Great things are happening!!!

Hi! We wanted to give you all an update about what God has been doing in our little valley in WA.  And, it was recently pointed out to us that we have not been posting or updating as much as we could/should be, so this is the first step in fixing that, thanks for the patience and understanding… now, on to the cool stuff!!!

I (Hope) have been teaching an after school bible club for the elementary kids every week, and this Thursday is our last day.  It has been wonderful teaching and learning from these kids the last 4 months.  One of our little guys, he comes faithfully, though his parents don’t come to church.  He is eager to learn, has the answers, and loves participating.  Recently, I got to have a great conversation with him about how when we are forgiven of our sin, God takes it away, never to return, as far as the east is from the west.  He was so happy to know that he didn’t have to keep asking for forgiveness over and over again.  What a great lesson for us all.

Another of my boys, who hadn’t liked coming, though he was encouraged by his mom, is now loving it, excited about the bible lessons and going home to share them with is parents, and is actually the encourager to his whole family to get up on Sunday mornings and get to church on time.  He is eager to hear about Jesus and His word.

Another girl, she just loves God.  She knows every answer, all the time, and melts my heart.  She hasn’t gotten the best hand in life, but she is leaning on her Heavenly father and trusting Him with a child’s pure faith that I pray carries her through her life, because life doesn’t always get easier.

When I started, there were siblings that came, but didn’t enjoy it as much.  Wouldn’t participate, sing with us, or anything else, for that matter.  now they are answering questions, smiling as they come in the door, and are right in the middle of the excitement.  I could go on about every one of these precious kids, but that would take forever.  Needless to say, I have been so blessed to work with them, learn from them, and be a better GNC teacher next fall when we start it all up again!  So during our final party on Thursday, if you hear some noise an mayhem, just know it’s us, celebrating another  Good News Club year on the books!

We also have lots of amazing things in the adult world!  We have a weekly prayer meeting with seperate men’s and women’s groups.  One such prayer has been for relatives of one of our dear friends here.  They have recently been contemplating a dangerous faith road.  Casey had the opportunity of making a connection with the man, invite him to bible study and church, and he has come to both!!!  And tonight, brought another of their relatives!!! He is searching and we are excited, knowing that God will meet him and do amazing things in his life and his family.  As an aside, the Men’s bible study, which normally runs about 10 guys has been growing, and is now at 16!!!  They are a really great bunch of guys, as Casey says, and loves that part of his job is to simply be with them, studying with them, encouraging, teaching, and learning from them.  Especially when it’s about smoking meats or learning where all the good fishing spots are.

With the sweets comes the sour.  It seems like everyone nowadays is touched by cancer one way or another.  We have a couple members of our church battling this and it is devastating to see such wonderful people suffer.  And yet in this hell they are going through, we can still see God working.  It has made our time with them all the more precious, and it reminds me of the Apostle Paul, when he talked of running the race and finishing well.  It’s easy to start strong, but these women are choosing to finish strong as well, showing faith and Grace in spades.  They are a constant testimony of God using evil for good, and trusting that true healing can only come through Christ, and physical healing may be here on earth, or when they walk with Jesus in heaven.  One of Casey’s aunts is fighting this battle as well, and is taking an aggressive faith filled and naturopathic approach, showing that only God knows when to stop fighting, and God, being the great physician, can heal us inside and out.

We are also blessed to continue working with the youth group, seeing the depth of faith and maturity in young men and women, being shown how old we really are when they don’t know who Sienfeld is, or thinking Def Leopard is classic rock.  We are getting our summer schedule together, and it is going to be awesome~ we are contemplating a weekend Christian rock concert with great speakers, as well as a overnight lock-in at the church.  We have been doing service projects around the community, weather permitting, and are about to kick off a prayer walk/ stretching our faith activity, asking people in our neighborhoods for their prayer requests, reguardless of church affiliation, belief in God at all, or anything else.  It’s part of what the ladies prayer group is doing in their individual streets, doing personal prayer while walking, praying for those around us.  We are excited to see how it challenges the kids and the neighborhood impact.

We are so blessed to be put here to help, encourage, grieve with, and serve our church and surrounding community in the Lewis River valley, and thank you all for supporting us in this, knowing that through your prayers, this is your ministry, as well as ours.  Thank you so much for all you do, helping us here, and in your own communities.

Love in Christ,

Casey and Hope

Great Quote

This is a great quote that God had me “accidentally stumble across this evening…

“The job description of the preacher, in other words, is not to say many different things but to say the same thing over and over again in many different ways. We have one main message to declare: “Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).”

