Give thanks to the LORD, his steadfast love endures forever

Why should we give thanks to God? and When? Here is my sermon from November 23, 2014

 

 

Would love to hear your feedback and what you all think!

 

Casey

 

Psalm 100

Busy Summer

It has been a very busy summer for the Fire Department in our area. I say this because of what Ive been told, not because I have any other summers to compare it to. This is a rural fire district that stretches down x number of miles along a windy mountain highway and one other major spur of about 5 miles of the same sort of road. We are approximately 1 hr from the Portland Vancouver metro area and about an 1 and ½ hours from population centers such as Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Wilsonville, etc. We have three lakes that people come to fish, swin, hang out, etc. Lots of camping and hiking. Lots of people not from here coming up for the day or the weekend or whatever.

Most of the calls for the Fire department are medical in nature, as first responders. Whether its some one who has a bad back or asthma or faints or falls and hits his head or has a car accident or boating accident, we are the first responders until the ambulance gets there. In July, we had 29 calls in the 31 days of the month. But two calls we dont get very often are actual fires and drownings in the lakes.

From what Ive been told, we get a drowning call, once every few years or so. The last structure fire they had was about 5 years ago, when Jack’s a local landmark of a restaurant burned down and was not rebuilt. This year we have had 2 fires and three drownings. Needless to say, that’s been super busy, higher than average.

The fires are unusual but no one was hurt in either one. They are, however, physically and emotionally draining. The drownings however, are another story. Two young men and a little kids lost there lives this summer in the lakes and it hits everybody very hard. The responders I work with are some of the hardest, toughest, “manliest” men I know and many of them would hold back tears when thinking back on them or when talking with the family.

Please pray for these men and women who put their lives on hold when someone in our district calls 911. They rush out of dinner, out of bed and out of church when they get the call. They need and deserve some prayers. Next time you see some one in your community who is a paramedic or a fire fighter, thank them for the work they do. They really do literally save lives.

 

Casey

1 Samuel 2:9-10

Busy week with the Youth Group

So its been an incredibly busy week and a very rewarding one, especially where the youth group is concerned.

Last Friday night we did our Youth Group church lock-in. We had the kids get to the church at 6pm Friday night and told the parents to pick them up around 10 AM Saturday morning. We had 12 kids there total, and despite the heat, they were insistent on playing lots of different variations of tag out in the church yard. We brought them in and had snacks and soda out for them and then had a good lesson time on idols (both theoretical and practical) and prayer. We sent them out to have a half hour of individual quiet prayer time. After that we had good group discussion about what place in our priority listing we have God.

Once that discussion ended we played Sardines and other indoor games tell 3 Am when they got the itch to go back outside and play some more tag games. We came in around 430 and things started to wind down. We have a foosball table and air hockey table and a really cheap broken down kids pool table and they just entertained themselves for awhile. Around 530 some kids started to get ready to go to sleep. The girls moved over to the house with Hope and the Boys stayed with me. Some of the Boys laid down in their sleeping bag and the rest of us started a game of monopoly.

By the time the game ended, just about everyone else had gone to sleep or was going to sleep and it was right around 630 or 7. Hope and I were going to make breakfast for the kids in the morning, ut they were all asleep at that point. They were so tired that there was no way that we were going to wake them up.

All the parents got there right around 10 AM or so, and we went around waking up these walking zombies. The kids had a ton of fun and so did Hope and I. We were able to get closer to the kids and learn more about them.

Hope and I always say that quality time comes from quantity time. You cant force quality, you can just be there when it happens. Thats what has been happening lately with these kids. A few weeks ago, they did the worship for the service on Sunday and you could really start to see them come out of their shell. It took 6 months for them to be willing to do it once and now they are excited to do it more often. Our plan is for them to play every month when I preach.

So after the Lock-in, we had Youth group Sunday night. One of the ideas Hope and I had for the morning of the lock in was to do a prayer walk in the neighborhood of the church. There are about 15 houses or so within a ½ mile or so radius. Since the kids were sleeping, we did it Sunday night instead.

Our goal was two-fold. First was to show the kids how to do this and give them the support, confidence and know how. It really is quite simple and you can do it in a variety of involvement levels.

