AT A GLANCE
When God Says Wait - A Reflection on Perseverance in Prayer
by Pastor Aaron Adame
We live in an age of fast food, microwave dinners, instant downloads, and entertainment at the touch of a finger. In our faced-paced culture, where we want and expect things now, “wait” is a four-letter word. We hate waiting! Telling someone to wait almost seems like punishment—like real-life purgatory. And as we wait, we wonder, “Why is this happening? What is the problem?”
Yes, waiting is oftentimes synonymous with annoying.
So, what do we do with verses like Psalm 27:14 esv:
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.
And the familiar Psalm 46:10 esv:
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
We don’t like to wait; however, waiting is something that God calls and expects us to do.
The area that this affects us the most is prayer. We pray for God’s will to be done. But we often don’t want His will done in His timing; we want it done in our timing—now! But like the famous line in The Lord of the Rings, “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.” God is working out His perfect will in us as He answers our prayers, and He does this in His timing, not ours.
I recently experienced the reality of this truth just a few weeks back. My mom called me while I was speaking on a Sunday morning. And like any good son would do in that situation, I ignored the call. She knew what I was doing—it was 12:15 on a Sunday—why was she calling me then?
When I called her later that day, I realized why she needed to talk with me—my dad had been baptized that day! My dad had been going to church with her for the last few months, but nothing was seemingly changing or impacting him. However, a pastor there had befriended him and would talk with him in the foyer whenever he saw my dad come in. As they came into the church, the same thing happened, only this time, my dad told my mom to go ahead and go inside and he would catch up with her. Meanwhile, he stayed in the foyer talking with this pastor.
Service started and my dad was nowhere to be found. Then, another pastor came to the stage and announced they would have a baptism that service, and my dad walked out on stage to be baptized and publicly declared his faith in Jesus.
As you can imagine, my mom cried tears of joy with those around her. He didn’t tell her because he wanted to surprise her—he definitely did!
This story is special, but it is more special when you understand that my mom became a Christian in 1996. So, for roughly 23 years, my mom had been praying for my dad. And during those years, she was given very little hope the answer would be positive. But here she was, witnessing a miracle, but none of it would have happened or meant this much if God had not delayed in the answer or if she had quit asking.
When God says wait to answering our prayers, it isn’t because the request isn’t important or isn’t a priority. Mostly it is because there are other things that must happen before; therefore, He tells us to wait.
My encouragement to you is to persevere in prayer! Don’t give up! Keep asking, seeking, knocking!
On Worship and Other Things: Questions and Answers with Boys
by Dana Leischner
Asking our three boys big questions at dinner is one of my favorite activities. The answers—like the boys themselves—are as unpredictable as the wind. A few nights ago, I asked them this one: “If you could have dinner with anyone besides Jesus, living or dead, who would it be?”
Not losing a moment, seven-year-old Isaak confidently announced, “Bob Ross.” Bob Ross? How did a soft-spoken landscape painter and PBS television host from 30 years ago get to the top of Isaak’s VIP list? While it is still a mystery to me, Isaak was more than certain. And, he wanted painting lessons from him, too.
So, you see, big questions can lead to some thought-provoking responses in our house—and no small amount of discussion along the way.
My second question that evening was a little bigger: “What is worship?” The boys were quiet for a minute, thinking. Tomas, who is ten, said that it was singing and dancing before the Lord. Josef, three years older, said that worship is a response of who we are to who God is. Wow … these answers were so encouraging to me! While I see these guys wrestling each other and climbing trees more than I see them “dancing before the Lord,” it is clear that they have been listening and absorbing ideas about who God is and how we relate to Him.
Nevertheless, while they responded thoughtfully to the question, I wanted to see how they put feet on their answers. I asked them, “How do we worship as a family?” This brought lots of replies all around, such as praying, giving an offering, exploring God’s creation together, reading the Bible, helping others, attending church, and setting aside time on Saturdays to take a “Sabbath rest,” much like the one God modeled for his creation all the way back at the beginning of the world. We have been trying to practice rest as a family so that we will remember Who is in control of our lives and schedules by regularly disconnecting from digital things and the crazy pace of the week … and the boys are far better at it than their parents!
