Growing in Christ, Sharing His Love

March 2018 Calvin Caller

  From the Pastor s Desk ¦
Lent, simply put, is a journey we take towards the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   We take this journey both together as the body of Christ and in our own individual ways.   The death and resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal key to our faith.  Without it the whole gospel and our lives do not make sense.   We encounter so many things on this journey when we take time to focus on what it means.  We see our sin more clearly and as a result walk away with more gratitude for God s grace.   We grow closer to Jesus and begin to see him in all facets of our lives.   Worship together becomes one of the most nurturing and important pieces of your life.  Sometimes the things we encounter during Lent are difficult to face.     One of the uncomfortable things we confront during Lent is the pain and sorrow we see in our world.  
Last week when I was getting ready to come into the church office,Sue asked me in passing if I had heard about the recent school shooting in Florida.   œOh, that s too bad.    I shrugged and then went on with my day.   It struck me the next day how this terrible and tragic news did not even phase me.    It did not cause me to stop and pray, it did not pull on my heart to feel for those people dealing with so much grief, and it did not deter my life in any way.   I have become numb to the constant reminders of pain, violence, injustice, evil, and brokenness that are so common and normal in our world.   I tune them out and shrug them away.   I sigh and never think that such tragedy could ever come into my life or my town.   I hide them away in a recess inside me so that I do not have to deal with the injustice of it.   God brought conviction to me that as his followers on a journey towards his death and resurrection the last thing we can do is turn a blind eye to the evil and pain in the world around us.     We are called to confront the pain, embrace the brokenness, lament for the loss, and carry the load of it.   This is what Jesus did as he faced the cross.   He not only carried the weight of the sins of us, he carried the weight of all that was wrong and evil in our world.  
Part of Lent means that we turn and embrace the pain that is not only within us but is happening in our world.   We are called to turn and grapple with it and carry its weight as we journey to the cross over these next few weeks.   Our nation does not need more opinions.   Our nation does not need more politics and division.   Our nation desperately needs Jesus Christ.   And as the church we are called this Lent to pray for our nation.   To confess its sins.   To Lament for its brokenness.   To embrace and come close to those who have innocently been caught in the cross hairs of evil.   I know that it is much easier to shake our heads and wonder what is coming to this world.  I know it is easier to hide away the pain we see in a place where we don t have to deal with it.   The reality,however, is none of us would have the hope we now have unless Jesus fully embraced and carried all this pain on the cross.   Lent means seeing and embracing that pain.   In this pain, however, there is so much hope for not only us, but for our world as well.   There is hope because God is still with us and the work of his kingdom is not done.  There is hope because we have a promise that he is making all things new again.   There is hope because he has not forgotten us nor turns a blind eye to all the pain that is around us.   Grasp closely to this hope we have in Christ.
May God richly bless us all this season.                                                                                                                                                                      
 ~ Pastor Mark  

Reflections from the Front Pew

Our sins are too heavy to carry,
Too real to hide, and too deep to undo . . .
(from The Book of Common Prayer)

