AT A GLANCE
Spring is Finally Here
by Pastor Aaron Adame
I know I am not alone when I say that I’m thankful for the longer, sunnier days that come with springtime. Being a recent transplant from sunny California, I especially appreciate the sunny days now that they are less frequent for me. I also appreciate seeing my neighbors again after the winter hibernation when no one comes out of their house because it’s too cold or rainy. Flowers are blooming. Trees are blossoming. Life is showing once again.
All of this reminds me of another reason why I love this time of year—EASTER! We all love the Christmas season, a time to celebrate the coming of the Son of God into the world. But for us as Christians, we celebrate not only the God who came, but the God who lived, died, and rose again. He came out of the grave and revealed Himself to His disciples and hundreds more before ascending back to heaven. The flowers bloom on empty branches, revealing that the plant still has life. And on Easter, Jesus rose from the tomb, proving that death could not hold Him. And from His life, we too have life through faith in Him—what a wonderful time of year.
Paul wrote about the three supreme virtues of the believer’s life in 1 Corinthians: faith, hope, and love. I want to use these three virtues to encourage you on how you can experience the risen Christ this Easter.
When Jesus rose from the grave and His disciples saw Him, they believed. They knew the Scriptures. They heard Jesus speak. But they had not yet understood; therefore, they failed to fully believe. But once they saw Him, all doubt and confusion vanished like morning fog to the midday sun. The message of Easter is that Jesus is alive. His enemies didn’t defeat him. He triumphed over sin and death. Because of that, He is the only one worthy of our total allegiance of faith.
Furthermore, faith (rest, trust, belief) is the only logical response to the resurrection of Jesus. Where is your faith this Easter? Have you been struggling to believe, to trust, to rest? Set your mind and soul on the reality of the resurrection this Easter and let life (His life) fill you again.
When someone experiences seasons of great darkness, a likely result is a loss of hope. Sometimes the season isn’t all that bad; it just lasts for years. Other times, there is a difficult season that is short, but the pain is so deep that hope evaporates like the morning dew. Everyone needs hope. Without it, it is difficult, nearly impossible to continue on. Imagine how the disciples felt seeing Jesus on the cross and buried in the grave. All their hopes and dreams were crushed in a moment. But imagine as well the hope that filled their hearts upon seeing Jesus once again.
The message of Easter is that hope is alive and well. When you place your faith in Jesus, He renews your hope. Hope for the future. Hope in the present. And hope in every situation and circumstance. Where is your hope this Easter? Have you allowed the difficulty of life in a fallen world to rob you of your hope? Set your eyes on the risen Jesus this Easter and let the Giver of hope renew your spirit.
Paul concludes that of these three virtues, the greatest is love. The gospel, at least according to John 3:16, is the good news of God’s love to the world—to you and me. When you lose someone you love, the hardest thing is knowing that you won’t experience their presence again. This is the same pain that the disciples felt that Good Friday when Jesus was crucified. But when they saw Jesus alive, love warmed their hearts once more as they basked in the glow of His presence. Know this Easter that the risen Jesus is with you, now and always, extending to you His life-changing love. But another aspect of love is not just in the receiving, but in the giving.
Love is best understood in what we give, not what we get. So, with that, let me challenge you to share the love of the risen Jesus this Easter with someone who needs to hear it. When you tell someone that you love them, it changes them. When you tell them that God loves them and that He proved that love in Christ, it changes everything. You can experience God’s love this Easter by delighting in His love for you and by sharing that love with others.
Serving Christ Together
by Shaun Benetti
Do you know the core values of Canby Christian Church? God’s Word, Prayer, Fellowship, Worship, Service, and Mission. Being a part of CCC, we know these and strive to incorporate them in our lives. As part of men’s ministry, we ask how we can align our activities according to these values. We have recently started a Men’s Morning Huddle that is held on the second Saturday of the month. This event brings the men of our church together for prayer, devotions, testimonies, worship, and fellowship. In our April huddle, we will include serving.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (niv) Each of us has different gifts, given to us by God. We are to use these gifts to serve each other; thus, being faithful stewards and giving glory to God. There are many ministries within the church to volunteer—Hospitality, Worship, CC Kids to name a few. There are other ways to serve outside of these ministries.
