February 11, 2019

Dear FPC—

              Another snowy day—what a blessing to have water in the mountains!  Stay safe on those roads everyone.  Our old neighborhood in Seattle is shut down—2 feet of snow, roads not plowed and no power.  So I’m feeling pretty blessed!

              A recent survey showed that over 95% of Christians believe that the best thing that could ever happen for someone is for them to come to know Jesus. Similar numbers agreed that part of our faith means being a witness about Jesus.  But most of us feel uncomfortable with actually doing that.  Come join us this Saturday, February 16 for our Winter Mini-Retreat on Being a Difference Maker. You can help make an eternal difference in someone’s life, just by being honest, open and caring.  Come join us as we discuss how to invite people to take the next step in their spiritual journey.  We’ll share a light breakfast at 8:30 and be done by about 11:30 am. 

              On Sunday we are starting our exploration of the first books of the Bible—the books that lay the foundation for the rest of the story.  I hope you can join us in Immerse by reading along each week.  You can get the book at church ($10) and can get the audio version (free!) from your podcast provider (search for Immerse: Beginnings) or go to this page  http://immersebible.com/beginnings/

              Oh— Thursday is Valentines Day, so don’t forget-- if you need to act, now is the time! 

              Blessings on your week!

              Pastor Steve

February 4, 2019

Dear FPC— Our soul training exercise for the week is getting some margin in our lives.  That is creating some unscheduled “white space” that can permit us to absorb the shocks of whatever the week brings and permit us to be fully present with one another more of the time, rather than distracted by screens, to-do lists, phone calls, and that voice in our heads insisting that the next thing is very urgent.  The idea is to let go of some things to free up some new margin.  This is a way to avoid the great spiritual disease of our day, “Hurry Sickness.”  Pastor John Ortberg once asked his mentor Dallas Willard for advice as he entered into a new role in ministry.  Willard responded “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”  Ortberg wrote that down, saying “that’s a good one, what else?”  After a seemingly endless pause, Willard responded “There is nothing else.  Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.  That is all you need.”  Our margin exercise is a way for us to at least reduce hurry in our lives.

I feel that God is playing a trick on me, however.  This week seems especially busy to me.  There is a pastor’s retreat at the end of the week (isn’t that supposed to be margin?), and a presbytery meeting on Saturday.  Meanwhile, I have my normal duties and several extra ones, all with two and a half days (including almost all of my normal “weekend”) gone from my week! So—I am trying to do our exercise and find margin in the midst of this busy week by stepping back from some of the things clamoring for my time.  It is scary but we can do it!  I hope you will join me. 

Last Sunday we talked about how God is different, but same same.  That is God is very different from us—he is holy and pure, but he gave it all up to become like us so that we can become like him.  This Sunday we will be talking about how we are being transformed by Jesus.  I hope you can join us! 

This week’s catechism question is about how God created everything through his Word.  Here is a prayer about that:

Lord Who Spoke the World into Existence, we marvel at your creation, even though it has been corrupted. Your beauty is revealed in the splendor of the stars. Your might is shown forth in the strength of a hurricane. Your order is displayed in the laws of mathematics. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord for the works of his hands! Amen.

http://newcitycatechism.com/new-city-catechism/#5

               May you rest in God this week and let the hurry pass you by. 

               Pastor Steve 

January 28, 2019

Dear FPC—

              What a wonderful Scout Sunday we had yesterday!  It is great to worship with our Troop 4 members and families.  I am really looking forward to the 100th Anniversary Celebration later this year! 

              Many of you appreciated our study of God’s love in the sermon.  This is such a fundamental truth about our faith that we can’t return to it often enough.  All of us need to be reminded about the recklessly extravagant love of our Father.  I hope you will take 10 minutes or so with our soul training exercise this week.   Really chewing on Paul’s description of Love (and God!) in 1 Cor 13:4-8 is powerful and revealing.  This practice of lectio divina – letting Scripture read me, rather than me trying to conquer it—has been very important to me in recent years.  I hope you’ll try it. 

              Rereading our little poem on Love is worthwhile too.  God just calls us to relationship, to sit down and be fed.  To join the party!  Let’s do that this week.

              On Sunday we will be collecting $5-10 gift cards from McDonalds or Walmart for the kids at YouthFutures as our SouperBowl event, as well as continuing our Federal Employee Food drive.  At 12:15 please plan to join us in the Sanctuary for our Congregational meeting, where we’ll share the 2018 Annual Report—our 140th Annual Report!  Happy Birthday FPC! 

              As you go through this week, remember that Jesus is with you, smiling at you, welcoming you home.  Rest in that.  It is what you were made for.  (see this week’s catechism question: http://newcitycatechism.com/new-city-catechism/#4 )

 Grateful for you,

Pastor Steve