“So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, ‘I will use stories to speak my message’” (Matthew 13:35, CEV).
Quotes of the day
“Don’t just sing louder. Open your hearts and see the needs all around you.”
— Christine A. Smith, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Euclid, Ohio, and the preacher for the Wednesday evening worship service at NOAC, where she was joined by Christian musician and songwriter Ken Medema in leading a truly inspirational service.
“What does it matter to people like me
Who live in comfort and ease
If others are homeless and sleep on the street
And I simply do as I please?
Lord, I hear you saying,
‘It matters to me.’”
— Original song that debuted at NOAC, “It Matters to Me” by Becky Glick of the group Simply Folk with Becky and Mike Simpson.
“You’re the generation that watched the Civil Rights struggle, but for your children and your grandchildren this is ancient history. Honor your legacy.”
— Alexander Gee Jr. along with Jonathan Shively of Congregational Life Ministries, in an afternoon dialogue about developing international cross-racial relationships in the Christian community. Gee is pastor and founder of Fountain of Life Family Worship Center in Madison, Wis.
NOAC by the Numbers
Registration: more than 870 people
Monday’s offering: $3,297.43
Wednesday’s offering: $8,662.02.
Offerings are received for Church of the Brethren ministry including NOAC.
Share a Story: 400 new books donated to Junaluska Elementary School–more than one each for 350 students, plus a box of gently used books for classroom use, and extras from the Kits for Kids service project.
When you see the empty cross, what does it mean?
Blending song, word, and prayer together seamlessly, Christine Smith, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Euclid, Ohio, and Ken Medema, the spontaneous singer/songwriter beloved by the Brethren, led NOAC in worship.
They challenged the Wednesday night worshipers to actually see, hear, and feel God’s call. “God wants you to be his hands and his feet,” Smith preached, “in a broken and lost world.”
Too many churches, she noted, follow the letter of the law of their church constitutions, stack their hymnals neatly, and keep the floors scrubbed and windows clean, “but they don’t know the Lord Jesus!” Smith thundered. He will say at the judgment, she warned, “I never knew you.”
In the face of mass shootings, murders in movie theaters and during church Bible studies, Smith noted that groups like the NRA seek to prevent people from enacting sensible gun control laws. She likened this to the situation in Germany, where during neighborhood church services the worshipers could hear the sound of trains bringing carloads of Jews to the concentration camps. German church members recalled that their response to the trains arrival was to sing louder, she reported.
“There is a harvest of death,” Smith said. “Don’t ignore these things.”
Turning to the NOAC theme of the power of the story, the said that Jesus’ parables are meant to open our hearts to the truth “while concealing the truth from those too lazy or too stubborn to see it.”
Mixing echoes and quotations of scripture in measured cadences, and praying with and against the rhythms of Ken Medema’s musical improvisations, Smith called upon those in attendance to remember that Jesus is on the throne of glory, and there will be judgment–and reward!
‘These school bags were stitched by Kathy’
The following note was received along with school bags donated to the Kits for Kids service project for NOAC 2015. The note from Marjorie Burkholder gives credit to a special woman who sewed the bags for children affected by disaster:
“September 6, 2015
“These school bags were stitched by Kathy Burkholder Schoppers from the Root River Church of the Brethren in the Preston/Harmony area of SE Minnesota.
“She likely made these school bags in the past year or two.
“She transitioned in August from an apartment to a senior care center. I know that she would be pleased to know that school bags were delivered to NOAC. Kathy made a number of the school bags through the years.
“Sharing a personal story, Marjorie Burkholder”
NOAC Staff: Kim Ebersole, director of NOAC; Debbie Eisenbise, director of Intergenerational Ministries; Laura Whitman, special projects coordinator and BVSer; Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. NOAC Planning Team: Bev and Eric Anspaugh, Deanna Brown, Jim Kinsey, Paula Ulrich, Deb Waas, Christy Waltersdorff. Onsite coverage provided by the NOAC Communication Team: Eddie Edmonds, Russ Otto, Frank Ramirez, and director of News Services Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford