Sneak Peek for this Sunday

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Walking in the story of Esther we find that although God is not mentioned, God is there. Again and again -- in a king’s sleepless night, in the words of Haman’s family rightly predicting his downfall, in a poor girl-become-queen’s decisions, in stifling arrogance, in the defeat of enemies -- God worked, He moved, in ways unseen and yet visible. 

Sometimes in our daily lives we can be unclear on God’s action.  Prayers that remain unanswered as we have been praying them, situations unchanged, hurts unabated.  This book is one place we can see again on display this very basic fact that God keeps His promises even when we cannot see God at work.  In this book God is fighting on behalf of a people behind the scenes in ways that leave us staggered and amazed. This is how God works, oftentimes, behind the scenes.  Sometimes we don’t “see” God at work, yet that doesn’t mean God is absent. It might just mean we are looking in the wrong direction.  

I have seen this in healing prayer so many times.  There comes a time when I am walking someone back into a memory when I will ask them to “look for Jesus in the memory,” and I always have to remind them, “you might need to turn around.” I’ll never forget one woman who gasped when she beheld Jesus behind her. All through the years she had believed God had abandoned her in her pain, in that moment, when her dad was there yelling at her, but there was Jesus behind her. She gasped, tears came to her eyes, and we walked through then what Jesus was doing, and what he spoke to her heart in that moment which forever changed that memory and altered her future.  Seeing Jesus was there made all the difference. 

In your life, friend, no matter what you might be encountering, I can promise that Jesus is there, at work, wooing you to Himself even in the midst of circumstances that remain unaltered.  Don’t stare at circumstances, or at the pain that is unrelenting, instead gaze at Jesus, look to the One who has not left you alone in that place, that valley. He is with you. I know it. 

This book makes this testimony as well. Although God’s name is never mentioned, not once, God is at work. He is fulfilling the prophecy given to the Prophet Zechariah (2:8) in which God promised not to leave unpunished anyone who wrongs the Jewish people, whom are the “apple of His eye.”   

This book declares to us all “God keeps his promises” and this can shout to you and to me, and God will keep those promises in your life and mine as well. This is not the promise that everything will be easy in life, nope.  Jesus never said that. Indeed, Jesus promised that “in this world you will have trouble,” using the word for tribulation or persecution! But Jesus promised never to leave or forsake you and me. He promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age. He promised that he would use everything, even the hardest things for the good of you and me both. He promised that these various things would be worked together for the good of those called according to his purpose.  

When tough things are happening-- don’t forget that God keeps his promises, in his time, and in your life.  Turn toward Him, not away from Him, and look, look, look for his good purposes to be unveiled. 

Help Needed!

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Over Labor Day weekend, we need help remodeling the restrooms in the main building.

Saturday, August 31, 9:00 am - noon
Phase 1: Removal of partitions in both restrooms; toilets and countertop/cabinet in women’s restroom

Saturday afternoon
Phase 2: Painting by Pastor Chavez (thank you!)

Sunday and Monday
Phase 3: Installing new flooring, toilets, countertop, partitions

If you are available to help Saturday morning or on Sunday or Monday, please contact the church office (email or leave a voice message with your name and when to expect you.) There’s a job for practically everyone!

Women's Retreat

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Ladies, your favorite weekend of the year is back!

Take a few days to rest and rejuvenate with other Westside women. We’ll have good food, great accommodations, and a wonderful returning guest speaker, Beckie Jasa (pictured.)

The retreat will be Friday through Sunday, October 4 - 6. The price is $150 per person; scholarships are available so please ask! You may register online at signups.wumc.me or at church on Sunday.

Pastor Brian's Blog, 8.12.19

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This has been such an amazing few weeks.  

First, all five of our grands and all four daughters were here for our 60th birthday party bash on July 13th, then, second, this week, three of our grands, Antonia, Theo and Gregory have been here for a week while their parents went backpacking.  Both these times were incredible. I just love these kids. 

Theo and Josie, cousins, are close to the same age and are the daring duo for certain.  Two weeks ago I overheard this conversation: 

Theo:  “You know what, Josie?  When I grow up I will be a man and when you grow up you will be a,” and he paused trying to think of what exactly to say, “you will be, a, a, mother.  I will be king and you will be queen. Won’t that be fun?”  

Josie was not paying attention too keenly but said, “Yah,” in response. 

After Josie returned home, her other grandma was poking her with words saying, “Josie, are you going to grow up to be accident prone?”  

And perhaps turning into this previous conversation with Theo and others, Josie responded, “No.  I’m going to be a princess and Spider Man.” When Theo was told of this response, he responded by reminding her that she would be a queen but affirmed she could be Spider Man, as well. 

