News from Matt
Worshiping and Shutting Up
My intention in this space is to touch on the upcoming change to our “Order of Worship”, but also to discuss Open Worship. What it means, how it’s practiced and what we do with it. One of the oddest things to explain to someone outside the Friends is the idea of Open Worship, or Silent Worship. In 1842, Captain John Marshall, a cavalryman, described a Friends meeting of open worship, as “A queer little episode.” My first experience with open/silent worship left me with much the same feeling. It was odd but I also felt that it was something much more important and powerful than I could understand at the time. Even today, it is difficult to adequately explain what is happening within open worship. It really is up to each individual to find their way in this practice. The early Friends talked of following the inner light and that really is what open worship is all about. The first step is under-standing that God is still speaking to us today. The second is to understand, or embrace the fact that God can and will speak through you at times. If we believe that he spoke through a burning bush to Moses and through a donkey to a wayward prophet, named Balam, then the idea that he will use you shouldn’t be that difficult.
The problem in open worship is the part about listening. We are not very good at this in our culture. We are the most restless people that have ever existed. Silence makes us uncomfortable. We find it difficult to turn off our minds and truly relax, clearing our minds of our anxiety and busyness of the day.
The most important aspect of open worship is “centering.” This is the step of emptying our heads of all of the day to day junk that we carry around with us. It is pushing ourselves out of our heads and making room for something else. You know that you have found this place when you lose yourself only to be startled when someone begins talking. It is also common to fall asleep during open worship, as well. Yes, it has happened to me.
That brings up the next point. Not every period of open worship is going to bring you something. Don’t be discouraged if you are not feeling it. The fact that you are sitting, attentively waiting for God to move you is growth in itself. There will come that time when the Spirit will place something in your heart that you are incapable of not sharing. It is these messages, the ones that seem to burn within us that are meant to be shared with others. Many times open worship will end and it seems like we have not spent enough time there. There can be a feeling of regret that it has ended. That is an acknowledgement that you are growing. Open worship is a spiritual discipline like all the others. It must be practiced regularly.
The move this month to change the order of worship is motivated by wanting to deepen our time together on Sunday. We are not adding or taking away anything. We are rearranging some elements of our service. Open worship will be moved to immediately follow the sermon. It is hoped that this will allow us to more easily clear our minds and wait in expectation of the Spirit working in our gathering. Finally, it has been an interesting couple of months so far. I am amazed everyday by the way people care for each other here at Bangor Liberty Friends. I am challenged and humbled each day by God when I consider the position he has placed me in as your Pastor. I am grateful that he has chosen us to put us together to worship and labor for His glory.
Stuff the Bus Update
The HOC "Stuff the Bus" school give-away was a huge success thanks to all who donated and volunteered. We were able to give school bags to children who would have otherwise gone without or found it a hardship to buy what they needed. With your help, we gave out 719 bags with supplies at St. Paul's and 150 zips filled with supplies later at HOC.
A notebook was left for people to leave a note. One woman wrote, “I’m thankful groups like this are around. With my husband being laid off and 4 children I thought I was going to be in such a hole with school coming. But now I am hopeful. Thank you.”
The HOC Supply Closet Team
Just a reminder!
~Be at the entrance to the sanctuary. Be positive and smile!
~Be ready to help operate the lift if needed.
~Check with those who have arrived early to see if they got a bulletin.
~Hand out bulletins and usher when possible.
~Seat people where they want, maybe with someone they know.
~Give names of new people to the Pastor. Youth ushers should work with an adult usher when necessary.
~Have a microphone in hand after the praise & worship time to get to people as they stand or raise their hand to share an announcement or a praise/prayer request.
~Also make sure the person doing the children’s message has a microphone.
~After the offering is taken one usher should stay near the door. It is fine to get a chair and be seated.
~One usher should be available with a microphone for anyone who wishes to share during open worship time.
~Sometime during the worship service a count should be taken of everyone present for the worship service.
~Count everyone in the nursery
~Count everyone in children’s church if you are taking the count after they have left the service to go downstairs. Count anyone who might be working in the kitchen
~Try to keep the back room noise down.
~Answer the phone if you hear it ring downstairs.
~Be ready to assist if someone is ill during the service.
*Thank you for your service as an usher and helping with our ministry here at BLFC!
Volunteers are need for Deeper Nursery Ministry, Worship Nursery Ministry, and Sunday School Nursery. Please see Jo Macy to have your name put on the list. This is open for men and women. You do have to have a background check to volunteer.
HOC Meal Report
On August 27th, 58 people enjoyed generous helpings of goulash, green beans & bacon, biscuits & butter, fresh veggies, mixed fruit, blueberry & cherry dump cakes, angel food cake with cherries or strawberries, cupcakes, milk and coffee.
Thanks to Diane R, Neil & Peg, Bill & Rosalee, James & Sharon, Jennifer R., Royal & Jan, Mark & Darlene, Veronica & Bob, Ann & Chuck who provided food or funds. Extra funds were used to purchase dish soap for the supply closet. Thanks to Ann N., Betty, Charlene, Darla, Neil, Jo & Tom who helped in the House. We also were assisted by some of the guests. Several told us ‘thanks for the good food’ before leaving. Our next meal opportunity will be September 24.
Please, join the family to celebrate Wayne Tuttle’s 90th birthday on Sept 20, 2015 from 2-4 pm at the Embers coffee Shop at 1211 West State St in Marshalltown “No gifts Please”
General Fund: Ann R
The Basics of Church Financials 101…
Have you read one of the “How To” books available for just about anything that you are wanting to learn about? These books are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers in a various array of topics. When I started to do real estate lending several years ago, I found that the best resource for me was “Real Estate Lending for Dummies”. The format presents information in a user-friendly, down to earth manner that just about anyone can understand. I have to admit, when I volunteered as the BLFC Treasurer, I sure could have used a book entitled “Church Financials for DUMMIES”, because that is exactly what I felt like!
