I walk into the auditorium (I would open the doors to the auditorium but there are none. We have a 18,000lb lift that we still need in there for all the high ceiling lights and speakers. It barely can wiggle itself out now.With the doors in we would have to take it apart and remove it . . . so we will wait.) Back to my story: I walk into the auditorium and a can only imagine the room, people in the seats, some standing, some sitting being led by the worship team. Their hearts prepared for the communion. For some it’s the first peace they have had in their heart all week and need this time in the throne room.
The lights go darker,.. a video of a couple who have attended for years share their testimony of how it wasn’t always as it seemed, marriage problems, money, anger, trust issues. Some real struggles but things are getting better now as they fully trust in Christ. Things that many of the audience can deeply identify with.
A small light in the baptistry comes on. We hear the testimony of someone who is making an oath to Christ, giving their life back to the one who created them. They say those beautiful words “I believe that Jesus is the….” they are taken down so that the water slowly parts around them, then envelopes them in a cleansing water burial. Up out of the water they come and then those in their seats rise and applaud! Nothing better that that! The band plays, people sing, scripture is read, the word is preached, ushers are ushing, greeters are greeting, people laugh, some with heavy hearts or great concerns, come forward after the service to pray on the sides of the stage. Some of the new folks who are there accept the invitation to go straight to the fellowship hall for a free lunch and a meet and greet with the pastor and an elder or two.
I see two rooms downstairs, one says HS the other JH. Kids coming and going. A rag-tag bunch, some A-students and some D students, some band geeks, some athletes. Loners, goofy 12 years old with shoes the same size. Growing faster on the outside then socially or emotionally on the inside. Young girls, pretty girls, track star girls, girls that get bullied, girls who post inappropriately, girls that want to be loved and accepted by the guys . . .All kids. . .some with big futures, some with terrible pasts. All in a room together while Steve and his awesome youth coaches and interns give them love, advice and a place to be a Church. Did you know 2/3’s of Christians accept Christ before they are 18. We should never stop praying for what will go on down stairs!
There are many other rooms in the new building. All with a purpose . Each room and purpose a little different from the others, but all will have a part in reaching someone for Christ. Each room at the new building will need people like you who know that we can all make a difference.
Harvest, let the adventure begin!
As I walk around the new building I see a long hallway to the children’s classrooms. I can only imagine the small minds and hearts that will be influenced there. Are you lucky enough to remember a special Sunday school teacher? One who treated you with respect and kindness? What incredible opportunities there will be, beginning that second Sunday in September. Do you know how many apartments there are within a half mile of the new building? How many little kids with only one parent who would love to come on Sunday morning to see their favorite teacher, to go up to the Junior church room and sing loud silly songs and watch a skit to learn who Jesus is, . . to make a craft that would proudly hang on the fridge at home. To get a real letter in the mail with a hand written note from their teacher with a coupon for ice cream! To memorize their 5 verses so that they can go on the Zoo trip in the Church Shuttle van on Saturday morning. To have their first car wash so they can go to Junior camp in July!
They like it so much, now their Mother and aunt are coming to Sunday mornings with them. Just imagine, because of all the volunteers working with Chyanne and Rachel, Mom is being baptized the next Week. (She was invited to Diane Ames’ mom’s group and found a relationship with Jesus there.)
Isn’t it interesting how one smile, one invite, one personal note, one prayer, one person who understands that Church is more than sitting in the service can make a difference!
I look into the cafe and can only imagine the groups that will want to meet there. Not just a room, but a place where a young kid from Portland who just started his first I.T. job might be invited to an 11 pm Friday music and coffee. It wasn’t in the bulletin, it was on some social media site 2 hours before. He’s not sure about his god (little g) but is quite interested in drinking some of this fresh coffee from a small family farmer in Nicaragua. (The proceeds help him buy another mule so he can plant more and feed his family better.) He’s intrigued with a discussion with Kevin Foley at 1 am (way past Kevin’s bed time) on the medical proofs that contradict his personal views of our origin. They exchange numbers. That’s it . . . .one prayer, one tweet, one cup of fair trade coffee, one invite, one soul that might be rescued.
