Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

Last week I shared some ideas from Pastor Rick Warren about Overcoming Discouragement. Here are a few more thoughts on the topic. 

 

RELAX IN YOUR LIMITATIONS.

We get discouraged when we try to do more than humanly possible. We all need a realistic view of what we can do. Paul describes his own physical weakness in 2 Corinthians 4:7 when he writes: “We are like clay jars in which this treasure is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us.” (CEV)

 

USE YOUR PAIN TO HELP OTHERS.

Studies indicate that humans can handle an enormous amount of suffering if they believe there is a purpose in it. Paul described this from his own life in 2 Corinthians 4:8: “In every way we’re troubled, but we aren’t crushed by our troubles. We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up.” (GW) He then tells us why in verse 15: “All this is for your sake so that, as God’s kindness overflows in the lives of many people, it will produce even more thanksgiving to the glory of God.”

 

It’s called redemptive suffering. Sometimes God lets you go through pain so that it will help others. Your greatest ministry will come from your deepest hurt. Keep going because God will use your pain.

 

TAKE TIME FOR RENEWAL.

Until you figure out how to find regular refreshment, you’ll always be discouraged. No matter what project you’re working on, you won’t see it through without taking time for renewal.

 

For the third time in 2 Corinthians 4, Paul writes in verse 16 about why he isn’t discouraged, “That is why we are not discouraged. Though outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 CWT)

 

How do you renew yourself daily? Spend time in God’s word and in prayer. It’s like hooking up the jumper cables to get your spirit recharged. 

 

Paul kept his troubles in perspective, and it helped him persevere.

 

I don’t know what’s discouraging you, but I know God wants to bring you peace. God wants to use your pain to help other people.

 

Will you let him?

 

Grace and peace,

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill


Dear Logos Family,

 

Here are some helpful thoughts for Overcoming Discouragement from pastor Rick Warren.

 

No matter what’s discouraging you today: You’re not alone. The greatest missionary in the history of the church faced all kinds of discouraging circumstances. In 2 Corinthians Paul describes being shipwrecked, flogged, beaten, stoned and more. But Paul also gives us time tested principles for overcoming discouragement. 

 

NEVER FORGET HOW MUCH GOD LOVES YOU.

 

You know God loves you. But do you feel it in your heart? When you stop feeling the love of God, you’ll get discouraged. Paul writes in 2 Cor 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. 

 

DON’T FAKE IT. 

 

Be yourself. You don’t have to pretend you’re not hurting. Be who God made you to be. Nothing is more discouraging than trying to be something you’re not.

 

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 Cor 4:5, The Message) God message 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. 

 

More on this topic next week….stay tuned!

 

Grace and Peace

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection by Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

              “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:

                           ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,

                           In quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15 (NIV)

 

Last night it snowed two inches in Cle Elum. The new snow is pretty covering the old snow that is brown and dirty. It reminds me that the battle between winter and spring is raging. 

 

Winter doesn’t want to give up the ghost; it shouts out, “I still have the ability to produce snow!” Today, and for the next three days, however, the forecast is for sunshine. 

 

“No”, Spring cries out. “I want to show the world sunshine; I want to send forth the flowers to bloom and the grass to grow on the brown hills.” 

 

Even the seasons battle for dominance, winter eventually giving way to spring and spring eventually giving way to summer, and then fall.  

 

A similar battle takes place in our spiritual lives. Our bodies want to “get up and go.” We want to work, play, and move with all our being. And then the voice of the Spirit says, “in repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” 

 

Our strength and our salvation come as we quiet ourselves before the Lord and seek His face. (Jer 29:11-13, Matt 7:7) We receive courage, trust and hope as we “wait upon the Lord.” 

 

As much as we want to “move” and “go”, “salvation” and “strength” come as we wait upon the Lord. 

 

              “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.

              They spread their wings and soar like eagles.

              They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” 

Isaiah 40:31 (MSG)

 

God’s strength,

 

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

“Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret…. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:8-14 (ESV)

 

My #1 prayer over these last months, other than for full-scale revival, has been for the Church of Jesus Christ to WAKE UP and be the church!

 

But what does that mean?

 

Paul says in Ephesians 5:8 “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”

 

“Live as children of light….and find out what pleases the Lord.” 

