Gallery

What Shall We do?

Adult Female Full Immersion BaptismAbout 15 years ago, I put the key in my truck to start it and nothing happened. After jump-starting it, I went to the auto parts store to have the battery tested. It was good, and the symptom did not sound like an issue with the starter; so I was convinced that the problem must be the alternator. I bought one for almost $200 and spent that Saturday morning taking out the old one and putting in the new one. It started on the first turn of the key. I took the old alternator back to the parts store to get my core deposit back. When I got ready to drive back home, the car wouldn’t start again. After looking over the battery connections, I noticed a problem. The battery terminal (that metal piece that connects the hot wire to the battery) was cracked and making a bad connection. It couldn’t be that simple, could it? I spent $2 and five minutes replacing it. The truck started every time I turned the key. I spent the rest of the afternoon removing the new alternator, reinstalling the old one and feeling a little silly.

In Acts 2, the people are faced with the undeniable truth that they were wrong about Jesus and had played a role in the murder of the Messiah. That brought them to the most important question they would ever ask, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter’s response was, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It couldn’t be that simple, could it? Yet that’s where the change in life begins. The Christian walk begins with one simple step that changes everything.

Brian   



Witnesses

lebron-witnessesIn 2007, Nike began a campaign featuring baskeball star, LeBron James. The tagline of the campaign was, “We are all witnesses.” The press release stated: “Nike announced the introduction of a new Witness integrated marketing campaign celebrating superstar LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and his rise to prominence as he makes the first NBA Finals appearance of his career. The expanded campaign includes digital, print and television advertising and grassroots marketing. The Witness campaign pays tribute to James and acknowledges the legions of fans worldwide who are “witnessing” his greatness, power, athleticism and beautiful style of play.” (Cleveland Leader, 6-6-07)

In Acts 1, we learn about a group of people who are witnesses to something much more important than a good basketball player. Jesus asks his disciples to be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” For the first half of 2015, we will be reading through the book of Acts together. We will see the beginning of the church and how his disciples took on this mission. I pray through it all that we will be reminded that we are all to be witnesses today. We should be working every day to continue that mission that began in Acts 1:8 to take his story to the ends of the Earth and even to our neighbors here in Oregon.

Brian   



God With Us

Holy Family Nativity in ColorA lot of people question God’s existence. Even many who believe in Him feel that He is distant. Between the Old and New Testaments, hundreds of years passed while people may have wondered where God was and what He was doing. With the announcements of angels and the beacon of a star, God answered in a way that the prophets foretold but still seemed beyond reality. God was not only here; he had become one of us.

He was born in modest circumstances, lived thirty years we know very little about then spent three years being the perfect example of love, compassion, service and so much more. He taught us that God desires a relationship with us and showed us what that relationship was supposed to look like. He brought us hope. “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
 
– Brian


Families

family-tree-hiFamilies. All of us have those family members that are fun to be around and those who are a little more difficult. We have the ones we love to tell stories about and the one we don’t speak of very often. If we were to look back far enough in our ancestry, we would probably be amazed by the significant things someone did or the embarrassing life someone led. The branch of the family tree that led to Jesus is no different.

In the genealogy of Matthew 1, we find what might first strike us as a long list of names. Let’s instead look at it as the amazing plan of God. It begins with Abraham, who received a great promise from God but lied about the identity of his wife out of fear. There are Judah and Tamar, whose story in Genesis 38 rivals any scandal we might hear about today. There is Rahab, who many families would never mention based on her profession alone. And of course, there is David the king who took another man’s wife but still finds himself in the line of the Messiah. Matthew 1 is so much more than a list of names. It is a reminder that no matter how flawed a person may be, that person can be an essential part of the plan of God. No matter what mistakes you and I have made, we can know with confidence that God can still work through us.

Brian  



Just As He Told You

Two Marys with an Angel in ColorHave you ever caught yourself watching an infomercial on TV? Whether it’s an ad for a product for something to get you organized, a product that will make your car look like new or the latest diet or exercise gadget, it makes some bold claims that seem too good to be true. Even though you’re skeptical, sometimes you’ve got to give it a try. Usually you end up feeling like you’ve wasted your money and it does not work at all like it did on your TV screen.

The claim Jesus made during his life about his resurrection was bold. It seemed impossible. It sounded too good to be true. Those who were close to him approached the first day of the week after his death as they would following the death of any other loved one. However when they reached the tomb they did not find what they expected. Instead of his body in the tomb, they found an angel. And that angel confirmed that he had risen just as he told them he would. His bold claim and the fulfillment of the resurrection changed the world…just as he told us.

– Brian