Friday Focus

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Prior to July 2017, our newsletter was named Your NFC. All the archived issues remain available, as you can see down the right-hand column!



Your NFC – November 1, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire November 1, 2013 issue.

by Mauri Macy worship ministries

by Mauri Macy
worship ministries

“AM Prep” is an occasional column in Your NFC that leans ahead to the coming worship gatherings—or sometimes remembers previous times of waiting together in God’s presence. These words may do a little of both.

It’s almost always good to remember. In our “preacher’s kid” days, my brother, Howard, and I were regularly asked this Sunday-dinner question, “What did you get out of the sermon today?” Um… But these days I enjoy hearing someone reflect on or remember something from one of our gatherings—maybe a song lyric or a take-away from the teaching or a helpful word spoken or heard in our waiting together.

One of the memorable (to me) song phrases from last Sunday describes Jesus as the “light in my darkness, the truth in each circumstance” (from “Hope of the Nations” by Brian Doerksen). Humming along in my brain, this phrase remains a good prompt to welcome Jesus into the moments/circumstances of each day. Maybe you have a remembering from last Sunday as well? Um…

In the spirit of “it’s not what you get out of it, but what you bring to it,”  years-ago NFC youth pastor Keith Vincent wrote about “Sabbath preparation”—about leaning into our gatherings for worship in specific ways. It could be you’ve already been thinking about some of the things he suggests—indulging in a little quiet, making active/intentional worship a regular habit, limiting Saturday evening distractions (TV/the small-screen stuff…how hard can that be?), and praying/listening in advance. And, no small number of us look ahead to the suggested reading assignment…for this Sunday, John 11:1-44 (the story of Lazarus).

We dont have a system for broadcasting the specific worship elements and practices for upcoming Sundays. So here’s a heads up—that we’re going to be singing (…yes) this Sunday. The men’s quartet is leading (with NFC Brass), and one of the tunes we’ll sing is from the early American harp singing tradition, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” Here’s the first verse:

I know that my Redeemer lives! Glory, hallelujah!

What comfort this sweet sentence gives. Glory, hallelujah!

Shout on, pray on we’re gaining ground. Glory, hallelujah!

The dead’s alive and the lost is found. Glory, hallelujah!

You can see the tune and learn more at this link.

So to lean a little further ahead, let’s be reminded that God’s intention and promise for our life together and our life with him is…transformation—the longings God has placed within each one will be fulfilled.

Let’s be encouraged with these words from scripture.

“For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him…should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29

 “Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s  children, right now, and we can’t even imagine what it is going to be like later on. But we do know this, that when he comes we will be like him, as a result of seeing him as he really is.” 1 John 3:2

Oh, yes!

Click HERE to read the entire November 1, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – October 25, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire October 25, 2013 issue.

Ministry Happens…Behind the Scenes

by Sherry Macy

You might be one of the many unseen volunteers who faithfully enrich our NFC community. Every so often we want to make a few of you (at a time) more seen, even though you clearly do not ask for this attention. It’s simply a way of expressing appreciation and letting others know what happens “behind the scenes.”

For example, do you know how many years Jerry Carr has distributed then gathered all of the Sunday school attendance folders and entered the information into a notebook? Since the late 1960s. That’s a lot of Sundays! He and Yvonne spend their winters in Arizona now, but when they’re in Newberg, Jerry is back at his post and on the job.

Speaking of attendance, have you ever noticed Derrol Hockett, Karen Angus, Barb Mann (first service), Larry Haverman, Hub Mardock, or Clyde Thomas (second service) unobtrusively walking through the back of the sanctuary/balcony just before the message? They are counting heads (normally one per person) for our attendance records, required for yearly meeting statistics. Most of the aforenamed head counters are part of the team, which also includes John Hampton and Kasey Fish, who prepare the offering to be counted.

Speaking of the offering, our head ushers—Larry Haverman, Hub Mardock, Gary Brown, Derrol Hockett—faithfully recruit a team to stand at the back of the sanctuary, ready to pass the plates each Sunday morning.

