Celebration is one of the hallmarks of the people of God. From the creation of the world, to the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, to the return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity, to the birth of Jesus, to the good news in Jesus' teachings, to the resurrection of Jesus, to the gift of the Holy Spirit--God's people have been a people of praise and celebration in response to the mighty acts of God.
C.S. Lewis said, "Joy is the serious business of Heaven."
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice."
After teaching on the need for obedience, Jesus told his friends that his aim was that they should be filled with joy, but not just any kind of joy: "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete."
As Christians, we have greatly underestimated the necessity of joy. In Nehemiah 8:9-10, Nehemiah said to his grieving congregation, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.....Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
People who want to pursue joy especially need to practice the spiritual discipline of celebration. This is the primary reason that we see much emphasis placed on feast days in the Old Testament. Times of feasting were to be transforming experiences--just as times of meditation and fasting were. Celebration generally involves activities that bring pleasure--gathering with people we love, eating and singing. Spiritual celebration means doing them while reflecting on the wonderful God who has given us such wonderful gifts. When we celebrate, we exercise our ability to see and feel goodness in the simplest gifts of God. We are able to take delight today in something we wouldn't have even noticed yesterday.
So how do we pursue joy? Begin now. The psalmist says, "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." He doesn't say, "Yesterday was God's day, let me rejoice in what God did." Nor does he say, "Tomorrow will be better, I'll just endure until then." This is the day the Lord has made, with all its shortcomings, I will rejoice and celebrate it! If we don't rejoice today, we will not rejoice at all. If we wait until conditions are perfect, we will still be waiting when we die. If we are going to rejoice, it must be in this day.
In preparation for Sunday, go wash your face in a bath of praise. Pick up your Bible and read Psalm 146, then join us on Sunday as we continue, not begin, celebrating the God of all creation, who just happens to be our Heavenly Father. Join us at 9:00am as we conclude our series titled, Brand New. Then stick around for our Concert of Prayer at 10:30am, as we take time to celebrate the faithfulness of God!
Let me close with James 1:17. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." I can't think of a better reason to celebrate!
See you Sunday.
In preparation for our all-church meeting this Sunday at 10:00am, I want to take this edition of TAB and focus on the details for this meeting. My goal is to give you the opportunity to think about, ask questions about and pray about your role as we Replant FBC.
At this meeting, we will be asking our congregation three things.....
1. Vote to approve a loan with the Northwest Baptist Foundation in order to pay-off our loan with Umpqua bank.
The original balloon payment of approximately $1.4 million was due on June 5th. Umpqua has provided us with a 6 month extension that gives us until December 5th to close the sale of our properties and secure new financing with the Northwest Baptist Foundation.
We have been approved for a loan with the Northwest Baptist Foundation, but we do need congregational approval to move forward with the loan. Here are the details of the new loan. The Northwest Baptist Foundation has agreed to loan our church $600,000 at an interest rate of 5.7% with a term of 25 years. If we combine this $600,000 with the $850,000 we will receive from the sale of the two homes, we are able to easily satisfy our debt with Umpqua.
2. Give your recommendation for a new church name based on the list below. We will be asking you to choose a "first name" and a "last name". For example, our current first name is First Baptist and our last name is Church. Another example would be, Beaverton Christian (first name) and Church (last name).
Here are the name choices:
Discovery Church, Discovery Christian Church, Generations Community Church, Generations Fellowship, Parkside Community Church, Parkside Church, Parkside Fellowship
3. Choose the service that you plan to attend, as this will help us in the planning process
To help you in making the right service choice, below are the times and a brief explanation about each service.
Our "classic" service at 9:15am, will have a more traditional church feel. The music will be a mix of hymns and classic praise songs, accompanied by the piano and organ. The message will be the same Biblically-based message as our modern service, but with a focus on the mature believer. If I were trying to describe this service to someone, it would go something like this....."Our classic service is a time for the family of God to gather together, reflect on and thank God for the salvation that we have through His Son Jesus Christ. This is done through joyful celebration as we sing the timeless hymns of the faith, followed by an inspirational message from God's Word." The "modern" service at 10:30am is designed for the new or young believer, who is discovering what it means to have a relationship with God and how this relationship fits into his or her everyday life. This is done through a combination of passionate worship led by a band, videos, live testimonies and an unapologetic, Biblically-based message.
I hope this information is helpful as we gather together on Sunday. Please don't hesitate to email or call me if you have any questions or concerns. I would be happy to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.
Before I close, I need to share one more piece of important information with you. As much as I value the ability to provide the opportunity for individuals to give online, unfortunately the company that provides this service for us does so at a price that does not make it cost-effective. Therefore, FBC will no longer be accepting gifts online. I will continue to look for an option that is reasonably priced and let you know when that system is in place. Thanks for your continued prayers and support during this season of change.
See you Sunday.
Good Neighbor Sunday is just two days away! This is going to be an awesome day all around Beaverton, as we join with Westside Community Church and Common Ground to love our city. In case you're still wondering what Good Neighbor Sunday is all about, let me give you a brief overview. Good Neighbor Sunday is an event designed to blanket our city with the love of Jesus. We will accomplish this by rolling up our sleeves and helping where needed. We believe that Jesus cares just as deeply as we do about our communities and would want us to be seen as good neighbors. Some of the places that will be impacted include schools, senior living facilities, apartment complexes and neighborhood parks.
FBC and Common Ground will be working at Beaverton High School. The plan is to gather at FBC this Sunday, August 26th at 9:00am for an abbreviated time of worship, prayer and a challenge from God's Word. After that, around 9:30am, we will head over to Beaverton High School and put the finishing touches on their campus, as they prepare for the start of a brand new school year. The day will conclude at noon with a time of prayer for the administration, teachers and students. Because we are going to Beaverton High School immediately following our service, please come to church dressed to work.
A couple of question you might be asking are: 1) What will we be doing? and 2) What do I need to bring?. Here are the answers to both of those questions...…
1. The projects we will be working on include: painting an office, adjusting the height of around 80 classroom stools, wiping down/cleaning bleachers, hanging dry erase boards, cleaning and spray painting bookcases, cleaning-up and weeding an interior courtyard, etc.
2. Here is what would be helpful for you to bring with you. manual or electric Philip head screwdrivers, towels and rags for cleaning bleachers, window sills, windows, etc., rakes, push brooms, weeding tools and tools to hang the dry erase boards (drill, level, stud finder, anchor bolts, etc.)
Please consider joining us on Sunday for this amazing opportunity to bless the staff and students of Beaverton High School.
Finally, as we look to the Fall, on Sunday, September 2, we will begin a new series titled, Brand New. During the month of September, we will look into God's Word to help us understand what Jesus truly intended when he launched the church over 2,000 years ago. Please continue to pray for our Church Council and Grow Young Team, as they continue to process of Replanting an engaging, vibrant, growing, Biblically-based, discipleship-focused church.
See you Sunday for Good Neighbor Sunday!
Hi FBC Family
For the last few weeks, Rose and I have been preparing Cassie, and ourselves, for college life! As I have reminisced about the past 18 years and the numerous milestones we have shared as a family, I thought I would take this edition of TAB and challenge all of us to take some time over the next few weeks to think about ways we can better cultivate the relationships we have with our families.....especially our kids!
Many years ago, I came across an article in Newsweek entitled, "Dear Dads, Save your Sons," by Christopher Bacorn, a psychologist living in Texas. In his article, he tells the story about an anxious mother in her mid-thirties who came to his office with her fifteen year-old son. His dad had left four years before, and since then the teenager had descended into alcohol and gangs. The boy obviously hated being there, but his mother knew nowhere else to go. After attempting for thirty minutes to get the boy to open up and express his feelings, Dr. Bacorn realized it was futile. In his column he wrote:
"I have come to believe that most adolescent boys can't make use of professional counseling....What a boy can use, and all too often doesn't have is the fellowship of men--at least one man who pays attention to him, who spends time with him, who admires him. A boy needs a man he can look up to. What he doesn't need is a shrink.....As a nation, we are racked by youth violence, overrun by gangs, guns and drugs. The greatest majority of youthful offenders are male, most without fathers involved in their lives in any useful way. Many have never even met their fathers."
While the article is specifically directed at father's of boys, having 2 teenager girls and one, who in a couple of years will be a teenager, I can tell you that the same fate awaits girls who grow up with absentee dads. The only difference is that instead of turning to violence and gangs, these girls turn to social media and their boyfriends to replace a missing father. So, while many fathers are being absorbed by their careers or pursuing other interests, their kids are suffering the affects of absentee parents.
