‘Tis the Season

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By Gordy McCoy

‘Tis the season to be giving. There are so many opportunities to give this year. So many needs. Deuteronomy 15:7-8 says, “But if there are any poor in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need.” It’s a good reminder for me to pay attention to the needs of others around me.

What do you do when you see a homeless man in our local library? Imagine if you will, you are taking a lunch break. After you have finished the first half of a ham and cheese sandwich, that homeless man’s face comes to mind. You offer him the other half of your sandwich, and he accepts it. This short encounter helps me realize that God has richly blessed me and I need to do more to help those less fortunate than I.

Linda remembers when she was out painting at Point Defiance early in the morning and a homeless woman came out of the woods. She went over to the garbage can and was looking for something to eat. She then went over to a park bench and sat down quite a ways from Linda. Linda had brought two apples with her that day because she had planned on being there for quite awhile. She walked over to the lady, who looked more uncomfortable the closer Linda got to her. Without making eye contact (on purpose), Linda offered her an apple.

The woman said, “Do I have to eat it now … in front of you?” Linda replied, “No, of course not.” The lady snatched it out of her hand and Linda walked away …but she kept thinking about her, and how blessed we are, and how hard life must be for the woman who lived out in the woods at Point Defiance.

It also says in Deuteronomy that an open hand symbolizes the way God wanted His people to provide for the poor – willingly and freely. When we offer up to the poor, even though this isn’t our motivation, God blesses us for our kindness.

Psalm 41:1-3 says, “Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor. The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord cares for them when they are sick and restores them to health.”

Proverbs 19:17 says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord – and He will repay you.”

In this season of giving, think about what you can do to help those less fortunate. Perhaps you can look back and see the many ways the Lord has helped you. Seek him and He will lead you to those who could use a little help, if you are able.

One way to help is our “Feed the Homeless” program, and another is “Freezing Nights.” If you haven’t already, come up some Monday evening to Freezing Nights and see this powerful ministry in action. It is a beautiful thing to see the tender way our people take care of those who are cold, hungry and needing a safe place to stay. We can always use your help, and you WILL be blessed!

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to serve on the Elders Board. It has been a privilege.

Respectfully submitted,

Gordon McCoy

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Devil’s Club

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by Gordy and Linda McCoy

I know this is a not the title you would expect for the Last Word, but while camping, God taught me some things that spoke to my heart.

There is a really nice lady up here, Marie, who makes these amazing walking sticks out of Devil’s Club. Out in the woods, she gathers stalks of Devil’s Club. They are very, very prickly, with needlelike thorns that can even come through leather gloves. I know from experience. If that isn’t enough deterrent to leaving the Devil’s Club alone, once you get a thorn stuck in your skin, if you don’t dig it out right away it will fester and get infected.

But when you peel off the bark — carefully — underneath it is pure white. It dries white and the stick is amazingly lightweight even before it cures. It is beautiful underneath the prickly bark … and usable. Valuable! Worth the chance of possibly getting hurt by working with it.

After sanding the wood it becomes very smooth, and I carved “Walk by faith” in one stalk. After all of the years that I avoided Devil’s Club like the plague, I am now holding a beautiful walking stick to give to someone.

As I worked on it, God was teaching me some valuable lessons. The center of a Devil’s Club stalk is very soft. This center is where the plant draws up moisture from the earth to get its nutrients. We also are to draw upon the Living Water for our strength. This core, or soft center, is also like our human heart. It is our soft spot for God, but it can be hidden beneath a prickly exterior. Maybe because of deep hurts a person might put up these prickly thorns in order to protect themselves.

Sometimes we need to take a chance to really get to know someone. Maybe there is an area of their life that is festering deep down inside that needs the healing touch of God. God can use us to help them learn to lean on Him. They could use a little support and encouragement along life’s journey.

Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can have “prickly areas” in our lives. Drawing on the fresh, Living Water of the Word flushes out the impurities of the world that can stagnate and pollute our focus. Keeping “short accounts” of the sin “that so easily entangles us” helps us remember Who made us, and Whose we are, and that we were made for His purposes. Understanding that each one of us is a work in progress helps us as well. He might be in the process of peeling some bark or sanding us to be more useful for Him.

Before I knew Him, He saw “the white bark and soft center” within my prickly soul. He made me to be whiter than snow and tenderhearted for Him. Because of His love, He would peel back the layers. He knows about thorns. He has the scars to prove it! All He asks is that I would walk through my life’s journey leaning on Him … because He is my Strength, my Guide.

