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News at Messiah

Asking: Our Invitation to Give

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Nov. 10-11 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah |  Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  - Matthew 7:7   What would you rather receive in the mail – a court subpoena or an invitation to a joyful celebrat...
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Learning to Share

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Nov. 3-4 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah | Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. -  Hebrews 12:1 Among our...
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Scripture and Money

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Oct. 27-28 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah | Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce ...   Proverbs 3:9-10 As we celebrate the Reformation, we remember the important work of Martin Luther in making sure all people had access to...
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Faith: Our Desire to Give

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Oct. 20-21 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah | For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.  2 Cor. 8:9 REFLECT: Someone once defined stewardship as "Everyt...
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49 Hits

Needs: Our Reason to Give

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Oct. 13-14 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah |  I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that th...
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Mission & Ministry: Our Opportunity to Give

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Oct. 6-7 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah |  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  - Mt. 28:20 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to d...
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Creation: Our Need to Give

"See What 'Yes' Can Do" Devotion for Sept 28-29 | by the Rev. Steve Olson, Capital Campaign Consultant for Messiah |  So God created humankind in his image. - Genesis 1:27 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. - John 3:16 The story of creation p...
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If We Are the Body

Janet Borst reflects on being the arms, hands, and words of Christ and the role of a mission developer |  I thought I might enjoy some music today as I lay down for a short nap. So, I fired up my Kindle and found a Christian music channel. The first song on the playlist was "If We Are the Body" by Casting Crowns. I was frankly a little pu...
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115 Hits

God in the Clouds

a "Travel and Arrival" blog by Joel Hinck, Pastoral Intern  |   For days we never saw the sky. As we drove west the smoke from blazing forest fires covered the landscape in a dull grey, stinging in our nostrils and hiding all but the vaguest shapes of the mountains around us. The mountains were lurking giants, hiding just out of...
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278 Hits

Anticipating the Start of a New School Year

The scent of a fresh box of crayons, newly-sharpened pencils, the "whoosh" of school bus doors opening, children laughing and greeting one another after the summer break, school bells ringing, playground whistles blowing, lunchbox notes from home, meeting new classmates ... For a number of us, these signs and sounds represent one thing, the start o...
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218 Hits

God has prepared you for the journey—He will be with you to the end

Reflections by middle school students Hailey Gerdts and Shaylin Murphy from this summer's MS Mission Trip Lapwai, Idaho. The Land of Butterflies, a small town but large in history. While the capitol of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation is called Lapwai, the residents call themselves Nimiipuu, meaning "the people." This small town was the destin...
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Pastors Peter and Kathy return from Sabbatical

Dear Members and Friends of Messiah, We are so grateful for your gift of a 12-week sabbatical. We were blessed in more ways than we can count. Here's a quick recap. Visits with Mission Developers We visited mission developers in Seattle, Portland, and Bend, each of whom are leading different kinds of ministries with different approaches to growing ...
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567 Hits

Anna Countryman Recaps her time at the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute

by Anna Countryman This summer I had the opportunity to attend the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute in Minneapolis. This was a  week long camp where we took classes, explored the city and grew closer to God. Throughout the week I was able to learn new things, make new friends, and best of all strengthen my relationship with God. Throughout th...
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National Youth Gathering Recap

  "It was amazing!" I think I heard that line at least 3 times on Sunday morning from youth that were asked by church members how their trip was to Houston for the ELCA National Youth Gathering. This year the Gathering brought together 31,242 high school youth and adult chaperones. It was pretty awesome to be gathered in the NRG Stadium (site ...
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169 Hits

Holy Helping Hands

Hands . Hands? Yes, hands . What about hands? First of all, most of us have them and they are pretty useful. Think about it. We use them to open doors, to feed ourselves, to drive the car, to turn the pages in a book, to flip the channel with the remote. We use them to cook, type, paint, build, write, and to drive. We use them to motion, to wave, t...
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293 Hits

Vacation Bible School - by Megan Dilitto

What do you get when you mix 136 kids, 52 adult volunteers, 68 bananas, 200 pool noodles, several miles of tulle, several THOUSAND miles of butcher paper, 20 first aid kits, a precarious tower of Costco pizzas, and the sweat and lifeblood of the Director of Children and Family Ministries? You get VBS, my friends; a glorious combination of paint, wa...
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Betsi Eki Reflects on Guatemala Trip

When I was asked to write this article for the church newsletter, along with my son Kellen, I was honored. Honored, then very quickly... panicked. Panicked because I wanted the two of us to do our very BEST job at attempting to represent our group and what we experienced on this once-in-a-lifetime trip! Also panicked, as this trip was a tapestry of...
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Kellen Eki Reflects on Guatemala Trip

When Joy asked my mom and me if we wanted to write an article for the church newsletter, my mom said yes without checking with me first. Of course, I was at school at the time and couldn't answer for myself! But, I'm really happy to do it. I'm very happy to just share with everyone about this amazing experience. It really meant a lot to me tha...
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376 Hits

