As the memory of Easter Sunday fades I can't help but wonder, what must have been going through the minds of those early followers of Jesus. Followers who had committed to travel with him all around the known world, listening to him preach and watching him perform miracles. Followers who watched in disbelief as Jesus was arrested, tortured and put to death on a cross. Followers who had given up hope, only to be overcome with joy over his resurrection, but then, as Jesus ascended into heaven, left to ponder life without their Savior.
Can you at all relate to the roller-coaster of emotions this small band of Christians had been subjected too in such a short period of time? If we're honest with ourselves, sometimes life's challenges can be overwhelming. You want to remain faithful. You want to keep up. But life happens and you just have no fight left in you.
The book of Joshua is in the Bible for seasons like the one I just described. Join us for the next several weeks, as we walk with the nation of Israel on their journey from the arid desert of the wilderness to the fertile fields of the promised land. Along the way, you may be forced to ask the question, "how would my life be different if I put aside fear and followed God's vision for my life?" God has a "promised-land" vision for all of us, but it's up to us to take the first step.
In preparation for Sunday, I want to encourage you to read the first 2 chapters in the book of Joshua, especially focusing on verse 9. Also, our theme verse for this series is taken from Joshua 21:43-45, where we read....
"Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass."
See you Sunday.
As we continue on our journey towards Good Friday and Easter, I want to turn our attention to the Last Supper. During this Passover ritual, laden with symbolism, Jesus suddenly interrupts the progress of the meal. This is how John describes this peculiar scene.....
"During the supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." John 13:2-5
What a strange way for the guest of honor to act during the final meal with his friends. What kind of behavior is this from someone who called himself the Son of God? In those days, foot washing was considered so degrading that a master could not require it of a Jewish slave. However, with this one act, Jesus symbolically overturned the whole social order. Hardly comprehending what was happening, even his own disciples were horrified by his behavior.
Jesus asked his followers to do three things to remember him. He asked us to baptize others, just as he had been baptized by John. He asked us to remember the meal he shared that evening with the disciples. Finally, he asked us to wash one another's feet. The church has always honored two of those commands. But today, the third command of foot washing is practiced by only a handful of denominations. For the rest of us, this act of humility seems primitive, rural and unsophisticated. There is some debate whether Jesus intended this command only for the twelve disciples or for all of us. Although, even the twelve who witnessed this command first-hand, struggled to follow it.
In foot washing, the disciples had seen a living example of how Jesus wanted them to portray who he was and what he stood for.....a humble servant who just happened to be the Son of God. Who's feet is Jesus calling you to wash? Could extending an invitation to our Easter Service be considered an act of foot washing?
Don't forget to join us at 6:30pm for our Good Friday service and Sunday at 10:00am for our Easter gathering.
In His Grip.
This Sunday, we will begin a week-long prayer emphasis. There will be prayer guides available at the Welcome Center and on the table at the back of the sanctuary. During the week you will focus on praying for your own personal mission field and for the missionaries working here in Oregon, the United States and Canada. Then next Sunday, we will collect a special offering that will go directly toward supporting church planting missionaries, like our very own Tom Tang from New Creation Fellowship. Be praying for what God would have you give. Also, on Wednesday at 10:00am, we will gather in the Fireside Room for a special time of sharing and prayer for our church planters and missionaries. Don't miss this opportunity to pray with others.
On Thursday, we will have our monthly Young at Heart luncheon and will continue to focus on praying for our church planters and our upcoming Easter service. Lunch begins at noon in the Fireside Room and is FREE! Be sure and write the day and time on your calendar and plan to be there!
This Sunday, as we begin to wrap-up our "Chosen" series, our focus turns to Pilate and the life-changing decision that has forever defined him. Along with Pilate, all of us want to make courageous decisions. We all want to make the courageous choice and were committed to doing the right thing.....until the right thing, making the right decision is more costly than we thought it was going to be and then, just like Pilate, we opt for the path of least resistance. Join us on Sunday at 9:00am, as we explore what it looks like to have a courageous faith.
See you Sunday.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life". John 3:16.
This is the message of Easter. All human history hinges on the person of Jesus Christ and the church has been charged with the task of proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. Don't miss this Easter as we join with Anthem Church and Common Ground Church to celebrate our risen Savior. On this Sunday, we will have one service at 10:00am.