Actually this is not bad theology. In Christ we are all priests and kings -- we are mighty with authority.  And as to Spider Man, well, we have been given great power and equally great responsibility.  

I think, however, that often we live below God’s high calling and gifting of our lives.  This is especially true when we are not connected to community. For it is in community that we get reminded and invited into this greater Story -- just like Theo did with Josie. 

On our own, it’s hard to even remember the Story we are a part of.  We can spend too much time immersed in other less significant stories. From there, it is difficult to remember our regal status, our great power, our amazing giftings, especially when surrounded by other voices which downplay instead of emphasizing who we truly are.  

I noticed this when the kids were playing at the park this week. Karen and I had both been playing with them, and then the two older ones were off in a game of their own filled with a plot line, intrigue, and adventure. I was following 20-month-old Gregory around as he made the circuit from the ladder, down the slide, back under the play structure to the ladder again.  

Suddenly, the two older kids were beside me:  “Ok. You are the bad guy and we are going to tie you up and leave you in jail.”  

“Hey! How did I even get into this game?” I jokingly complained. “I was minding my own business here!”  But they were insistent and Gregory was being tracked by Karen. So, I was dutifully tied with invisible webs, and put into jail (the ground beneath the play structure onto the astro turf) and they ran off and left me there.  

Alone -- I would just have been standing there in my own thoughts but together, by their insistence, I got involved in a larger story. 

Sunday in first service the scripture and the quote that Virginia had included in the bulletin hit a couple people significantly.  One woman shed tears as she told of her own journey with fear. She shared how Esther’s story had spoken right into her own. In other words, her own story had been placed into the larger Story of Scripture and within that greater story she had found strength, sustenance and hope for her own. 

That’s the idea -- we need to be “included in a larger story” by walking this faith thing together with others.  

Had this woman in first service not been at church, she would have missed two connections -- one that of being connected to the larger Story which answered questions she did not know she was asking. And also, she would have missed connecting with all of us there, who totally could relate to what she was sharing. 

This faith thing is not meant to be alone, for when we try that, we miss out on finding how we are part of a larger Story which gives meaning to our own.  And remember -- you too are a king or queen, you just may not have recognized your regal status when you saw yourself in the mirror.

Sneak Peek for this Sunday

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Esther tells the story of empowerment. It says there are enemies and people need to stand against them. What enemies do you see around you at this time within your life or without it? Against which do you need to stand? There are actions that we disagree with across this nation, truly. There are places where we need to take a stand and fight. There are places we have authority to do so, and other places where we do not. Certainly, within our own lives we have authority, God-granted authority, to stand and fight. But often even in that sphere, we give in rather than stand.

In Esther we are shown a king who gives permission to stand. This is the grandest permission slip ever given, perhaps: “I’ve said you will be killed, but now I say, no! Stand! Fight!” Suddenly, a people who were cringing with certain fear, had courage. Permission can do that, grant courage. “I give you permission to…” and we can stand, we can walk, we can forge ahead. What permission do you need to stand in your own life?

Don’t fight alone. Come find the authority God has given you to stand and fight. It is worth knowing you have this authority and important to take ahold of it. “Take thou authority…” intones the bishop over ordinands for ministry. Take it!

Come worship. Come hear of this authority. Come receive permission to stand and fight!

Mission Team Report

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Our group of 11 who traveled to the Dominican Republic in July will be sharing their adventures during the 10:00 am service on August 18.

Please plan to attend and have your heart blessed!

Patience Please

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A reminder that Pastor Brian is working from home this week. He and Pastor Karen are loving on their grandkids, pictured here (not shown: Theo (Spiderman) who is reportedly swinging on a web.)

Please be aware that there may be lags in response times. When possible, please save your question/comment for next week. Time with children is precious and fleeting. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Pastor Brian's Blog, 8.5.19

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Dear Family,

How are you doing?

Change is always tough and so very good for all of us, but still hard.  We are anticipating a change when I will no longer be your pastor here. It means that we will be bidding one another farewell, which is the tough part and unimaginable!  But it also means turning to welcome a new part of life. The thing about any transition is that there are three parts to it. I wrote about these on 7/12. It is published here.

The key is to stay in community in this time.  We sometimes play games emotionally. The hard emotions we tend to numb.  We eat the chocolate muffin, we open a beer, we get out the chips, we turn on the TV.  We think we are just numbing the negative emotions, but forget in the process that actually we cannot choose what we are numbing. And as  we numb the negative feelings, the sadness, the fears, the grief, we are also numbing joy, love, peace, and the sense of God’s presence. All the positives go away as we seek to numb the negatives.  This is no way to go.

So, could we make a deal? 