This saying is sure, and worthy of full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
He bore our sins in his body on the cross
So that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds we are healed.
(from I Tim.  1:15, I Peter  2:24)
These words are a Prayer and Words of Assurance for this season that we are journeying through.  When I saw this on my monthly email from the CRC, I thought of a song that fits these thoughts perfectly.  We ll be singing it soon.
Come and see, look on this mystery: The Lord of the universe nailed to a tree.
Christ our God, spilling His holy blood, bowing in anguish His sacred head.
œSing to Jesus  talks about our weariness and the rest He gives; the comfort He gives when we mourn.  The love, the mercy, and the life He gives.  Think of those gifts and how He sacrificed Himself to save us.
Sing to Jesus, Lord of our shame. Lord of our sinful hearts He is our great Redeemer. Sing to Jesus, honor His name. Sing of his faithfulness, pouring His life out unto death.
As you walk through this Lenten season, remember our great Redeemer and the way that He gave entirely.  Our great God took our burdens and our sins upon Himself.  We are free! What love!
Sing to Jesus His is the throne. Now and forever, He is the king of Heaven.
Sing to Jesus we are His own. Now and forever, sing for the love our God has shown.
œSing to Jesus  by FernandoOrtega.
~ Joni Wagenmaker, Director of Worship& Music   Children & Youth News
St Thomas Update
Our next Fundraiser will be breakfast Easter morning, April 1st!    The dates of our trip have changed slightly, due to finding reasonably priced flights.  Our trip dates are June 21-29.Please be in prayer for our team as we prepare and please lift up St Thomas Reformed Church as they continue relief efforts in their community following the hurricanes.   We have 24 students and leaders participating in this SERVE experience.
Momentum Update
Nick Brown and Andy Swords are currently working through the year of discipleship and service with Momentum.  They have been meeting, reading, and serving in our community for the past several months.  They are in the beginning stages of working with our denominational mission agency to serve overseas for a month this summer!  Please keep them in your prayers as they discern God s calling for this time of service.  They will be traveling this summer.
Youth News!
Intersect 2018 is March 16 & 17!  This is an all-night event with churches from the Muskegon area.  Cost is $20 and there are a few spots still available.  See Brian for information soon if you would like to get a t-shirt.
Family Service Night will be held on Wednesday, March 28th plan to arrive at church at 6:30 pm we will work on a project that will benefit the community!  This is open to anyone from church who would like to serve.  We would love to have you come and join us!
~ Brian Kingshott, Directorof Children & Youth  

Deacon s Corner
Over the past several months in the Deacons Corner articles, we have been highlighting the ministries that your Deacons are involved with or oversee to inform you of ways we aid in the ministries of Calvin Church. Supper House, Safe Baby Crib ministry, Household Pantry, Feeding America food truck,and Family Promise are some of the ministries that the Deacons keep a œpulse on. All of these ministries cannot exist without the numerous volunteers that man their front lines and we thank you for that.
What the Deacons have been doing behind the scenes at our monthly meetings is having devotions focusing on what it means to be a Deacon.The focus and job of a deacon has been changing over the past several years and as stated the Instillation form for Elders and Deacons, Deacons serve by leading and equipping, awakening compassion, demonstrating mercy, seeking justice, and promoting wise stewardship. We have explored community ministry and compassion and have been challenged to seek out and pray for our ministries and neighbors. We will be focusing on Justice next and then Stewardship. Please pray for your Deacons that God will continue to open our eyes to opportunities around us especially as we seek to do justice and that we will be open to the Holy Spirit s leading.
~ Jan Weiden, Chair of the Deacons  

Finance Committee
Calvin church received a couple of donations early January that do not show on the 2017 financial information that you received in your mailbox.   These donations were actually given in 2017 but the snail mail did not deliver the checks until 2018.   We were asked that these gifts be set aside for future replacement of the vans.   Our vans run well and have low mileage for how old they are, but will need replacement at some point in the future.    The individuals asked that a fund be started with their gifts, so beginning with the January statements, we will have a Van Fund with a current balance of $40,000.
If anyone has any questions regarding this or anything else regarding the finances of our church, please contact one of the members of the committee.
Your generous giving makes our work easy and enjoyable as a Finance Committee and we say THANKS!
Any questions or comments for the Finance Committee please contact Ron Konyndyk, Gary Hasper, Scott Teusink, Paul Wilson or Kathy Jansen.
~ Kathy Jansen, Finance Chair  

Hearts & Hands
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John  13:35  (NLT)
Wow!   Our Valentine bags for Special Friends were overflowing.   Thanks again to the Gems group for making the beautiful bags and to all of you who filled them.   They were much appreciated by the special people who received them.
It has come to our attention that Sacred Suds has undergone a series of management  changes.   This has occasionally resulted in some confusion for those delivering lunches.   We  ask for your prayers and patience as they work to resolve these issues.
Hearts and Hands has been entrusted with the responsibility and privilege of distributing funds collected from the Pickleball Program.  The funds will be distributed to various ministries within our church and community.   In February $500.00 was donated to a halfway house for foster girls operated under the auspices of Community Encompass Ministries.
Our next meeting will be held on  March 12, 2018 at 1:00pm   in the Fireside Room.   We always welcome new members.  Please join us!
~ Antje Waldo  

