The Life and Times- May-2013

May, 2013

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  —Lamentations 3:19-23 NIV ‘84

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Over the last few weeks I have been doing quite a bit of wandering all along the west coast.  My wandering was purposeful: attending meetings, continuing education and visiting a member in the hospital.  Nevertheless, I have wondered as I wandered what God is doing in His Church.  I would like to share with you some of my reflections.

It surprises very few these days when the assertion is made that the cultural landscape of America, and Pacific Northwest in particular, is changing.  The Church, which had occupied a central role in the lives of most just 40 years ago, is more-and-more viewed as a hobby, and peculiar one at that.  While I, like many, love to point the finger at others for this turn, I believe the old adage, ‘when you point a finger you have three more pointing back at you,’ is correct in this case.

As a Church we have tried to make faith convenient and easy.  We have adapted to personal tastes and adopted methods that suit personal preference.  As a result, our discipleship has grown anemic.  As our children and teens emerge in a rapidly changing cultural environment, the anemic faith is simply not robust enough to sustain them in the wilderness.

What we need is more of Jesus.  The Prophet Jeremiah (quoted above in his book of Lamentations) understood that God was bigger than any inconvenience or difficulty he faced.  Even the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of the Temple was within God’s power to use for His glory and for the building up of His people.  We too can lament the changes in our cultural environment that have put the Church out of the center of public consciousness, but let’s not lament so long and so loud that we miss that Christ is still Lord, the Spirit is still calling disciples and the Father is still pouring out his love and mercy on us.

As a congregation in the midst of this changing cultural landscape we need to adapt.  The temptation is to adapt in such a way that we make our life together easier, perhaps by bunkering down and ignoring the world (a difficult thing to do when Jesus tells us to ‘Go’ in the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20]) or by going along to get along and thus becoming indistinguishable from the culture around us (a dangerous path, see Jude 17-19).  What we need is a more robust faith in Christ that is grounded in Scripture and informed in the doctrines of our faith.  I will be working with the Session and specifically the Discipleship Committee over the next few months to develop a vision of discipleship for our congregation that will do just this.

Regardless, one thing is certain.  We serve a God who will not be overcome by this world, but has overcome the world in Christ Jesus.  This God’s mercies are new every morning and with His love and faithfulness, we have nothing to fear.

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Pastor Bill

Loving the Lord our God and our neighbors as disciples of Jesus Christ

Teen Scene with Lance O’Dell, Christian Education Director
It’s SUMMER TIME!!!  Well, almost…, with the end of the school year almost upon us it’s time to shift our thinking toward summer, summer fun, summer fellowship, and summer activities.  We have a lot planned for this summer and even though some of the dates have not been finalized here is a road map for our youth programs for what’s coming this summer.

Attention Middle Schoolers
The last day of school for our students is June 7th and for our middle school group we aren’t going to waste any time.   June 12th we will load up the Blue Angle and head to the waterslides to kick-off our summer schedule.  We are also tentatively planning a middle school lock-in for the 2nd to last Friday in June – June 21st.  Make sure you make it to middle school youth group over the next few Wednesday’s as we will finalize times and places during our regularly scheduled meeting times.

Attention High Schoolers
The fun has already begun for this group.  Last Sunday we took a trip out to the O’Dell farm for an evening of games and fellowship, ending it off with a campfire and some smores.  This is only the beginning though as other events are already in the planning.  Do you like to explore caves?  Do you like to go camping?  Do you like to stay up late and watch movies?  Do you like to work with younger kids and teach them about the love of Christ?  Do you like waterslides?  Do you like to go backpacking?  Are you interested in a summer camp that offers spiritual growth and outdoor activities?  Are you interested in adventure and learning more about God’s love for you?  All of this and a whole lot more are in the planning for this summer.  Come join us Sunday nights at 7:00pm for our regularly schedule youth groups and add your input as we work together to finalize our plans for the summer. 

Sunday School celebration
Our end of the year Sunday School celebration in which we honor our Sunday school teachers and recognize our 4th grade students with a bible will take place Sunday, June 2nd during worship.  I would personally like to thank our Sunday school staff for all the hard work and time they put into this Sunday school year.  I encourage you to join us for worship that Sunday as Pastor Bill begins his series in Colossians, we come together for communion and we join as one congregation to thank our Sunday school volunteers for their work during the school year.

Summer transitions – middle school to high school & incoming 6th graders
As is our usual practice as soon as school is out students are welcome to begin the transition from one age group of youth ministry to the next.  I have always listed the official time change as the first full week of July, but I have also always worked to accommodate this change around the schedules and needs of parents.  If you have any questions or concerns please give me a call.

