Grace Is Enough

I was in a store the other day. And while I was there a family was leaving. I noticed them because one of their kids was throwing a big fit. Now I know what it is like to be in a store and have your kid throw a fit, but this wasn’t a 3 year old or even a 6 that would be one thing but this little girl (a twin) was probably about 10. Parents were embarrassed but were not doing things that were helping. In fact, what they were doing seemed to be making things worse as they hastily made for the exit. The cashier said much with her face and then they began to say even more.   I got sucked into the conversation and suggested that they needed some significant skills and that such skills are often lacking in this world today. They agreed and we talked about parenting classes. (oh wow what a great segway I thought as I patted myself on the back and told them about our parenting classes coming up.)

 

The next day I had comment remorse. Kind of like buyers remorse but worse because you can’t ever take it back. For some reason I replayed the situation in my head and realized that it didn’t make sense that this little girl was throwing a fit like that. Now granted, I don’t know the family and maybe our assessment was completely accurate. But what if it wasn’t? What if she had some special needs and this fit was the result of that and the parents were actually functioning on a very high level to deescalate as well as they did? What if I had joined in judging them as clueless and the reality is quite different?   That is the problem with judging, we just don’t have enough information. Could it be that is why God is in charge of the judging and we have a much different role?  Could it be that even in situations like this we should be full of grace instead of quick to join in?

I look back now and wish I could do it again but as is the way of this life, we often only get one chance. I hope to do better next time. I guess I stand in the need of grace.

This week we will talk about grace and our role in delivering it.

See you at church

Pastor Chris



Disciplined

Have you had a good summer? Did you vacation? Did you do the things that you can only do in summer that seem to refresh us? There is something about the changes in the seasons that often give us a little pause; at least they give us the opportunity to pause. We are coming close to the time when we enter into a new ministry season. Family night will be starting back up on September 13th. Kids are back in school and the activities of summer are giving way to fall. This week at church I want to give you an opportunity to stop and look around, spend a little time analyzing where you are and where you are headed, specifically in the area of your spiritual disciplines.

We hate the word discipline, mostly because it is so often used in the negative sense. It gives the feeling of strict and restricted. When I experience discipline it is limiting and often painful. If I discipline myself I am often forcing myself to do things that I don’t want to (but those cookies taste so good!) but know I should. I have noticed that while I often hate discipline I really like the results of discipline. I hate exercise but love being in shape. I hate music practice but want to play well. Isn’t that true in our spiritual life as well. We want to feel close to God but we don’t want to have to work at it. Time to enter the real world, because we need discipline.

Tomorrow I will talk about three specific disciplines, our interaction with scripture, our prayer time and our worship. Spend tonight and tomorrow considering these three areas of your life.   How are they doing? Do they need to be refreshed and recharged? Do you need a new pattern or a new commitment? Is it time to tick up a notch and become more disciplined?

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Stepping Up

We are in an exciting place as a church. We have one of the greatest opportunities since I have been here of establishing a location for our ministry. A location in the middle of a neighborhood and build some manner of a facility to call our own. Will we do it?

Last week I let everyone know about the strategy that we are pursuing. I will have that handout available at church. This strategy involves two hurdles.

First we need to try and increase the amount of money that we have available as a down payment. Currently (as of this writing) no one has donated specifically with that in mind. However, I would ask that you continue to pray that God would act on our behalf by inspiring His givers to give! We are pursuing the strategy even with the amount that has already been committed ($42k)!   Every dollar donated toward the down payment helps the probability we will be able to build.

 

Second we need to temporarily significantly increase our monthly giving. This giving will help support the ability to qualify for the loan and pay for the payments while we are building the church and still having to pay rent. We need an increase of three thousand dollars. $1000 dollars per month has already been committed! So only $2000 per month left to go!

This commitment is not forever (unless the Lord so leads!) but is for the time it takes for us to build. Every amount counts! Please sharpen your pencils and prayerfully do your budget. Can you help meet this goal?

 

This is the week for stepping up.

