I Am the Good Shepherd

Pat and JoeDear Friends,

It was a beautiful sunny morning for first Sunday. Rain on the horizon, but not on our LNPC.   Our very own Parish family, the Webbs, participated in the entire service, including being the “Spotlight Family”. They did a beautiful job and Ann gave the Stewardship moment, a statement of substance given with great presence. Thank you to the whole Webb Family. And – Katie has a birthday this week. 12 years old!!  Remember to wish her happy birthday!  John Denton gave a good sermon with the clarity we have come to expect of him. Good sermon for kids and adults!  We had our normal worksheet which I love. Rev.Anette Rihovsky participated in our service and our Lenten Series. She is a great addition to our ministry team!

After church we had our Lenten Series with soup and bread. All soups delicious again. 12 bean ( or some number!) with sausage and a turkey chili and two good old chicken noodles. It was yummy again!!   See if you can attend this hour long Series next week.  The book is really good. Easy reading and makes sense. Easy group to like – all LNPCers. We sat at the table with a couple who were at church and at the Lenten series for the first time. It was wonderful to get to know them – and invite them back!. The discussion this week was centered around Christ as our good Shepherd and what this means to us. It was a comforting thought to know we are cared for and looked after in detail by God.  There was also history involved about how they kept sheep in ancient times and the mentality of sheep and shepherds then and today. Did you know that the sheep can recognize the voice of their shepherd?  I must admit I wondered what would happen if a sheep became hard of hearing. ( if you know me you understand why I would think of this!). Would they go off with a strange master? Or would they have a sheep friend to give them a nudge! It was a fascinating chapter.

The other thing we learned in the class was the Five Finger Intercessory Prayer. I had never heard of this. But this is how it goes and helps to keep you centered in praying.
The thumb is remembering to pray for those dearest to us.
The index finger represents praying for people who point the way like teachers and ministers, etc.
The middle finger is the longest/tallest and indicates we should pray for leaders of the World, those who stand tallest in making decisions.
The ring finger reminds us to pray for the weakest people in society. Those in need, ill, mentally ill or challenged, etc.
The pinky, our smallest finger, reminds us to not forget to  pray for ourselves. But, realize we are on the prayer agenda at the end, after others, and  not at the beginning. We don’t stand as the most important.  Kind of checks your ego, doesn’t it?

By the way I was discussing this with my granddaughter, EmilyKate, and she said, “ You know I  don’t like the word ‘prayer’. I like to call it ‘talking to God’. It seems so much more personal to me”. There is always something to learn and consider, I thought. Everyone is different and God loves us all. And, at the crucial 18 years of age if she is “talking to God”, I am thrilled!

Free Movie at the Theater for LNPC
LNPC Members –  and our Friends will attend the movie “The Young Messiah” shown in the Directors Cut Cinema at Rancho Niguel this Thursday, March 10th at 7PM. Our tickets    sold out even before last Sunday’s sale. Joe and I only get to go because Debbie Heath had two tickets for Friends who could not go so she gave them to us!  Thank you Debbie. And the lesson is – do not be late in committing

Talent Show Is Coming!!   April 16th
Well, ok, for some of us this can be a “talentless show”.   But fun is absolutely guaranteed  Grab someone in your Family or a Friend and come up with an act. Musical  or ???????  The opportunities are limitless!!  Show courage. Do it!!. And, if you really have talent    you will be loved and surrounded by accolades!

Family Camp  – Into The Wild
Coming soon and ready to be signed up for. May 20-22 at the Lazy W Ranch, only about 30 minutes away!  Talk to John Denton or Debbie Gara if you want to go. They just have way too much fun and fellowship at this LNPC gathering. And we have ages there from baby to 90+. Think that’s a wide enough range for you to fit in?? Scholarships available where needed.

Church Flowers
Easter is Easter Lily time. Pu your donation in the envelope on Sunday, put it in the offering plate and take home an Easter lily after church on Easter Sunday. Or, donate that lily to the Deacons to deliver and give a shut in a “Happy Easter” message from our congregation. The price is up to you. Donate as you see fit!  And –  Don’t forget to sign up on the flower chart in the Narthex for your week of flowers.  Make out a $65 check to McCool Florists and take to church office or bring Sunday AM and put in offering plate . Remember the purpose of these flowers is for the beauty of the service but more importantly we Deacons take them after church to those who are not well or not able to come to the church service. It is so nice for them to receive and gives a cheery visit with them also. If you know of someone who needs a cheery bouquet please let me know!!

