The Ministry Challenge!

Rev-Stu-01-webStew Royce, Senior Pastor, Noelridge Christian Church

There is a famous story told about the conductor of a great symphony orchestra who stopped the music in the middle of a rehearsal. He had missed hearing the notes of a musician in the back row. The bell-ringer was supposed to have rung three notes, but didn’t because he thought his instrument was insignificant. This musician was comparing what he played to the flutes, cellos, and violins. “I miss the three notes of the bell-ringer,” said the conductor. “When those particular notes are not sounded, there is something lacking in the harmony of the music.”

A conductor knows that when one of the musical notes is not played at the right time, the whole performance suffers. The talents of each member of the orchestra are necessary for a piece of beautiful music to be heard.

The same principle applies to the church, as every member has something unique and special to offer. In the church, like an orchestra, we must blend all of our talents together into a common effort.

We are instructed in 1 Peter 4:10: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others ..”

We all have different interests, skills, and abilities and there is a reason for that. Our Lord has provided this congregation with everything we need to serve Him effectively. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, our church has many ministry opportunities and God is calling each of us to get involved!

All of us have a part to play in furthering the work of Noelridge. No task is too small or unimportant. Look at your skills and abilities. Then, pick a job where you can contribute to the spiritual life and growth of our congregation. As you prayerfully consider where God may be calling you to serve, the following list may help generate some ideas.

Ministry Opportunities

Church Office

  • Answer telephones
  • Mail letters
  • Enter information into the computer
  • Prepare bulletins

Prayer & Care

  • Hospital Ministry – visit people in the hospital for prayer and encouragement
  • Post-Hospital Ministry – visit people in their homes after a hospital stay
  • Cheer Givers – visit our homebound and nursing home members for prayer
  • Card Ministry – prepare birthday and anniversary cards to be mailed
  • Bereavement Ministry – visit and keep in contact with individuals and families after the death of a loved one
  • Providing Transportation – Give rides to church and doctor visits for those unable to drive
  • Prayer Ministry – Attend weekly meetings at church, held on Wednesday afternoons 4 – 5pm and Thursday mornings 10-11am
  • Prayer Planning Ministry – Organize prayer vigils and other special prayer events

Children/Youth Ministries/Christian Education

  • Nursery – Provide care for infants during Sunday worship and special services
  • Children’s Church – Teach or assist in class during Sunday Worship
  • Teachers – For elementary, middle, and high school students
  • Youth Group Leaders & Assistants – Lead youth group studies and activities for teens
  • Adult Bible Leaders – Teach Bible Study classes

Outreach Ministries

  • Food Court – help prepare and serve meals on
  • Wednesday evenings
  • Saturday Evening Meal Program (SEMP) – donate desserts or volunteer time helping feed the homeless
  • Christmas Gift Tree – organize gift trees and encourage members to purchase gifts for families in need
  • Food Baskets – organize food purchases and donations for needy families at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
  • Greeter Ministry – make phone calls to visitors attending Sunday Worship

 Worship Ministries

  • Chancel Choir & Praise Team – Rehearse on Wednesday evenings and sing during Sunday morning services and special services
  • Sound/Video Technician – train to run sound and video equipment during worship services, weddings, and special productions

Property Ministries

  • Carpentry – do repair work on the church facility or complete other small projects
  • Decorating – paint and decorate the church for special occasions
  • General Maintenance – do routine jobs like cutting grass or shoveling snow
  • Grounds Maintenance – pull weeds, trim edges and shrubs, and keep the grounds attractive

Our church has many ministry opportunities and we want you to be sharing your talents, gifts, and abilities. You and I have been called to ministry with our Lord Jesus Christ. What an honor and a privilege!

As we take a step of faith and begin serving in new ministries, God can use us in exciting ways. We serve a great and wonderful Savior who wants to accomplish amazing things through us!

Blessings, Rev. Stew

Let Us Worship Him!

Rev-Stu-01-webRev. Stew Royce, Senior Minister, Noelridge Christian Church

Back in the 1800s, Henry Ward Beecher was a famous preacher and large crowds would come to listen to him. One Sunday, Henry was away and a substitute had been lined up to preach. When the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits.

