I Want it Back!
by Pastor Manny
“To resume after interruption” is a phrase that has been on my mind for several weeks now. If you’ve had a conversation with me lately you’ve probably heard me talk about it. I’m so fascinated at the deep theological nuances that this simple definition of the word “renew” has.
Sin has infiltrated this world and it creates a chasm between mankind and God, and because God created mankind to have fellowship with Him, this is a problem. Our relationship with God, the relationship that He intended to have with us, has been interrupted.
You see, when God created us He decided that creation was now “very good” (Gen. 1:27-31). It was so good in fact that there was really nothing left to do but rest. God had created things just as he desired them to be. Our earliest ancestors were “very good”. Their hearts and minds were centered on God; fellowship with God, pleasing God, worshiping God, and bringing glory to God. Everything Adam and Eve set out to do revolved around these themes.
It was good…
It was very good…
And the fall…
That’s where renewal comes in. God started His plan to renew His creation in what seems like mere moments. Adam and Eve sinned, God then rebukes them, but He also clothes them (Gen. 3:1-24). Their hearts and minds were no longer centered on God, sin had caused shame in their lives, and this shame had given them a new focus…
Adam and Eve were now preoccupied with the way they appeared. Their perception of themselves and their behaviors were no longer pure, no longer filtered through the “very good” that God created. They had been corrupted. God gave them clothes to
renew a small part of what was there before sin had interrupted it. And the most wonderful part of His plan for renewal is revealed…
Yes, Jesus is present in Genesis!
In Genesis 1 we read the words “God said…” over and over again as God speaks the universe and everything in it into existence. And we all know that another name for Jesus is “the Living Word”. Jesus was the medium that God used to create everything and everyone. Like a painter with oils or a sculptor with clay, God fashioned all of creation with the Living Word. And just as He created with the Word, so too would He renew His creation with the Word. He tells the Serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This is the earliest prophecy of Jesus, only moments after the fall God is on a mission to renew His creation and His plan is set. Jesus is coming!
Fast-forward 2000 years or so and here we are. Still on the other side of a chasm of sin from our Creator, but now we have a bridge to cross.
God’s plan is well underway.
Jesus came…He lived…He conquered.
His heel crushed the head of the serpent, defeating him once and for all, and setting God’s creation free. But the serpent also struck and continues to strike the heel of man, tempting us at every turn with self-indulgence, creature comforts, laziness, greed, hate and any other appeal he can think of. The enemy is defeated, but he wants to take us down with him.
That’s where one of my favorite scriptures of all time comes in. Romans 12:1,2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
God won, Jesus won, and we win.
We win when we allow our minds to be renewed. When we take God at face value and accept the work He’s done we get to take part in the victory party. It’s not just fire insurance though. Romans 12 talks about a transformation; we were once “very good”, and now we’re…well…not. But, when we accept the position of ungoodness that we’re in and accept the gift of salvation (renewal) offered by Jesus, much like Adam and Eve accepted with gift of clothing, we enter into the transformation process, our minds can now be renewed. Our hearts and thoughts can now be centered on the only thing they were ever meant to be focused on; fellowship with God, pleasing God, worshipping God, and bringing glory to God.
That’s why this simple definition of the word renew has me so excited. I want to be “very good” again. It’s not fair that Satan gets to keep interrupting the “very good” relationship that we were supposed to have with our Creator. I want it back and God wants to give it back to me. When we aim to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices”, that is, to live our lives in such a way that we know God better, love God deeper, and serve God more, then we can have it back. We can be renewed and that my friends, is Good News!
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
On January 30, 17 from Bangor Liberty were involved in preparing, serving and cleanup for 70 guests. The menu was liver and onions or chicken gravy on biscuits, green beans with bacon, mixed fruit cups, blueberry dump cake or angel food cake with strawberries and whipped topping and drinks. Guests seemed hungry and appreciative. Several assisted us with clean up.
