Encouragement from the Elders

Disciple is a churchy word that has fallen out of favor with modern English speakers. That may be because our culture is becoming less Godly, more secular. Anything from the Bible is avoided by many in our society today.

What is a disciple anyway? Is it a minister or a special subset of Christians? Maybe we are all just a bit confused about what it means.

Politicians have disciples today, but they call them their “base,” or the “faithful.” Those people who adhere to their philosophies and follow them are their disciples, their followers, their devotees.

Ray Vander Laan in his book, In the Dust of the Rabbi, helps us define what it means to be a disciple of our teacher, Jesus, by explaining the practice in the time before Christ, under the Law of Moses, when some Jewish boys would apply to become students of a rabbi.

Ray writes, “Talmid (Talidim, pl.) is the Hebrew word for disciple. The talmid willingly left home, family, and occupation to be with the rabbi because he wanted more than anything else in the world to be like the rabbi (teacher) in his walk with God.”

Ray says, “the Greek word translated disciple, refers to a talmid as well as to an individual who is interested but who has not renounced everything to follow the rabbi.” Jesus makes it clear that it is no light matter to be his disciple in Luke 14:27 (NIV): “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

You, my friends and fellow believers, love the Bible and Bible words. When we wrote our mission statement, we were confident that you know what a disciple is or are eager to know what it means to be Christ’s disciple.

In view of Matt 28:18-20 in Young’s Literal Translation, our mission is very clear. “And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, `Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth; having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them -- to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days -- till the full end of the age.'

For our church here at Northwest, we have shortened that, reminding us that we want to make disciples of people from birth to death, from where they are till their life here ends.

Our Mission: To make lifelong disciples of all generations.

Will you memorize that and use it as the acid test for all that we do here? Are we on mission? Jesus defined discipling as “baptizing them -- to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you.”

When we baptize people, we have just begun the process of discipling. Teaching continues. Life changes continue. We are disciples when we are Jesus’ base, his faithful, his followers, his imitators.

The men’s class on Wednesday nights is being intentional about making disciples by their study. Do you have a friend that you are leading to discipleship? Bring him to class this Wednesday.

If you meet a visitor at our services, know that God is drawing that person to Him, or that visitor wouldn’t be here. Ask them to join us in a one on one Bible study. They are searching for something here. Help them find it. Help them to become Christ’s disciple.

Know our mission. Use it as your mantra. Use it as your litmus test to know if we are on track. Remember, we are not doing this alone or by our own power; Jesus promised to be with us “to the full end of the age.”

 

Preacher's Thoughts

 

As I was thinking about our theme for the year Be the Church, I thought about how central people are to our theme. The church is not brick and mortar….. it is the people who make up Christ’s body, the church (Col 1:18 and Acts 2:47). The people who surround us help make us what we are, for good or bad.

 

So I got to thinking about the people around me, the people who help me Be the Church. I thought about the large number of visitors that God blesses us with each week. They help us focus outside of ourselves and realize how important they are to the health of this church. I thought about our church staff. Over the past few weeks I have heard our staff members talk about the great chemistry we have and how they look forward to coming to work each day. I thought  about Northwest members who have such generous hearts and set a great example of helping those who are in need, both in the church and outside. The last one I will mention here is a very special group, the Barnabai, those Christians who intentionally go about their daily tasks trying to encourage others, just like Barnabas did (Acts 4:36-37). I’m thankful for all these groups of people who help me Be the Church.

 

Search Committee Update

We are in the middle of Skype interviews with some of the applicants. We are still seeking God’s wisdom, and implore you to pray for it, as we seek out men God is preparing to come be with us. If we are not in agreement and at peace with any of these men, there are still many more “fish in the sea” for God to provide.