That’s when the minister stood and said loudly:

“All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your seats!”

What a wake-up call! This directs our attention to the primary reason for coming to church, and that is to worship God. We need to be coming to church with a desire to enter God’s presence. True worship is always God-centered, and involves giving Him praise for all that He has done for us in Christ.

A challenge for our church family is to examine what God gets from us when we gather to worship. This doesn’t have anything to do with raising our hands or engaging in some outward expression of worship.

What each one of us needs to ask ourselves, though, is the following question:

What does God get from me in corporate worship?

At times, there may be some who are disengaged in worship. Even non-believers notice whether the   people present are engaged in worship or bored and checked out. If we’re looking at our smartphones, there is no sacrifice of praise to the Lord God Almighty, and worship is devoid of gratitude and passion. The main point is that we are not bringing God the praise He deserves!

Remember, our God, the Creator of heaven and earth, wants to hear our prayers and have us sing of His mercies. Worship involves surrendering our whole lives to God. Hebrews 13:15 tells us:

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name.”

In worship, may we find a new appreciation for something that has been here all the time – the presence of the living God!

Blessings,

Pastor Stew

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Piper-Denise-web-02-2012Denise Piper, Parish Nurse, Noelridge Christian Church

Somewhere between Halloween and Christmas is a Thursday holiday that has almost been forgotten by many American families… Thanksgiving. If you look up and down the aisles of your local discount store, you might find a few Thanksgiving cards, decorations, and even a turkey platter or two.

Historically, Thanksgiving has been a day for families to be together. Before the well-prepared meal was shared, the family patriarch said a heartfelt prayer of blessing for the food and for the family and friends gathered to share the bounty. Conversation spoke of gratitude for their many gifts from God. Those gifts might include the gift of a good harvest, and the gift of a good garden with many jars of canned fruits and vegetables lining the pantry shelves. Thankfulness was spoken for the gifts of close family and friends, and healthy, though often rambunctious children. There were the sounds of laughter that happiness brought.

Fast forward to 2015. Family and friends often gather, food is plentiful… and conversation may be limited. Each may have brought his or her own electronics. They are playing games, checking their “mail”, posting comments, and often texting someone across the same room. The television is on. Some may be watching the Macy’s parade, talking about football, and all meals must flex around the time of the favored game! Then… after quickly consuming the meal and not finding sufficient space in the refrigerator for the leftovers, we plan to “eat again soon!” We look forward to opening the heavy newspaper filled with ads describing the offers and sales that lure us into Black Friday. It is the best shopping day of the year, you know. We make lists of “must have” items, and a plan of attack is agreed upon. Look at the bargains we’ll buy! We are up before dawn and we are ready for “The Day.”

This year, perhaps we could share a portion of our Thanksgiving Day with our Heavenly Father by beginning our meal with a sincere prayer of thanks. Then read a portion of scripture such as Psalm 100, Colossians chapter 3 verses 15-17, or one of your choosing. May our dinnertime conversation include the sharing of those things for which we are most thankful.

And may this November 26, 2015 be truly…

Thanksgiving Day!

Body Building

Rev-Stu-01-webRev. Stew Royce, Senior Pastor, Noelridge Christian Church

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”

Frequently, we refer to the many different parts of our body as members. The heart, the lungs, the tongue, the hand, the foot are all members of the body. Each part carries out a necessary and important function. Some body parts are visible while many others are not, but all are of equal value.

The image of the human body is what the apostle Paul uses to describe the Church. We are members of the Body of Christ. As with a human body, each of us has our own unique part to play in the Church.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:21:

“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’”

We are the hands of Christ. We are the feet of Christ. We need to appreciate the various gifts Christ has   given us to further the work of His Church.

The story is told of a little boy watching his father fry some eggs for breakfast. The boy said he had a joke and proceeded by saying: “Dad, how do you eat an egg without cracking the shell?”

His Dad thought about it for a few minutes and finally concluded: “I don’t know. How do you eat an egg without cracking the shell?”

His son replied: “Have someone else crack it for you.”

