On getting high

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By Larry Short

Okay, here I am, a 54-year-old boy, and I’m building a tree house. Before I tell you why (and exactly what I am planning), I’m sure you are thinking, “That’s silly. A tree house? You are a grown man. You have no spare time. You are likely to fall out. And if you do, you will surely break something that can’t be fixed. What are you thinking?”

Well, actually, that’s what I have been thinking … every time I work on it. And yet, still I feel compelled to continue. My tree house is out in the forest (from its perch, 20 feet off the forest floor, you can’t see a single civilized thing). I am building it much more solidly than I ever built tree houses as a kid (buying real pressure-treated lumber instead of scavenging half-rotten boards from the dump; using real galvanized nails and joist hangers rather than tying things together with spare pieces of old rope and wire; etc.) I even invested in a climbing harness, so that in case I do take a tumble that would otherwise be 20 feet, I will merely injure myself by falling 6 feet and not (hopefully) kill myself.

So the tree house (level 1 … level 2 comes later) will be 100 foot square and very solid. It will cost a few hundred bucks or so, but I can afford that now. And I have BIG plans … … including a quick escape hatch and a zip line for skimming through the forest at treetop level. A hammock for lazy summertime naps. 360-degree mosquito netting. Perhaps even a small firepit for evening warmth. (I know what you are thinking … building a fire in a tree? Well, at least I’ll have the escape hatch if things go desperately awry.)

So, why am I building it? My first excuses sounded like good ones: I have a granddaughter (almost a year old) … she is going to want a tree house to play in, eventually, right? Grandpa will need to have something good to offer to compete with Grandma’s baking skills. I work with college-aged students. All the guys in the group are very excited about this project. (A place to get away, “no girls allowed,” and talk about what really matters. Plus there’s the zip line.) And then there is my nephew, Kyle, who has been helping me build. It’s a great opportunity to get to hang out with him, he’s a fun guy.

But even if you take away these “excuses” … would I stop building it? No. So now the truth comes out: It’s also for me. And the really crazy thing is, I’m terrified of heights. I just think about being that high, and my palms sweat. The climbing harness helps a bit … I know I can trust it. But still, every time I get up there, hammer in hand, I can’t stop my hands from shaking, and it takes an effort of will to concentrate on the task at hand.

So, I guess this is my way of confronting my fears. (Who knows? Next maybe I’ll go bungie jumping.)

Okay, I’m not sure what the moral of the story is here. So I’ll send this photo, taken high up in the tree. (Can you see the fear in my eyes? If so, consider these the “before” photos of what will later — hopefully — become a “before & after” post.)

We’ll see if this therapy works!

2014 update: Wind and ice storms have now blown my treehouse down … twice! So I guess perhaps the Lord is trying to tell me something?

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Just because

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by Linda McCoy

There are so many ways to show our kids we love them. Paying attention to how they are really doing, taking the time to listen, making sure their needs are met and sprinkling their life with a few surprises, just to see them smile. Doing the little extra things, not because we have to, but because we want to, realizing we are making memories. You never know what your child may be storing in their memory bank, but investing in the lives of our children has the highest return of our time.

Because we are motivated by love, and gratefulness for the privilege of raising our children for Him, we are leaving a rich heritage for our grandchildren to inherit. Whether you came from a Christian home or not, God will teach you how to raise your children. His Word is filled with all the wisdom you will need. The Holy Spirit will lead, guide and correct our parenting, and prayer is our safety net. We always told our children that if they felt we had made a decision that they didn’t agree with, they could take it to prayer. If we were incorrect in our decision, the Holy Spirit would reveal it to us and on occasion, we would change our minds. This built their faith and they were taught the power of prayer. It also built our faith as we prayed for wisdom, discernment, patience, and strength to face the challenges ahead.

Our FATHER sets the perfect example of what it means to be a loving parent. HE takes such good care of us. HE sprinkles our day with many blessings. Do we really notice all HE does for us each and every day? Take time to watch for HIM at work in your life and write down the blessings you see each day. You will see HIS character behind what HE does. HE is our provider, our comforter, our protector, our loving FATHER. HE wants us to notice  all HE does for us, to praise HIM. He gives us daily gifts of HIS presence just because HE loves us.  We belong to HIM and HE wants us to know it.

