A regular communication for the family and friends of
WEST CHICAGO BIBLE CHURCH
209 S. Oakwood Ave., West Chicago, IL 60185 • (630) 231-1210
Spring 2007 - Volume II - Issue 2
Everyone gets a chance to have his world changed every once in a while by something incredible that God does. Members of the youth group had one of these beautiful opportunities presented to them through our winter retreat at Timber-Lee Youth Camp in Wisconsin. On two different weekends, Alpha and Omega groups both were able to travel up with our youth leaders.
The Omega retreat weekend was over the coldest three days I’ve ever experienced—with windchills of 40 below. We braved the cold to toboggan, tube, and play broomball. Although we had a lot of fun chances to be crazy with each other, I’m fairly sure that the entire youth group would agree that those events were not what we remember the most about that weekend.
Instead, our minds have been filled with memories of life-changing lessons from our speaker, Jeff Klein. The theme of the weekend was to put your roots in God, because only through this type of foundation can we truly make it as Christians. Another focus that was drilled into us through the creative messages was that sometimes, we need to focus on God instead of the business that all of us deal with. As students, and even more so I’m sure as adults, it becomes so easy to allow ourselves to lose our focus. We need to instead turn our eyes on the Lord. Another important message was how as Christians we’ve forgotten how holy the presence of God is in our lives. Every second of the day God is right next to us, and we need to think of ourselves as constantly walking on holy ground, for God is with us every step of the way. In today’s world, we tend to give a lot of attention to how we can more effectively accomplish tasks in our busy lives. We need simply to listen to God. Jeff Klein led us in a prayer exercise where we imagined what it would be like to walk with Jesus, which was an incredibly convicting and powerful time.
After each session, we spent time with our youth group in “breakaway” groups. The last day of our weekend, our speaker talked about what we had to do as we went back from the world of isolation we were in to face what the real world was like back home. At the end of it, we had a beautiful experience as we had a chance to be anointed. As people cried out in worship and confession to Christ, the speaker anointed youth pastors and head youth leaders. They anointed other leaders, who finally anointed us. We were individually prayed over and joyfully experienced what it was like to be sent on a mission for Christ as we returned home. This camp experience changed many of us and convicted us to focus on God so much more than we had been. God used it to help us see areas in our lives that were wrong and helped our youth group grow in unity. Coming back, all of us were different, but the love we had for each other was so strong that we have come to be a group that is unified in Christ.
Currently, in Alpha and Omega sessions, we have been studying being more courageous in our faith. With some students going to public high schools this is a very important thing to practice. Some of the students asked for people to pray that they would take any opportunity in sharing God's love. Please keep praying that we would stay on fire for God.
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Walk Worthy Men’s Conference
Living a pure life as a Christian in today’s anything-but-pure world doesn’t come easily, as any man can tell you. Looking for encouragement in this regard, twelve WCBC men traveled the convenient distance to Christ Community Church in St. Charles early in March, for Moody Bible Institute’s “Walk Worthy” conference. Speakers, including Moody’s president, Michael Easley, dealt with men’s issues in a hard-hitting, personal way. We were admonished to “stand firm” in what we believe, for family, in faithfulness to our wives and to God; to be real, to be consistent, to be God’s men where we are today and always to be growing in Christ. Lunch at Houlihan’s restaurant allowed for good fellowship and a chance to review together the focus of the morning. Excellent singing by Bruce Carroll and sketches by comedian Daren Streblow, funny but relevant, complemented the messages and added to the “shot in the arm” the day provided to face the daily challenges ahead.
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The Contours of His Face - Ladies' Retreat
It’s just as well that we’d been trying to pack too much into one retreat. Or that speaker Joyce Heinrich (Annette LaPlaca’s mom), was scheduled to speak twice. There were two times for worship, two small group sessions, a prayer workshop, time to make a craft, and lunch (with door prizes). The concern was that we would be too hurried and regimented. The event had been covered in much prayer, asking that it would be God–honoring and that it would meet the needs of the women attending. Little did we expect what would happen when God intervened.