Neural Paths And The Church

​ I'm writing this blog post from the public library in Olympia, WA. I came here to help my daughter get settled temporarily as she begins a 6-week practicum. I'm not even sure I know what a practicum is, but it's necessary for her master's degree. In any case, the two-hour drive to Olympia and its reversal back to Vancouver are a blur for me. I've...
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309 Hits

Seeds of Faith

by Janet Borst   I first came to Messiah as a visitor from another ELCA church in the county. And although I liked the other church just fine, I found myself wanting to transfer my membership. It wasn't the music – although the music was impressive. And it wasn't the people who are lovely and whom over time I have come to know and respect and ...
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Sowing Seeds of Faith

by Angie George-Pendleton  "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." – 2 Corinthians 9:6  Each spring, my children Molly, Jack, and Everett eagerly help with our garden. They love to plant the seeds, push the dirt around, and overwater. I know through the many years we have...
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293 Hits

A Whole New World

So [the women who were told of Jesus resurrection] went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. Mark 16:8, NRSV   "See, I am making all things new." Rev. 21:5, NRSV   We are so used to the joy of Easter that the fearful reaction of the women who first...
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453 Hits

40 days of Lent - Reflecting on 40 years at Messiah and Its Future: Capital Campaigns - The Mission Developer - The Wilderness - The Command of Jesus

by Doug Ruecker, current CLT member, and 40-year member of Messiah |  In 1978 Lisa and I moved to Vancouver to begin my career. A new job, a new city, a new home, and the search for a new church. Both being raised in the Lutheran church, we narrowed the parameters and finally decided on Messiah. It was only natural that church would be pa...
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532 Hits

Frequently Asked Questions about a Capital Campaign at Messiah

Q & A provided by the Church Leadership Team.  Q : When would the Capital Campaign take place?   A: The Campaign would be conducted in the Fall of 2018; beginning in September with detailed information about the maintenance and building improvements needed at Messiah and the expansion of the congregation's ministries that wo...
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Of Pastoral Interns and Mission Developers

Although I've only worked at Messiah for about 16 months, I've actually met at least five of your pastoral interns at various times. As a group they're impressive, and I feel excited imagining the future of the Church in their hands. At the recent congregational meeting Intern Ryan said something to this effect: "Y'all talk about past interns like ...
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349 Hits

Reflections on the past year. Hope for the future.

What follows is the text of the address Pr. Kathy made to the Congregation at its Semi-Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 28. 2018. |   I want to thank the Church Leadership Team members for all their hard work over the past year. I want you to know they gave a lot of time to the discernment process, devoting themselves to prayer and deep ...
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The report of Congregation President Kris Ann Bial regarding the CLT's year-long Discernment Process and its Outcomes

What follows is the text of the address Kris Ann Bial made to the Congregation at its Semi-Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 28. 2018. |   I've had the opportunity for the last year and a half to lead a group of really amazing faith-filled people. In the six months since I stood here the last time, we've attended to the bus...
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Introducing Julie Bracken, new Minister of Welcome volunteer

Julie Bracken has joined Messiah's staff as a volunteer, serving as part-time Minister of Welcome. Her role will be to connect and follow up with guests, make connections between newcomers and regulars, and to train everyone in the fine art of hospitality. You will see Julie circulating in the lobby of the Hazel Dell campus before and after service...
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467 Hits

Growing through Darkness

by Alison Treichel, Administrative Assistant.  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. – Isa.9.2.  I'm a self-proclaimed worrier, and I have had many bouts of anxiety in my life time. Though, none as bad as during my senior year of undergraduate colleg...
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IRA Charitable Rollover – A Wonderful End of Year Gifting Opportunity

by Beth Adams, Messiah member and Charitable Gift Planner for the ELCA Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana The Rollover helps you make direct gifts to your congregation and other ministries of the ELCA, and save on taxes. Made permanent December 18, 2015, the IRA Charitable Rollover allows individuals who are 70 ½ or older to direct gif...
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What Nimble Ministry Looks Like

Fr. Dale Johnson, the Syriac Orthodox Priest who preached and shared his ministry with Messiah in May, has assembled an emergency assessment team to help evaluate post-earthquake conditions in Iraq. A 7.3 magnitude quake struck the border between Iraq and Iran on Sunday, November 12, killing more than 500 and injuring nearly 8,000 at last report. I...
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Thankfulness

​ Messiah member, Barbara Gibson, connects Living in Gratitude, the Thanksgiving holiday, and something like Messiah's One Mile Mission. Read on.   During this Thanksgiving Season we tend to think about all that we're thankful for, but maybe, just maybe, there's room to think about what it is to be thankful. A long time ago, in ...
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401 Hits

Baptisms, Confirmation, and Money

We have had some great weeks at Messiah. Three households presented their newest little o nes to be baptized, a Messiah preschool student introduced his new baby brother during Preschool Chapel and received a baby blanket on his behalf, we commemorated the 500 th anniversary of the Reformation with the fanfare of orchestral accompaniment, and ...
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Living in Gratitude: Seeking to Commitment