Lots of exciting “what-ifs”. Each room . . . has a purpose. Without Gods people doing something in it, it will only be a room. I will share some more rooms with you in the morning.
Don’t forget to get your tickets to the dinner at the new property June 7th. We will eat some food and show you some of the rooms.
“I see a room”
As I walk through the new building today, I see opportunity. Everywhere, . . opportunity. Rooms for small group studies, a room for weekly addiction recovery.
I see a front room (with a huge fireplace and log stairs where a man who hasn’t been to church much will walk in and say to himself “this feels right”). In a growing climate of disdain for “Christianity”, where those with faith are labeled “weak”, . . the man needs to see other men, stepping up to the table of leadership, faithfulness. A “new” style manhood of a bygone era where some chivalrous behavior and providing for those entrusted to you is something to take pride in. To become the husband, father, and leader that makes sure that his boys are raised with good Christian character and work ethic, . . and his girls have been told that they are “beautiful” so many times that they won’t go out looking to give their heart and body away to the first dumb boy to say the same. To treat his wife so that the son will know what to do and the daughter will know what she should expect.
I see rooms that are meant for eating. When people eat together, there is something that says togetherness. Jesus gave his disciples bread to remember him by, and the first church had an Agape feast whenever they met. A cafe where people share life together over a Red Bull and a muffin. A fellowship hall where we come together as a community of believers and enjoy each other. Where after church, the first time visitor couple can eat some pizza at the table with a “Harvest” family, . . and after sharing their story to some people, who actually care! . .will say to themselves: “this feels right”.
I see a gymnasium where a co-worker might be invited to come down for “basketball night”. He would never just “go to church”. Ha! . .Little does he know that “church” is not that which happens in the auditorium on Sundays at 9:30 and 11:00, but church is that which is happening all over when God’s people are together and loving people. It is happening to him right there at the foul line and he doesn’t even know it! In his heart he says “this feels right”. Pretty soon he is in service learning who the Lord is, making friends with other believers. Three weeks later he is at a bar-b-q at the Barkers! He thinks he is eating steak on a stick but he is still in church! I have more rooms to talk about tomorrow. so stay tuned!
Here is the $100 question: So what is the Main thing? Often there are numerous main things!
The “main things” will be that which comes to the surface in the midst of tragedy or an emergency.
In a few instances in the past, an airliner was in the midst of an emergency that the people knew would be their end. Recently I think of the German pilot who took the lives of everyone on board when he locked the captain out of the cockpit and purposely crashed into the alps. The passengers were well aware of their pending demise. If that happened to you and you had 5 minutes to think through things, . . .how many of the things we worry about or spend too much of our time on, would make the short list. Things like:
-Did I spend enough time at the office?
-How will my child get into the best college (or any job even) if he keeps goofing off?
-Am I ever going to lose those 15 pounds?
-My husband just will not put his dishes away.
-If we only could afford a better ______?
-I’m looking so old!
-I need to eat more kale.
-Who’s going to win “The Bachelor”?
-I can’t believe the boss likes him better than me, he’s such a . . .
-They’re gossiping about me and it makes me so mad!
-Are we saving enough?
-13th Seahawk, magic, vacation, latest I-something, Dutch Bros rules!, movies, movies, movies, spoiled athletes, Republican/Democrat, Perfect lawn, If only I had another cat, What can I do so people won’t think I’m a racist?, hair club for men, Botox, do these jeans make my . . .?, I just want to read! My car leaks oil, my neighbors are sooo loud, . .there is a mouse in my office! How can I get people to think I’m smart/wise/funny/rich/successful/dark and mysterious/In better shape than I really am, . . .
