Alabaster Jars and Words at Funerals
I have always been drawn to the story of the woman in Luke 7:36-50, who brought out her alabaster jar and anointed the Lord before his burial. Most people would have waited. They would have kept the jar sealed until after his death. Only then, when his body was torn and cold, would they have broken it open to anoint him. But this one woman did not wait. She opened the jar while he could still enjoy its scent, and while his worn and weary feet could still be refreshed.
You don’t have to read between the lines to find the lesson. After a man dies, there is no lack of alabaster jars to be brought out and unsealed. It is then that the kindest words are spoken. It is then that his loved ones forget all his mistakes, follies, and sins to tell of his virtues. His friends recount all the wonderful things he did, the generosity he showed, and the kindness he extended. Everyone that knew him visits his family to say some kind word, to recount a favor they received or a noble deed they witnessed. Close friends order flowers to be sent with their card and laid on his coffin.
There is nothing wrong in all this. Flowers on a coffin are appropriate tokens of love and respect. The kind words are fitting, too. There is no better tribute to a life than the sincere accolades of grieving friends and family members.
We are gathering incense to pour on their coffins, but why shouldn’t we pour it over them today?
But in the meantime, there is a host of weary men and women toiling toward the grave who sorely need what we can give them right now. We are gathering incense to pour on their coffins, but why shouldn’t we pour it over them today? Kind words are lying in our hearts unexpressed, and resting on our tongues unspoken. These are the very words we will speak when these weary people are dead. Why shouldn’t we speak them now, when they would do so much good, and when hearing them would bring such encouragement?
Many a man lives a plain, plodding life, yet an honest, Christian one. He often denies himself to serve others. He does many quiet good deeds to serve his neighbors and friends. Yet he rarely hears a word of gratitude, a word of comfort, a word of encouragement. We, the people he loves and serves, may be grateful, but our gratitude remains in our hearts. The vases filled with appreciation are kept stored away. Later, when we stand by his coffin, we say enough kind things to have brightened every hour of his life. There are enough flowers piled upon his casket to have filled his house for years. His heart would have soared if he had heard our expressions of love and gratitude. His life would have been happier if he had known that we had such affection for him. But, alas, he had to die before we would express our appreciation.
Many a woman lives for Christ, toiling in quiet, unseen ministries. She neglects her own comfort to give generously to the church and to the poor. She visits the orphan and the widow, she trains the young women. When she dies the church mourns and her pastor preaches an eloquent sermon. These are fitting rewards for such a good life, but wouldn’t it have been better if we had shown a part of that kindness while her weary feet set out on another errand or while her busy hands prepared another meal? What does it matter to her when she lies dead that friends have come in throngs to lament her passing and utter her praises?
I’m sure I speak for other weary toilers when I say this: If my friends have alabaster jars of encouragement and affection that they intend to break over my dead body, I’d be grateful if they would bring them out on one of my weary days and open them then. I would rather have a coffin without a flower and a funeral without a eulogy than a life without the love and encouragement of friends.
The things you would say when they are gone, say before they go.
To display true love to our friends, we need to anoint them beforehand for their burial. Post-mortem kindness does nothing to cheer their burdened spirits while they live. Tears falling at the funeral make no atonement for neglect during the difficult days of their life. Don’t keep the alabaster jars of your love and encouragement sealed up until your friends are dead. Flood their lives with its scent today. Speak encouraging words while they can still hear them. The things you would say when they are gone, say before they go. The flowers you would send for their coffins, send to their homes today. After all, flowers piled on a coffin cast no fragrance backward over the weary days already gone
The House of Compassion will be holding their annual Soup Bowl Lunch on Sunday, March 12, 2017 from 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM. Location is St. Henry's Church, 211 W Olive. Cost is $10 per person or $25 for families of 3 or more. Come enjoy a bowl of soup in a dish that is yours to keep! Each bowl is hand thrown and unique in size, shape, and color. Bowls are made by MHS students and a portion of the profits go to back to the MHS art program.
God is easier to talk to than most people. Talk to God about your children, and talk to your children about God.
Youth Mark Your Calendars
2/17/2017-BLIZZARD BLAST- $25.00 a ticket
Marshalltown- 5th -8th grade/spend the night at the YMCA
For information contact: Chris or Josie ChrisandJosie@email@example.com
Saturday, March 25th, Approx. 2-4 pm
Following Spring Body of Representative at Mesquakie Friends
Speaker, Steve Pedigo:
For 30 years Steve & Marlene led an inner city
ministry in Chicago. Then for 6 years served as co-superintendents of
Western Yearly Meeting.
Currently Steve is pastor of Westfield Friends in
Indiana. He is a graduate of WPU and Asbury & North Park Seminaries.