Thankfully, there are exceptions and maybe you're one of those dads or moms who is doing an amazing job, if so, THANK YOU! However, we can all do a better job of cultivating healthy relationships within our families. So, here is my question for you to ponder. "What do you do when you have a free day, holiday, or even a few available hours?" Are you tempted to fill this time with "necessary" work projects or spend the whole day golfing or shopping with your friends? Next time you have a choice between family and friends, stop and ask yourself, "Why not spend some quiet time with one of my kids or my spouse or another family member".
As Rose and I take Cassie to school, I'm going to do everything I can to close my mind to church tasks and direct all of my attention to making some lasting memories. I want to leave Utah with no regrets for the last 18 years of being Cassie's dad, knowing that the adventure is only beginning!
Join us this Sunday at 9:00am, as Larry Annes, our church council chairman, concludes our summer series in the book of Philippians. Also, as a reminder, this Sunday from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, THPRD will be hosting Fiesta en el Parque, next to our church. This is a free event that is geared toward the Latino community. El Buen Pastor will be providing volunteer support and FBC has offered about 50 parking spaces. We plan to block off these spaces on Saturday and as such, I want to encourage you to give yourself a little extra time on Sunday, as things could be a little hectic on Erickson Ave.
Finally, our Adults on Mission team will be meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:30am in the Fireside Room. They will be spending time praying for our missionaries, as well as FBC. Consider joining them.
See you when I get back from Utah!
Hi FBC Family.
This weekend will be a busy one on our campus.....
Calling all Green Thumbs: Don't forget to join us tomorrow, Saturday, at 9:00am, as we take a couple of hours to spruce up the exterior landscape of our campus. The focus will be on weeding, cutting back vegetation near the building and cleaning up the planter boxes in our parking lot.
On Sunday morning at 9:00am, we will continue our series in Philippians. This week, we will be looking at Philippians 4:1-9 and talking about how a mature follower of Jesus is able to rejoice in every circumstance, relax and allow God to be God and finally, rest in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior.
Sunday night, I want to invite you to join us for a time of potluck and prayer. The evening will kick-off at 6:00pm with a potluck dinner, followed by a time of prayer, as we spend time praying for Jesus to reveal His will for FBC and for the Holy Spirit to give us boldness to follow His direction. Drinks and cookies will be provided.
\nWe will also pray for those families involved in Room 4 Hope, who will be staying on our campus this next week. There will be 4 families (14 people) sleeping on our campus. One of these families is about to become a family of 3, as the wife is preparing to give birth to their first child on September 4th. We will be in "wait and see" mode during her time on our campus. How exciting! I want to thank those who have stepped-up to volunteer in helping provide a safe and loving environment during this next week.
\nI know this is a short update but as you can see, it is going to be a busy week here at FBC. As you spend time in prayer, please remember to pray for our Church Council and Grow Young team as they continue to strategize and plan for moving FBC into the future.
\nSee you Sunday.
There is a sign along an Alaskan highway that reads, "Choose your rut carefully.....You'll be in it for the next 150 miles." Author Henri Nouwen, in his book, In the Name of Jesus, admits to being in one of these ruts for well over twenty years. Judging from his life at the time, who could blame him for not wanting to change course. After all, he had the University of Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard on his professional resume. He had studied theology, mixed with courses in pastoral psychology and Christian spirituality. Henri Nouwen was comfortable and saw no compelling reason to seek a change. Until one day, he felt an internal discontent churning inside of him. Look at what he wrote:
"As I entered into my fifties and was able to realize the unlikelihood of doubling my years, I came face to face with the simple question, 'Did becoming older bring me closer to Jesus?' After twenty-five years of priesthood, I found myself praying poorly, living somewhat isolated from other people, and very much preoccupied with burning issues.....something inside was telling me that my success was putting my soul in danger.....I woke up one day with the realization that I was living in a very dark place and the term "burnout" was a convenient psychological translation for a spiritual death."
Nouwen asked the Lord to show him where He wanted him to go and he would follow. The Lord made it crystal clear to him that he should make a drastic change, leave everything that was familiar, comfortable and convenient and join the L'Arche communities for mentally handicapped people.
The lessons awaiting Nouwen were numerous: some painful, a few humiliating, but all of them necessary. Slowly, he experienced a change deep within himself. The master teacher learned to be the humble servant.....the self-confident, proud individualist became a compassionate, caring friend.
