The Mission of Making Disciples
GOOD & NOT SO GOOD READS
“Good” and “not so good” reads.
It feels like I have been playing a bit of “catch up” since returning from my time away, so this is my first postsabatical PastorBlog. One of the great blessings of my time away was to have time to read widely. In my daily pastor duties it seems that I read constantly…..but the reading is usually narrowly focused on my current study. For those of you who enjoying reading here are the books I enjoyed and you might too.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Quresh. An amazing story of a Muslim coming to faith in Jesus. This book helped me understand more of the Muslim religion and I was strengthened in my faith and prayer life. I am currently reading the sequel No God but one: Allah or Jesus? Which is a more detailed presentation of the differences between Christianity and Islam.
Death comes for the Deconstructionist by Daniel Taylor. An intriguing mystery novel with lots of theological nuggets to consider. Well written and enjoyable to read.
The Imperfect Pastor (discovering joy in our limitations through a daily apprenticeship with Jesus) by Zack Eswine. This was an encouraging book for me, but unless you are a pastor you might find it a bit dull. This “imperfect pastor” appreciated the honest confessions of another pastor.
From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola - I didn’t agree with the author’s view of spirituality but I was challenged to think about my relationship with Christ differently.
Fool’s talk (Recovering the Art of Christian Persuasion) by Os Guinness. This book helped me think differently about my conversations with unbelievers. A great read especially if you enjoy apologetics.
Mansions of the Heart: (Exploring the Seven Stages of Spiritual Growth) by R Thomas Ashbrook. This book was well outside my normal reading genre. Thomas Ashbrook unpacks in practical ways a book written by Teresa of Avila way back in the 1500’s. It was a good read that expanded my thoughts on what it really means to have Christ live in and through me.
Spent Matches (Igniting the Signal Fire for The Spiritually Dissatisfied) by Roy Moran. This was by far was the most challenging book I read. It has huge implications for how the church can get back on the mission of making disciples. You just might see some changes at EFBC because of this book.
I am looking forward with expectation to some good changes at EFBC that will bear fruit for all eternity.
With you for Him
TOT ALMOST THERE – Let’s work together to get our TOT fully supported as they head to India to continue our ministry among Tibetan Buddhists. They need about $3K to be fully funded. Also…please pray the India Visa’s are processed quickly with no problems.
The Lord is the Lord of every and all seasons.
Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Here we are moving steadily into 2017 - but I thought the computers were going to stop in 2000. And what about the Mayan calendar ending Dec. 21, 2012 - maybe they just ran out of stones to put more dates on?! Nevertheless, here we go into a new year. I am looking forward to this new season especially because I know the Lord is the Lord of every and all seasons. Exciting days are ahead.
I announced at the end of our worship gathering on Jan. 1 that I will be “away” for all of January. I will be on sabbatical. That may be a new concept for some so here is a great definition I found.
The word sabbatical, which can be a noun or an adjective, comes from the Greek word sabatikos, which means “of the Sabbath,” the day of rest that happens every seventh day. Most teaching jobs come with the promise of a sabbatical, which is a year of not having to teach, though you still get paid. During your sabbatical, you usually are expected to do research and perhaps write a book — in other words, keep working.
To clarify…it’s only a month, not a year…I won’t be writing a book, at least not yet….I will do some research. I would appreciate your prayers. All the other elders are ready and willing to step in and serve the body in all the ways necessary while I am gone.
Thanks for this opportunity
Stories are God's idea...
Have I ever told you the story about the time I fell off the roof of my grandparents’ house? Would you like to hear it?
OF COURSE YOU WOULD…EVERYONE LOVES A STORY! That’s why Jesus was always telling stories. Right now, each of us can remember many of the stories Jesus told, and we even remember the point of the story. Stories grab the emotion. Stories help us remember what is important. Stories are God’s primary form of communication in Scripture. I read recently from Dan Taylor “Stories are God’s idea. God is the one who created story — the form of story — and us as story-shaped creatures. He has chosen story as the primary way to present himself to his creation. The Bible does not simply contain stories; it reflects God’s choice of the form of story as the primary means by which to tell us about himself and how to be in right relationship with him. It is also the form God has chosen to preserve that knowledge over many, many generations.”