Steve is passionate about the life-transforming power
of Jesus Christ.
Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Dates for serving in the House of Compassion Soup Kitchen in 2017. Please note we will not serve in February, but have two nights in March.
Everyone is Invited to a baby shower for Blake and Alicia Matney's new daughter, Paige Leigh, on Sunday, February 19th after our monthly potluck. Members of Social Committee C will host the shower.
VBS: Sunday July 16-July20 with program on July 21, 2017
VBS Director- Dani Junker is willing to direct.
Mission Trip: July 23-July 30
IYM: July 26-July 29, 2017
IYM Church Camp
June 2-4 Young Adult camp
June 9-11 Little Fry (K-2)
June 11-16 Middle/High school
June 18-22 Elementary Camp
AWAKEN is the theme for the year. More to come later
Christmas Children Program- Looking for a Director now.
New Bangor Liberty Cookbooks are Here!
Our new cookbooks have arrived and are available at the church for $10 each. Checks should be made out to Bangor Liberty Friends Church when you pick up your copy of the cookbook. Contact the church office if you wish to have a copy mailed to you. Additional fees will be charged for mailing.
House of Compassion Overnight Shelter (only) closed indefinitely
It is with great sadness that as of tonight, February 9th, the House of Compassion Emergency Shelter is closed indefinitely. This is only the homeless shelter. All of the other services provided by the House of Compassion will continue as usual. We will provide more information as it is available.
Dates to remember!!
· March 10-12: Ignite: High school leaders and adult leaders retreat with national speakers and a debrief at Friends.https://www.dropbox.com/s/655ca24yyc30m9u/Ignite%20%2717.pdf?dl=0
· March 25: Spring Body Meeting (and lunch) at Mesquakie Friends Church
· March 25: 50 Days of Prayer Revival Meeting at LeGrand Friends (at approximately 2:00 pm. The event will follow the Spring Body meeting and lunch at Mesquakie Friends).
· March 26th: Youth and Young Adult Revival Meeting at Mesquakie Friends from 3-6. Caleb and Johnny from camp will be leading worship along with rapper Quese.
· April 6-7: Pastor Short Course . Speaker will be Michael and Maria Westbrook. They are the leaders of Greater Life Community Center in Newark, N.J.
· April 29: USFW Spring Fling. At Lynnville Friends. Cost $10
· May 21: Tentative Grand ReOpening Celebration for Davenport Friends: New Beginnings
· Camp Dates
o June 2-4: Young Adult Camp
o June 9-11: Little Fry Camp(k-2)
o June 11-16: Middle/High School Camp(7-12)
o June 18-22: Elementary Camp(3-6
· June 25-July 1: Kaleo Academy! High School students attend with a mentor. Website Early registration by March 1st.
· July 12-16, 2017: Friends United Meeting Triennial in Wichita, Kansas: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1877598
· July 26-29, 2017: Our annual Yearly Meeting Sessions will take place in Oskaloosa. In the early planning stages, we are considering"Thrive" as the 2017 theme. It would be great to see participation from all of our meetings, leadership, and pastors. If at all possible, keep these dates open on your calendars and encourage others you associate with to do so, as well.
Mission Board’s Annual Scholarship
The Iowa Yearly Meeting Mission’s Board is offering a college scholarship of up to $1000 for the 2017-2018 academic school year. People within the 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 Mission Board to receive an application.
Please contact the Yearly Meeting office for more information.
The deadline is March 1, 2017
Contact (641)673-9717 or email; Office@iaym.org
March 11, 2017 BOC meeting:
@College Avenue Friends
March 25, 2017
Spring Body of Representatives
@Mesquakie Friends Center
When you get wrinkled with care and worry, it’s time you have your “faith” lifted.
LIBRARY LEDGE – Let Us Pray
We have many books on prayer including two new books Why Church Matters by Joshua Harris & Operation World by Jason Mandryk. Other books in our library are Come Pray by Mary Glenn Hadley, A Passion for Prayer by Tom Elliff, & 3 by Stormie Omartian: The Power of Praying Together, The Power of a Praying Nation, The Prayer that Changes Everything among many others. Revival includes prayer. Blessed reading.
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people (Philemon 1, NIV).