Speaking of the sanctuary, you might be interested to know that Lisa Nauman (along with Elli and Nate when they’re not in school) checks for events on the church calendar each week to assess when it will be most efficient to do her volunteer assignment of “refreshing” the sanctuary. She does a thorough sweep through all the pews to remove left-behind worship sheets, crumpled tissues, and paper airplanes and replenishes community cards, offering envelopes, and pens. She finishes with an often-rainy walk to the recycle bin. Then we don’t want to leave out Dave Woolsey, who takes it upon himself to walk the pew rows between services to make things presentable for those just arriving.

Speaking of just arriving, if you come through the same entrance every Sunday morning, you’ve become well acquainted with the one (or ones) who greets you at the door. But greeters stand at each entrance, ready to offer a “good morning” and hold the door open. These faithful ones include: Mark Martin, Sam and Dorothy Farmer, Maribeth Hampton, Terri Bowen, June and Gary Brown. You might be handed a worship sheet by Sharon Hubbell, Charles or Jean Hanson, or Ann Howe.

While we’re focusing on what happens in the sanctuary, we want to acknowledge those in the role of mic carrier during open worship on Sunday mornings: Mark Thompson, Gary Brown, Gary and Carol Hankins. And there’s a short list of trained sound technicians, but these are the ones currently on the rotation for Sunday morning services, overseen by Alan Akins: Les Comfort, Paul Worden, and Alan (of course). I wasn’t asked to include this, but since this article is about volunteers, I’ll volunteer this appeal for tech-minded individuals to step forward to become part of the NFC audio technicians guild. It would bring great joy to Alan’s heart to be able to broaden the Sunday-morning rotation. You could then become part of our mighty list of un- or mostly unseen volunteers who make things hum around NFC.

Click HERE to read the entire October 25, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – October 18, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire October 18, 2013 issue.

by Linda Sartwell

by Linda Sartwell

It had been a long day, and evening had finally come. The room was dimly lit from the lights at the nurse’s station in the hallway, and I rested on the cot in the pediatric hospital room, where Elissa slept soundly.

Elissa had seen many doctors and hospital rooms since she was born with a rare birth defect called cystic hygroma —lymph and blood-filled cysts in her tongue, cheek, and throat area. The first doctors to examine her had never seen it, much less treated it.

After many doctor visits and two surgeries, she had grown to a happy 4-year-old but now had nephritis in the kidney and was sent to the Cleveland clinic for a biopsy. On this night I was awakened by “The Nurse.”

She whispered, “Are you Mrs. Sartwell?”

Startled, I said, “Yes, why…is Elissa OK?”

“Oh, I’m not her nurse, but I heard there was a child here that had cystic hygroma—and I knew I just had to come and see you. You see, I was born with cystic hygroma, and I am 38 and a registered nurse. I just wanted to tell you there is life with this condition, and the doctors are learning so much more about it.”

Wow! What you don’t know—and what that nurse did not know—is that many times I would say “If she could just live to be 5; if she could just live to be 8,” and here was a nurse who was 38! Sometimes I wonder if “The Nurse” was an angel, but I know for real she was a nurse in the night who brought this mother hope and encouragement. She could not stay long; but she had delivered her message; she had been an “intentional encourager.”

A few weeks ago, Elissa called and said a strange thing happened to her. She told me she was part of a Facebook group of people all around the world who have cystic hygroma. A mother posted that her young daughter was being called “Fat Face” at school and was very discouraged. The mother did not know how to help her daughter and wondered if there was another who might be able to give them some encouragement or help from their own experience.

Elissa said to me, “Yeah, I know what that’s like.” I had not realized she had been called names. I knew people had asked us if she needed a root canal or if she had the mumps, but I did not know she had been called names.     (cont’d)

She continued to tell me, “Yes, there were some on the playground that called her “Fat Face”. But she decided to stay inside during recess and help the teacher or study more or practice her math facts. She decided she would become “smart” and then she would be known as the smart girl and not Fat Face. And it worked. When she won the spelling bee or the math facts, her classmates saw her as smart rather than Fat Face.

So Elissa e-mailed the mother on Facebook and introduced herself as a professor at SBU in Bolivar, telling her she would love to talk with her daughter. She told me she wanted to challenge this girl to find something she really likes to do and become very good at it. She will then be known for that and not by the appearance of her face.