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. ...
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513 Hits

Living in Gratitude: Scarcity to Abundance

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Rom. 8:38-39 As those named and claimed in the abundant promises of baptism, we have God's...
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Who is Listening?

a reflection by Norma Moore, Stephen Ministry Leader  We all have stories we need to share. We may not have been through a flood or fire or hurricane recently, but we all have life stories to tell and someone needs to listen to us tell them. We all have faced change and challenge, loss and grief, joy and sorrow. We all have stories. We all nee...
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931 Hits

Experiences and the body of Christ

Summer intern Hannah Norem leaves us with her reflections about her summer experience with Messiah.  "So, what exactly are you going to do on this internship?" seemed to be the most important question on my friends' and family's minds before I drove halfway across the country to Vancouver. To be honest, I cannot tell them all of the ...
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419 Hits

Lord, Give Me Strength

Joy's  final blog. "Lord give me strength!" This is what my mother would say in an exasperated tone when I was trying her patience, which I did frequently. Now, however, this has been my saying, my prayer, and my request, as I get ready to say farewell to all of you here at Messiah. As we look for houses and for a new community to call home up...
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Deep Roots. New Life.

Project Manager for Messiah's North County Ministry, Greg Rhodes reflects on letting go of what no longer makes sense, and discovering deeper life in God.  At age 30 I accepted a promotion to run a new manufacturing plant. It was a bet-the-company move, tripling the size of the business with a new product line if it worked (and bankruptin...
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581 Hits

Where are we going?

North County Campus Project Manager, Greg Rhodes, wonders if the Messiah community is as confident in God as it is in its own competencies. Read on.   When our kids were young, occasionally my wife Heidi and I would declare, "Let's go." The kids would always ask, "Where are we going?" Imagining we were clever and fun, parents every child would...
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What grows in my garden … a happy heart

Joy Studer, Director of Children's and Family Ministries, reflects on her recent trip to Guatemala with Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry   I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the clouds. -&nbs...
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475 Hits

The Timing is Up to God

Nathan and I love gardening. Of course, like many gardeners, we love the end results of our hard work. We like the beauty of flowers in our front yard and the satisfaction of eating vegetables we grew ourselves. But we also love the glamor-less, labor-intensive parts: the pruning and weeding, the digging and watering. It's a lovely and gratify...
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Why Did I Wait so Long? – by Richard Vaughn

Stephen Minister Richard Vaughn reflects on his Stephen Ministry experience.  To me being a Stephen Minister means being open to the needs of someone else. The training you receive is incredible, though each care receiver has very different needs and it is a learning and growing experience to connect with them. Being a Stephen minister has cha...
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633 Hits

Wondering about the Future of Gardening

He [Jesus] said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches." – Lk.13.18 Now there was a garden in the place where he [Jesus] was crucified, and in the garden there was...
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640 Hits

God Equips the Called

a reflection by Stephen Ministry Co-Leader, Detra Swenson.  I did not choose to be a Stephen minister. God called me. I reminded him that Stephen ministry is a listening ministry and I am not a good listener. He reminded me that he does not call the qualified; he qualifies the called. And so he did—50 hours of training plus continuing educatio...
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1423 Hits

Holy Week thoughts from Pr. Peter

Holy Week and Easter are better experienced than explained. Kathy and I always look forward to the unexpected ways the living Christ meets those who hear the Holy Week story for the first or for the 100 th time. You cannot be unaffected by it. Because of Easter, Jesus the Christ is alive and on the loose and always shows up to draw us home, give us...
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A Resurrection People

Reflections from Pastoral Intern Mary Beenken - A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining three former interns on a panel for our most recent Theology on Tap. The subject was 'changes in the church' and our task was to provide perspectives on how these changes were talked about and handled while we were in seminary—and whether or not that mea...
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1412 Hits

Congregation Input and Discernment Meetings - Next Opportunity will be Wednesday, March 29, from 6:30-8:00pm

a message about upcoming opportunities for everyone to participate in the congregation's current three-month discernment process regarding steps in north Clark County from Greg Rhodes (Project Manager) and the Church Leadership Team (CLT)  Dear Members of Messiah, You've probably heard that our congregation has entered...
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1477 Hits

About the Lutherans: Women and the Reformation

"I am prepared to lose everything, even life or limb. May God stand by me." So wrote Argula von Grumbach (1492–1563/68?) from Bavaria, who found Martin Luther's message of Christian freedom and equality empowering. This noble woman challenged an entire Catholic university in Ingolstadt in defense of Lutheran faith and a student persecuted for "Luth...
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He's not there... you can tell.

