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Welcome to the firstChristian E-Newsletter!

If you are reading this, it means you are on your way to learning more about upcoming events and getting up close and personal with all the things happening within the FCC family. Be sure to check out this week’s blog post and other vital information to stay connected.

By Your spirit I will rise, From the ashes of defeat. The resurrected king, Is resurrecting me. These words from the song "The Resurrecting King tell a story". It is story about a king who himself once was dead and now lives forever. It is a story of those who have tasted death at the heart level and are discovering the life Jesus came to give.

In this Newsletter...
FCC Blog
What You Never Know You Miss By Skipping Sunday Morning
by Sarah Piercy
Executive Assistant to Carey Nieuwhof, Connexus Church Founder

I thought missing a Sunday morning service wasn’t a big deal.

I have worked at Connexus Church for 8 years and would only miss a Sunday because I was away on vacation. Quite honestly, I didn’t think missing a Sunday was a big deal. It’s not a sin. It’s not earth-shattering. No one notices (or do they?).  Right? Then I had a baby and went on maternity leave. And I started to participate in our church community like most people do. And everything changed. Because, when I miss a Sunday service, I miss way more than I ever thought. From birthday parties to a sick baby, a variety of reasons had kept me from participating on Sunday mornings. I would watch online. And online is great to keep me connected when can’t be there in person. Or to share with friends and neighbors who are curious about church but not ready to come. So easy!

But – given the choice – attending on Sunday morning trumps all else. Every time. Why?

When I skip Sunday morning…

1. I Miss Uninterrupted Time To Listen For God’s Wisdom 

Sunday’s practical teaching translates into godly wisdom that I can apply daily life – it iso valuable.  

Sure, you can hear great teaching in a variety of ways. But listening online is different than listening in the service.

I don’t know about you, but when I listen at home I have a long to-do list. A child that loves attention. A phone that rings. Floors to sweep. Laundry to fold. Neighbors’ dogs barking. I almost never absorb the message in the same way as I do when physically present on Sunday.

When I’m in the service, I have uninterrupted time. Time to focus on what God is teaching me and reflect on how He wants me to grow. My child is being cared for, my phone is on silent, and there are no chores waiting for me.

I can focus. I can engage my heart and mind.

2. I Miss The Value Of Worshiping God Through Music With Others

This one is interesting. And might even be surprising to you.

There’s something intangible that happens when we worship God – out loud – with hundreds of people who share faith in Jesus.

Sundays are an irreplaceable opportunity to take a step back from the busy day-to-day and directly praise the God that loves me and is incredibly worthy of my worship.

Music roots my heart and mind in the truth of who God is. It remembers and celebrates powerful scripture. It leads me to humble myself before God’s majesty in a way that doesn’t always happen with music playing in the car or in the background while I do the dishes.

Worshiping God through music on Sundays – with hundreds of people – grounds and fuels my faith.

It inspires me to keep worshiping, keep believing, keep serving, keep loving.

3. I Miss The Power And Movement Of The Church

The Church has a mission and purpose. And every believer is part of it.  We get to spread the amazing news that Jesus Christ loves you, died to forgive you, and he is alive, bringing new life to all who believe in him. What an incredible message to sit on.

We can be a Christian and not actively participate in the local Church.  Our salvation is not dependent on that. It’s dependent on Jesus.

But there’s more at stake than that…

Imagine this:

Your life is a babbling brook. It twists and turns and bubbles and splashes. It’s beautiful. But has little strength. But, what happens when you cross paths with another brook. And another. And another? Something bigger starts to happen. Something one babbling brook can’t do on its own.

Momentum happens.

Then power happens.

Then Niagara Falls happens! (Note: did you know Niagara Falls generates enough energy to power almost 4 million homes? No babbling brook does that.)

In the same way, 100s (or 1000s) of people moving in the same God-given direction is POWERFUL. And it doesn’t happen when we are disengaged.

When I miss Sunday mornings, I miss how God is moving our church community to action. When I miss the host’s welcome, connecting opportunities and the stories of God at work, I miss getting to be part of it because I don’t know how.

I don’t want to miss being part of the power and movement of God’s Church.

Plus, if I’m not there, then how can I bring anyone with me? So – I do everything I can to attend a Sunday morning service. Because when I miss a Sunday, I miss way more than I ever thought.

Will you make a commitment to Sunday mornings with me, too?

Thank you Volunteers!

Dear firstChristian Volunteers,

firstChristian could not exist without your leadership, commitment, and passion. Every time you serve, you are influencing the lives of those around you and allowing God to work through you.  You’re very appreciated, highly valued, and much needed.