\nMost of us have no idea how deep or long our rut extends. Externally, everything looks fine. Our activities often revolve around church and Christian friends we love. We have meetings to attend, lessons to prepare and songs to sing. Who can criticize any of that? After all, there is a big job to get done. No one can question our faithfulness.
\nUnfortunately this rut of religious activity can numb our souls, until we find ourselves in need of spiritual refreshment--a fresh touch from God. We need to rediscover the renewed passion that once drove our spiritual lives. The kind of drive that propels us to change our old habits and ask God the same bold question asked by Professor Nouwen....."Tell me where to go, tell me what to do and I will follow." Are you ready to make a change? God might not be asking you to sell everything, move to a third world country and live among the poor, instead; he might simply be asking you to get out of your comfort zone, walk across the street and live among those who need the love of Jesus. Begin your journey by filtering out the essentials from the incidentals and see what God does.
\nJoin us this Sunday, as we look at Paul the sports fan and the training he endured in order to win the race and receive the prize of Christlikeness. Read Proverbs 3:12-21 and come ready to enter the race!
\nSee you Sunday.
Last Sunday night, around 20 people from FBC gathered in the Fireside room to pray for the future of our church. We gave thanks to God for 63 years of ministry in the Beaverton community. Several shared testimonies of how God has used our church to lead people to Jesus. Things like a strong children's ministry, Adult Sunday School classes and serving the homeless were just a few of the things that were mentioned. We concluded our time by asking for God to deliver us into a new season of influential ministry in our community.
As we concluded our prayer time, I shared some thoughts from a book titled, The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. In this book, Robert Morgan unpacks the miracle at the Red Sea, the story in Exodus 14 when the waters parted, allowing the children of Israel to escape the pursuing armies of Pharaoh. Through this popular story of God's power and deliverance, Pastor Morgan shares 10 rules or 10 ways of handling difficult times and seasons of discouragement--times when we find ourselves caught between the devil and the deep Red Sea. I thought I would take this edition of TAB to share these 10 rules with you and ask you to ponder these thoughts as we continue to pray for the future of FBC.
Red Sea Rules.
1. Realize that God means for you to be where you are. (Psalm 37:23-24)
2. Be more concerned for God's glory than your relief. (Exodus 14:3-4)
3. Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord. (Ephesians 6:13)
4. Pray! (Exodus 14:10)
5. Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work. (Exodus 14:13-14)
6. When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith. (Exodus 14:15)
7. Envision God's enveloping presence. (Psalm 139:1-18)
8. Trust God to deliver in His own unique way. (Exodus 14:21-22)
9. View your current crises as a faith builder for the future. (Romans 4:19-21)
10. Don't forget to praise Him. (Exodus 15:1-2)
As you read these rules and as we continue to pray and trust God for the future of FBC, let's not forget that it was God who brought us to this point and the same God will lead us out.
Sunday, we will continue our study of Paul's letter to the church in Philippi. We will conclude our focus on humility as we look at Philippians 2:5-11.
Finally, I was approached this week from an individual in our community, who just recently sold her home, purchased an RV and is now looking for a home for her and her RV. She has contacted several RV parks but has not been able to find a place. If any of you know of someone who has a place where she might be able to live in her RV, please let me know.
See you Sunday.
Matthew 18:23-35 gives us a picture of a man that owes the king ten thousand talents (well over $100,000). When he could not repay it, the king demanded that his wife and kids be sold until the debt was repaid! The servant fell to his knees and begged for patience so he could repay the debt and the king compassionately removed the debt from him. Did you catch that last part? The man asked only for some more time to pay off the debt, but instead, the king cancelled the debt altogether!
That same servant, after leaving the meeting with the king, went out and found one of his servants who owed him 3 months worth of wages, maybe $15,000. As he choked the man, he should have thought back to earlier that day when he asked the king for mercy on a much larger debt. Instead of showing the same type of mercy that had been extended to him, he uttered the most remarkably arrogant and ungrateful words...…."Pay what you owe!"
How insane that the one who had just received mercy upon mercy for a large debt, now offers none for a much smaller one!
So it is with mercy and forgiveness, is it not? We have been forgiven greatly from God and He has, through the blood of Christ, taken our punishment for sin from us. We should be the most humble, merciful, forgiving people on the planet, right? We should live lives in constant gratitude to the One that has forgiven us much. But do we?