Grandma Lorentson and Lucas, circa 1995. Most of us stood in the hall making small talk. Every once in awhile, someone would enter the room quietly and return a minute later. Friends of my grandmother had come to pay their respects and view her body the day before her funeral. Each of us in the family had taken a turn beside her casket. All of us, ...
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An Introduction to Messiah's three-month Discernment Process

A Message from the members of the Church Leadership Team (CLT)  |   (Updated (02.10.2017) with meeting dates for all members of the congregation. See below.) Dear Fellow Messiah Members,  You may already be aware that the Church Leadership Team (CLT) is entering a discernment process about whether to move toward a dedicated Mess...
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1489 Hits

About the Lutherans – The Augsburg Confession

The Augsburg Confession, written in the midst of the Reformation tumult, is the core statement of what Lutherans believe. It was produced in 1530, thirteen years after young professor Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses in Wittenberg. A lot had happened in those thirteen years. Thanks to Luther's creative exploration of the gospel and its i...
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Cross-Campus Visitors Sought

​ An invitation to build unity by worshiping at Messiah's other campus on a once-a-month basis.   One Congregation, Two Locations. This is how we talk about Messiah, about our special opportunity to be one people across two campuses whose ministries radiate from multiple centers. To be one congregation under these circumstances takes...
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God is the Cure Giver

by Stephen Minister Marilyn Mattson   God works though us, like conduit, as we walk beside, listen to, have empathy, and pray confidentially on a one-to-one basis with one who needs hope and/or healing . The growth and help is left to God.He is the cure giver. The gift we receive as Stephen Ministers is to grow in our own faith, be better...
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Sydney Tag, Messiah Confirmation Student, Reflects on where she's seen God’s Stewardship – Every Day, Every Way.

When I was in sixth grade, our confirmation group went to Lapwai Idaho. We spent a week serving this wonderful community, and had an amazing time doing it. At the beginning of the week, we spent time getting to know the kids. These kids didn't have all the needs we have. Some of them didn't have shoes, and almost all of them were covered in dirt. O...
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1298 Hits

Reformation Changes - First Communion

Lutheranism is a movement within the Church that is always reforming, ever on the lookout for the new ways that God is speaking and working in the world. One of the observable areas of change within our tradition has been the gradual movement among our congregations to lower the age for first Communion. A position paper from the ELCA concludes, "Th...
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788 Hits

About the Lutherans – Luther's Small Catechism

Of all the things Martin Luther wrote, he is probably best known for two things: the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" and the Small Catechism. Interestingly, Luther himself was ambivalent about the lasting value of most of his writings, with two exceptions—and one of them was this little pamphlet, the Small Catechism. And this from someone whose...
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The Gift of Stephen Ministry - by Dianne Dawson

In this season of gifts and giving I am grateful for the gift of Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministry is a gift to the congregation, to those who are sad, who may be grieving a loss or facing a difficult time in their lives. A Stephen minister walks beside the care receiver through a time of sadness and helps them by listening. What a gift it is to h...
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Martin Luther's German Bible

What version of the Bible do you hear and read? Just in English, we have many to choose from. They range from translations that aim to be as accurate as possible (such as the New Revised Standard Version) to others whose main objective is to be easy to understand, even if certain details get lost. Imagine, though, if there were no Bible available i...
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747 Hits

The Perils of Gift Giving

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Cor. 13:13  Last spring Kathy and I had a spirited conversation about a graduation gift for our son, Luke. We had agreed on the amount we would spend, and identified three possible items we both thought were excellent choices for the occasion. Our challeng...
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Stewardship as Defiance by Mary Beenken, Pastoral Intern

And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah . - Acts 5:42   Despite the overtones of danger in the story preceeding this year's stewardship theme verse, Acts 5:42 conjures for me the image of a celebration—of people rejoicing as their numbers grow, full to bursting with joy and eag...
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Neighborly Steward–Every Day, Every Way - a reflection by Doug Ruecker

This past summer a former neighbor of ours passed away. When I reflect on my memories of Pat, my first thoughts are of his genuine generosity and kindness. I often bragged that I had the best neighbor a homeowner could ever have. Pat was the ultimate Mr. Fix-it. He had so many tools in his shop that I didn't know the name for half of them or how th...
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The Light of Christ

by Stephen Minister Jim Swenson     ​ Sometimes an experience of truth gets put into words that affirm my experience. The light of Christ lives within each of us. Stephen ministry is the communication with Christ that happens between the care giver and the care receiver. A question came to mind: Is the light of Christ brought to the ...
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Stewards: Every day. Every way. - See the Videos

View all the stewardship testimonials shown during worship here, and be inspired in your stewardship over everything that God has given to you manage: your money, your time, your skills. Many thanks to Mary Beenken and Nathan Johnson, Jon and Kris Ann Bial, Victor and Brooke Enriquez, Tom and Cathy Haywood, and Rod and Beth Ludvigsen. Thank you for prayerfully considering and making your pledge of financial support for the mission and ministries of Messiah in 2017. If you need new or additional materials to make your pledge, please contact  Doug Ruecker, Financial Secretary . Mary Beenken & Nathan Johnson Jon & Kris Ann Bial Victor & Brooke Enriquez Tom & Cathy Haywood Rod & Beth Ludvigsen    
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Stewards: Every day. Every way. - a reflection by Shari King

Shari King, mom, wife, self-employed worker, and Church Leadership Team member, shares a story about how a sermon heard years ago has influenced her stewardship practices and planning. When my husband, Dennis, and I were newly married, we sometimes visited a little church in our small town. I remember one sermon in particular when the pas...
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The Power of a Prayer and of a Principle: An explanation to why we are all learning new words in worship.

