to. He is truly committed.

What are you committed to? What do you believe in? What are you devoting your life to? There are lots of things that we can be committed to aren’t there. Many are good things too!

Key Idea:

Jesus invites us to be committed to His cause

That cause can be loosely summarized in three parts:
a. Love God with all of yourself
b. Love others how you want to be loved
c. Help others find and follow Jesus

I Invite you to turn to John 12. A parallel story is found in Mark 14. I am going to reference it a bit to fill in on some details, but my main focus in on John 12. I will give you a bit of background as you flip.

Passover is just around the corner. For those unfamiliar, Passover was a major annual yearly celebration for the Jews that dated back some 2000 years prior, celebrating the freedom of Israel from Egyptian slavery by the hand of God. Check out Exodus 11-12 for further reference.

What you need to know is that it was expected that all males over a certain age were supposed to come back to Jerusalem to be a part of the temple worship and celebration to God in this yearly event. Even Jewish males who were in jail could even be released for Passover and then taken back after. This was a big deal! Jesus (knowing that He will also be killed at Jerusalem) still heads there with His disciples for this yearly celebration.
On the way, he comes to a town called Bethany where 2 sisters live with their brother (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus). Lazarus is dead, but Jesus comes, and calls Lazarus out of the tomb where he is buried and back to life again!

Read John 12:1-8

Later that night, still in Bethany, we see from Mark 14that they are at the home of a man named Simon the Leper, where there is a feast being held in honour of Jesus. Simon (not to be confused with Simon Peter) likely was the man that Jesus healed prior that had leprosy. He would have been referred to as “the Leper” because at one point he was a leper, not that he is presently. He wouldn’t be having people over for a party if he still was fighting leprosy as those with leprosy lived in a secluded isolated colony away from people.

At this dinner is Simon (the host), Jesus, His disciples, Lazarus, maybe others, and Mary / Martha who would, according to custom, be serving. What happens next gives two completely different pictures of commitment.

1) Mary – the committed follower:
Everyone is reclining at the table, talking, listening to Jesus speak maybe. Then, it all stops as Mary comes into the room with an ointment – made from an aromatic plant in India. This ointment was used for burial (which is interesting because of what is about to happen to Jesus. And it is worth lots of $$$. 300 Denarii was equivalent to 300 days of work for a laborer. An extravagant and expensive gift indeed!

She then takes this ointment, breaks the jar it is in, and lets it pour over Jesus’ head (see Mark 14) – In the process she also anoints His feet with the oil and chooses to wipe His feet with her hair.

The men in the room were likely already talking. Mary had come into a place that, in their custom, she was not to be. She was not to gather with the men. And now, she is doing this really uncomfortable, awkward public display of love and honour. And in the process, she is wiping the dirtiest part of the body, the feet, with her hair. Awkward….

Here we have a picture of the depth of her love and commitment to Jesus – that she loved Jesus so much, with all she was, that she was willing to lay it all out there – at a cost to her personally, and even to her “dignity”. There was no taking it back now. Out of love and commitment she ensured that her Lord got the anointing that was the best she could do. Her commitment to Jesus, to her God was on full display for all to see.

2) Judas – The committed crook

Here is a guy who is the complete opposite of everything Mary was committing to. He was, by all accounts, a committed crook who deserved to be committed. Judas is one of the 12 disciples – He is in Jesus’ inner circle, but he never seems to be engaged at a heart level in what is going on. Judas was concerned with his own gain, and we see
that in this passage.

Mark 14:4-5 talks about the disciples getting worked up about Mary anointing Jesus with the expensive ointment. But in John 12, we see one disciple in particular being a mouthpiece for the others – Judas… He is the one speaking up. That is not to say that the others were not taken back by this, in fact I am sure that everyone in the room was talking (maybe in disgust and disbelief), but he is the one who is vocally bothered enough to speak up.

He hides under the disguise that this is a bad use of resources when there are so many needy people around. 300 days wage could really help the poor after all. I like the insight John 12 gives to this passage. Judas really couldn’t care less about the poor. He was a thief at heart. As keeper of the communal money bag (as there were not ATMs and Bank Accounts in those days) he frequently helped himself to the moneybag of the disciples for his own desires. We have a term for that today… Robber. Judas was a thief and robber who saw Mary’s possession as an opportunity to get rich. She could sell the perfume, put the money into the communal money bag, and he could get rich through taking some of that money for himself.

If we were to jump to Mark 14:10-11, we further see the heart of Judas in this whole true story… some point after this whole exchange, after Jesus rebukes him, Judas goes off in secret to agree to betray Jesus to the religious leaders with a promise from them of money when he would hand Jesus to them only days later. So not only is Judas a thief, but he is also a bounty hunter who is guilty of conspiring and an accomplice to murder.

Judas was committed to himself, his sin, and his darkness. And the love of money was driving many of his actions. He was the complete opposite of Mary.

Applications:

A) True commitment to Christ may invite the critics.
Look at Mary… she experienced that first hand. As she did this extravagant form of worship and honor to Jesus that came from a place of wholehearted passion, respect, and honor to Him, people got uptight. The whole scene of Mary being “undignified” and Jesus allowing her to wipe His feet with her hair or anoint His head was a bit too much for some. As well, Judas, and possibly some of the other disciples took exception to what was viewed as a misuse and waste of resources. Mary had her vocal critics.

