Friday, November 7, 2014

50 Cent Yard Sale

A few months ago we hosted training on biblical stewardship, taught by Bob Marette.  This story is one of many that came out of this very effective training. 
From the book, Millstone to Milestone, Bob Marette says, “This idea is a unique process designed to get anyone out of debt, including mortgage in a short period of time by applying the principles found in the Word of God.”  This book is so practical, which makes getting out of debt – no matter how deep – a very real possibility.
One of Bob’s suggestions on how to get the entire process working faster is to have a garage sale. We are a nation/people of collectors; check out your attic, garage, garden shed, closet, kitchen, etc. We all have stuff! These objects take up space and are rarely used. So what do you do? Have a garage sale. Would you like to make a guaranteed one thousand dollars at your garage sale? Sell 2,000 items for 50 cents apiece.
This was the spark that started the fire. Twelve weeks ago, we began going through the house, room by room and pulling out that which we did not need. Then Janet thought, “I need to have cookies and lemonade too. Every good yard sale has cookies and lemonade.” Mark did stop Janet at the idea of selling hot dogs and soda.
Janet was very excited and said, “This feels like Christmas. I can hardly wait!”  The monies will go toward our accelerator to help pay down debt (Bob’s idea in his book). Our goal is to have all debt and our mortgage paid off in 7 years…RETIREMENT!
We are amazed at the many opportunities we have had to witness to others since our fun and exciting 50 cent yard sale.  Neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers have been so receptive to hearing about our faithfulness in being obedient to God’s Word in our lives. And I can’t begin to tell you how much freedom there is in letting ‘stuff’ go. It’s been so uplifting and exciting to see how much others are being blessed by the material things we truly can do without.
During our sale I (Mark) contacted a co-worker who restores older 60s-70s American cars. I just knew he would like to have my complete set of tune-up kit tools (originals from my earlier years in keeping my own rigs running smoothly). It came with an old metal gray Craftsman tool box, tach-dwell meter, timing light, remote ignition switch, ½ & 5/16 distributor wrenches, plug gapping tool, and a couple cans of carbonator Gum-out, (all nearly mint condition). I could probably have sold the whole set for $75-$100, but I was ready to let them go and I accepted his $20 offer. I watched him happily take each piece out of the box and examine each one. When he took out the last item, we discovered a complete Craftsman miniature tune-up wrench set in the bottom tray; still in its original packaging and unopened. He looked at me with hopeful eyes and asked if I meant to have them be included in the set. It gave me such great joy to simply say, “Of course. Everything in the box is yours.” This is just one of several stories we can share from our two day $0.50 yard sale.
I wish I had a dollar for every time we had this dialogue, “How much do you want for this?” Our response, “50 cents.”  Wide-eyed and surprised they would say, “Really? Are you sure?” And we would reply, “Really!” And we would share our story of obedience to God and His faithfulness in meeting our needs. It was so much fun and felt so good getting rid of stuff too.
--Mark and Janet Russell


                            First Baptist website:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Priority One "Back to the Future"

In the 1870’s God birthed in our church a heart for the lost across the street and around the world.  We were one of the first churches that reached out to Chinese migrant workers.  We removed the pews to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the poor.  It has never stopped from that point in our church’s life.  We sent out missionaries as early as the 1890’s both nationally and internationally. 

Through the years God has continued to stir in our hearts the “Great Commission” given to us in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8.  This has led to dozens of missionaries being supported by our church.  It has led to over 25 short term mission trips in the past 14 years.  It has be the impetus of millions of dollars that have been invested in building God’s church around the world.  Priority One:  Pursuing God’s Missional Destiny for our church is back to the future.  It is the history of our church and will be the future of our church.

For the past four years we have rekindled a “Mission Conference” (Priority One) to make sure that we are always fanning into flame God’s Great Commission for the church.  We have seen people commit to going and serving around the world out of these conferences.  We have seen people live with a new sense of commissioning to our city.  God has blessed Priority One. 

This year we expect God to once again stir our hearts toward His call to be His followers, proclaiming His gospel, in the valley and around the world.  I am very excited to hear Bill Jack speak at our weekend services.  Bill is a smart man, who loves God with all of his mind and has equipped people around the world through World View Academy and Answers in Genesis.  Take a look at a YouTube clip to get your mind juices flowing:  If this link does not work go on Youtube and type in Bill Jack/Answers in Genesis. 

Schedule for the weekend with Bill Jack

Saturday October 25,

9:00 am – 12:00 pm—“The Ways of the Wizards vs. The Way of the Wiseman.”  All are welcome

12:00 pm-2:00 pm—Optional video practicum on the streets of Salem. 

6:00 pm—Worship Service “Seven Habits of Highly Suppressive People.”

Sunday October 25

9:00 am & 10:30 am-- Worship Service “Seven Habits of Highly Suppressive People.”

6:00 pm—Panel Discussion: Pressing cultural issues facing Christians today

Hope to see you there

Pastor Mark

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mark 5 Ministries

Greater Europe Mission invited the Mark 5 Ministries technology team, of which we are a part, to attend their all-Europe Missionary Conference in Willingen, Germany.  M5M has been a part of the GEM conferences for 6 years.  This was Craig, II, 4th year and Mary’s 2nd year. Missionaries frequently live in areas where easy access to computer repair and maintenance is not available. This is where our team comes in. Our team formed up at the airport in Amsterdam on August 1 and together we flew to Berlin.

 This year will be the 25th anniversary of tearing down the Berlin Wall. We spent two days in Berlin becoming aware of all that this has meant for a nation that was divided, brother from brother, family from family. The history that Berlin holds in over 775 years is amazing and yet sobering. 

 On Monday, August 4, we took 4 train rides to get to Willingen, where the conference at the Sauerland Stern Hotel was held again this year.  It was a beautiful train ride with quaint towns and train depots.  It was so green in the mountains and reminded us of Oregon in the spring.

 When we arrived in our tech room, it was already set up for us and ready for us to serve the missionaries.  There were 2 stations where the missionaries could come in to check their email.  We had an intake desk to help the missionaries fill out paperwork to let us know what problems they were having with their computer or what they wanted us to focus on.

 The tech room opened at 7am every morning and closed between 9-10pm each night.  We ate in shifts, so someone was always there if a missionary came in and needed help.  In addition to their computers, we had missionaries walk in with questions or issues regarding their phones, iPads and tablets.  Additionally, a couple of team members did one-on-one training with some of the missionaries. The team helped over 90 missionaries with technology related problems.

 We received this note from the President of GEM, Henry Deneen: “Thanks to you all for blessing our GEM family incredibly during Annual Conference. We are all grateful for the sacrifice of your time, energy, and resources and truly appreciate your humble, gentle spirits as you facilitated all that took place during the week. I trust you were richly blessed as well and that you know how your efforts encouraged, enriched, and deepened our walks with Christ.  One of our colleagues said that he had never seen a team like yours blessing a mission family and he was deeply appreciative of the work you were doing. I echo those sentiments.”

 We are thankful to the Lord for the amazing team members He brought together, for the safe travel, for the missionaries we could help and interact with, and for all those who have supported us in prayer and with finances.  We had many missionaries thank our team over and over again and say how grateful they were that Mark 5 Ministries could come to the conference.  To God be the glory!

 Thank you and God bless you all.

 --Mary & Craig Pruitt, II