Message from the Pastors

Message from the Pastors

Christmas in October

For the past month-and-a-half Christine and I have been working on our Christmas Eve Family Service.  Not only contemplating how Covid will make it different this year, but what we want to talk about and focus on, and how kids and students might be able to be involved.  This has been a somewhat new experience for me, since I am usually pretty strict on when I let myself begin to celebrate holidays.  I don’t like to listen to Christmas music…

Bitesize Chunks

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, February 25, 2020, Anders Hoffman completed Project Iceman. Just under 73 hours after starting (including 27 hours sheltering from a blizzard), he had finished the first Ironman-distance triathlon in Antarctica. There were many points when he thought he wouldn’t make it, his body constantly telling him to give up. The only way through was to divide the distance into manageable chunks and just get through that next chunk. This is what he’d done…

The Great Exchange

Our men’s group studied Romans 1:18-23 this week.  In this passage, Paul explains how sinful humanity exchanges the worship of God, their creator, for the worship of creatures.  In other words, humanity exchanges true worship for idolatry.  It began in the garden when Adam and Eve were deceived, and exchanged the truth of God for a lie.  They exchanged their loyalty to God for loyalty to themselves and self-preservation.  This downward exchange continues to this day in all sorts of…

The Apostles’ Creed

Several weeks ago, we recited the Apostles’ Creed during a worship service. In preparation for that service and afterwards, I talked with a few pastors about the significance of the Creed. These conversations prompted me to start memorizing it, and to encourage you to join me!   Bernard wisely says that “Though liturgy often gets a bad rap, much thought went into prayers and creeds we’re familiar with, like the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Nicene Creed. There…

Embracing the Unreasonable

Last week before our Livestream recording I shared with the gathered worship team the following. My wife Milann and I are very close to Dave and Linda Doolin. As many of you know, they recently moved to Oregon. The Doolin’s arrived safely, but the moving van and all their possessions were consumed in a firestorm. Everyone on the music team at one time or another have had fellowship in their home. Dave and Linda are the ultimate hosts, welcoming every…

New Wine is for Fresh Wineskins

This week in Women’s Bible Studies, part of our lesson was from Mark 2:18-22.  When Jesus is asked why his disciples do not fast, he explains that the wedding guests don’t fast while the bridegroom is with them.  Jesus is proclaiming he’s the bridegroom and while he’s with the people, it’s not time to fast but to feast and fasting will come when he’s taken away. Then Jesus speaks of patching an old garment with new fabric and how it won’t hold.  Nor…

And Tonight’s Winner Is …

When I first saw the schedule for the blog and today’s date next to my name, I didn’t think much about it. Rotating through the staff, my turn to write an entry comes up roughly every four weeks, but somehow the September 29 date caught my attention. Then it came to me… tonight will be the first debate between the two major party presidential candidates, so you may be reading this either just before the debate if you have taken a…

The Apostle of Lake Tahoe

Heaven has received another saint this week. Jeff Heaton’s dad, Jim Heaton died on Sunday, September 20. Emily and I considered Jim and Marion to be our spiritual parents. After our son David died, they invited us into their home for dinner once a week for a year— the best gift a young couple could receive when they are swallowed in grief. Being inspired by Edith Schaeffer’s story of L’Abri, they asked God to use their home for his kingdom and God answered…

Trust in the Work of God

At the end of each school year I read the following passage to our 8th graders:  “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.  We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages.  We are impatient of being in the way of something unknown, something new.  And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability –…

Seek What Lasts

Love never ends… or does it? Contrary to Paul’s words here, often love is one of the first things to end. It seems that Love must make way in the face of our preferences, opinions and traditions. Like all good things, it seems all too easy for Love to come to an end. Bad things are so difficult to shake and refuse to stay gone. By contrast, good things have a tendency to slip through our fingers. So how can…

A Year of Uncertainty

2020 is the year of “oppressive uncertainty.”  Ray Barbieri Isn’t that how we all feel?  Oppressively uncertain. Constantly uncertain.  And we want certainty because certainty brings a measure of peace and safety and security.  Yet this year is stretching our patience, to say the least. In the 11th century, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Italian monk and theologian, wrote this, “Let us live with uncertainty as with a friend.”  Say what?  A friend? That seems like a not so fun place…

Found in Christ

A few weeks ago, we looked Philippians 3:1-11 in bible study. One person said “This text challenges me.” It’s challenging because Paul had such a deep trust in Jesus that he could say “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.” He counted earthly things (like his lineage and education) as rubbish, and counted knowing Christ as worthy. Can we say that with the same passion or confidence? Not me! I confess…