THE FRIENDLY WHITE CHURCH ON THE HILL



Topinabee Community Church is in the midst of change and renewal!  We have remodeled our Education and Nursery rooms as we move forward raising our young ones in the faith.  We are reaching out to the un-churched with advertising and direct mail.  We are getting ready to re-launch our Summer Services - an alternative time to Worship in the Faith.

In the midst of change, we can be tempted to let little things and non-essential issues grow out of proportion and steal our joy.  Let us never take our eyes off of why God placed our church here:
-to deepen our personal relationship with God       through Christ
       -to help others discover forgiveness and joy in Christ
       -to help others in need

Topinabee Community Church is an interdenominational church. We are dedicated to living and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.

Have faith. It all comes right. Pastor Mike

PICNIC A SUCCESS
The rain did not dampen our spirits and the community picnic was a success.  Lots of good food and visiting with church and community members. Thanks to chairwoman, Lynn Balazovic, and our head brat cooks Larry and Mike Balazovic.
More photos in the photo gallery

CONGRATULATIONS
Barbara Bergin and Connie Dinner were elected to the Church Council at the annual meeting.  A big thank you to Art Mills and Tom Enck for their service on the Council.

EXPERIENCING GOD
An 8 week course, Experiencing God, will be led by Pastor Mike, beginning July 18, 9:15-10:15 am. It is not to late to attend this series. The series will end Sept. 12.



CHECKOUT THIS VIDEO
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SPECIAL MUSIC


Barbara Bergins "kids" -Lucy and John, made their annual trip to Mullett Lake and performed their beautiful music for the congregation.  They were joined by their friend Emy Hardy, a University of Massachusetts student.  Lucy lives in Austin, Texas continuing her career in music and John is a junior at Amherst.  Listen to their songs by clicking on the links below.

THANKS HEATHER

The Choir held a party for Heather to honor her many years of service to the Church Music Ministry. More photos in the photo gallery.

BIBLE READINGS
Bible readings for August 17-21 can be found under the Bible Readings tab on this site.


“THE WAY WE WALK”





Topinabee Community Church is offering informal small group adult Bible studies this spring.  Interested participants can call Karen Vance at 989-245-6080.  The gatherings begin at 1:00 on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. and will explore topics such as ‘Speaking Wisely’, ‘Growing Through Life’s Challenges’, and ‘Prayer’.  Join us in our friendly walk through the Bible.  Ruth Wolf will be the host August 25.



CHURCH SERMONS

(WAIT FOR IT TO LOAD-CHECK THE SERMONS TAB FOR MORE SERMONS)






MUSIC
CHECK THE MUSIC TAB FOR CHOIR PERFORMANCES










THIS WEEKS DEVOTIONS


Price Drop

The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.”  Isaiah 40.8 NRSV

August 20, 2015
 Some time ago, I found the magic words under our favorite coffee: “Price Drop”. As I picked up a couple of bags and tossed them happily into the cart, I stopped. I picked one up. It felt different somehow.
When I got home, I picked up the almost empty coffee bag in the kitchen and, comparing the two, read the fine print on both. You’re ahead of me aren’t you? Yep, there was a four-ounce difference. By my quick, crude math (Sorry Uncle Bob), the price was a little higher than before.
          How often have we been fooled with “It’s a sale” or “New and Improved” or “Only a few items left”? I’ve also been fooled by enticing smiles, clever words and false promises. But God’s word has always been genuine.  I have also found it somewhat difficult and costly to actually live out God’s word in my life, but it has always been true. 
   
