Watching

Today across the globe Christianity marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. It is sobering to consider the events that took place. The middle of the night arrest, the inquiries and mocking, the phony trials, the torture, the rejection, and finally the crucifixion.

When you read the account it is always important to try and see it through the eyes of the different characters. To the common Jew it must have been confusing. Here was the man who had finally taught something with authority and done all kinds of miracles and now they wanted to kill him?! To the religious authorities it must have felt like vindication and resolution. Finally they would be rid of this troublemaker. To the Romans it must have been one more smack down in a military deployment in one more backwater of the empire. To the disciples it must have been a nightmare.

Our brains have a funny little trick when we are having a nightmare; they paralyze us. We are actually pretty thankful God built this in. If it were not the case we would hurt our selves or our spouses when we dream. As it is usually the most we can do is twitch. With the disciples in this waking nightmare this is about all they could do as well. Peter (evidently the ninja of the group) was ready to go when they came for Him, but Jesus knew this was not the way to victory. In fact, Jesus offered no resistance at all.   The disciples scattered and were left with nothing to do but watch.

Watching is the worst when you know there is nothing you can do, and there was nothing the disciples could do. Today and tonight contemplate these events. Contemplate what happened and what Jesus did. Contemplate what it must have been like to be left watching. But there is good news coming.

See you tomorrow.

Pastor Chris



What We Need to Learn

Good teachers don’t teach you what you already know but rather what you need to know. This may seem like an obvious statement but you can’t believe the number of times that students ask of teachers, “How will we ever use this in

real life?” Usually this is in relationship to what is considered an obscure math skill or a particularly boring piece of history. Fortunately when I was a teacher I taught science, which everyone knows is only populated with essential knowledge not the other kind. However, later in life I now realize that even the skills I learned in math were actually essential. Surprisingly they were not really about math. They were about thinking.

The relevant skills in mathematics become obvious when you are trying to make change at your garage sale and someone hands you $4.17 paying for the $3.75Power Ranger suit which has suddenly come back into style. (If you really want to entertain yourself always add in 17 cents to what ever you are paying for and watch the confusion) But more illusive are the reasons you need to be able solve equations with multiple variables or even how to combine equations.   Students might think that they will never ever use that particular skill. They might be right but what that skill did to their brains in learning how to solve it is where the real application takes place. The ability to manipulate variables in the abstract allows one to tease through some of the most challenging and complicated of life’s problems such as the assembly instructions on anything from Ikea.

 Keep this in mind when you begin to think about what Jesus taught. He didn’t teach the particulars of a moral code or what things were sin or not. He didn’t spend much time at all in teaching head knowledge. God had already revealed all those kind of things in the OT so there was no reason to reteach them. Instead of teaching what they already knew, he taught what they needed to know.  

 This week we will focus on Jesus as our teacher and discover what that was. Are you ready to learn?

 

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Who is He to you?

 “Who is that?” is always a very subjective question. It is not subjective in the factual sense of a persons particular identity. With the new biometric data such as your fingerprints, retina scan, DNA, and Facebook facial recognition, we can pretty much establish your factual identity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NSA has even assigned you a number (I wonder what mine is?). Rather it is subjective based on who is answering, and usually that is the much more important answer.

For instance if someone were to ask who I was, it would depend on who was responding that would determine the answer (trophy husband, dad, grandpa, pastor, neighbor, stranger etc.). There are many possibilities. Ultimately when you answer the question “ Who is that?” You are actually answering the question “Who is that to you?” And we almost always lead with the most intimate response. Susan never introduces me as her pastor or the guy who mows the lawn.

So how do you or would you respond if someone asked you “Who is Jesus?”. Would you spend your time talking about his biometric data? He was born a long time ago, in Bethlehem; you might have seen the display in a Gig Harbor park? (or maybe not). Or would you introduce him differently? Would you introduce him because he is famous? Or would you introduce him based on who he is to you? Which begs the question, “Who is he to you?”

We are entering the season where we focus in on Jesus. We will not only focus in on what he did, but who he is to us because of it. I hope you come worship and answer the question.

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Rest: A Lifestyle

What kind of lifestyle do you live?  Lifestyle is composed of many different elements or components that generally and eventually encompass most of the different aspects of our life. If your work is in some way seasonal like if you were a professional football player, then your lifestyle would reflect that. Farmers or commercial fishermen might also be someone whose lifestyle is seasonally impacted by their job. Others work 5 days a week with2 weeks vacation and that is it. Employment is merely one of a verity of components that can have a big impact on your lifestyle.

The nature of your relationships, married, single have a role to play in lifestyle. Your relationship to your where you live is another. Do you put deep roots down or move around a lot? Your hobbies and your recreation must surely be considered as well. But of all the components one should stand out; lifestyle of worship.