 

Things haven’t changed much throughout history. God’s is continually beckoning his people to WAKE UP and FOLLOW HIM WHOLEHEARTEDLY. Moses wrote:

 

“So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I’m commanding you today – live a good life.” Deuteronomy 10:12f (MSG)

 

Whether you line up on the right or the left in your political views, our call is the same….to live as children of the light and to expose the deeds of darkness.

 

May you receive the strength of the Holy Spirit to be his faithful follower.

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill


Dear Logos Family,

 

                            “Trust in the Lord with all your heart

                           And lean not on your own understanding;

                           In all your ways acknowledge him,

                           And he will make your paths straight.”

                                                                                                Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

 

Sometimes life seems very cloudy. We understand this living in Seattle. The skies can be gray for long periods of time (especially in the winter) and it can affect how we feel. 

 

And our feelings can impact our choices and decisions. We begin to say things to ourselves like “I don’t feel like….. and you can fill in the blank. “I don’t feel like going to church….”, “I don’t feel like reading my Bible.” Etc. etc. etc.  

 

If you’ve been surrounded by “gray” for a while, meditate on Proverbs 3:5-6. There are many things in life that bring confusion, uncertainty and fear. Making a choice consciously in our minds and hearts to “trust the Lord” during these times brings renewed strength and courage.

 

The second line of that verse might be the most critical: 

              

              “And lean not on your own understanding.”

 

This is counter to the way many of us have been raised. We’ve been taught to “trust our gut.” We think we know what’s best for us; we believe we “have a good head on our shoulders” but we can miss our “blind spots.” 

 

The truth is we don’t always know what’s best for us. We don’t always know God’s will for a particular situation we find ourselves in. So, if you find yourself in the “gray” here are a couple things to consider: 

 

 

1.      DON’T MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS WHEN THINGS AREN’T CLEAR. Trust the Lord and ask for clarity. Lean on the Lord and his understanding. Ask for his wisdom. And wait. You might find the Lord’s leading is different than your initial inclination. 

 

2.      DON’T LIVE IN THE URGENT. PRACTICE WHAT IS IMPORTANT.  Sometimes when we’re living in a lot of gray we stop practicing things that are really important and fundamental to our spiritual health, like going to church or reading God’s word. He gives us wisdom and clarity as we seek Him in His word with all our heart.

 

Grace and peace,

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Dennis

 

Beauty in Vanity

Old Testament Passage: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” 

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. 

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. 

Everything is Meaningless

            There are moments in our lives when it seems completely meaningless; it’s all vanity as the Teacher said. We wrestle with our existence. We struggle with meaning. We have conflicting feelings over what it means to truly live a worthy life. We all struggle with this existential crisis. We see life and death, beauty and ugliness, order and chaos, justice and injustice, purity and defilement in our world. But whatever it may be, we have fallen into the trap of “this is how it all must be; this is natural; this is how the world is.” But if that’s the case, then maybe everything really is meaningless. Maybe all that we do is in vanity. Maybe we just live for moments that transcends us from our current mess and elevates us into a realm where we can feel a bit more human or maybe we don’t feel anything at all. Maybe we’re living to fulfill a longing that seems impossible to do. When you’ve reflected upon these things, have you asked yourself: Why am I living like this? What’s the point? Is there meaning in any of this? 

            There are many who say Christians aren’t supposed to struggle with these kinds of existential questions because if they do then they’re questioning God’s goodness in their life or something of that sort – which is absolutely nonsense. However, the Teacher in Ecclesiastes shows us that we (Christians) are supposed to wrestle with these questions. Christianity is not a dimwitted faith. It’s a faith that allows us to question the meaninglessness in our lives. It allows us to struggle with our very existence. It allows us to look at our world and ask, “Are we making the same mistakes from the previous generation? Are we doing anything that’ll benefit the generations after us?” The Christian faith forces us to grasp any form of meaninglessness; it forces us to grapple and struggle with it. It forces us to bring our doubts into the light. It encourages us to do these things, not because God is some forceful being who wants us to be miserable, rather He leads us to do this so that He may show us that in the midst of our meaninglessness there is meaning, in the midst of all the chaos there is still beauty – there’s grace in our doubts, there’s beauty in our mess.

