Godly wisdom vs Earthly Wisdom

So this past Sunday, February 23rd, I preached on Genesis 13, where Abram and Lot went there separate ways. Im pretty proud of the content, even though i can find many critiques about my delivery. What feedback do you all have?

 

Casey

Matthew 6:25-34

Finally got what we were promised!

So when we moved up to the base of Mt St Helens, we were told to expect rain (more than the Portland Metro area), wind (east winds are strong here) and snow. We are at the base of the mountain after all.  And in the month and a half that we have been up here, we have gotten a little bit.

The first week we got an inch that the kids were able to go out and have a blast in, so we were already getting more than we normally would back down in Portland.

After that we have gotten a few dustings, but this has been the driest winter on record up to this point.

Then this morning happened…
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And we got it the wind with it too. Our car is parked completely under a carport and still looks like this…

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The car ended the night with three inches of snow on it. Under the carport.

 

Now we are told to expect another round tomorrow night. The pastor here has pics of two or three winters ago where the snow is stacked so highyou cant see out of any of the windows in the church. Right now its beautful outside…

 

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But the kids are gonna have a blast tomorrow, I can promise you that!

Oh, and Minnesotans, you are free to laugh at us right now, Hope is!

 

Casey

Psalm 148:8

the armor of God

So The passage from Ephesians about putting on the Armor of God has been coming up a lot in the last few weeks and so I went back to my old blog and adapted this post and revised it for current posting.

 

Ephesians 6:10-20

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

 

How often do we dress ourselves in the WHOLE armor of God.  The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness and peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, and prayer.

 

 

Look at those pieces;

Truth

Righteousness

Readiness

Peace

Faith

Salvation

The Word of God

Prayer.

These are the things that we need to dress ourselves with everyday. These will help us win our battle against the powers and principalities, the spiritual forces of darkness. How often do we believe the truth but not pray, or have peace about our salvation? Each of these things individually does not do a lot to help us. That is why we need the WHOLE armor of God.

Another thing to note when looking at these things is that all of them are defensive, protection items except for one, “The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” The sword is an offensive weapon. When Satan is tempting Jesus in the desert, Jesus attacks him and rebukes him with the Word of God. The single most important thing a Christian can do to stay walking with God is to stay immersed in his word.

 

Each day remember to focus on truth, righteousness, peace, readiness, faith, salvation, prayer and the Word of God.

Casey

Matthew 10:34

 

It’s all about the kids!!!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  I, (Hope), have always loved this verse and sentiment, because it first shows how Jesus loved the children and that they were important to Him.   Also, and I might be reading into it a bit, but “there’s is the kingdom of heaven”  is true here on earth as well.  They will take over the earthly kingdom when we have all finished messing up what we can.  These children that come to youth group and good news club, or Awana, are the future financial planners, judges, real estate developers, teachers, doctors, bums on the side of the road…  what can we do to help or hurt???

Well, I have started teaching good news club weekly for about 20 kids that come right from school to the church for club.  The fun thing is that less than half of the kids actually go to our church, so it’s a fun outreach as well as an opportunity to work with the kids.  GNC is a part of Children Evangalism Fellowship.  It stresses the gospel with every lesson, and is VERY structured, which is great, but keeps me on a short leash, which might be a good thing!  We have to adhere to what is in place, because we will only be here a year, and then they take it over again, so it doesn’t make sense to change something and change it back.

The kids are great, of course!  We have the three boys in the back that like to roughouse, but have lots of fun answers.  The four girls who sit close on 3 chairs, whispering and answering for each other.  The shy boy in front who loves to be called on, but is nervous to raise his hand.  They really get into the lessons and games, but are shy singers.  They are from 1st to 6th grade, and every face that looks up at me during that hour I have them every week makes me want to pour more time and care into how I present these stories of Jesus’ life, and His work on the cross.  These precious children that Jesus loves choose to hang out at church after school, which means their hearts and ears are open to His word.  If only we were that open as adults, giving up time during the week to hang out and talk about Jesus with the excitement I get from them.

We also are starting the youth group up again after a year of nothing!  They will be 7th – 12th graders from the church and community.  We’ve been told to expect 20 on a good day.  They were used to the boys and girls going through separate studies, so we are really changing the format and getting everyone together for Casey’s teaching.  We are kicking off on Super Bowl Sunday, and watching the second half of the game at our house, and then seeing what the group wants to study by having them ask questions they have about faith, the bible, God, anything they want to know about.  We are praying that God will give us a clear direction for the youth group because there are really no parameters here, and the youth in this community really don’t have much to do, much leadership, not a lot of responsibility in the church,  and seem to be the age most in need right now.  You know when you get that fire in your heart when you see what God’s doing in a group or area, I don’t think these kids have had that for some time, and I am praying we can get that fire and vision, and show them that they matter to God and the church.

This church we are serving at does so much for so many ages and issues, and the kids are well loved.  I get to be a part of that with good news club.  Now we get to pick up the gauntlet with a small but important area that is less represented and create something new.  Pleas pray for God’s guidance and will, and discernment with where these kids are, who will be good student leaders, not just fake it well, which we have a few of.  Thank you for caring for the kids, both in our area and your own.

 

Our Weakness is Gods Strength

So today was the day. January 12, 2014 was the day I first got up in the pulpit and preached my first sermon. I was given the parameters of giving my testimony rooted in Scripture. One of the funniest parts was that the verse I based my sermon on, (Hebrews 11:6) I had not noticed until just a few weeks ago at one of the Bible Studies Ive been attending since moving up here.

I had already been working on this sermon for over a week and had no idea what I would be saying. Then, over the course of a day and a half, good revealed to me what direction this would take. I took inspiration from that verse,  and from a book called The Explicit Gospel by Pastor Matt Chandler.

