Pastor Mark Dicken
2637 McCool Road, Portage, IN 46368
Issue VIII August 2016
FROM THE PASTOR
Recent events in our country and around the world are deeply troubling.
Any belief system that encourages and celebrates terrorism and the murder of innocents is obscene and as you will learn in our coming sermon series is actually an apostate form of Islam.
We should be ashamed as a nation that African-American parents need to have “THE TALK” with their sons that does not involve the birds and the bees, but rather how to act safely when encountering law enforcement.
There is never any justification for the murder of police officers.
All this and more reminds us that our nation and world need Jesus more than ever.
As I write this the convention for one of the major political parties in our country is beginning and the second will follow shortly thereafter. The divisive language and actions in the media, online and in the streets began months ago, but now is accelerating.
We have a contrary, but positive message for all. (All verses from Common English Bible)
• Ephesians 4:29 “Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.”
• Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 39 But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well”.
• 1 Timothy 2:1-3 “First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. 2 Pray for kings and everyone who is in authority so that we can live a quiet and peaceful life in complete godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and it pleases God our savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
• Acts 10:34 “Peter said, ‘I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another.’”
• John 13:34-35 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
• 1 John 4:8 “The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.”
We have good news to proclaim. I pray and plead that we will do so through our words and our actions.
See you in church!
Happy August Birthday to…
01 Lauren Falk 09 Nikki Monahan 19 Joshua Hoover
01 John Shebel 10 Sue Miller 21 Keira Candiano
02 Branden Hamilton 10 Skyler Smith 22 Doug McKiddy
02 Veda Shadwell 10 Darius Pinarski 24 Judy Hedstrom
02 Paul Pollachek 10 Marilyn Thorn 25 Kate Blakely
03 Harley Parks 11 Virginia Sapp 28 Terry Nohr
03 Tara Keehn 13 Mary Jane Frahm 28 Scott Riley
03 Julia Graff 14 Katie Cunningham 28 Ryan Smith
05 Rob Liesch 15 Michael Candiano 30 Connie Ellefson
06 Jenny Brown 15 Lori Monahan 30 Matt Chelich
07 Chuck Phillips 16 Lois Finney 31 Benny Wright
08 Evelyn Kegley 17 Beth Wrigley
09 Shelli Kwiatkowski 18 Dorothy Peterson
Happy August Anniversary to…
02 Don & Mary Cooper 13 Scott & Kim Bilkey
04 Bob & Shari Warne 14 Dean & Kathy Cunningham
04 Norm & Margi Hamstrom 14 Steve & Lorri Davenport
05 Jeff & Sharon Kaiser 17 Scott & Lil Falk
07 Darren & Lisa Warne 21 Eddie & Jessica Karsten
07 Bob & Leigh Romanov 23 Chuck & Vicki Mason
09 Harley & Pam Parks 25 Brian & Heather Burns
10 Joe & Melissa Medina 26 Grant & Lori Monahan
11 Chuck & Madelyn Lorenz
Have you checked out the church web site??
The address is: http://www.portageumc.org
Sundays @ 10:00am Sunday School
Wednesdays @ 11:30am Brown Bag Bible Study
Thursdays @ 6:00am Breakfast at Schoops
Remember your church in your will.
First Friday Fellowship will meet Friday, August 5th at 4:30pm at the Galveston Steakhouse, 10 Commerce Square, Michigan City, IN. Come join us for fun and fellowship. R.S.V.P to Sande Robinson at 764-8433. (Note: Change in time for August only.)
We would like to thank each of you for your kindness and prayers, gifts of food and help at John’s funeral and our home. It was surely a blessing and we appreciate and love all of you! We will remember your goodness forever.
The Family of John Lorenz
The United Methodist Women are sponsoring a holiday craft show Saturday, October 29th from 9am – 2pm and are looking for crafters and vendors to participate. Cost is $35 per 8’ table with 2 chairs ($25 for church members). Please contact Sandra Robinson at 764-8433 or Fran Berry at 763-7149 for information or an application form.
Sacred Steps 5K Walk/Run
Sacred Steps- Remember last year when we bought a bunch of cool animals like a water buffalo to help people in other countries be self-sufficient? Well, we're doing it again, and we need your help! We need people to sign up to walk and run our 5k, people to spread the word to the runners and walkers in their lives, people to donate financially or help secure sponsorships from organizations they have ties with, and volunteers for race day! To register, visit: https://runsignup.com/Race/IN/Portage/SacredSteps5KRun
To help, contact Tara Keehn through Facebook, phone/text at 219-608-6150, or email at email@example.com
All Church Picnic August 28
Our all church picnic will be Sunday, August 28th at 1pm. There will be food (lots of it!), games for young and not so young, hayrides and perhaps a surprise or two. The church will provide the meat, beverages and tableware. We ask each family to provide salads, desserts, chips/dips, or other sides to share with us.
There will be a sign-up sheet for food items at the connection center soon so that we know what items are coming.