Tullian Tchividjian (Grandson of Billy Graham)

 

Casey

Romans 1:16

Farm fresh food! Coming Soon!

So every spare moment we have had this week has been spent getting our garden tilled, and planted. I havent measured it, but Hope estimates that it is roughly 10 ft by 30 ft. We are planting garlic, green onions, different herbs, lettuces, cucumbers, potatoes, and, because its me, hot peppers.

 

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We have not been able to do a garden in previous years because of our apartments. Not that we were in apartments, but the one we were in did not receive direct sunlight and the few things we tried to plant did not work out (with the exception of rosemary, that did wonderful!).

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This year, because of where we are the biggest problem is going to be making sure the deer dont eat it all before we do! I can not wait for it to grow and the fresh foods and the canning and all of it! Im sure we will be sharing pictures of it as it is coming along.

 

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Casey

James 1:17

Mens Bible Study this week

Testing of Your Faith Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

(James 1:2-8 ESV)

Casey

Romans 5:3

Prepping for my next Sermon

So Im am prepping to do my next sermon on May 18th and I will be preaching on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I will post the passage here from Luke 10:25-37. What do you take from this? I want to hear the obvious as well as the deeper, not so obvious…

The Parable of the Good Samaritan And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37 ESV)

Casey

Welcome Back Baseball….

Its the greatest time of year. Spring Training is over. The smell of freshly cut grass and hotdogs and peanuts are in the year. Every team has a chance, Its opening Day.

But withe baseball (FINALLY!!!!) back, I thought I would share some wonderful quotes (mostly the same as last year, but I hope to add some more throughout the day) and a video at the end that gives me goose bumps every time I watch it. Do you have nay great quotes to add? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you.- Roy Campanella

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. ~A. Bartlett Giamatti, “The Green Fields of the Mind,” Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977

You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. ~Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970

“Character, Courage, Loyalty.”

Little League Motto

One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something- Nolan Ryan

Don’t tell me about the world. Not today. It’s springtime and they’re knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. ~Pete Hamill

That’s the true harbinger of spring, not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of a bat on a ball. ~Bill Veeck, 1976

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. ~Rogers Hornsby

Baseball is beautiful….the supreme performing art. It combines in perfect harmony the magnificent features of ballet, drama, art, and ingenuity.-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn

 

 

 

Casey

Proverbs 16:3

3 months in Yale!!!

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since we arrived in Yale, WA!  The months have flown by, and life is changing quickly.  In our own family, Caleb is now 6 months and crawling, Rosie has decided talking is fun and is now speaking in paragraphs, and Finn turns 4 in just two days!  We all are enjoying being out in the country, and love being outside as much as possible.

Our ministry is growing and expanding.  Casey has preached a few times, and people are shocked that he’s nervous, because they can’t see it.  He’s been helping teach the men’s bible study, as well as the adult bible study.  We have a weekly prayer time with the men and women that is also amazing.  There are some mighty prayer warriors here in the valley.  I am helping with mom’s bible study, and am teaching an after school kid’s class until the end of may for the 1st – 5th grades.  These kids are amazing and sweet.  1/2 don’t go to church at all, and are hearing some of these bible stories for the first time.  Their questions and enthusiasm are wonderful and insightful, I am learning as well as leading.

We have really been pouring into the youth group, 7th-12th grades.  We’ve shared a little about them, but they hadn’t really had much for quite a while other than some sunday school.  We have an average of 15 kids, and are growing.  We officially outgrew meeting at our house this last week and are invading the church, which is fun. These young people have lots to contend with, between home situations, school, and just being teenagers.  They are eager to learn, share, and grow, meeting our challenges to them and really taking their faith into their own hands and making it their own, knowing what they believe and why.  We just took them to the Son of God movie, and that made for interesting discussion.  They saw they knew more of the bible than they thought, pointing out missing parts of the story or conflicting events.  They are quite smart and, well, just wonderful.

We are really getting to know others in the valley, as well.  A big part of our ministry is just being with the people, visiting with them, and sharing our lives together.  One family in the congregation just adopted their 6th son, and we were able to be there with them, which was awesome!  He quickly became one of Finn’s best friends here, and our families have become close, so it was extra special to be there to celebrate with them.

There are many we are becoming close with that do not attend church, some that aren’t that interested in faith, and these are the people we have to be especially consistent with,  caring, being there when they need, and living our faith in friendship.  This is when God reveals Himself and shows His faithfulness.

