PASTORAL MEDITATIONS I have been using this time to meditate on the psalms and letting the Lord speak to me through them. One psalm that has spoken deeply to my heart is Psalm 29. The King James Version makes the first two verses clear to us:
“Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”
The first thing that caught my attention here is that we are commanded three times to “give” to the Lord. He is not calling us to give money or possessions. He is calling us to give from hearts that are filled to overflowing with the wonder of His attributes. For me it was God calling me to just be quiet for a time, spend time in His Word, and to think about Him and to let Him overwhelm me with His presence. As my heart was filled up with Him it began to overflow and all I could do was to prayerfully give to Him everything that was filling me and overflowing from me. It was one of the most intimate devotional times I have ever experienced with God. The more that I gave to Him the more that He filled me, and the time went on and on. I gave to the Lord and then, suddenly, I found myself worshipping the Lord in the beauty of His holiness. Three times we are commanded to give to the Lord, and then we are ready to worship. I sang, I prayed, I read His word… I worshipped my beautiful, holy God. I was reminded of the words of A. W. Tozer in his book “The Attributes of God I”: “‘Worship the Lord,’ says the Scripture, ‘in the beauty of holiness.’ That’s no casual remark, no casual relation of word to word – the beauty of holiness and the perfection of beauty, and the fact that only God is perfect. They all fit together beautifully and drop into place, for God is beautiful beyond all description.” When we have reached that point of praise and devotion and worship of our beautiful God then we are ready to hear His voice and to continue that deep and intimate worship through all the storms of life. David uses the image of a thunderstorm to describe the power and glory of His voice: “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the glory of God thunders… The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars… The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness… The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, AND IN HIS TEMPLE ALL CRY, ‘GLORY!’” The Lord sits enthroned as the eternal King of His creation. He sits enthroned as the King of our hearts. He is the One who reigns over our lives. Everything we have comes from Him. As David says in his closing to this song, “May the Lord give strength to His people! May the Lord bless His people with peace!” Blessings, Pastor Randy
This time of being apart from each other continues with no definite end in sight. We are being told that the coronavirus will not peak in South Dakota until sometime in June. In Sioux Falls they still say the peak will come in the middle of May. It will take some time after that before restrictions are eased and we can begin to get back to normal. In the meantime, we are trying to keep the lines of communication flowing. Our primary source of communication is the church website. You will find all the most up-to-date information for the church on that site. It is encouraging to see how many people are going to the website. Over the last 30 days we have had more than 1,000 visits to the site. The new service for the week can be found on the sermon page. The newest sermon is listed first. There are several resources available with each service. If you click on the “outline” button you can download a copy of the sermon outline so that you can print it out and take notes. The “music lyric” button takes you to a page where you can download and print the words to the music that is used in each week’s service. Then you can choose how you want to get the service. The button under the ‘Listen’ heading lets you listen to the sermon only. There are no extras, like music, included in the audio version. Clicking on the picture of the video under the ‘Watch’ heading allows you to watch the entire service. You can make the video full screen if you click on the angled arrows in the lower righthand side of the video. We will be adding more features to the service over time. You can also access the service if you are on Alliance Cable. They are airing the service at 9:30 AM each Sunday morning. If you have the standard non-digital cable service, you will find it on channel 18. If you have digital service, it is found on channel 21. I understand that there are changes coming to the Alliance Cable but for now those are the channels where the service can be found. We do have an outreach tool available for you called Zoom. It allows anyone who has a computer (with a microphone and camera) and internet access to meet with other people face-to-face. We have used it several times for different meetings. The Men’s Bible Study, led by Pastor Merv, is also using it. It is available for no charge to you on the church account. You can use it on your own if you like, but the service is somewhat limited. Call me if you would like to avoid the limitations by using the church account. Now for the future. As soon as some of the health restrictions and ordinances are eased, we are planning on doing a drive-in church. Everyone will sit in their cars in the parking lot with their windows up and tune in to a specified FM channel on their car radio. The service will be broadcast from the outside front of the church. The goal is to have everyone together in one place while we still maintain social distancing and watch out for the health of others. The next step beyond that might be outdoor services where we can maintain social distancing and still see each other and have a closer worship experience. Then, when the ordinances are lifted, the final goal is to open the church and to have a big celebration together. I am praying for that day and looking forward to seeing everyone again in a ‘normal’ service setting. I also want to challenge you with outreach during this time. If you have friends, or neighbors, or family, who are struggling to meet their needs then we need to be ready to help them. The first line of help should be each one of us as needs become known. If God has allowed you to be able to help them then you should reach out to them. The next level of help comes from the church. Call me and we will see what we can do for them. Several people have said that they would be willing to help people out by getting their mail for them, or by doing their shopping for them, etc. We also have information of different agencies that they can contact for help. This is the time for us to show Christ’s compassion to those in need. It is the easiest, and the most effective way to reach people for Christ. As always, I want to give my personal thanks to everyone who has continued to give their tithes and offerings while we have been apart. There are basic expenses that we must meet whether we are meeting together or not. They come to roughly $7,000 each month. I am grateful for everyone that has continued that spiritual discipline of giving during this time. As God prospers, and as God leads, we need to give. A thought to remember (found on Facebook): “If a tiny virus can do this much damage, imagine what mustard seed size faith can do!” Keep looking up!
