Thursday, October 15, 2009

Doing Something Right

(Take the "evil" poll at the bottom of this post!)
Each week Garrison Keillor begins his weekly radio address with the words, "Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon Minnesota, my home town out there on the edge of the prairie..."
If this were an audio podcast I might start it with similar words, but instead of "quiet" I'd have to switch the "e" and the "t" - saying instead, "It's been quite a week in Cedar Hills..."
Most of you have heard that the church building was slammed into by a 20 yr. old young man who had been drinking heavily. His car was totaled, but fortunately he was not seriously hurt and no one was in the building at the time. It happened 11:15 Sunday night. The building has stood up well. There's a good sized hole that impacts 4 different rooms and some minor structural damage that we're having both contractors and structural engineers deal with. There are ongoing messes to clean up. But it could have been much worse - for us and especially for the young man who made some serious mistakes. I'm heading out today to get a copy of the police report and see if I can can contact him or perhaps visit him. Without exception, the people in our church family have expressed concern for him and hope we can make a positive, course-altering impact upon his life. So pray for openings into his life.

I can't help but wonder how that event might be related to something much more wonderful we were a part of the day before, Saturday October 10th. On Saturday about 12-14 people from Cedar Hills joined with hundreds of other volunteers from 20 Beaverton Churches to form Compassion Beaverton - a free clinic for uninsured people who needed medical or dental care. It was an amazing day! I've posted a video here on Youtube (above) of my perspective as I traveled around the clinic as a "flow" person - helping people fill out the right intake forms and then move along through the different steps in the process. Though there were hundreds of people who didn't get everything they needed, and many who were not able to be helped at all - still, there was a tremendous atmosphere of gratitude, grace and mercy that filled the air. God as tangibly present in the people serving and in those being served. It was a privilege to be a part of the day.

Now I'm not one to find Satan under every rock and behind every tree. But I do know that evil is personal; Satan is real. At times we credit him with too much power and, in the process, give him more power over us. Jesus acknowledged him, but never once feared him. More importantly, he overcame Satan and defeated his kingdom. And if Christ lives in us through the Spirit, there's no reason we should see evil differently. So when this young man took a terribly wrong turn in his life and smashed into our church, I don't know whether it is his own personal demons that were at work, or a sign that we're doing something right as a church family and Satan isn't pleased. Maybe it's both. Really, I don't know that it matters. It just means we have to stick with God, stay on the course he sets for us, extend forgiveness and Jesus' redemption to the young man, and pray that evil is bound and powerless. Then we get to see the old story retold in our lives: Evil defeated; God's glory shining brightly. That's what I'm counting on.
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.
1 Peter 4:12-13; 19 (The Message translation)
Finally, I'm EXTREMELY happy to have Gavin Silaski preaching this week! What perfect timing with everything else that is going on! Gavin will be preaching from Jeremiah 9:23-24 (linked at right). His message is called, "Voiceless."
- Curtis