A message from Prs. Peter and Kathy, and Intern Pr. Mary    One of the more poignant moments I've experienced as a pastor was on an evening over 20 years ago. A group of men from our church had just returned from a "guys only" fishing trip—minus one man. The missing one had drowned, his body not yet recovered, the result of a windsto...
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About the Lutherans - Martin Luther: Monk to Reformer

We live in an era when fame is highly desired. Whether it's getting hits on social media, getting invited to desirable gatherings, or making it big in Hollywood or Nashville, people want to be known, to be memorable— often for the wrong reasons. It's noteworthy, then, that in 2017 the Lutheran church—and the world—marks a big anniversary involving ...
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1465 Hits

More Reflections on the Guatemala Mission Trip

by Columbia River HS student, Sean Marble    While in Guatemala, our eyes were opened to the living conditions and lives of a large portion of the population on this earth. In our developed nation, we do not have very much exposure to the way the poorer parts of our world live. According to the UN in 2010, 1.2 billion people live in ...
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Radical Pope. Radical God. Radical Church.

by summer intern Austin Krohnke | As my summer at Messiah Lutheran Church comes to a close, I reflect upon the first days of a similar journey from a year ago in which I also learned so much about ministry. Sitting down to eat dinner at my new home for the next three months, I was ecstatic. Here I was in Costa Rica, knowing not a soul in the countr...
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Reflections on the Guatemala Mission Trip

by Tori Beavin. Tori is a sophomore at Whitworth University in Spokane.   Being in Guatemala for a little more than a week, 15 others and I were able to briefly immerse ourselves in the culture and get a glimpse of what life is like for people living in a few different areas of Guatemala. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this miss...
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1470 Hits

Our Infuriating God

by summer intern Miriam Hanson -  "Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." – Hebrews 10:35-36 In the weeks leading up to my time at Messiah, and even in the first few days here, I anticipated that this ...
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1427 Hits

Motherhood

"Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow." Psalm 25:4   There is nothing that compares to becoming a parent... It's absolutely beautiful, amazing, and completely exhausting. That's right, exhausting. As in four hours of sleep in two days, hardly having time or strength to shower, let alone g...
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1552 Hits

The Lessons We Learn

In early March, my Grandma was diagnosed with terminal bile duct cancer. Terminal and cancer are such painful words and too often we hear them in regard to people in our lives that we love and cherish. Let me tell you a little bit about my Grandma McKee. Many would call her a non-traditional grandma. She had a strong faith and lived it out daily. I...
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1747 Hits

He Leadeth Me!

'The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your very eyes, and in the wilderness, where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place. But in spite of this, you have no trust in the Lord your G...
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  1265 Hits
1265 Hits

Leading by Example... the Power of Mentors

I was shocked! The newlyweds had been married only a month and yet they were inviting me to come visit them at their new home in Illinois. I adored my older brother and was eager to spend more time with my new sister-in-law, so I jumped at the opportunity. Only days after graduating high school, I left Seattle to join them in Peoria. Little did I k...
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1185 Hits

The Way to Graduation

Paul, Esther, Luke, Jake, Kathy & Peter Braafladt- Gonzaga Univeristy, May 8, 2016 I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them. Isa. 42:16 "And remembe...
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  1359 Hits
1359 Hits

It was his word

An epic fail essay by Pr. Kathleen Braafladt.    It was only the 6 th week, but I knew I was in trouble. I thought I had better call him, before he called me. Sitting outside his office, I couldn’t tell if I was more angry than anxious. I had given up a good job, packed up all my belongings, moved to a new state. It had never been part of my plan. I remember the day I sat in the sanctuary of my home church and relented. “OK, God, I’ll go to seminary … BUT you will never get me to preach.” Now I was sitting with 4 quizzes and a paper in my hand. All of them indicated I was failing philosophy. I had never come close to failing a class before. His door opened and Dr. Lee Snook welcomed me. His reputation at Luther Seminary was legendary....
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1303 Hits

Are We All Like That? Really?

by guest contributor Mark Hundley, Messiah member and North Campus attender. For most of my life, being a churchgoing Christian was held in high regard. Today, not so much. What’s happened? For the most part, the mainstream media shapes today’s public opinion, and there’s not much doubt that it has not been kind to churchgoing Christians over the past several years. The Bad News Bad news, tragedy, scandal, and other negative and inflammatory things are what sells today. That’s what we’re fed by the mainstream media because that’s what sells. Truth be told, there’s been no shortage of that type of story as available fodder for the media. We can read about church scandals, ultra conservative exclusionary practices, homophobia, and no room allowed for wondering or questioning about the churches dogma. It’s likely that many of these stories are true. Taken together, it paints a pretty bad picture of churchgoing...
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  2094 Hits
2094 Hits

