News & Announcements

News & Announcements

VBS 2023…That’s a Wrap!

As I write this, it’s only Tuesday and VBS hasn’t even reached the midway point.  But, when you read this, it will be Sunday and VBS 2023 will be in the books, another year over.  As I write, we’ve seen 95-97 children the first two nights.  That’s nearly one hundred kids coming to our building to hear about Jesus.  We had 40 adults in our class last night.  That’s almost 140 people coming together to learn about God and grow closer to Him.  That’s pretty incredible for a weeknight when they could be at home watching TV or on social media.

First, if you’ve played any part in this year’s VBS, THANK YOU!  Your contribution to the kingdom will be rewarded.  I believe there are special rewards in heaven for VBS helpers! (okay, not really, but there should be).  You have helped further the gospel in the lives of the people of Monroe County.

Second, if you sat this year out—why?  Maybe you had something else going on this week—I get that.  Life is busy.  But, if you sat at home each night and watched Jeopardy or binge watched your favorite series on Netflix, why??  Don’t miss out on what God is doing each summer here with VBS.  Each year, I grow more proud of our congregation and the effort that goes into VBS.  I’m proud of the effort put in by all ages to help pull it off—I’ve watched our teens helping get rooms ready.  I’m proud of how the teachers decorate, how much thought is put into the food and snacks, and how excited our kids get because they see all of the effort in the week leading up.  Don’t miss it!  God wants to use you!  We’ve been talking about spiritual gifts the last few weeks together for a reason.  It’s not because I need to find a sermon topic and fill some time.  It’s because we need everyone’s help in things like VBS.  It takes a church.

Find your ministry here—if it’s not VBS, make it something else.  Get plugged in.  Don’t be a pew potato—God wants to use you!

Scott McFarland


V.B.S. Wrap Up

Aloha all you servants of God,

Thank you all so much for another amazing V.B.S. God has blessed this congregation with such talented and giving people. I so want name all of you, but just know this worn out brain would forget someone. So thank you- teachers(from diapers to adults); decorators (from flowers to classrooms); registration (and so many volunteers); technology and designers (from Jeopardy to checks); teens (from Mark to money to dancing-they were amazing); stage crew (from Maui- Master of ceremonies); chefs (so many hours here); games (from limbo to water balloons-what fun!) and most of all to all that attended – what a blessing to see all the smiles and laughter and hear – 2 Tim. 1:7


Controlling Our Emotions

Our VBS program "Lava Lava Luau:  Controlling Our Emotions" gets underway today.  In recent years, the subject of emotions-recognizing them and controlling them-has gotten more discussion.  In 2015, Disney released the movie "Inside Out", designed to help kids identify and understand their emotions through following the story of a girl named Riley and her family's relocation due to her father's job.  In the adult world, the COVID pandemic highlighted the growing concerns of isolation and depression in American society, and since then much has been said about de-stigmatizing mental health.

In the Christian world, we tend to live with an "emotions are bad" assumption.  We don't like the way emotions make use feel-out of control-so we usually ignore or suppress them.  We apologize when we cry in front of others, we walk away when we are mad, or we hide the fact we are disgusted about something.  What if we viewed emotions as God-given and, when handled well, used for good things?

This week, that's exactly what the kids will be talking about, and so will the adults!  Join us in the auditorium Sun-Wed nights from 6-8pm as we go through a video-based class from Chip Ingram called, "Overcoming Emotions that Destroy."  Chip is a Christian author and minister who will help us understand what the Bible has to say about emotions-particularly anger-and what we should do with them.  Join us and invite a friend!


Artificial Intelligence and the Christian

Last week on Sunday night we had a class and discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how to approach this new technology as a Christian.  Just since then, I’ve seen two additional articles from Christian sources discussing the same subject.  Clearly, AI is a big concern for everyone, particularly Christians.  I wanted to repeat one of the talking points in our class from last week because I think it is valuable to remember.

For those unfamiliar, AI is “a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with an environment, problem solving, and even exercising creativity.”[1]  Most of us have utilized AI.  If you’ve ever said, “Hey, Siri” or “Hey, Google” or “Hey, Alexa” on your phone or Amazon device, you’ve used AI.  As intelligent as AI is and becomes—and there are some very real fears it will eventually outpace human intelligence/ability—it can never be greater than the human being.  When God created the world, He waited until the very end to complete His best masterpiece—man.  Gen. 1:26-27 says that God created man in His image, male and female (also very important—two distinct genders!).  From the beginning, humankind was fundamentally different than the rest of creation, because we bear the image of the Creator himself.

No matter how great AI and robots become—how humanlike, intelligent, responsive, etc.—they can never possess the image of God.  They will never be God’s ambassadors on the earth.  God never died to save robots or AI.  God loved us so much that He died for us, because we bear His image.  Never forget your worth.  You are an image-bearer of the King of the Universe and Creator of the World.