The most important thing we can do to prepare for Easter is to pray.....
This Sunday, we will continue our series titled, Chosen. With this series, we are focusing our attention on individuals and groups of people for whom our level of disdain varies. People like Judas who betrayed Jesus, the Sanhedrin who despised him, Herod who mocked him, the crowd, who called for his crucifixion, and Pilate who appeases the mob and washes his hands. And then there's this guy named Barabbas. Remember Barabbas, the murderer, the rebel, the guilty who was set free while our Savior was put to death in his place. Sometimes I wonder why his name is even mentioned. What can we possibly learn from such an evil man. Is there any redeeming value to knowing a little bit more about his connection to Jesus. Join us this Sunday as we unpack God's incredible love for Barabbas. If you would like to read ahead, the passage for this week will be Luke 23:1-25.
Hope to see you Sunday.
I can't believe it's already March 1st and Easter is just one month away!
Today, I had the privilege of attending the Grand Opening of Family Promise Beaverton (Room 4 Hope), as they officially opened their doors to families in our community who are facing a homeless situation. It was an encouraging scene as I watched representatives from our local government, standing side-by-side with pastors and other faith leaders, to pray for and offer support for, the "least of these" in our community. FBC was well represented with 8 in attendance.
As we prepare to serve in our role as a host church, we will be hosting another volunteer information meeting this coming Sunday, March 3rd at 11:45am in room 307. Lunch will be provided, so please consider attending this meeting and learn how you can be a part of providing hope to families who are facing homelessness. In order to have enough food, if you are planning to attend this meeting, please RSVP by emailing Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to see you there!
As we begin to turn our attention towards Easter, for the next 4 Sundays, we are going to be focusing our attention on some of the individuals who played key roles in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. However, the people that we are going to look at are not held in very high esteem. They are not considered heroes of the faith. In fact, just the opposite. When you hear the name Pilate, Barabbas, the Sanhedrin(religious leaders), the crowd, who in one unified voice cried out for Jesus to be crucified, we tend to place these names in the "evil" category of the crucifixion story. But regardless of whether or not they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, they were still "Chosen" by God to play a significant role in the death of our Savior that provided us the opportunity to experience forgiveness.
Join us this Sunday as we look into the lives of those who called themselves "religious" and see how their desire to be in charge, blinded them from the reality that Jesus was in fact the Son of God. Take some time before Sunday to read Luke 20:1-18.
After the service, stick around and connect with others in our church family by joining one of our Adult Bible Study Groups. Two of them will be starting brand-new studies. One is called "Experiencing God's Presence" and the other is titled, "Guidance for the Seasons of Life." It's also not too late to join our third group, which is just a couple of weeks into their study of I Samuel. Consider joining one of these Sunday morning groups and experience the type of community that can only happen within a small group environment.
Have a great weekend and I hope to see you on Sunday!
This week God called home, arguably the most influential evangelical evangelist of our day. Billy Graham was called by God to give his life to preaching the gospel and he did that in such a simple way that it inspired millions to become followers of Jesus.
On my shelf are several books by Billy Graham and my favorite is a daily devotional titled, "Unto the Hills". As I picked it up and read the devotional excerpt for today, I thought to myself, "How appropriate for what we are currently experiencing in our nation." Below are Billy Graham's thoughts for February 23rd.
"Have you ever seen someone unconscious? Such a person will usually have vital signs but is not aware of anything that is occurring. There is a lack of any perception of reality.
There is a difference between revival and resuscitation. Resuscitation is used on a person who is dead and whom the doctors are trying to bring back to life. Revival is for a person who is alive but unconscious. Spiritually, we can be unconscious and completely out of touch with the Spirit of God. We may be unaware of the God who made us and what He wants to do in and through us.
When one comes to Christ in faith and is born again, he or she is brought back from the dead into life. But when revival occurs, a person who is already a Christian is brought back from the brink of apathy, of taking God for granted, of ignoring God and trying to live under one's own power and strength. This can be deadly for others, because the Christian in need of revival is not producing any fruit for God. "I've got mine and that's all that matters" is not an attitude that is pleasing to God.
