Evaluate

Tomorrow night people will celebrate the New Year. Not to be a kill joy but it is just another spin of the planet, and another lap around the sun. Both will keep happening whether we commemorate them, celebrate them or ignore them. But we are funny that way. We like to invent mileposts and markers. We like to know where we are, where we have been, and where we are going. That said, I suggest we make the most of it.

Not party hardy, but rather take the opportunity to sit back and evaluate. How did we do this last year? What is the trend line doing? Moving in the right way? So many areas of our life we just muddle through and we never really stop and consider; “how are we doing in that?”

So tomorrow, even though it is a bit predictable, I think we should stop and consider our lives, and specifically how are we doing in three linchpin areas: Worship, Prayer, and Family. I hope you can come and be challenged to talk a good look at where you have been and where you are going.

See you at church,

Pastor Chris



The Beauty of Simplicity

 

It is often the case that some of the most beautiful things in life are simple. Complicated things too can have beauty but our lives are full of complications all the time. Isn’t nice to occasionally cut out all the complications and enjoy something that is amazingly simple?

The Christmas season has come a long ways since the time that the early church fathers suggested that celebration was best done with fasting and prayer. I wouldn’t necessarily say all of the places it has come have been good. The fact that some will be glad it is over, speaks volumes about what we have done to it.   I was watching the advertisement about the poor sap who forgot to get someone a gift. The point of the ad was we do quick deliveries or some sort of notion. But I imagine it sent some into panic attacks as thy tried to remember who they might have forgotten! As it turns out there were no gifts exchanged at the actual birth of Jesus. And with the exception of a couple of inspired shepherds the scene was pretty simple. In fact, it is kind of hard to imagine something simpler, a new mother and father with their first born in a barn.

Gifts did show up in the story a couple of years later. And amazingly they too were simple although meaningful; gold a tribute for a king, myrrh the spice of embalming (for someone who was to die) an Frankincense the incense given in worship to deity. Personally I don’t keep any of these things on hand. But even these gifts pale in comparison to the greatest gift they (and we) could give.  

You see their greatest gift and ours is amazingly simple and amazingly beautiful: the gift of worship. As we meet tomorrow I hope you come ready to give this simple but beautiful gift to Emmanuel, God with us.

Merry Christmas,

 Pastor Chris



Today’s E-Bulletin

Slushy greetings!
I hope the snow was beautiful and not too troubling. It sure was pretty the way it covered the trees. I will confess that winter is my favorite season. Not yet able to type except to hunt and peck so no blog post this week. Still making some progress, so thank you all for your prayers. Exciting week at church with the baptism and the Christmas play just around the corner! Hope to see you at church!

Blessings,

Pastor Chris

********Today’s announcements. **********

Young Adult meeting is canceled this week. Pick it back up in January!

Women’s Prayer Meeting. Postponed for Winter break!

Wednesday Family Night is on Christmas break. It will resume January 4th!

Dress rehearsal Wednesday at 6pm. Eat before you come!

Christmas play! December 17th Following potluck! Invite your friends!

Sunday December 18th Brunch and Christmas cookie exchange at 10:30am at Susan’s House. All the ladies are invited. Bring two dozen cookies/treats to exchange!

Miss a sermon? Check out our Youtube Channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeqN0iDN8RGwPJFgoLx0b9Q


So Thankful!

Every year during this season we have opportunity to stop and thank God for…….everything.   That is the beauty of Thanksgiving.  It is not about shopping, not about getting or even about feasting.  We can and do find all sorts of reasons for those things.  Instead it is just about being thankful.  What are you thankful for?
 
I thought about making a list of the top 100, or possibly 50, maybe just 10 things I am thankful for, but alas this e-bulletin would be too long.   So I will just limit it to three.  If you are like me it is difficult to rank them.  Once you decide on the one that you could say is number one, then you would think of one more important!  So suffice it to say these are some of the most important ones, but there may indeed be others that would in some way be more significant.  I am so blessed and there are so many.
 
1.  I am thankful for my wife and the incredible marriage that we have.  As a couple we continue to grow in this new season of our lives.  God is continuing to teach us and grow us together.  It is impossible for me to describe how wonderful that is.
 