Our Pastor Nominating Committee
They are still working hard. I love the way they give us regular updates. They are in the process of wading through around 45 resumes. And from what I hear, it’s not easy work. Don’t forget to pray for  these  hard working members who are taking so much of their personal time for our church: Fred Ehlers, Greg Heath, Carl Hess, Howard Hirakawa,  Pat Kun, Stacy Malone, Brett Riordan, Cecil Spearman and Carol Stocksdale.  They have a most important duty for the future of  LNPC. Their responsibility is awesome!

Church Activities
1.  Adult Classes
a.     “The Way In The Footsteps of Jesus”, Tuesdays at 2PM. Karen Vassey and Jean Shelton lead this class with a great group of people attending. This is part of The Open Door study. Joe attends when he can
b.    Friday – 2nd and 4th days of the month at 10:30 AM. TGIF Growth Group. Meets in Conference Room 2nd floor. RC Sproul’s “Chosen By God” Series
2.  Lenten Study Series It goes through March 20th. 11:15-12:15. Right after church. And you won’t go hungry because a soup and bread is served!  We’ve had some fabulous soups so far. Always have 4 full crock pots full. Greg Heath led the class in Dan’s absence. Thank you Greg!  But,  Dan Gara is back from Zimbabwe this Sunday Let’s all go!  . I’m sure Dan will have lots of stories.
3.  Missions Our job is to spread God’s word and care for others as Christ’s disciples. We have so many projects of outreach. JoAnn Renning, whom I call “ The Lady of Perpetual Mission” is constantly reminding us of our responsibilities in charity.
Hands of Grace Meal  Feed the homeless the first Wednesday of each month. Bring food and help serve and sit down and eat with these interesting people.  It is not held at our church and the food is taken to another location in Laguna Niguel. You don’t have to stay. You can just drop off food if you prefer . Pastor Paul attends and several of our congregation. Call JoAnn Renning or the church office for more information.
Food Drive for South County Outreach  We are on our way again to collect food – trying for that “Thousand pounds” again. Bring it to church on Sunday’s and put it in the barrel in the narthex The need never ends! And if you want to help sort and work at this main Orange County center, they definitely need help. Joe has done that and enjoys it, but says it is definitely work
And here we go again. Easter ✝ is coming and we are collecting for Easter baskets for Military families  We are trying to fill 100 baskets! Please bring:  baskets, coloring books, crayons, Small stuffed toys,games, individually wrapped or boxed candies.  No peanuts, or peanut candy and no toy guns or other weapons.   We will meet March 13th after church to allocate the goodies and wrap baskets.  Lunch will be served!!  It’s great community fellowship and fun.

03-06-16 Blog 1JoAnn Renning marched down the aisle this Sunday dressed as a “fisherwoman” – Complete with glittering fish taped to a “fishing pole”. She is fishing again for Christ and passing out the cardboard boxes for One Great Hour of Sharing – our worldwide mission. These boxes are easy to use and any stray change goes right in easily. Then we all bring our boxes and contribute to the World needs as the body of Christ. If you are not coming to church regularly, I’ll deliver a box to you so you can participate in this non denominational outreach. Let me know if you need my help.

4. Fashion Show Ladies!…. Save the date of May 14th Saturday to attend the Annual Fashion Show at El Niguel Country Club.  These proceeds are how many of our Mission Programs are funded!
5. Prayer Groups  Monday mornings 8-8:30 in the sanctuary a group meets to pray for our church, our PNC , our church members and the person who will be called to be our Pastor. Come and join in prayer. Just show up.
6. The Gathering  Every Sunday at 4:30 -5:30 You have the opportunity to meet for Praise, Prayer and Fellowship. The Music is all Praise Music  It’s held in Gard Hall. It’s a try to meet the needs of those who can’t come Sunday AM or those who prefer a more contemporary Worship style.

Children’s Activities
1.    John Denton’s Youth Group meets Mondays.5:30-7 PM. Location. The Garage.    If your teens or your teen’s friends or your friend’s youth are available suggest they come. Everyone gets along and has fun.  And they serve the church and our needs too. Thumbs up from my grandson
2.    Confirmation Class started on November 18 and goes through May 15. That is on Wednesday 4-5PM  8th grade and above.
3.     Children’s Choir practice is Mondays 4-5:30. LeeLee gives the Lifetime Treasure of Music to our children. 5 years plus. And, they are now preparing for the Palm Sunday and Easter service. It provides experiences your children/grandchildren will never forget. My grandkids have been attending and I ask if they like it. They answer with an Emphatic “yes!”. Thank you LeeLee.
4.    Pathfinders  Wednesday’s at 3:30- 5:00. with Debbie Gara and her helpers. They are always doing great activities, being creative  and learning too. Snacks, stories, games and art and crafts. And they are now getting parts and practicing for the Easter Pageant on Palm Sunday. What’s not to love?    Our grandkids love it!!

