I ran away for the first time in 2nd grade—it only lasted the afternoon. By 8th grade frequently I would rush desperately to the isolated escape of our backyard to cry out in silent tears and mute screams until lumps formed in my throat, “God, just let me no longer exist.” The latter continued on for many years in the confines of various desolate moments, and there were plenty of events in my childhood to spur such actions and thought processes.
In all the dark moments, I remember the darkest most profoundly: my youngest brother suddenly passed away while self-medicating. After returning home to help keep things together, I found myself alone and crying once again. Crying until there was no more moisture in my eyes; apart from a small, feeble breath all physical or emotional output ceased. I found myself curled in the fetal position with a tingling sensation left over my skin. Once the electric buzz of nerves faded, I began to tumble into a dark pit where a thick, mind-numbing blanket of blackness encompassed me veiling even simple thought. There was nothing. Not even God could reach me here.
Or so I thought. . .
In 2007, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II– it leans heavily toward depressive episodes but tends to not include hallucinations. And still today I find myself dropping into dark pits. I cry out when no one else is around and, by God’s grace, sometimes when they are. My seasons of deep depression— that, yes, have included bouts of suicidality— can last for hours, or weeks, or month upon agonizing month. Now, I do not say this for you to consider or judge the spirituality of someone who is depressed or suicidal. Rather, I ask you to suspend judgement, and instead see God’s healing power amidst the darkness.
In the book of John the author writes of Jesus, “5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a– Understand] it. [ John 1:5 ] Hear it: Jesus isn’t afraid to go into enemy territory; he’s not afraid of the dark. Furthermore, in 3:19-21 Jesus exposes, “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
Over time, I have learned the sound of the Spirit of Truth. [ 14:17 ] Through reading and being in scripture, talking continually with God, and meditating and listening with the Spirit I have learned to believe who Jesus says he is; subsequently, I have learned to believe who he says I am in him and through him. Not just in one passage or text, but in everything he says.
So when I find darkness building around me and blocking away what is true, or when I feel creeping, cloying tendrils of lies reaching towards me I listen for the voice of my Shepherd. [ 10: 9-14 ] His presence chases away the shadows and illuminates what is around me and in me so what is truly there can be known. [ 8:12 , 9:5 ] It is in those times I find he sustains me. [ 6:35-51 ] And, as I choose daily to abide in him [ 15:1 ], I believe he is the way, the truth, and the life [ 14:6 ] … because I am certain without him I would not have life, nor the truth of God’s love, nor a way to be reconciled to my Heavenly Father. [ 2 Cor. 5:18 ]
“I AM the light of the world.” [ John 8:12 ; John 9:4-5 ]
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [ Matt 5:14-16 ]
Written By Chyanne Higgins
It’s been an interesting week around here. The parking lot is full of Red Cross vehicles and the cars and RVs of the evacuees. The gym is full of cots and tables and stocks of food and essentials. We became the official East Corbett Evacuee church as of Tuesday. It’s really a privilege for our building to be used as such.
Here is an interesting one: yesterday we were ready to continue work on the retaining wall (You may have noticed the construction equipment the last 4 months in the parking lot) I went out to start the church dump truck… I looked around, scratched my head, and stood where I a parked it the night before, and it was Gone! Really. . . Can you believe someone stole God’s dump truck! It was old and tired but it still worked great. We were counting on the 10 or 12 thousand it would sell for at the end of the project to pay for our gym completion. Its not like the Philistines stealing the ark of the covenant in 1 Samuel, but if you remember the story, such terrible bad things happened to them that they couldn’t wait to give it back! That is what I am praying, . . (I hope that doesn’t sound vengeful . . .of course if they do bring it back I truly hope they will find the peace of God.)
I am finally over the jet lag from being in Africa the month of August. What a great experience that was. Here are a few pictures. Kathy is so great with her medical visit to each village. Small wounds, burns, malaria, infections, worms in the kids scalps and parasites in their bodies, eye medicine and antibiotics are the main recurring symptoms and treatments.