As we wholeheartedly commit to follow Jesus individually and as a church, we may be called upon to do something that may not make sense to those around us. It may actually invite criticism, harsh words, and in some cases anger. But we shouldn’t be surprised as the Bible tells us to expect it – John 15:18-21.

Bottom line – as we commit to His cause, as we commit to follow Jesus passionately, whole heartedly, and obediently; desiring to see His work and purpose unfolded in and through our lives, some people will object, get uptight, oppose, and criticize. Expect it.

B) True commitment to Christ may come at personal cost.
Mary’s act of worship and commitment came at the cost of ointment worth over 300 days wages as a laborer. In the eyes of her critics, it cost her human dignity.

When we commit to the cause of Christ, it could come at a personal cost. I am not going to speculate on what that will look like as for each situation and person it might be different, and we could spend all day talking about it. But this I know, following Jesus, committing to His cause could come at a personal cost. And this is something that the Bible speaks about in Mark 8:34-35. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, if you want to be committed to His cause, you and I need to be willing to deny the things in our lives that would stand in the way of following Christ, take up our figurative cross (which was a tool of death), and give up the things on that cross that are standing in the way of us living the life Jesus wants for us. When that happens, you and I find true life in Christ.

These first two applications sound a bit heavy, and maybe are a bit discouraging to some of us this morning…. Here is the great promise in all of this though:

C) True commitment to Christ leaves behind true blessing
What did Jesus say in Mark 14:8-9? To paraphrase it, Mary’s obedience, passionate worship, and true commitment to Christ will be remembered wherever Jesus is preached, and we are blessed with a wonderful example to follow of how to love God with all of ourselves. And even today, over 2000 years later, we are blessed with that legacy, that example of true commitment to Christ.

What is our legacy as Hanover Missionary Church? I have asked before in this church “will we be missed if we as a church disappeared?” Think about that… even if 50 years passes, will we be remembered? How many churches have even folded in a 40km radius around Hanover in the last 50-100 years that people have forgotten about?

Remember: Jesus invites us to be committed to His cause. My conviction is this – If we:
a. Love God with all of ourselves
b. Love others how we want to be loved
c. Help others find and follow Jesus
…the result will be that we will be a blessing to our community, we will be remembered for the right reasons, and our commitment to the cause of Christ will make a deep difference in our community.

Why? Because following Jesus involves a life altering, people shaping, world shaking, radical commitment that others notice. It changes who we are and what we do. We stand out in a good way like a light stands out in darkness. In a society that seems taken by scandal and hypocrisy in the church, living committed to Jesus is a rare concept that people can’t forget. Let us then be committed, and be a blessing to our town, province, country, and world.

Update from Ministry Council: Town Hall Meeting Follow Up

Good morning HMC,

Earlier this week I was reading in Romans 8. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” God’s Word is full of reminders of where our [everything] comes from (God) and that the most precious thing He has given us is Himself.

Yes, it is easy to get distracted by horizontal matters. May we be diligent to fix our gaze on God, vertically, and praise Him for the blessings that we find in Him. (Be encouraged by Hebrews 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:10-20 as well — “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”)

At our March 28th Town Hall Meeting, we as a family of families discussed: staffing for U18, an offer from Hanover Chrysler to purchase a parcel of our land, and the need for volunteers for several teams. An update on finances was also given.

I thought it would help to share some of the details here in an email, as not everyone was able to join the meeting

1. It came up that some people may be trying to indicate their concerns by withholding their tithes. It was clarified that the Ministry Council does not know if anyone changes their giving—up or down. MC does not see granular giving detail. If you have concerns, please reach out to a pastor or Ministry Council member. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Ministry Council meets on the third Tuesday of every month. You can send a letter to be discussed, or ask for an invite to come in person.

2. A number of people suggested that the youth and those that have helped with children and youth should be asked for their input as the next step before a search committee and ministry profile are finalized. Plans were being put into place for a hybrid meeting, and then the current stay-at-home order was announced. Stay tuned.

3. A number of people expressed a desire to have more conversation about why Pastor Amos and Pastor Kristina resigned. The pastors and members of the Ministry Council are available to answer questions. Let’s schedule a visit. Again, we want to hear from you and answer your questions as best we can.

4. It was stated that if someone with concerns is not comfortable approaching the Lead Pastor (Dave Hildebrandt) or the chairperson of the Ministry Council (Jason Bechtel), there are other options. Anyone on the Ministry Council can be approached (Karen Schmalz, Kaia Kontrimas, Carolyn Pearson, Charlotte Spitzig, Dan DeVisser) and we have an elected moderator, Marilyn Schmitt, who can also be approached. You should never feel as if you are unable to express your concerns. We are a body of believers and we want to hear from you.

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Please know that you are missed. You are loved. We are all looking forward to getting back together again soon and having sweet fellowship around the Son.

Let’s keep looking up, fixing your eyes on Jesus.

On behalf of the Ministry Council,
Jason Bechtel