Prayer: Lord, help me trust You more.
I Want to Get Better
The lazy person does not plow in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.” Proverbs 20.4 NRSV
August 19, 2015
Recently I had the pleasure of being one of the teachers at Author Quest. (You should do an Internet search on this amazing camp sometime.) Wednesday through Saturday, I shared some lessons on writing, but the fun part was getting to read the work of these rather amazing young people.
At the camp, it was important for us to be honest and at the same time find something in their writing that was genuine and good. Truthfully, that was rarely difficult because these kids were talented.
The last full day, an eleven-year-old young lady handed me her story to read and asked my thoughts. It was very good. I told her so. She thanked me and then said, “What can I do to improve this?”
I pointed to one sentence and before I could say anything, she said, “Oh, right! I need to watch the clich├ęs!” Wow, eleven years old and she caught something that published writers still fall victim to.
I started to hand it back and she firmly shook her head. Without blinking, she looked straight at me and said, “I want to know how to get better. Tell me at least one thing that will make me better.”
She might have been eleven, but her writing ability and desire to improve was all grown-up. In fact, her attitude was more grown-up that a lot of adults I know.
Some people want to do better, but they don’t want to work hard at getting better. There is a difference.
Prayer: Lord, You know we often long for shortcuts and easy answers. Since there aren’t many of those, help us as we work hard at getting better.
Faultfinding Inc.
“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” Matthew 7. 3 NRSV
August 18, 2015
      Despite it being spring, a cold front had moved through southern Illinois and dropped an unexpected five inches of snow one morning.  When the parishioners came that night for the evening Bible Study, the sidewalk had not been shoveled and the parking lot had not been cleared. Many words were spoken that night, mostly ones inappropriate for church. 
       The next night, there was a special meeting called by the deacons. I sat in the room with the five good men who sorted through the minor debacle. “Who dropped the ball?” was the whole purpose of the meeting.
       For one-hour bylaws were consulted, contracts examined and excuses investigated. And then we went home; satisfied we knew who was responsible.
And the angels wept.
As I lay in bed that night, I was unable to sleep. It took a while for me to figure out what was buzzing around the back of my head. No hungry people were fed, no children without school supplies were aided, and the Kingdom of God was not preached. We met to fix blame and discover who was at fault. Having done that, we went home satisfied we had carried out our duty.

Prayer: Lord, without lowering out standards of excellence, give us sympathy and understanding today. And help us keep the main thing the main thing and advance Your Kingdom.

They Will Come



 “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5.14 NRSV


 August 13, 2015


 David Hume was a skeptic. Yet he regularly attended church service.  That being the case, we might think we might think he would go to hear a feel-good preacher, one who talked more about self-help than sin and redemption. We would be wrong. Referring to the rather conservative preacher he listened to on Sundays, Hume said, “I don’t believe all he says, but he does. And once a week I like to hear a man who believes what he says.”


       Benjamin Franklin was a deist and not convinced of the Christian faith.  Yet he loved to go hear the fiery Methodist evangelist George Whitfield and often enjoyed sitting down to talk with him.


People are drawn to people who believe.  They seek hope wherever they can find it, even when they are not yet ready to fully embrace it.


We live in a world that loudly proclaims its desire to be rid of the old fashioned notions of a God Who created and His Son Who came to save us all. And yet they are and will be drawn to that very thing they have rejected.

       Have faith. It all comes right.

 Prayer:  Lord, even on my dark days, find a way to shine Your light through me.


Religion Isn’t Enough

“Holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power.”   2 Timothy 3.5 NRSV
August 12, 2015
          Voltaire, the French philosopher and writer, was well known for his disdain of the church. As he was walking past a church one day with a friend, Voltaire raised his hat.
          The friend said, “I thought you did not believe in God.”
          Voltaire replied, “Oh, we nod, but we do not speak.”
         And thus Voltaire put words to the religion of many. They give God a nod in passing. Perhaps they’re relatively faithful to support the many good works of the church, but they do not accept the personal relationship with God that is offered by Jesus. They are committed to religion but not a relationship.
Religion isn’t enough. In the end, religion without the relationship grows cold, inflexible and strangles those who hide behind it.
 Prayer: Lord, I praise You that You did not stay aloof from us, but came to us in flesh and called us Your friends.


Must We Suffer?


 “For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear about me.”  Philippians 1.29, 30 HCSB
August 11, 2015


 Must we suffer? What if, within the eternal councils of God, the answer is sometimes “Yes”?


Why would God want such a cruel thing?


         We live in a broken world, a world crushed and torn. To this shattered planet, God made a visit. It was not a fact-finding junket and He didn’t come just to preach some nice sermons on how we should get along better. No, He came to redeem this broken world. And, in doing so, He suffered.


         How can my suffering help someone else? What possible advantage can such pain bring? I cannot fully speak to this intensely profound subject, but I do know one truth concerning it. On more than one occasion in my life, when I was going through pain or was on the other side, my experience was used by God to help and heal others.


So, by offering my suffering to Him, my suffering can be transformed into a blessing for those around me and finally for myself.


 Prayer: Lord, You know how hard I work at avoiding suffering, but I know I cannot always side step it. Let me, somehow and in some way, be a blessing even in those times.