Preacher's Thoughts

A capella (literally - in the style of church or chapel music) singing is not unique just to churches of Christ, but it is probably better known today in our churches than       anywhere else. In light of that, I thought you might find the following article from          Oklahoma Christian’s Good News:

 

Barry Poyner, who works with the church in Kirksville, Missouri, has written to say that a cappella music is very popular on college campuses these days.  John Kusmec, one of the members of their college group called Ekklesia Campus Ministry, is in a campus a cappella singing group called True Men on the nearby campus at Truman State University.  They are also close to Moberly Area Community College, and to A.T. Still Medical & Dental Schools.

Recently the University held an A Cappella Festival with various groups on campus and invited guest groups from around the region.  The local church, because of their interest in a cappella singing and in order to make good ties with students in the    singing groups, helped to sponsor the event.

The church there has also sponsored a Praise and Harmony Workshop with Keith    Lancaster.  Additionally, they hosted the a cappella group Durant, directed by Melissa Lancaster.  Last year, the Harding A Cappella Chorus visited Kirksville, the year before the Greater St. Louis Christian Academy came to sing.  They are also in conversations with Melissa Lancaster about producing their own CD of various a cappella groups on campus and our youth group with proceeds going to our scholarships through the   campus ministry.

Each Monday night the college group has a devotional called “A Spiritual Night Cap.”  It is based on Ephesians 5:18-20 which says to be filled with the Spirit and not spirits.  At this event each week, Kusmec leads the singing.

Churches should seek to take advantage of the popularity of a cappella music on      college campuses and elsewhere by inviting people to hear the good singing in their services.

 

Youth News

We have a packed few weeks ahead of us for the NWYG! With Spring Break, our March Madness game, and Family Weekend all approaching, there's a lot to look forward to! When you add all of that to the usual commotion of family life, you may have a lot on your plate! If this is the case for you, don't worry. You aren't alone.

Sometimes, even in the Youth Ministry, we can lose focus on what matters when things get busy. When events pile up, we may feel tempted to enjoy the fun parts of Youth Group and miss the important lesson God is trying to teach us. That's why, no matter what fun events we have on the horizon, we have two weekly environments where we work to focus on God above all else. On Sunday mornings, we learn what God wants from us by studying scripture in depth. Then, on Wednesday nights, we revisit our lesson from Sunday and talk about it in conjunction with our daily lives and activities. Twice a week, we focus on God's message to us and put away the distractions. However, while twice a week is good, it's not enough. That's why we partner with families. 

We cover a lot in our Bible classes. Often, it can be too much to process at the moment. One way to help your students retain what they've learned and grow in their relationship with God is to talk with them regularly about what they've been studying. Currently, we're working through Acts to hear about the 1st-century church and deciding if we have anything to learn from their example. Some questions you might ask each week could be:

1. What did you learn about the early Church this week?

2. In this week's story, how did the example of the early Christians relate to the way we live?

3. What's one thing we can do this week to try and follow their example?

Bible classes serve as a primary way we put God first in the NWYG, even in times of busyness. The good news is that talking with your students about what they hear at Church could be the way your family puts God first when you're busy. You can ask these questions any time! Bring them up in the car, at a meal, or any time you'd already be talking about something. Putting God first doesn't need to be a burden. Add it to your routine! We can't do what we do without parents, and we're so thankful that each one of you cares about your child's spiritual growth. After all, nothing matters more than our walk with Christ. So, no matter how busy you are, find a way to put God first in your family this week!

 

Encouragement from the Elders

Vision for the Future

The Elders are concerned about what Northwest Church of Christ will look like in the future. Our prayer and plans are for a thriving God centered Christ anchored body of believers. To accomplish this all of us will have to work in the Lord’s vineyard every day. The following represents our thoughts and first cut at developing a vision statement. Many discussions and prayers have preceded this writing.

Mission: Make lifelong disciples of all generations:

Vision:

· See everyone in our community of believers have a relationship with God our Father.

· See everyone following Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives.

· Appreciate and understand that the Holy Spirit is guiding us to walk as Jesus walked.