One way I find myself serving is being available when someone needs help. This has led me into many opportunities to serve alongside brothers and sisters, getting to know them better than I have before. In my experience, this is one of the best ways to get to know someone—by spending time helping each other accomplish common goals as we serve Christ together.
This month, on April 13, we will be involved in a day dedicated to serving our church and cleaning up our place of worship. While this will take place immediately after the next Men’s Huddle, this is not a Men’s Ministry event, but an opportunity for all to serve. This will involve many different jobs, requiring the help of all levels of expertise and ages. There are four general categories where help is needed: electrical, painting, and general clean up inside and outside the facility. We are looking for volunteers to serve in any of these areas. Additional details will be released soon, but I encourage all to serve where you can. I look forward to serving alongside you!
Our Living Truth
by Melody Roberts, Office Manager
Truth is a person.
These were the words spoken by keynoter, Karen Howells, at the Ignite the Wonder conference, an event our Women’s Ministry attended last month. Her profound insight drew a sharper image of the God I worship.
I lost my mom this past summer. As in Midwest fashion, my mom’s shell of a body was prepped for an open-casket viewing. The funeral home did well to make her presentable. But that was not my mom. A face that once flashed an instant smile was peaceful but expressionless. Hands that had washed dishes, cooked meals, wrote letters, and played the ivory keys on the piano lay perfectly still.
The person that had helped shape my faith was gone. Yet, in her absence, another relationship was deepening. As the grief process began, Christ comforted me in many ways, and I pressed into Him like a desperate child.
Sooner or later, death separates us from those we hold dear. But there is One who will never leave us—a Savior whose love and tenderness exceeds the comfort of a mother and the strength of an earthly father. In fact, Christ is the fulfillment of any and every relationship we could ever have.
We don’t base our trust in a dead book of rules. Our faith isn’t founded on cold, lifeless principles.
Truth is a living, breathing, touchable Person. Jesus is the Word. The Word made flesh. The fulfillment of Mosiac law. The gospel played out in human form—with perfect deity. And He reveals Himself to us in many ways. After we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, He repairs our need for our heavenly Father and comes close to us as . . .
Over twenty years ago, I moved from Indiana to Oregon, far away from family—a family consisting of one sister and four brothers. This resettlement built a trust in the One who is “closer than a brother. “ (Proverbs 18:24)
As the eternal Bridegroom, Jesus stages my own marriage with His perfect wisdom and plan and fixes my gaze on the future I have with Him when He redeems His Bride, the church. This gives me hope and helps me rely on Him to be faithful with the marriage covenant I have committed to Him and my husband.
More specifically, He is the Lord, the boss, the one who establishes and blesses the work of my hands. My job is made sweeter when I depend on the Lord to guide and strengthen me as I work for His glory.
Oh, to have someone teach me! My Lord patiently and lovingly teaches me by the power of His Word and the counsel of His Spirit. I love the way the Lord teaches me!
Who can find a better friend than Jesus? Christ always hits the mark of true friendship:
“ … and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel” (Proverbs 27:9 esv)
“ … a friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17 esv)
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 nlt)
Always available, all sufficient for every emotional need, the God of the universe—the maker of heaven and earth—is my friend.
I encourage you to make your own list. How has Christ revealed Himself to you?
This Easter, as we once again ponder the meaning of His death and resurrection, let us draw near to Him, remembering the way He breathes new life into every relationship and fulfills our deepest desires for a Father, Brother, Spouse, Boss, Teacher, Friend—and so many more—with a love that conquers the grave.