IAYM: Welcome Friend of Friends
As we begin a New Year, we want to provide to you "News You Can Use." Instead of multiple emails being sent as infomation is received and requested to be forwarded, we are going to begin sending out what we hope to be a once-a-week email on Wednesday. If you have dates, requests or other information that you would like to have included, the deadline will be Tuesday by noon. Send the information to the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
· Save the Date Items (iaym.org has a calendar with current event dates)
o February 4: 50 Days of Prayer for Revival in various loactions (Indianola Library, Lynnville Friends, LeGrand Friends, Earlham Friends, and Light of the Lakes Friends). There is a Facebook page to which you can connect to stay informed of what is going on: https://www.facebook.com/IAYM-Concert-of-Prayer-2017-1428451700506206/
o Feb 12-12: Young Adult Retreat: 18-35ish retreat happening in West Union, IA. https://www.dropbox.com/s/3o5oa0f03ptcsju/Young%20Adult%20Winter%20Retreat%20%2717.pdf?dl=0
o Feb 17-18: Blizzard Blast: An overnight event for 5th-8th grade students along with chaperones. https://www.dropbox.com/s/j7zc5grlkv2wiq6/Blizzard%20Blast%202017.pdf?dl=0
o Febraury 25: Quaker Men's Banquet will take place at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa. More details to come.
o March 10-12: Ignite: High school leaders and adult leaders retreat with national speakers and a debrief at Friends. https://www.dropbox.com/s/655ca24yyc30m9u/Ignite%20%2717.pdf?dl=0
o March 25: Spring Body Meeting at Mesquakie Friends Church
o March 25: 50 Days of Revival Meeting at LeGrand Friends (at approximately 2:00 pm. The event will follow the Spring Body meeting and lunch at Mesquakie Friends).
o March 26th: Youth and Young Adult Revival Meeting at Mesquakie Friends from 3-6. Caleb and Johnny from camp
o will be leading worship along with rapper Quese.
o June 2-4: Young Adult Camp
o June 9-11: Little Fry Camp(k-2)
o June 11-16: Middle/High School Camp(7-12)
o June 18-22: Elementary Camp(3-6)
o Our annual Yearly Meeting Sessions will take place July 26-29, 2017 in Oskaloosa. It would be great to to see participation from all of our meetings, leadership, and pastors. If at all possible, keep these dates open on your calendars and encourage other you associate with to do so, as well.
o Let us continue to collectively pray for revival in our midst.
o Remember our pastors who have recently lost loved ones: Marlene Smith (daughter) and Len Masselli (brother)
o Mike Moyer had surgery Monday to replace a heart valve. At this point, no additional information is known.
o Grinnell Friends, Bloomington-Muscatine Friends, and Valton Friends are looking to fulfill pastoral openings. Valton has been in talks with a potential candidate so please pray for God's wisdom.
o Tammy Ruffin (pastor at Davenport Friends) has three-month-old grandbabies who have been in the hospital with various illnesses. They have been improving, but your prayers are still encouraged and welcomed.
· Other Information:
o The Stewardship board met last weekend and would like to challenge churches to give $1 a day for 2017 toward our yearly meeting budget. Could you challenge 30 individuals in your meeting to give $1 per month toward this cause OR promote this idea to your meeting?
o The Yearly Meeting office has been interested in updating the logo. If you or someone you know has the skills to offer their talents to submit a new logo idea, please feel free to submit those ideas or requests for more information to the Yearly Meeting Office at email@example.com
Pleasef feel free to forward this information to others so they can also be aware of upcoming events, dates, concerns, and other information.
As the new president of Quaker Men of Iowa, I wanted to get some information out to you to help you promote our banquet that is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2017. More information will be added later.
1) Location: MTC building at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
2) Early Bird Session @ 10:00 AM. Topic: "Engaging in Men's Ministries" There will be no charge for this special session! As part of the presentation, a number of resources that can be helpful in Men's Ministries will be highlighted.
3) Banquet @ 11:30 AM [Prices to be announced later.]
4) Program following. Topic: "A Journey in Men's Ministries"
5) PIE AUCTION! Wes Blanchard will be our auctioneer this year. Notify your pie bakers.
Our speaker for the Early Bird Session and the Banquet Program will be Mike Conan of Cedar Creek Church in Sherwood, Oregon. A pastor in a Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Mike is also a Doctor of Ministry student at Portland Seminary of George Fox University. His dissertation research centers on engaging men in ministry. Below is a short bio for Mike from his church website. He is a very enthusiastic, positive guy.
Mike's pastoral experience has been helping struggling churches refocus and re-energize. Cedar Creek Church, where Mike is currently serving, is a church plant in decline that Mike has been asked to help revitalize. The church began in 2004, grew, and then declined. He was brought in 2016 to lead this Evangelical Presbyterian Church in its renewal. Part of Mike's strategies of church renewal include engaging and empowering men in the church.
So spread the word! Hope to see all of you and many more on February 25. More information will be coming soon!
A last note: A big thank you to Bill McCracken for his years of leadership in Iowa Quaker Men. His service and dedication have been greatly appreciated.
Randall C. Nichols, President
Iowa Quaker Men