What is the General Fund that everyone refers to? When the cash goes in the pretty gold plate on Sunday..where does it go from there? Who pays the light bill? Who pays the church staff? Why is everyone smiling when the report says the General Fund is in the negative?
These were questions that you may or may not have thought about. When presented with the responsibility of taking care of the church bodies’ tithing, it became very clear that I better get up to speed on all of these issues very quicklyJ
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
First of all, the offerings that are received on Sunday mornings, and from time to time at other special offerings, are safely deposited into a bank account specifically designated for the Church. The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer both have access to this account for review. The information regarding the account is also available for review through online banking and I encourage the review of this by the Asst. Treasurer for audit purposes. *Due to the fact that I am employed at the Bank where the account is held, I have access to this account for review every day. The checks that are received through the offerings are logged to a spreadsheet for tithing and reporting purposes at year end.
The General Fund is the amount that is reported after all designated funds are subtracted from the bank balance. WHAT????? Could you repeat that please??
The General Fund is the amount that is reported after all designated funds are subtracted from the bank balance. Ok, so when the General Fund reports that we have a negative -$2,100.00 (ex), it doesn’t mean we are broke... right?
No, we still have funds in the bank account, but we have previously said that we want to spend our money in other designated ways. For example, a former Church member granted us money upon their death which is earmarked as the Ruddick Fund. This is intended for special purchases for the Church’s improvements as the church approves. The Ruddick Fund is designated for this purpose, however we can keep the money and use it as a foundation until it’s needed for something specific. Another example is the Kitchen Fund which is at about $1700.00 as of this date. We have that money available, and we are saving that for a time when we need something in the kitchen, however it does show in our bank account as positive money.
So when I figure the General Fund balance, I look at the account balance at the Bank, and subtract all of the designated funds which the church has agreed upon, and that will show me whether the General Fund is in the positive or negative.
The bills for the church come in regularly and are forwarded to the Treasurer for payment. Electric bills, phone bills, Insurance for the church, postage and buying materials for the education that we provide. The salaries for our staff are paid 2X per month. Special requests will present themselves as time goes on. All of these items need to be paid from
the money that comes in monthly from the Church body.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;” (Proverbs 3:9)
We have had a season of expense that has strained our General Fund. With that being said, our church is growing and that is a gift from God. We are very blessed to have a giving Body of Believers. The Mission for the month of September has been designated for re-stocking the General Fund. Let our offerings be like the fish and loaves of bread that Jesus distributed to the thousands. God Bless Your Offering
Twelve Tips for a Positive Attitude
More than 100 years ago, author Robert Louis Stevenson offered the following tips for maintaining a positive attitude. They still apply today.
1 Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things
2 Make the best of your circumstances. Everyone has a problem. The trick is to make laughter outweigh the tears.
3 Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortunes that befall others.
4 You can’t please everyone. Don’t let criticism worry you.
5 don’t let neighbors set your standards. Be yourself.
6 Do the things you enjoy doing, but stay out of debt
7 Don’t barrow trouble. Imaginary burdens are harder to bear than the actual ones
8 Hate poisons the soul, so don’t carry grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9 Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
10 Don’t hold post-mortems. Don’t spend your life brooding over sorrows and mistakes.
11 Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
12 Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.
Our DEEPER Program
Our Wednesday night DEEPER program will return on September 9th with a 6:15 meal provided by Jo & Lora and 7:00 classes for all ages. There will be groups for adults to choose between, nursery care for babies & preschool children, and classes for children and youth. (Volunteers are still needed in the nursery since it requires 2 adults every night. Let Jo know if you can help.)
Adults options: The Purpose Driven Life, a Rick Warren DVD, discussions led by Joe; Right in the Eye, a Andy Stanley video, discussions led by Breanne; Loren will present video clips to the class the first night so they may make the decision together which lesson to use.
High School youth will learn about the Quaker Faith with Chris E & Leah, Larry & Emma M. Junior High youth will learn about Joshua, “Be Strong & Courageous” with Jo & Scott. Children age 4 through grade 4 will interview a different grandparent or adult in our church each week, with aid from Margaret. Kids will learn about the adults’ favorite Bible story, sing one of their favorite Christian songs, eat their favorite snack, hear about their childhood, their work and hobbies.
The meals are provided by volunteers. Please sign up to help on the sheet in the entryway. A free-will offering will be collected with a suggested donation of $2-$3 per adult and $1-$1.50 for children 8 and under. This is so we can reimburse the cooks for the food as well as to help cover the cost of the paper and plastic products.
Come join us on Wednesday nights for fellowship, fun and spiritual growth. Let’s grow deeper together! DEEPER stands for: Discovering God’s truth; Enduring with one another; Encouraging & lifting each other up; Praying for one another; Exemplifying Christ to others; Recruiting others for Christ.
This service you preform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
- 2 Corinthians
Something a Little Extra:
The Golden Rule will never tarnish.
The happiest people don’t have everything they just make the best of everything.
Sometimes God says yes, sometimes God says no, and sometimes He says wait.
I have a problem---it’s me
I have the answer---it Me.
You can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.
When we get tangled up in our problems, be still; God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
Open Worship: May we experience the love and peace of the Living Christ as we wait in silence. If we are led to share aloud in word or song let us be faithful
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?