– Gordy and Linda
On assignment as camp hosts at Taidnapam Camp Ground

2 Corinthians 5:7
Hebrews 12:1

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Lost and Found

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By Gordy and Linda McCoy

We found a Nook. Not a pacifier Nook (“Nuk”) but the e-reader Nook. It was lying on the side of the highway on our way from Cannon Beach. We had never used one before and I was checking it out to find owner information. I found an email address and we were going to contact her when we had internet access so we could arrange to give it back.

But there was a problem. The nook was filled with “yucky” things. Yucky books. Lots of yucky, icky books. We had just had this wonderful time at Cannon Beach and now we had this evil influence in our car. So, I found the setting on the nook to reset it back to factory settings and I pushed it. But, I didn’t realize it also would delete the owners’ info. So now I had no way to contact her. And even if I could, I would have some explaining to do because I deleted all of her books. They probably cost her quite a bit. She was the owner of the nook and she had every right to put on it whatever she wanted. I was judging her for what I saw. God alone is her judge. We accidentally invaded this woman’s privacy. We tried to do a “good thing” and find out more about her so we could return it to her. How do I get myself in these situations???

So now we had a Nook. When I got home I loaded it up with the WORD, Max Lucado books, inspirational Christian music, fun games to play, family pictures … and then GOD gave me an analogy. I feel this is the reason we found the Nook.

God gives us free will. It is our choice what we fill our minds with, like the Nook. We can watch movies or read books that can cloud our judgments. Our “free” time can cost us greatly. HE sees everything we fill our minds with. I am reminded that, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)

And I am also reminded that just like pushing the reset button on the nook, wiping it clean, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Knowing that God has total access to all of my thoughts, let alone all of the things I choose to do, can be a scary thought. But it is also a safety net. If I filter my life through His perspective, it is healthy in every way for me. But if I chose the world’s way, I get in trouble.

I need to remember I once was lost … and I didn’t even realize it. And then I got a glimpse of His love for me and recognized the ugliness of my sin. I was full of the “yuckiness” of this polluted world. I found Him. He washed my sins away and “reset” me back to His intended purpose. The One that gave me life, gave His life to do this. Not just push a button. I am so thankful ….

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High above Mossyrock

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by Gordy McCoy

Are you experiencing cabin fever? Do you feel the need for a road trip, despite the rising costs at the gas pumps? How about a walk in the woods that is good for your soul? Linda and I found a wonderful walk that we will never forget.

This is not an easy walk and by this I mean, it was challenging. It was challenging for a few reasons. First of all, I was recovering from my last knee and foot surgery. And then there is our short little dog, Brody, that made the trek with us. He was recovering from several surgeries from a life threatening, pit bull attack. And then there’s Linda, who was having shortness of breath from some health issues. So here we are…an unlikely trio for a walk up a hill. But we had a focus and a purpose.

The focus was what is at the top of the hill, a beautiful white cross, towering above the Mossyrock community, a symbol of love and forgiveness. We spotted it when we were traveling on highway 12 heading for Mossyrock, and we were drawn to it. We found the road that led to the base of the trail that went to the cross. We found a little Catholic mission and we went in, and although we are not Catholic, we were intrigued by the reason the cross was put there.

As this adventure progressed, we were convinced He had a reason for us to “go to the cross.” So off we went. It turned out to be a very warm day and this actually made the trek harder on us, but necessary, for Him to get His message deep into our hearts. The journey to the Cross was much harder for Him, not because of weakness, but because of the strength of His purpose. Our journey up this hill has stations where we could rest and think about His journey to the Cross. Our journey had switchbacks for us to regain strength, but there was no turning back for Him. He had a focus. We had a desire to see the cross up close, He knew what was waiting for Him on the Cross. We kept thinking how hard this journey was for Him and it added new meaning to Him dying on the Cross for us and also because of our sin. The whole time we were going up this trail we never once got even a small glimpse of the cross. We got tired, and thirsty, but we knew we had to keep going. We knew it would be worth the climb.

It wasn’t until we got to the very top …and there it was. It was so beautiful, the symbol of our salvation. We prayed and praised Him as we looked up at this pure white cross. And then, we turned around and looked at the valley below, it was an amazing mountaintop experience.

In reality and symbolically, on this journey, He has brought us so far and set our feet on the mountaintop. He wants us to realize how far He has brought us and what He has brought us thru, over our almost 42 years together. We felt invigorated and victorious, He had brought us here. He wanted us to persevere and then experience the view, the cross and His creation. We felt His love, His peace and we were so filled with encouragement. We did it! Together … with Him leading us. As we walked down the hill we kept thinking how blessed we are. So thankful for Him and His faithfulness. For His protection and healing. For His presence.

