A Wonderful Valentine’s Dinner – 2/15/2020

On Saturday, February 15, the Fellowship Committee hosted a wonderful Valentine’s dinner for the congregation.  Complete with lasagna, spaghetti casseroles, Olive Garden salad and a strolling violinist, it was a wonderful evening for couples and families.  Thanks to all who helped pull it together!
 

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Pastor’s Corner – February 2020

Almost every Christian would say that they believe in the Bible, but according to a recent Lifeway Research survey, more than half of Americans have read little or none of the Bible. I hear from many folks who have tried to read through the Bible, usually in a year, but haven’t been able to finish. To be honest, it can be a daunting task.
 
One of the other challenges with reading the entire Bible is that many of us only read the Bible in small snippets, a few verses here or there, usually in a Sunday school class or a sermon on Sunday morning. Don’t misunderstand me here, those are important and necessary ways to understand what the Bible is teaching and how to apply it to our lives. But the risk we run is not seeing how each of these isolated passages relate to the grand arc of redemptive history.
 

Binge Reading…

One of my favorite TV shows was LOST. The hardest part of the show, though, was keep track of all of the different threads and plots from week to week. A couple of years ago, my son and I sat down and binged the entire series in a few days. Doing so enabled us to keep track of the various threads much more easily. Sometimes we need to experience the big picture so we can appreciate the details even more. That’s what we’re going to do with the Bible – we’re going to “binge read” it.
 

…The Bible in 90 Days

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, the Session and I invite you to make a commitment to reading through the entire Bible in 90 days. By the time Pentecost rolls around, we’ll have read the whole Bible, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. That might sound daunting, but it actually works out to just 12 pages a day. And, you won’t be going through this alone — this is a church-wide endeavor, and we’ll be making several tools available to help you succeed.
 

What Bible Should You Read?

You can read any Bible you like (even an app that reads the Bible to you!) — we’ll provide a reading schedule for those who would like it. However, we recommend purchasing the Bible in 90 Days Bible and participant’s guide (we’ll have these available for $20). You can also find them for your favorite e-reader (Kindle, iBooks, etc). The B90 Bible has a couple of advantages: first, it has the daily readings already broken down in the text, which makes it easier to follow along; second, it has minimal notes and whatnot, which can be very distracting when you’re trying to read on a schedule.
 

Sharing the Journey Together

In addition to the Bible, we’ll be asking everyone to sign up for a discussion group. We’ll have two times during the week — Sunday mornings during the Sunday school hour at 9:45am and Wednesday evening at 5:45pm. This is an essential part of successfully reading through the Bible in 90 days, as it provides accountability and an opportunity to learn and discuss what we’ve just read the previous week. In addition, each Sunday’s sermon throughout the 90 days will follow along with our reading. To help us focus on our readings, we will only be offering the one class during the Sunday school hour for youth and adults.
 

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who can read, frankly! Aside from that, we’re encouraging our late-elementary kids, youth and all adults to participate. Please feel free to invite folks from the community to join us on the journey as well, especially folks you know who might be interested in learning more about what the Bible says – this can be a fantastic evangelism tool.
 

Find Out More on Sunday, February 23

Come to Sunday school on February 23 at 9:45 where we’ll be providing more information about why we believe this is important for our church and how this will work. It’s going to be an exciting journey for all of us, and we look forward to traveling together on The Path of the Phoenix.
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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Reading the Bible as a Single Book – A February 2020 Table Talk Series

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with how long and diverse the Bible is? Do you struggle with seeing it as “one book” with a single message? Join us at Table Talk as we explore the unity of the Bible. We’ll be meeting at 5:45 p.m. on February 5, 12, and 19. This is a practical, hands-on series that will equip you to read through the Bible with greater understanding. You can expect to gain useful tools and resources that will make reading the Bible from cover to cover a more meaningful experience.
 
Join us Wednesdays, 5:45-6:45, beginning February 5.

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January 2020 Pastor’s Corner – Is Anyone Listening?

Is Anyone Listening?