You Don't Have to Believe to Belong-Or Do You?
by Pastor Aaron Adame
A few years ago, I sat down to watch a church service of a popular “hip” church that I had heard of in another state. As I watched, a leader came forward and began to welcome everyone. And as he spoke, he said something that struck me as odd. He said, “We’re so glad that y’all are here. We want you to know that everyone is welcome. Here at 'so-and-so Church,' you don’t have to believe to belong.” It was that last line that struck me as odd. Absolutely, every church should be welcoming to any and all as Jesus welcomes any and all. But to say that you don’t have to believe to belong sounded rather counterintuitive. I mean, isn’t that what we as a church and Christians are supposed to be doing—encouraging people to believe, so that they can belong!?
It turns out, this expression had become rather popular within these pop-culture churches. This was just the first time I had heard it.
Here’s the truth, everyone wants to know they belong. We long for community, acceptance, and a sense of belonging. God created us this way. But something that we need to understand is that in order to “belong” to the body of Christ, the church, in a true and genuine sense, you must believe in the One who gave His life for the church. To say that someone doesn’t have to believe in order to belong [to a church] would be to say that you don’t have to breathe to live.
In the Bible, there is a broader term for this topic of belonging that we’re talking about here-it is the word fellowship. Fellowship (Gk. koinonía) is described as “The communion or common faith, experiences, and expressions shared by the family of believers, as well as the intimate relationship they have with God.Christian fellowship and belonging hinges on belief. This is why when someone begins to reject the faith, they not only forfeit their fellowship with God but also with His people.
Why do I bring all this up? For two reasons:
First, we need to clarify the biblical stance vs. the cultural agenda for inclusion. We live in a culture that strives hard for inclusion. And in a lot of ways, this is great. Because so much prejudice and bigotry exists in the world, the message of inclusion is a refreshing glass of water on a scorching day. Furthermore, we as Christians can get behind the concept of inclusion because the message of the gospel is a message of inclusion. We believe that anyone, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic class, culture, language and even sins they have committed, can come to Jesus and receive grace, forgiveness, and acceptance. However, a person still must “come to Jesus.” The push for inclusion cannot remove the biblical message on how to be included.
The reason why this church leader said what he did was because he wanted to show just how “inclusive” their church was. But what he failed to realize was that in striving for that level of inclusion, he forfeited the first and most important prerequisite for belonging—belief! Sure, this might get a lot of people to attend a church, but the moment that faith and belief are no longer required, they cease from being a church and are instead just a bunch of people hanging out. Friends, be grateful that our culture is striving for inclusion; however, be wise to see that the cultural stance on inclusion is not the biblical one.
Second, we should celebrate that we do belong through faith. In one of the most epic chapters of the New Testament, Paul writes in Ephesians chapter two about this amazing truth of inclusion. The point is that before faith in Jesus, everyone is excluded, but through Jesus, we have fellowship with Him and one another. He writes:
“Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12–13 nasb)
There was a time when we didn’t belong because we didn’t believe. But the joy for every Christian is to know that Jesus pursued us, called us, and saved us, bringing us into fellowship with Him.
John wrote in 1 John 1:3, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (nasb) When we preach the gospel to people, what we are essentially doing is inviting them to belong to the family of God through faith in Jesus. John writes in the very next verse, “These things we write so that our joy may be complete” (v.4). The joy we have as Christians is to know that we belong to God, and through faith, we belong to one another.
As a member of Canby CC, we want you to know that you belong here. You belong because you have believed. We all can experience fellowship because of our shared faith in Jesus. Furthermore, we can invite others into this fellowship by calling them to believe in Jesus!
Did God Actually Say? Biblical Inerrancy in an Age of Doubt
(Part 2 in 3-Part Series)
by Dan Leischner, Elder
This is the second part of a three-part series about the truth of the Bible. In the last article we looked at the question of contradictions in the Bible, and in this article we will consider the question of errors in the Bible, as well as consider the work of the Holy Spirit.
A core value of Canby Christian Church is God’s Word. This value 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 look to, and rely upon, the whole of the Bible above any other book or policy or teaching. The Bible contains God’s words, given to men, inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. As the Word of God, we believe it to be fully true and accurate in all that it affirms. This means that we can’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible we follow and which to ignore.
