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The Joy of Making Someone Feel Loved

This weekend my daughter Lauren is coming home. She and her husband will arrive from Traverse City for an academy graduation and Lauren’s birthday. I am having such fun preparing! Like almost anyone, my daughter enjoys a gift or two, but she especially loves “the experience.” So as her mom, I am thoughtfully orchestrating every detail. We will have a red velvet cake, a bouquet of soft pink flowers and a meal served on her great-grandmother’s china. I will carefully choose just the right card and search the internet to learn how to make the requested Eggs Florentine for breakfast. I am delighting in every detail because I know how much it will mean to my daughter. 

This morning as I remembered the need to pick up birthday candles, the question struck me. What if I put this much enthusiasm and energy into celebrating God’s special day?! What if every week I pondered how I could make Him feel extra special? Though I know Lauren well, each year I ask her what she wants to eat and do on her birthday. What if I sought the Lord’s input in the same way? What Sabbath meal might He suggest I prepare? Who might He encourage me to invite to our home? And what if I slid into the pew each Sabbath and immediately bowed my head in prayer like my friend, Jean, offering my gift of worship and praise to the Lord? What if in those quiet moments I asked Him to direct me to someone at church who especially needs a warm smile and encouraging conversation?

We tend to think stewardship is all about money. While our financial resources do play an extremely important role in it, stewardship is so much more. It is caring for and appreciating all the blessings that God has given us. The gift of the Sabbath is one of the best blessings, but like all good things that the Lord has bestowed on us, it is to be managed well. It is not to be selfishly hoarded and used.

So as we near the weekend, try thinking of how you might delight God this Sabbath. Seek His input to find out what He might want from you on His day. Get caught up in the joy of making Him feel loved!

by Tari Popp, Chairperson of the PMC Stewardship Committee


GROW Groups for Kingdom Growth

It was good to catch up with our First Elders Cynthia and Russell Burrill as they wrapped up their  Spring Semester GROW Group and took time to reflect on its impact. Cynthia and Russell are passionate about reaching people for the Kingdom of Christ. This is very evident as we begin to talk about PMC's  primary vehicle for discipleship: GROW Groups.

Cynthia and Russell, what was your GROW Group about and why is the topic so close to your heart?

We have both studied Revelation. We also held prayer meetings with a more detailed study of Revelation. This book is God’s timely message of hope for the last days for the world that is in turmoil.

Our local newspapers actually mentioned GROW Groups, thanks to your ministry in this area. Can you share your opinion of the impact of GROW Groups on our local community? On Kingdom Growth?

We have used our outreach time to give to the local community through ministering to a women’s shelter. We keep an eye out for the needs around us. The latest inspired us to band our resources together and donate so that the Herald could jump start a fund to digitize the Journal Era in the Library.

There are two ways that GROW Group contribute greatly to our Kingdom Growth goals: (1) It is a good place for for new people to be included and cared for so they may grow in their faith experience and (2) the empty chair principle is a mindset about making room for others.

Tell us about the "empty chair" and how we may incorporate the practice in our own group?

We do have an empty chair for the person not yet here. We keep it in mind even when we can only see it a little ways away in the next room because one of our groups has grown to 20 people. Social times are when our empty chair approach comes to life: When we get together outside of study time we make it a point to include guests. Sometimes they end up joining us on another day for the study.

What would you tell someone who is right now considering leading a GROW Group?

It is a tremendous, blessing for us to experience our fellow members becoming family and we do grow spiritually. The material that we are studying helps us to grow spiritually and are so relevant for this time.

Your passion for your GROW Group topic and GROW Group, in general, is very evident! What is your prayer for GROW Groups at the Pioneer Memorial Church?

We are praying that a majority of our members will get involved and experience the joy of sharing and loving others in a group. It is wonderful to pray with and for others as a community of believers!

by Sabine Vatel, Discipleship/GROW Group Pastor

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