Reflection from Ps. Yim

Dear Logos Family, 

 

I hope you are doing well. My family and I are extremely blessed to be part of your family. We look forward to growing together with you. 

 

May the Lord continue to watch over you and bless you this week so that you may be a blessing to your communities.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Dennis

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

“But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13 (NIV)

 

Last week I wrote that Jenny and my daughter Hannah floated down a short stretch of the Yakima River. This week Jenny and I wanted to try a section of the river closer to our home in Cle Elum – a piece known as the “upper Yakima.” 

 

The upper Yakima is narrower and more scenic than the section Jen and Hannah traveled on. But the places to disembark from the river are less obvious. Jen and I scouted out a place we thought would be a good spot to pull in and disembark the raft.

 

It turned out it wasn’t such a good spot! Our trip was beautiful, scenic and fun until we tried to get out. I flopped out of the raft and tried to pull it to shore but the current was too strong and the raft was too heavy. Jenny headed down the river by herself and I soon joined her as I was swept down myself!

 

All turned out well in the end! I wound up getting out of the river a quarter of a mile from our car. Jen was able to get out sooner. Fortunately, we were both ok and we still had our car keys and wallet! 

 

In retrospect we could have benefitted from a river guide – a person who knows the river, where to get in and out, areas to avoid etc. 

 

Jesus told the disciples that when he departed from this world he would send them a guide, the “Spirit of truth” who would guide them into all truth. The Spirit of truth enlightens us to God’s truth; we receive wisdom to live this life as sons and daughters of the Living God. Our Guide helps us navigate around snags and rocks that can put a hole in our raft. 

 

Do you regularly ask the Holy Spirit (the “Spirit of Truth”) for guidance in your life? Things might go a bit smoother!

 

Grace and peace, 

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

“But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13 (NIV)

Last week I wrote that Jenny and my daughter Hannah floated down a short stretch of the Yakima River. This week Jenny and I wanted to try a section of the river closer to our home in Cle Elum – a piece known as the “upper Yakima.” 

The upper Yakima is narrower and more scenic than the section Jen and Hannah traveled on. But the places to disembark from the river are less obvious. Jen and I scouted out a place we thought would be a good spot to pull in and disembark the raft.

It turned out it wasn’t such a good spot! Our trip was beautiful, scenic and fun until we tried to get out. I flopped out of the raft and tried to pull it to shore but the current was too strong and the raft was too heavy. Jenny headed down the river by herself and I soon joined her as I was swept down myself!

All turned out well in the end! I wound up getting out of the river a quarter of a mile from our car. Jen was able to get out sooner. Fortunately, we were both ok and we still had our car keys and wallet! 

In retrospect we could have benefitted from a river guide – a person who knows the river, where to get in and out, areas to avoid etc. 

Jesus told the disciples that when he departed from this world he would send them a guide, the “Spirit of truth” who would guide them into all truth. The Spirit of truth enlightens us to God’s truth; we receive wisdom to live this life as sons and daughters of the Living God. Our Guide helps us navigate around snags and rocks that can put a hole in our raft. 

Do you regularly ask the Holy Spirit (the “Spirit of Truth”) for guidance in your life? Things might go a bit smoother!

Grace and peace, 

Pastor Bill

Reflection From Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matt 24:44

 

I just returned with some friends from a three-night backpacking trip in the Olympic National Forest. The first day we hiked eight miles with forty-pound packs on our backs and camped next to a fast moving river. As we settled in for the evening a ranger came by our camp looking rather disturbed.

 

He asked to see our camping permit and he noticed that we had reserved spots at “Deer Lake” campground which was a grueling eight-mile hike away. Normally the rangers are rather lax about where you camp in the wilderness area as long as you have your permit. However, the ranger announced that on Monday (the next day), they were going to “close the Basin” to all day hikers and backpackers in order to “thin out” the goat herd on the mountain. 

 

Evidently, the mountain goats are an invasive species and becoming overly populated in the park. We were told that they normally tranquilize the goats and move them to other places outside the park. But not this year. 

 

The bottom line for us was we had to be at the Deer Lake campsite by the next day. 

 

This was a great surprise to the man who planned the trip. He had originally planned to take two days to hike to Deer Lake so we weren’t so rushed and so fatigued by the steepest part of the eight-mile hike that included four thousand feet of vertical climbing! My sixty year-old joints and muscles started groaning when they heard the news! But we started hiking at daybreak and by 11:30am we had accomplished the steepest part of the climb. By 4:00pm we arrived at Deer Lake joints, muscles and toes still intact! 