I don’t often use stories in my sermons, but I should. Stories are life changing. THIS SUNDAY – NOV. 20TH you will hear a story. A great story about Reverend Henry Maxwell. This particular story is in book form and has sold 30 million copies and is one of the best-selling books (stories) of all time. I find that amazing because it really is a story about Jesus and His work in the life of Rev. Maxwell.
Don’t miss this Sunday. It will be a great time as we worship Jesus and be challenged to walk IN HIS STEPS. Parents, your children will love this story, so we will have the older children (like Communion Sunday) stay with their parents.
See you soon
Redeem the Time
Hey, have you ever wished there were MORE hours in the day? Then today is your day. Tonight - Sat. Nov. 5th you set time back one hour, and there you have it 1 MORE HOUR IN THE DAY. How are you going to use that hour? I have never really liked this time change idea; it seems to mess me up both when we “fall back” and “spring forward”. But the one good thing it does is make me think about time and how I spend it. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16) Some translations are more literal and translate it “redeeming the time”. This more literal translation helps me grasp the great value of time. Time is something that we spend and invest and save, very much like money. The sobering reality of time is that once it is spent we can never get it back and only eternity will tell how well we invested our time.
Redeem the time.
I hope you will spend some time tomorrow gathering with the saints to share communion together.
Moment by moment faithfulness
They have turned aside and departed. 'They do not say in their heart,
"Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain in its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain, Who keeps for us The appointed weeks of the harvest."
The prophet Jeremiah confronts people because they did not recognize the faithfulness of God in each season. The passage above refers to AUTUMN and SPRING. And as you know, in the land of Israel, both the AUTUMN and SPRING rain was essential for survival. Most of us do not depend on a harvest for survival and so we might tend to forget that we are absolutely dependent on God in every season. I mean do we really need God when we have Google and Amazon. We can find out just anything and buy just about anything with a few clicks. I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and my dependence on Him as I was out in the garden doing some AUTUMN chores. I want to be…I need to be more aware of God’s moment by moment faithfulness. How bout you?
Hope to see many of you tomorrow as we worship our faithful Lord.
Flapped by Jesus
FRAPPED BY JESUS
they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship;
and fearing that they might run aground
Did you know that in the days when big wooden ships sailed the seas that one of the things that sailors would do in violent storms was to frap the ship? They would take large ropes and after securing them on one side of the ship they would somehow (I would not want this assignment) take the ropes under the ship and attach them to the other side and then pull them tight. So then the frapped ship would actually be held together by those large securely attached ropes. This is what the passage shown above is referring to. Now here is what is really interesting to me. The Greek word used in Acts 27:17 that is loosely translated “supporting cables” is the same Greek word we saw in Heb. 2:18 when it says....He (Jesus) is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. So what you say.....ah come on...don’t you love this image of Jesus frapping us up. In the storm He actually holds us together. It is not us that can withstand the storm, but His work in us and around us and under us assures that we make it through the storm. So in the end Jesus and His frapping/aid/support gets the credit.
So bring on the storm...I am FRAPPED BY JESUS.
See you soon ...I hope
I am listening through the Bible this year and it has been eye-opening to hear the book of Genesis read. What a sordid and dark story it is. I felt like I was listening to an old rerun of the “Young and the Restless” or a more current episode of the Kardashians. It was chapter after chapter of murder, deception, sexual perversion, manipulation, and jealousy. Listening to the story instead of reading it seemed to bring this “yuk” to the surface for me. What do I do with this “yuk”?
It makes me appreciate how honest and transparent God’s Word is. Nothing is “white washed” or “sugar coated”. These are real people who are broken and the brokenness shows up in “yukky” ways. And the “yuk” also makes me appreciate how in the sovereignty of God He is able to use these people to bring about His purposes and ultimately to bring us our Savior. Perez for example. He is the child of Tamar who was the Daughter in Law of Judah. His conception is the result of jealously, deception, lust, and sexual intercourse between Tamar and her father in Law ...”yuk”. But this Perez is found in Matt and Luke as well as Ruth in the genealogy of our Savior...”yeah”. So I guess it does go from “yuk” to “yeah” for these people...and for all of us who see how clearly God sovereignly works in our lives.