Thank you for preparing the communion trays and passing out bulletins. Thank you for working a 40-hour work week and giving your free time to help us serve those who may not know your name. Thank you for being willing to hold a baby during service so their parents can enjoy listening to the Word of God. Thank you for the hours you spent learning curriculum for the child who insists on coloring it and creating a paper plane. Thank you for being patient when a student tells you this is the last place they want to be. Thank you for standing at the door of the church simply to smile and welcome people in. Thank you for working behind the scenes and doing things that go unnoticed. Thank you for hours of practice and standing on stage week after week to lead us into worship. Thank you for opening up your home and your heart to a group of people you’ve only met once or twice before. 

But most of all, THANK YOU for believing in the Church. YOU are the ones who represent who we are and share the love of Christ in a way we would never be able to; around a coffee table, at the mailbox, or in line at the grocery store. THANK YOU for being part of the hands and feet of Jesus. You are very appreciated, highly valued, much needed, and we could not exist without YOU!

THANK YOU,
Tim, Randall, Kristi, Greg, Liz, Marshal, and Taylor. 
Upcoming Events
Click here to see a complete list of happenings.
Women's Ministry - Girl's Night Out 
Please join us for a night out with the “girls” at the Downtown Coffee Company on Norfolk Avenue.

We hope to see you there!

Monday | April 24th | 6:30 – 8:30 pm

TNT (55+) Event
TNT (55+) is featuring NOAH (and the Ark) by The Sights and Sounds Theatre in Branson, Missouri, on Saturday, April 29th, from 5:30-8:00 pm at firstChristian Church. We will also have a good ol' chuck wagon supper of BBQ pork, baked beans, chips, and, of course, animal cookies!

Mark your calendars! You won't want to miss out on this wonderful adventure in the times of NOAH.

Saturday | April 29th | 5:30 to 8:00 pm
Family 5th Sunday
On Sunday, April 30th, parents and kiddos have the opportunity to worship together at both the 9:15 and 11:00 am services as part of Family 5th Sunday!
 
K-12th Students: Students in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to worship with their families during the entire main service.

Preschool 4's & 5's: Preschool children ages 4-5 will join their families for worship in the main service and be dismissed before the sermon to join their regular programming.

Nursery, 2's & 3's: Children ages birth through 3 years will have regular programming during both of our services

Sunday | April 30th
Family JAM Picnic

Join us for the Family JAM picnic as we celebrate a great year! We’ll eat, laugh, play games, enjoy time with our JAM family and maybe eat some more. Meat, drinks and desserts will be provided. Please bring a side-dish to share with everyone.

Register online here.

Wednesday | May 3rd | 6 pm

In other news...

The family of Donald (Dick) and Vera Bruner invite you to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, Saturday, April 22nd, from 3-5 pm at firstChristian Church. 

RSVP to wanda_henry@hotmail.com

Dick and Vera request No Gifts Please.

Saturday | April 22nd | 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Children's Ministry
Our JAM Kids Ministry strives to combine the critical influences of the church and home to incite wonder, provoke discovery and fuel passion in the hearts of children toward the love of Jesus. We believe children’s ministry should be fun, creative, powerful and life changing all at the same time. Our curriculum is always relevant, Biblical, engaging and experiential, and also emphasizes a relationship with God and with others.  

Click here for information on the various programs we offer.
Student Ministry

Our Student Ministry exists to challenge students to actively pursue a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, through various worship experiences, biblical teachings, service opportunities, and opportunities to fellowship with other believers; ultimately resulting in growth towards spiritual maturity.
 
Click here for information on the various programs we offer.

Morning Star Preschool
morning star logo

Has Morning Star or Kiddie Kollege Preschool impacted your life? We invite you to join us in recognizing and celebrating what God has done through FCC’s preschool over the years.

Please share your stories with us before May 8th, by emailing them to office@fcnorfolk.org.

FCC Women's Softball

It's the perfect time to join firstChristian's women's softball team!

Games start mid-May and are scheduled for Tuesday evenings.

If you are interested in joining: 
Contact Melora Hirschman at 402.841.5907.

Registration deadline: Wednesday | May 3rd

FCC Kitchen Towels
Have you seen the first Christian kitchen towels? We appreciate everyone's assistance within the kitchen between making meals, serving meals, and communion preparation! With all of the recent events, we are missing many of our dish towels. If you have any extra towels that you would like to donate or may have taken a few home to wash, please feel free to drop them by the first Christian office.
Nebraska Christian College Matching Gift

When people respond to God’s calling, they soon discover the need to prepare for ministry challenges ahead. One of the biggest barriers to fulfilling their calling is the cost of quality ministry training. Now, for the first time, you can be a double answer to their prayers.