But the comment that intrigued me the most came from Josef after all the other ideas had been shared. “I think we also worship God by not doing some things,” he suggested. This led to a discussion about how God’s character is connected to how we worship. After all, true worship is not abstract adoration, but esteem for an actual Someone, who has His own distinct likes and dislikes. Worship is our unique response to the One who made us and calls us His own. In this way, responding to God is not all that different from the way we honor and show love to the people in our family. When the boys ask me which one of them I love the most, I tell them that I love each one of them with my whole heart, but that the way I express that love to each son can look different at times, because they are all distinct personalities.
God is this way, too. The reason worship is a “response” is because God is always the initiator. He pursues us with hesed, the Hebrew word for a faithful, rock-solid, devoted love that implies the idea of belonging together in relationship. He will pursue us patiently and compassionately in ways that our individual design and experience in life can receive. Oh, what a wonderful God!
This is possibly the best part about question-and-answer sessions with boys: there are always more questions to ask that lead to great conversations, especially when it comes to big ideas like worship. Perhaps next time, we will chase out a few ways we see God display hesed love in the Bible and in our very own lives, and consider how He desires to hear from us about it.
Would you like to join us? Take a moment today to reflect on the following worship verse. Thank God for the beautiful qualities of His character that are reflected here, and especially for the ways you have seen their imprint on your life:
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. (Psalm 86:15 nasb)
Connecting Through Books
by Tarena Beckham
There is a good reason God shares His redeeming plan with us in the way that He did—we love a good story. Stories can reach us in ways other forms cannot, and we walk away a changed person. We live in a broken world. Trauma, isolation, stress, and loneliness affect everyone. While we do our part to strive to change that, books can also help.
Non-fiction books from wise Christian authors are bursting off the shelves now more than ever. We are blessed with an opportunity in this day and age to find any topic we struggle with covered in a book from a godly point of view. Some of my favorite faith-stretching books from 2018 were Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus, Wait & See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans by Wendy Pope and Closer Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God by Susan D. Hill.
But don’t stop there. Research now shows that not only do books greatly relieve stress and help our brains in countless ways, but FICTION books are shown to increase intelligence more than non-fiction! So read for the fun of it!
While most people read alone, you can use books also as an opportunity to CONNECT with others. Try to create a reading environment in your home where you can sit with others as you each read to yourselves and then discuss them later together. Even better, read aloud to other people. All ages can enjoy a great book together. Our family favorite read-aloud from 2018 was The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Reading aloud has a fantastic way of bringing people together—just start with something lighthearted and with short time slots as you begin. Reading for the fun of it has become one of my favorite go-to healthy stress relievers! My top favorites for fiction this past year were Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick, A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, and Holes by Louis Sachar. If you can’t tell, some of my faves are middle-reader books—clean, quick and usually fantastic stories!
Another wonderful way to enjoy a book is in a book club as some of us ladies did this summer. We went through Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth together. Gleaning insights from other points of view and reviewing passages helps to seal in those timeless truths about God. I currently meet weekly with a friend over coffee as we pray for each other, catch up on life, and also grow as we go through one of Sally Clarkson’s books. It has become such a wonderful time of Christian fellowship and accountability.
So go out there, SET DOWN THAT PHONE, and pick up a good book or two. Something for fun or for growth (or if you’re like me, a couple of each to jump back and forth between) and see how God stretches you this year!
Did God Actually Say? Biblical Inerrancy in an Age of Doubt
(Part 1 in 3-Part Series)
by Dan Leischner, Elder
Here at Canby Christian Church we see the Bible, the written Word of God, as the foundation of all that we do. One of our core values is simply labeled, “God’s Word” and it reads:
We value the ministry of the Word of God. We strive to be people of the Book. We teach the Scriptures, read the Scriptures, and live the Scriptures. Furthermore, we believe the Bible points to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the promise in the New. [i]
We live according to the Scriptures both individually, and as a congregation, because we believe that the Bible contains the words of God to tell us about:
Jesus Christ, and His redemptive work throughout history
Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God
God’s creative work in history, and how God interacts with His people
Teachings from God in wisdom and righteousness
This article is the first installment of a 3-part series about the truth of the Bible. The doctrine of inerrancy, which says that the Bible is without error or fault in all that it teaches, cannot be addressed in a single short article. In the Garden of Eden the serpent deceived Eve by casting doubt on God’s words when the serpent asked, “Did God actually say?” There are many people who question if the Bible, the Word of God, can be trusted. These people may ask, “Doesn’t the Bible contradict itself?” or “I have heard that the Bible has many errors – is that true?” or “There are so many different interpretations of the Bible, are any of them correct?” This article series addresses these questions to show that the Bible can be trusted.
