Getting Ready for Galmi

Going overseas into a different culture is almost always a stretching experience. No matter how well prepared we feel or how many times we’ve gone, there’s still the anticipation of the unknown. What will God do this time around? How will He change us? How will He use us? What will we learn? How can we encourage the long term missionaries there? What unexpected encounters will the team  have in Niger that might change the direction of ours or someone else’s life? Only God has those answers.  Good thing that Jesus has been working in Galmi for a very long time, and will be long after we have left. That’s what gives us confidence. The team appreciates your prayers and we’ll post from time to time how it’s going. “Blessed is the the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” Jeremiah 17:7Image

Celebrating Memories and Life Change #3

At SCC we are celebrating 20 years of ministry. Here are some more Memories and Life-Change stories turned in from the congregation during our recent service:

1) “Camping with our church family at family camp. Really getting to know people! So Fun!”

2) “Years ago in one of my first meetings at SCC, I was asked to pray for our team, by Pastor Tim. I believe Wayne was there and others. I was terrified! Absolutely terrified! I said to Tim “Oh, I can’t do that.”(which now I cannot believe I said that!) But I was so scared to pray out loud, let alone in front of Pastors. Tim replies, “That’s okay Rhea…”. I was relieved! This is when you say, God help me, now go! I thought I would vomit, but I prayed out loud for the first time with Pastors and staff. It was awful. I have since been intentional to change that fear to joy. I am eternally grateful to Tim.” – Rhea

3) “I have been attending SCC for 16 years. I started going with my family when I was 14. I loved the youth group and got to grow my faith in it. Years after graduating, I got invited to help as a youth leader and it was well with my soul to serve God by serving teenagers. I had the pleasure of being a youth leader for almost 5 years before life changes made it so I couldn’t help on a weekly basis. But I wait on the Lord to allow me to serve again. I pray for our youth ministry because they are our future. Thank you SCC for the experience.” – Rebecca

4) “11 years ago, I visited SCC. Prayerfully I considered, wondered and asked the Lord if this was “the” church he would have me become a part of. Jane Etter visited me at home and invited/insisted I attend “Sisters in Faith” group that she and Barb Everett were leaders of. These are the women who have stood with me in prayer believing and trusting that God would provide for me. He has above and beyond my wildest expectations. From poverty to riches (physically, emotionally spiritually). God Bless SCC and the people who stood with me when there was no one I could count on.” – Lucelle Bieecher

5) “The Mexico Missions Trip 2012 with my daughter Brittney and the Father Daughter Dance 2012 with my Daughter Brielle.” – Devin

6) “On Good Friday 2007 at the Friday service, I heard the story of Christ and gave my life to him!”-Rebecca

Celebrating Memories and Life Change, #2

At SCC we are celebrating 20 years of ministry. Here are some more Memories and Life-Change stories turned in from the congregation during our recent service:

“I have so many amazing memories, I think one of my favorites would have to be one from a SCC youth mission trip down to the Dream Center. We were driving down and our bus caught on fire and burned to the ground. Just the way God provided and blessed us through that was amazing.”

“Having my entire family of 5 being baptized together in the Snohomish River!”

“Being part of the new campus as members of an amazing church community has been wonderful and enlightening for our family. My favorite memory is the spiritual parenting class and friendships we made there.”

“Quickly after becoming a member, getting involved in the children’s ministry my wife asked me ‘how about we join the Lake Stevens campus.’ I said ‘No, I just committed to the children’s ministry and wanted to honor my commitment.’ God had other plans. Committing to the new campus has been great. Our relationships with others in the church has grown greatly and in turn, our relationship with God has grown even more. We love our new small group and enjoy serving most of the day on Sunday instead of just a couple of hours. God’s plan is greater than mine!” -Steve

Celebrating Lent, Part 2

As mentioned in my previous post, I am celebrating Lent this year not out of obligation but as a way of focusing my attention on the season leading up to Easter. Having not come from a tradition that had that focus, I guess I can steal a little from several traditions. I am keeping it simple but purposeful. There are three core practices for me this Lenten season:

1) Since much of the tradition of the 40 days of Lent is tied to Jesus 40 days in the wilderness (see previous post), I am memorizing one Scripture a week that focuses on resisting temptation.
2) I am leading my family in some times of reflection on the Easter season. I am doing this simply. I began by discussing some elements with my younger two as I prayed with them before bed. Tonight we will begin a series of family reflections over dinner.
3) I will be doing a fast from Friday night after the Good Friday service until Sunday morning of Resurrection Sunday. This is a traditional fast time going back to the early church.

I pray this season will be meaningful to you as you reflect on the glory of our Savior.

