Friday, January 30, 2015

Aging Gracefully

            There aren’t many heroes left in the course of our everyday lives.  However, we are surrounded by men and women who breathe the breath of God when they speak and whose lives rise above the crowd in walking with Christ. One of my heroes is Hokie Moore, who celebrated his 100th birthday last October.  He enjoys talking of how he became the positive and gentle man that he is today.

            Hokie’s early years were not spent in a Christian home.  His family moved to Merrill, a small town near Klamath Falls.  When he was a teenager his mother trusted Jesus while listening to “First Mate Bob & The Good Ship Grace” on the radio.  Hokie was eighteen years old when an evangelist came to Klamath Falls.  He and his brother went with their mother to attend the meetings.  Hokie had never heard the gospel, but that first night his attention was caught by the message.  He returned eagerly the next day.  That night, both he and his brother went forward to accept Jesus Christ.  This eventually led to their whole family coming to know the Lord.

           The evangelist who led him to Christ encouraged him to become a pastor.  It took several years of education, and while a student, he started a church at Rhododendron and became its pastor.  This was followed by pastorates in seven churches, ministry in the NW CBA and the Alaska CB Church offices and interim positions as well.  Several of these ministries were of 10 or more years.  He still gets a spark in his eyes when he talks about the fifteen years in Alaska, first at Fairbanks and then in Anchorage.  These years were the best years of his ministry.

            Hokie’s love for the Word of God has been the cornerstone of his life and ministry.  I Cor. 15:58 has been his life verse: Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

            So, how has he kept such a positive and cheerful attitude in all of these years?  His reply: “I could not be anything else.  I have always had a positive outlook on life.  The Bible says that ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.’  And, ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’”

           Would he follow this path again?  “I sure would!” was the reply.  “I would do it with joy.  God has said that he will never leave me, nor forsake me.”  He has no regrets for the past and no fears for the future.  “Rather than fear what could happen, I know that we will be absent from the body and present with the Lord, at home with family and friends.”

            His advice for the younger generation is to know Christ early. Nothing is more important. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

            This is why Hokie is one of my heroes.
            -Pastor Ed

Friday, January 23, 2015

Strength in the Lord

“Mom, Dad … I want to be the one to tell you, we’re getting a divorce.”
“This is your doctor; the tests are back … it is cancer”
“Sorry, I can’t pretend any longer – the Bible just doesn’t work for me.”
“We’ve had to make some difficult choices; clean out your desk; we are letting you go.”
“Yes, I’m sure … it’s conclusive you have (this disease).”
 Receiving just one of these messages would be tough to hear at any time … but especially challenging when you are approaching retirement, looking forward to enjoying your grandkids, planning a special wedding anniversary, feeling your precious Christian family is intact.
 But God often writes the story different than we would.
 When asked recently why a friend serves as a Bible study leader, without much thought the answer quickly came: “I lead Bible study because I want to be used of God to help others grow in their faith.”  This was the truth 8 months ago when all five of the above situations were beginning to be birthed in this person’s life.  With more real life stories than they would have chosen to tell, it is still the truth … because God is in control even when life spins out of control.
 The following quote from Charles Stanley says it best:
“I wonder how many times you have said to the Lord, ‘Dear Lord, I want you to use me.  I don’t want a lot of pain in my life, but I’m willing to be used.’  Sorry, God does not work that way.” 
If you want to be used by God, get ready to hurt.  If you want to be a comforter, then get ready to suffer.  If you want to be someone who can really encourage others, then you must be a person who has walked through the valley of discouragement, surrounded by hurt, suffering and loss.
God is equipping you and me to be vessels of love, healing and restoration to a world of people filled with pain, hate and despair.
 I lead Bible study because I want to be used of God to help others grow in their faith.  Yes, I found strength in the Lord my God! I Samuel 30:6b.
- A Fellow Believer
Recommended Reading:
Behind the Mask by John Lynch, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol--For those with unresolved life issues this is a helpful book to face them, and slay them with the grace of God. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Spiritual Parenting

Shortly after we had our third kiddo under 3, we figured it might be a good time to learn some parenting skills…so we signed up for Spiritual Parenting. Over the course of a few months we and several other families joined Sherri and Bonnie, who led weekly sessions, and discovered how we parent, why we parent the way we do, and God’s plan for parenting.  The weekly sessions were divided into discussions of environments we can create in our homes to introduce our children to Christ. Some of my favorites were story-telling, course correction and serving others.

Story-telling emphasizes how the stories of the Bible are like chapters in God’s big story, which continues today to include our lives and those of our children. Unlike the typical presentation of children’s Bible books and songs which portray heroes and heroines such as David, Ruth, Joseph, etc., this environment acknowledges God as the master storyteller and recognizes His casting of various characters to most effectively tell His story.

Course correction involves the use of discipline to steer our children back on track, with a motive to restore and heal. We also learned that effective methods of discipline may differ from child to child just as God uses tailored methods of discipline when he corrects us.  Unique in this presentation was the encouragement to apply grace in our responses to disobedience in our children, instead of responding with discipline every time

The creation of a service environment involves teaching our children to maintain our home by serving each other, and including our children in our acts of service to others. Some ideas we have incorporated are encouraging generosity by giving away our surplus toys to families in need and signing our family up to serve at the church’s community luncheon. Although we're still honing our parenting skills, and will be for years to come, Spiritual Parenting provided several valuable tools to include in our box.

 - Joanna Galbraith



Pastor's recommended reading:

Love and War by John and Stasi Eldredge.  Author's of  Wild at Heart and Captivating.

If you want a book that will encourage you and inspire a greater vision for your marriage this is a good one.  Through helpful vulnerability John and Stasi will give you hope for your marriage to be even better. 

You Can Change by Tim Chester
God's power can change you  This book will help you understand how the process of change works with the integration of the Word, the Holy Spirit and you.