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

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke break in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” Acts 2:44-47

What is at the heart of church? If you were to answer that question based on this passage in Acts 2 you would have to say it’s being “together” – meeting together, eating together, just being together.  We truly are “better together.” 

And that, of course, is what we have not been able to do for a year. And we feel it. We feel the loss of not being together. It’s not the same being together on zoom. Yes, were grateful for the technology that has made it possible to have services online. But it’s not the same as being together in person.

And collectively we are feeling the loss. We are grieving over the fact that we can’t see our friends and sit down to eat a meal together and enjoy each other’s company and fellowship. 

Why do I bring this up? Because I think right now it’s important to acknowledge our loss. We’ve lost something and we are collectively feeling the loss. We’re down. We’re sad. Because relationships in Christ mean a lot to each of us. We need each other to bring us life emotionally and spiritually. 

Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and life more abundant.” (John 10:10) And we know that the life Jesus describes is life in relationship, relationship with God and relationship with one another. 

So if you’re feeling sad, if you’re feeling down, it’s alright. God understands. It’s ok to grieve. And give yourself some grace. Do some things that make you feel better….take a walk on these beautiful sunny spring days were having this week, get out and meet a friend at a coffee shop or restaurant (things are opening up!) Plan a time to be away with your family. 

We need people in our lives. And if there are some close friends you haven’t seen for a long while, call them up and plan a time to be together. This season won’t last forever. But God and friendships will.

Better together in Christ,

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)

The following is an excerpt from a liturgy by Douglas McElvey in his book, Every Moment Holy.

Leader: 

O children of the Living God, what is your Father’s greatest desire for you this day?

People: 

That we should love our eternal King with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds and with all our strength.

 And how would you show this love?

By remembering him at all times. 

By cultivating thankfulness for his many blessings, and trusting his good providence for the meeting of our needs.

By loving all whose lives intersect our own. 

By choosing to serve rather than to be served, to be wounded rather than to wound, and by bearing patiently with the failings of others, extending the same kindness, mercy, and compassion that God in Christ has so graciously offered us. 

Have a blessed holy week!

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love….he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him….A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:1, 4, 34-35 (NIV)

Ever since college when I first studied John 13-17, I have always been humbled by and in awe of the powerful act of servanthood Jesus demonstrated with his disciples. Washing feet was the designated task of the household servant. It was appropriate for slaves and those on the lowest rung of the social ladder, not distinguished rabbis. 

Jesus turned the cultural mores on their head when he washed the disciples’ feet. Peter was repulsed by such action: “You shall never wash my feet.” Peter didn’t understand at the time what Jesus was trying to communicate. Jesus even said as much: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” V.7

Servanthood speaks a different kind of language. The world doesn’t get it. We live in an age of fair exchange. “You give me this, and I’ll give you that.” Tit-for-tat. But gospel currency doesn’t work this way. Jesus spelled it out more literally later in the chapter:

“As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:34-5

In this profound demonstration of love Jesus gave the Church its most powerful evangelistic tool – servanthood through simple acts of kindness. It worked in Jesus’ day and it still works today. 

In a world that distrusts Christians and Christianity simple acts of kindness and unexpected goodness leave a cynical world speechless.

May God’s love permeate everything we say and do as Easter approaches!

Grace, 

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!’” Psalm 122:1 (ESV) 

My son-in-law Nate is a young Christian. Most of his family are not believers and Nate was not raised in church. 

When Nate was in his 20s, he started attending church with his grandmother who was a devout Christian. Nate was experiencing some personal challenges at that time and he knew “he needed God in his life.”

Now Nate is married and has a son. His son’s name is Jimmy and he is my first grandchild. Nate and my daughter Hannah attend a Calvary Chapel in Ellensburg. I am so happy that they attend church regularly again after a long hiatus due to the virus. 

One of my on-going prayers for Nate is that he will come to deeply value male Christian fellowship and friendship. I am still in close contact with a couple Christian men that I met in high school. One of them is like the man described in Proverbs

                            “….there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (ESV) 

I’ve had many close male Christian friendships throughout my years in ministry. Wherever I have lived I have sought out fellowship among Christian men. I’ve needed the support and encouragement friendships provide, and others have needed it as well. Even now there are several men I meet with regularly who provide mutual encouragement and accountability. 

Fellowship in the Lord is not something we can take for granted. It has to be cultivated. And it takes effort to build Christian friendships that are meaningful. Fellowship is “more valuable than gold, sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10)

In a few weeks we will celebrate Easter. Some of us will be home worshipping on zoom and some will be in person. By Easter we will be in “Phase 3” which means gatherings can occur in places like restaurants and houses of worship at 50% capacity. For Logos that means most of us can gather in our church building while still practicing necessary protocols. 

I want to encourage all that are able to come and be with us in person for Easter Sunday service. A few from confirmation class will be brought into church membership and we may have a baptism. These are things worthy of celebrating together as a community of faith.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Family,

“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47

There is no doubt food and fellowship bring people together! It’s as true today as it was in the early church. Believers went to church together in the temple and then they ate together in their homes and celebrated the Lord’s Supper. 

Eating together in homes met a very tangible need in the young Church because many of the new Christians and visitors were poor and having a meal at a person’s home was a real treat. It’s not by accident that Jesus prayed, “give us this day, our daily bread.” For many getting enough to eat was a daily mission.

I know we miss our times of Sunday fellowship and food at Logos. It certainly lifted the spirits and comforted the tummy. Fret not brothers and sisters. It won’t be long until we are all able to meet together again and enjoy food and fellowship. Until then, please sign up to come to worship! If you can’t make it this week, I’ll look forward to seeing you next week. 

BTW, for those of you who knew that I received a Nespresso machine for my birthday back in November, I want you to know it is used a lot! I have many friends who enjoy coming over and drinking coffee from the Nespresso. My South African friend “Louie” had two “Bianco Leggeros” yesterday. He likes to steam the milk and add sugar. It reminds him of living in Europe.

Fellowshipping over coffee or food spikes my joy! My joy meter sky rockets when I am around people who know Jesus and we can talk about matters of the heart.  Louie and I agreed that all those “old guys” sitting around tables at coffee shops really know what’s important. When we were younger, we made fun of the old guys. Now we get it! The fellowship with other human beings changes us. Our brains get “high” on the dopamine of fellowship. 

As Spring quickly approaches and as we wait for the buds to open and the leaves to return to the trees, so too we wait with great anticipation to the time we can be together again fellowshipping together and eating delicious food in the church basement! 

I know my gratitude for fellowship has grown over these last twelve months!

Soon to be together again around the banqueting table!

Pastor Bill