There is no end to the things that consume us on a day to day basis. But back on the Jet . . during that five minutes, . .you will panic, . .access your relationship with God, think about your loved ones . .and not their shortcomings. You might wonder if you did enough to bless other people, . . make some promises to God that ” if he would save you.” Of all the things that might cross your mind, not one of the things on the previous list would make it. If you are strong in the Lord you would pray. You would probably praise him, ask for his blessing on those you love, quietly whisper the Lord’s prayer, cry a little, maybe even talk to the person next to you about the hope you have in Jesus. I know it is a terrible scenario to contemplate. But not a bad way to spiritually test yourself on occasions. Let’s keep the Main thing the main thing. I love you church! Let’s do something awesome together.
Great day at the new building. Steve and Sue in the wedding room bricking away. Dan and Barb, Will and Renee, Elisha, Cat, Wes and Gale, working in the Café and on the fireplace. We all need some Ibuprofen and a hot tub tonight! Thanks everyone.
A lot of folks were out of town yesterday. I look forward to a full house on Sunday. Be there for sure as we wrap up the “Power of One” series. Yes!! You can make a difference! Have a great Memorial Day evening.
Scrolling through the channels, it’s mostly war movies on today. Celebrating and memorializing those lives lost in Americas’ battles. Hanging on my office wall is a calendar that our very own Bud Davis gave me. It is a Submarine medal of honor calendar. Bud served in World War II in a submarine. He even boarded a Nazi U-boat. That Sounds like a movie! The calendar is a commemoration of the 52 boats lost during the war. If you read the caption you would be able to grasp the questions and uncertainty that the family members must have felt. “The Grayling was not heard from after August 19th, 1943”. No other details were known. Prisoners of War? . . a slow death at the bottom of the sea? a quick explosion from a Japanese destroyers’ mine? The families’ will never know. The Submariners suffered the highest fatality rate of any military group. One in four died. Not very good odds. . . But brave men kept signing up! When I was a Pearl Harbor a few years ago I visited the submarine memorial. Very impressive. We honored our WW II service men a few years back In Church. It was interesting because we had Diane Holomboe’s father who was a part of our church before his death. He was a German Soldier at age 17 or 18 when the war ended. He worked for the American occupation driving trucks and immigrated with his young wife to Canada a few years later. In talking to him I could see how tough war was from the perspective of the civilians in those war torn areas. (Both his parents were killed). War is a terrible thing. I heard an interview this morning of a young 18 year old Jewish American, Bud Ferman, who landed at D-day and fought in the battle of the Bulge that winter of 1944-45. His stories of the devastation he saw, the smell of death, and the carnage of war was burned forever into his mind. He said that many of his buddies decided then and there, that the remainder of their lives would be filled with helping people and bringing about peace. School teachers, medicine, and his choice, the ministry.
War changes people as does most hardship and difficulty. You either come out of the furnace and the refiners fire where the dross comes to the surface and pure intention of the creator stands out, or you let something else happen. That is a truly a life lesson whether it is war, sickness, bad relationships, difficult financial times, broken relationships, shattered dreams, or any other in a long list of heartaches and disappointment. Consider it all joy my brothers when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing. James 1: 2-3
Finished another awesome day down at the property. Thanks for the help Mirco, Marsha, Sue and Jeanette. Everyone was cementing bricks on the walls in the wedding room and the cafe. I myself had 22 bricks suspended in the air by 22 long sticks off the ground. (That’s about 60 pounds of bricks.) Not a circus trick, . .they were cemented to the soffit in the ceiling and the sticks were holding them in place for the day so they could dry. It was really quite amazing until stick number 23 broke in my hand and knocked over stick number 22. Brick number 22 showed great stamina for about 4 seconds then gave way and crashed to the ground. As it hit the ground it knocked over stick numbers 21-14 and dangling bricks slowly went crashing down. Soon after, . . brick 13 gave into peer pressure and fell . . . then all heck broke loose. My original bricks 1-3 that I attached much earlier had plenty of time to dry. When the melee was over I stood looking at them, thankful for their refusal to leave the ceiling. In a mocking sort of way, one by one they succumbed and fell to the ground. I caught 2 of them but ran out of hands.
