November 2017 Volume 40 Number 12
Only by the Spirit and the Word of God: Winter Midweek Classes
You may be familiar with the contemporary song which proclaims that we want revival in our own hearts and in the land (Amen!) but that revival can only come by the Spirit and the Word of God. It has been said that every believer will either be growing closer to God or wandering farther away from Him. We are never stagnant or neutral in the Christian life. If we are failing to grow, then we are actually regressing spiritually. This growth, this bursting forth of new buds of spiritual life in us can only happen by the Spirit and the Word of God. Our hope is that you will consider making the Midweek night an evening to give God the opportunity to keep you living strong and growing.
The winter session of Midweek Family Nights begins on December 6. With the new season come new offerings in our adult Wednesday night studies. In the chapel, we will consider “Is Genesis History?” (DVD). Scheduled in January and February are Marcia Cressman (“Time Well Spent”), Steve Lehman (“I’ve Heard That Before”) and Heidi Lehman (“Art and the Bible”). An elective on a critical topic will be offered during December: “Parenting (and Grandparenting): Boundaries on Tech – Protecting from Porn,” led by Chris Gilbert. Beginning in January, three electives will be offered: a 5-week study on pro-life issues, led by Jessica Lehman; a 9-week discussion, “Parenting: What Does the Bible Say?”, led by Kent Lehman; and a 9-week study based on “The Real God” by Chip Ingram, with Michael Mosser and Malcolm Stauffer as leaders.
Don’t miss these wonderful opportunities to hear and apply God’s Word to your life. The Spirit and the Word are willing to revive us. †
A Night in Bethlehem
This is a community outreach event that could involve every member of our congregation! There is something you can do—no matter your age, talents or hectic life style. This hands-on Holy Land experience will happen on Sunday, December 10, from 5-8 p.m. Please consider how you can help.
Donations (Can be returned if marked well. Drop them off in the room marked “Night in Bethlehem” on the south side of the Family Life Center.): Baskets; artificial plants and trees; lanterns; white Christmas lights; wooden boxes, carts, tools, urn-style vases, etc.; mortar and pestles; and sheets (These will not be returned. No floral patterns please.).
Food donations: Make soup, or bring fruit, nuts or water. The list is on the chapel wall.
Volunteer to help recreate a marketplace in Bethlehem—sign up on chapel wall: Shop keepers (10 different shops!), craft helpers (help kids make souvenirs to take home), townspeople (create a real “Bethlehem” atmosphere by wearing and acting as authentic Bethlehem people) or greeters (welcome visitors).
Set up/decorations or tear down/clean up: Use your creativity to visually create our marketplace, or put everything back in its place after the event.
Watch for more details and information later! †
What Happened to Thanksgiving?
Last month I walked into a store and noticed an aisle full of Halloween items and decorations. In the next aisle I notice it was full of Christmas items and decorations. I thought to myself, “How sad. What happened to Thanksgiving?” It was a good time for me to stop and reflect on the importance of “thanksgiving” in my own life.
I believe that thankfulness is not something we are born with. It may come more naturally for some people than for others, but for most of us it had to be taught. I see this with our grandchildren time and time again. I repeatedly remind them to say thank you when someone gives them something. At times I even think “Why can’t they remember to say thank you?” I wonder, does God ever think that about me?
So what does “thanksgiving” look like? I think it is a condition of the heart. Ephesians 5:4 reads “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:28 states “give thanks in all circumstance; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Many times we let our circumstances dictate our level of thankfulness. It is much easier to be thankful when things are going well. Yet we read in Acts what Paul and Silas did after they were beaten with rods, severely flogged and thrown into prison. Their circumstances would not dictate much to be thankful for, but we read that about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God.
So what is the key to remembering “thanksgiving” in our own lives?
I think it begins with realizing every day God gives us is a gift. We then choose what we will do with that gift. Will we use it for just our own agenda, or will we make a difference in the lives of those around us? Once the day is gone it will never be here again. Did we make it count for eternity?
It’s also believing and trusting that through the difficult times and storms of life God is walking with us and even carries us when needed.
What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? May we take time each day to remember God’s faithfulness in the past and rely upon His promises for the future. †
Among Our People
Betty Stuber was admitted to Parkview Hospital Oct. 15 for treatment of a blood clot in her arm and side effects of her chemotherapy. She returned home Oct. 17.
Nicki Lehman had total hip replacement at Bluffton Regional Medical Center Oct. 17. She returned home Oct. 27.
Jean Neuenschwander was admitted to Parkview Oct. 18 for tests. She returned to Swiss Village Oct. 21.
Stan VonGunten had a knee replacement at Adams Memorial Hospital Oct. 30. He went home Nov. 10.
Sharon Neuenschwander had a hip replacement at Parkview Hospital Nov. 8. She went home Nov. 10.
Colleen Lehman was admitted to Adams Memorial Hospital Nov. 12 for an infection. She moved to rehab at Swiss Village Nov. 16.
Lynn Steenburg was admitted to Adams Memorial Hospital Nov. 13 for knee replacement surgery.
Roy Liechty was admitted to Lutheran Hospital Nov. 15. He will have surgery Nov. 18. †
Notes of Appreciation
Dear First Mennonite Church in Berne,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I trust that you continue to experience God's grace and abiding presence. On behalf of EMM, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude for sending your pastor Jeff, his wife Megan and their sons, Nate and Josh, to EMM's Europe retreat to resource our missionaries from Europe and the Middle East. We were blessed by their presence and spiritually nurtured by Jeff and Megan's teaching. Thank you for your continued partnership in mission. EMM looks forward to journeying with you and collaborating in God's mission.
President, Eastern Mennonite Missions
The Care Commission would like to thank our church family for responding to Coins Count and baking for the MCC Relief Sale. Coins Count totaled $1819.62. Baked items sent this year totaled 132.
We traveled up to Berne, IN yesterday with friends to the First Mennonite Church morning worship service. We've visited there probably 15-20 times over the last 20 or so years (this is our “default church” when we just HAVE to get away!). We have NEVER been disappointed—it is ALWAYS an amazing experience.
The worship songs are almost always done in a variety of styles which was certainly the case yesterday! I counted at least six different styles—traditional, popular, choir, pipe organ, contemporary and ACAPELLA! The interesting thing about the whole experience was how the leader and others involved transitioned seamlessly from one style to the next. It was ASTOUNDING!!
Jerry Flueckiger, the associate pastor, presented “My Journey” intermixing three or four appropriate songs to supplement his message. One of the songs he used was originally recorded by Ray Boltz: “What If I Gave ALL?”
We thank you so much for the much-needed items collected for us again this year. We look forward to coming over each year. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts. Blessings to you all!
Lima Rescue Mission †
• “My Brother’s Crown” by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
• “Hope Harbor” by Irene Hannon
• “Sandpiper Cove: a Hope Harbor Novel” by Irene Hannon
• “An Unforgivable Secret” by J.E.B. Spredemann
• “The Case for Christ: One Man’s Journey to Solve the Biggest Mystery of All Time” (DVD)
VR FIC CAS
• “Girl Power” by Melody Carlson
• “Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler: A Lesson in Friendship” by VeggieTales (DVD)
JVR FIC VEG
• “Baby Moses and Other Bible Stories” by Rebecca Stromstad Glaser
• “Jesus at the Temple and Other Bible Stories” by Rebecca Stromstad Glaser
• “God Made the Sun” by Mary Manz Simon
JBB SIM †