Thanks to all of our great volunteers who provided funds, food, or time to prepare, serve or clean up! It’s always fun working together in the kitchen. You never know when someone might take your picture for the paper! Mark your calendars for our next meal responsibility on Thurs, February 27.
(SS) Daniel Feltz & Diane Teske
(W) Clarke Macy & Lora Bachman
(SS) Ann Nichols & Jenalee Garcia
(W) Rick Bachman & Josie Evertsen
(SS) Will Macy & Melidy Martin
(W) Breanne Butler & Beth Moore
(SS) Barb Evertsen & Jolene Nolta
(W) Peggy Martin & Darlene Bradley
*If you are unable to serve at the time listed please switch with someone or find a substitute from the monthly list that has been placed in your communication box at the church.
The Iowa Yearly Meeting Mission’s Board is offering a college scholarship of up to $1,000 for the 2014-2015 academic school year. People within Iowa Yearly Meeting who want to pursue an education at a Christian college or an accredited college or seminary to prepare for full time mission’s work with a Friend’s organization may contact the Missions Board to receive an application. For the 2014-15 scholarship, please contact Mary Glenn Hadley, IAYM Mission’s Board, 611 South R St. #6, Indianola IA 50125, or call 515-961-0606. The deadline is March 1, 2014.
Ideas to “Live Love” in February -
~February 16th is “Do a Grouch a Favor Day”: Everyone is a grouch at one time or another. Look around for someone who is in a grouchy mood today. Then give a smile, share some encouragement, offer assistance, a gift card for ice cream, whatever you feel will cheer up their day.
~Cards of Thanks: Write a letter to the people who have made a difference in your life. Tell them about how they helped you get where you are, and why you are thankful for their support.
~Valentines: You know those funny cards that come 24 to a box? The ones you sent to everyone in your class back when you were in school? Bring cheer to someone’s day by mailing or secretly handing them out, but keep it to yourself whom it’s from.
Love is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Remember In Prayer
~Camp Quaker Heights - Chip & Alicia
Daleske, Directors, as they travel &
share about CQH in IAYM churches &
plan for the summer camping season.
~Pray for a renewed spirit, a renewed
desire, and a fresh wind to invigorate
for all of their travels while in the U.S.
for the Cambodians while they are
away & would know the love of Jesus.
February 3rd Sunday Mission Emphasis:
During February we will learn more about Quaker Heights Camp and support this ministry with our offering on February 16 when the Directors come to share during our worship service. The Camp mission is to provide an environment where people of all ages can come and experience God.
Camp Quaker Heights was established in 1948 by a group of Quaker Men. Today, Quaker Heights consists of 65 acres on a bluff overlooking the Iowa River near Eldora. It hosts Iowa Yearly Meeting youth camps for kindergarten – young adult during the month of June. IAYM camps present Christ and the loving grace of the Gospel to children and youth.
With both cabins and the Tall Oaks Retreat Center, the facility offers hospitality year-round. Other church groups, individuals and families use the facility during the rest of the year. If you wish more information visit the Camp’s website: www.campquakerheights.org or check out their Facebook page.
New Email Address:
Contact Chip & Alicia Daleske at Camp Quaker Heights at this new email address- email@example.com
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
Join us for classes/studies at 7 pm each Wednesday night. There are classes or studies for all ages, and a nursery for the younger children and babies. Meals will be held at 6:15 prior to our studies on February 12th & 26th.
All adults are welcome to join the Molded Bible Study that meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday evenings at 7 pm at the church. The group continues their study of the book of Matthew.
A new daytime Bible Study has begun meeting at Chuck and Ann Nichols’ home in Marshalltown. They plan to meet the 1st & 3rd Mondays at 2:00 pm monthly. They are using an 8-week study, “Why Do You Ask? Faith Building Questions.” Anyone interested is welcome to join the group.
Our next meeting will be February 18. We’ll begin by gathering at 12:00 at the Embers to share lunch with Barbara Jo Morgan. Our lesson and business will follow. A workday day is being planned for March 18 at Peggy Martin’s.