2.  I am thankful for my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren.  If I had drawn up the ultimate possibilities when my children were in diapers about what it would look like when they were young adults, I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome.  I of course have a fathers pride in my children and grandchildren (may the Northern Tribe of Clan Henderson increase!) but even more importantly they are all serving the Lord with zeal and passion.  Nothing in this world compares to the joy of experiencing and sharing that. 
 
3.  I am thankful for our church family. We are growing as a church and it is so amazing to see.  People are stretching their wings.  Leaders are leading, disciples are discipleing, prayers are praying and all of us are joining in.  The fruit of all that we are doing is beginning to show up in so many areas.  When I think of our church I have joy and excitement in my heart for all that is happening!
 
I am truly a blessed man and I could never express the gratitude in my heart to my Savior for the blessings I have.  
 
Tomorrow we celebrate with our Thanksgiving Potluck,  and during the worship service you will have opportunity to give thanks to the Lord for what he is doing and has done in  your life.  Spend some time tonight and tomorrow contemplating, what will you give praise to God for this year.
 
See you at church,
 
Pastor Chris


A Heart for 300

How big is your heart? I know about the size of your fist, but what about your other heart? You know the one that cares for people? This week we are gong to be talking about climbing, specifically being a church of 300, and the question we need to answer is not “What technique will we use to get there?” It will not be “How can we do this that or the other thing that will suddenly cause us to grow to 300?” Even though we have to think about programs and practicality, these are not the most important questions.
 
What is more important is simply assessing the condition of our heart. Church growth is not about numbers, it is about people.   It is not about statistics it is about souls.   It is not about attendance but about caring for people.
 

If our hearts are focused on the caring, the serving, the gathering, and the healing, then the numbers will take care of themselves. This week we look at Vision 2020 and what we are attempting to do as a church. Come spend some time reflecting on your heart and be inspired to keep climbing.

 See you at church,

Pastor Chris



Future Promises

Right now our world is in midst of political chaos of the likes I have never seen in my life time, arguably you haven’t either. Elections always have consequences but some more than others. The consequences of this election will be profound and worldwide no matter the outcome. People all over the world are hedging. Some are rushing the US border right now trying to get in either because they are afraid they will be kept out or because they think they will be rewarded with citizenship, it is hard to tell. Investors are in full retreat getting their money out as fast as they can without making the house of cards collapse. He who gets out first gets out best. Fundamental questions of who will be on the Supreme Court and the implications of the future decisions that they make could very well impact a whole generation. Even wars once considered unthinkable are considered as candidates throw out terms like no fly zones or reconsidering the wisdom of long held alliances. Daily we are reminded of the depth of the moral and financial corruption and interconnection in our political/media industrial complex. Even branches of the government are being pitted against one another. No one knows how it will turn out. There is one thing we know for sure; most of the promises the politicians are making will not be kept.
 
How beautiful it is that God is the complete opposite. In fact, it is so comforting and reassuring during these very times to consider His promises. He will never leave us or forsake us. We have nothing to fear. He has, is, and will forgive us. We have freedom in Christ. And finally the promise we will focus on tomorrow: Jesus is coming back to make all of this right again. Come Lord Jesus come.
 
Hang in there we have only 4 more days to go.
 
Come to church and find some encouragement!
 

Pastor Chris



Freedom!

What image or idea really resonates when you think of freedom?   Is it something like the freedom experienced those in bondage who are finally free? Unfortunately that is not an image that is only for yesteryear.   We continue to have people who are sold as sex slaves even in our area. Maybe you think of the freedom to do as you choose or say what you like. Increasingly that freedom seems to be getting smaller these days. Maybe you think of freedom from debt, that moment when you can burn your mortgage or no longer have to make payments on your car. Whatever experience helps you relate, it is universally true that humans relish freedom.

It is for this reason that the promise of God for freedom is so powerful. We all feel the weight of slavery to sin. We all experience the paralysis that comes when we experience the bondage of fear. The pressure to perform or achieve can also so entangle as to make us completely unproductive. And when temptation comes our way to feel trapped and unable to resist is its own brand of slavery. The good news is that God has made us free from all of these!