Throughout history there have been people who have cast doubt on the truth and validity of God’s Word. From the beginning in the Garden of Eden the serpent (Satan) twisted God’s Word and sowed seeds of doubt by asking Eve, “Did God actually say…?” Satan knew if he could create doubt in God’s Word, if he could cause Eve to question if God was really being truthful, then he could get her to disobey and turn away from God’s simple command. Even today, people try to cast doubt on God’s Word, either because they don’t want to follow God’s clear teaching, or they want to deny God altogether. They know if any part of the Bible is in error or can be shown to be untrue, then the whole Bible becomes suspect. Said another way, if part of the Bible is not true, then how can we know that any of it is true? If the Bible can be reduced to just another inspirational book, rather than God’s revealed truth, then we can simply ignore what the Bible says.
Questions about the truth of the Bible:
In the first article, we looked at the question about contradictions in the Bible. When we really unpack these “contradictions” we see that the Bible does not contradict itself when we consider the original language, culture, and purpose of each Bible passage. In this article, we will consider the question of errors in the Bible and we will see that God’s Word is truth and can be trusted.
Isn’t the Bible full of errors?– Just like contradictions, if the Bible contains errors or false statements, then it cannot be trusted. Here are some “errors” in the Bible:
“Error” 1[ii]: How many horses did Solomon have? In 1 Kings 4:26 we read, “Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots”, while in 2 Chronicles 9:25 we read, “And Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots”. So, which is it – 40,000 or 4,000? There are two possible answers. First, it is possible for minor errors (such as adding or dropping one digit) to occur as a transcriber handwrites a new copy of the biblical text. There were no printing presses at that time and every new copy of a document was written out by hand, thus leaving the opportunity for human error in copies of the original work. The second possible answer is that these two passages are not in disagreement, but that Solomon had 40,000 stalls that would fit horses, and 4,000 stalls that would fit horses and chariots – making both statements true because they are each offering complimentary information about Solomon’s stalls. Regardless of what the original writers of these passages actually wrote, the point is that Solomon had an incredibly large herd of horses!
“Error” 2: Incorrect calculation of the diameter of the Molten Sea[iii]- in 2 Chronicles 4 we read about the furnishings in the Temple and in verse 2 we see a large metal basin for washing. The text says, “Then he made the sea of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.”[iv]
The “error” has to do with mathematical accuracy. If a circle is 10 cubits across, then its circumference is 31.1416 cubit, not 30 cubits. While these two values (31.1416 and 30) are not identical, it does not mean that there is an error. 2 Chronicles is not a mathematical textbook, and we should not expect the same degree of precision. Perhaps the writer was rounding off to a simple number – this would not make the text in error, just not useful for teaching math. It is also possible that the writer was measuring the inside circumference of the basin which would be very close to (if not precisely) 30 cubits. Regardless, the circumference of the basin has no bearing on any doctrine or teaching of the Bible.
Summary of “errors”: In the examples above, we see that these “errors” are not inaccuracies at all. That said, we do know that there is a possibility for human error to occur when copying a manuscript by hand, or when translating from one language to another. The fact is that there are words in the Greek and Hebrew languages that have no direct equivalent in our English language. Sometimes a phrase in the Hebrew language will be well understood by the original Hebrew reader, but makes little sense when we translate it into English. In these circumstances the translator must make a decision to either translate a passage directly into English (perhaps losing some of its original meaning) or translate the idea of the passage into English by using different words to convey the correct meaning. In these situations, a team of highly-educated translators carefully render the original meaning as best they can into the new language. Many English Bibles contain notes about passages that have alternate understandings or where various manuscripts may differ.
We have the confidence of having many different manuscripts dating back hundreds and even thousands of years. We have more copies of Biblical texts dating back to earlier times than any other work of literature, including Shakespeare, Homer, and Plato. This means that our modern translations are based on multiple sources so that any actual errors in transcription are so minor as to be inconsequential. Any errors that may exist in our modern English translations have no impact on the truth of the doctrines in which we believe.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
Jesus told His disciples that after He left He would send the Helper, the Holy Spirit and, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”[v] Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that His disciples could know the truth. How can any of us really understand the Word of God unless God reveals it to us? This revelation of God’s Word is part of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Just as God’s Holy Spirit inspired and guided the original writers of the Bible, the Holy Spirit gives us understanding of the words that they wrote. The Holy Spirit will reveal the truth that is already written in God’s Word. This is important to understand: The Holy Spirit is not making new revelations that are outside of or in addition to God’s written Word – He only takes the words given from God through Jesus, and He gives us understanding of those words.
