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!
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!
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].
I enjoy watching the Antiques Roadshow. It’s the possible “treasure” in the attic that makes it so interesting to me. I’ve seen people who have purchased an early Chinese vase for $10,000.00 and later had it appraised for $20,000.00, only to be told on TV in front of a million people that it was merely a reproduction worth $50.00. I’ve also seen an old blanket passed down through the generations turn out to be a rare mid-1800’s Navajo Ute Chief’s blanket worth $500,000.00. The appraiser was so overcome he almost cried when he said, “What you have here is a National treasure!”
We place lots of value on things that moth and rust destroy (the words of Jesus) and subsequently marginalize the many things that we should hold dear to our soul. What is important to you? Where is your treasure?
Last Sunday we kicked off our Pirate series with a lesson on contentment and the “myth of more.” A topic most all of us need to address, as we find that balance between striving for the best in life and being happy with what you have. If you missed last Sunday’s sermon, catch it online [Listen Here]. I look forward to having you all in the house of the Lord this Sunday!
Happy New Year Church!
It’s that wonderful first day of the New Year! We join athletic clubs, promise to watch less TV (starting tomorrow), once again pray with our children at bedtime. We commit to less fries and more asparagus, and promise to go to church more.
This is the time of year where our good intentions find flight! Our disciplined self pops it’s happy head out of the hole like a groundhog; looks around and starts embracing the healthy, active, and spiritual lifestyle we know we are capable of.
A new year, a new beginning…nothing wrong with that.
Don’t be discouraged when that groundhog discovers that donuts are better than broccoli, and all that time we were going to set aside for meaningful things gets eaten up with that new subscription to Netflix. Pretty soon the groundhog is back in his hole, wearing his pajamas, and binge watching “Agents of Shield.”
Oh well, someone lazy once said “set your goals low and you will hit them every time.”
That’s a pretty sad outlook. I would rather start “reading through the Bible in a year” every January and only make it to Leviticus than to have never tried at all. “The best way to never fail is to never try.” Now that’s a good saying!
So go ahead, set some good goals . . . the kind that actually bless other people. Do your best, and keep trying.
To quote the famous philosopher Hulk Hogan (google him if you have no idea what I’m talking about)…
“Say your prayers and eat your vitamins.”
That about sums it up, except as the preacher, I think we should all go to church every Sunday too…and it just so happens that there is a service in 2 days! Have a great New Year, and we will see you Sunday!
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.