Here is a great picture of most of the 19 church Pastors. The last Sunday we were there we had a Gathering of the closest churches. Harvest bought a bull and some goats, rice, corn, and crackers for a feast that fed 600 of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for them in their hard times of famine. For most of them, this was the first big meal they had had in weeks.
I’m looking forward to bringing the next message on Sunday in our “I AM” series. “I am the Light of the World” Invite a neighbor and we’ll see you Sunday! And if you see an old green dump truck being driven by a guy who looks like he is having a terrible day, give me a call. We really need it back!
I went my whole 18 years growing up to a great church of 800 in central Indiana that feels very similar to Harvest. I then moved and went to a small church of 30 in college, which was a totally different experience. Except one summer when I ended up having an internship, so I packed up my dorm room and moved to Bend, Oregon for ten weeks.
This church did this crazy thing every summer where they brought on fifteen interns. They want to offer college-age young adults the opportunity to serve in five different areas of ministry. Some people did it for credit and some people did it to get away. The part strangest to me is that they found thirteen families in their congregation to host these fifteen interns. There were hosts of all sorts. Some had no kids, some had young kids, and some had grown kids. It was very diverse.
Through this strange thing that they did, I got to learn a ton about hospitality. I had never seen a community support people like this. Everyone had us over for dinner, gave us odd jobs while we were doing this unpaid internship, and celebrated our birthdays. This community in Bend made me start to realize what it looked like for the church to be amazingly hospitable. Attending and now working at Harvest has continued to teach me this lesson.
God loves hospitality, and Harvest was made in His image. When my husband and I moved to Oregon, I immediately felt loved. I won’t make a big fuss over naming names, but there are so many of you that made me feel incredibly welcome after moving thousands of miles away from my family.
This post isn’t just to tell you guys what a great job you are doing, but that’s where I will start. Harvest family, I love how you shake hands by the door. I love how you show new families over to our check-in desk. I love how you serve in coffee ministry in one way or another. I love how you make this building look beautiful, and also how you make it seem warm. I love that you sit next to people and greet in the auditorium. I love that we do pie calls, that we reassure parents of new children when we show them the classroom, and that we host small groups. I think that this warm, relational focus is the best way to do ministry. I have a large round of applause for my church family.
Next, keep going.
I read this awesome book called The Rise of Christianity by Rodney Stark. The gentleman is a sociologist, and he set out to figure out why the church spread so fast when it was j
ust an infant. Have you stopped to think recently about the history of it all? The church was basically just a crowd of people who followed Jesus around, probably 120 right after the crucifixion. Three hundred years later Stark estimates that there were over 6 million. His research leads him to believe that the church consistently grew by 40% per decade. Let that sink in. It’s insane. The government just stopped trying to fight it.
What led them to this sort of growth? This author goes through several factors, from fertility to class. What he proves, however, is that Christians were just different. They took care of people. When an epidemic swept through and everyone fled for their wellness, Christians stuck around and nursed people back to health. They shared amongst themselves what was needed. If someone had a lot, why wouldn’t they share? They were rare in that time in that they valued their children, they respected women, and they showed mercy. They didn’t run away when the difficulties of life came. They were hospitable and warm.
Of course, this also exists in Scripture. One of the first things we read about the early church in Acts comes from the second chapter and starts in verse 42. It’s going to sound familiar, because Small Groups Pastor Kyle Fox has been writing a lot about it too. In the NIV it reads,
“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Christians ate together, they prayed together, they let themselves by awestruck by God together. They shared their possessions and gave to the poor. They continued to meet. They were glad and sincere towards each other. Through this, they gained favor with the people. Through this, God added to their group.