This week we will focus on the promise of freedom. “….whoever the Son has set free, is free indeed!”

Come be encouraged in freedom!

Pastor Chris



Safety Net

Recently there have been a couple of really crazy things done by some daredevils. One that was completely nuts was the feat of Luke Aikens from Grahm, WA.   He dove out of an airplane at 25,000 feet with out a parachute. He did have a safety net, but that is all he had. So many things could have gone wrong that would have resulted in his death. But through his skill and fortune he was successful and landed in the net. 

A second daredevil was a fellow by the name of Nik Wallenda. He did something that was at least similarly dangerous. He first walked across the Grand Canyon on a tight wire without a safety net. Wind gusts, stretching wire, the concentration needed, all of it came together with his incredible walk. He too could have been killed had something gone wrong.

There is a part of us that likes the crazy adventure aspect of what these people did. But the more reasonable part of us understands that what they did was simply a special brand of insanity. In both of these instances there were no do overs, there was no grace, and there was no opportunity for failure. I am so glad our Savior had a better plan than to have us walking without a net. Jesus Christ is our safety net.

 It is not that we can somehow take sin less seriously or have no concern for sin. Sin is horrible and it always introduces death into what ever it touches. Sins natural consequences should be enough to deter us, but all too often they do not. We hypothesize, rationalize, or in some other way justify our sin. Our hearts are deceitful and will convince us that it is ok, its not. But imagine the fear, the paralysis of that would occur if there was no safety net. Constantly afraid of failure, impurity, fear would be our new master.   How great the fathers love for us …… and it is His love that drives out fear. Without fear we can dare be in the world but not of it. Without fear we take on great challenges, even in our human frailty. Without fear we can know that we are not in relationship with Christ because of our perfection, but rather it is because of His perfection. 

This week continuing on in looking at The Promises we will be looking at the promise of forgiveness. How blessed we are to have a safety net.

 See you at church,

 Pastor Chris



Trimmings

Fall is falling and soon it will be time to trim and prune fruit trees. Now I don’t really know a whole lot about trimming trees. I just make it look the way I want. My brother on the other hand, knows a lot about pruning trees. He has a horticulture degree from Oregon State, and has done a fair bit of pruning. If you prune a tree correctly then the tree will actually bear more fruit the next year. If you do it incorrectly you can end up with lots of leaves and little fruit. It pays to know how to prune your trees.

Jesus says that God is the gardener and He is the vine. God prunes the fruitful to help them produce more fruit, and to the unfruitful He cuts off.   The branches that are cut off die, wither and are eventually gathered together and burned in the fire. The key says Jesus is to remain in Him. If we remain in Him we will bear fruit. But if we don’t remain in Him then we can produce nothing, and that is to risk the possibility of being cut off. So it seems that the question we then need to be asking is what do we do to remain in Him?

Having looked at God’s self revelation, our opportunity to begin a relationship with Jesus, and what it means to be baptized; this week we will look at how we stay connected in communion with God. No one wants to end up in the pile of trimmings!

 

See you at church.

 

Pastor Chris



Remember

It was hot, but not oppressively so. We went down a road to the river. It was a new spot. I think we only used it the once because there were some monster ruts in the road. I remember clambering over the round river rocks, the sweet smell of the cottonwoods, and flitting of the neon blue dragonflies.   People all gathered round as my dad and I went in the water. There were others who would be baptized that day as well. It was cold but it kind of felt good. I don’t remember the look on my dads face, or really very much about the event itself. But I remember after we got out of the water and were standing on the bank, with the Elders praying over me, I felt powerful. I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t and wouldn’t do for Christ. I remember feeling happy.

When I think back on it now I realize that the meaning and the significance of the event has only grown over time. At one point I may have only understood it as my next step, or something I was to do out of obedience. But the richness of Baptism has only continued to blossom in both my understanding and the depth of worship that it truly is.

This week in the New Beginnings sermon series we are going to talk about baptism. I will talk about its significance, and not only what it means but also why each person should personally participate in this great remembering sign. Have you personally participated in baptism? If not you will have opportunity to consider it. If you have then I encourage you to remember it.

God bless,

Pastor Chris