So I know none of this is new to you.... but maybe it can be another reminder today of how amazing our God really is.
Hope to see you soon.
Let me know how I might be praying for you.
“Oneanothering” …it’s not a real word, but it is certainly an important theme throughout the New Testament. We finished our summer series looking at many of the ONE ANOTHER passages in the New Testament. I want to thank Pastor Masami, Pastor Scott and Jim Velez for their contribution to this important series. As I spent time in this series I was reminded of how blessed I am to have been part of this church family so long. You all have “oneanothered” me very well …particularly the “put up with one another” exhortation in Eph. 1. I trust we will all continue to grow in this area because I know that if we fail in this area, then the gospel will not go forth from us as it ought and Jesus Christ will not be honored as He should be. There is much at stake as we consider our responsibility to one another.
Maybe we should all attend “bubbleball church”. What is that you ask. Well just imagine a church where no matter what happened we would never be relationally hurt. You know kind of like living in a big bubble that softened all the relational contact. Here is what it would look like…follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKZoCjWnmVkdo
What do you think…would you like “bubbleball church”?
With you..even without the bubble
Expectation and Hope - Suffering
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
Hebrews is an amazing treatise on the supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus. He is greater than angels, greater than Moses, greater than all the OT priests, greater than all the OT heroes of faith. Yet as the text above says, in His humanity, Jesus learned to be obedient through “the things which He suffered.” Jesus the eternal God in human flesh had to learn obedience, and it was only through suffering that He could learn it. Yet how often I try to avoid suffering and entertain the fantasy that I can learn obedience and come to maturity through an easier path than Jesus walked. Now I don’t think I should be looking for new ways to suffer (that’s sick) but I also don’t think it should be my life purpose to avoid suffering. God in His providence knows the path that will best shape me in Christ likeness. This truth allows me to face each day, even those full of suffering, with expectation and hope that this is the path best suited for me by which I can become more like Jesus.
THIS SUNDAY…August 14th - LET’S CELEBRATE – Our Hispanic brothers and sisters will be joining us at 12 noon….to CELEBRATE our partnership in ministry. We were able to deed over the property on Wade street to them and God is doing an amazing work through them in our community. – Lunch is at 12 noon…so you have time to go home after the morning service and grab your salad and dessert and come on back. CHICKEN IS PROVIDED.
Light Shines in Darkness
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5 ESV
Yep, another crazy killing of innocent people in Germany. I have not yet heard who is behind the killing, but even when we find out, we know that ultimately Satan’s goal is to “steal, kill and destroy”. I fear that I am becoming a bit desensitized with all this killing. I am not as shocked and disturbed as I once was. Maybe you are feeling the same way.
I feel that we need to pray specifically right now for 2 things. 1) Pray that we as “children of light” never get accustomed to the “deeds of darkness”. That we daily recognize evil for what it is and that we do not become numb to it’s impact on our world. 2) Pray that we as “children of light” never forget that “darkness” will never overcome the “light”. Yes, our culture is getting darker and darker as it rejects the truth found in Jesus. Yet even though Jesus is rejected…Jesus still reigns. Even though all seems “dark”, the “light” is not overcome. As our culture darkens we have a great opportunity to “let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven.” Let’s do it!!!
LOTS GOING ON THIS WEEKEND
Estacada Summer Celebration - check it out www.estacadasc.org
CHURCH IN THE PARK – This Sunday (July 24) meet us on the green grass behind Clackamas River Elementary. Worship starts at 10 am. Lunch served at 11:30 am. Fried Chicken provided - bring a side dish to share. Also…BRING A LAWN CHAIR to sit on.
