Pastor’s Preview for April 30, 2017

Hi Friends,

Last Sunday, as we kicked off our new series Surrender, we looked at how God calls us to surrender our idols and instead place our hope and our trust in Him to provide all that we need. We heard the story of George Mueller and the amazing way in which God provided the resources needed to care for more than 10,000 orphans.

Now, I know that many of us are never going to care for so many little ones, but each of us has the opportunity each and every day to place our trust and our hope in Jesus. For He came to this earth to free us from the false hope we place in our homes, or our calendars, or our reputations. Jesus came saying to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me…. I am the way the truth and life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1, 6) Ultimately Jesus is the only one we can trust to provide for us.

If you happened to miss the message you can catch up on our website – www.FullerCRC.org – under the Media tab.

This Sunday we’ll move on to the next two scenes in Elijah’s story. Together we’ll unpack 1 Kings 17:7-24 and we’ll explore how our worry often overwhelms us. There are moments in our lives when the waves of worry seem to drown us as they come one after another after another. I’m looking forward to exploring this text with you.

This week we’ll also be holding an ever so brief congregational meeting after our worship service to hold a vote with the opportunity to affirm for those individuals who feel called to let their names stand as potential elders and deacons. The Council is encouraged by those who feel this calling.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Nate

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Pastor’s Preview for April 23, 2017

Hi Friends,

I hope you were able to carry forward our Easter celebration last Sunday into time with family and friends that afternoon. Our service this past week was likely one of the greatest opportunities to welcome new guests who worshiped alongside of us. Thank you for making Fuller a welcoming, warm, and winsome place for them. Together we continue to make strides toward becoming a family that makes the Gospel more accessible to our neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers who so desperately need to hear the good news. Well done this past weekend!

If you happened to miss our Easter worship service, we celebrated the fact that Jesus meets us when our emotions swirl. You can catch up by visiting our website – www.FullerCRC.org – and listening to an audio version of it.

On Sunday we’ll carry forward the celebration of Easter into a new series of messages we’re calling Surrender. Over the next six weeks we’ll be walking through the story of the prophet Elijah as we find it in 1st and 2nd Kings. This week we’ll begin with an introduction into the story-line as we look at 1 Kings 16:29-17:6. Throughout the series we’ll explore how God calls us to surrender those things we hold so tightly to in our lives and we’ll be invited to surrender them to Him. I’m really looking forward to walking through these texts together.

This week we also are holding our quarterly care group gatherings. I hope you’re able to connect with your group in a meaningful way. These are valuable networks were we can encourage and support one another. If for some reason you don’t have a care group or don’t know which one you are in, feel free to simply show up. You may join either with the groups meeting here at church right after the worship service or those groups meeting over at the Raybrook Campus. We’d love to have you.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for January 15, 2017

Hi Friends,

Last Sunday we kicked off a new series here at Fuller that we’re calling You Belong. Together we’re going to spend the next several weeks looking at that message we find over and over again throughout the bible that you and I belong. We belong to Jesus.

We started by looking at how from the very stories in the bible God shows that even in our failure and in our shame we belong to him. We looked at the passage from Genesis 3:1-10 and saw how as fear and shame forced Adam and Eve to hide in the trees God came looking for them. God offered them life rather than the death they deserved and he covered over their shame. If you happened to miss the message you can always catch it on our website – www.FullerCRC.org and you’ll find it under the Media tab.

This week we’ll take the second step into our series as we look at the story of how God called Abram to follow after him. We’ll be reading from Genesis 11:27-12:5 so if you have a moment look through the passage prior to Sunday and ask yourself – how would I respond if God called me to leave all that I know and love and step out into the unknown?

One quick update before I sign off, last week Thursday our Council voted unanimously to move forward in our Next Steps efforts. In the wake of receiving both a congregational and a staffing assessment of our current state as a church the Council has decided to continue working with Jack Lynn of Clear Vision Ministries.

Right now we are working to assemble a Strategic Ministry Planning Team (SMPT) that will meet regularly over the next 6-9 months to discern God’s vision for our church’s future and develop a strategic plan that will help us realize His vision. Throughout the next 6-9 months the planning team will report monthly to Council who will ultimately approve any and all recommendations.