We are also looking for volunteers to assist Vicki Evanatz in the final planning (games, set-up and take-down, etc.). If you would like to help Vicki in organizing or helping at the picnic, please talk to her or call her
Church services that Sunday will be as usual at the church. The picnic will be afterwards at Crossroads.
SAVE THE DATE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 28TH, 1PM-? Join us for a fun afternoon at Crossroads!
Strength for Service Books
The General Commission on United Methodist Men has developed a series of Strength for Service devotional books. Recently we provided a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country to a member of our church who was leaving for basic training in the United States Army and copies of Strength for Service to God and Community to two members of our church who are first responders.
Pastor Mark challenged us to give additional gifts of Strength for Service to God and Community to all members of the Portage Police and Fire Departments. The response has been encouraging. As of July 18, we have received $705 toward our goal of $990 needed to purchase enough copies.
Acting on faith, we have ordered the books in order to present them no later than September 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11terrorist attacks.
We encourage you to continue to give to support this effort. Mark your checks or offering envelopes “Strength for Service.” Each copy costs us just under $8 with shipping and handling, a considerable discount when compared to the individual copy retail price.
AUGUST COMMUNITY MEAL to be combined our church picnic. Invite friends and neighbors. More information can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.
SAME BOOK, SAME PAGE READINGS FOR AUGUST
We are challenging ourselves to read through the Bible in 2016. The page numbers for the following daily readings are from the paperback New Living Translation Bibles available at no cost.
August 1 2 Kings 20-21 pp 234-235
August 2 2 Chronicles 32-33 pp 277-279
August 3 Nahum 1-3 pp 557-558
August 4 2 Kings 22-23 pp 235-236
August 5 Zephaniah 1-3 pp 562-564
August 6 Jeremiah 1-3 pp 446-448
August 7 2 Chronicles 34-35 pp 279-280
August 8 Jeremiah 4-6 pp 449-452
August 9 Jeremiah 7-9 pp 452-454
August 10 Jeremiah 10-13 pp 454-457
August 11 Jeremiah 14-17 pp 457-459
August 12 Jeremiah 18-22 pp 460-462
August 13 Jeremiah 23-25 pp 462-465
August 14 Jeremiah 26-29 pp 465-467
August 15 Jeremiah 30-31 pp 467-469
August 16 Jeremiah 32-34 pp 469-471
August 17 Jeremiah 35-37 pp 471-473
August 18 Jeremiah 38-40, Psalms 74 & 79 pp 473-474, 349, 352
August 19 2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36 pp236-238, 280-281
August 20 Habakkuk 1-3 pp 559-561
August 21 Jeremiah 41-45 pp 474-476
August 22 Jeremiah 46-48 pp 476-479
August 23 Jeremiah 49-50 pp 479-482
August 24 Jeremiah 51-52 pp 482-485
August 25 Lamentations 1:1-3:36 pp 486-488
August 26 Lamentations 3:37-5:22 pp 488-490
August 27 Ezekiel 1-4 pp 491-492
August 28 Ezekiel 5-8 pp 492-494
August 29 Ezekiel 9-12 pp 494-496
August 30 Ezekiel 13-15 pp 496-497
August 31 Ezekiel 16-17 pp 497-499
The Red Cross is currently experiencing an urgent need for blood during these busy summer months. You can help by donating at our next blood drive:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
1:30 – 6:30 PM
*To encourage donors the Red Cross is offering $5 Amazon gift card for every donor.
Welcome Our Newest Staff Member
We are pleased to announce that Meghan Messer has agreed to join our church staff as part-time Contemporary Worship Leader as we continue to incorporate more live music in our 11:30 AM worship service.
Meghan is a 2014 graduate of United Methodist-related University of Evansville with a B.S. in Music Therapy. She is proficient in piano, guitar, percussion and voice.
We look forward to seeing what God will do at PFUMC with her leadership.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership and service of Cara Reeder and the other members of our Praise Team who have kept the faith during some challenging weeks and months for our contemporary worship service.
Please welcome Meghan and thank Cara.
We continue to pray for additional musicians and singers, so if you are one or know one, let us know – and keep praying.
WORSHIP THEMES FOR AUGUST
August 7 Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
But Here We Differ: World Religions Pastor Mark
This series will respectfully present the major world religions in their best light while highlighting the important differences of Christianity.
August 14 Blessing & Anointing for the New School Year
But Here We Differ: World Religions Pastor Mark
August 21 But Here We Differ: World Religions Pastor Mark
August 28 But Here We Differ: World Religions Pastor Mark
A NOTE FROM PASTOR DEB
Several years ago our youth came home from senior high camp with a passion burning in their hearts. They were outraged at the travesty that is sex trafficking and slavery. They invited a speaker from Destiny Rescue to our church and it was here that my eyes were opened to things that were unthinkable to me. Girls as young as 8 years old were being handed over into sexual slavery. Often times the poverty of their families led them to accept the lies they were told. Some were told that their child would have a better life in the city, some that there was a job in a restaurant for their child to make money and help the family. No matter the story the end result is the exploitation of innocent lives.