Questions about the truth of the Bible:
In writing about biblical inerrancy, I wanted to understand the arguments of people who label themselves as anti-religion and/or anti-God. Understanding the arguments of people who disagree with you can help to inform what you, yourself, believe. Non-believers often point to several supposed errors and contradictions which (they say) prove that the Bible cannot possibly be true. After all, if some parts of the Bible can be shown to be false, or if two or more Scriptures contradict each other, then it logically follows that the Bible cannot be trusted. Let’s first consider the question about contradictions in the Bible, in later articles we will consider errors and various interpretations.
Doesn’t the Bible have lots of Contradictions? If the Bible contains two different statements that contradict each other, how can both statements be correct? At least one statement must be wrong, right? Here are just a couple of examples of biblical “contradictions”:
“Contradiction” 1: There are two passages in Scripture that talk about how Judas Iscariot died. First, Matthew 27:5 says of Judas, “… he departed, and he went and hanged himself.” However, the second passage, Acts 1:18, appears to tell a different story of Judas’ death which says, “…and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.” So did Judas hang himself, or did he fall and burst apart?
Actually, both statements can be true, and here is one possible answer: Matthew points out that Judas hanged himself, while Acts does not indicate how Judas died; only that he fell and burst open. Judas hanged himself (cause of death), and after hanging in the hot sun, his body swelled up until it eventually ruptured. This paints a gruesome scene of Judas’ final fate, but these two passages are not contradictory, they merely tell different parts of the same story about what happened to Judas after he betrayed Jesus.
“Contradiction” 2: There are two different passages regarding the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Mark 15:25 says, “It was the third hour when they crucified Him,” while John 19:14-15 indicates that Jesus was crucified at, “…about the sixth hour.” These passages seem to indicate two very different times for Jesus’ crucifixion, until you consider how people thought about time in ancient Palestine.
People did not have wristwatches, there were no wall-mounted clocks, and sundials were in short supply. People told time by noting the relative position of the sun. Sunrise was the beginning of first hour, mid-morning was the third hour, noon was the beginning of the sixth hour and so on. However, with no clocks or wristwatches, nobody knew for sure if it was 9 a.m. (the precise beginning of the third hour) or 10:30 a.m. (somewhere between the third and sixth hour) or the sixth hour (when the sun was at the highest point in the sky. Thus, Mark 15:25 should be understood as, “sometime during the third hour (between 9 a.m. and noon)”, and John 19:14-15 as, “somewhere around noon.” The issue here is not a contradiction, but about how each author estimated the time. In fact, it is possible that the exact time of the crucifixion was 11 a.m., and Mark and John simply used different words to explain the precise time of Jesus’s death. It should also be noted that our doctrines of Jesus Christ and of Salvation are unchanged whether the crucifixion was at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.
We have looked at just two supposed contradictions in the Bible; there are many other such “contradictions.” However, when we really look into these statements we see that the Bible does not contradict itself when we consider the original language, culture, and purpose of each Bible passage. God does not lie, and therefore God’s Word is fully true and can be fully trusted.
In the next article we will consider the question, “Isn’t the Bible full of errors?” and look at the work of the Holy Spirit.
[i]Canby Christian Church values, 2019
Everyone Has Something to Share
by Ray Keen, Executive Director of The Canby Center
Because I love my children, I delight to see them serve one another! Folding someone else’s laundry or washing the dishes when it isn’t your turn is a sure way to catch my eye. Conversely, nothing saddens my heart as quickly as when my children only look out for their own interests and neglect the needs of their brother or sister. In a similar way, because God loves all, our heavenly Father delights in us when we serve others. True love for people can’t be hidden. We can’t say we love people and ignore their needs.