At church we will have specific offering envelopes if you would like to give toward the down payment. We will also have commitment cards for those who would like to make a commitment to give an extra amount for one year beginning in September. If you are unable to be here this week but would like to commit to an amount please email Pastor Chris or Debbie E. and we will include you in the total!

 

If we are able to meet our goal we will announce it in church this week!

Excited for the possibilities.

 

Pastor Chris.



The High Dive

Have you ever gone off of the high dive? It is a long ways up and it feels further than it is. I remember the scared butterflies that seem to suddenly inhabit my innards when I put my hand on the rail and began to climb up. I remember that my brain was screaming at me about how stupid this was. But once you started up there was no real turning back. There was usually a line, going backwards was just not an option. When you got to the top and it was your turn, that was the moment when it all came to a head…..would you jump?
 

There are any number of moments in your life that come down to a moment of decision but the greatest of them are the ones you make regarding your spiritual life. The decision to follow Jesus and be baptized was a moment like that, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. Some might be a commitment to serve or lead. Others may involve a decision to give. What do you do when you approach such moments?

We as a church are coming up on such a moment. Will we be able to step up and go forward? Will we jump and experience the thrill that only comes when we trust and spring forward? Will we stand there on the edge of the diving board, looking around?   Are you ready to fly?
 

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



“Whoa” Moments

Do you ever have those “whoa” moments. You know the shock and awe, wide eyed and mystified, freak-out-because-something-is-so-amazing kind of moments. Sometimes they are simple sometimes they have more gravity. Ahah! Eureka! You discovered the answer that you were looking for! The puzzle starts making sense! I love those.
 

I love the feeling of having my brain expanded with new understanding. I love seeing the ripples that move through, as you understand a new thing and it effects all the other things around it. Sometimes they can be small and only have minor changes to your life. Like when someone asks you “Have ever eaten cow lips?” and you answer a disgusted “NO!” and then politely ask for the catsup for your hotdog reading the definition of “beef trimmings”. Others have much more dramatic impacts like when you realize the Earthshaking significance of what Jesus has done.

This week we are going to look at John 2 where Jesus turned the water into wine. More than a cool party trick, this was the beginning of the “signs through which he revealed his glory” and the impact on his disciples was

“whoa!”

That should be the impact it has on us as well. 
 
Come discover the implications of this mind-blowing miracle.
 

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Going Fishing!

It has been a great summer so far. I hope you are enjoying it. I know I am! As you well know fishing is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. I have come to particularly enjoy catching kokanee (a land locked sockeye salmon) which are abundant and are very tasty. In fact, my eye doctor suggested that I was to eat fish two times a week, so I am doing my best to make sure I have the fish to accomplish that! Not only do I enjoy fishing but isn’t interesting that fishing is often used as either a symbol or analogy for some lesson that God is trying to teach us.

One expression that is of particular note is what Jesus said to a group of fishermen as he called them into discipleship; “ I will make you fishers of men.” The application of that goes beyond just those disciples he said it to. It has direct application to us. We are called by Christ not only to follow him but we recognize we are being called into a lifestyle of fishing.

Unlike recreational fishing or even modern day commercial fishing, being fishers of men is a whole different ball game. Rather than relaxing and recreational it can be difficult and stressful. Rather than some commercial venture, there are no financial motivations. Instead the spiritual results are what is important. At the end you do not get a tasty meal or big paycheck as the Northwestern offloads it tons of King crab, the results are a life saved, an eternity secured.

This week we will talk about fishing for men, our motivation, our technique, and even the results.

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



What’s New?

What’s new?

Have you ever had anyone ask you that? You catch up with cousins, your kids, or friend you haven’t seen for a while, and let them tell you what is new in their life. Thing is even if you have one of the most boring lives around, if you think real hard, there is probably something new. Life very seldom stays static in any significant way. Always something is changing, growing, shrinking, or adjusting.   Life just doesn’t hold still.

There is no better place to see that than with little ones. I get to see some more than others, but week by week, as little ones come to church they have some new skill, some new way of doing things. One week they just lay there and the next week they are scooting around. One week their language is unintelligible (to anyone but them or possibly a twin) the next week they start saying words. But no matter what every week they are different.

