March Newsletter 2020
A Message from the Pastor:
Dear Friends in Christ,
Recently, I’ve been reading James Emery White’s book "Rethinking the Church" as I listen to God’s visioning call as the pastoral leader of our amazing community of faith. In the chapter on rethinking discipleship, White writes:
Some of you may remember comedian Yakov Smirnoff. He said when he first came to the United States from Russia, he wasn’t prepared for the incredible variety of instant products available in American grocery stores. He says, “On my first shopping trip, I saw powdered milk – you just add water and you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice – you just add water, and you get orange juice. And then I saw baby powder, and I
thought to myself: WHAT A COUNTRY!”
One of the common assumptions made about discipleship is that it happens instantly. According to this belief, when someone becomes a Christian, there is an immediate, substantive, in-depth, miraculous change in habits, attitudes and character.
The question for rethinking discipleship is this: Are these assumptions valid? If they are, then working this formula in the life of the church should consistently give the same result: a regularly new minted community of people who instantly become like Jesus in their life and thought. If that is not the answer a church gets when it works the equation, then it needs to rethink whether the formula is sound.
Unfortunately, many churches are not getting the desired answer. In fact, a Search Institute study has found that only 32 percent of churchgoing people have a well-developed faith. Why? Because true life change and faith development only BEGINS at the moment of first belief, takes more than just time, is about training and not trying, and it is a team effort.
Amazing Grace is a community of wonderful people, gathered around the mission of growing in faith, seeking the will of God and sharing God’s love with all people. But this mission doesn’t just happen miraculously; discerning and following God’s will is not automatic; and sharing God’s love with ALL people takes more than just a warm feeling in our hearts. Fulfilling God’s mission requires a well-formed discipleship among our people reflected by inward and outward discipline and commitment to be about working for the Kingdom. Unfortunately, in ministry such discipleship is rarely instant.
As you journey through the wilderness of Lent this year, take some time to stop and rethink your discipleship. Where is your faith? How do you need to grow? What disciplines do you need to apply to your life to create the life change and faith development you desire? Look around you. There are others at Amazing Grace seeking the same things. Begin today rethinking your discipleship and invite others into the journey of discovery. As James Emery White says, discipleship is a team effort.
EXALTED! - New sermon series for Lent
March 1 - THE LOVE LETTER
Text: Philippians 1:1-11
March 8 - BROKE DOWN FOR JOY
Text: Philippians 1:12-25
March 15 -THE EXALTED
Text: Philippians 2:1-18
March 22 - ALL IN
Text: Philippians 3:1-14
March 29 - WHEN ANXIETY ATTACKS
Text: Philippians 4:4-13
BECOMING THE BOOK: HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO BE!
Lunch and Learn bible study begins March 3rd on Tuesdays at 12:00pm.
This comprehensive introduction to the Bible and its origins will be a fascinating exploration of the makeup and process of formation of the biblical witness. Unlike most Bible studies that focus on studying IN the Word, this course will focus on studying ABOUT the Word. Crossing the boundaries and time and culture, the Bible is the most influential book ever written. It has remained a best seller for centuries. Yet, outside of worship, most Christians are unfamiliar with its contents, how it is put together, where to find particular content, and the very origins of this rule for faith. Considered by some as a daunting book of mystery and by others as the go-to answer book for every question, what is the Bible? What is its purpose? Why is it so important? Who decided what’s in the Bible and what criteria was used to make the selections? This course is for Bible beginners as well as Bible experts. Classes will be recorded for online studies. No registration is required, but all students are required to bring a personal Bible to class – all translations welcome!
CROSSWAYS: THE DISCIPLINES OF FAITH – A LENTEN JOURNEY
Sundays at 6:30pm
Join us for weekly Lenten worship on Sunday evenings as we explore Crossways: The Disciplines of Faith. Each week during these prayerful evening services we will consider various disciplines of faith that have proven beneficial for spiritual growth for thousands of years. Inspired by Richard Foster’s seminal work on spirituality in The Celebration of Discipline (See Pastor’s Book Club Selection for March), we will have the opportunity to consider and practice outward faith disciplines that encourage a deepening of our relationship with God. A simple meal will be served from 5:30pm to 6: prior to the Lenten services. Our weekly themes will be:
MARCH 1 – Simplicity
MARCH 8 – Solitude
MARCH 15 – Submission
MARCH 22 – Service
MARCH 29 – Celebration
Monday Night Yoga/Qigong continues every Monday evening at 7:00pm.