After the usual buzz of greetings and conversation as the ladies arrived at the Glendale Lakes Golf Club, our first session was called to order with prayer and worship, led by Bonnie and Kiran Stoddard and Nancy Walker.
The choruses focused our attention and thoughts on the Lord. Joyce then began her first session about “seeking his face” and having spiritual eyes to see the ways God reveals himself to us. But when Joyce became confused and repeating herself, we knew it was time to call a break. As Joyce looked over her notes and revealed that she could not remember having delivered some of her talk, nurses in the room realized that she needed medical attention. Although she was reluctant to leave us, she went with our prayers.
In randomly assigned small groups, we tackled Joyce’s prepared follow-up questions which sent us into Scripture. Each group drafted a statement about what is the most urgent matter God wants us to attend to in this life. This study time was followed by a workshop on prayer led by Sharilynn Dunn. Sharilynn demonstrated how her study of character traits using her concordance helped her develop prayer sheets. She explained how she prays God's Word over her family and uses them also as a part of family devotions. During the relaxing, getting-to-know-each-other lunch, the morning’s events were a primary topic of conversation. We felt sure there was no was no better place for Joyce to have been when experiencing a possible stroke than in a group of women (including her daughter) who would care for her and hold her up in prayer.
At the end of our extended lunch time, door prizes were awarded, and then we looked to June Davidson for her expertise in helping us put together a craft she’d prepared. When we reconvened for the afternoon session, the planning committee (Joan Franzen, Jackie Kenney, and Shari Watson) had a great plan for the remainder of our retreat time.
After another worship session, Sharilynn led the small groups into a time of extended prayer for Joyce (who had experienced a TIA and would be hospitalized for a few days) and for one another. At times there was silence; at others there were tears. We were made even closer as we helped bear one another's burdens. As we dismissed, we all knew God had met us in that place.
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Love Your Neighbor
Paella, dulce de leche - familiar enough. But dozens of takes on a rice cake … you want me to try what? Surely you didn’t just say wasabi-flavored? I don’t know about this …
With some cultural lessons to learn, a group of WCBC ladies gathered on February 8 for “Love Your Neighbor” night. We were there to deepen our understanding of hospitality in non-American cultures, so we could help our non-American-born neighbors feel comfortable in conversation or in our homes.
It was an evening of fun, food, and frank dialogue about a crucial topic that can be difficult to discuss. Martha Vergara (assisted by Shari Watson) introduced us to Hispanic foods, culture, and ways of welcoming guests. Armed with a microwave, Martha and Shari introduced us to nachos with guacamole and ALL the toppings, shrimp paella, and cake with dulce de leche. We promised to keep Martha’s homemade dulce de leche recipe a secret (it may start with sweetened condensed milk, but you didn’t hear that from this source). The delicious food led to an insightful discussion about the special importance of family and cultural heritage to our Hispanic neighbors.
Mari Takei (with insights by Joan Franzen) introduced us to Japanese culture through her collection of illustrated cookbooks. We were fascinated by the Japanese approach to cooking, serving, and hospitality; particularly interesting was the uniquely Asian custom of serving many individual plates and bowls to each guest. We laughed when Mari reminded us how quickly a dishwasher can fill up this way! Although initially skeptical of some of the offerings, Mari extolled the virtues of green tea and Japanese sweets … and we were won over.
Kara Pogreba presented a thoughtful devotional that exhorted us to develop our gift of hospitality and practice it often. And as we left that evening, we were challenged to apply Christ’s mandate to “love our neighbors.” Equipped with new cultural perspectives, we set out to do just that.
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Sunday School Easter Workshops
Charcoal-colored paint on styrofoam, burlap and yarn combined, plus lamb and dates and matzo bread and other such foods, made for great hands-on learning, as the Beginner, Primary, and Junior departments of the Sunday School came together in the weeks preceeding Easter to make, eat, and learn about some things encountered by the Israelites of Jesus’ day. “This is fun!” “I like doing this!” and similar expressions from the children were compliments to the endlessly creative hands and mind of June Davidson, who spent considerable time and energy in producing the workshops.