“What is the word that Jesus has for your church?” I looked at my spiritual director a little befuddled, mostly because I wasn’t expecting the question. “Do you believe that Jesus has a word for your church today?” Well, of course I do. “So are you listening for it?” That’s really the question isn’t it? Am I listening for Jesus’ word to Northminster? To me? Just how does Jesus speak to us today? I fully believe that Jesus can speak to us in any form he chooses — directly, through someone else, a nudge of the conscience, the gift of a beautiful sunset, so on and so forth. The primary way He speaks to us is through His Word, the Bible. When we read the Bible, we’re usually pretty aware that we are reading, in some respects, a conversation between God and other people. We easily forget that God’s Word is just as much a conversation between us and God as well. Is anyone listening?
 

Tuning In

Much like tuning our car radio (does anyone even do that anymore?) to get the best reception of our favorite radio station, we will hear that for which we’re listening. When we step outside on a spring or summer day, at first the world sounds quiet. As we listen, as we “tune in,” we begin to hear the birds chirping and the wind rustling the leaves. When we listen more attentively, we begin to pick out different kinds of birds singing to each other. Eventually we can even locate particular birds in the trees and to whom they’re singing. We might not think Jesus is speaking to us, but He is, and we need to make sure we’re tuning in. Are we listening?
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” (Rev. 1:10–11)
 
During the season of Epiphany (all of January and February this year), we’re going to focus on “tuning in” to hear what Jesus is saying to us by listening in on what He said to the seven churches in Revelation. In the Bible, the number seven denotes fullness, totality and comprehensiveness. The letters to these seven historical churches represent the church universal. The Word that Jesus had for these seven churches is also the word He has for us individually, for Northminster, and the Church (capital “C” means the universal church, all churches in all times and all places) today. We will use these seven letters to help us tune in to what Jesus is saying to us right now. Once we get tuned in, we can start listening.
 

The Word That Speaks

Jesus isn’t just speaking to us through the seven letters of Revelation, though. We believe that every page of the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but most of us have never read through the entire Bible. How can we say we’re listening to Jesus if we don’t know what His Word says? Beginning on Ash Wednesday, we will embark on a journey to listen to the Word of God itself, the entire counsel of Scripture. In the 90 days from Ash Wednesday through Pentecost, we will read the entire Bible together. I know that sounds kind of daunting, but it works out to just 12 pages a day. Look at it like “binge reading” the entire Bible. Now that many shows and TV series are available to stream, you can watch an entire series in a weekend. “LOST” makes a lot more sense when you binge it (although it’s still really confusing). We’re going to do the same thing with the Bible. The sermons on Sundays will follow along with the weekly readings and we’ll provide tools and other things to help us all stay on track together. We’ll share more details about how this is going to work in next month’s newsletter.
 
The Session and I have been talking and praying about this for many months, and we’re really excited about what God will reveal to us — as individuals and as a church — when we tune in and start listening for His word to us. In 2020, let’s make sure we’re tuned in to Him and listening together.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)
 
Blessings,
Rev. David Garrison

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“It Happened Like This…” – An Advent Sunday School Class

We all know the familiar Christmas story, and each December we are given many opportunities to hear and see the story retold through pageants, nativities and countless other celebrations of the season.  Most of those stories have something in common: they take the accounts of Jesus birth as told primarily through the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and combine them into one cohesive tale.
 
However, just as each Gospel is unique unto itself, so also are their respective birth narratives.  Of the four gospels, only three have an introduction that refers to the coming of Jesus Christ, and even then only two actually speak of his birth.  In this class, we’ll take a look at what makes the introductions to the Gospels of John, Matthew and Luke unique, how the way they relate the birth of Christ impacts the rest of their Gospel, and what each version means for us, today.
 
Join us Sunday mornings in December.  9:45am in the Tatman room.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors Community Meal – November 26, 4:30-7pm

Neighbors Helping Neighbors will start having a FREE evening meal (5:00-7:00) on Tuesdays beginning in November.  They are looking for volunteers.  We would bring the food already prepared and then warm it up upon arrival.  Jimmy Price has opened his building located on route 29, near Dixie Airport Road, for this purpose.  We (MOE committee) invited Garry Friend to speak at Northminster and explain in detail what would be expected of an organization willing to help. 

We have agreed to serve one meal, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, November 26.   We will serve about 50 people – about the size of a church covered-dish meal.  This may be the only Thanksgiving dinner for our guests.  

NHN provides plates, napkins, cups and eating utensil and they clean up.   

The menu is listed here: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, rolls and butter, cranberry salad, pie and whipped cream, coffee, sweet tea, and water. 