Here are a few facts about this Crosswalk we went on. The cross weighs 47,000 pounds. Yes, that’s right. It’s made from white concrete so it is white inside and out. Pure white. The cross is lit up at night …so beautiful …so visible. The trail leading up to the cross is well maintained with benches along the way to rest, and be still and know that He is God. You will find as you make this journey, a build up of emotion that overflows when you reach the top.

The cross, being a symbol of forgiveness is made up of a series of sevens. The foundation of the cross is seven feet deep and seven feet square. There are seven steps that lead to the platform and the support column is seven feet high and seven feet square, on top of which stands the cross, that from that point is 70 times seven inches, or approximately 60 feet.

Easter this year will be different for us as we take another look at THE CROSS and what it means to us. We need to realize how hard it was but He knew it would be worth it …for us. So if you get a chance to go to Mossyrock, make the journey to the top of the hill …the view is so worth it!!!

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Count your blessings

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by Gordy McCoy

Welcome to the McCoy Home. In our dining room is a maple table that was bought in 1971 for our first anniversary. On the center of the table is a beautiful glass jar with several pieces of paper in it. Written on each is either an answer to prayer or a particular blessing. We want to pay attention to what God is doing, thank Him and praise Him for all He is to us. We want to realize His loving provision and His tender care.

Like many others, things have been a little rough for us emotionally and financially, so we decided to focus on the positive things happening in our lives. We needed to watch and see the different ways God was helping us and showing He cares. This is helping us so much.

At first, we were writing His blessings on a tablet. The first week we had 3 pages full. Not because we are blessed more than anyone else, but that we were taking time to notice the details, the not so little things He does. Like the old Sunday School song,

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS,

NAME THEM ONE BY ONE,

COUNT YOUR MANY BLESSINGS,

SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE!

A few of our recent blessings:

  • Capri’s adoption anniversary date December 12 … remember how we felt: the relief, the joy, the thankfulness!
  • 40 lbs. of free chicken … He is our provider!
  • Good news at Gordy’s doctor appointment: the blood clots are going away, his blood levels are normal, no more Coumadin, no more surgery because leg is healing well. He is our Healer and Great Physician!

Our beautiful blessing jar came from our new friend at church, Chol. When Linda unwrapped it on Sunday she knew what we would use it for. Chol bought it and wrapped our gift, but we know ultimately Who it was from. We thanked them both.

So yesterday, we brought our oldest granddaughter back to her house after taking her for a gourmet meal at McDonald’s, and Jack was skyping with our daughter in Kansas. We are all talking with her cute little family and she texted Linda. Linda screams with joy because on her phone it says, “Mom, I’m pregnant!!!!!” Wow, God sometimes we are utterly amazed by Your overwhelming generosity of Your grace, mercy and love.

So right now, it is 3:00 in the morning, God prompted me to get up and write this for the Last Word. I had already wrote something else but this is what He wanted me to share.

Another blessing. Thanks, God.

So, count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and see what God has done. Share them with someone and see how your blessings may be a blessing to someone else.

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Knock, knock … who’s there?

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by Gordy McCoy

I have a brass ship’s bell on the front door post that our son-in-law Jack likes to ring sometimes when he comes over.

One day Jack came to the door and I was in my sweats, unshaven, and still tired from having a busy weekend. The curtains weren’t open yet, not because it was particularly early, but just because I was moving a little slow that morning. There stood Jack and all I could think about was our messy house. The dining room table still had all  the dishes from the get together we had with our community group.We always have so much fun with all of them and after everyone left, we didn’t tidy up the house, we just called it a night.

Oh well. Jack didn’t care. I invited him in and he didn’t even notice all the clutter. He knows we lead a busy life and his purpose coming over did not include a “house check.” He’s our son-in-law …and also a friend.

I thought about Jesus and the fact He feels comfortable with my busy life. He’s always kind to me amid the chaos, and like Jack, He just wants to spend time with us. No need to try to hide the “messes” in our lives, we all need a little cleaning up and He is the One to do it.

Jack knows we are busy about our Father’s business. Ministry can sometimes be messy and time consuming … but, oh, so worth it. I realize there are times others minister to me and my family.

So when your house gets messy and life gets hectic because you are busy with life with Him, remember we are also setting an example for our children and grandchildren. “I have no greater joy than to hear my children walking in The Truth” (3 John 4).

KNOCK, KNOCK …who’s knocking on your door? Let them in.

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