Yet Everything is Meaningful

            In Jesus Christ, every form of vanity has been met with life-giving truth – and this truth gives us meaning and beauty. This is the reason why we are to wrestle, grapple and to face our own vanities. It’s not so that we can fall into the pit of meaninglessness and remain there, rather, Jesus longs for us to see that our perceived meaningless lives are actually meaningful. In our union and communion with our Risen Lord, our lives are deeply meaningful. Why? Because in our union with Christ, the meaningful life of Christ is now ours! He allows us to come out of the end of our meaningless tunnels and to find purpose, meaning, and joy in His life. This is why we can wrestle with the same questions that the Teacher did in Ecclesiastes. Jesus doesn’t want us to ignore these questions so that we live a disillusioned life. No, Jesus wants us to address these questions and doubts with Him. He wants us to know that in Him our lives are meaningful and worth living because we are now part of His work of making all things right. Our lives are meaningful, even in the midst of meaninglessness. Not all is vanity, because Christ is in you, and you are in Him.

Prayer and Reflection

Take some time to reread Ecclesiastes 1:2-11. Reflect and meditate on the passage. Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to help you to wrestle with any form of doubts or struggles with vanity. Ask the Lord to help you to continue to find deep meaning and beauty in your union with Jesus Christ.

Communal Prayer

Almighty God, you care for me as if you thought of me alone, and you care for all as if all were one. I see the things of this earth pass away, and I see other things take their place, but you remain forever.Therefore, my God and Father, to you I entrust all I have received from you, for then, I can lose nothing.You, O Lord, have made me for yourself, and my heart can find no rest until it rests in you. Amen. Prayer for Our Hearts Rest in Christ by St. Augustine

 

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Dennis

Reflection from Ps. Yim

Blessed are the Meek

New Testament Verse: Matthew 5:5 

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

There’s something unique about Jesus. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus as a meek person. He wasn’t considered to be weak nor was he indecisive or timid nor was he a push-over. Jesus was nothing close to being any of those things. However, he was meek. This verse is quite mysterious. How can we be meek if we have a difficult time understanding the meaning of meekness? I know some have argued that being meek is being nice; unfortunately, niceness and meekness are completely two different things; there are people who are just naturally nice and easy-going, but meekness goes much deeper. The Greek word for meek is praeia (πραεῖα) which means to not be overly impressed by a sense of one’s self-importance, gentle, humble, considerate. D.A Carson explains it this way: Meekness is a controlled desire to see the other’s interests advance ahead of one’s own. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it this way: The man who is truly meek is the one who is amazed that God and man can think of him as well as they do and treat him as well as they do…Finally, I would put it like this. We are to leave everything – ourselves, our rights, our cause, our whole future – in the hands of God, and especially so if we feel we are suffering unjustly.

Meekness means that we are to be so Christ-centered that we do not consider ourselves to be of importance and we place the Kingdom of God before and above all. But to place the Kingdom of God as the first and uttermost importance of our lives, we must place others before us. We must surrender our needs, desires, rights, causes and our future for our neighbors. But we must first rest in the assurance of our risen King that we are already justified so that we no longer need to concern ourselves with “trying to justify ourselves” because it’s already accomplished on the cross and through our union with Jesus (we possess all everything that we need in Him). Meekness is concerned about edifying our neighbors and seeking to bring the realities of the Kingdom of God in all spheres of life, which leads to human flourishing. Meekness helps us to see ourselves for who we truly are: poor in spirit and humble (not thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to). This is how meekness helps us to relate with others. No one likes a know-it-all or moralistic-elitist (extreme pietistic) Christian; everyone (including believers) are turned away from them! There’s a reason why Jesus opposed the Pharisees and the other religious leaders who were self-righteous; it’s not attractive, uplifting, nor God glorifying.

Christ has given us new life which is marked with His meekness. However, meekness is developed as we spend time with Him in prayer and by using his grace to practice meekness. Yes, practice. Our habits inform the pedagogy of our hearts. Meekness is not natural to us, but it’s something that God helps us to grow in as we faithfully walk in it (practice). Meekness is one of the marks of discipleship; as we grow in meekness, we will become a greater blessing for our neighbors in ways that will point them to our meek and loving King, Jesus Christ.