Keep this in mind. Growing in your warmth and hospitality not only builds up the body of Christ but it grows it. I’ll encourage you again, keep going. Be different. Be the best people. Be a great part of our Christian community and Harvest family, and be a great part of your neighborhood and work place. Throw a block party. Have a neighbor or another church family over for dinner. Comfort people at work when life gets them down, bring them a coffee the next morning. Offer your help with a daunting task. Hospitality, warmth, and caring attracts people. It draws them in. It adds to those who will be with us in heaven. Go and make disciples, and be hospitable.
Ready to get more connected to the community of Harvest? Sign up to become part of a small group! Groups start the week of September 10th-16th with the study “I AM” by James MacDonald. [Click here for more information]
Greetings from Kamketo, Kenya. This is Pastor Mike. Even though it’s the winter months here, it has been over 90 degrees everyday. It took us an extra 3 days to get out here to Kemketo from Kitale, but everything is going fine.
The ladies, Olivia, September, and my wife Jeanette, are learning the PoKot language and working on tile work in the Tierney’s house. They are also providing medical attention to the PoKot in nurse Kathy’s absence. She will be joining us in two more days. They have been distributing antibiotics and per
forming minor surgeries.
Michael VanDoren and myself are working hard on the house along with 20 PoKot people each day. I’ve never seen so many people stand in line to be able to work all day. The going rate is $2 per day. We are paying them $4 per day. They need the money badly to be able to buy corn, so we pay extra.
Our scorpion count is up to five and I have them all (alive) in a tupperware container. I don’t believe they are going to let us bring them home on the airplane. The PoKot people keep finding them and bringing me more for the container. The teacher here keeps picking them up. He says there is a special way to hold them. I’m not particularly interested in mastering his technique.
The new well that our church put in last month has been a huge success since the one in town is partially broken. There has been a constant line of people pumping water into large yellow 5-gallon jugs.
I preached Sunday with an interpreter. They seemed to like it. But I don’t think it was as good as when I was here in January because last time they gave me a chicken when I preached. Well, I still have two more Sundays…
We look forward to being back in two weeks and sharing some of the neat things that are going on!
The above quote is something my father in law often will tell those of us in my family when we need to be reminded how to handle things when they are not going as expected.
At the end of June a group from Harvest headed down south to Tecate, Mexico to work on building a house for a member of Pablo Martinez’s church (Pablo is one of the pastors we support on Harvest’s missions committee).
Ed Barker and Luke Scherler were the first to leave driving the van with the trailer of supplies and our team’s luggage. The majority of the rest of our team was to fly out the following morning where we would meet the guys in San Diego and together would cross the border to Mexico and head to Tecate. By late afternoon the van had over heated twice and Ed and Luke were stranded in Red Bluff, California, where the temperature was 115 degrees. Thankfully, Carol Barker was able to drive a truck from Portland to meet the guys in Red Bluff. She arrived around midnight and then they left the van and continued on in the truck. They drove all night to meet up with the rest of us in San Diego. Yeah! Unfortunately, the truck would not be able to transport all 12 of our team members so a rental van was needed. After 2 hours of phone calls we were able to find a van that was just the right size for our need and could be driven into Mexico. “Thank you, Lord!”
The start of the building of the house had a couple of issues ☹ When the foundation was built the plans were flipped so that the bathroom could be on the left side of the house instead of the right. That took some time for Ed (our master building planner, supervisor) to decide how we would start are project. After a few hiccups on the first day everything seemed to be coming together. Whew!
The weather while we were in Tecate was extremely hot for us Oregonians. Anywhere between 100-105 for the first 4 days of our trip. This made working very difficult. With no complaining (that was audible) the team was able to change our wake up times to 6 am to try and get as much work accomplished during the cooler time of the day. By the end of our week the majority of the house had been built. With just some interior items needing to be done (sheet-rock, insulation, etc.). Thankfully, with help from Mountainview Christian Church and members of Pablo’s church those things are getting taken care of.
Proverbs 16:9 says . . .
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Many of us on the team had moments of frustration or concerns about our abilities. But coming to the job site everyday and seeing Armando, Rebecca and their children helped everything come in to focus. We were there for them! But even beyond that we were there to serve to Lord!