I took a picture of the ceiling 2 hours later when I put them all up again. I was going to a make a life lesson from that and put some nice scripture with it, but . . . Jacquelyn just screamed at her desk behind me! She is working on the bulletin and the tickets for the Banquet in two weeks. Anyway the scream . . . . She was typing and a big ol’ mouse stuck his head out from under her computer monitor inches from her hands. (Seriously, just now!) Neither one of us are a peace with rodents that close. We were just standing in the opposite corner of the office, looking in disbelief. Should we go home? Is this a workplace emergency? I told her (because I am the mature one . . . meaning I didn’t scream as loud) We should name him and make him our friend so we can get back to work. That, and duct tape our pant legs just in case. Her pant legs are those skinny jean type so she is alright. I’m wearing my black work jeans with rat size room at each boot. I will put the duct tape on.
Wait, He is sitting now under her desk in plain sight chewing on some wires. I just tried to take a picture of him so you would be aware of the seriousness of our adventure! . . . oh man, . . He just now ran over to my desk . . now this is a big deal! I think I’m going home… bye.
See you at church tomorrow.
At age 10 the Vietnam War was in full swing, showing no signs of victory or peace. The evening news in 1970 was often led with the latest word from the war front or news of protests from the rear. For me, all that news usually got in the way of Ramblin’ Rod cartoons and Gilligan. It’s tough to have an accurate world view at that age.
If I was born 8 years earlier, I probably would have joined up. . . patriotic family and all. I recall much of my youth being squandered away shooting my friends with fake machine guns and cowboy pistols (it was okay back then).
A lot of boys didn’t come home from that war, and like most wars, a lot of men and women who did come home were never the same.
My dad was a high school teacher and football coach. I have on my shelf his 1964 state championship football team picture. On it, there is a handwritten name identifying each player. I should check that with the Vietnam War casualty list. I know some of those football players lost their lives over there.
This is a weekend we choose to remember and honor those that fought and died in our wars. Some choose not to honor soldiers because they feel war is cloaked in dishonor. I do believe that, . . .in this fallen world, there will always be war and war is always an ugly and hellish thing. Those that believe that it can be completely avoided are wrong. At best, it can only be postponed. History has proven that the longer that the can of appeasement is kicked down the road, the greater the end conflict will be. All of those thoughts complicate and can marginalize the virtue of our soldiers and sidetrack us from the fact that some gave all. Let us remember them this weekend and pray for their loved ones left behind.
A long day but a good day. We poured the concrete in the fellowship hall this morning and I just finished with the power trowel ten minutes ago. I’d love to write you an article but I have to be at Bible study in 45 minutes. You all have a great evening.
Do you have anybody in your life that “wears on you?” You know what I mean, . . by the time you are done with your time together you are either worn out, anxious, saddened about life in general, or feel worse about yourself as a person? Sometimes it’s gossip that you don’t want to be a part of. Perhaps it’s just the foul language and disregard for anything righteous. For some people, you will notice the entire conversation was about their thoughts, their feelings, what they are angry about, their poor aches and pains, what exciting things they are doing, how awesome and brilliant their children are. After 30 minutes you realize they didn’t ask one question about how you are doing or what’s new in your life!
Here is some preacher advice. Work to endure and bear with that person. . .but don’t be that person. Try to be the person who after they have chatted with you, they feel better out life, encouraged, and are in a better state of grace. In other words . . . Blessed!
In our Connected Bible study last week we read from Ephesians 4: 25-32. What an incredible passage. vs, 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. vs,31-32 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Let tomorrow be a day when everyone you run into, . . the person pumping gas, your co-worker, your spouse or child, someone at the gym, .etc . . . will feel better for the time or moment together. And that as your cup runneth over, a little will spill on them. And that is a good thing! So “spill on” . . Church!