 Scott McFarland

 

 


Listen & Shut Up

I’ve had a sticky note in my Bible for years—16 years to be exact.  It’s written in Romanian and says, “Asculta si upcineste—Bogdan.”  It was given to me on a mission trip in the summer of 2007 by a Romanian friend, Bogdan.  I kept it because Bogdan signed his name to it, not because I knew what the phrase meant.  All these years, I never knew what the note actually said, so this week I looked it up.  The Romanian phrase means “listen and shut up.”  I laughed out loud when I typed it into Google translate.  I have no idea what was going on when Bogdan wrote that, but he had a way of saying things at important moments that made you think.  So, I began to reflect on my own life and how I have often needed someone to say, “listen and shut up.”

James says in James 1:19, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”  How often have you been in a conversation and realized part of the way through you were more interested in what you were going to say next than you were listening to what the other person was saying?  Many people believe they are good listeners, but when it comes down to it most of us only retain about half of what other people say in a conversation, according to research.  We are easily distracted by our own thoughts, what someone across the room is doing or saying, what we want to say next, etc.  Yet, Scripture calls us to listen better than we speak.

This week, I challenge you to “listen and shut up”—concentrate more on what other people are saying than what you want to say next, what the weather is going to be like tomorrow, who’s playing this weekend, etc.  Be interested in people.  One of the reasons I think God is so adamant about us being good listeners is that it mirrors God’s listening to us.  Scripture says God listens to the cries of his people (Psalm 40:1)—let’s listen to the conversations of others.

                                                                         

                                                        Scott McFarland


The World Is Ending!

Today is May 21, 2023. Do you remember what May 21, 2011 was? Judgement Day, of course! I was reminded this week that May 21, 2011 was the day Harold Camping—a once famous radio evangelist—had predicted Christ would return and judge the world. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I do remember it received a lot of press attention at the time. It was so widely publicized and believed across the world that there were thousands of Christians in Vietnam who gathered in a deserted town in early May, awaiting Christ’s return. Many were shot or arrested after the Vietnam government dispersed the gathering. It was tragic.

The end of the world has long fascinated Christians, especially as our country continues a moral decline. Every year it seems, things get more ridiculous, and we all wonder how much longer this can really keep going. I think our ancestors would roll over in their graves if they saw what we are seeing today.

So, when is it? In Matthew 24, Jesus deals with this same question from his disciples—when will “the hour” be? Jesus answers in verse 36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” If Jesus doesn’t even know when He’s coming back, I’m sure I won’t either! So, where does that leave us—are we just going to wait? No! The very next chapter, chapter 25, Jesus tells two parables—the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Parable of Talents. Both of these parables, if you read them in context, are dealing with preparedness. Even though we don’t know when, we should be ready with oil in our lamps (Ten Virgins) and using /investing what we have (Talents). So, yes, the world is ending! Let’s keep working…and be ready.

-Scott McFarland


Mother's Day Crossword


JOY Bus Inspection Update

The JOY buses passed the bus inspection on Wednesday.


Preacher Ponderings Chuck Schultheisz

Chuck Schultheisz – Aberdeen, Washington

On my way into town the other day, driving past one of our infamous bikini barista coffee huts, I noticed an unusual amount of traffic and commotion around the stand, including a long line of cars waiting to place their order. Must be free coffee day, I wondered. So, on my way back home, passing the stand again, the reason for the commotion and backup was clear. A van at the window had it’s hood up with a large car-hauler facing it and several fellows leaning into the engine compartment.

I had to chuckle. This would be my luck, were I ever to take a notion to visit one of these pink coffee shacks. I’d pull up to the window, praying no one I knew had spotted me, and my care would die. No wonder the poor sap had the wrecker service in front of his van – after all, you probably don’t want to call your wife in that situation and have her come get you, and something tells me the girl in the bikini isn’t going to know much about alternators or fuel pumps.

But what struck me as interesting, in addition to the van with the hood up, was the line of five cars behind him, whose occupants were so intent on seeing what they wanted to see, that they would patiently wait in line. I mean, the coffee just can’t be that good, nor the show that captivating.

Sin is an interesting creature. When we’re tempted through our own lust, we know that there exists always that possibility that we could really get busted. We could get caught. We could find ourselves in a very embarrassing situation. It could be revealed to all the world around us what our otherwise hidden desires have been. But the devil somehow persuades us that it’s all worth taking that chance. “After all,” he whispers into your ear, “there’s always that chance that you will get away with it.”

Sin can be so enticing that you’re willing to wait patiently for it to come to you. You’re not going to flee from the devil, as the inspired writer James instructs. No – you’re going to literally wait in line for your turn with him. And the fact that giving in to this temptation didn’t work out so well for the guys in front of you in line doesn’t really bother you. “That’s just him,” you reason, “It won’t happen that way to me. I’ll get my kicks, my satisfaction, and life will go  on peachy from there.”

Satan is a liar and evil to the core to be sure, but he’s not stupid. He’s actually quite a smooth operator. He knows who the stupid one is, and he entices accordingly.

Avoid every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22


Mission Support Updates


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