In the coming months, Elissa—who, by the way, just turned 38—is going to be “The Nurse”—an intentional encourager. She is going to provide hope for the mother and share with this precious child how she herself handled the name calling and became known for who she was—not what she looked like.

I’m sure there are people all around us for whom we could be “The Nurse.” Let our ears and eyes be open as we follow God’s nudges in being an intentional encourager to those who need some healing words.

Linda Sartwell and her husband, Dick, are parents of two daughters and grandparents of one sweet granddaughter. Linda oversees the mail operations at George Fox University. She is also a charter member of NFC Bells.

Click HERE to read the entire October 18, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – October 11, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire October 11, 2013 issue.

by Donna Kreutz

by Donna Kreutz

This week, in our house in a Mexican town in SE Oaxaca State, my desk calendar is open to a photo of a cedar waxwing on a branch in front of its nest that holds four wide-open beaks, pleading for food. I’ve been looking at this snapshot from a bird’s life this week and wondering: Which mouth is he or she going to feed? Which one did it feed last? Since they all act hungry every time the parent arrives with food, how do the parent birds keep track of which one’s turn it is? All four baby birds appear to be the same size, so although it may seem from the open beaks that the little things never experience the pleasure of satisfied tummies, they are obviously growing, each one getting what it needs. Isn’t it amazing the “gifts” God gave this cedar waxwing to keep all of its young ones fed and growing, as well as to the little ones to respond by pleading for food each time the parent arrives? But, if any of the little ones would not open its beak to receive from its parent, it would not be fed, and would grow weak and die.

We are spending this month “in the village” while John and our lay pastor friend work toward completing the book of Romans in the Zapotec language of this town. Meanwhile, now that all four Gospels are among the New Testament books that have been completed and approved for publication, I have been working through them in Zapotec, checking punctuation and spellings of problematic words (some words vary significantly, depending upon the preference of the speaker) and trying to identify complex sentences that should perhaps be rewritten a bit for easier reading.

As part of my work on the Gospels, I’ve been reading through the Gospel of John in Zapotec with the mother of a teenager. They have had an absent husband and father since the teen was little, and the mother, whom I will call Maria, has had to find ways to support her child, along with help from her parents. Since it is hard for women in the village to find steady work, unless they have the resources to run a small store in their home, Maria has spent long periods of time working far from home, sending money to her parents for expenses. A couple of years ago, with the child having entered teen years and not being cooperative at home or school, the grandparents told Maria she needed to come back in order to provide parental guidance. I think Maria sees that this is a better place for her to be—spiritually and in other ways.

About a year ago, Maria came to us, somewhat as a baby bird eager to receive a morsel of food, seeking work. I believe she came not only for income but to be involved in work that would feed her spirit. Though we are not able to employ her in the translation ministry to the extent she would like, we have given her various types of checking projects, which have helped supplement her income, along with other part-time work she finds to do. So she has been able to avoid seeking work far away during this crucial time in her teen’s life.
As we have read through John this week, Maria reads aloud and I follow along in my copy, marking where she stumbles on either the spelling of a word or other complexities. For her, this is the first time to read straight through a book of the Bible aloud in Zapotec. She reads smoothly and with understanding, and often it is easy to see that what she reads from Jesus’ life and teachings touches her heart. Yesterday she picked up the book of John and said: “Do you have more of these? People here need to read this. It should be read in church because many people don’t understand scripture that is read in Spanish. It is clear in Zapotec!”

Along with the picture of the cedar waxwing with its hungry young, observing Maria reading John has given me a mental picture of our village friends, seeking with open hearts as the baby waxwings do with open beaks, to receive from their heavenly Father. They receive the scriptures more easily through their own language, and it has a greater impact on their lives.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Thank you, NFC, for all you’ve done through the years to help us minister in this community, so they too may be “filled” by means of God’s word in their own language. Thank you for your prayers for us as we get close to completing the New Testament in G. Zapotec. We face many details and challenges at this stage, but it is a blessing to see hearts open to receive from God and to see how scripture in Zapotec speaks clearly to them.

John and Donna Kreutz serve as linguist-translators with Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL, Int’l. They met in Mexico City in 1983 and were married at NFC in July 1984. They have two married daughters and are proud grandparents of 5-month-old Janelle, who was born in Ecuador. Donna has been a member of NFC since 1971.