It only ended up being about 20 minutes, but with my nervousness and lack of experience, Im just fine with that. Thank fully the good people at Pleasant View Community Church posted it very quickly so here it is.

Questions, comments, concerns?

Any and all feedback welcome!

 

Casey

Matthew 7:21-27

 

 

 

Foundations

It has happened.

I am now answering to the title of “Pastor.” Combine this with having my first sermon marked on the calender (Jan. 12th) and my daily duties at the church, reality has hit and my life has changed forever, and my families lives as well.  Normally, I would be freaking out, having major doubts, or looking for any reason to question this momentous change.

And yet…. nothing.

Instead, there is a firm confirmation in my mind and in my spirit that this is exactly what I was meant to do.

God really has made me a Pastor…

There’s a mix of the funniest joke ever and the biggest life change miracle in that statement. I would never had guessed that God would be using me for his Kingdom in this way.

And in this, I am seeing how God built a strong foundation in my life. Its a foundation of knowledge, studying His Word, prayer, talking through doubts and questions along the way, listening when he speaks. I am seeing  how he chooses to open and close doors in our lives as he guides us. I am seeing the importance of others in our plans. I am seeing how encouragement, prayer and financial support, guidance and advice have a major impact on what we personally do, even if they have no idea at the time.

The sheer amount of time it can take to build these foundations is amazing. Yes, God can and does work very quickly in many peoples lives. But in my life, He only seems to move quickly after he has spent a long time working on me, building that foundation and He has prepared me for the next steps. Im already on my toes, so to speak.

Now, as a Pastor, interacting with others in the church daily, I am excited to teach, encourage, and help in any way I can others around me so that they can build their foundations of faith and plans for the future. I am also reminded that I need to continue to keep even closer to Jesus and his plan for me.  I need to do this to keep me from wandering form my path and thereby impacting others in a negative way.  It also highlights grace and forgiveness, both my need for them and the importance of sharing them with others.

As we get to the end of this this year and get ready to start a new one, with plans and “resolutions” of improving and changing, I ;ray that we all look at the foundations that are currently in our lives and which foundations need to be replaced, and which foundations we are placing our hopes and dreams in. I pray that we look at who we are allowing to help build our foundations.

I want to encourage us all  help build up others and help lay their foundations. We never know what tiny stone we add to that persons foundation can play an integral part. Many of you don’t know how much your stones have help my foundation.

Thank you, God Bless and Happy New Year

 

Casey

Matthew 16:13-20

Welcome to Yale!

 

Greetings from Washington!!

     So, we are fully moved in and have started working at the church.  The people are awesome, and we have gotten the best holiday cookie baskets ever! We have had snow for the last full week, and lots of fog, so the twists and turns driving have been done carefully. Small town life is fun!  We are about an hour “from town”, which is Vancouver.  Though many of the folks actually use the phrase, “down river”!!!  It’s really fun!  We are the only church in town, so we go to church with our postman, the fire chief, the local trapper, half the volunteer fire department, and the family that discovered the Ape Caves, a series of caves, well known in the area, and a great tourist destination.  We have been able to be a part of delivering Christmas baskets for the community, so we have already visited many in the area, and are getting used to the area, with roads that aren’t on the map! Casey has been out with the men, using a new toy, the log splitter. The kids are settling in well, thanks for the prayers on that topic.  There are some families with younger children, so Finn is thrilled.  There are lots of grandmas in the church, so Caleb is happy with all of  the snuggles!  Rosie is still sticking closely to mommy, but is beginning to warm up a bit. We also have the local “Mr. Wilson” next door, one of the families we delivered a Christmas basket to, and he seemed to do well with Casey, so that was a fun surprise!

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            Casey is starting to settle into his duties, which will be light until after the new year, but something big has come up…the date for his first sermon, which will be January 12th!!!  He is a bit freaked out, but very excited.  The pastor here is very good, very biblically based and a teaching pastor, so Casey’s joke is that it wouldn’t be that bad if he didn’t have to follow Pastor Rob!  He will be giving his testimony, rooted in scripture.  It will be a way for him to start off with a pretty easy topic for him, and will be a way for the congregation to get to know him.  I am so proud of him, and that his excitement is greater than his fear!

            We know that coming up we will be busy with church duties.  Casey will be preaching at least once a month, have custodial duties, we will be teaching a bible study, as well as running the youth group.  I will be working with a weekly after school kids program and helping here and there, when able. 

            We are praising God for the wonderful welcome from the church and the community, the children’s transition going well, and seeing how amazing this internship is going to be for Casey.  Pastor Rob teaches the way Casey learns and has a true heart for others, though loves to talk, so I never expect him home quite on time after their meetings! And of course the beautiful country up here is a continual blessing! We so appreciate your prayers, and are already seeing and feeling God’s answer in a big way.  Thank you so much.  We ask for continued prayers for transition, relating to people we meet, and that we can really hit the ground running.  When there’s someone new in the community, and especially with people coming to church during the holidays who normally don’t darken the door, there is a huge opportunity to reach out and connect that we really don’t want to miss.  We also pray for balance and discernment.  We have lots of ideas, want to volunteer for all we can, but we want to really be in God’s plan and be a help and blessing, without overextending or burning out. Please send us an email if there is anything we can pray for on your end. Let us know if it’s confidential or public and we will post some of the public ones here to get more people praying. The more the better.   

            Finally, thank you all for taking an interest in our calling and our activities. We are planning on posting smaller, more regular posts. Some will be stories from our mission, some stories of the family, etc. I, Hope will also be looking to post some homemade  recipes as well, cleaning supplies, lotions and such,  as well as  various homemade food ideas and successes. We love you all and thank you for joining us on this ride. 

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