Celebration of Life – We will celebrate the life of our sister Bev Major and honor Jesus her Savior this Sunday afternoon at 2 PM at EFBC. Come and support Denny and Carrie Garvey (Carrie is Bev’s sister) and the rest of the family. Bring along some finger food to share at the reception afterwards.
The Face, Peace, and Joy of the Lord
Psalm 4: 6-8
The recent events from Minneapolis, Baton Rouge and then Dallas have been staggering to absorb. It seems like the country is literally “coming apart at the seams”. While these are national events that make headlines, let’s never forget they are personal events that have changed the lives of families irreparably. BE PRAYERFUL for those so tragically impacted. I turned to the book of Psalms this morning, as I often do when life seems overwhelming. I started at Psalm 1 and it wasn’t long until my heart was warmed and calmed with God’s truth. Ps 4:6-8
Many people say, "Who will show us better times?"
Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
New Living Translation
The human author of these words, King David was not a stranger to tragedy and violence. And many of those who gathered around him came from troubled situations as well. And they were longing for “better times”. As David writes he seems to realize that the answer is not in a change of circumstance or “better times”, but rather a change of perspective. He speaks of the “face” of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, and the peace of the Lord.
How easy it is to allow tragedy to block out our view of the sovereign smile on the face of God. He sees it all and has purposes and plans through it all. How often I allow my joy to be stolen by evil people because I am short sighted and forget that God’s justice always prevails. Too many times I allow my mind to race when I lay my head down because I forget that God alone can keep me safe. Now this does not mean that I bury my head in providential sand and do nothing. No...certainly there is much we as God’s people can and should do in our culture. Let us continue to speak truth, extend grace and rest fully on our good God.
With you for Him
...the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.
My wife was taking care of our granddaughter Eden the other day. I was outside rototilling the garden but was anxious to get inside and play with Eden. So as soon as I was done in the garden I rushed in and got down on the floor with Eden. But because I had been working hard all morning and had been sweating a lot…I noticed I did not smell so good. If Eden was a bit older I think she might have said….”Grampa you smell”.
Earlier in the week I read this passage in 2 Corinthians. “ To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?” 2 Cor 2:16
I love the illustration the Apostle Paul gives. It’s one that we can all grasp. As followers of Jesus we have a “smell” that others notice. But to some the “smell” is good, to others the “smell” is …well not so good. Actually it’s the “smell of death”. What is the “smell’ we carry? Earlier on in the text we read this… “through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Cor 2:14. So we smell because of Jesus, and our personal knowledge of Him. So we should not try to cover up the smell…or camouflage the smell or try to wash off the smell. Let’s all just smell like Jesus OK? Some will like the way we smell. Some will hate the way we smell. In the same as we read in the gospels we notice that some were drawn to Jesus and some put Him to death.
THIS SUNDAY JUNE 5TH. One service at 9 am. Voice for the Voiceless – a choir of young adults who are passionate about the Lord, will be with us as we worship the Lord and share in communion. See you then.
To live above with Saints we love
To live above with saints we love…oh…that will be glory To live below with saints we know…well…that’s another story.
To live above with saints we love...oh...that will be glory
To live below with saints we know...well...that’s another story.
I always thought that little poem was amusingly and frustratingly true. Living in good relationship with others is often challenging. It’s true in our community, in our family and yes, even in our church family. This month in our monthly leadership team meeting I spoke with our leaders about the amazing blessing and challenge we have as a church family to have so many generations (www.marketingteacher.com/the-six-living-generations-in-america/) worshiping with us. I love this. It is as it should be (see Titus 2:1-6), but of course it is also challenging. There are some churches that have opted to segregate the generations to make it easier. But wait....is the goal to make it easier for us or to make us more Christ like???? I am looking forward to the relational focus this summer as we gather together in one service at 9 am. (June - “The Stranger Among Us”, July-August “OneAnothering”) I want to grow in relationship and learn more how to do this “church thing” the way God has designed it to be. Do you?
With you for Him
V4V – with us on June 5th. Voice for the Voiceless www.voice-voiceless.com
Baptism on June 12th Contact the office if you need to take this step.
June 26th – Potluck and Covenant Members meeting.