I Have Seen the Mighty One

I have seen the Mighty One. I have watched as the Holy Spirit moved through a room and touched each individual. I have heard God speak. The Lord has brought me to tears. All of this, and more, I have been able to witness through the children of Messiah—through Godly Play. I have had my heart smile through the words and actions made from these children each Sunday morning and every Wednesday night. I still get goose bumps each time I enter the Godly Play Sunday school rooms. The moments of clarity that the children bring to the room still brings silence, stillness, and pure joy, into my heart. The glimpses of God moments are never ending in our Godly Play rooms as the children say things such as , “this is where we learn about Jesus and God’s promises for us” (Carter Jean Bial, Pre-K). Or after hearing the Parable...
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2204 Hits

North County Campus News: The Incarnation, a North County Meeting, and More

Merry Tenth Day of Christmas! I hope that you all have had a restful and fulfilling celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas, and a wonderful start to the New Year! As we continue our journey through Christmas, one of the big ideas that we think about is the Incarnation. It’s part of the readings of the season, including today’s gospel passage, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NRSV). The incarnation is this notion that the eternal and infinite God came down to this earth in the finite and first-century Jesus of Nazareth. That’s an important thing to remember, and it also has implications for who we are as the church. God comes to us as one of us. God breaks into the world through the...
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  2006 Hits
2006 Hits

Beginnings and Endings

Year-end is an excellent time to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished together, and what we plan to continue in the new year. Our 2016 theme is “Growing. Giving. Grateful.” We are a church that lives this out in how we serve the church, the community, and the world. Former summer interns Jayson, Caitlyn, Kevin, and Ben. All students at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary studying to be pastors. Messiah is a Teaching Congregation for the Church Messiah provides college students with summer internships to help discern their vocational passions. Messiah prepares pastoral interns for ordained ministry after seminary. Messiah is considering becoming a pastoral residence congregation, providing a short-term mentoring experience to a first-call pastor as another way to prepare pastors for lives of effective and fulfilling ministry. The One Mile Mission for the Community Every child age 0-18, living or attending a school within one mile of either...
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1814 Hits

North County Campus News: Christmas, Communion and Prayer

written and compiled by Timothy Siburg, Messiah North County Mission Developer One of the things you may not know about North County is that communion is done a bit differently here. Communion is served each week, like it is done at every weekend service at Messiah’s Hazel Dell campus. What makes it unique at North County is that the whole worshipping congregation takes the meal together in one line spread across the room. It’s like a whole bunch of people all around one table at the same time. Everyone gathers in the line and receives the sacrament, and then stays until everyone else has received it and then are blessed and dismissed back to our seats in peace. That’s usually how it works, anyway. This past Sunday we did something a little differently, but something I have come to learn is not outside the norm for North County. Instead of...
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2743 Hits

North County Campus News: Go Tell It on the Mountain

written and compiled by Timothy Siburg, Messiah North County Mission Developer.  Go Tell it on the Mountain   Confession time. I grew up in the church choir loft. That probably explains a bit about me. Because of that, and because I grew up with a mom who served as a music minister, I also grew up without much of a choice about learning to sing and playing music on piano (and other instruments). My first solo was on “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” sung on Christmas morning as the anthem on Christmas Day at my home church. You might have figured this out by now, I love jazz and spirituals because of the rhythm, the fun, the emotion, and the energy. There’s another thing about this song in particular though that sits with me this year. As I am working as a mission developer, part of my role is to...
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  2614 Hits
2614 Hits

A Strange Nativity

  ... for the Mighty One has done great things for me. Luke 1:49a  They said it was our Christmas gift—dinner out at a new restaurant. As we pulled into the parking we noticed an ominous sign: no other cars. “We should go someplace more familiar,” one of them said. The other was already holding open the door to the restaurant. We would at least go inside. We sat alone in a room set for three to four-dozen people. The restaurant had been open 48 days. The woman who waited on our table was specific and proud of that fact. She explained that Mondays were typically slow. We ordered our meals and soon after the food service began ... one-plate-at-a-time. I watched as she placed a plate of sizzling sautéed prawns in front of our gentleman host. He raised his fork to start eating right away, but suddenly halted. He...
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  1919 Hits
1919 Hits

North County News: Telling the Story of Messiah's North County Campus

written and compiled by Timothy Siburg, Messiah North County Mission Developer.  Who is Timothy and what is he doing? Good question. Lately I have been hearing from some of you that you would like to know more about me, as well as some of the work I am doing. If we haven’t met yet, I am Timothy Siburg, and I’m serving as the half-time mission developer for Messiah Lutheran Church North County this year while my wife Allison serves as the congregation’s pastoral intern. I grew up in Poulsbo and graduated from PLU in Tacoma in 2009 with majors in economics and religion. I decided I liked learning so much that I added two masters degrees in Management and Congregational Mission and Leadership, and have been working since grad school in congregations and nonprofits doing work related to leadership development, mission cultivation, worship and music, social media, and stewardship. Every...
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  2116 Hits
2116 Hits