The passion of our youth and the awareness of the needs lead our United Methodist Women to sponsor three girls.
Destiny Rescue is based in Syracuse, Indiana and reaches out to much of the world to rescue girls who are caught in this slavery, giving them a safe place to live, and training in ways to support themselves. One of these ways is the making of jewelry. I would like to give you the opportunity to purchase their items as a means of helping combat this abuse. I will have jewelry for sale between services on Sunday, August 28. I will also bring it to the church picnic later at 1pm. If you are not able to come then, I will also have an open house at my home on Wed. Aug. 31 – 2301 Deerview Drive – from 6-8pm.
Whether you purchase the jewelry or not – please pray for these girls and for their situation.
Peace and grace,
Aug. 7 Ethan Keehn and Pastor Deb
Aug. 14 *_________ and Pastor Deb
Aug.21 Pam Parks and Pastor Deb
Aug. 28 Bill and Shannon Liesch
*Donna Lenburg is scheduled for Aug. 14 but is in the process of healing and rehab so will not be available. Would you like to help with Children’s church? We have great kids and find that learning is fun! Let Pastor Deb know if you are available on Aug. 14.
August Youth Events
Friday August 12
Meet @ the church at 1 pm
Bring Sky Socks if you have them
Please let Kate know by Wed. Aug 10 if you'll be attending
Prayer Walk @ Willowcreek Middle School
Sunday August 14
Meet @ Willowcreek at 2pm, Door B
2nd Annual Box City
August 20-21 at Nativity of our Savior
2949 Willowcreek Rd, Portage
Join 6 area youth groups for the 2nd annual Box City Event to raise awareness of homelessness in Porter County and raise funds for Family Promise.
Sponsor sheets will be available at the Connection Center beginning August 1st
Youth Group resumes August 24
Wednesdays 6:30-8 pm
E-mail Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 574-621-0070 with questions or for more information
A Poem By: Bud Gray
I awakened this morning to the sound
of music sung by a beautiful songbird.
It was preening in all its finery on
the stage of a bush outside my window.
I opened the curtains wide to the glory
of God's creation and marveled at its
performance of one of nature's compositions.
My songbird flew away...leaving behind a
colorful feather as a reminder of its
beauty and God's gentle way of
granting another day.
I’M A FIXER…
It’s part of my personality. I see something that is broken and I have a need to fix it, simple as that. It started with bicycles, moved up to lawn mowers, then cars, and finally defined my career as a mechanical contractor. So, I started to write this article about how the church’s financial condition was broken and how the finance committee was “fixing” it. But then I sat in church while Pastor Mark announced that there had just been another shooting of police officers, this time in Baton Rouge. It took me back to my high-school junior year when they announced Kennedy’s assassination over the intercom. Like then, a sudden wave of grief came over me. Something crazy is happening and I don’t know if anyone knows how to fix it. God must be watching us as we struggle with Isis, LGBT, racism, addictions, school shootings, corruption and global warming. All of which must surely outweigh any request for financial direction sent to Him from a small congregation in Portage.
After hearing of the tragedy I sat, glued to the T.V’s news coverage. One by one the President and all of the connected law officers stepped up to the microphone and gave their reports. Every report was slightly different, but each one ended with the call for us to keep the officers and their families in our prayers. I couldn’t help but question if they were sincere or just offering empty expressions of faith that always seem to follow such tragedies. They all seem to turn to prayer as a last resort but I wonder if these tragedies would have happened at all if we had turned to prayer as a first resort? Can prayers stop this violence? If you believe it can, it will. After 9/11 churches started filling their seats with people looking for answers, turning to our Christ for his message of love and hope. Will we see that now? And as a Portage First Christian how will you respond to those that may turn to you for answers? Will you help them to see what is broken and try to fix it? Are you also a “fixer”? I pray that we all are.
Now, back to what I started to write about when I sat down… a review of our mid-year (26 week) finances revealed:
1. We knew last December that the only way we could afford to continue with all of our ministries was by not paying our church tithes to the Indiana Conference and Northern District, and we haven’t. We are still hoping to be in a better financial position in the future and catch up.
2. 76 of the 101 pledged givers are ahead of their commitment level and 25 are behind.
3. 44 of all pledged and non-pledged have given between $0.00 and $100.00 this year. Yes, it hurts me to say that several regular attendees have given absolutely nothing this year.
4. 52 of all pledged and non-pledged have given between $101.00 and $500.00 this year.
5. 22 of all pledged and non-pledged have given between $501.00 and $1,000.00 this year.
6. 64 of all pledged and non-pledged have given between $1,001.00 and $5,000.00 this year.
7. 5 of all pledged and non-pledged have given more than $5,000.00 this year.
I have discovered a simple truth about finance. No money means no ministries. More money means more ministries. God will certainly somehow provide for us to fulfill our ministries, and He provides the money for those ministries through the members of His body, our church.
Give what you can and pray to our Lord for only He can “fix” what His children have broken.
Your friend in Christ,
The Finance Guy