To me that’s what mission trips are about. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, sometimes we’re uncomfortable, but God is always there walking us through, helping us through the different obstacles we encounter. I learn more about Him and my faith grows the more I serve others, especially others that are unlike me.
Ed and I are hoping to lead another mission trip to Tecate next year. Pray and ask the Lord if this would be a part of His plan for you?
Pictured Left to Right (Ann McFarlane, Ed Barker, Rebecca, Steve and Joel Katz, Seth Scherler, Luke Scherler, Senny Scherler, Isaac Martinez, Madison Christensen, Shanaya Nelson, Mirela Nelson, Teresa Scherler, Pablo Martinez, and Cliff Nelson)
Harvest team members in bold.
**As I write this I ask for you to be in prayer for Armando he is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday, August 15th to have the 3 tumors removed from his brain. His recovery time away from home will be at least a month and during that time Rebecca his wife will be staying with him and had to quit her job.
Please pray for Armando’s full recovery
Please pray for their children while Armando and Rebecca are away (Grandparents will be staying with the children)
Pray for a job for Rebecca once they return home. She is the main financial contributor to their family.
Pray for Armando, Rebecca and their children that their faith will be strengthen.
Guest Post by Theresa Scherler
(pictured with husband Luke)
Our team left Monday for Africa! Flights through Seattle, Dubai, and Nairobi. The 7 hour drive to Kitale was terrible last night. Torrential rain and potholes. It seemed like 10,000 guys on motorcycles, sheep, donkeys, oh, and one zebra, were all on the “freeway.”
They carry everything here by motorcycle. My two favorites that I saw weaving in and out of traffic was a motorcycle that had a full 6’ coffin on the back sideways, and the second was another motorcycle that had a full 6’ sofa on it sideways that had a lady sleeping on half of it…and had groceries on the other half! I will try and take some pictures of the things people put on the back of their motorcycles to send you.
We are in the very third world city of Kitale. Glad to be here. We spent the day shopping for building materials for the mission house and medicine for the PoKot people. Penicillin is very cheap here, it averages out to be about $1 per series of doses for one person.
Because of the elections here, it’s pretty unstable. A lot of the grocery stores don’t have basic supplies and people have not been at work. We are not sure why. Looks like we will be eating a lot of rice. Meat, eggs, and bread are very scarce. Don’t feel too bad, I still have a jumbo bag of candy bars from Dubai…
It’s not really that bad, we still have lots of food, just not the things we were planning on being able to purchase.
We are loading up a semi-truck full of supplies and we will be heading north 5 hours on the worst unpaved road you’ve seen into the bush where the Tierney Mission is located. Kathy Tierney will be joining us next Friday.
We will give you more news in the next couple of days.
Be sure to keep us in your prayers!
Mike & Jeanette Halstead, Michael VanDoren, September Price, Olivia Lowe
To learn more about Tierney Christian Mission, [Click Here].
Here at Harvest, every small group we start has 5 tasks to accomplish throughout its life: fellowship, study, provision, worship, and evangelism. All five of these are taken from the last few verses of Acts 2, but I want to take some time to expound on each one of these tasks. Today, we’re going to continue the series by exploring the idea of studying the Bible.
This one is a little weird to discuss, because it seems a little unnecessary to talk about how important it is to read and study scripture. But I believe there is a risk within the small group atmosphere, and sometimes even the temptation, to veer into the realm of simply becoming a social club. Friends meeting together to eat and talk for a couple of hours and then go their separate ways. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, there is so much potential growth to be had by incorporating Bible study as a core element of the small group routine. We often talk about the benefits of corporate worship, that is, worshiping our God in unison with others, but can we apply the same idea to the inspection of God’s Word?