We have not seen a revival in America since shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. But, as the hymn says, "Lord, send a revival and let it begin with me." If we are to see a revival in our nation, it must begin in the hearts of individual believers. What are you doing in your daily walk with God that will bring revival to your life?
Our Father and our God, I pray for Your forgiveness and mercy. I know that I need to be revived from apathy in certain areas of my spiritual life. Please renew my spirit, Lord. Build a fire within me again that will warm the hearts of others around me. I pray this through Jesus, my constant Companion. Amen
(Excerpt from Unto the Hills by Billy Graham)
Just a reminder that tomorrow at 3:00pm, we will gather together for our annual worship and celebration meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to elect new members to church council, personnel committee and legal committee and to approve our church budget for 2018. You will also hear from some of our leadership, as they share where God has taken us this past year and where we believe He wants to take us this next year. We want to spend time thanking God for the blessings of the past and praying about the open doors he will place in front of us in the future. We will meet at 3:00pm in the Fireside Room.
Finally, join us Sunday as we conclude our series in the Beatitudes.
Hope to see you then.
This next week will be a busy one at FBC and I want to make sure you don't miss out on any of the following opportunities to connect with others from our church family and learn how we can better love our community.
Thursday, February 22
Adults on Mission--learn how FBC is helping to expand God's kingdom, both in our neighborhood and around the world. This group meets at 10:30am in the Fireside Room.
Young @ Heart--Stick around after our Adults on Mission meeting and enjoy lunch. This month's menu will feature Fried Chicken. Pastor Doug will also spend a few minutes updating you on how he sees God moving in our church. Lunch is served at Noon in the Fireside Room.
Room 4 Hope--I was excited to have several of you join us this past Monday for some volunteer training by the Executive Director of Family Promise Beaverton. I want to extend an invitation to the rest of you to consider being a part of this great opportunity to serve families in our community who are struggling to find some hope in the midst of what seems like a hopeless situation. Come hear how you can play an active role in providing a safe place to call home.....if only for a short time. We will meet at 7:00pm in the Fireside Room.
Saturday, February 24
FBC Annual Meeting and Celebration-- The purpose of this meeting is to elect new members to church council, personnel committee and legal committee and to approve our church budget for 2018. You will also hear from some of our leadership, as they share where God has taken us this past year and where we believe He wants to take us this next year. We want to spend time thanking God for the blessings of the past and praying about the open doors he will place in front of us in the future. We will meet at 3:00pm in the Fireside Room.
Finally, don't forget to join us this Sunday as we look to wrap-up our study of the Beatitudes. This Sunday, we will focus on being peacemakers. Jesus calls us to be peacemakers in a world that is currently experiencing unprecedented division and is anything but peaceful. Peacemakers are people who breathe grace. To breathe grace means to continually draw on the power of Jesus in order to bring God's love, mercy, forgiveness, strength and wisdom to the conflicts of daily life. God loves to breathe His grace through peacemakers and to use us to dissipate anger, improve understanding, promote justice and encourage repentance.
Are you a peacemaker? Join us Sunday at 9:00am and learn how you can become one.
See you Sunday.
Our church By-Laws state that “A meeting of the members shall be held annually at such a time determined by the Church Council.” The date for this year’s meeting will be Saturday, February 24th at 3:00pm and will take place in the Fireside Room. The purpose of this meeting is to elect new members to church council, personnel committee and legal committee (see the nominees below); as well as to approve our church budget for 2018 (see attached).
The other purpose for this meeting is to allow our leadership to share where God has taken us this past year and where we believe He wants to take us this next year. We want to spend time thanking God for the blessings of the past and praying about the open doors he will place in front of us in the future. Please join us on Saturday, February 24th for a time of testimonies, music, prayer and celebration as we continue on our journey to Think, Act and Be Like Jesus!
Church Council Nominees: Mary Stevens, Sidney Moore and Nina Hoopes
Legal Committee: David Douglas
Personnel Committee: Nancy Hester, Larry Bell, Bitsy Law
Don't forget to join us tomorrow, at 9:00am, as we learn that in order to see God at work in our lives, we must commit ourselves to maintaining a pure heart. We will also be celebrating with two members of our church family who will be taking the next step in their spiritual journey and will be baptized! Don't miss out on this opportunity to show your love and support.