In the meantime, students of the Junior High and High School departments put their heads together, researching the details and planning a Seder meal play, to be produced as the Last Supper of Jesus and his twelve disciples, under the guidance of teachers Chuck Kenney and Gregg Anderson. And what a performance it was when on Palm Sunday, dressed as men of that day, the teens held the total attention of the tunic-clad lower grades and their teachers, as they gave life to the gospels.
Easter Sunday brought Breakfast on the Beach to the elementary grades, as Joan Franzen related the biblical account of one of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus from John 21:1-14 as He called to the disciples from the shore to fill their nets with fish and then come and eat the breakfast He had cooked for them. Fish sticks, miniature waffles, and other treats substituted for the fish and bread of that earlier day, but definitely pleased the palates of the young audience. Back in their separate classrooms, students studied more scriptures concerning the Passion week of Christ, with a keener sense of how it might have been.
Greek Team to Greece
Recently, 17 of us had the honor to serve our Awesome Lord in Greece. What an amazing opportunity to see all five of our supported missionary families at once, and on their turf instead of ours!
We had certain expectations about what tasks we were to perform, yet we quickly learned the importance of being flexible since none of those tasks were ready for us to do. Many, many other tasks were completed, and our muscle aches prove it. Drywall and insulation installation, sanding, trench digging, pouring concrete, mixing mortar, shrub removal, cinderblock wall building, library book sorting and cataloging were all tasks to stretch and strain the body.
Dessert fellowships in our missionaries’ homes, lots of laughs, Easter worship in Greek, daily Bible lessons, and devotions on Mars Hill all refreshed the soul and rejuvenated the spirit. Trips into Athens and Corinth stimulated the mind.
Overall we feel blessed to have shared in this experience and to have served the Lord in such tangible ways. Thank you so much for your prayers offered on our behalf; you helped sustain us just as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. All that was done was in the name of the Lord, for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.
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Two Become One?
After the search team conducted varying degrees of interaction with more than 280 applicants for WCBC senior pastor, it was the elders who turned up a great candidate! Pastor Fetzer quips that most churches use the worldwide web to look for a pastor, while he turned up a possibility at ... Menards! Pastor Fetzer ran into a friend at Menards and was telling him about another church that had contacted WCBC about a merger, but the elders had agreed that the two congregations were not a good fit. Pastor Fetzer's friend recommended that if WCBC were truly open to a merger, that we should get to know Pastor Tod Eeningenberg of Water's Edge Church, currently meeting at Glenbard North High School.
It's not as if Pastor Tod were already looking for a merger. But, as he told the search committee, he likes to start each day with an openness for whatever God may be doing, however God may be leading. The elders met with Pastor Tod and one of his elders. Then the search committee started listening to sermon samples, collecting references, and meeting with Pastor Tod. The elders assured the search team that a veto from them would stop the process. The search committee was impressed by Pastor Tod's strong leadership ability and communication skills; his obvious heart for reaching his community and the lost; his elder-led, congregational church structure; his congregation's missions commitment; and his readiness to pastor the WCBC congregation as he does the Water's Edge people. The search committee was very encouraged by the obvious excitement and enthusiasm from our own WCBC elders, who admit to being highly impressed with the young elders of WEC.
Pastor Tod and his wife, Cynthia, have three sons and two daughters. The oldest child is twelve, and the youngest is an infant. Their family lives about five blocks from WCBC. The Eeningenbergs are in their 30s, and come from Texas. Pastor Tod is an athlete who is involved in coaching homeschooled kids and his son's football team. Their name is pronounced EN-in-gen-berg, with a hard "g" in the middle.
The WCBC and the WEC elders have continued to meet, mapping out what a two-become-one church might look like. Open discussion meetings are on the church calendar, and Pastor Tod will be preaching at WCBC as a candidate on May 6 and 20.