Saturday, March 28, 2015

Men, Come and See

One of our men’s ministry focuses is on events that are “come and see” events.  In John chapter 1 some of John’s disciples started to follow Jesus and He asked them, “What do you seek?”  They responded by asking him where he was hanging out. Jesus said to “come and see.” Then we see in a few verses later the two disciples following Jesus’ example with their brother and close friend—“come and see -- we have found the Messiah.”   We want our men to have safe environments where they can invite their unsaved or un-churched friends to an event where they can “come and see”.  Come and see that Christian men are okay, that church people are accepting and see Jesus loving them through our men’s actions.
A few weeks ago we had a men’s game night. This was not just for our men to enjoy, which we did, but we had 5 guys join us, who were not part of our church. They came and saw that our men can have fun and eat.  We had men ranging from grade school to the 70s.  We had scheduled games from 8:00-11:00 pm. We had men staying until midnight. Thank you to the ladies for allowing your men to stay out late that night with the guys. I wish to thank Michael Sanders and Aaron Harada for their planning and coordinating this activity. As the old saying goes, “A good time was had by all.” How is your “come and see” ministry working?
Men-- if you have ideas that might be good “come and see” events, I would be glad to visit with you.
Book Recommendations
1. Surfing for God--by Michael John Cusick.  This book is a must for men who want to do more than manage their sexual struggles, but to understand them and find victory that is lasting.  Ladies if you will read this book it will also help you understand how to be a help-mate. 
2. 9 Things You Simply Must Do by Dr. Henry Cloud.  The author of Boundaries has once again written a very practical and helpful book. 
Faith4Now Update
It is an amazing thing to watch God work in people.  To date we have received $761,000 in pledges and gifts to our North Property purchase.  We have until April 12 to get our pledges in. 
One man as he gave a very substantial gift said with a smile, "I hope people discover just how wonderful it is to give to God's work." 
Continue to pray with us that God will show His mighty hand through and to our church.  Pray that we will be so filled with faith that we will say to these mountains, "move from here to there, and it will be done for us."  Pray that we will be so filled with faith that nothing will be impossible for us. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Worship One, Two, Three

Several weeks ago the worship team invested the weekend digging deeply into God’s word. Seeking the heart of God for our church and driving down into authentic relationships with one another led us to some great discussions. One of the key struggles we dealt with had to do with who the audience of our worship is.  I was challenged thinking about the two contexts of worship and how they practically impact our lives.  We found this simple phrase that Mike Cosper uses in his book, Rhythms of Grace, helpful as we worked through this:  Worship One, Two, Three.

Worship has One object and Author:  God.  The Triune God is at the center of all Christian worship.  God declared His centrality to worship in the 10 commandments (Ex. 20:1-5).  He explicitly states in other places that He will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8, 48:11). As creation progressed, the Father lifted up Jesus as the central figure of worship (Philippians 2:1-11). God is not only the supreme object of our worship; He’s also the author.  He alone gives us life, breath, vision, redemption, eyes to see, ears to hear and mouths to declare His goodness and glory. Worship is all about God.

Worship occurs in two contexts: gathered & scattered. Gathered worship occurs when the church meets to remember the story of God’s faithfulness, encouraging one another and blessing one another.  The gathering of the church is one key way to hold fast to God under the pressures of a broken world and the temptations to sin (Hebrews 10:24-25). Scattered worship is the Spirit filled life of the Christian in the world. Jesus effectively deconstructed worship from time and place in John 4:21-24.  This means that when we leave the gathered worship service, our scattered service of worship begins!  The apostle Paul says that our entire lives, even the messy parts, are transformed in Christ and offered to God the Father as a beautiful sacrifice of praise (Romans 12:1).

Worship has three audiences:  God, the church, and the world. God is both the object of and the witness to our worship.  The church both participates in and witnesses the gathering of its people.  The world is watching from the darkness.  Having God in our audience means there is One who accepts us as we are and deems our imperfect worship as made perfect in Jesus.  Worship offered humbly in Jesus’ name is always received with joy by the Father (Hebrews 10:12-14). When you enter the gathered worship of the church, don’t fear acceptance or lack thereof.  Trust in Jesus. Your fellow worshipers, the church, also act as an audience to your worship, “ The gathering of the church is … an encounter with God intensified among the people of God, filled with the Spirit of God, spurring one another along in the mission of God.  Gathered worship is a communal experience, not an individualistic one. Christ in me meets Christ in you.”  (Mike Cosper, Rhythms of Grace)

 The world also watches as we worship.  When we gather, it’s the clarity of the gospel message that allows the Holy Spirit to transform the heart of an unbeliever.  As we testify to the power of God in our lives, God allows the world to hear us worshiping Him (and in fact commands us to worship in front of the nations). Who knows but that someone might give glory to God and say, “surely God is in this place!” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)

Worship: One Object and Author.  Two Contexts.  Three Audiences.

As you put the gospel on display for the glory of God, the edification of the church, and as a testimony to the unbeliever this coming week, know that worship team is cheering for you, praying for you, and worshiping with you. 
-- Pastor Nate (for the musicians that lead our church in musical worship)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Grief Share

December begins for most people on the 1st of the month, but for others the 25th of the month seems to be the following Friday. Writing personal messages in our Christmas cards gives me time to pray about friends far and near.  My smart phone interrupted my solitude.  Our daughter was calling from Bellingham, Washington, sobbing and breathless as she spoke.  I couldn’t make out what she was saying; thoughts of our three young granddaughters, and James our son in-law who drives to Seattle and back each day, dashed through my head. Finally, she began to explain that Piper, her sister and brother and all their children were in Disney World for a week with their parents as a Christmas gift from their Mother, Nana and Stepfather, Papa.  Piper is one of our daughter’s special friends and Jack and I love her as well. Piper and her mother enjoyed riding roller coasters together since she was a young child.  That day they had screamed with joy and laughed, stepping from their seats onto the walk-way, Nana began to feel terribly uncomfortable.  Nana’s husband and Piper helped Nana to a bench as her children and nine grandchildren watched.  Papa alerted a Disney employee to send for an ambulance for his wife.  Immediately the EMT’s were administering aid and placed her in the ambulance leaving for the nearest hospital.  Children were taken to the hotel with an uncle and Nana’s children and husband raced to the hospital. By the time they arrived to the emergency room, plans had been made for Flight for Life to take Nana to a larger hospital where a group of specialty doctor’s would treat her. Nana’s husband and children now knew she was in critical condition. Again, the family drove to another unfamiliar area to locate another hospital. Nana had suffered a brain hemorrhage and now was on life support.  The doctors determined that the extent of her brain damaged was over 80%.  Papa and her children prayed and then took Nana off life support, which was her desire if she was in a situation such as this.  The family remembered words Nana had said to the family, “One day I will see you all in Heaven.”
The following Sunday during Sunday school, I asked for prayers for Piper and her family.  Jim and Diane Weil were present and Jim suggested Grief Share for Piper and her family after our class.  I had never looked into this literature, but after Jim explained its effectiveness and the booklet, “Surviving the Holidays,” Jack and I made arrangements to pick up the booklet.  Both Jim and Diane gave us two books and reinstated important areas within the booklet.  Jack and I walked through its contents and mailed the booklet the same day with prayers.  Piper told our family that she could not have gotten through the holidays without this information and is still re-reading its pages.
-In Him, the Lord who knows our needs, Lauralee Caubin.