Blessings, Pastor Randy
SPIRITUAL VISION TEAM REPORT
04/06/2020 Spiritual Vision team Meeting Report 7:00 PM This meeting was held by using a combination of Zoom and telephone due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Present: Scott, Dave, Trevor, Eugene, Pastor Randy Open with prayer. Eugene Devotion Scriptures, Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV2011) 22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” This was chosen because it shows the importance of setting our sights on Christ. ______________________________________________ BUSINESS
Business Items old ETHOS Update module 1 will start April 16 at 1 PM. This is a Zoom meeting. We should have several leaders/future leaders participate. They should plan to be involved in all the sessions. The hope is that we become more missional. We need a list of those who can participate so Pastor Randy can get the invitation email ready and sent to our participants. Membership Classes: Still working on time coordination. Corona virus protocol: Currently not meeting Seder Meal: Cancelled
Business Items new Need to develop good communication with our members and congregation. We need to put together an email list to make sure we are communicating with our congregation. We also need to contact people periodically. We wondered about contacting those over 65 especially once a week. Encourage our people and be praying for each other. Encourage use of our website. We discussed the need to get people to use our Website. Ideas for Easter Sunday. Suggestions shared included trying to use a video, Zoom type meeting or radio service in the church parking lot. We will investigate trying to have possible family or individuals sing and/or play instruments to put with the sermon the pastor does on youtube. We are working on these ideas and trying to do something within Government guidelines. Report Submitted by Eugene
EVENTS CALENDAR 2020:
9:30 a.m., Worship Service 10:30 a.m., Fellowship 10:45 a.m., Sunday School for the Whole Family
6:30 p.m., AWANA Clubs 6:15 p.m., 6th-8th Grade Youth Group 7:10 p.m., 9th-12th Grade Youth Group
Thursday’s 2 p.m., Prayer & Women’s Bible Study at BVBC 7 p.m., Women’s Evening Bible Study held at various homes
Sunday, May 10, Mother’s Day Sunday, May 24, 5:30 p.m., Hymn Sing Monday, May 25, Memorial Day Sunday, July 19 - Thursday, July 23, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., VBS, Big Fish Bay, “Hooked on God’s Mercy”, 4 years through 6th grade, at BVBC
MARIJANA CIZMANSKI Women’s Ministry in Montenegro by Stoneworks International | Mar 18, 2020 | Montenegro From Marijana Cizmanski: Dear brothers and sisters! We are grateful to God that he gave us the opportunity to host around 130 women (approximately 80 believers and more than 50 nonbelievers), to hear about our worth as women, to hear that Christ is the one who died for us and who is the only one who gives us worth. We used International Women’s Day as a platform. We had fellowship for two hours where they could hear Christian songs and hear the message from the Bible from Maria Simonovic who got saved 23 years ago as the first child who got saved in Montenegro. We had small group discussions around tables where we shared our thoughts about the topic. The over all impression was that, for this first outreach, things went better than we expected. Believers were encouraged (we invited believers from other towns and churches; we have around 300 bornagain believers in Montenegro). Nonbelievers were exposed to the gospel and only one person left the event during Maria’s speech. Several of them expressed their thankfulness that they could be there. In next few weeks, a few of us are planning to meet with some of the ladies for coffee and to invite them to an Easter service. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!April 22, 2020 Get to know Marijana Cizmanski Marijana is a National Missionary of NAB, which means she is Serbian and that NAB churches are investing in her support so that she can devote her life to serving Christ. She has a background in Hospice care and in Social services, both of which have helped shape her love for those in great need. Marijana is leading the development of CHE ministries on behalf of NAB in Serbia. Before 1990, there were no known evangelical believers in Montenegro. In 1992, after the collapse of communism, Vladimir Cizmanski came as a missionary from Serbia to plant a church in the capital city, Podgorica. Born and raised in a Christian home in Serbia, Vladimir experienced his second birth when he was just twelve. In his teens, God put a desire in his heart to go to the mission field of neighboring Montenegro. Eleven years later, God miraculously opened the door to go to a city with just one missionary and a couple of Evangelical believers. Montenegro is considered to be the least evangelized country in Europe. In 1996, Vladimir married Marijana and together they pastor the small, but growing Podgorica Evangelical Church. God willing, they now plan to build the first evangelical church building in the country. Montenegrins are sensitive regarding the visible expressions of religious meeting places. A public, officially recognized facility is very important because it shows transparency, dedication and stability. The current need is to complete the ambitious church building project to serve as a meeting place for the church, provide facilities for the children’s ministry, create office space for mission organizations, host a mission-training center and to provide lodgings for visiting mission teams. The proposed four-story, 9,500 square foot building is currently under construction with support from architects in Slovakia and Estonia and help from Stoneworks International in San Antonio, Texas, USA. There remains a funding gap to complete the project, however Vladimir and the team continue to look to God’s provision through the generosity of His people around the world.