As we as a church move forward in this exciting opportunity, will you continue to lift all of this up in prayer before God? It is vital that together we follow the Apostle Paul’s instructions from Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Don’t be anxious, but pray with thanksgiving. Paul concludes with verse 7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Let’s continue to lift all of this up in prayer as He promises to guard our hearts with peace.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for January 8, 2017

Hi Friends,

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a great start to 2017. Our family had a good break together as we enjoyed time with extended families and laughed a lot. As we reflected upon this past year we want to say thank you. We  are so blessed to be a part of such a great church community driven by the good news that Jesus came to rescue us. This was a message we were able to share with many of our unchurched neighbors at our Christmas Eve service as approximately 60 guests celebrated the Christmas story with us. Join me in praying that we will continue to discover fresh ways to speak the gospel truth.

As we look toward this New Year, I’m looking forward to being back with you this Sunday as we launch a new series of messages entitled You Belong. Together we’ll look at how God calls to each and every one of us, how He welcomes us, and how with Him you belong. We’ll begin by looking at biblical text of Genesis 3:1-10. If you have an opportunity before Sunday I encourage you to read through the passage – if you can read the entire chapter.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for November 6, 2016

Hi Friends,

This week I have to keep our time together brief.

On Sunday we’ll be back in 1 Peter as we hear God speak to us from 1 Peter 4:1-11. Together we’ll unpack how God transforms our hearts and minds through the grace of the gospel. We’ll also see how that change often surprises those around us and how it can lead to some difficult situations. We’ll continue to ask, in light of this change, how does God desire us to live here and now? I’m looking forward to walking through it with you.

A very big thank you to many of you who came out and made our 3rd Annual Trunk or Treat a smashing success. We were able to love our neighbors through sweets, as more than 500 children from throughout the community joined us. You can catch pictures from throughout the night on our Facebook page (simply click here).

Also, two reminders for Sunday:

  • This week we’ll continue to collect non-perishable food items for our Mountain of Mercy. Great additions include: peanut butter, pasta, canned vegetables and fruits, oatmeal, etc.
  • Don’t forget to Fall Back on Saturday Night as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end. Enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for October 30, 2016

Hi Friends,

I’m glad to be back with you this week and it appears that Fall joined us. Last weekend Sam, myself, and the kids made our way down to Chicago and while there we spent a day at the Shed Aquarium awestruck at how beautiful God has made our world.

This Sunday I’m looking forward to being back with you in worship as we return to our 2016 Living series and we’ll arrive at 1 Peter 3:8-22. Together we’ll explore Peter’s instructions of how to live in the midst of sufferings. And while many of us do not experience the same level of persecution the early church lived through, we do live in a culture that praises a cut-throat mentality.

Whether it’s in business and investments or on playgrounds with dodgeballs, we live in a society that glorifies being mean and argues that you’ve got to be tough if you want to come out on top. We live in a culture that tells us that nice guys and gals finish last. And on Sunday we’ll wrestle with Peter’s teaching on how God calls us to be even more than nice. I’m looking forward to looking at it with you.

A quick reminder that we continue to collect non-perishable food for our Mountain of Mercy. Again this year we are collecting enough food to fill dozens of boxes for families in need in this Thanksgiving season. Great items to donate include: peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits and vegetables, tuna, rice, pasta sauce, canned soups, cookies, and oatmeal. You’ll have an opportunity to bring fresh items in a few weeks on November 13th. Let’s give generously!

Also, don’t forget about the new Grow Groups that began last week. These are intergenerational opportunities to discuss and reflect on the morning worship service and sermon. If you missed the start last week I encourage you to give them a try this Sunday following worship.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for October 9, 2016

Hi Friends,

I hope you are looking forward to this second Sunday of our Global Outreach week. Last week we began by exploring the theme text for our missionary outreach this year – Matthew 9:35-38. If you happened to miss that message you can catch up on it on our website – www.FullerCRC.org. Last Sunday evening we also had a very good presentation by Susan Lucasse on her longtime work in Vietnam as she helped us navigate some of the worldviews we encounter as we share the good news of the Gospel.

This Sunday promises to be another great opportunity to hear more of how God is at work across the globe. In the morning service we’ll be led as Rev. Case VanWyk preaches on the Parable of the Lost Son from Luke 15:11-32. Then following the morning service you are invited to join us for a potluck lunch celebrating the work of our many missionaries. Finally, in the evening you’re welcome to come back at 6pm as Anne Lucasse leads us in a prayer service for all involved in mission ministry, both near and far. It should be a great capstone to our annual GO week.