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
The give-and-take nature of a small group is absolutely necessary to the process of Biblical study. When we read it on our own, while an admirable thing to do, we cannot help but apply our own presuppositions to the text. I am not saying we should refrain from individual study, but if we, at the same time, neglect to present the results of that study to others, we risk running into the issue of twisting scripture into simply the most personally pleasing form we can imagine. We should be doing all we can to avoid becoming one of the “scheming swindlers” that Kierkegaard discusses. We need to have others hold our understanding if scripture accountable, and provide motivation to act in accordance with that correct understanding.
Having a group Bible study helps us to expand the realm of our insight into the subtleties and possible interpretations of scriptures. It is inevitable that the people in your small group will open your eyes to different ways to read a particular passage, or make a connection between two seemingly unaffiliated verses that changes the way you read both of them.
Take, for example, God is often given the description of being a father. While it is a pretty simple title, our experiences with earthly fathers can differ wildly. He who never knew his father may find comfort in the fact that God is there to guide and take care of him, while the woman whose father was abusive may shirk from having to contend with another father figure in her life. Simple ideas like this can cause our interpretation of such a complicated and intricate work of literature like the Bible to begin to take a different path from our neighbor’s. We should seek to understand how others come away from the text and, in turn, see how we are applying our own experience to what we have read.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
The Bible does not easily lend itself to a quick and easy understanding. It is not a book we can simply read through once, take the main point it is trying to make, and then move on with our lives. No, investigating God’s word is a lifetime-endeavor, filling our days with a desire to gain an ever-deepening understanding of the history of God’s people, the life, death, and life of Jesus Christ, and what it truly looks like to live a life reflecting His word.
We should be investigating the Bible on our own, with our families, and even when in social situations. In the small group setting, we not only have the chance to read and understand the words of scripture better, but will have opportunities to live out what we have learned when chances to support and provide for others arise. The impact of scripture needs to extend beyond the simple consumption of the text. It should cause us to go and turn it’s words into actions.
I have been involved in lots of different youth groups for about 10 years now, and something I have tried to convince students of, time after time, is that their faith and Biblical knowledge is nobody’s responsibility but theirs. This extends into adulthood as well. If you are a relying on a Sunday sermon every week to feed you the entirety of your knowledge and understanding of scripture, then you are missing out on the true depth to which scripture reaches into the human experience, and the change in world view that a personal and well-traveled interrogation of God’s Word can bring.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Interested in getting involved in a small group? Email Kyle Fox for more information.
You may recognize some booklets for our “Super Hero Memory Program” that have gone home with your kids in the last couple of weeks (1st-3rd Graders). We are very excited about this! I am investing in our kids memorizing the Bible, in them hiding Scripture in their hearts. My goal is to get them started on being able to recognize Bible sections, to maybe even have a piece of Scripture to lean back on when they need help deciding what is right. I hope that this sets their hearts on a good course and crafts their identity. That’s a big goal, but if you don’t have a big goal why be motivated to try?
Here’s a few guidelines, straight from me. They have until August 4 to memorize these verses. There are many one-point verses, a few two-point verses, one three-point verse, and ten points for memorizing the book titles in order for each testament. That last one – that’s an easy ten points! They will need to keep their book throughout the summer, and when they bring this book to church they can recite the verses they memorized that week. A check-in volunteer, a classroom teacher, or I will sign and date when they recited the verse. At the end of the ten weeks, they can turn their books in to me and I will add up how many points they earned.
If they reach fifty-one points, they get to go to our Grand Prize Party. This will be something awesome, like laser tag, mini golf, or a movie pizza party. Like I said, I am investing in your kids learning Scripture! There are other prize tiers too, and you can check these out in the memorization books.
This program is for upcoming first through third graders. I am also relying on you, parents/grandparents/guardians, to help them memorize. These kids aren’t all strong readers yet, and we aren’t providing designated class time for memorization. So at home, help them read the verses, find some songs on YouTube that give the verses a fun tune, and Google other great memorization practices. I know that when I had to memorize verses in college, Scripturetyper.com was an AWESOME resource. I’m splitting the responsibility with you- help them learn, and we’ll listen to the recitation and provide GREAT prizes.