But what if someone asked the same question of your life in Christ? What would you say then? What new thing is God showing you? What new place is He taking you? What new insight has been revealed or fruit born of application is showing up in your life? All to often I fear that there is no new thing at all. Having all we want or need, we are merely full, stuffed, satisfied, and sedentary. That is not the way it should be.  Jesus wants to do something new in your life all the time.

This weeks sermon we will be looking at the new thing God wants to do in you.

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Radical Trust

Radical Trust

What does it mean to trust? Not just a little trust or an occasional “I trust you” but the radical trust that includes dependence and vulnerability. The kind of trust that says “Wherever this takes me I am with you”.   It seems to me that such trust is not merely granted but earned.

When Moses first got on the scene after his appointment with the burning shrubbery, all he did was make life harder. But after seeing the miracles, and experiencing the power of God demonstrated, they trusted him enough to follow him into the desert.   They never really fully trusted him though. The disciples trusted up to a point. But still they were amazed that they could cast out demons and heal the sick after Jesus sent them out. Eventually they would be willing to die for Him and many did just that.

There is no greater place of trust than in the midst of tragedy. When everything goes wrong, when someone is taken, or when life is suddenly in the balance do you trust? Do you trust God to see you through it or will you go through it on your own? Will you trust him to hold you up or will your relationship with Him be shaken by bitterness, fear, and hopelessness?

Is it possible to be unshakable in the face even of tragedy?

Come and see.

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



It’s a Lifequake!

Have you ever been in a significant earthquake? I have experienced a couple of little ones where you wondered if it really was an earthquake. You notice the chandelier moving a bit so you turn on the TV, and sure enough it was an earthquake. But I have also been in a fairly big one. The Nisqually quake of 2001 was a 6.8 and got my attention. I was in the office and suddenly it sounded like someone was banging on the door. It was sudden and I was the only one in the building so I my brain was trying to make sense of who would be messing with me trying to scare my by banging on the door. When it kept going my brain put it together with the other things I was experiencing, but by the time I got it all figured out, it was over. Other than a broken decoration or two we didn’t really experience any damage. But they tell us that we should be prepared for “The Big One.”

Earthquakes are relatively rare (unless you are unfortunate enough to live in a fracking area), but something that can be even more devastating is all too common; a lifequake. Lifequakes are those events whether they are from inner struggles or external circumstances like a death or a crime, which shake your whole life up. They are the kind of thing that you don’t walk away from unchanged in some way. They happen to all walks of life, and are fairly unpredictable, other than the realization that we will probably at one point or another experience one.

All sorts of things are done to prepare for earthquakes but seldom do people prepare for lifequakes. What can you do when they just seem to come out of nowhere? The writer of Hebrews suggests that the heavens and earth will be shaken and all that will remain will be what is eternal. Maybe there are some things that can be done after all?! Maybe in our preparation we can indeed be ready for the Big One, and become unshakable.

This week we start a new sermon series “Unshakable” and we will be talking about the encouragements that we find in scripture that help us become unshakable. The Big One is coming, are you ready?

See you at church!

Pastor Chris



What’s it to you?

What do you think about when you think about scripture? Is it obligation and duty mixed with a little guilt because you know you weren’t in it enough this week? Is it something that Pastor Chris talks about a lot but you have never really gotten into? Is it a book of do’s and don’t and if you are honest you haven’t really read it? Maybe it is just a mysterious book that you don’t really get or maybe it is really important to you.

I think on this one particular issue a lot of people feel differently than they do.   They feel like scripture is important and some would even say vital. But those feeling don’t really translate into any kind of particular action. In fact, I wonder if the NSA were to release the spy camera video they have of your life, how much of it would include scripture in a meaningful way? It is convicting to think about. Thankfully no matter where we are we can always change that, we can always make it better.

This week we are going to talk about Climbing: Saturated in Scripture. I hope to remind you of what scripture is to you, or at least what it should be. I hope to inspire you to a greater faithfulness and a greater reliance on the Word of God in your life. So before we get there tomorrow, consider: What is it to you?

See you at church,

Pastor Chris Henderson