Board of Directors News
Matthew 13:3-9 and 18-23
The Parable of the Sower
13 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears listen!”
Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
Sowing, Gardening, and Weeding….
As I write this article we as a Christian Community still find ourselves in the Lenten Season. This will hold true for the majority of the month of April until we will be blessed with the glory and wonderment that Easter holds. As noted last month, I have taken a new attitude toward Lent – it is a time of reflection, but to a goal. That goal is preparing for Easter and the significance that the resurrection of Christ has as the cornerstone of our Christian faith. It is not an overstatement to say that the very roots and foundation of Christianity stem from the resurrection. That is so worthy of celebration and preparing one’s self for all that Easter means!
It is also springtime, at least the calendar indicates so. Spring as a season has a fundamental feeling of anticipation, departure from winter, and an outlook for new activity and growth in all of our surroundings. Green and color replaces dull, stark, and too much white.
With Easter and Spring coinciding there is a general feeling of joy for what lies ahead. The scripture reading and parable seemed so appropriate for this month where we will be anticipating results and expectations from our efforts in the coming weeks.
This particular parable is pretty straight forward as par-ables go. The message is pretty clear; based on the care, preparation, and attention for placing one’s effort; seeding will have differing results. The results from baron, rocky, or thorny environments are not surprising to anyone; no matter the quality of the seed or the good intentions of the sower, nothing will really come from those efforts.
However good seed on fertile soil has the greatest chance of yielding a magnitude of good and fruitful benefits. So taking time and preparing yourselves and our seed (Christian Action and Discipleship) during Lent sets the stage for benefits and value beyond what we may have envisioned at the start. While that is wonderful, that fertile ground can also be ripe for weeds to thrive and disrupt or overtake what we intended to have as our main intention.
Therefore, it is not enough to sow good seed in fertile ground and then walk away and think you are finished with the task at hand. Weeds are ever present in our lives no matter what form they take and what toll they take on our spiritual or physical gardens.
A dear friend of my wife shared some thoughts about weeding that I think are an interesting way to prepare ourselves for the remainder of Lent and for the ‘growing season’ after Easter for all we do as Christians.
“The weeds always speak to me of sin in my life. Some weeds have roots that go down deep, but if you pull with a steady pressure, not too fast, the whole thing will come up. The sins of fear and gluttony have been like that in my life...
Then there are those weeds whose roots are a complex network, an intricate mess that covers quite a bit of area. If you take a firm hold of that plant and move it slightly to and fro that tangled mess will be uprooted. Selfishness and pride are like that...
And then there are weeds that produce the daintiest little flowers on the wispiest of stems. When you first pull on them you can't see where the root base is. The plant leans away from the root, almost like a decoy. The slightest tug will separate the stem from the root and if you aren't careful to watch you won't see where the root is. These are those elusive sins of greed, vanity, gossip, laziness, and certainly more.
Wow, an afternoon of weed pulling can be very convicting or it can be very purifying. It depends on what I will let the Gardener do in the fertile soul of my heart.”
Dearest Brothers and Sisters within our Emmaus Community, will you join me for the remainder of Lent to weed out the sin in our lives? Will you take some time in preparation for our contined Faith Walks to consciously re-move sin and seek forgiveness? Time to be in His Word and prepare the fertile soil of your heart to receive an overflowing abundance of His Love? As we enrich our hearts and minds in preparation of Easter we should cherish that we are forgiven and we are loved children of God.
With the passing of Lent, do not dwell on the convicting of ourselves but treat it as a time for purifying and grow-ing our internal spirit. For the Easter Weekend (Good Friday – Easter Monday); even with the passion and act of crucifixion, and then the Resurrection; there is no greater proof of God’s love for us. For us as Christians, mercy and forgiveness is abundant. Christ is our re-deemer and savior, who ascended into heaven, leaving us with the Holy Spirit to be a force to touch and guide us for all the days of our lives through all the stages of our garden.