 

This episode reminded me that we must always “be ready.” Things don’t always go “as planned.” And when it comes to the Lord’s return, none of us knows the day or the hour when Jesus will return. We’re just called to “be ready.” 

 

Are you ready for Jesus’ return or are you still getting your pack ready for the journey? Do you have any “unfinished business” that you need to tidy up before He returns? If so, you better get cracking! 

 

Grace, 

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

For many years I have used Rick Warren’s insights into Scripture to help believers find practical solutions to everyday problems. Here are a few principles for overcoming discouragement. 

 

#1 – NEVER FORGET HOW MUCH GOD LOVES YOU.

 

You know God loves you. But you don’t always feel it in your heart. When you stop feeling the love of God, you’ll get discouraged. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:1 – “We don’t become discouraged, since God has given us this ministry through his mercy.” (GW)

 

You can’t feel discouraged and feel the love of God at the same time. You have to choose between the two. Some people don’t’ feel God’s love because they think God is angry at them all the time. If that’s the voice you’re hearing, it’s not God. He’s not mad at you; he’s mad about you!

 

The number one purpose of your life isn’t to love God. It’s to let God love you. When you’re discouraged, focus on that love.

 

#2 – DON’T FAKE IT.

 

Be yourself. Don’t pretend you’re not hurting when you are. Be who God made you to be. Nothing is more discouraging than trying to be something you’re not.

 

God doesn’t bless fakes or phonies. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:2: “We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this (NLT). Fear often keeps us from being vulnerable. We’re afraid people will think less of us if we’re honest about our pain. I’ve found the opposite is true. It is in our weaknesses that we actually help people the most. 

 

#3 – REMEMBER, IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.

 

You’re more likely to be discouraged when you’re self-focused. Paul reminds us: “Our message is not about ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:5 The Message). Your walk and your ministry is not about you. It’s about Jesus.

 

Some days I have to say that to myself 20 times. Whether I’m praised or criticized, I whisper to myself, “It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.” Discouragement happens when we forget the why. Jesus is the why.

 

Peace and grace,

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

            “And he told them many things in parables, saying….” Matthew 13:3

 

Last week we started a new series on the Parables of Jesus. Parables are short stories that convey spiritual truth about God’s Kingdom. They are a discreet way of teaching spiritual truth without focusing directly on the person of Jesus. 

 

In his early days of ministry, Jesus did not want everyone to know his true identity.  Even some of his close disciples who watched him perform miracles and followed him for three years didn’t fully grasp who Jesus was until the end. 

 

Shortly after the Last Supper the apostle Philip said in John 14,

 

            “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 

 

Jesus had to reassure him as to his true identity:

 

            “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:8-9)

 

Given the nature of the world we live in, we too, as Jesus’ followers, must be discreet about how we talk about our Lord. We must learn to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) 

 

The parables of Jesus are designed to tweak people’s curiosity about God. The Parable of the Sower that we looked at last week reminds us not to be too analytical where we sow, what type of “soil” we sow seed into. Because we never know. We never truly know how a “word spoken in season” will take root in a person’s heart and lead them to the Savior. We are simply called to be faithful sowers – both in word and deed. And to trust the Lord that His word will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11)

 

May you find joy in planting the seeds of life!

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

Here is another helpful devotional from Pastor Rick Warren on keeping yourself fueled and emotionally healthy during stressful seasons. 

 

Show grace to yourself and others (James 4:6)

Treat yourself and others how God treats you – with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. God always give us what we need, not what we deserve. During hard times, we need extra grace.

 

Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect yourself to perform at the same level you did before a crisis period. You’re likely exhausted, so is everyone else. That’s normal with prolonged stress. Cut people (including yourself) some slack.

 

Start and end each day refueling your soul. (James 1:21)

According to the Message paraphrase, the Bible says, “I was up before sunrise, crying for help, hoping for a word from you.” (Psalm 119:147) When you’re looking for hope, you need time in God’s word. Recent studies have proven that the attitude you have for the entire day is set during the first few minutes of your morning.

 

One way to keep from burning out is to put your Bible near your bed and leave it open. (We’re likely to overlook a closed Bible but not an open one.) Before you do anything else, read a passage from God’s Word and reflect on it. Read until God speaks to you – whether it’s one verse or a chapter. 