Prayer Corner
Lent:   A Time of Quiet Prayer
As we continue on in this Lenten season, a certain heaviness settles on our hearts, as we remember our Savior s life and passion.   We cannot comprehend how much Christ had to œempty Himself  to come here and fulfill all that was necessary for our salvation to be complete.
We cannot understand how the God of the universe would walk dusty roads and live such a quiet, simple life.  It s all beyond us, so we just stop and ponder it again and whisper, œthank you Lord .
~ Mary AnnMellema  

McLaughlin Grows CSA Shares for 2018
 Would you like to have convenient access tofresh organic locally grown vegetables?  Look no further than McLaughlin Grows, an urban œfarm  which is anextension of Community enCompass founded by Bethany Church.   It is committed to growing organic vegetablesand teaching young people in Muskegon s McLaughlin neighborhood how to growtheir own.  Community SupportedAgriculture (CSA) shares are a good way to support this endeavor and provideyourself with the freshest organic vegetables possible. While not inexpensive,a comparison of the prices with those of other local CSA producers shows that œMcGrows  shares are less expensive than many for-profit CSAs.   A share provides you with a weekly orbiweekly full grocery bag or more of a variety of vegetables (whatever iscurrently available).   Shares areavailable for spring salads, spring/summer, and fall/winter and for weekly orbiweekly shares.  Information andregistration forms are available in the church office.   Talk to Paul Wilson for further information.
~ PaulWilson  

Among Ourselves
Anniversaries ¦ Our best wishes are sent to the following couples who are celebrating their anniversaries this month (50+ years):
      Len & Shirley Fisher celebrating 54 years on March 20.

Birthdays ¦ We are happy to acknowledge the following people who are celebrating their birthdays this month:                      
      Mar 3 Jan Bush                    Mar 11 Andrew Rop               Mar 23 Barb Bartkowiak
      Mar 3 Emerson VerMerris    Mar 14 Ruth Zylstra                         Mar 24 Barry Searles
      Mar 4 Anna Wagenmaker    Mar 16 Eleanor Kingshott       Mar 26 Tracie Wolffis
      Mar 4 Peter Wynbelt                  Mar 17 Jan Weiden                Mar 28 Bob Datema
      Mar 5 Joshua Thayer           Mar 17 Tim Searles                        Mar 29 Dick Kraft
      Mar 6 Howard Allen                    Mar 20 Maryann Wolffis         Mar29 Debbie Strohm
      Mar 6 Shannon Whitlow      Mar 20 Aaron Rop                  Mar 29 Parker Sneller
      Mar 6 Rebekah Thayer       Mar21 Carlie Fairbanks           Mar 30 Kristi Wickerink
      Mar 7 Bill Wolffis                 Mar 22 Diane Kamp               Mar 30 Linda Gould
      Mar 9 Dave Bush                Mar 23 John Mogdis                       Mar 30 Dan Meyers
      Mar 10 Jeremy Sova
Directory Updates ¦
The 2018 Calvin Church Directory is available in your mailbox or will be mailed to you soon.   If you have not received a directory or would like another copy, please let Vickie in the office know.  
We will be putting the finishing touches on the pictorial directory soon.   If you haven t had your picture taken yet, stay tuned to the bulletin.  We are striving for 100% participation.  If you have had family pics taken recently and would like to use one, you may forward one to the office.  
You may now download the Instant Church Directory app on your phone or go to on your computer, follow the prompts using the email given to the church.   If we do not have your email and you would like to gain access, please let the office know and your info will be updated promptly.
Reminder:   If you have changes(address, phone, email, etc.) during the year, please let Vickie know and updates will be put in this section of the monthly Calvin Caller (but not included on the website).      

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