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Why I Believe

June 2, 2016
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IMAG1144These pictures contain an illustration of one of the reasons I believe there is a God who created the heavens and the earth. I saw these mini rock piles stacked in a roundabout near my home. They were not there not there one day and the next, several cleverly located stacks decorated the center circle.

How do rock piles point to God? I am convinced those rocks did not get there by themselves. I believe someone put them there. They didn’t materialize overnight and form this array of attention grabbing details without someone helping them. I don’t believe they stacked themselves, or that they grew out of surrounding rocks, or were carved over time to make this engaging display. Someone wanted to display their artistic idea and these rocks became their media.

IMAG1142When I look at the creation that surrounds me, it is too complex to evolve or mystically appear without some Designer behind it. Even the most intricate explanation I have heard pertaining to the origins of the earth do not challenge my conviction that ‘In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth.” For me, that is not incompatible with science. God did his creative ‘overnight’ demonstration a long time ago. The earth we see today has changed from that first morning. But the earth we see today still points me back to the One who made it.

IMAG1143Whether you live on an ice cap, a parched desert, a drenched rain forest, or a spectacular mountain side, you can choose to spend your energy explaining away or embracing the Creator. For now, I can be rather delighted in this human made reminder that Someone helped me get to where I am. I’ll choose the embrace and give thanks to the One who made me and the anonymous rock artist who gave me this image.

How many ‘artistic expressions’ do you see?

Who Provides the Power?

May 9, 2016
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Tandem bikeOn the way to the office, I saw a father and daughter riding a tandem bike. The little girl could not have been more than second grade. None the less, she was peddling with her dad on their way to school.

I looked at this and wondered to myself, what would happen if dad quit peddling? I can’t imagine it would have been long before the bike would have slowed to an untenable speed and fallen over. The little girl did contribute to the forward movement, but she did not have the strength to propel it forward without some help.

This is a great image for us of following Jesus. We are not along for a free ride with no effort. We are not placed in charge of the bike and expected to provide all the power. We are invited to climb on and join Jesus in the journey.

Who is providing power for your ‘discipleship bike’?

The Man in the Mirror

May 4, 2016
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Around the Corner

Around the Corner

Who is the man in the mirror? That is our beloved Marcel Eisma in a unique self portrait. Marcel has been providing thought provoking images for our worship services and our blog for the past two years. This month, we say goodbye to Marcel and Jill. They are moving to a new home in a different state. We would love to draft him, but he said the pictures would not have a local feel!

We want to thank Marcel for his generous donation of time and talent. Also, for his provocative notes where he has opened up and shared a part of his journey with Jesus and has challenged us to reflect on ours. He has blessed us with an avenue of reflection we call visio divina – seeing God in the things around us.

Here is wishing you the very best on the journey and thanking you for enriching ours.

The Story: Christ’s Return

April 25, 2016
Around the Corner

Around the Corner

Location: Algonquin Road, Woodway, WA

  • The end of time has always caused a lot of anxiety, or at least a lot of questions. As humans, we all know that our time on earth is finite. I once heard it say that “life is a one way street with a dead end.” I find it depressing to think about life that way. One of my favorite sayings is from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
  • Jesus taught us that we are not human beings with a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings with a human experience. Our life on earth is just that; when He calls us home, our spiritual life has merely begun.
  • The book of Revelations offers us a glimpse of what’s around the corner, just like a traffic mirror. But what we see is distorted by our own fears and preconceptions, and also because words simply cannot describe God’s reality. It’s like explaining a typewriter to a goldfish.
  • When we look in this mirror, we also get a distorted view of ourselves. On one hand we see only the flaws, mostly focusing on the things that went wrong. On the other hand we see things through pink glasses, easily pardoning our own transgressions because ‘there are so many people who have done things that are much worse than I have.’
  • At the end of time, none of this matters. It is not what we’ve done, how we’ve done it, or how successful we have been that means anything. The only thing that matters is that we accept God’s grace through our faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Each of us is the prodigal son, returning home.
  • AMEN.

 

The Story: Paul’s Model

April 18, 2016
Look What I've Made!

Look What I’ve Made!

Location: Downtown Seattle from Beacon Hill

  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
  • The race I have found myself running for more than 40 years of my life consisted of praise, pride, and pretense. I would let no opportunity go by to praise myself and the wonderful things that I had done. And in more than one way was I proud of my accomplishments: proud of what I had done, but also boastful and arrogant. And I continued to pretend that it all had meaning, and that there was not a gaping hole in my soul that all the accolades still could not fill.
  • How things changed when I realized that it was not by my own merit that I was able to create something, and that I did not have to do anything to earn the acceptance or love of my Heavenly Father. I now do things because God has blessed me with the talents and opportunity to do what He needs me to do. The value of my works is no longer being measured by how “successful” it looks, but by how God’s grace is working through me. I cannot create anything that does not come from God. I no longer haveto do things to be blessed; I get to do things because I am blessed.

The Story: God uses Persecution

April 15, 2016
Fiery Expansion

Fiery Expansion

Location: Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

  • Last week we learned that God used persecution to spread the church. Saul was one of God’s tools, like a flow of lava consuming everything in its path.
  • But when the lava cools off, it becomes new land. And before you know it, roots are taking hold and the new land bears new fruit.

The Story: The Acts of the Holy Spirit

April 4, 2016
The Source of All Power and Light

The Source of All Power and Light

Location: PUD Substation 244th St. SW and 90th Ave. W

  • “Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)
  • When we think of power, we often think of people, companies, armies, countries, weapons. We may think of ideas, revolutions, movements. We may think of engines, tools, machines, big computers.
  • When we think of electricity, we may think of power. After all, it is called the power grid :-) But what is the REAL power in this picture? Is it the invisible electricity? The megawatts of energy pumping through our society’s copper veins?
  • Could we interrupt the power of electricity if we wanted to? Of course we could. It even happens when we don’t want it to… all it takes is a 40 mph windstorm and we are back in the dark.
  • The real power in this picture is the power that enables us to see it in the first place: the light of the sun! Imagine trying to stop the sun from shining… not that’s a different story! If it is of God, you will not be able to stop it; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
  • Jesus empowered a small group of His most loyal followers to further spread His light throughout the earth. They looked small and insignificant, and far away. But their warmth and light was fed by the only source of power that is everlasting.