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Clothed in Compassion

Fall is one of my favorite seasons for so many reasons.  Pumpkin carving, campfires and hayrides are all wonderful events that come along with autumn. Then there is the fall food and drinks…don’t get me started…warm apple cider, hot chocolate, and pumpkin everything. The part I love most about fall is the clothing…I love being wrapped up in scarves, flannels and hoodies. 


Clothing is important.  It’s obvious that what we wear keeps us warm and covered but clothing means so much more.  Clothing is protection.  Clothing is security.  Clothing covers the things we want hidden. Clothing for a child says “My mom (dad, grandma, etc.) cared enough to buy these, clean them and dress me in them. I’m cared about.  Someone wants to make sure I’m ok.” 


If you’ve come to the NCCOC building during the week, you know our fellowship halls OVERFLOW with clothes of all sizes.  People come in every week to get what they need.  The other day a young teen came to the Church.  We found out he was quickly forced out of his home and into foster care. He had nothing but the clothes on his back.   His guardian called the Church and brought the young man to get clothes. The young man was thankful for anything we could give.  His demeanor changed from thankful to truly excited as he found 4 pairs of jeans in his size, shirts, undergarments and to his great delight, a Nike sweatshirt that fit like a glove.  You may be saying, “Well, that’s a nice story.  I’m glad that kid got some clothes.” But I want to make sure you know that it was so much more than that. This teen boy didn’t have a mom and a dad that was able to clothe him.  But that day the Church got to remind him that he has a Father who is longing to show him that he is loved, protected, and valued.  


I’m so thankful that this Church family doesn’t stop after the clothing giveaways.  Truckloads of clothes were sent to Zimbabwe this past month to bless the kids at the local school and to provide packing material to protect medical supplies for the new clinic that is being opened. Last week, two young ladies were clothed in Christ through baptism (Gal. 3:27).  Each month ladies in our Needles & Knots group makes blankets, slippers, sock dolls, and wheelchair bags for 4 local hospitals and for several nursing homes.  Each week we help our teens don the helmet of salvation and the shield of faith so that they are ready to step into the battles they face at school. Every Sunday our adults and kids are fitted with the shoes of peace that comes from the Good News (Eph. 6). 


Church, as we go into the world this week, we need to make sure that we are dressed for the occasion: 

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, humility, meekness, and patience…above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”(Col. 3:12,14). Look for opportunities to wrap someone up in the warmth of God’s love. Cover them in kindness.  Remind someone that they have a Father who loves them and cares enough to clothe them in the righteousness of his Son.      -SJL


Ministry Spotlight

This past month…

·      Shyanne (Shay) Johnson was baptized at a teen event

·      Rylee Scott was baptized through a personal Bible study

·      Over 10 small groups/personal Bible studies met at NCCOC

·      592 families received food from our food giveaway

·      150,000 pounds of food was given away at the food giveaway

·      Over 15 teens met to fellowship and talk about God every Sunday and Wednesday evening

·      Over 200 people were helped with clothing

·      90 senior citizens were given food boxes

·       12 teens went to the North Hills youth rally

·       Girls on the Run Program began at our building on Tuesdays and Thursdays

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Joyful Noise

You’ve heard the old saying, “Silence is golden”.  We know this is so true – sometimes.  When you’re angry, it’s always smart to keep your mouth closed.  Proverbs 10:19 tells us that “too much talk leads to sin” (that scripture is so hard on my heart).  Being silent before the Lord is something we know we need to do to hear God’s voice.  


BUT sometimes silence isn’t so golden. When you haven’t heard from your toddler in a while silence is SCARY, right?!  When your kiddos head off for college and the house is just too quiet – silence feels sad. One of the worst things that I can think of is silence in the Church.  


You see, I think that God likes noise (and if you know me at all – you know I do, too!).  Psalm 98:4 says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in joyous song and praises!” In Ezra, we read about when the people saw the rebuilt temple, they shouted for joy and wept so loud that it could be heard from far distances (Can you even imagine that?). Do you remember the story in Luke 19 where Jesus is entering Jerusalem riding on the donkey and the disciples start rejoicing and praising God in a LOUD voice?  The Pharisees got mad and wanted Jesus to quiet his followers.  Jesus responded by saying, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very rocks would cry out.” God likes noise – if it brings him glory!


I’m so thankful that we are NOT a silent Church.  Walk through our building on any given day.  You’ll hear a LOUD voice declaring that THE KING is coming just like the disciples in Luke 19.  It may not be with words or shouts or singing (although it may).  You’ll hear it as women fold clothes for those in need.  It’s whispered by the men and women stacking and bagging food. I hear it in the idling motors of HUNDREDS of cars as folks wait to have groceries put in their trunks and a prayer put in their heart by a volunteer at our monthly giveaway. Giggles carry that message on Sunday and Wednesday evenings as our teens meet and bring their friends to see God show up in a game or devotional thought. The splash of a dunk tank and the popping of popcorn declared God’s love to our community this past Saturday as the kids played and took home school supplies. Spoons scraping up ice cream on Sunday reminded all the folk there that our Church is praying for each family as their kiddos head back to school. 


This week, DON’T be silent.  Be that joyful noise for the Lord.  Shout “the King is coming!” to your neighborhood as you love on the elderly lady next door.  Make an offering of praise as you give to our missionaries. Sing His praises as you get those sleepy kids up and bring them to Church early on Sunday morning to show them WHO is KING of our lives.  Yell “God is good!” by being an image bearer of Jesus in your school or workplace.  Make a joyful noise to the Lord with our family here at NCCOC. Together we may just make such a sound that it will be heard all over Stark County and maybe even the world.


Ministry Spotlight

This past month…

·      McKenzie Ramey was baptized at a teen event

·      8 small groups/personal Bible studies met each week at NCCOC

·      over 100 people came to our Family Fun Day

·      over 400 people got school supplies at the Back-to-School Blast

·      volunteers from NCCOC served gave out clothes, school supplies and toiletries at Beacon Academy’s family night

·      125,000 pounds of food was given to 502 families at the food giveaway

·      46 students/families were “adopted” in prayer for the school year

·      over 15 teens met to fellowship and talk about God every Sunday and Wednesday evening

·      264 folks were helped with clothing

·      90 senior citizens were given food boxes

·      10 kids went to Church camp

·      our boys and young men were taught to catch fish and learned about God from some Godly mentors in the “Cast Your Nets” program

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