When  you want to numb, you call someone you know in the church or outside of it, and just say:  “I’m hurting.” A friend needs no other information in order to say, “Hey, tell me about it.”  And then listens. 

If you do this, I promise, this year will produce what God intends: a people who have grown closer to one another and to God.

You don’t know who to call?  

Call Virginia at the office 503.643.8070 and she will be happy to connect you to someone who will be there for you.  

If you believe you would be willing to receive such calls from your brothers or sisters in the congregation, could you let Virginia know in the office?  Thanks.  

We are in this together!

Brian

Sneak Peek for this Sunday

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This week has been our Joint Camp Iwannabe hosted at Christ UMC’s location.  We have been ministering to a bunch of kids from the area inviting them to become effective vessels of compassion.  So, if you are normally someone who attends 2nd service, there are two to choose from at Christ: the 9 am or the 10:30 am.  Pastor Ric and I will be preaching at both of these services.  

Our regular 8:15 am service at Westside will be focusing on chapter 7 of our journey with Esther and Mordecai. Finally the wicked scheme exposed, Haman is judged, for when you are wicked or acting in wickedness often the things you do will come back to haunt you.  Haman had built a means to destroy Mordecai, and instead has built his own means of destruction. Haman has been told by his family that since he is dealing with Jews, he is doomed, and their words proved prophetic!  

We can see that this turnaround happened at the last possible moment.  Sometimes in our lives, we don’t see how hope will arrive into the darkness we are experiencing.  We cannot see around the corner or over the hill. All we can see is the present circumstance, the dark, the hopeless feelings.  This might have been what Esther was feeling at this second banquet. 

Remember Esther did not know that God was on the move. She did not know that the king could not sleep the night before, nor that he had been reminded about the saving deed of Mordecai.  She did not know any of this, only that she had invited the king to two banquets and had not yet told him why she had done so. And he would be asking. What would she tell him? How would she tell him?  What could she say? This must have been going through her mind.  

But Harbona, the servant of the king, knew more than Esther did.  He knew about the plan to execute her cousin Mordecai. He knew about the gallows Haman had built. He knew that the king had not slept. He knew and without being asked offers just what the king needed to hear then.  It’s a great surprise that he speaks -- a servant with a word of wisdom. He doesn’t make judgment he just provides the information that no one knew but him: more wickedness exposed and Haman is undone.  

In our lives, in all these days, we experience all kinds of days and all kinds of feelings.  In the middle we might not believe Jesus even knows what is happening. We might believe that we are alone or that our prayers are not heard. We might feel like Esther -- uncertain what we will say.  God has the answer, the direction, the hope. And perhaps will bring a word of deliverance through an unlikely source.  

This story is continually about a God who is working behind the scenes all the time and loves us immensely.  No matter the circumstance we are facing, no matter if it is wickedness, God is at work. We can be caught by this very fact and encouraged to simply do one thing:  trust.

Family Man

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Pastor Brian will be working from home next week, August 4 after worship through August 10. He and Pastor Karen will be caring for their visiting grandchildren.

Please be aware that there may be lags in response times (no texting while bathing babies!) and when possible, save your question/comment for the following week. Time with children is precious and fleeting. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Build a Basket

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Interested in helping put together a gift basket for Family Promise?

Each Family Promise host church is providing a gift basket for the silent auction at the upcoming Drive In Sleep Out fundraiser.

Family Promise offers hope and housing to families going through tough times. The Drive In Sleep Out is their largest fundraiser of the year. Learn more about the event at https://www.familypromiseofbeaverton.org/events

Here’s your opportunity to use your creativity for a great cause! Contact Bonnie Becker for more information about how you can help.

Family Promise Drive In Sleep Out FUNdraiser

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Family Promise of Beaverton is hosting their 3rd Annual Drive-In Sleep Out event at Beaverton City Park, 12500 SW 4th St, Beaverton, on Saturday, August 24 & Sunday, August 25. Join the team from Family Promise, as we try to pack 200 parking spots with ‘car-camping adventurers’ who want to raise funds and awareness about child and family homelessness in Beaverton.  

Saturday & Sunday festivities include

* Live music    * Guest speakers         * Food Trucks             * Movie in the park * Hot breakfast

To find out more about the 3rd Annual Drive-In Sleep Out, come to church on Sunday, August 11, and visit https://www.familypromiseofbeaverton.org/events

Join the Journey, 7.28.19

Question: When has a seemingly insignificant action resulted in a significant outcome?

Answers:

  1. Filling in at a different children’s dental office, telling my boss, and then getting a raise.

  2. Hiring a young man to wash dishes at my father’s restaurant. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary yesterday.

What’s your answer?