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

“….as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps 103:12 (NIV) 

 

Jennifer and I celebrated our 36th anniversary last night. We went to a nice restaurant and I had a feeling before we left for dinner that we might talk about or remember back on some of the highlights of our life together. Sure enough, Jenny asked me that question. 

 

And to be quite honest, I kind of went “brain dead” for a moment. It’s actually a hard question to answer “on the spot” because thirty-six years is a lot of life…. Jennifer chimed in and reminded me of some great trips we’ve taken in the last few years and we were off to the races reminiscing on a wonderful life together. 

 

Do you ever wonder if God forgets things about our lives? I’ve heard Rick Warren use a verse like Psalm 103:12 and say that God posts a “NO FISHING” sign in areas of our lives where he has forgiven us and cast our sins so far away it’s as if the Almighty has forgotten them! 

 

I don’t know if God has forgotten all of our past, but in Christ, we know that He has forgiven all our sins that we confess to him. 

 

“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

As we get ready to close out 2021 and usher in 2022, I wonder if there is anything that we need to LET GO OF COMPLETELY? Any grudge we’re holding onto, or sin that we have left unconfessed? 

 

When we come to Christ and ask for His forgiveness, He wipes our slate clean. But sometimes we don’t show ourselves the same level of grace and mercy as the Lord. Maybe it’s because we’ve asked for forgiveness for the same thing so many times we wonder if God still really forgives us?! 

 

Whenever I’ve struggled with guilt from the past I remember Romans 8:1-2

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

 

Brothers and sisters, in Christ, you are free! 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection From Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

“….as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps 103:12 (NIV) 

 

Jennifer and I celebrated our 36th anniversary last night. We went to a nice restaurant and I had a feeling before we left for dinner that we might talk about or remember back on some of the highlights of our life together. Sure enough, Jenny asked me that question. 

 

And to be quite honest, I kind of went “brain dead” for a moment. It’s actually a hard question to answer “on the spot” because thirty-six years is a lot of life…. Jennifer chimed in and reminded me of some great trips we’ve taken in the last few years and we were off to the races reminiscing on a wonderful life together. 

 

Do you ever wonder if God forgets things about our lives? I’ve heard Rick Warren use a verse like Psalm 103:12 and say that God posts a “NO FISHING” sign in areas of our lives where he has forgiven us and cast our sins so far away it’s as if the Almighty has forgotten them! 

 

I don’t know if God has forgotten all of our past, but in Christ, we know that He has forgiven all our sins that we confess to him. 

 

“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

As we get ready to close out 2021 and usher in 2022, I wonder if there is anything that we need to LET GO OF COMPLETELY? Any grudge we’re holding onto, or sin that we have left unconfessed? 

 

When we come to Christ and ask for His forgiveness, He wipes our slate clean. But sometimes we don’t show ourselves the same level of grace and mercy as the Lord. Maybe it’s because we’ve asked for forgiveness for the same thing so many times we wonder if God still really forgives us?! 

 

Whenever I’ve struggled with guilt from the past I remember Romans 8:1-2

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

 

Brothers and sisters, in Christ, you are free! 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

 

Tradition is one of the things I am appreciating more as I get older. 

 

Maybe it’s because the world is changing so fast that I sometimes feel like I’m being left behind and not able to keep up. (And if the truth be told I don’t always care!) 

 

Or maybe tradition reminds me of something important from my past that is worth preserving. 

 

Or, maybe traditions remind me of things I cherish deeply – like the meaning of Advent and its themes: HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE. 

 

On Sunday we will engage in the oldest and richest of Christian traditions – the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  

 

Churches celebrate Jesus’ birth in so many different and creative ways. This year Jenny and I are excited to participate in a new tradition for us – Angklung! 

 

We’ve already had a great time practicing for our performance on Sunday. I think what makes it so fun for us is that we get to perform with so many from the congregation! 

 

What are your favorite Christmas traditions? I hope you’re planning to make those a reality this Christmas and maybe even starting a new tradition!

 

At Christmas I enjoy lighting candles at the end of the service, singing Silent Night and reminding ourselves that “Jesus is the light of the world.” 

 

I pray that Jesus’ light and love fill you to overflowing this Christmas!

 

God Bless You,

 

Pastor Bill