Advent is a time of preparation

When I think back on all the life that God has allowed me to live, I see the strong preserving hand of God. When my missionary mother was playing with me as an infant in the waves off a beach in Brazil a huge towering surprise wave came crashing toward her. God helped her to throw me to a seven foot tall Indian native friend close by who held me above the waters as my mom was tumbled out into the ocean. Later when I shot my “cap” gun at my brother, he drew his bow and shot his arrow at me in a game of “Cowboys and Indians.” God’s armor bounced the arrow off my chest when it could have ended my life. As a young man, having no understanding of what was ahead, I made choices. I can look back now and see God’s directing finger in all of...
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  1974 Hits
1974 Hits

Something New

The start of fall always feels kind of like New Year’s Eve to me... a time when I can reset and start a new routine. I get back into a familiar rhythm and try to find a healthy balance. It’s also exciting to see faces of youth after the summer and see incoming middle school and high school students who are experiencing those roles for the first time. The start of something new can sometimes be scary. Sometimes it’s easier to stick with what we know, versus trying something new. I know for me, the night before any youth trip or big youth activity, I don’t sleep well. I worry will everything run smoothly, will I be able to keep everyone safe, will I say the right things and remember to do everything I’m supposed to do. But, on the other hand, trying something new can also be exciting. I...
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  1409 Hits
1409 Hits

Opening New Doors

Will I be liked? Will I fit in? Will I know where to go? Will I remember everyone’s names? What will I do if someone is mean to me? Will I be able to get to the bathroom whenever I need to? Will I be able to answer the questions asked of me? Will I remember all the rules? Will someone remember to pick me up after school? —First day of school concerns of a preschool student... director. I have been an educator for over a decade, and I still get “butterflies” in my stomach as the first day of school approaches. Yet, once the doors open and the families flood into the preschool, the butterflies are replaced with an immense sense of joy and gratitude for each family that has chosen to make Messiah their preschool home. I know that over the next nine months, we will see positive transformations...
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  1086 Hits
1086 Hits

Greetings and Thanks from former Interns Kristen & Ben

Meister Eckhart, German theologian and mystic from the 13th century, famously claimed, "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." (He was also famously tried as a heretic, but all the really good ones are, don't you think?) It's a prayer that we have been saying fervently and frequently in these last few weeks, as we reflect on our time at Messiah. We were so blessed, in so many ways, by our year with all of you, especially by your generosity with our baby shower and farewell program. Thank you, thank you for your gifts, your time, your presence and your words of encouragement and support. We'll be sure a baby picture makes its way west when the little one arrives. We are excited for the impending start of Allison and Timothy this fall, and we will continue to hold you...
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  1756 Hits
1756 Hits

A Change of Season

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” Eccl. 3:1  In Disney’s animated film Frozen, one of the characters named Olaf sings about his dreams of experiencing summer for the very first time. In his song, called In Summer, Olaf confesses that he doesn’t have “much experience with heat” (he is, after all, a snowman...) and then adds, “But sometimes I like to close my eyes, and imagine what it’ll be like when summer does come.” It’s a clever, catchy number (don’t look it up unless you’re prepared to have it stuck in your head). Olaf can’t wait to “find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm!” and shares that “when life gets rough, I like to hold onto my dream/of relaxing in the summer sun, just lettin’ off steam.” What’s this got to do with anything? Aside from the obvious,...
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2246 Hits

Riding the Wave … Catching a Vision

Congregation endorses a twofold ministry vision  “... let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith ...” (Heb. 12:1) Vision 1 Self-identify as a teaching congregation of the Church, developing a 3-tiered approach to mentoring college students, pastoral interns, and pastoral residents.  Vision 2 That every child (0-18 years of age) living within a defined area (perhaps 1.5 miles) of both of Messiah’s worship sites has everything he or she needs to learn. An Important Meeting of the Congregation At its June Meeting of the Congregation, President Della Hundley and Pastors Peter and Kathy outlined the leading edges of a vision that they and Church Leadership Team (CLT) have been developing over the past year. The vision was the product of a discernment process to examine the congregation’s DNA and culture. The pastors and CLT identified the...
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2374 Hits

Living Out a Mission

Summer is an exciting time for youth and young adult ministry. For most people, the summer schedule is a time that tends to be a little quieter. For me, it’s pretty busy. Summer is a time when students are out of school and have the ability to participate in mission trips, summer picnics in the park, college age Bible studies, the backpacking trip or the beach camp-out. At the beginning of the year, I talked about when I was in high school and my first experience on a mission trip to Colorado. Through the ability of Facebook, I actually found a picture from that trip (I’m the second one on the left). Amazingly after all these years, I can actually name every person in that photo and I keep in touch with many of them. It was life changing for me. As I’m writing this, I’m also preparing for the high...
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  1515 Hits
1515 Hits

What was I Thinking?