We need people to serve, greet, cook, pray, and help with a little clean up.  (Donations are helpful as well.)
 
Update from Sunday, November 24 Bulletin:
Thank you to everyone helping with the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Evening Meal on Tuesday, November 26th
Just a few last minute items:
If you are making food be sure to deliver to Jimmy Price’s building no later then 4:30 (4:15 would be better). We start serving at 5:00 p.m.
If you are dropping off your food at NEPC or are unsure of the location and want car pool please let me know or see Vonnie.
Find your NEPC tee shirt and wear so our guest will know who to ask for help or seconds.
Please be in prayer for those coming for dinner.
Thank you
 
Update from Sunday, November 17 Bulletin:
MEAL FOR NHN ON TUES NOV 26:
Northminster is serving a meal on Tuesday, November 26 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. We need to be at the Jimmy Price’s building around 4:30 p.m. to pray and see where we will be serving. Please wear your NEPC tee shirt. See Judy Reyburn if you need one.
  • We still need volunteers to serve the meal
  • Kitchen volunteers to dish up the plates
  • Cooks
      • 2 more turkeys
      • Rolls and butter
      • Drinks (sweet tea, lemonade, water)
      • Pie and whipped cream
      • Cranberry salad
  • Light clean-up
 

Please contact Judy Reyburn if you can help prepare and serve food, or if you can prepare food but cannot attend the meal.  

Missions, Evangelism, Outreach Committee


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Operation Christmas Child 2019 is Underway!

The Sunday School classes will be taking up items for our shoeboxes through Sunday, November 17.  We will put together as many shoeboxes as we can during SS on November 17.  However, we will continue to put boxes together during that week should we have more items come in later.
 
Operation Christmas Child suggests that we have one WOW item per box such as a doll, a stuffed animal, an outfit of clothes, a small musical instrument, or a backpack.  Our boxes are divided by gender and the following age groups:  2 – 4, 5 – 9, 10 – 14.
 
Some suggested items are: combs, hairbrushes, chapstick, bandages, toothbrush, watch, packaged soap, washcloth, stick deodorant, reusable plastic containers (cups, plates, bowls), blunt edged utensils, blanket, nail clipper, finger nail file, shirts/pants, loose fitting sundress, underwear, shoes, socks, flip-flops, hat, scarf, mittens, sunglasses, tote bag/purse, hair bows, pencils, manual pencil sharpener, colored pencils, pencil case, crayons, markers, pens, ruler, scissors, coloring pads/books, picture books, notebooks, glue sticks, tape, water color set, play doh with plastic cookie cutters, sewing kit, stickers, chalkboard and chalk, jump rope, foam ball, finger puppets, slinky, etch a sketch, yo-yo, marbles, costume jewelry, small Frisbee, small kite, solar powered calculator, puzzles, binoculars, plastic tools, plastic dinosaurs, small cars/trucks/boats, flashlight (if battery powered – an extra set of batteries), and compact mirror.
 
The things that are not allowed in the shoeboxes are as follows:  candy, toothpaste, gum, used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures, chocolate or food, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes (powdered or liquid), liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes, or glass containers, and aerosol cans.
Please bring any donations to church by Sunday, November 17. There will be a collection bin in the church foyer for your donations. If you choose to pack your own shoebox, please bring it to church that Sunday morning as well.
 
If you have any questions, please contact Sharon Bryant.

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Church Picnic – Sunday, Sept 15 @ 5PM

The annual church picnic will be held on Sept 15 starting at 5 pm. Hotdogs, hamburgers and all the fixings will be provided. Everyone is invited to come and bring family, friends and neighbors. Please sign up on a sheet that is on the bulletin board. Everyone is asked to bring a favorite side dish or dessert to share. There will be games and entertainment. Music will be provided by the Country Proud Bluegrass Band.

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NEPC Student Ministries News & Info – August 2019

Things for the youth ministry at Northminster slowed down over the summer, but we’re cranking things back up as we get ready for the fall!

Welcome Rising 6th Graders!

We’re excited to have you join us!  You are welcome to join us for Sunday school on Sunday mornings any time!  John Lange and Sharon Bryant are our teachers, and they’d love to see you at 9:45 on Sundays.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, August 7, ~6:30 @ Venue Cinemas — We’ll meet at Venue Cinemas around 6:30 to catch a fun summer movie!  Which one?  No idea – the schedule isn’t out yet.  We’ll email once it is with specifics.  Interested?  Be sure to let Pastor Dave know! 