God has also placed us in a community of believers, a church family, wherein we can discuss the Bible and what it means. Together, we can encourage each other to righteousness and a right understanding of God’s Word, and we can correct each other so that we avoid false teachings and wrong understandings of the Bible. The Holy Spirit guides us into correct understanding, and we can have confidence that the Bible is true in all that it affirms. We can trust in God’s Word for how we live our lives. Together, we can agree with the Chicago Statement of faith that says:
“We affirm that a confession of the full authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole of the Christian faith. We further affirm that such confession should lead to increasing conformity to the image of Christ."[vi]
In the next article, we will look at questions related to the various interpretations of God’s Word.
Canby Christian Church values, 2019
Freedom From Religion Foundation, Copyright 1992 by Dan Barker. https://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra
I’m Glad you Asked, Ken Boa and Larry Moody, (Colorado Springs, Victor Books, 1994) pg. 110
2 Chronicles 4:2, English Standard Version, Text Edition, (Good News Publishers, 2001)
John 16:13-14, English Standard Version, Text Edition, (Good News Publishers, 2001)
The Chicago Statements on Biblical Inerrancy and Hermeneutics, (International Council on Biblical Inerrancy Chicago, Illinois, October 26 – 28, 1978)
by Connor Southerton, Ministry Assistant
On March 1, a group of 15 students, young adults, and leaders headed to camp Wi-Ne-Ma for the annual Mexico retreat with Go, Inc. The group that headed to this retreat is headed to Mexico in June for our students and young adult Transformation Trip. The purpose of the March retreat was threefold: First, it was a time to gather together as a larger group of people who will be serving in Mexico together this June; second, it was a time to worship and pray as we prepare for this trip; third, it was a time to serve camp Wi-Ne-Ma through a day of work projects around the camp.
Of the 175 people going on this trip in June, about 100 people gathered at Wi-Ne-Ma for this retreat. These people came from a number of different churches, geographic locations, and backgrounds, which gave our team of 15 members from Canby Christian Church the privileged to spend time with a large number of believers from the “Big C Church," otherwise known as the global church. For me, this is one of my favorite parts. As a student, I grew up going on this trip and retreat. As I returned to Wi-Ne-Ma, I was able to connect with friends, mentors, and students that I had not seen in a few years. I was also able to meet new friends over the course of this weekend retreat.
We had Sean Thomé from the NWCEA (Northwest Christian Evangelistic Association) spend the weekend with us, and he taught the importance of being a part of the church and being on a mission to those who are far from God. Sean brought a dynamic to the retreat that spoke to us all as we worshipped, prayed, and learned from God through sessions and individual worship time.
We also spent the Saturday of the retreat serving camp Wi-Ne-Ma through various work projects around camp such as siding a building, pouring concrete, and clearing trails for campers to enjoy.
This retreat exists to experience community in the Word and serve over the course of two and a half days to prepare us for a week of doing just that in Mexico. It is a small glimpse into what we will be doing this summer! I fully believe that the trip requires us to exercise and live out what it means to be a Christ follower.
As we seek to grow in our faith and make disciples, we must be a people who worship our God and our God alone, people who are disciplined in worship and Scripture. We must exist in community with the “Big C Church” as we reach lost people and serve the church and the least of these in our communities and beyond.
This trip and retreat require you to step out of your comfort zone in at least one way, but most likely you will step out in a couple of different ways. You will be pushed to serve in a way that you are not used to; you will be pushed to have community with those outside your normal circle, and you will be pushed to trust and grow in your faith in Jesus Christ. The conclusion: If you are a young adult, student, parent and want to grow as a Christ follower, join us in 2020. We would love to have you!