First was just walking the street, stopping at a house and saying a quick prayer for them. Ext was to talk to someone if they were outside and ask them if they had any thing specific they would like us to pray about. Third was going up to the door and letting people know we were praying and asking what they would like prayer for. The kids did great! And, there are a number of non-church going families in the neighborhood and they were all open to being prayed for as well. We even got to meet the family moving in just that day up the hill, that we probably wouldnt have met yet otherwise.

The second goal of this was to just let the neighborhood know that we were doing this and we got wonderful responses. One of the last houses we went to is the home of a wonderful couple in the church. He is a Vietnam Vet and has a whole host of medical problem because of his service and she is a wonderful saint who spends her life taking care of him. They are high school sweethearts and you can see the love in their eyes when they look at each other. With his health issues, many times visiting there is standing in the doorway talking to her with a few “Hi’s” and words of encouragement shouted in to him. This night we were able to pray for her and then she asked us in to lay hands on him and pray for him.

It was extremely obvious the effect this had on the kids. They were amazed at the power of prayer and while some of them knew this couple, it was an experience for them to see someone open up there home, being both vulnerable with the kids as well as enormously grateful.

After we got home that night, we saw the wife had made a facebook post about the visit. She posted this…

There is no limit to the blessings that are coming our way.
Just answered a knock on our door to find the youth group from the church. They wanted us to know we were constantly in our prayers.
First they all gathered around me outside to pray for us…then I invited them (all 16 of them) to come in. They gathered around Gary’s hospital bed, joined hands and prayed for him. What a blessing…I will never forget the power of that moment and the impact it appeared to have on Gary. Thank you Jesus, for your continued blessings and caring for us.

Well, needless to say that got us a little choked up, and then a got a message on facebook as well. I didnt immediately recognize the name, but she said this:

You may not know me but you have touched me in ways that words can not express… See I am (Their) daughter & tonight you took the youth group over to visit my parents and pray with them… You don’t know how much this means to them…

Simple hellos and anyone that can stop by to check on them is welcome – as they don’t get out of the house much anymore with how sick Gary is…

Thank you so much!

Blessings!

We shared these with the kids last night and it was a perfect oppurtunity to both praise God how he works through the actions you would never even suspect, but also to reinforce to the kids, how powerful prayer is. This reaction happened with (at that time) no prayers that the kids prayed, being answered. It was their presence, their love, their willingness to step up and let them know that they were praying for this house and their willingness to share.

God is the only who knows which prayers will be answered and which wont. But he tells us to pray about everything and to pray always. By doing this, the kids in our youth group were able to have an enormous emotional effect and be an encouragement on this family struggling with health issues. They were able to show the neighborhood that people love them and people are praying for them.

The positive effect was had bith on the individuals and households that they prayed for but on the youth themselves as well. These kids are amazing. They are going to grow up and do amazing things. Please keep them in your prayers and Hope and I as well, that we dont screw them up. Thanks all!

Casey

1 Timothy 4:12

The weeds and the wheat

I was asked about this parable by a friend of mine. He asked what it meant. He had some idea, but felt like some thing was missing in his understanding. I figured I would share this with the rest of you as well.

The Parable of the Weeds [24] He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, [25] but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. [26] So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. [27] And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ [28] He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ [29] But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. [30] Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30 ESV)

Who are the weeds, Who are the wheat? Well, to start off, we look a few verses later in the same chapter and we see this passage:

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

[36] Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” [37] He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. [38] The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, [39] and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. [40] Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. [41] The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, [42] and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [43] Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43 ESV)

We, as humans on earth are able, at times, to tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat. Jesus tells his disciples the following in John 13:34-35:

[34] A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. [35] By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)

But for the most part, we who belong to God are living the same as those who dont, We can not tell the difference. The point is that it is not our job to separate the wheat from the weeds, it is out Jesus job. He will do it perfectly at the end of the days. Our job is to make sure that, first, we are the wheat, and second, that as many people as possible are the wheat. Our job is to tell people that the weeds will be burned up at the end and the wheat will “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

Casey

Romans 1:16

These are a few of my favorite Things…

Ive been asked before about some of the podcasts I listen to or websites I utilize, so I thought I would put up an updated listing. THE podcasts can all be found on Itunes (most of them used to be able to be found on Zune marketplace, I miss Zune)

The websites will all have links to connect them. Hope you can check some these out and that they help or encourage. If you have any to add, please comment below or if you have experience with any of these, please let us know as well.