· Equip fathers and mothers to express their faith and pass it down to the next generations by love of the Lord and living as an example.

· Use our God given talents and gifts for good and being the light unto the world.

 

Values:

· Show God’s love through faith and knowing that EVERYONE is made in God’s image.

· Serve mankind by serving our Lord Jesus and following his teachings.

· Be good stewards of the blessings and talents that God has provided.

· Continually strive to grow in God’s word and align ourselves with God’s word.

· Realize that God is all powerful and greater than we can imagine.

· Realize that submitting to God’s kingdom will bring, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control to our lives.

To accomplish these things much prayer and commitment are needed by everyone . To go with the vision and values will have to be well planned goals and cooperation from all of God’s people in his Church.

Many more prayers and thoughts to finish this just as we are all works in process.

 

Youth News

NWYG News

It’s hard to believe we’re already 1/12th of the way through 2019! The NWYG kicked off our new year in grand fashion with several successful events as well as a phenomenal weekend away at Winter Camp! We spent several days at Central Florida Bible Camp with friends from all over the state learning what it really means to “follow” Jesus. Our teens had a wonderful time.

This year, the NWYG will be focusing heavily on involving parents in our students’ spiritual lives. We believe that faith always starts in the home, and no youth ministry can substitute for a student’s family. One of the ways we will be encouraging faith at home this year is through access to parenting resources, giving you concrete, tangible activities to help you foster spiritual growth in your home. One such activity is to create a yearly plan for your family.

Creating a yearly plan for your family can be a tremendous opportunity to set goals and be intentional with your 2019. Planning your year is a great way to take a substantial interest in your Child's spiritual growth. While we are a few weeks into this year, it's not too late to take the time to sit down with your family and decide what you want from your year. Parent Cue has a tremendous resource for setting your family's intention for this year! Check out this website for a free download: https://theparentcue.org/resources/2019-family-plan/

Here's how to participate in this activity: Decide on a time to sit down with your family. Make it a time when distractions will be minimal. Have some snacks and drinks, and tell your kids you want to make an effort to make 2019 a fantastic year for your family! If you have a small whiteboard, notebook, or something else to brainstorm your ideas on, bring it. Then, take an hour (or less!) to go through the planning template and write down your answers. Once you've finished, put your plan somewhere in your house where you'll be reminded of it often. Tape it to the fridge or put it up on the wall!

We hope this will be a meaningful activity for your home. Try it before January ends! You won't regret taking the time to make the most of 2019 for your family. If these types of resources are beneficial to you and you’d like to receive more things like this, sign-up for NWYG’s new bi-weekly email newsletter!

2019 is off to an excellent start for the NWYG, and we can’t wait to see where this year takes us! We hope you’ll be a part of the youth ministry’s year in one way or another.

Preacher's Thoughts

This week I read an article entitled 10 MARKS OF A HAPPY CHURCH  by Chuck Lawless, professor of Evangelism and Missions at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He says he has not found many churches that he would genuinely call happy, but when he has found one, it usually has the following characteristics:

1)  Nothing seems to hinder their worship.

2)  The people actually smile.

3)  The staff have fun together.

4)  The people share burdens through prayer.

5)  They trust each other when they deal with disagreement.

6)  They hang out before and after the service.

7)  They have strong small groups with caring leaders.

8)  The members give sacrificially.

9)  They don’t have a lot of business meetings—and the meetings they have

       are friendly and encouraging.

10) They invite unchurched friends to join them.

I know how I scored Northwest, but I’ll let you come up with your own score.

Due to the score I gave Northwest, I can genuinely say - I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Search Committee Updates

Thank you for assisting us in the survey and by answering questions in the LIFE groups. If you know of someone who is interested in a position at Northwest, please have them submit a resume and a way of viewing their lessons on line. Committee members are seeking verbal input into some of the things important to you as we plan for the future.