See you Sunday.
With the new year now one month old, our church calendar is really beginning to fill-up. As we continue to juggle more and more activities and responsibilities, I want to let you know about a couple of important dates that I would encourage you to consider putting on your personal calendar.
On Monday, February 12th at 7:00pm, Family Promise will be on our campus to provide us with some valuable volunteer training, as we look forward to hosting families who are struggling with being homeless. In case you missed our service on Sunday, let me share with you briefly who Family Promise is. Family Promise is a faith-based organization whose mission is to help stabilize and transform children and their families who are experiencing homelessness here in Beaverton. Their main focus is to help families get back into permanent, sustainable housing and employment as quickly as possible. Through host churches like FBC, families will receive food, shelter, and most importantly, love and compassion. In addition to food and shelter, families will also have the opportunity to develop life skills through individualized case management by Family Promise staff and mentoring volunteers. A few of you have already expressed interest in being a volunteer during our host week and I want to encourage all of us to consider this opportunity to be Jesus to those who lack hope. Consider joining us on Monday, February 12th at 7:00pm and learn more about how we can serve families in our community who are struggling with homelessness.
Also, our annual church meeting will take place on Saturday, February 24th at 3:00pm in the Fireside room. This will be a time for us to gather together as a church family and thank God for how he has blessed us during this past year. You will also hear how God is leading us to "walk across the street" and begin to transform our neighborhood with the gospel. We will also be voting on our 2018 budget and the nominees for church council, as well as, our personnel and legal committees.
This Sunday we will continue our series in the Beatitudes. The focus this week will be on Matthew 5:7, where Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy". Mercy is compassion for people in need. Jesus does not specify the categories of people we are to show mercy too. He gives no indication whether he is thinking primarily of those who have been hurt or have suffered loss, like the traveler from Jerusalem to Jericho whom robbers assaulted and to whom the good Samaritan "had mercy", or could he be referring to the sick and outcast on whom he himself regularly took pity, or for those who have wronged us so that justice cries out for punishment but mercy screams for forgiveness. God's mercy extends to all those people and so must our mercy.
See you Sunday.
In Luke 13:24 Jesus says, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." With this statement, Jesus is begging us to put all of our effort into following him, obeying him, seeking him, or as he said in the fourth beatitude......to hunger and thirst for him. This Sunday, we will continue our series in the beatitudes as we ask the question, "In our pursuit of God, what does it mean to hunger and thirst?"
Discovering Christ for the very first time is the absolute greatest achievement of your life. But it is not enough to discover Him just once. Discovering Him needs to be an ongoing journey of seeking Him more, knowing Him more and becoming more and more like Him everyday. I like the word strive in referring to this pursuit of God. The Greek word for strive used in Luke 13:24, means to struggle, to fight, or as Paul said in Philippians 3, "straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." In a little over a week from now, many of us will watch, riveted, as Olympic athletes battle for the gold. They will strive for the prize that has consumed them for the last 4 years. They hunger and thirst for gold. Do we hunger for the things of Jesus with the same intensity as an Olympic athlete? Spiritual hunger is the characteristic of all those who claim to follow Jesus.
Now that we have a better idea of what it truly means to "hunger and thirst", what does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness? Righteousness in the Bible has at least two aspects. The first aspect speaks to our salvation and the recognition that the penalty for our sins has been paid for through the blood of Jesus. The second aspect of righteousness refers to our inner righteousness of heart, mind and motive. Once the blood of Jesus has satisfied our hunger for salvation, it then shifts to sanctification and a desire to increase in holiness. This hunger and thirst for right living is a perpetual characteristic of a disciple of Jesus that will not be satisfied until we reach heaven. Revelation 7:16-17 says, "they will hunger no more, neither thirst no more....for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and he will guide them to springs of living water." This is what Jesus meant when he said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. Satisfaction will come once we gather together around the throne of our Heavenly Father.
There is perhaps no greater measuring stick of the progress in Christian living than one's spiritual appetite. It is not enough to recognize our spiritual poverty and mourn over our past sins; we must also hunger for future righteousness. Join us this Sunday as we gather around God's banquet table and don't forget to bring your appetite.
See you Sunday.