 

 

Podcasts:
iTunes:
Denton Bible Church– Pastor Tommy Nelson in Denton, TX. Very much a Bible teaching Church. Pastor Tommy teaches much like a professor and is renowned for his books and experiences regarding Cdepression and Marriage and Sexuality. Teaches through books of the Bible.

Downtown Bible Class– Pastor Scott Gilchrist in Portland, OR. Daily podcast that replays Pastor Scott’s weekly Wednesday teachings in Downtown Portland. This is also played on the radio daily (93.9 FM in Portland.)

Epiphany Fellowship– Pastor Eric Mason in Philadelphia, PA.

The Journey– Pastor Darrin Patrick in St. Louis, MO

People’s Church– Pastor Herbert Cooper in Oklahoma City, OK

Renovation Church– Pastor Leonce Crump II in Atlanta, GA

The Resurgence Leadership– Website started by Pastor Mark Driscoll dedicated to teaching and training those in ministry.

Mars Hill Church– Pastor Mark Driscoll in Seattle, WA. In iTunes, they have the weekly Sermon series but they also have some older sermon series available, including Vintage Jesus (giving Biblical responses to secular and religious views on Jesus), Proverbs, Revelations (focusing on worship) The Peasant Princess (on Song of Solomon) and their Teaching Audio Podcast which includes their Film & Theology talks

Truth For Life– Pastor Allister Begg in Cleveland, OH. Daily half hour teachings very similar in format to the above mentioned Downtown Bible Class, except Allister Begg does it with a Scottish accent

The Village Church– Pastor Matt Chandler in Dallas/Denton, TX. My single favorite pastor of the group

Southwest Bible Church– Pastor Scott Gilchrist in Beaverton, OR. Hope and I attended this church for a few years. I was baptized there and Finn was dedicated there

 

Beaverton Christian Church– Pastor Scott Gassoway in Beaverton, OR- By far, the best bible teaching preacher I have say under.

 

 

Websites:

www.ESVbible.org– an online Bible in my favorite translation. Read the Word from any computer

www.Blueletterbible.com– search passages, read in many different translations, compare texts, etc. great tool

www.theresurgence.com– See post about pod-casts. Great articles, training information, tips, encouragement, etc.

www.responsiblefather.com– a christian fathers blog about tips, lessons learn and stories about being a father of five.

Responsible Puppet-(http://jamsco.wordpress.com/) Same blogger as Responsible Father, but regarding theology and faith

www.lifetoheryears.com Technically not “Christian” but of the best sites I’ve found for tips, encouragements and etc. about fathers raising little girls

www.thegospelcoalition.org– a collection of great blogs, teachings and conferences

www.iamsecond.com– a collection of celebrity and semi-celebrity testimonies explaining how they have learned to put themselves second and put Jesus Christ first

www.caseyholencik.com– “Journey With Us.” Hope’s and mine blog about our family, the things Gods been teaching us and our ministry, being a missionary pastor with Village Missions to rural America.

 

Casey and Hope’s donations page- Where you can go to support Hope and I, either with a financial gift or with a monthly pledge, all tax deductable.

 

Www.village-missions.org– Keeping Country Churches Alive. Training and providing missionary pastors to churches in rural America that cant hide or attract their own, usually, but not always due to small congregations and lack of finances

www.scottgassoway.com– my former pastor and amazing insight and teachings. Often convicting in a loving, teaching way

www.pleasantview-church.org– The church where I am currently interning and serving

 

 

Hope some of these help!

 

Casey

Colossians 3:2

 

My Fathers Day Message

I had the privilege of preaching a Topical Sermon on Fathers Day this past weekend. Of the 6 or so sermons Ive done so far, this may be the one Im most proud of. Would love to hear your honest feedback. What could I have done better, what can I work on more?

 

Also, would love to hear your father memories and/or moments of your dad in honor of Fathers Day…

Kickoff to summer update

Hi everyone!