Encouragement From the Elders

Scripture tells us, we are all given at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:7). These gifts — on top of our interests, abilities, hobbies, likes, and dislikes — join together to form who we are and how we participate in the work God is doing all around us.             

We are not made to be who we are to serve just ourselves (1 Peter 4:10).  God takes whom He has made us to be and matches it with the needs of others. What does it look like to really serve other people with our gifts?

As we allow the Gospel to change our hearts, we will develop a deep care for other people. Our attention will begin to turn away from ourselves and to the needs of others (Galatians 5:13). The church is us: people who love Jesus serving others by parking cars, holding babies, praying, serving coffee, leading classes, opening homes and assisting with needs. Serving in the local church is a vehicle to discover how we are made and how the Lord can use us. God fills in the picture for us. We discover more about ourselves and how He is growing us while He uses us to meet the needs of others. We learn best by doing.

What can I do to serve other people? How can I be the church? Every week, we are given the opportunity to practice putting our attention less on ourselves and more on others. We will not be perfect; however, as the new year begins let us jump in and serve.

 

I Corinthians 12:7 -  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

I Peter 4:10 -  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms

Galatians 5:13 -  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

 

Preacher's Thoughts

As we close out 2018 I ask the question in the final sermon: How much have you grown this past year in “Looking for the Good”?  You may have grown more than you think - I certainly hope I have. I also hope you have thought about some things this year that will stick with you for the rest of your life…….but now onto 2019!

 

Our theme for 2019 is Be the Church (Don’t Just Go to Church).  Since the church is not a place or location, we cannot go to it. We are it - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We want to think about that this year and how it affects every aspect of our lives. This will be played out in activities throughout the year.  For instance in the Seekers Bible class we will carry that theme throughout the four quarters:

 

Winter - BE THE CHURCH IN SERVING (Mark)

Spring - BE THE CHURCH IN RISKTAKING (Acts 13-28)

Summer - BE THE CHURCH IN TRIALS (II Corinthians)

Fall - BE THE CHURCH IN GENUINENESS (I John)

 

Try to keep this theme before you and incorporate where you can.

 

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

 

Thoughts from the Preacher

Barbara and I would like to send all of you holiday greetings and best wishes for a super 2019! In this our 37th Christmas with you, we would like to thank you for all the words and actions of encouragement you have showered on us this year. You have been especially encouraging with your comments about our fiftieth anniversary. It is a privilege and a joy to be around people like you…..

 

I know there is so much going on around here in December, but I hope you will join me in trying to appreciate each moment of love and hope that is so much a part of this season…….

 

I know some ladies who have been putting in a lot of work to make this year’s Christmas party very special. I hope you can be a part of it on December 9…..

 

We were sorry to lose one of our shut ins, Annette Dobbs and a former member, Geraldine Pucklewartz. It was a privilege to know these kind ladies. Please pray for their families…..

 

I look forward to seeing you.

 

Encouragement from the Elders

How wonderful to know we are special in the sight of God. We have been wonderfully made, Psalms 139:14 and "in the image of our God” (Gen. 1: 27). The New Year is soon to be upon us and we will look back and maybe wonder if we accomplished very much.  

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  – Psalm 139:14

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. - Genesis 1:27                                                                                                  

The fact that we are able to reflect is a blessing from our loving God. Think about the gift of choice he gives us, to start the day with his forgiveness of our past, if we sincerely confess our shortcomings, 1 John 1:9 or more importantly, Acts 2:38 and ask him for the strength through Christ to do better, Phil.4: 13. So we can be encouraged because we know that though we struggle with love, our God is Love (1 John 4:16). Thank God for Jesus, and his love of the Father that gives us the ability to become heirs with him (Eph 3:6).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  – I John 1:9

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. – Acts 2:38

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – I John 4:16

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ    Jesus. – Ephesians 3:6

We are to encourage one another, so I encourage you! Phil.2: 1-11. 