In order to eat eggs, we have to break some shells. Likewise, we sometimes want the benefits a church has to offer without sharing in the responsibilities. As the Church, we are all members of one body. Every part is necessary; every part is valuable; every part must do its job.

We have work to do and let’s get cracking because, as Saint Teresa of Avila expressed it poetically:

He has no hands but our hands,

To do His work today;

He has no feet but our feet

To lead folk in His way;

He has no voice but our voice

To tell of how He died;

He has no help but our help

To lead them to His side.

Everybody is somebody in the body of Christ. We’re all working together “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, building up the Body of Christ.”

Prevent the Flu

Piper-Denise-web-02-2012Denise Piper, Parish Nurse, Noelridge Christian Church

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness. The “best way” to prevent this illness is by getting an annual flu vaccine.

Signs and Symptoms 

  •  fever or feeling feverish, chills
  • cough and sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • headaches and muscle or body aches
  • fatigue, feeling very tired
  • vomiting/diarrhea

How the Flu Spreads

This virus mainly spreads by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.

Period of Contagion

“When you can spread your flu germs to others…”

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you even realize you’re infected! Most healthy adults can infect others beginning one day before they develop symptoms and up to seven days after becoming sick.

Complications of Flu

Complications can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and       worsening of chronic medical conditions.

The Influenza Vaccine

The single best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. “Flu shots” are usually injected with a needle, into the upper arm. “Nasal spray” is approved for use in healthy people ages 2 to 49 years old, not pregnant, and not caring for someone with weakened immunity.

Besides the Vaccine… More Germ Control

  • avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • stay home when you are sick: going to work, school, church, or running errands exposes lots of other folks!
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing (or cough/sneeze into your armpit or elbow…)
  • wash your hands often: after a cough/sneeze, before eating, before touching eyes, nose, or mouth

Other Vaccination Information

“Shingles” Vaccination – the vaccine for shingles is recommended for people 60 years and older. This is a one-time vaccination. There is no maximum age for getting this vaccine. Even if you have had shingles, you can still get the vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease.

“Pneumonia” Vaccination – Currently, the Pneumovax vaccine is recommended for all adults who are older than 65 years of age. It may be recommended for adults 19 through 64 years of age and/or those who smoke cigarettes or who have asthma.

As always, contact your health care provider with any questions regarding your need for any and all adult vaccinations!

Resources

Choir Singing Could Help Reduce Anxiety

Staff Sullenberger Cameron WebCameron Sullenberger, Music Director, Noelridge Christian Church

Whether it’s an a cappella group or the church chorale, a small new study shows that singing in a choir could do a lot for your state of mind. The findings, published in the journal Psychology of     Music and conducted by researchers at Abant Izzet Baysal University in Turkey, show that singing in a choir is associated with decreased levels of anxiety. The study included 35 people who were assigned to either one hour of choir singing, or one hour of “unstructured time” (the control group). Researchers analyzed their positive and negative affect, as well as their levels of anxiety and salivary amylase (amylase is an enzyme that is often used as a marker for inflammation).

Researchers found that the participants assigned to sing in the choir had decreases in their negative affect and anxiety, compared with the control group. Meanwhile, the control group experienced more anxiety and negative affect before and after the hour period. The benefits of joining a choir could go beyond mental health, too. Norwegian researchers previously reported that participation in a choir is linked with better health and workplace engagement, Science Nordic reported.

“The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological,” Graham Welch, chair of music education at the Institute of Education at the University of London, said in a Heart Research UK statement. The benefits of singing range from the physical — because it boosts oxygen levels in the blood — to the psychological — because it lowers stress and boosts feelings of community, he said.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Need to de-stress and feel healthier? Come to Chancel Choir!

We have just started preparing for Sunday anthems and Christmas Cantata. Come join us from 6:30–7:30 every Wednesday.

Chancel Choir wants you and your gifts—whatever they may be for His glory.

Join us!

Cameron Sullenberger

Go, Noelridge, Go!

Rev-Stu-01-webRev. Stew Royce, Senior Minister, Noelridge Christian Church

 Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Here it is! The newly designed Noelridge News, filled with information about the life of our church. You’ll find lots about the newsletter that is familiar, but we’ve given it a great new look!