Church Council will meet March 10 & 24 at 6:00pm.
Women of the ELCA
Women of the ELCA Meet will meet March 15th following worship.
Box Tops for Education
We are still collecting Box Tops for local schools. The container is located in the window of the kitchen.
South Caldwell Christian Ministries
We want to thank everyone that is participating in the EMERGENCY call for South Caldwell Christian Ministries (SCCM) food drive. There has been an increase in clients and the food isn’t going as far as it did last year.
We are working on scheduling another trip to Living Waters Lutheran church in March. Final date to be announced later.
Their current wish list in food & other supplies is the following: Soup/Coffee/Cereal/Shampoo/Laundry Soap/Dish Soap/Toilet Paper.
Current Clothes Closet needs: Men’s clothing/Baby Boy clothing/Teen Girl shoes/Linens/Blankets.
Please mark your donation: LW.
Living Waters Newsletter is printed by Phyllis the 2nd week of the month and left on the table as we enter the church.
The Prime Timers of Amazing Grace will meet on Wednesday, March 18, 2:00pm at Applebees, 2180 US Hwy 70, SE in Hickory. All are welcome to join us and bring a friend. If you have questions, speak to Bobby Lail.
Town Hall Meeting
There will be a town hall meeting following worship on March 8. On the agenda will be the Amazing Grace Vision 2020.
Our congratulations to Carol Stone and Deforest Clymer who were married February 25, 2020 by Pastor Frank. May God bless them and give them many wonderful years together.
A Message of Thanks
To Our Church Family,
Thanks to all those who helped in the planning and execution of Betty's Celebration of Life. It was well planned and put together. Special thanks to Pastor Frank, our choir director Tim Bolick, and all the people who brought food and drinks. You will never know how much you all are appreciated and loved.
Thank You to Everyone who gave to our Souper Bowl Offering and brought canned items. A total of $331.00 was split between Hickory Soup Kitchen and SCCM.
NC Synod Benevolence
The Church Council and Budget Committee committed to 10% of our regular giving each month to be given to the North Carolina Synod for Benevolence. For January we sent $906.45 to the Synod. We are tithing to the Synod what the church has been blessed with.
Thank you to our Fellowship Ministry Team for planning and hosting our special Valentine's refreshments. Thank you to all who brought finger foods and desserts.
Thank you to Tim Bolick for presenting the two dramatic monologues on Transfiguration Sunday.
Thank you to those who have worked so diligently in putting together our Vision 2020 Statement.
Thanks to those that prepared and served our Pancake Supper on Ash Wednesday.
Pastor’s Book Club Selection for March
"The Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster A newly repackaged and updated 40th anniversary edition of the timeless guide that has helped numerous seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God, updated with a new introduction by the author and a new section: "Entering the Great Conversation about the Growth of the Soul."
Hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality, Celebration of Discipline explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian
faith. Along the way, Foster shows that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found.
Dividing the Disciplines into three movements of the Spirit, Foster shows how each of these areas contribute to a balanced spiritual life. The inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service help prepare us to make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship,
guidance, and celebration bring us nearer to one another and to God.
Foster provides a wealth of examples demonstrating how these Disciplines can become part of our daily activities—and how they can help us shed our superficial habits and "bring the abundance of God into our lives." He offers crucial new insights on simplicity, demonstrating how the biblical view of simplicity, properly understood and applied, brings joy and balance to our inward and outward lives and "sets us free to enjoy the provision of God as a gift that can be shared with others." The discussion of celebration, often the most neglected of the Disciplines, shows its critical importance, for it stands at the heart of the way to Christ. Celebration of Discipline will help Christians everywhere to embark on a journey of prayer and spiritual growth.
Available new at Amazon for $13.99 or used at Biblio.com as low as $3.88.