Ladies of Liberty USFW will meet at BLFC on Thursday, February 20th at 6:30 for a work night. Bring a salad to share for the meal and a pair of scissors for cutting labels and box tops for education.
Winter Family Banquet, hosted by the Quaker Men of Iowa, Saturday, Feb. 22nd is a date for fun, food, fellowship, celebration, inspiration, and firing up for a new year of ministries. The banquet will start at noon in the MTC Atrium on the William Penn University campus.
This year’s featured speaker/music will be Phil & Pam Morgan. They are from Kansas City and began a traveling ministry in 1996. Their program is fun and inspiring with a combination of music and real life stories.
Don’t forget there will be a Pie Auction as well! Advance reservations are encouraged so the food service can plan ahead. Tickets will be available at the door as well. $12 advance reservations are due by Feb. 10th; otherwise tickets are $13 at the door. Send reservations to Chuck Watson, 902 Penn Boulevard, Oskaloosa, IA 52577 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jr. High Blizzard Blast
March 7-8, 2014
Marshalltown Friends Church & YMCA
Register online at: http://is.gd/BlizzardBlast2014
or forms are available at BLFC
Iowa Friend Subscriptions Due
Friends may receive the Iowa Friend newsletter from the Yearly Meeting Office by renewing or signing up for a yearly subscription for $9.50 through our church. The newsletter is very helpful in keeping us informed about what is going on in the Yearly Meeting, other Friends Churches in Iowa, missions news and special activities. Subscriptions are due by February 23rd.
Help! Mesquakie Friends are looking for a seven passenger mini van and would like to trade one of the fifteen passenger vans for it. Contact Dan Crookshank at email@example.com if you have an interest in this trade. Also they have recently ordered padded chairs to replace the old steel folding chairs. People are encouraged to “sponsor” a chair for $45.00 to help with that expense. If you would like to help with this expense, funds may be sent to Mesquakie Friends, PO Box 36, Toledo IA 52342.
Pave the Road @ CQH
The Quaker Men of Iowa Yearly Meeting are seeking funds to blacktop the road into Camp Quaker Heights. The work is planned for this fall, and will include paving the road up to the Chapel and Lodge, as well as parking for Tall Oaks. Estimated cost is $60,000. Checks should be made out to “Camp Quaker Heights”, designated for the road, and send to Iowa Yearly Meeting, PO Box 657, Oskaloosa IA 52577.
From our Youth Pastor
Music plays a very important role in a lot of our lives. Recently I have been listening to a song by Citizens called “Made Alive.” I heard it done by a worship band at a mega church in Oklahoma City, and I couldn’t remember the name of it until a couple weeks ago. It’s a very catchy and upbeat song. It’s one of those songs you’ll catch yourself singing a few hours after you hear it. If you have an internet connection and can spare 3 minutes and 45 seconds, check it out on Youtube.
I not only like it for its music and catchy beat, but I also really like the message that it tells us. We are made alive through Christ. The song is a little bit like a progression, telling us our lives are in the darkness before we met Christ, we put our faith in Him, and our lives are now in the light and “we’ll never be the same.” That’s one of my favorite lines in the song. “My sins have been erased. I’ll never be the same.” When Jesus came to this earth, He lived, and died so that our sins can be erased. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says (NLT), “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” I don’t know about you, but that gives me some awesome hope. My life was in the darkness before I met Jesus. I met the light and now I’ll never be the same.
Library Ledge - Love & Marriage
February brings to mind hearts, cupids and candy in heart shaped boxes. However, there are many kinds of love, including Agape. We learn that a good marriage is measured by growth, like our relationship with God. A Very Good Marriage, by Tom Mullen can be found on the Library Ledge, along with many others. We can also read about the love God has for us and how to nurture our relationship with Him. Come browse the books we have. You’re sure to find several that will encourage growth & commitment in all kinds of relationships, especially with God.