 

Set and stick to a routine. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Predictability is an important stress reducer, especially when everything is changing in your life. A routine gives you the stability you need to help you refuel your tank. 

 

Reduce your media consumption. (Matthew 6:22-23)

It’s easy to spend extra time watching television or scrolling through social media when you feel overwhelmed. But if you fill your mind with constant images of negativity, you’ll only raise your stress level.  A stressful period is a great time to build new routines that include less media consumption.

 

Schedule a daily time to connect with the people you love. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) 

One of the most meaningful things you can do during a difficult season is to listen carefully to people. It doesn’t take long to lift someone’s spirit, but it does need to be intentional. You won’t drift into meaningful connections. It’ll take a commitment – and likely a consistent spot on your calendar. You need meaningful connections to refuel emotionally – and so do the people you love.

 

Blessings in Christ,

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

                           “Search me, O God, and know my heart;

                                         Test me and know my anxious thoughts.

                           See if there is any offensive way in me,

                                         And lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:23-24

 

At Presbytery last weekend Barbara Feil (pronounced File), a licensed counselor from Sunset Presbyterian Church in Portland, spoke to the pastors and elders for three one-hour sessions. Her topic was “Crisis and the Pandemic.”

 

One of her main points was learning to be a “non-anxious” presence as we listen to people express their emotions. She shared the following acrostic with us:

 

ecognizing emotions in self and others. 

U nderstanding the cause and consequences of emotions

L abeling emotions accurately

xpressing emotions appropriately

R egulating emotions effectively

 

Culturally, we have come to believe that we need to bury our emotions. The problem is our emotions don’t go away. They are buried until something causes them to come to the surface and take over. 

 

During this long pandemic we have all had many emotions that we’ve had to deal with….lonliness, depression, anxiety, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion etc. Quite often people have not had anyone to process these emotions with. And when you bury your emotions they often turn to depression and lead to a sense of hopelessness. 

 

I would like to encourage you to find another person to share your feelings with. Barbara said, “It’s OK NOT to be OK.” This has been a very difficulty season. It’s ok to feel discouraged or sad.

 

Then again, now that most people have been vaccinated and things are “opening up,” you may feel a resurgence of joy and hope! Those are emotions too and can be shared with others.

 

I am available to meet in person or on the phone if you want to talk. Talking is critical for processing your emotions. I usually feel better when I’ve had a chance to “get things off my chest.” 

 

Blessings to you in Christ,

 

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

            “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

This Sunday we are going to look at Paul’s classic passage on marriage – Ephesians 5:22-33. Please bring pencil and paper with you to worship! We are going to do a little exercise that will be beneficial for both singles and married couples.

Several years ago Jenny and I were trained to lead a marriage course called “Intimate Encounters” developed by “Great Commandment Ministries.” We were blessed by it and we saw many couple’s marriages enriched and healed. 

It’s funny that most couples have so little preparation before they get married even though it’s one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. 

Before Jenny and I got married we had a hard time finding a church that would marry us! We were new students in Southern California and neither of us belonged to a church. It didn’t seem to matter that I was studying to be a pastor and my wife was completing thirty units in Bible in order to graduate from a Christian college! We just weren’t church members! 

Finally, a relative’s aunt, who attended a congregational church in Whittier, vouched for us and the pastor consented to do the wedding. We had a few sessions of marriage counseling. The main thing I remember the pastor saying was, “If you forget everything else remember these two important words: LOVE and FORGIVENESS.”

Not bad advice. As simple as that counsel was, it’s true. Marriage requires a lot of love and forgiveness. 

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Ps 122:1

I had my second covid shot last week. The next day I had a little achiness and fatigue but not too bad. The following day I felt normal.

I am glad to hear that over eighty million people in the United States have had two covid shots. 

Have you taken the opportunity to get yours?

I know it’s not always easy and convenient to find places where you can get your shot. When we were in Southern California a couple weeks ago, I saw a long line of people waiting in their cars to get their shot! It can be a logistical marathon to get both the injections in your arm!

But I want to highly encourage everyone to be vaccinated so you can safely return to significant activities like weekly worship in person. It’s one of the many freedoms we enjoy in America and something that invigorates our faith. 

On Easter we had forty-six people attending in person worship and another thirty plus people online. Last week we had under twenty in live worship. 

Seeing your face and hearing how things are going is an important element of being part of the body of Christ. 

I hope and pray you will plan to attend worship in person soon.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Bill