Click HERE to read the entire October 11, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – October 4, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire October 4, 2013 issue.

by Gregg Koskela lead pastor

by Gregg Koskela
lead pastor

Thank you!

That’s really all this article is going to say, so if you’re short on time, you can skip ahead to the other things. I am just thankful and grateful for this community called Newberg Friends Church.

Thank you for the ways you have shaped me. I started attending as a college freshman and experienced the nearness of God in ways I hadn’t before. Some of you (and some who have already ended their time here on this earth) mentored me by example. As a brand new pastor at age 25, you trusted me with your kids and let me try to learn how to speak. You were patient with me when I came here, way over my head, at 34 to be lead pastor. You have let me walk with some of you through painful and holy moments. You have shown me the love of Jesus.

Thank you for allowing me the freedom of a sabbatical this summer. There were many days that I was here in Newberg, and you let me be Gregg when you saw me, without any expectations of the role of pastor.

Thank you to every one of you on the staff. I know (from what you’ve told me) of many ways you did extra things because I was gone. I even know some of the things you did that you haven’t told me, ways you went above and beyond to serve because you love our church and you love the people here. It’s a gift to work alongside people who love Jesus and love this church and offer your many gifts, talents, and skills.

The biggest unexpected gift of my time away happened in the last two weeks before I came back. I realized I really missed the people of our church! I don’t come back out of duty or with a sense of dread—I come back with joy to the people and community I most want to journey with, following the Holy Spirit to do as God leads in our town and our world. May we do just that, with love and joy and freedom and passion.

Thank you!

Click HERE to read the entire October 4, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – September 27, 2013

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by Liz Wood

by Liz Wood

I’ve always been involved in music, from childhood church cantatas to high school marching band and choir to college concert band. As a child, I played handbells at my church in Tigard. We were a rag-tag group, playing here and there for special occasions and such. When I discovered I could earn college credit by ringing at George Fox,
I jumped at the chance.

After graduation, we were eating lunch at NFC with Mauri and Sherry Macy when someone mentioned needing ringers for the bell choir. BINGO! I found my spot.

Fast forward 15 years (!) and I am still happily ringing with NFC Bells.

Sometimes the drive from Tigard is tiresome, especially the 7 a.m. Sunday call times. But these are my peeps, and I love my bell friends.

We gather each Monday evening (during the school year) to rehearse, laugh, eat, and pray. We share our happy moments and our hard moments. Our ages and life experiences vary, but we’re a tight group that cares deeply for one another.

Wanting to share the fun, I’ve recruited my sister and mother, along with several Tigard High students throughout the years. Mom calls me an evangelist, always wanting to get everyone involved with my favorite things! (Anyone want to join us? We’re always looking for ringers!)

110430_sunday3I enjoy the musical outlet, something that’s harder to come by as an adult. I enjoy the challenge and chance to grow as a musician. I enjoy brightening people’s days and enhancing their worship experience through our playing. I enjoy the friendships I have with people I might not have otherwise met. I enjoy inviting my family and friends to come listen to the bells play. I enjoy sharing an older, traditional music style with my church family. I enjoy harassing our director when he handwrites music we can’t read.

Christmas Eve is my favorite. We prepare for weeks and weeks, hoping to perfect a long list of songs both fun and reverent. On that one evening, we have three chances to share our musical gift and offering with others celebrating Christ’s birth. Between each service, when we’re not helping lead the larger group, we celebrate with each other with our private musician Christmas party. It’s a special night.

I hope listening to our bells brings you as much joy as we get in preparing music for you!

Click HERE to read the entire September 27, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – September 13, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire September 13, 2013 issue.

by Tami Ankeny

by Tami Ankeny

A woman stops by the center for tea on her way to work in the red light district. A little boy plays with the toys in the play therapy room while a staff person listens to his dialogue. A mother creates a beautiful new blanket from a sari while receiving a fair wage, job training, and a way to support her family. A group of children come together on Saturday afternoon for Bible stories, worship, a nutritional meal, and first aid. Young girls gather around a table with a tutor and get help with their schoolwork. Micro-businesses offer women freed from the sex industry a way to create a new life. These are just a few stories of the way God is working through the mission of Word Made Flesh.