“Whatever you do in word or deed……”   and “offer your bodies as living sacrifices” are phrases that are easily recognizable to those in Christ. We realize that our worship is not ever 2 hours on a weekend but that every hour of every day, in everything we are building a lifestyle of worship. Sometimes our worship is good, and other times it could be a growth area but the fact remains, we live for Him. That is why Rest is so important. Not just any rest but the Sabbath rest that comes from knowing Jesus is our Sabbath. The rest we get when we take a day off, and the deep soul satisfying rest that comes from knowing the Kingdom of God is on its way. If you were to step back and examine your life or for that matter, if anyone else would, is it a life of rest? Are you taking a Sabbath every week getting the physical and spiritual rest you need? Is your family and relationships at rest because they are not starving for time? Would it be accurate to consider your lifestyle a lifestyle of rest?

This week we will look at the practical ways we can make Rest a significant part of our lifestyle. 

Sleep in, be with your family, and finish the day in worship and fellowship, in short, enjoy the Sabbath.

See you at church,

 Pastor Chris



Rest: A Savior

Rest: A Savior

 I recently read a story about Brett Archibald from South Africa. Married with two children, he and some of his friends decided to go on an adventure trip for his 50th birthday. They left their families at home and got on a plane to Indonesia for a week long surfing trip. After arriving they boarded a tour boat that would take them to the island where they would be surfing and enjoying the adventure together. 

In the middle of the night on their sea voyage a storm came up. Brett was awakened by the pounding of the hull into the waves, and some incredible seasickness. He went above deck and immediately began to feed the fish. After an hour of this and a particularly violent regurgitation, he got light headed and thought, “If I throw up like that again I am going to pass out”. The next thing he remembers was water splashing on his face. He thought that someone was splashing water on him to wake him, but what had really happened is that he had fallen overboard. He screamed for help but the wind and waves prevented the crew from hearing and the rest of his friends were down below. He was overboard at sea, at 3am in the morning. No life jacket, nothing except him and a very big ocean. All he could do was tread water and hope they would find him.

That moment of realization must have been excruciating. The suddenness of it, the panic, the fight or flight, all coupled with desperation as he realized that his rescue was improbable at best. I think it is this moment that so many wish to avoid. They hide in bottles, the sleep of distraction or pretend that this is just the way it is.

We are in a big ocean and even if there are people around you, you can’t help but realize ultimately you are alone. No one can do life for you. You have to make decisions and live with them. You have to try or not. Just like Bret you will encounter sharks, stinging jelly fish and even shoals of small fish that take only small bites but there are just so many of them.   I can imagine how he felt and recognize that same feeling. It is the realization that he and we need a savior.

Bret would do all he could to stay alive and keep treading water. He ended up treading water for 29 hours and drifted 11 miles from where he first fell in. There were times he decided to give up but ultimately he didn’t. Can you imagine the relief he felt when they threw him the life ring. Can you empathize with the joy he experienced at being hauled on board. Finally he could rest.

Do you realize where you are? Are you tired of treading water? Need a Savior?  Need Rest?

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



Being Helpful

Do you like to help people? Doesn’t it feel good when you see someone in need, to be able to step in and provide for that? There is something compelling and deep rooted in our make up that makes helping satisfying.   I suspect that it comes to us early on. When we are small and want to do something that is beyond our abilities, our parents might have said something like “You can’t do it by yourself, but would you like to be my helper?” I still remember “helping” my dad mow the lawnand I remember my little ones “helping” make dinner. I love seeing the sense of accomplishment and pride when a little one “helps.” Whether it comes from our early background, or whether helping is just part of who we are, there seems to be part of us that likes to help.
 

Sometimes helping has a dark side. For instince when helping isn’t about helping but about controlling. It is the times when “Let me help you with that” is really about “Let me do it because you are messing it up.” Parents of older teens and adult children really have to watch out for this one.   Oh they are trying to help alright but it sure doesn’t take long to understand the true motivation. Sometimes such help is tolerated (barely) for a season, but usually not. Usually such help is soundly rejected to the pain of the helper, who has convinced themselves that they are completely selfless in helping, and wondering why such help could possibly be rejected. At other times the helping is less about the person needing help and more about the helper. The helper has a deep need to be needed. They need to be significant so their helping has the added bonus effect of convincing the person that they are helpless. Called co-dependancy, such help results in a terrible crash when its unstable roots finally give way and both collapse.

The church is an extension of us all. It is certainly an example of the multiplication factor in the sum of our parts. Each of us brings to the table Spiritual gifts, abilities and talents, and when we with the help of the Holy Spirit employ those to meet the needs of those around us, it quickly becomes bigger than we ever imagined! But always the church has to do a gut check. We must always examine the question of “why?” Helping makes us feel good, but is it because we need to feel good, or because the community needs what we are offering. Does our help result in freedom and independence, or bondage and increased dependence. Is our helping even …… helping?

All of these are some aspects of helping that we must be aware of and consider. This week we will be talking about Climbing: Significant Ministries. We will be talking about how we as a church can be and should be involved in serving our community.   Are you serving? What is your motivation? Come expecting to be challenged to help.

See you at church.

Pastor Chris Henderson



Who Are You?