I just returned from a service-oriented mission trip to West Africa, and my mind is still overflowing with the faces of people in varying states of blessing and severe need. Most of the people in Guinea and Sierra Leone live on less than $2 a day and eat just one meal a day. If about 1/3 of the people in the world live like this, how can we enjoy so many blessings and neglect those in greater need than ourselves?
So many Canby Christian Church members serve at The Canby Center, and it is wonderful to see your smiles and joy overflow from your service! At the Canby Center, 439 people have volunteered over 11,000 hours of volunteer service in the last year. Some who volunteer live in poverty and some enjoy great wealth. All serve by noticing something that can be done to help another and then use their gifts and abilities to bless another person. Our new Thriving Together program has a one-hour per month volunteer requirement so that those who are receiving also give. The beautiful part is that everyone has something to share. Every Christian has this calling, commission, and capacity to serve.
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Providing food, water, companionship, clothing, and healing will be the service-oriented traits that distinguish the righteous from the unrighteous on judgment day. We don’t serve to earn God’s blessing of eternal life, but those who inherit eternal life will be identified by their lives of service.
So, where do we start?
Recognize your gifts and utilize your strengths to serve. Do work that energizes you.
Serve near you: Canby Christian Church, your neighbors, The Canby Center, Reading Mentors, Canby Adult Center, Bridging Cultures, etc.
Give of your time, talent, and treasure. Connect your service and giving.
Grow by asking Canby Christian Church leaders to help equip you for further service.
Spring Break in Mexico
by Brandon Chase
For the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of leading the Spring Break Mexico Mission Trip. Back in 2004, I was asked by the Elders and Pastor Gary Davis to develop a mission trip to Mexico to complement the High School Mexico Trip that Pastor Ken was leading at the time.
Allison Hartwell, who was the missions committee head, told me about a place that a friend of her’s had just returned from. I sent off an email, the reply seemed to indicate that they would fit perfectly with what we were trying to develop. What were we trying to develop? Great question.
Our goal in developing the Spring Break Mexico Trip was to find a mission opportunity that would have something for everybody to do, no matter their age. Would be a good fit for families. Would be comfortable and safe for everybody. And most importantly, would give the opportunity for everybody to share their faith with the people of Mexico, even if they did not speak Spanish.
We connected with Mike & Angela Fink, founders of Go Missions To Mexico (www.GoMissionsToMexico.com). Mike was a youth pastor in Southerland, OR and led many youth and family mission trips to Mexico. He felt called to leave his pastor position and move his family to Mexico to minister to the people in the San Quinten Valley, about 2 hours south of Ensendada. Go Mission To Mexico uses short term mission teams by partnering each of them with a different local church in the valley. Each team does a construction project (typically on the church they are partnered with), door to door evangelism, daily VBS programs for children, and a couple of evening adult outreach services. They provide the translators and supply all of the building materials.
Over the past 15 years, we have had teams as small as 14 participants and as large as 44. We have had 1 year old infants and adults up to age 77. Most people get to Mexico as part of a caravan, diving for 2.5 days and sleeping in churches or hotels along the way. But many fly from Portland and we pick them up and drop them off again at the San Diego airport. The base camp in Mexico is located about 1 mile from the Pacific Ocean near a small fishing town called Camalu. There is dormitory style rooms with bunk beds for sleeping, a cafeteria type kitchen and eating area, hot water showers and flushing toilets. The base is fully fenced and gated and looks like a mini-resort. They really try to make the American comfortable, and it is very appreciated.
Coming up in a just over 2 weeks, on March 21st we will be leaving Canby again for the drive to Mexico. Our team this year consists of 15 participants and we are looking forward to serving with our Christian brothers and sisters in Mexico.
I would like to ask you to pray for our team. Please pray for safety on the drive down and back to Mexico. Pray that God opens the hearts of the Mexican people who need to hear the Good News. Pray for the daily VBS and for the children that will hear about Jesus for the first time. Pray that our team is bold in sharing our faith. We cherish your prayers.
We would like to invite you to join us next year on Spring Break. Please feel free to corner me at church and ask me any questions you have about the trip, I love talking about it.
In His Service,