As we continue our journey through the book of Philippians, we will be focusing on Philippians 2:1-4. Below is the question I hope to answer as we begin chapter 2...…
If we truly believe that Jesus has the power to rescue us and sustain us through the darkest seasons of life, then what should be the correct Christian response to the saving power of the Gospel? What's the virtue that should be the foundational, defining virtue of a Christian's life?
Join us this Sunday as we talk humility!
Also, don't forget that this Sunday is our 2nd Concert of Prayer from 6:00pm to 7:00pm in the Fireside Room.
The focus will be "Seeking God's Deliverance". During this time of prayer, we will remember the goodness of God, rejoice in His greatness and seek his deliverance. Please join us and let's see what can happen when God's Spirit invades the hearts of His people.
See you Sunday.
I know it's only Monday afternoon, but I wanted to take a minute, in the midst of chaos, and let you know about all the excitement that is taking place this week on our church campus.
Today kicked-off a combined VBS week with Anthem, New Creation and Global Community Church. They had almost 30 kids attend day #1 and the mission team from First Baptist in Sylacauga, Alabama, did an amazing job teaching the kids about Jesus! In addition to VBS, more than 30 kids showed-up for the first day of the PAL Kids Camp, that is meeting on our campus for the summer. Beaverton School District is providing breakfast and lunch and the volunteers come from both the police department and the school district. Finally, the kids from El Buen Pastor left this morning for their summer camp, with more than 50 kids in attendance.
In fact, if you had been at the church between 7:30am and 9:30am this morning, you would have been welcomed by about 120 kids.....plus parents! It's so fun to see our building being used to express the love of God.
Note: Young @ Heart WILL STILL meet this Thursday at Noon, for their monthly lunch. We will be using the portion of the Fireside Room where Norm's Sunday School class once met. I hope to see you there!
Have a great week!
Hi FBC Family,
\\nA couple of weeks ago, Michael Wong, who is the editor of the Beaverton Resource Guide called and asked if I would like to write a piece for the Community Message section of the paper. I was excited to have this opportunity to connect with our community and I agreed to write a short article that will appear in the July issue.
\\nI thought I would give you a "sneak peek" at the article, with some additional thoughts that I was not able to include in the original article. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on the importance of creating memories with those we love. Note: the words in italic do not appear in the original article.
Make Memories This Summer
\\nWhen you hear the word “Memories”, what song, trip, special event or image immediately pops into your head? For me, summer always takes me back to my childhood when our family would pile into my parent's Oldsmobile Cutlass 4 door sedan and drive to my grandparent’s house. There we would spend the week fishing, hunting, climbing trees and eating freshly baked cookies.
\\nWith the end of school, comes the opportunity for us to continue the one tradition that never grows old…..making memories. Whether it’s a family vacation, a 4th of July picnic, a family reunion, a neighborhood block party or just lounging by the pool, summer should be about creating a scrapbook of scattered pictures filled with smiling faces.
\\nUnfortunately, the enemy to making memories is the daily grind of life. Our jobs, traffic, much needed home and car repairs, relational and marital tension, all these can impact our ability and/or desire to create memory-making opportunities. When it comes to those things that get us down, it helps for us to remember that we are not in charge of our day......God is. While I'm sure God wants us to make the most of our time here on earth, I'm convinced He is more concerned with the development of our character and the cultivation of the qualities that make us more Christlike. James 1:2-4, speaks to the idea of God using life's irritations in our journey to become more like Jesus. Don’t let the chaos and tension of life get in the way of painting some watercolor memories together this summer; instead remember the words of James and allow God to build within you the same character qualities of His Son, Jesus....patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.....just to name a few.
In addition to maintaining a healthy relationship with Jesus, building memories can actually help lift the load that tends to weigh us down. People who make memories are not just sentimental...….they're smart! So, what memories are you planning to make this summer?
\\nAs you prepare for Sunday, please pray for our "Grow Young" team, which will meet Saturday night to begin praying about and developing a plan for reaching the young families in our community. If you're wondering who is on this team, its members include: Mark and Nancy Hester, Greg and Jonella Malinowski, Charles Niggley, Doug and Rose Boyd, Tim and Bitsy Law, Brenda Rhine, Martha Bailey, Jim and Laura Small and Larry and Melanie Annes. I know each of them would appreciate your prayers during this season of change.
See you Sunday.