Sunday, August 18, 5:30-7:30 — It’s time to bid adieu to summer.  Join us at the Garrisons for a fun-filled game night, dinner included.  This will be a great way to de-stress after the first few days of school and as you prepare for your first full week.  This is also a particularly good event for folks who haven’t been to youth group before to come and meet the other students and get a sense for what we’re all about!

Sunday, September 8, 6:00-7:15pm — We officially kick off our fall semester and weekly youth group meetings on the 8th.  We’ll start the fall with a series called, “Rescued from an Ordinary Life.”
 
Keep up to date on all the Student Ministries doings by clicking here!

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What 21st-Century Christians Can Learn From The Early Church – A Lent 2019 Table Talk Series

Those who study and observe the ebb and flow of culture say that we are no longer a “post-Christian” culture but have actually returned to a “pre-Christian” state.  If that is true, we would do well to take a closer look at the Early Church and see what we can learn in order to more faithfully live and effectively share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
Table Talk meets each Wednesday from 5:30-6:45pm.
 
Here’s what each week of this series will focus on:
 

March 13: “How the Early Church Was Made”

Acts gives us the “formula” for how the early church was made: the ministry of prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. This first session will look at God’s blueprint for the church as laid out in scripture and illustrated in the first century. In matters as diverse as apostolic authority, church organization and discipline, and the confession of doctrine through creeds and hymns, we’ll explore how the “apostolic” and “sub apostolic” church was established. Whether it’s making a church, growing a church, or running a church, the divine formula is still the same today—prayer and the Holy Spirit.
 

March 20: “Going, Loving, Dying: The Missionary Church in Action”

The early church was a missionary church. It was a church that went to the ends of the earth, just as Jesus had commanded. The early church was also known for its love. In a groundbreaking study in 1996, American sociologist Rodney Stark argued that the early church grew in direct proportion to its love for others. Finally, the church evangelized by dying—that is, through the ultimate witness of martyrdom. Just as Jesus had commanded, the first believers “took up their cross” and followed Him. Christians today have been called to the same missionary task of going, loving, and dying to self.
 

March 27: “Lessons from the Catacombs”

Were you taught that the catacombs were places of refuge in times of persecution? Did you learn that the fish symbol was a secret message? Well, think again! There are many persistent myths about the catacombs. These burial places did, in fact, serve an important purpose in the early church—but it’s not entirely what you think. This session will explore the surprisingly rich world of catacomb art that will model for us a dynamic way of reading and applying scripture as we live for Christ in an ungodly world. The message of the catacombs is the message of Easter: Christ has triumphed over death!
 

April 3: “Contending for the Faith: Heresy and Orthodoxy”

The battle over “sound doctrine” was the defining challenge of the early church. To this day, we recite creeds that were formulated in direct response to false teachings. Docetism, gnosticism, Arianism—these heresies struck at the very heart of the gospel by redefining the person and work of Jesus Christ. In this session, we’ll not only explore these heresies in their historical setting; we’ll also see that these ancient heresies continue to rear their ugly head in the contemporary church in America. Christians today, no less than the earliest believers, have been called to contend earnestly for the faith.
 

April 10: “Constantine: The Church’s Worst Nightmare?”

On the evening of October 27, 312, Constantine was standing near the Milvian Bridge in Rome. As armies positioned themselves for a decisive battle, the emperor saw a vision that forever changed his life, the Christian Church, and the western world. But did he really see a vision? To this day, historians debate the facts and the significance of what happened—but the results were unmistakable. Constantine dramatically “converted” to Christianity and the status of the western church would never be the same. This session will explore what happens when the church makes common cause with politics.
 

April 17: “The Death Throes of Paganism”

By the end of the Roman period, Christianity had triumphed over paganism in Europe. Temples and idols were destroyed. Pagan institutions were shut down. Profane literature was censored and burned. But paganism proved to be remarkably resilient. The goddess Venus was repackaged as the Virgin Mary. Devotion to the pantheon of gods was replaced by prayers to the saints. This session will explore how Christians of every age must be vigilant in defending the purity of the church. This is particularly true for 21st-century Christians, who find themselves living in an increasingly neo-pagan society.

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