There is good in it for you too! No Grand Prize Party for adults, but I have confidence that as your are coaching your kid or listening to them practice, it will help you to memorize these verses yourself. Have you memorized much Scripture? I know that many people come to faith as adults, and I am so excited about that. But in that process, did you go through the elementary process of memorization?
Church, this isn’t just for parents of the kids in Uptown. Memorizing Scripture is incredibly useful. Scripture says that we hide His word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him. It helps us with our call to righteousness. It turns our heart towards loving him. Scripture also says to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have. This is a great reason to study apologetics through philosophy and science, but it is also a great reason to memorize Scripture. When someone challenges you, and I hope that they do, what do you have to say? Do you have passages of the Bible that you can share in conversation with someone who might doubt what God’s word has to say? Can you share something that motivates you to love?
Even me. I know many of the verses that these little disciples will be memorizing, but I can’t tell you the scriptural “address” of several of those. There are others that I only have a faint idea of what they say, I can refer to a phrase and say “I’m pretty sure that is in the Bible somewhere.” I had a great memorization program in my children’s ministry, and in college! So some of you might be like me, and need to decide on a refresher course. If you need accountability, feel free to come talk to me, or as always you can email me at email@example.com
This summer, I commit to memorizing these Scriptures alongside our kids. I will make sure that, by the time the day comes around in August, that I will know all of these verses. I will memorize the books of the Bible in order. I hope you will too!
DOWNLOAD THE MEMORY VERSE BOOK HERE: Memory Verse Program Book 2017
Scripture Memory Challenge:
- John 16:33
- Zephaniah 3:17
- Philippians 4:4
- Colossians 3:12
- 1 John 5:3
- Hebrews 13:8
- Psalm 150:6
- Romans 10:13
- Romans 3:23
- James 1:17
- Matthew 28:20
- Psalm 118:24
- Psalm 119:105
- Matthew 22:39
- 1 Corinthians 10:31
- Psalm 19:1
- Genesis 1:1
- Psalm 139:14
- Matthew 28:6
- 1 John 4:9
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17
- Isaiah 26:4
- Joshua 1:9
- Psalm 46:1
- Isaiah 40:28
- John 3:16
- Ephesians 4:32
- Philippians 4:6
- 2 Timothy 4:12
- 2 Timothy 3:16
- Romans 6:1
- John 14:6
- Luke 2:52
- Psalm 136:1
- 1 John 3:18
- Ecclesiastes 9:10
- Galatians 5:22-23
- Matthew 28:19-20
- Proverbs 3:5-6
- Matthew 22:37-39
- Books of the Old Testament
- Books of the New Testament
I had an unexpected encounter recently.
Friday mornings, my wife is in the office and my two older kids are at school, so my youngest (Charlotte) and I have that time with just the two of us. Well, a few weeks ago, I decided to take Charlotte out to breakfast, only the healthiest of meals, of course.
So, we made our way to Burger King, put in our order, and sat down to wait for our food. We sat in our booth, alone in the restaurant, save for one other man.
He was probably in his late 50’s, sitting alone, and was also waiting for his food. He sat quietly for a while, then, while I was playing with Charlotte, turned to me and asked, “Do they bring your food out to you here, or will they call your number?”
I told him that I wasn’t sure, and thought the brief conversation over. But he had more to say. “Yeah, I wanted to make sure I know what to expect, that way if it happens, I know who to complain to. I don’t usually like to complain, but sometimes you need to. I mean, I don’t lean right or left, so I don’t usually complain about politics or anything like that…”
He continued like this for a little while, talking about the things he would and would not complain about. I assumed he was just a person who welcomes conversation, so I smiled and continued to respond as he spoke. But his ultimate purpose became clear as he went on. “You know, you don’t want to complain about things that aren’t important, and you can always tell what’s important because God tells us what is most important in the world. His Holy Word guides us and lets us know what’s truly important in the world.”
