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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Family Time

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by Dan Amos

For 18 years now, Elim has been home to me and my family. It’s where we experience the community of believers, where we worship corporately, where we serve, where we live, and where we give. Sometimes at home we get busy or things are just changing and it is good to stop and have family time to talk about what’s going on. I am excited about our direction and am eager to share that with you.

In my house family time can mean asking what’s going on in the next week or last year’s recurring talks about family finances. We talk about what it means for the family and how we are going to respond.

At Elim we have been talking about change for awhile, but the Elder Board, staff, and Ministry Leaders want to process with our whole family where we’ve been and where we’re going. Therefore, we are planning several “Family Times” over the next month to talk about these things, answer questions, and hear from you.

The first of these will be on Saturday evening, July 28, at Family Camp. We often have a potluck dinner on Saturday and follow it with a worship service. All of Elim is invited to join us at Alder Lake Park for this family time. The next one will be a homemade ice cream social at the Schlomers’ house (13314 74th Ave. East, Puyallup) on August 4 at 6:00. If you’re able to attend, please sign up in the fellowship room. We look forward to spending time together as a church family!

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Walk by faith

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by Tom Chase

A lot is happening in my life now and I’m trying to make some sense of it all. I am being challenged and stretched and hopefully being conformed more into the image of His Son. (Some days are better than others!)

For those who might not be aware, the beginning of March was a step of faith for my family and me. At the end of February, the company which I had been working as a structural engineer closed its doors and let go of all its employees. Starting March 1, one of the former principals (my former boss) and I started a new engineering corporation.

Wow! It was like God just opened the door and made this incredible straight path before for us. We prayed, many of you prayed and the peace of God rolled over us in amazing ways. It was a mountain top experience and we lived in His peace and His assurance, listening to His words to us, “Stay the course!” How precious His assurances are to us. In my reading, I was reminded of two stories:

Gideon, when asked of God to take the Israelites into battle, really just wanted to be sure God was in it. He asked not once but twice for God to confirm this is what He wanted (Joshua 6). Oftentimes, he gets a bum rap, like he doubted God or something; and maybe he did, but God answered his honest questions.

Moses: After the Israelites sinned, God asked him to lead them away so that He would not destroy them in His anger. Moses appealed to God, not wanting to go if God was not going to come with them (Exodus 33).

I have to admire both of these men and their desire to be sure God was in it. Whatever it is that I am to do, I want to be like Gideon and Moses, to be sure God is in it!

We started down the road of a new business venture. Exciting, scary, lots of potential and understanding God is in it! Along the way though, when it began to cost us real money, it became a lot harder. Questions come to mind, “Did I really hear right?” “Is this really where God wants me?” At the same time God is answering prayers for work and quick cash flow such that my partner stated, “Clients have never paid like that.” So this is where I am today, struggling a bit with my faith­, trusting God in His leading, and needing to be content in that, but not necessarily wanting to be. “Wouldn’t full time ministry be more of what God wants?”

It’s kind of funny – almost laugh out loud funny, how God helps you see what you need to see. He uses His people. I “happened” to cross paths with a godly couple (from the church where I was formally an associate pastor). When I told them about starting my new business, she said, “Anyone who has had a small business knows that it is a walk of faith!” I had to agree with her. I see it every day if I just open my eyes. When God asked him, Abraham left his homeland to go to a land that God would show him. Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteous (Genesis12:1; Hebrews 11:8-10; Romans 4:3; Galatians 4:6; James 2:23). So what was spiritual about Abraham leaving his country and going to a land that God would show him? The one thing I get is this, Abraham believed and followed God. I want to be like Abraham. I want to follow God where He leads even if it may not be what I think I really want.

So what am I to do, in this not so sacred, not so “spiritual” pursuit? First, understand that this is what is laid before me for now and is it subject to change. Then, simply do what He has said.

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have ….” (1 Peter 3:15a)

The startling part of this verse to me is that people are asking. I may not be able to talk about all the fine points of deep theology with people (nor will that always be appreciated). I can talk about what God is doing … not necessarily in the world at large, but what He is doing in me. I am being changed by the power of the gospel. God is answering prayers and doing amazing things all the time. I am rediscovering that there is an attraction in simply sharing these things. This, in part, is how people can see I have hope and become, as God’s Spirit works, compelled to ask. I want to be like what Peter writes – I want to be ready to share!

Lord, may it be so!

In His service,

Tom

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Freedom in Christ

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by Cindy Waple

This week we paused to celebrate Independence Day. It is on this day we are reminded that the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States were gained for us during the Revolutionary War and continue to be secured for us by the men and women serving in the military today.

We, as Americans, do enjoy great freedoms including the right to openly practice our Christian faith. One only needs to listen to the news to know that this freedom is not experienced by Christians throughout the world – there are many countries where openly proclaiming the name of Jesus and/or the Gospel will result in excommunication from family, imprisonment and even death.  We must never take for granted our freedom nor forget it came only at great cost and sacrifice.

But, as Christian’s we enjoy a freedom that far exceeds our rights and privileges as Americans. As Christians we have a freedom that also came at a great cost and sacrifice. However, this freedom was not born out of the ideology of men but rather out of love – the love God has for each of us.

Paul writes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. (Galatians 5:1, 13 NIV).

It is important that we understand exactly what we are free from. First and foremost, I am free from the penalty of sin. I live knowing that I am fully forgiven and accepted by God and that my future is secured and sealed in Christ. That is the truth and joy of the Gospel.

However, our freedom in Christ is not just for the future – it also has implications for today. For in addition to being free from the penalty of sin, we are also free from fear, worry, pride, jealousy and envy. We are free from the need for acceptance and the praise of men and women; we are free from the need for success, power and even perfection.  We are free from everything and anything that keeps us from loving God and living fully in the abundant life that is ours in Christ.

How do we live in this freedom? We begin with a simple prayer of desire –  Lord, You created me to live in freedom. May Your Holy Spirit guide me to follow You freely.  Instill in my heart a desire to know, love and trust You more each day. Amen.

Happy Independence Day – today and every day after!

 

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