We would ask for prayer for our community in some different ways.  There is not really any direct employment in our community, so jobs are scarce and commuting to Vancouver or Portland is tough on people and on families.  The kids here can spend as much as 3-4 hours a day on the bus.  Many believing women in our church community have husbands who are either apethetic toward church or outright hostile, so they are having to carry the spiritual burden for themselves and their children.  As with other older congregations, many health issues plague our church.  Cancer, heart issues, and other physical ailments keep many home instead of having fellowship with friends.  I know these concerns are not unique to our area, and your communities are facing other issues that we would love to pray for as well.  We have a prayer request page link that you could write in, or just send it directly to us, letting us know if we can/should share it in our church prayer time, here, or keep it to ourselves. This is how we can be the body of Christ for each other, no matter where we are.  Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support, which helps us do the work we feel God is giving us to do here in Yale.  We thank God for you every day.

 

A mother’s joy

As mothers, we get to share our faith with our children often.  Sometimes by reading bible stories, other times answering questions, and sometimes using life as object lessons.  With all, we pray that some of it sticks.  You know the verse, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  I do this often, just praying that a tenth of the good I teach sinks in, not the things I do wrong.  But I was reminded this last week, that it is not what I say or do that gets to my childs’ hearts, it is Christ Himself and His word that works in their lives.  I got to see that with Finn.

I was in the kitchen, cooking dinner, when he came around the corner, cute as could be, playing a little doggy guitar his aunt had given him for his last birthday.  He started singing, not asking me to be his audience, like many other times.  He already had one.  He sang, ” I love Jesus, God you are strong, God you are the only super hero in real life, God is good for sin, He takes our sin and timeouts.  God you are beautiful.”

My 3 year old was praising God, and in his simple song, was more profound than many so called preachers in the pulpit on any given Sunday.  He, with his child-like faith, showed understanding I strive for and miss on many days.  I bent down, misty-eyed, and thanked him for singing.  He asked me, “mommy, did you like my song?”

“Yes, Honey, I think it’s the best song I’ve ever heard in my life.”  I got to see the grip God has on his life, and am so excited for his next song.

What Lent is and is not

What Lent is and what it is not

                There is a lot of confusion out there about what Lent is and what it is not. This is my attempt to clarify things. First, Lent is not mentioned in the Bible. It is an extra biblical tradition, and if done with the right heart, one of the best ones, in my opinion.

What it is not: Lent is not a time to change yourself, though it may have that effect. It is not a time to change the world, though we should be trying to do that. It is not a way to prove how good of a Christian or how disciplined you are. It is not a way to earn righteousness or favor with God.

What Lent is: Lent is primarily about remembering Jesus sacrifice for us. It combines two sacrifices he made, with one obviously infinitely more important than the other.  Jesus, while preparing for his ministry, spent 40 days in the wilderness, fasting and praying. At the end of the 40 days, Jesus was able to refute the temptations that Satan provide him with. This is where we get the 40 days of Lent.

But Jesus also sacrificed his body and his life to defeat sin and death and so that we would have the opportunity for eternal salvation. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice. He died on Good Friday and was raised up on Easter Sunday. This date is the most important date in the history of the worlds and is one of joyous celebration for Christians around the world. We end the period of Lent on Easter Sunday as a celebration that Jesus sacrifices was completed and successful.

The reason to practice Lent: Lent is intended to be a way for us to remember how hard the sacrifice was that Jesus made. We have a tendency to take for granted the historical fact that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead. We forget just how much of an effect this has on us. Lent is a way for us to get closer to God, to align ourselves with God’s will and most importantly, to remember the ultimate sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

How to practice Lent: These are just going to be some principals on how to implement this so as not become legalistic. It is meant to give some ideas, not to be a rule book or a checklist. If you give up something that you purchase, such as Starbucks, or ice cream, use the money you would spend and donate it to a charity or to your church. When you give this money over, remember 2 things; first, it was not your money anyway. God gave it to you and now you are giving some back. Second, the money and the coffee you are sacrificing is nothing compared to the sacrifice that Jesus gave in our place. If you are giving up a hobby or a meal or something that takes time, take the time that you would be eating lunch and use it to study the Word, or pray.

Again, the point of Lent is to remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus Christ, who is God, came down from heaven as a man, lived a perfect life, committed no sin, died on the cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose from the dead to defeat Satan, sin and death. Live this and celebrate this.

Casey

Hebrews 10:1-18

Active Faith, and Holy Spirit convictions

So here is the follow up to my sermon on Genesis 13. This ism y sermon on Genesis 14! Its names you can never pronounce, more than you ever thought you would hear about Melchizedek and learning that people cant change before they meet Jesus, they need Jesus in order to change.

Thanks ahead of time for the feedback!

 

 

 

Casey

Proverbs 8:1-11