As preparation ramps up for the start of VBS next week, Joy Studer, Director of Children’s and Family Ministries muses on her “Yes.”  It was supposed to be my summer vacation! Something those of us in education guard ferociously every year. So what was I thinking? I said yes to be a volunteer for Vacation Bible School. Having never been part of a “VBS” before I had no idea what to expect. However, when Alyson Schumacher asks you to volunteer, she makes it terribly difficult to say no. “You’re a teacher! You have such a gift with children! I could really use your positive energy!” Thank you very much. However, I use my summer vacation to mentally prepare for that gift and positive demeanor; and part of the preparation is my being kiddo free! Shows what I know ... of course I said yes ... and what an incredibly memorable...
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1636 Hits

The ELCA and the Tragedy in Charleston

by The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the ELCA   June 18, 2015   It has been a long season of disquiet in our country. From Ferguson to Baltimore, simmering racial tensions have boiled over into violence. But this ... the fatal shooting of nine African Americans in a church is a stark, raw manifestation of the sin that is racism. The church was desecrated. The people of that congregation were desecrated. The aspiration voiced in the Pledge of Allegiance that we are “one nation under God” was desecrated. Mother Emanuel AME’s pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, as was the Rev. Daniel Simmons, associate pastor at Mother Emanuel. The suspected shooter is a member of an ELCA congregation. All of a sudden and for all of us, this is an intensely personal tragedy. One of our own is alleged to have...
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2995 Hits

sticky faith: a summer story

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. - Eccl. 3:1.  Pr. Peter - a Bible camp attendee. Twenty-eight years ago it was not something I expected—perhaps explaining why I continue to remember it today. Kathy and I and the Church Council members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Madras, OR, went on a full-day planning retreat. As part of a team building exercise, our retreat facilitator invited everyone to answer this question: “What has been one of the most important and formative events in your life as a Christian?” Confident in my ability to figure things out and puffed up by the “vast” amounts of “valuable” knowledge recently imparted to me through my seminary education, I silently predicted others′ responses: “The day I was baptized” or “When pastor (fill-in-name) came to my (fill-in-the-place) during (fill-in-the-event) and God spoke to me” or “When I...
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1212 Hits

Summer Bible Camp Reflections

My first soda from a vending machine, all-camp softball game, purchasing candy at the camp store, playing miniature golf, sleeping in a cabin, church meetings twice daily, the smell of the cement basketball court after a rain shower, and, my favorite, the sound of a ringing church bell signaling meal time; when I think back on my earliest camp experiences, these are some of my memories. Every other summer, my family of seven would pack up the station wagon and begin our journey to Covenant Heights in Estes Park, for a week-long Bible Camp. Our cousins from California would meet us part way and we would tent camp together the rest of the way to Colorado. Even though I was only about six the last time we made this trip, I have some very vivid memories of my experiences at these camps. While much of our time was spent running around...
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  1546 Hits
1546 Hits

Changed for Good - Mission Trips this Summer

"How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." 1 John 4: 17-18  When I hear the words “Here for Good” my thoughts immediately go to service and the ways in which we can use our time, talents and financial resources to help others. When I was in high school, I went with my church youth group (with my mom as a chaperone) on my first ever mission trip. We worked in Loveland, CO, doing home repairs, in soup kitchens and with Urban Servant Corps before heading up to Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp to hike and enjoy the outdoors. I remember how amazing it was to drive in the mountains for the first time, to work in an urban...
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1688 Hits

Real Struggle Marks Us For Life

by guest blogger and Messiah member, Dr. Julie Bracken  I am the only child of northern European parents. My dad was an engineer at Boeing in Seattle; my mom was a stay-at-home mother. My dad was raised Methodist, but didn't attend. My mom was a strong, quiet Lutheran woman who took me to church every Sunday. Our life when I was young was comfortable, both financially and personally. In 1970, when I was fourteen years old, my mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm; the cause of her death I only found out years later. My father was destroyed by the loss. He couldn't talk to me about what had happened, or what would happen in the future. He arranged to have women from mom's church come in the next day, even before the funeral, and remove all of my mom's clothes and many of her personal belongings. It was...
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  1764 Hits
1764 Hits

Jesus with Us

"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 I'm sure that many of you know the poem Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson. If you haven't read it, I think it is worth looking up. With Easter approaching, I've been thinking about Jesus in our lives and accompaniment...walking alongside us (or carrying us, when needed). A personal story of accompaniment for me took place in October, 2013. I had decided to run my first full marathon (26.2 miles). For months I had trained, but I think you truly...
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1141 Hits

Rocks and Fog

"And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" Mark 16:2-3 It wasn't the rock that bothered me. It was the fog, or the cloud, or is fog a cloud or a cloud, fog? You see it just got more and more confusing. The rocks didn't bother me. I knew I could climb over them or go around them. Most of the day I'd been doing that and actually enjoyed it. But the enjoyment vanished when the fog/cloud, whatever it was, blew in and I lost my bearings and my confidence on the trail. Probably barefoot or sandle-footed, the women who went to the tomb on Easter morning weren't expecting to scale rocks. But their heads must have...
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  820 Hits
820 Hits