The front page will still be a colorful display of pictures showing activities going on at Noelridge. Inside there will be our usual articles, and some new features, including Regional updates and a page for members to share news, too.

At the time this newsletter went to “press,” we had just held our 2015 Forward Meeting. The topic for discussion concerned the importance of Christian education for all members of our congregation. We not only discussed the current concerns of our church, but also began the work of forming a vision for the future. The process of growing spiritually, both individually and as the body of Christ, involves a firm understanding of how we need each other. Jesus told us how we are to work together as His followers when He said in John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

For Jesus, our working together is very important to Him. As the poet W.H. Auden once said, “We must love one another or die.”

In thinking about working together as a team, an old parable tells of a noisy carpenter’s shop. In this shop, the tools were arguing among themselves. Brother Hammer was told by his fellow tools to leave because he was too noisy.

To which he replied, “If I am to leave this carpenter’s shop, Brother Gimlet must go too; he is so insignificant, and makes very little impression.”

Little Brother Gimlet arose and said, “All right, but   Brother Screw must go also; you have to turn him around and around, again and again, to get him anywhere.”

Brother Screw then said, “If you wish, I will go, but Brother Plane must leave also; all his work is on the   surface, there is no depth to it.”

To this, Brother Plane replied, “Well, Brother Ruler will have to withdraw if I do, for he is always measuring   others as though he were the only one who is right.”

Brother Ruler then complained against Brother Sandpaper and said, “I don’t care, he’s too rough and is always rubbing people the wrong way.”

In the midst of this discussion, the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in. He went to His workbench to make a pulpit from which to preach the gospel. He employed the screw, the gimlet, the sandpaper, the saw, the hammer, the plane, and all the other tools. After the day’s work was over and the pulpit finished, Brother Saw arose and said, “Well, I perceive that all of us are laborers together with God.”

How wonderful that the Lord Jesus uses all of us to accomplish His work. As we remember to appreciate the various gifts God has given to each of us, we’ll then be able to work together.

Life’s greatest reward will be to hear Jesus say: “Well done!”

Blessings, Rev. Stew

Cameron’s Corner – September

Staff Sullenberger Cameron WebCameron Sullenberger, Music Director, Noelridge Christian Church

Hello Noelridge Family,

I’m happy to start another fall with the choir and all the schedules that follow. Whatever the season, God has something very special planned for all of us.

Choir Dinner: September 2. Bring a friend at 6pm and be a part of something special in a new season.

Choir Begins: September 9 at 6:30.

Looking forward to every season with God by our side!

Seasons of the Soul by Greer/Dawson

Seasons of the soul

Come like seasons of the year

They quickly come and go

Leaving only memories here

Some are bright with joy

Some are drenched with tears

Relentlessly they roll with heaven as their goal

 

The seasons of the soul

Sometimes life is Spring

Faith in Christ has been reborn

The heart can’t help but sing praises to the risen Lord!

Then Summertime appears

Days of sun and storm

It’s time for faith to grow until green turns to gold

The seasons of the soul

 

And Autumn is the season for harvest

That marvelous reason for gratitude

But uses us just as He promised

To bring forth the crop of remaining fruit

 

Winter’s bitter wind

Ushers in the soul’s dark night

Struggles of sin

Chill the heart and dims God’s light

But seasons always pass

Like snowy winter white

Relentlessly they roll with heaven as their goal

The seasons of the soul

Relentlessly they roll

But God is in control in every season of the soul

 

Yours in Christ,

Cameron Sullenberger, Music Director

 

September is Pain Awareness Month

Piper-Denise-web-02-2012Denise Piper, Noelridge Christian Church Parish Nurse

When we learn a person suffers from pain or chronic pain … what are our thoughts? Do we think “That’s too bad, I have pain too, and I just endure it?” or “Why don’t they quit complaining, take a deep breath and get on with life?” Perhaps there is more to chronic pain than we know.

What is chronic pain?

About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. It is defined as pain that lasts longer than six months and can range from mild to excruciating. It may be inconvenient or totally incapacitating and may last months or years. This takes a toll both physically and emotionally.