Community Lay Director
Thess 5:16. Rejoice Always!!!
"The Only Name" is a great song which states - JESUS, Jesus, Jesus, just that name! We can testify there is power even in whispering His name. When we all praise His name together in song - it is so very powerful. This Ultreya, just pause and enjoy the shower of praise, rejoicing in Him. Jesus, just that name!
Our 2014 Weekends!!
E-168 ~ Mar. 27-30 Carolyn Ritenour
All weekends will be held at the 4-H Training Center near Front Royal, VA
April arrives and we find the hope of warmer weather and the great celebration of Easter. Easter is the defeat of sin, death, and darkness. Easter is the promise of new life, eternal life, and hope.
As a pastor, I find that Easter and Christmas Eve are among the most challenging times to preach. The reason being, we all know the story and how do we top something that fantastic? Our words pale in comparison. Yet, in that very notion, we discover a great truth.
God’s love and grace are so wonderful, so large, so embracing, so comforting, so hopeful, so inclusive that we don’t have to worry about finding the right words to express our joy and our gratitude. We don’t have to worry about finding the right words to describe the peace and hope we have found. We don't have to worry about finding the right words to demonstrate the depth of our gratitude.
I think our best words are very simple words. First, we say “Yes!” to God. Secondly, we say “Thanks!” to God. And thirdly, we say, “I love you, too!” to God. In that great simplicity we have stated a major belief.
The ladies of E-168 just coming back from the mountain had as their theme, “Beloved, love one an-other.” When we know love, we know God. Holy Week is an intensely emotional week. We experience human lows and human highs. We start with joy as we watch Jesus enter Jerusalem on that donkey. We find Jesus being upset over the people who sought to turn the Tem-ple, Jesus’ Father’s house, into a den of thieves. We witness Jesus being so vulnerable and reflective as we observe Maundy Thursday’s meal and time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then comes betrayal, denial, cru-elty, scheming, all leading to the terrible death of Jesus. Saturday arrives and all is quiet; confused; hurting; at a loss; a sense that it may all be over, having ended so badly.
Sunday breaks forth and the tomb is empty, the cloths have been left behind, several appearances take place, and we find Jesus alive and bringing comfort to his disciples. Jesus has overcome the powers of evil and invites us to come with him. We journey down that roadway to Emmaus, we sit behind locked doors, we stand looking into an empty tomb with tears in our eyes — and in our depths of despair, we rise stronger and more assured. Jesus lives. He lives in our hearts and minds. He reigns with God in heaven for all time. Love has triumphed! And we are invited to the party! Blessings and De Colores,
Blessings and De Colores,
Luke 18:16 New Living Translation (NLT) 16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.
Here it is March already this has been one tough winter. There have been some highlights one of those highlights in our Chrysalis community has been C-85. We wel-comed 25 new Butterflies into the Chrysalis community back in January. After seeing the youth arrive on Friday evening looking all scared and not sure of themselves and then to see them again at closing was an amazing transformation. They became a family up on the moun-tain! Each one said that they now had a new family that they could lean on and depend on each other in the tough times that we all have. In my eyes there is no greater thing we as a community can do than to grow God’s family. I think of our NCA community as a family, a part of God’s family. I only hope we can grow His family more and more through our weekends.
C-86 is coming up July 10-13 this is our young adult weekend. Those young adults ages 18-25 are able to attend. Please get your teaming applications as well as those applications for the youth to walk! We are also starting to plan for our next high school weekend in Au-gust, so get those applications in soon!
Fly with Christ
J. R. Williams
NCA Chrysalis Lay Director
I am the Community Palanca Cha. I need volunteers to make placemats for me. We need 270 decorated placemats for each team that goes to the Mountain.