So daily count your many blessings and see what GOD has done. When you go to bed each night, fall asleep as you reflect on the many ways HE showed  you … you belong to HIM.

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God’s instrument

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by Chris Pace

I never thought of myself as much of a leader. Give me instructions and I’ll carry them out to the best of my ability, but give me authority and I am at a loss as to what to do with it. I feel inadequate for the responsibility in every way. However, God has been teaching me how to be a good leader, at a pace that I can handle.

I felt the way I believe Moses felt when God told him to lead His people; I was a stuttering, nervous (maybe cowardly), and inadequate human being. God has been giving me small opportunities that He’s been using to teach me. One thing I learned right off the bat, is that I am the instrument in God’s hands. I can’t make music, He does through me. Apart from Him I can do nothing. He said so, so why try doing it my way, on my strength, on my own!

I shared with someone that I felt inadequate to be a leader and they told me “Great! You’re exactly what is needed. We don’t want someone who feels they’re perfect for the position. We want someone who is humble enough to depend on God and on other leader’s experience and wisdom.”

These lessons I’ve been going through are opening doors beyond the borders of my comfort zone, yet God said go, and so I do. Leaders I respect and try to glean from tell me that after you’ve crossed those borders long enough, you eventually get used to your surroundings and your comfort zone begins to grow.

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From missions to holistic outreach

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by Dan Amos

For many years Elim’s ministries outside the walls of our building have been growing and changing. It began with enabling missionaries to go to foreign lands and spread the gospel, but is rapidly becoming a ministry of personal involvement for our people. This is partly because the face of missionaries is changing; countries once served by Western missionaries are now sending out their own, some even to the United States and also partly because the need in our own community is so great.

As the missions team and the Elder Board have been seeking to adapt and serve in the new environment, we have been placing a greater emphasis on our personal action and growth in sharing the good news and serving others. Several years ago the Elder Board directed the missions team to begin the process of evaluating supported missionaries for effectiveness in reaching unreached people groups and ways in which we can partner with them and emphasizing short term missions as a means of growing our people in the process.

We can see this in the Democratic Republic of Congo where we have already sent two teams in life-changing experiences for our people and real support to the ministry in the Congo which is on the frontline of reaching unreached peoples. Rich and Marla Henderson and Ernest Dyck both have recently shared how we can partner with them in the future, potentially tying in with the Congo, too.

Last year, two missions we had previously supported discontinued their ministries such that we discontinued financial support. This has been part of the process of refocusing our limited financial resources towards partnership ministries and unreached peoples. With this has come a name change to Holistic Outreach and efforts to organize and connect locally. Last year we supported a local ministry in Bill Bowers who helped connect Elim with local compassion and outreach opportunities.

This coming year we are proposing to take a giant leap. We are in the process of finalizing the 2012 budget and you will see a number of changes. The first change is to rename “Missions” to “Holistic Outreach” and to move it to the ministries section of the budget. In the past it had been a separate part of the budget and symbolically it was not part of Elim’s ministries.

Support for the Herrs, whose ministry is supporting AWANA, is being moved from the Holistic Outreach section to the Children’s Ministries section under the AWANA line item. This better reflects our partnership with the Herrs. The Holistic Outreach team began the process of thinking through these changes in discussions with Linda Sauke who helped the team shape actions including redirecting support for her, Bill Bowers, and the Glenhaven Youth Ranch in Arkansas to local outreach efforts.

This is being achieved by partially funding an internship for a Holistic Outreach Director. Stan Peterson is completing ministry training and is seeking ordination through the Evangelical Free Church. This is a fairly rigorous process and requires candidates to be in full-time ministry of at least 32 hours a week. We are proposing in the 2012 budget to support this position with $7,500. Additional support, just like the other missionaries we support, is being raised independently.

In this position, Stan will lead and equip Elim’s people in the Holistic Outreach ministry. We will be saying much more about this in coming weeks and are planning an informational meeting on Holistic Outreach for October 23 after the Sunday morning worship service.

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