RON & JEANNIE SECK - HUNGARY
Ron grew up in a Christian family in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. He trusted Jesus Christ as Savior when he was nine years old, during Vacation Bible School. Ron first felt God calling him into Christian ministry while in high school, and committed his life to God fully while a junior at Princeton University. God then led Ron to Biblical Ron grew up in a Christian family in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. He trusted Jesus Christ as Savior when he was nine years old, during Vacation Bible School. Ron first felt God calling him into Christian ministry while in high school, and committed his life to God fully while a junior at Princeton University. God then led Ron to Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Like Ron, Jeannie grew up in a biblical Christian home. When she was four years old, after the death of her father, Jeannie asked Jesus to be her Savior and Lord. While Ron was at Princeton, Jeannie was studying at Moore College of Art with a passion to share Christ through creative art. It was at this time that they met and married. The couple set their hearts on serving the Lord as creative artists, and essentially doing missional work using their skills and training. While Ron was in seminary, people they met through their drama ministry and Jeannie’s teaching position at Wissahickon High School started coming to their apartment for Bible study. Those were the “Jesus people” days and God’s Spirit was moving. The group became so large that a local pastor asked Ron if he would begin a youth ministry at Church of the Open Door in Fort Washington, PA. Jeannie and Ron thoroughly enjoyed this flourishing work for four years. In 1974 Ron was ordained at Church of the Open Door. And in 1975, a series of clearly providential works of God led Ron to take the pastorate at a NAB Church, Fellowship Chapel in Sterling Heights, Michigan. On July 1, 2011, Ron completed forty years of pastoral ministry. For the last eighteen years of his ministry as pastor of Fellowship Chapel, Ron and Jeannie did mission work in Central Europe, mainly in Hungary and the Balkans. In 2011 he and Jeannie began their training with Community Health Evangelism (“CHE”-- CHEnetwork. org,) and recognized this strategy as God’s answer to holistic transformation among the world’s poor and marginalized. God’s call to initiate this strategy of life and community transformation among the Gypsies (“Roma”) of Central Europe led Ron to leave his position as Fellowship’s Lead Pastor and Jeannie to leave hers as teacher and Art Department Chairperson at Chippewa Valley High School. Now Jeannie and Ron are devoting the balance of their career service to producing wholly healthy Gypsy believers in wholly healthy churches in wholly healthy communities by training Christian Roma and nationals in the CHE strategy of holistic community development. On December 9, 2011, Rev. Ronald and Jeannie Seck were appointed as NAB missionaries to Hungary. On February 2, 2012, they began their new full-time work. Since that time, they have seen God do amazingly more than they could ask or even think, by raising up trained workers and teams, initiating community development projects in Roma villages and spreading CHE ministries into other countries bordering Hungary. Ron has been appointed CHE’s Central Europe Coordinator as well as coordinator of CHE Euro Net, a network he helped to organize. In 2016 he was elected to CHE’s newly formed Representative Council. Ron and Jeannie are confident that God has called them to continue and expand their growing ministry. They see God opening doors of utterance and opportunity throughout the former Soviet satellite countries. Together with others in the CHE Euro Network, they have a vision to plant new national Community Health Evangelism teams and community projects in every nation of Central Europe and the Balkans by 2020 to help reach the poor and nearly 13 million Roma of Europe for Jesus Christ. Ron and Jeannie praise God for His mercy and grace in this pioneering work.