“Who are you?” is a compelling question. Compelling for so many different reasons. On the one hand our relationships might determine our answer. You might be someone’s beloved wife or trophy husband. You might be the oldest son, or the newest employee. Other times it is not relationship but actions. I am a hero, a coward, a fool, an explorer, or maybe just ordinary. It turns out that both and many other facets do actually help describe who we are, and yet they fall short of exhaustively capturing the essence of  us.
 
Particularly challenging is the fact that who we are changes. While some things will always be true, (I am my mother’s son) other things are quite in flux. In fact, it is not nonsensical to hear something like: “That is who I used to be but am no longer that person.” “I used to be,” “I am,” and “I will be,” all speak to the relative flexibility of our very identity. This is precisely why Paul wanted to remind the church in Colosse who they were.
 

It is all too easy to have our identity hijacked and led astray by false philosophies and human traditions. The Colossians were being deceived to believe they were inadequate unless…. They were being led to define themselves by religion that was disconnected from Christ. They were being bamboozled into false “spiritual” knowledge. They were letting all of that speak into and change who they were. But Paul called them back, back to their truest self. 

Paul’s letter to the Colossians has so much application for us today. We are, in our identity, pulled here and there by everything from politics, style of clothing, even the cars we drive. But our truest self, the God’s workmanship one, finds its identity in Christ. It is only with Christ as the starting place and the ending place for our identity, that we can know we are on the right track.
 

This week we will explore Colossians 2 – 3:5 and discover the source of our truest self, and you can answer the most important facet of the question “Who are you?”

See you at church.

Pastor Chris Henderson



Supremacy

Biggest, best, greatest, better, supreme, the ultimate, all of these describe the quality of something that has risen above all. Standing alone at the top of whatever category you might seek to compare is that which is superior. Below it are the things which may be good, which may be powerful, but ultimately fall short. The Colossian church needed a reminder. They needed to be reminded of the place in which Jesus resided.   

When people get confused about Jesus one of the first places is often His place in the universe. For instance, those who don’t know Him think of Him as a tragic figure who was a good teacher killed for being a revolutionary or moralist in an amoral time of history. But the funny thing is that some who do know him make similar mistakes. They begin to elevate other things above Him. 

For instance I have seen and interacted with people who made Sabbath greater than Jesus. Oh they wouldn’t have ever admitted that they were but their action and attitudes spoke way louder than their official statements on the matter. Anytime a doctrine, an organizational scheme, or tradition, becomes so significant that the gospel is in some way compromised we know there is a problem. Still others who know Him, who would agree that He is supreme, yet act in ways that betray their knowledge. In their minds Jesus is supreme but in their lives, not so much. He is constantly put on the back burner, second over self.

This week we will look at Colossians 1:15-23 and be reminded of the supremacy of Christ. Take the opportunity today to read the passage and consider, are you living into the reality of the supremacy of Christ and all that that means?

See you at church.

Pastor Chris



New…

New…

When everything is new it is hard to be sure. Whether it is a new job, a new class, a new teacher, a new car, or even new clothes. You wonder if you are doing things right. You wonder what it is going to be like. You wonder where the blinkers are, and you sometimes wonder if you have gone too far with the spring fashion.   It is the newness that gets you. You just don’t know what you don’t know and you are somewhat shaky on what you do.

The Church in Colosse was new. Located in a sleepy little town known for its wool, the church was the fruit of the hard work of Paul when he was in Ephesus. Paul, however, was not a pastor, he was an evangelist. So he appointed leaders and went on to the next place. But while he was away Others began to slip in and teach something a bit different. Because they were new they were vulnerable.

Paul’s letter was written to get them back on track. To help them reject the false teachings and hold onto the very things he taught them. It must have surely been an encouragement. Back on the right track again!

As we work through the book of Colossians we get to read the letter that Paul wrote and be reassured and encouraged to stay on track. Whether new in our faith or gracefully maturing, the philosophy of this world has a way of creeping in and infecting us with false teaching.   So just like the church it was written to we can discover or be reminded again of everything that is new in Christ.

Hope to see you at church,

Pastor Chris Henderson



Climbing: Spinning A Church

Hi Everyone,
 
Hope you are staying warm enough!
 
This week we will be talking about Climbing: Spinning a Church so if you want to know about and be a part of what God is calling us to then come to church!
 
See you there.
 
Pastor Chris
 
 
********* Today’s E-bulletin*************
 
Weather Alerts.   We are in the time of year where weather conditions can really impact our programs.  Ice and snow can sometime show up when we least expect them.  So if there is questionable weather requiring me to cancel a meeting, I will notify in four ways: email, facebook, web page, and our church app.  So if it is snowing where you are be sure and check one of those.  We want to do our best to keep everyone safe.
 
Wednesday Family night is up and running!    There are still meals available to sign up for on Mealtrain for the second half of the ministry season!
 
Women’s Study this week January 8th.
 
Potluck January 14th.
 
Save the date!  Annual Membership meeting after church January 28th!
 
Miss a sermon?  Check out our Youtube Channel!