Word Made Flesh (WMF) is a global community of people “called and committed to serving Jesus among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor.” Serving in 11 communities around the world, WMF partners with local churches and non-profits to respond to the needs of the world, to share life, seek healing, and equip leaders. I have the incredible opportunity to support this work as the director of staff development in the U.S. office located in Portland, Oregon.

The mission that unifies us flows out of an intimacy with Christ and continues building upon our nine core lifestyle celebrations: intimacy, obedience, humility, community, service, simplicity, submission, brokenness, and suffering. While there are incredible programs and services being offered in the WMF communities, we recognize that the central vision of the organization focuses on affirming the value and dignity of each person. Bearing witness to hope, WMF seeks to make the presence of God known in difficult places through actions and words that tell our friends they are worth it, they are the beloved of God, their life has value, and that the kingdom of God is a gift for all.word-made-flesh-678x278

We invite you to learn more about WMF on our website. We have recently transitioned our U.S. office to Portland. If you are interested in getting involved with WMF in the Portland area, please contact me to find out more.

Tami Ankeny grew up in the rural farmland of Idaho where she discovered God’s love and grace through her family and church community. From a young age Tami was deeply impacted by the stories she heard of suffering, poverty, and injustice locally and around the world. This led her to pursue traveling and volunteering in the majority world.

While at Asbury University, Tami first heard of Word Made Flesh and decided that one day she wanted to be involved with the organization. Thirteen years later, after careers in higher education and outdoor ministry, she felt prompted to join the WMF Romania community for a short internship to see what it was all about.

Click HERE to read the entire September 13, 2013 issue.

Your NFC – September 6, 2013

Click HERE to read the entire September 6, 2013 issue.

by Susan Ankeny

by Susan Ankeny

Yearly Meeting Representatives

One of the things that drew me into the Friends church as a young adult was the idea that the Holy Spirit can speak to us as a group, moving us forward in community to do God’s will. Over the years, I’ve seen that happen many times at our local business meetings. For the last four years I have had the privilege of representing Newberg Friends Church at business sessions at Yearly Meeting. It has been a great time of connecting with other Friends from meetings across Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. And again, I’ve seen how the Holy Spirit can work in a group to bring people of diverse backgrounds and ideas into a place of greater humility and dependence on the voice of Jesus.

In the last couple of years, Yearly Meeting representatives have been asked to participate in small “listening groups.” Here, we do not practice discussion, analysis, or debate. We do not even give advice. We simply practice listening to the experiences of our brothers and sisters in Jesus.

Sometimes this is hard. As a person with gifts of “teaching,” I want to share what I know, especially when I know more than the person talking about a topic. Or if someone has a problem, I want to help by giving advice. That is why sometimes it is good for me to practice just listening. It gives me a chance to really hear not only what my friend may be saying, but what God might be saying to me through that friend.

My experience in these listening groups has been the highlight of Yearly Meeting for me. To see how God speaks and works in people’s lives in an endless variety of ways has been comforting, encouraging, exciting, amazing. It would not have happened in the same way if I had been thinking about what I was going to say in response or trying to figure out what kind of advice to give. It has given me a new respect and love for those who shared in the small groups of which I was a part.

Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame.” James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,….” As a Yearly Meeting we are facing many challenges as we seek to be friends of Jesus to those around us. Listening well is a skill we need to help each other cultivate, so that we can both listen better to Jesus and listen better to those around us.

At our September 8 business meeting, we will have a chance to listen to/read a set of queries presented to the Yearly Meeting by the youth. These queries will help us in thoughtful self-examination in times of disagreement.

The queries are as follows:

Recognizing human imperfection, how do I strive to follow Christ’s example in the way I love and respect others? When confronted with a conflict, how do I actively show Christ with a compassionate and grace-filled heart? How am I leaving space for change? How do I value other persons when charged with their reputations, remembering that they, too, are children of God? How do I build up the individual in the light of God?

Let us gather together on September 8 ready to do business in a spirit of prayer and worship, ready to listen to God and to each other!

Click HERE to read the entire September 6, 2013 issue.