November 2019 New Heights Newsletter

In the November 2019 edition of the New Heights Newsletter, Pastor Dan reflects on “A Communal Expression of Thanksgiving”, there are upcoming church events, Thanksgiving quotes, and more!

NEW HEIGHTS REFLECTIONS: “A Communal Expression of Thanksgiving”

While growing up, I have fond memories of Thanksgiving.  My grandparents and other relatives would gather together.  We would play outside, enjoy delicious food, and watch football.  A good time was had by all… yet something was lacking.

Then around 1990, I moved to Pasadena in Southern California to attend seminary.  Being unable to fly home every Thanksgiving, my mentor and friend Andy invited me to join his family for Thanksgiving.  We gathered at Andy’s wife JoAnn’s parent’s home  in Exeter, a town in California’s Central Valley about 3 hours from Pasadena (historical note: on my drive to Exeter with Andy, we stopped to get something to eat and I had my very first In-N-Out Burger. Truly a thankful experience!).  It was there in Exeter that I found what was lacking in my previous Thanksgivings.

With the snow capped Sierra Nevadas in view, we played some outdoor yard games. Then went inside for Thanksgiving dinner.  Although I’m sure the food was great, I don’t remember much about the dinner.  It’s what happened next that I remember the most.  Mr. Thompson, Andy’s wife JoAnn’s dad, had everyone gather in the living room in a circle and he instructed each of us to share what we were thankful to God for that Thanksgiving.  Each person, young and old, shared from their heart what they were thankful for.  I was moved by this expression of thanksgiving and by the Godly impact Mr. Thompson was making on several generations of his family.

Years later, I moved back to Minnesota to plant a church in Inver Grove Heights with Marsha.  We began hosting Thanksgiving for my extended family.  And as host, I purposed in my heart to continue this communal expression of thanksgiving I had learned in Exeter.  So to this day, on Thanksgiving we too gather in a circle (although some begrudgingly) and share with each other what we are thankful to God for.  I pray that this exercise in expressing thanksgiving to God has the same impact on others in my family that it did on me that Thanksgiving in Exeter, CA some 30 years ago.

Did you know there is actually a Biblical example of a group of believers sharing thanksgiving to God with each other?  In Nehemiah 12:24 it says, “Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua son of Kadmiel. Their brothers stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving, one side responding to the other, as had been directed by David the man of God.”  Nehemiah and the Israelites had completed the wall around Jerusalem in miraculous time. They were now safe from their enemies.  They turned to each other and expressed thanksgiving to God for His provision.

My challenge to you is – if you don’t already do something like this on Thanksgiving, why not start a new tradition this Thursday, November 28?  Gather in a circle and  give praise and thanksgiving, one responding to the others.  Who knows, you may affect someone to be profoundly more thankful, you may change a life, just like what happened to me!

- Pastor Dan

 

**NOTE: Remember to “Fall Back” and set your clocks back 1 hour when you go to bed this Saturday night November 2nd. **

 

UPCOMING CHURCH EVENTS:

  • Celebration Sunday – On Nov 17, New Heights & Crossroads IGH will be going to the Lakeville Campus for a joint celebration. A bus will be leaving our church at 9:00 am. Lunch is included. This will give us an opportunity to see the Crossroads Lakeville Campus first-hand.
  • Thanksgiving Sunday – On Sunday November 24 we’ll have a joint worship service with Crossroads Church revolving around the theme of Thanksgiving.  Following the service, everyone is invited to a Thanksgiving Lunch with turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, and the works!  Be sure to invite a FRAN (Friend, Relative, Associate at school or work) Neighbor to join you in expressing our thanks to God.
  • Beautifying God’s House - Saturday November 23 from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon.  Join with the folks from Crossroads in making our place of worship clean and honoring to God.  You can volunteer any length of time you can.
  • Joint Worship Service – Sunday December 1 at 10:30 am in the worship center. We’ll join with our brothers and sisters from Crossroads Church for a combined service including sharing Communion together.
  • Sandwich Sunday – After the combined worship service Sunday December 1. Help make sandwiches to feed the homeless in the Twin Cities area.  We need donations of bread, meat, etc.  See the joint church sign up table.
  • New Heights Book Club – It’s been said, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Our book club can help you accomplish both for God’s glory!  We’re reading “The Good and Beautiful God” by James Byran Smith.  We’ll meet to discuss chapter 2 in on Sunday Dec 1 after church over lunch. See Helen for more information.
  • Grocery Giveaway – Saturday December 7 from 12:30 to 2:00 pm at Church.  Come get free groceries and invite people who need food. Volunteers are needed to help with setup, take down and distributing the groceries.
  • Q & A meeting  with Pastor Paul – After the worship service on Sunday Dec 8th.  Pastor Paul from Crossroads will be here to answer any questions we may have about our two churches working more closely together and exploring a possible merger.
  • Children’s Christmas Program – Sunday December 15 at 10:30 am during a joint-worship service with Crossroads our children will be performing the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2.  This is a great opportunity to invite a F.R.A.N. (Friend, Relative, Associate at school or work, Neighbor) to come see our children and hear the story of God’s gift of a Savior to the world.
  • Christmas Caroling – Saturday Dec 21 at 3:00 pm at Woodlyn Heights Senior Care Center located just east of church on Upper 55th Street.  Missing the Christmas spirit? Come sing Christmas Carols to the residents, see their smiles, and feel your heart warm.
  • Christmas Party – Saturday Dec 21 at 4:30 pm at Pastor Dan & Marsha’s home located at 8146 Dawn Ave in IGH.  There’ll be a potluck dinner, fellowship and our annual gift exchange (bring a wrapped gift of $10 value and a wrapped gift for your own kids that are attending). Don’t miss this annual highlight of Christmas warmth, fun and love with your church family!
  • Mission Mexico – Dec 26 to Jan 2 in Reynosa, Mexico. This trip is open to children and adults (children under 14 must have a parent with them). We get the opportunity to work with children who are less fortunate in an orphanage, and we put together a Vacation Bible School for them. We have worship time every morning and evening. We also help with construction projects in the community. See Pastor Dan if you are interested in going.  

 

SMALL GROUP BIBLE STUDIES:  At New Heights, our small group Bible studies are our primary method for discipleship (growing to be more like Jesus).  Small groups are an opportunity to have God speak to you through His Word and encourage you through other’s love and fellowship. Make a determination to join a small group today!

  1. Women’s Discipleship Brunch – Saturday December 7th at 10:00 am at Helen’s house in South st Paul.
  2. Men’s Discipleship Breakfast – Every other Saturday morning at 8:00 am. The next meeting is Saturday October 26th at Perkins Restaurant on Robert Street in West St Paul.
  3. Unafraid Bible Study – Mondays at 6:00 pm in the Conference Room. This Bible study’s purpose is to create a community of believers who are unafraid. Unafraid to seek God together. Unafraid to love one another. Unafraid to struggle with scripture together. This is a joint-church Bible study with Crossroads.
  4. Thursday Bible Study – 6:15 pm at Pastor Dan & Marsha’s home located at 8146 Dawn Ave in Inver Grove Heights and studying the Book of Joshua.

 

CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES:  We have an exciting Children’s ministry program at New Heights! We believe the Christian education of our children in solid, biblical instruction is of the utmost importance. It can make a difference not only in our children’s eternal destiny but in those they affect during their lifetimes. We offer the following children’s classes held during our Sunday worship service:

  • Nursery: newborn through 4 years old
  • God’s Little Lambs: K – 1st Grade
  • Jesus’ Little Lambs: 2nd – 3rd Grade
  • Sonshine Kids:  4th – 5th grade

Contact Elisha our Children’s Ministry Director at (651) 343-5236 for more information.

 

YOUTH GROUP:

Youth Group News – Sundays at 6:30 pm at the Lakeville Campus. Transportation from IGH will be provided. Contact Nina at (612) 865-4176 for more information.

 

NOVEMBER THOUGHTS TO PONDER:

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon

No matter what our circumstances, we can find a reason to be thankful.” –Dr. David Jeremiah

God is in control, and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks – not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.” –Kay Arthur

In happy moments, PRAISE GOD. In difficult moments, SEEK GOD. In quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. In painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD.” –Rick Warren

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