Before I sign off today, I’d like to ask that you continue to lift up our Next Steps process as it ramps up over the next few weeks. Next week, Jack Lynn of Clear Vision Ministries will be with us interviewing several members as he helps us assess our current ministries. Will you continue to pray for Fuller and our leadership as we walk this unknown path? Please pray that God will give us clear direction and that any anxieties that may appear would be calmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for September 25, 2016

Hi Friends,

How are you doing at remembering how God redeemed you?

Last Sunday we discovered that the first step toward living thankful and obedient lives – our first step to being holy as Peter calls us to – is to remember how God redeemed us from sin. God has enacted a cosmic buyback program that rescued us from a destiny in hell by the precious blood of Christ and as we saw last week remembering this truth is the initial spark that ignites our thankfulness and fans aflame our obedience. If you happened to miss the message you can catch up on our website – www.FullerCRC.org.

This coming Sunday Pastor Morris will be preaching on 1 Peter 2:4-10. As we ask how we should live, we’ll unpack how we live as a chosen people. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Pastor Morris on Sunday.

A reminder too that this week we will hold a brief congregational meeting following the morning service to highlight some of the great work the Council has done this past summer. In the meeting we’ll hear more about the Next Steps church assessment we’ll be jumping into, we’ll hear about the hiring of two Calvin Seminary interns who will help us with some of our outreach and evangelism efforts, and we’ll hear about a new ministry launching this fall for boys in kindergarten through 5th grade. I hope you’ll join us to hear more about God is leading us towards these exciting opportunities.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for September 11, 2016

Hi Friends,

I trust you had a great Labor Day weekend. On a weekend when we looked at the importance of Sabbath Rest in our worship it was a fantastic time to enjoy the grill one more time.

This coming Sunday we will launch into a new series of messages called 2016 Living based on the book of 1 Peter. Together we’ll spend the next several weeks walking through this letter penned by Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples. This letter was originally written to a group of people wondering how they should live in the 1st century church. Each week we’ll look to answer a similar question – How should we live here and now? Throughout the series we’ll discover the grace filled ways God challenges to live holy lives set apart for Him. This Sunday we’ll begin with 1 Peter 1:1-12 – give it a read if you have an opportunity. Also, if you’d like to get a head start, I encourage you to read through the entire letter – 5 short chapters.

Beyond the start of our new series, this Sunday also marks the 15th anniversary of the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001. This date holds a lot of emotion for many and so let’s commit to lift them up in prayer this week.

Finally be on the look-out for a variety of ways you can serve this fall. We have several key volunteer roles that we still need to fill. If you’re interested in serving as a Boys’ Club or Baker leader, or if you’d like to help with a children’s ministry or help lead a small group please email the church office – info@fullercrc.org, visit the Ministry Center, or let a staff member know.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate

Pastor’s Preview for August 28, 2016

Hi Friends,

This past week Sam, myself, and the kids had the opportunity to spend some time along the shores of Lake Michigan. As I stood along the water’s edge I was reminded of the sheer size of this world. Dwarfed by the wind and the waves, I was challenged to see how God has called each of us to serve him and his church in the small corner he has entrusted to us.

On Sunday we’ll celebrate that small corner as we spend some time commissioning many of us as key volunteers who help lead and serve in more than a dozen ministries throughout Fuller. Together we’ll gather before God and pledge our efforts. We’ll make a promise to work toward his kingdom come and to seek his will. The truth of the matter though is that too often we stand at the start of a ministry year and we are overwhelmed by the scope of the task before us. It feels as though we stand on the shores of a great lake and we’re struck by the smallness of our efforts. And yet we discover in scripture that God has chosen us, you and me, to work on his behalf in our little corner. God placed you at Fuller, on the corner of Fuller and Noble. God called you to serve him and his church and this Sunday we’ll celebrate his call and we’ll pray for our efforts.  As we come together we’ll turn too and hear from God from two passages from scripture – Matthew 7:15-20 & Psalm 1. If you have a minute give them a read.

One reminder – you’re invited to join us for a time of prayer prior to worship. Join us at 9am in the council room for a half an hour of prayer as we lift up the future of Fuller and seek God’s leading.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Nate