 “Now to him who is able to do more than “all“ we ask or “imagine", according to his “power” that is at work "within" us, to him be glory in the “Church" and in Christ  Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

 

Preacher's Thoughts

There are a lot of avenues that help us fill that bus that is going to heaven.  We know that God wants it full ( ...He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. II Peter 3:9) Thank you for all you are  doing to help others get on the bus.  Thanks to our Life Groups for  projects like the Fall Carnival to load the bus. Sunday morning I announced about brochures that  were available to go in candy bags for Halloween to tell kids and parents about Northwest. You picked up almost 900 of those to use on Halloween. Super! Keep up the good work…..

 Welcome to Ben Rodriguez who begins serving as one of our shepherds and to David Puckett, our treasurer who now serves as a deacon. Please pray for them, for Fran and Cheryl and their families…….

 Also, please continue to pray for our Search Committee as they do so much work behind the scenes to help us find the ministers God wants for Northwest….

 Remember the family of Jack Bowen as he departed this life recently. Jack was a long time member at Northwest…..

 I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

 

Encouragement From the Elders

Matthew 6:19-21 certainly comes into focus when we see the devastation that hurricane Michael has brought. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” This week as I see the before and after satellite photos of Mexico Beach, I have looked around my house with a different attitude. What do we have that is really that important? If all of our things were spread over a 10 mile radius by a storm, in the long run, what difference would it make?

Or does the storm cause you to think about Luke 12:15, where Jesus warned, “Be on your guard for all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” People who just lost their homes, cars and boats are learning what is essentially of value.

Thank you for your generous giving to the Hurricane Michael relief effort. You are a kind hearted, caring people! You know that in the short term, people need food, clothes, temporary shelter and to know that others care about them. We may not replace the antiques and keepsakes, the computers and luxury items that were lost, but we are lending a hand to people in distress.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let’s calibrate the standard by which we measure our blessings. God has blessed us with the ultimate blessing. He has drawn us to Himself. (John 6:44) He counts our faith as righteousness and has adopted us to be brothers and sisters of Jesus, the Messiah. He is building a permanent home for us. We share this hope and the comfort that comes from our fellowship in the church here at Northwest. 

Let’s pray for and support people in our community and in the Panhandle and around the world who need our help. Let us give thanks for the good that we see in the world. Let’s be thankful for Hurricane Michael’s reminder that we cannot count on our possessions to be there always. We can count on God, His love and His promises.

Thank you for your love and your generous giving. Thank you for your kindnesses to the people in Michael’s wake. I thank God for you and pray that He will bless you and keep you all close to Him and to each other and give you joy and peace. May this be a very special Thanksgiving for us all.

 

Search Committee Updates

January 8, 2019

After a short break for the holidays, the committee is getting back in the groove. The processes we will use have been completed, and the elders have finalized the job descriptions that we are sharing with advisors around the country who will help us find some great candidates, in addition to the applicants who have already contacted us. We are now working on a church profile to share with those candidates so they know more about us.

December 11, 2018

Next Sunday, December 16, morning Bible classes will be asked to complete a survey. It will also be available in the Welcome Center during service. Everyone is encouraged to complete it. Results will help us to know more about what you, our members, are wanting.

December 4, 2018

The Search Committee asks for your prayers for wisdom to make decisions that God wants us to make and as we conduct a survey of our membership this month.  Please keep praying for the men and families that God plans to bring us.

November 20, 2018

The Search Committee asks for your prayers for wisdom to make decisions that God wants us to make and as we work to develop a church survey for our membership, as well as work on a church profile to share with applicants. Please keep praying for the men and families that God plans to bring us.

October 29, 2018

We ask for your prayers as we work to develop a church profile to share with potential applicants. Please continue to be praying for the men and families that God plans to bring us.

October 22, 2018

The Search Committee is now working on job profiles and on the processes and procedures we are using.  Please keep praying for the men and families that God plans to bring to us.