Nebraska Christian College, one of FCC’s Core Missions, strives to “prepare exceptional Christian leaders.” During April, all gifts to Nebraska Christian through FCC will be doubled up to $5,000 and will be used for scholarships. A generous donor has made this opportunity possible.

Together, we can encourage men and women to prepare to help a local church to Thrive. Please consider a gift to Nebraska Christian during April.

Visit https://nechristian.edu for a closer look at Nebraska Christian.
Thrive With Us

Heroes Help People Thrive

There are heroes among us. They probably don’t wear a cape, but they are heroes nonetheless. They are saving people’s lives, some they know and some they haven’t even met yet. They don’t see themselves as heroes, but I do. There are many people I think are heroes, but right now I am thinking of everyone who gives to Thrive.

To say they/you are heroes and that we are saving lives may seem like an exaggeration, but I don’t think so. True, only Jesus can do what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to give all people life and life to the full, life that Thrives. When you give to Thrive, you are part of what Jesus is doing. You are providing a tool to introduce more people to Jesus, welcome more people into his family, and encourage more people to let Jesus give them life that Thrives. When you help people know Jesus, you are saving their lives. You are a hero.

So far, 319 households have given to make Thrive a reality. In 2017 alone, 59 more households have partnered.  Every column, beam, joist, girder, stud, wire, conduit, light, pipe, speaker, chair, tile, window, door, drain, duct, toilet, sink, heating/cooling unit, piece of insulation, bag of grass seed, yard of concrete, square foot of carpet, and everything that makes up the building is made possible by your generosity. And as a church, we will use all of it to bring glory to God and attention to Jesus.

Seeing the construction progress is exciting. I encourage you to view the construction progress. Check out the 360 degree view as well as the Thrive Vision online. Watch the time lapse construction video. It will give a glimpse of what we will get to experience together in just over two months. And as you do, think of those that you can invest in, invite, and welcome to be part of what God is doing through first Christian in helping the people of northeast Nebraska to Thrive.

Thank you for being heroes. You matter. Your gift matters. Thank you for helping people Thrive through Jesus.

Onward and Upward,

Tim

Stay Connected
Sunday Announcements
If you missed Sunday's video announcements or last week's newsletter, you can view them on our website at fcnorfolk.org/news.
Take firstChristian With You
We know that you aren’t in town every weekend, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on Sunday mornings at firstChristian. All of our sermons are available on our website, fcnorfolk.org and can be automatically delivered to your Apple or Android device every week when you subscribe to our podcast.

On the website, you also have the opportunity to keep the conversation going with our sermon discussion guides.  Parents can do the same with their kiddos using the Parent Cue. No matter where you travel, you can always take firstChristian with you. 
THE BIG FOUR

At firstChristian, we believe many disciplines help shape our faith and strengthen our relationship with Jesus. Of those, we have narrowed our focus down to four essential practices that can be found throughout Scripture, and we have seen and experienced to be true. We call them The Big Four. Each of these are an influential aspect of forging a faith that goes beyond the everyday and into the extraordinary. They encourage us to partner with God in changing our attitudes and actions, shaping us more into who God made us to be. But don't be fooled by their simplicity. They are bursting with limitless opportunities and next steps, but never a final step.   

Gather Big: Gathering together every Sunday to learn more about who God is and praise Him for what He has done. God does something special when we gather together.

Group Small: Meeting weekly with a few to do life together and to “keep the conversation going” beyond Sunday morning.
   
Serve Somewhere: Using our gifts, skills and passion to serve within the church and community. One cannot be like or become like Jesus without serving.    
 
Give Something: Practicing generosity in everyday life. Giving releases the grip of stuff on our hearts, so we can more fully give our hearts to God. 

Participation and Giving
April 15th & 16th, 2017
 
Attendance 
Worship: (241, 81, 429, 308) 1,059
Sunday School: 248

General Fund
Budgeted weekly: $14,704
Given: $19,804
Budgeted ytd: $235,264
Given ytd: $252,559
 
Missions
Given: $1,579
Given ytd: $31,412
 
Thrive Vision | Building
Given: $3,470
Total given to Thrive: $976,416
Households Participating: 319
 
Give Online Now!
first Christian | 402.371.5734 | office@fcnorfolk.org | fcnorfolk.org