Saturday 8.18.12 @ Gather

This Saturday we will be having our first annual BBQ and Baptism at Shaffer Park.  I am very excited for this event and I hope you can join us!  Feel free to bring a side dish, but it is not necessary. Come as you are!  Here is a map to the park.

Kid’s Closet distribution is also on this day.  Kid’s Closet is a yearly back-to-school clothing and school supply distribution.  The distribution is taking place at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Centralia.  Even if you have not signed up, you are more than welcome to help.  Volunteers are needed from 8am to 3pm.  Here is a map to Immanuel.

Hope to see you at one or both locations!

~Pastor Cole


Saturday 8.11.12 @ Gather

Your inmost being can see things your eyeballs cannot.  If you limit reality to what you can see with your eyes, you are crazy.  Actually, no one really does this anyway.  Some may say they do, but they really don’t.  Case in point, can you see love?  Sure, there are some tangible expressions of love that you can point to say, “that is love.”  But just because you can see love in action, does not mean you can see the thing we call “love” that lies deep within us and leads us to those actions.  Love is something that wells up in you and sometimes you can even feel it, but you certainly cannot see it and what is more, it is always there even when you cannot feel it at times.  Love is simply something deep in us that is unseen with our eyes, but it is just as real as the screen in front of you—maybe realer.  There is mystery to this and we need mysterious ways to talk about such mysterious and unseeable things.  Scripture often speaks of these things as in our “heart” or our “inmost being.”  However, for some, there seems to be a disconnect and the “heart” has become unable to “see” or experience some of these deep-within-us-things.  This is what is sometimes called “spiritual blindness.” The recovery of this mysterious ability, for one’s inmost being to see, is what Paul prays for others to receive in Ephesians 1:18.  Why?  Because he wants people to have hope!  It seems that to see the things that inspire us with hope we must have good heart eyes.  This is because the things of true hope are things that lie beyond regular eyes to see.  Please join us this Saturday as we discuss this hope—it WILL be powerful.

Saturday 8.4.12 @ Gather

You are the heir to a fortune too rich for words.  It’s true.   If you are in Christ you are awaiting an inheritance beyond measure and you have been marked with a seal that guarantees this inheritance-the Holy Spirit.  The seal of the Holy Spirit means that God has laid claim to you.  He has marked you out as his, you are his possession and as his possession he has an inheritance for you!  So, what is this inheritance you ask?  Well, for now you will have to be satisfied with the answer of redemption.  If you want to find out more on what exactly redemption is, you will have to join us Saturday at 5:30!  Before I go though, let me ask you this.  If you received a letter in the mail that you believed to be legitimate and that letter said you were the heir to an inheritance would you go and find out more?

Saturday 7.28.12 @ Gather

This Saturday we are embarking on a journey through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (actually it was likely a circular letter and had a wider audience than the Ephesians in mind).   In the opening chapter, Paul writes some stunning things about what God is up to in the lives of believers, including himself.  He says, God has blessed us, chosen us, predestined us, given us grace and redemption, lavished on us riches and revealed the mystery of His will!  Wow, those are some powerful words.  We will be looking at most of these this Saturday, but I want to say something about the last—he has “revealed the mystery of His will.”  The mystery God has revealed is specifically concerning the way he is reconciling the cosmos.  He is reconciling it by bringing “unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”  Reconciliation is a relational word that encapsulates the idea of righting a relationship gone wrong.  I think it important to point out that Paul writes that this reconciliation impacts not some things, not a few things, but “all things.”  I want you to just think on that for a moment and join us this Saturday at 5:30!

Saturday 7.21.12 @ Gather

Do you know you have been proposed to by Jesus?  Do you know that if you are a follower of the Lamb you are already his betrothed?  Well, you are!  The Church is the bride of Christ and Jesus is calling us to be faithful to him!

The Church, as the Bride of Christ, is a bit of an interesting metaphor.  It has its roots in the OT prophets who saw the covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel as like a marriage.  This metaphor is not only mentioned here and there, but the entire book of Hosea is dedicated to this metaphor.  As a whole, the book uses the covenant of marriage to speak of Israel’s unfaithfulness and Yahweh’s faithfulness.  This is depicted through the life of the prophet Hosea and his wife Gomer.  God instructs Hosea to marry Gomer even though she is a “promiscuous woman.”  Actually, Hosea is instructed to marry her because she is a promiscuous woman.  As their marriage unfolds, Gomer proves unfaithful to Hosea, but Hosea is instructed to take her back.  This is a living example of Yahweh’s faithfulness to his people in spite of their unfaithfulness.  The point of the story, though, is not that it is right to be unfaithful, the point of the story is that God is faithful even when we are not and gives us the opportunity to repent, to return to our God, and the responsibility to be faithful.

This is how the metaphor is used in the NT as well.  It speaks of both opportunity and responsibility.  The opportunity is unity in a covenant relationship with God and the responsibility is to persevere its faithfulness.  The beauty of this is that not only is our maker our covenant partner, but he also prepares us and helps us to be faithful along the way.  He comes to us and beckons us to faithfulness.

Saturday 7.14.12 @ Gather

The STP is coming to town.  What is the STP?  It is the Seattle To Portland Bicycle Ride organized by Cascade Bicycle Club out of Seattle.  Over 10,000 riders– yep, that is TEN THOUSAND– will convene on Centralia all rolling just 1/2 a block from our church building.  Most of these 10k plus riders + support staff will be staying in the Centralia/Chehalis area overnight.

We are taking this opportunity to *hopefully* raise some funds for our clothing and food banks as well as make some new friends.  From 1 pm to 6:30 pm we will be serving hamburgers, pasta salad, chips, espresso and Italian sodas.  The recommended donation is $6.50.  We will be having our regular meal service which will kick off at 5:30pm.

On Sunday morning the espresso bar will be open starting at 6am.

One other thing– my just-turned 7 year old son (Noah) and I are riding the STP on our tandem.  Should be a blast.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Bless you, ~Pastor Cole

Saturday 7.7.12 @ Gather

The Church is the body of Christ on earth!  We together are his body and together we continue the works of Christ on earth.  We together are the body (I know I already said that).  Just as the human body has many parts to its oneness that allow it to function with meaning and purpose so too the Church– the body of Christ– has many parts to allow it to function with meaning and purpose!

We together, disciples of the Lamb throughout the world, are the greatly diverse people of God.  That diversity is no accident.  It is intentional because we are by intention relational beings.  Diversity means we must work together like the parts of body if we are going to accomplish our God intended purpose!  In other words, we, by God’s design, need each other.  We discover real life through relationships.  This is what Paul is concerned with in 1 Corinthians 12–  “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (17-19).  Yes, we, the body of Christ, with all our diverse skills have been made to need each other.

But importantly, there is more to say about this.  We do not just need each other but the world needs the body of Christ.  We must remember this body is not just any body but the body of Christ of which he is the head!  As the body of which Christ is the head we are to do his will and bear his marks!  Another way of putting this is we are to be led into humble service.   We are not to exploit our position as Jesus’ body but instead, we are to offer ourselves to the world as a living sacrifice that the world might come to know and give glory to the One True God!  We are to bear the marks of Christ that come as we offer ourselves in relationship to God’s loved but rebellious world in the same way that Jesus was offered for the salvation of the world!

You are part of the body, are you doing your part?