Summer Sunday School
This summer our summer Sunday school curriculum is going to follow the same theme as our Vacation Bible School.  It is a wildwest theme in which there will be 13 lessons (one for each Sunday of the summer) that follow the story of Moses in Exodus.  The curriculum is from Gospel Light titled Wrangler Roundup.  The 13 themes and bible story are as follows: 

1. Ultimate Courage - “A baby in danger” Exodus 1-2.  2. Ultimate Wisdom - “A Runaway Prince” Exodus 2.  3. Ultimate Help – “A leader for God” Exodus 3.  4. Ultimate Obedience – “Facing Pharaoh” Exodus 5-6.  5.  Ultimate Protection – “Plagues a-plenty” Exodus 7-10.  6. Ultimate Life – “Passover Power” Exodus 11-12.  7. Ultimate Freedom – “Freedom March” Exodus 12.  8.  Ultimate Power – “Red Sea crossing” Exodus 13-15.  9.  Ultimate Leadership – “Loved and Led” Exodus 13, 15.  10.  Ultimate Provision – “All we need” Exodus 16-17.  11. Ultimate Love – “Sinai Meeting” Exodus 19-20.  12.  Ultimate Forgiveness – “Golden Calf” Exodus 24-32.  13. Utimate Faith – “Twelve spies” Numbers 13-14 and Dueteronomy.

We have leaders in place for the month of June.  Still need leaders for July and August.  The lessons are reproducible, ready and fun to teach.

Vacation Bible School
Following the theme of the Wrangler Roundup our VBS this summer will be SonWest Roundup.  VBS is set for July 8th-12th Monday through Friday from 9:30 to noon.  Each day has a theme with a focus out of Exodus.  The five themes are Born to Save; Promise of Power; Passover Rescue; Perfect Provision; and Law of Love.  I will be acting as the VBS Director wth help from Vicky O’Dell.  Volunteers are coming together but we can always use more.  Please let me know if you are interested in serving our youth during this time.

3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students
Plans are being set for the return of the Sunday afternoon 3rd, 4th, 5th grade ministry.  This summer we are going to use Vacation Bible School as our kick-off for jump starting this ministry again.  Our first meeting will take place the Sunday after VBS, which will be Sunday, July 14th

Tall Timber Camp
It was great having Becky Fishburn with us last week during worship as she presented information in regards to Tall Timber and summer camp possibilities again for this summer.  The Tall Timber brochures are available upon request and camp scholarships are also available again this summer.  You may pick-up both from the church office.  Two camps that we are highlighting this summer are the Family Camp set for June 23rd-June 29th, which Pastor Bill and his family will be attending; and the EPC Leadership Camp set for July 28th through August 2nd.  The EPC Leadership Camp is a camp for middle school and high school students.     

News You Can Use​

Summer Schedule Coming!
Beginning Memorial Day weekend (this year May 26 we move to our summer schedule with worship at 9:30 a.m. A modified Sunday School program will run concurrently with the worship service for children K-5th grades. The summer schedule runs through Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2

Tall Timber Camping Opportunities:

  • Family Camp – June 23rd – 29th for everyone in the family. Pastor Bill and family will be attending this camp.
  • EPC Leadership Camp- July 28th through August 2nd for youth grades 7-12 from EPC congregations. If enough youth from our church register, we will receive a discount and our church will provide transportation to and from Tall Timber.

More information is available through the church office. Scholarships are available.

Laura Shacklett’s Medical Mission: If you like would to donate to Laura’s medical mission to Ghana, here are two ways:

  • Donate online at:

http://www.nnu.edu/campus-life/spiritual-life/mission-trips/donor-information/

  • OR mail checks or cash to:

Laura Shacklett
BOX 3320
623 University Blvd.
Nampa, ID  83686

Vacation Bible School: We are seeking volunteers to help out with our upcoming “SonWest Roundup” VBS July 8th -12th.  If interested, please sign “VBS” on the Friendship Register.  

CareNet began its Bottles of Love fundraiser on Mother’s Day.  The baby bottle “banks” may be picked up at the church and will be collected on Father’s Day, June 16th.  CareNet is a local Christian organization that provides support to women during pregnancy and after childbirth.

The Dartts will be performing here at the church on Monday, June 3rd at 7:00 p.m. Please join us for an evening of Southern Gospel music.

The Ohio Northern University National Tour Choir will be performing here on Wednesday, June 5th at 7:00 pm. The concert will include a program of sacred, international secular and American contemporary music.

Mark your calendars! The annual church picnic will be after worship on Sunday, July 14th. More details to come at a later date.

SUPPORTED MISSIONS

Care Net                                              Manfisher Ministries   

Christians in Action                            Jail Ministry    

Gideons                                               Mission Aviation Fellowship

The Father’s Ranch                              Erik Brucker – Young Life      

Erin Dienst – CRU, UW                        

Scott and Terri Sasaki (New Guinea) - New Tribes Ministry

Will and Cindy Kraske - North American Indigenous Ministries (NAIM)

REGULAR SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Sunday
9:30 am, Sunday School (through May 19th)
10:45 am, Worship (through May 19th)
9:30 am, Worship (beginning May 26th)
7:00 pm, High School Youth Group

Tuesday
9:00 – 10:00 am, Staff Meeting

Wednesday
7:30 pm, Middle School Youth Group

Thursday
1:15 pm, Romans Class (ends May 23rd)

First Sunday of the Month
Communion

Second Sunday of the Month
Apple Springs, 2:30 pm

Third Sunday of the Month
Manfisher Meal Served, 1:30 pm

Second Tuesday
Session Meeting, 7:00 pm

NURSING HOME RESIDENTS

Ethlyn Apple (Apple Springs)

Lorraine Swallom (North Valley, Tonasket

Ken Cunningham (Riverside)

Del Mundinger (Apple Springs)

Verna Hitchcock (Apple Springs)