Service Recap
03-06-16 Blog 3The Webb Family served as our Liturgical Team. Jack Webb ( graduate of John Denton’s Confirmation Class) did the Call to Worship, Dad, Bart Webb did the Prayer of Adoration, Katie Webb (youth group participant) did Speaking the Truth to God and Receiving God’s Grace and Mom, Ann Webb did “Thanking the Lord as Stewards of God’s Grace”.   Ann noted our many LNPC programs that have been meaningful to their family and to many other families too.

Service Music
Thank you to all who participate in our Music programs. Our professional leadership is so outstanding and they always show a love of God in all they do !  Binh’s prelude was “Marche Romaine”. Diana D’Itri and her praise team led the congregation in singing. The choir sang  “Faithful Shepherd”. And we must always remember Binh’s admonition that it is all for the Glory of God

Children’s Message
Stephanie Denton did the message for our young ones. There was lots of interaction as she  talked about pets and Jesus being the Good Shepherd for us. She asked the children if they had pets. One had a giraffe – I want to go visit their house!! They discussed care and responsibilities of having pets. Food, love, keeping in safety. All of the things our Good Shepherd Jesus does for all of us.

John 10: 1-11……..
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”
( the above is only one verse. Remember you must read all of these verses yourself to get the full scripture )

“ I Am the Good Shepherd”
Youth Pastor, John Denton

03-06-16 Blog 2John gave us an insert in our bulletins so we could follow along exactly with the points in the sermon. We even had to fill in an answer. It is such a clear ways to remember points of what you heard in church. Being first Sunday with the children and Youth in the service this was an especially meaningful sermon.

John then told us

Based on the main idea of “ My sheep hear My voice” all points below relate to Christ our Shepherd

1.     Wait for the Shepherd
We must be sensitive to the true God and who we follow. “ I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than go in through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!  But the one who enters through the gate is the Shepherd of the sheep.” …….
It is clear who Jesus is. There is no deceit. John likened this to a Prom date. If you were picking up a date would you climb in a window or go in by the front door. Wouldn’t the girls father be pretty upset at seeing you at the window just like  a bad guy or thief?  We all loved the example of the prom date

2.     Listen for Jesus calling on you
The gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. ………..
We will know Jesus by his words, deeds and actions. We need to follow him and not the evil and glitter calling of the world. And Jesus knows us just as the shepherd knows his sheep. John said when he was 22 he went to a prayer breakfast where a Pastor from Kenya was speaking. John was invited and excited to go to Kenya. But … John was afraid to fly so he felt he didn’t really want to go. And he said he was concerned about the food. But he finally listened to the call of Jesus and did go. Jesus was his Shepherd. He took care of John

3.     Be ready to move when Jesus leads you
After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice……….
John followed Jesus’s calling to go to Kenya even though he had great trepidation. He knew the voice of Jesus.  Then John went on to compare being ready and confident to follow Jesus to sailing. He said many sailors do lots of reading and practice sailing, thinking
they’ll sail around the world. But most of them never do it because they think they are not ready and therefore have no confidence.  Jesus prepares you, but you must follow. Have confidence in Jesus’s calling

4.    Run from the temptation to follow false teaching
The sheep won’t follow a stranger, they will run from him because they don’t know his voice….
It seems like we are always searching for a savior when we are already saved. For example diets and fads   Run away from these false temptations. Follow Jesus. The price has already been paid.

5.    Trust in Christ to protect you.
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them. “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not Listen to them”…………………
Listen and Trust in all things. This is not a Hollywood story. This is full trust. Be a true Sheep – be a  Believer in faith. Listen to your Shepherd.

6.     Live freely in your salvation.
Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and I’ll find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give a rich and satisfying life………….
Jesus died so we can go on living freely and with purpose. But don’t think a Christian’s life should be boring. If your life is boring, you are doing something wrong!  Live a wild life in Christ.

7.    I am the Good Shepherd.
.      Follow me

Pearls Of Wisdom For Daily Living
The characteristics of the Fruit of  Holy Spirit. –
Love, Joy, Patience, Peace, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness  and Self Control

We must understand that we Christians  are citizens of God’s Kingdom and the values of the The Kingdom of God are inverted from the values of the world.   As Pastor Paul noted in one of his LNPC sermons “Christians are differentiated from the world ”

Parables are not sweet stories we tell our children. They are startling stories that challenge us.  As one author puts it, They are stories with a sting in the tale.

“He who humbles himself will be exalted  He who exalts himself will be humbled”

As a Pedant, I believe that Jesus is a man with an attitude
As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is a Man of God
Jesus is a pattern for what God is and Jesus is a pattern for what we are to be.

Love in Christ.❤
Pat and Joe