Ah! Now I understood. He was a Christian who was looking for a way to share his faith. I was impressed by how direct he was, and happy to hear what he had to say, but was also trying to communicate to him that I was a fellow believer.
After some time, I was able to mention that I was a pastor. This seemed to surprise him, and that seemed to satisfy him, and he brought his testimony to a close. I remember thinking to myself how bold he was in his faith, and how he was so willing to preach Christ to a stranger.
But this is when things took a bit of a turn.
He stood up and walked to the counter and asked the cashier if his food was ready yet. She said it would be just a moment, they only had two people working at that time.
Well, I guess he thought this would be the right time to complain, and so began a lecture on what “fast food” should mean, how many staff should be working, and how to communicate with customers. The cashier, also the manager, said that she was sorry for the inconvenience and that his food would be out as quickly as possible.
At this point, he heaved a sigh and went toward the bathroom, only to find them locked, as per that Burger King’s “restrooms for customers only” policy. This began a second lecture on customer convenience and how businesses should be run, all while the manager is helping customers.
The manager apologizes again, she gathered his food, handed it to him, and he walked out the door without so much as a thank you. Now, I want to make one thing clear before I go on, I don’t know this man personally, and I cannot make judgments about him. So many things could have impacted his attitude that Friday, not the least of which being that he was just having a bad day. So I won’t say anything about the man personally.
But, what I will say is that, were I a non-Christian bystander in this situation, this would have directly impacted my opinion of Christians. Here we see someone eager to share the gospel, directly followed by being eager to judge and lecture an overworked manager.
It reminded me that, when it comes to being an ambassador for Christ, telling people about Jesus must always be paired with treating them with the love of Jesus.
It reminds me of James 1:22-25. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Hearing the word, reciting the word, even spreading the word, means nothing if we aren’t doing what it says. We are called to love others, to treat them as we would want to be treated, and to do those things joined with telling them about Jesus. We can’t just think that our words are separate from our actions. We cannot just hear the word, we need to be living it as well.
Even at Burger King.
For as long as I can remember, going to camp has always been the highlight of my year. To me, life was divided into two seasons: camp and not camp. Each year I would wait and wait for camp to arrive, and it was always the most amazing week. I made friends with kids from all over the Pacific Northwest – friends that I am still in contact with as an adult – my camp friends. During camp, I wouldn’t get homesick, but I definitely got campsick when it was time to be back at home.
Some of the most formative moments in my life happened while I was at camp Wi-ne-ma. There are so many different directions that my life could have taken. Camp had a profound impact on my life. I met my best friend at camp when I was fourteen years old. I met my husband at camp when I was fifteen years old. I was sixteen years old (and at camp) when I decided to go to bible college and pursue a ministry degree. Without the things that I learned and experienced at camp, I truly do not know where I would be today – or even who I would be.
At camp, we get to share with kids how much God loves them. At camp, kids get to try new things and grow more independent. At camp, we learn to slow down and how to live in community with one another. At camp, everyone gets to unplug from his or her lives (especially all the technology). At camp, kids get to reconnect with nature – God’s beautiful creation surrounds them. At camp, we get to make mistakes and we get to fail, and that is okay. At camp, lives and hearts change.
Camp Wi-ne-ma will always hold a special place in my heart. Even to this day, I cannot keep myself away. Every year I go back and volunteer as a counselor at camp. I still look forward to camp season, I still get to go and see old friends (and make new ones), and I still get campsick when I am away. I believe in camp and the powerful and profound impact that it can have on our lives.
In ten days, I will be back at camp Wi-ne-ma. We have some amazing things in store for campers this year, and it makes me so excited. I want as many kids as possible to have the opportunity to come to camp too. I want them to make new friendships and lasting memories, just as I did. I want them to be stretched and challenged in the same ways that I was stretched and challenged. Most of all, I want them to experience firsthand the love of God. So if you haven’t signed up for camp yet, do it today – you won’t be sorry that you did [SIGN UP HERE]. Camp changed my life, are you ready for it to change yours?