I will have blank placemats at the Ultreyas each month. You can create your own design, either free hand, trace from a coloring book, use markers, glitter and glue to create your designs. You can either do them yourselves or get your Sunday School classes to do them. The pilgrims really like them when they come from the children. There are two kinds needed: the ones that are decorated with cute pictures and words, and ones that specifically say “DeColores”. It does not matter what the picture is, it only needs to say “DeColores” somewhere on the placemat. If you wish to make a set for a specific weekend that is great but you need to mark the envelope this is for E-# and I will make sure it goes on that weekend.
You can do placemats for Chrysalis they need the same decorated and instead of saying DeColores they say FLY WITH CHRIST. If you want to do them for Chrysalis you can get them from Terry Downer and return them to her or you can give them to me and I will make sure she gets them.
Or what about your cloth Palanca bags that you received on Friday. How many of you sew? You can go to your fabric store and pick up some material. Rainbow material works well, I guess because most people don’t want to use it as a dress. I will have the dimensions available for you if you’re interested at the Ultreya.
Do you remember your Joy Flag Parade? Joy flags are always needed. These can be made from paper or fabric, and can be as simple or intricate as you desire, as long as they say “Joy” somewhere on the flag. These should always be the pennant shape, too. You may also specify the joy flags for specific weekend also.
First stones are simple. Go outside, pick up a rock, and write “First” on it. Please write “F-I-R-S-T” and not “I-S-T on it. We have felt for the “I’m Lovable” flower pin that you received on Friday. Men get a pennant-shaped ribbon, and felt is available for both. Do you remember being showered with Warm Fuzzies on Sunday? If you love yarn, then this is the project for you. At the Ultreyas there will be the prayer wheel for you to sign up to pray and also, there will be a sheet passed that will have snacks for the weekend. You can sign at the Ultreyas. Food for the weekends needs to get to the Head Cha before Tuesday of the week that the team is going unless you are sponsoring someone and will be going to the mountain on Thursday.
Where do I get all of the material or instructions, you may ask. Well, you can pick up placemats, felt for flowers and banners, and yarn for warm fuzzes at the Ultreya each month. You can also pick up or return items at the Ultreya. There is usually a table near the church’s entrance where items are placed. Or you can find me and hand items to me.
If you’re not available to attend the Ultreya, you can contact me. My email address is LindaLSmith999@verizon.net and phone number is 703- 216-2469. And if you’re concerned about getting an item to me quickly, we can always keep in touch by phone and work out something. If you are willing to serve as Palanca Chairman for your church please fill out the information on the clipboard that I will have at each Ultreya in the front. Please list which items your group is interested in doing, so when I am running low on items I can contact the chairman.
If you are in a reunion group this is a good project that you could do. So, check with your group and see what items you all would love to do. If someone from your church has already signed up then you don’t need to. I am looking forward to working with you!
"If you would like to get placemats please call Linda Smith 703-216-2469 and she will meet you to get them to you"
Thank you and DeColores!
Linda L Smith
Revised Procedures for Ultreya Prayer Concerns
The Board of Directors recently addressed the topic of prayer concern procedures during Ultreyas. The Board was advised that prayer concerns at Ultreya, written out for the presiding Spiritual Director to read, in many cases contained sensitive and private information. As a result, the Board decided to revise the procedures and implemented their decision at the December Ultreya. The revised procedures ask that prayer concerns be written on a piece of paper (provided) and dropped into a box. At the appropriate time during the Ultreya, the box containing the prayer concerns will be brought to the presiding Spiritual Director who will lead the community in prayer.
If individuals feel that more information should be shared regarding a specific prayer concern, please submit that concern to the community through the Holynet after checking with the parties involved to obtain their consent. Prayer concerns for publication on the HolyNet should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of Directors has set the Weekend Fees for 2012 as follows:
From the returning second-year class of Directors, one lay member is elected by the Board to serve as the Community Lay Director for a one year term.. This person then selects an Assistant Lay Director from the second-year class.
The second-year Spiritual Director serves as the Community Spiritual Director, with the first-year SD serving as the Assistant to the Spiritual Director