First off, Hope and I want to say Thank you to all of you who have sacrificed to support Hope and I in our mission field. We are so blown away by people’s generosity, help, prayers and encouragement. You are all such a big part of Casey’s calling. Thank you all so much. The best way he knows how to thank you all is follow God’s calling on his life by serving His people, and being a blessing to those he can reach out to as you have reached out to us.

As the summer ramps up, we have a lot going on right now in the community. This upcoming Sunday, June 22, we are holding a Youth &Family BBQ before Youth Group. We are hoping that this serves multiple functions. First, for the kids, school ends on June 20th, so this will be an official kick off to summer. Related to that, our Youth group is for 7th graders through 12th graders. Starting with the BBQ, those who were in 6th grade for this school year, and will be going to 7th grade next year will be formally invited to join the Youth Group going forward, I know of a few specifically who are very excited about this. Thirdly, this is going to serve as a chance to really get the parents of the Youth involved and invested in the youth Group. There is a direct correlation in how serious and important parents view activities to how the kids view them. IF the parents buy in, the kids are more likely to as well.

We have Vacation Bible School starting on Monday, June 30th, and running through Friday, July 4th. AS many of you know, Hope is immensely gifted as a teacher in general and with kids specifically. She will be running the preschool for VBS, so Finn, Rose and Caleb will all be able to be with her throughout the morning. This being my first experience with VBS, I will be assisting two different teachers and learning as much as I can to use going forward.

In early August, we will be taking kids in the church to camp. In another great opportunity for me to learn and gain experience, I will be the main teacher for the week. Our theme is “He is my King,” based on the SM Lockridge video that I shared a few weeks ago. If you have not seen it yet, I encourage you to do so.

Last week, I registered for my final semester of School. The semester will start in September and run through into February. At that point, I will be done with school and have my Masters Degree in Christian Studies!

We are anticipating finding out about our permanent assignment sometime in the winter. We have been told to expect the internship to last approximately 12 months. We arrived here and started the internship in December, so that is the time frame we are looking at.

Now comes the awkward part. Again, I want to give our sincerest thanks and gratitude to those who have been supporting us. For those that don’t know, as a Village Missions Missionary Pastor, we are to raise our own wages, our own funds. There is much biblical precedent for fund raising (1 Cor. 9, 1 Tim. 5:17-18, Luke 10:7 and Matthew 10:9-10)

Unfortunately, we have had some supporters who have had some life circumstances go on and have been unable to continue supporting us. We would ask that you please prayerfully, carefully consider whether you are able and willing to help support us financially. If you are willing and able, there are a few different ways that you can go about it.

First, you can make a tax deductible donation through the Village Missions website. You can do either a one time or an ongoing, monthly donation. Going this route will ensure that we have our minimum amount raised accounted for and will make it easier when we are getting ready to be placed in our assigned community. If you are interested in giving online, Click Here.

Second, you can send your donations directly to us, either by check or Paypal. This is considered a gift and would not be tax deductible.

Our mailing address is
160 Mulkey Lane
Ariel, WA 98603

I have included below a button for Paypal donations.




If you cannot or will not donate, please pray (or send positive thoughts) for us. We know that not all are called to give, but we want to include all in this journey of ours. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter prayerfully and considering this opportunity. We would like to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.

Finally, please keep us in your prayers. We are doing great, but we have a lot going on. I am looking forward to finally getting out and doing some fishing in the next few weeks. I got my fishing license last week, and there are a number of men in the congregation and the community that I will be able to spend some time getting to know be joining them out on the lake. Hope is growing our garden and finding a ton of wild growing, edible plants, herbs, etc growing in the area and is having fun with that. Caleb is basically days away from walking, Rosie and Finn are enjoying being able to wake up, have breakfast and just run and play outside all day. And please let us know what we can be praying for you guys as well. We love and care about all of you and if you would like, this congregation is a wonderful praying congregation. We can either share your requests with them, or keep them for our own personal prayers. Thank you all for your prayers and support, for caring about all of this, and we pray for you that God is working in your lives and hearts, blessing you with His grace and mercy.

Love you and God Bless,

The Holenciks
(Casey, Hope, Finn, Rose and Caleb)

 

Thank you all for your prayers, well wishes and your moral and financial support!