Common sources of chronic pain are headaches, joint pain, backaches and injuries. It also effects certain areas of the body such as shoulders, neck and pelvis. It may begin with a trauma or infection. Diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia may be causes. And, at times, no specific reason for chronic pain development can be pinpointed.

The emotional toll can increase pain due to anxiety, stress, depression, anger, and fatigue. There is evidence that this type of pain can suppress the immune system, leading to other physical problems.

What are additional causes of chronic pain?

Seemingly simple factors may lead to chronic pain:

  • Years of poor posture
  • Improper lifting and carrying of heavy objects
  • Wearing high heels
  • Sleeping on a poor mattress
  • Normal aging that may affect bones and joints
  • Ordinary degenerative changes of the spine

Often the source of chronic pain is very complex and when considering the emotional toll, the treatment may be complex as well.

What are typical symptoms of Chronic Pain?

  •  Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Withdrawal from activity and need to rest
  • Changes in mood including hopelessness, fear, anxiety, irritability, and stress
  • Disability
  • Difficulty keeping up with work or home responsibilities

What are treatment options?

Chronic pain often needs both counseling and medical treatment because of the stress on mind and body. Some may benefit from visits to a pain clinic, where a multidisciplinary team approach is used to formulate treatment. Discuss any pain issues with your health care provider.

Do you know people who live with chronic pain?

With 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, we no doubt know several, but are aware of only a few. Often this information is not shared. Look at people where you shop, work, and worship. They are there. You can give them a listening ear through your friendship. And assure them of prayers on their behalf.

One of the members of our Noelridge family has endured chronic pain for some time. He recently completed a three week pain management program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In the near future, Dave Huovinen and his wife Cindy will share their journey through chronic pain with us. At this time, they are thankful for the prayers on their behalf, the knowledge of the professionals at the clinic, and the wonderful results.

Sources:

  • American Chronic Pain Association – www.theacpa.org
  • Mayo Clinic – ww.mayoclinic.org
  • WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

 

A Moment of Prayer

Rev-Stu-01-webFrom Rev. Stew Royce, Senior Pastor, Noelridge Christian Church

For an hour every Wednesday, we have a special time to gather at the church for a unique opportunity to pray. Our weekly “prayer meeting” runs from 5:00 – 6:00 pm and is based on Psalm 46:10:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

In this quiet hour we have heads bowed and hearts open, listening for the “still, small voice.” We begin with an opening   prayer and then pray together as a group at the end of the hour. The leaders of our prayer ministry provide this service and no one is ever expected to pray aloud.

Prayer is a mysterious force that brings spiritual energy to our lives. When we look at the life of Jesus, He always set time aside to pray. It was a daily habit for Him. Jesus prayed regularly, and so can we!

Take time to energize your life, as well as the lives of others, through prayer. Once there was a little boy who wrote a letter to God. He said: “Dear God, You do a lot of things and are really busy. Now here is my question. When is the best time I can talk to you? I know You are always listening, but when will You be listening hard in Toledo, Ohio? Sincerely Yours, Donald.”

Be assured that God listens hard all the time, and everywhere, including the state of Iowa.

Going back in time to my childhood years, I remember receiving a card with a prayer on the front of it. Although the details are sketchy, I must have read that prayer with interest because my mom framed it for me. Over the years to the present day, that little framed prayer has hung on a wall, been stored in a box, and gathered dust on a shelf. There was a time when I even thought about throwing it away!

Fortunately, I have kept it all these years. This prayer is a source of inspiration, sending a reminder that God will meet us at every turn in life. For all our varied needs, we are given new resources when we take, as the title by Jon Gilbert says: “A Moment of Prayer.”

If dark clouds fill the sky and our plans go awry,

And our dream castles fade in the air,

Peace and strength will be found and new hope abound,

When we spend just a moment in prayer!    

There is guidance and grace for each problem we face,

There is comfort and courage to spare,

And we’ll find a new lift in God’s wonderful gift,

When we spend just a moment in prayer!

Prayer helps us put our priorities in order.

Hope to see you Wednesday, sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 pm!

Blessings,

Rev. Stew