Celebrating Memories and Life-Change #1

SCC is celebrating its 20th year. This past Sunday we asked the congregation to share fond memories or life-change stories from their time at SCC. We recieved a huge stack of cards. It is so encouraging to hear what God is doing in the lives of our people. We will be posting a few of the comments each day. Some will be serious some will make you laugh. It is all part of Our Story. We are all part of His Story. Let’s celebrate these together and anticipate much more to come.

“We visited SCC when we heard from friends that a church was meeting at their kid’s school. That first Sunday was February 1994, on SCC’s 1st anniversary. A few months later, I was invited to join a group of about 30 men for SCC’s 1st short term mission trip. Dennis Jones helped me get a seat to fly down with the group. That trip was only the beginning of many short-term mission trips that have greatly blessed and influenced my life. CareFest and other community outreach opportunities have also been great blessings.” Craig

“After months of searching for a church, walking in to SCC, after 5 minutes, we knew we were at home!” The Wells

“I became a Christian at SCC back in May 2003.” Kelli

“The fire alarm with the Hallelujah chorus will always be remembered. The love, mercy, grace, provision when my husband walked away from our 25 year marriage, shown toward me and my children at the time and continuing to the present has been life changing.” Unsigned

Celebrating Lent, Part 1

What is Lent and should we celebrate it?

I did not grow up in a tradition that celebrated Lent. It is a common part of the Church calendar for many denominations and has a long history. In fact, it may well be argued that the celebration of Lent is one of the oldest Christian traditions outside those given us explicitly in the Bible.

Irenaeus who lived in the late second century refers to a fast leading up to the celebration of the resurrection by saying, “the observance did not originate in our own day, but very much earlier, in the time of our forefathers.”

Lent refers to a 40-day time period leading up to Easter. You may learn a ton about Lent by simply Googling it. One thing you will discover is that there are varying traditions surrounding Lent. Even the counting of the 40-day will vary depending on whether the tradition counts Sundays or not. Some common threads include fasting, daily and weekly devotions anticipating the death and resurrection of our Lord, and self-examination. There are biblically solid traditions surrounding Lent and others that can be tied to unbiblical concepts.

This brings me back to the question, “Should we celebrate Lent?” If you use the world “should,” I would answer “no” since that implies an obligation. However, celebrating Lent can be beneficial for a number of reasons including a focused attention and anticipation of the events of Easter.

I am choosing to celebrate Lent this year. I am not so much corporately leading the church through something but incorporating some private practices culminating in the public celebrations of Holy Week.

For me the purpose is three fold:

1) to more intentionally focus my attention and my family’s attention on Easter this year. I need the focus and I believe my family could use the focus as well. There is so much pulling on our time and attention. I think building some anticipation toward Easter may do us well in heightening our awareness and appreciation of our Easter celebration.

2) I sense God is calling me a to focused time of prayer. I will be setting aside specific times for prayer and fasting seeking his direction and instruction.

3) Finally, this time is used for “preparation” for a special ministry or revelation from God. One of the key reasons Lent is celebrated for 40-days is the biblical pattern of 40-days of preparation. The rains fell on Noah in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses was on top of Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments for 40 days and 40 nights. Elijah walked 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of the Lord. Jesus, most importantly, fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights before starting his public ministry. Perhaps the reason I sense God is calling me to a time of prayer is preparation for something I will soon face.

In upcoming blog posts I will share with you my Lenten practices this year. Understand this is not done out of legalism or saying you should do the same. At the same time, perhaps you will be encourage to consider how to make this season unique in our own spiritual walk and that of your family.

Do people want to buy what you are “selling”?

It has been a long time since I posted on our blog but this idea has been percolating in my mind for a long time.  Often when I am driving around in my car, I listen to sports talk radio.   Advertisers spend a lot of money to get us to buy their products.  Some advertisements are very clever and keep my attention.  On the other hand, there are ones that absolutely drive me crazy and I turn off the volume as soon as they come on.  I have vowed to myself that I will NEVER buy their products.  In particular, one electronics store tells you that if you do not shop at their store, “You’ll be sor….”  Maybe you recognize the store and the product.

It causes me to reflect on what kind of advertising I am for my faith in God.  Is my behavior one that draws people to what I believe or is it like fingernails on a chalkboard?

During our recent Men’s BC Adventure at Malibu, our speaker Norris Williams challenged us to live out our primary mission which is found in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples”.  Why does a disciple follow another person?  I think it is primarily because the disciple sees something in the other’s life that is desired and missing in their own.

My fear is that oftentimes we as Christians live in such a way that few are drawn to want to follow us.  Others are not left wanting to “buy” what we are “selling” or more aptly put, they see nothing in our life that they desire for theirs.

Jesus put it pretty simply when He quoted an OT passage by saying “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…..and a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself”.  If you and I will love God and love others with authenticity and vulnerability, what a great advertisement that would be!

What kind of ad are you these days?  Are people compelled to turn off the sound or are they captured by your passion?


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