Tuesday, November 25, 2008


James Emery White encouraged me when he wrote this in his recent Serious Times email:

Thankful for the Fleas

The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested.

They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things there were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good.

Corrie’s sister Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.

This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.

Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks. This meant that women were not assaulted. It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.

Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.

Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks.

It was because of the fleas.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to God for every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), but also thank Him for how He will use all things for good in the lives of those who trust Him (Romans 8:28).

In this time of falling stock prices and rising unemployment; in a time when many are facing physical and emotional challenges; there can be little doubt that such a trusting prayer of gratitude will be challenging to offer.

But then take a moment, and remember the fleas of Ravensbruck.

And thank God anyway.

James Emery White

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bridges to Change Thanksgiving Dinner

Saturday night the church basement was overflowing with helpers, ladies donating salad and potatoes, cooks, cleanup crew and about 65-70 people from our Bridges to Change neighbors. It was another blessing for each of us to take part in sharing God's love with these neighbors of ours. Thanks to all of the volunteers: Dianne, Froode, Kathy Fuentes, Cindy Sollers, Darlene Hartley, Cathy Grant, Cindy and Jeff Wright, Nancy Cowan, Mark and Bonnie Hannifan, Rosemary Stark and a great group from the high school youth group.

Thanksgiving Basket Delivery

Thanks to all the generous giving from the church body, we were able to fill and deliver 35 boxes of food , including a turkey, milk and potatoes to families from our church and our neighborhood. This is the most we have ever done and it couldn't have happened without the labor of love of lots of volunteers. The high school youth group and their leaders helped to unload the storage room and sort all of the donated food onto tables, then Elenora Larson, Dawn Curry and Elaine O'Toole helped to fill the boxes and get them ready for delivery. Saturday morning we had lots of volunteer drivers to deliver those boxes: Don and Corrine Cyrus, Al Stapleton, Kathy Fuentes, Cindy Sollers, Cindy and Jeff Wright, Larry Richardson, Sandi and Jay Bettinisky , Cris Austen and Brenda Lauterbach. A special thanks to Holly Fullon who did lots of phone calling as well as special delivery. It was a wonderful, rewarding outreach and we were all blessed to be a part of it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Life Men Serve Oregon City!

Last week Mark Hannifan asked a couple of the men from New Life Oregon City to Men's Leadership planning meeting. They told him they couldn't because of the work that had to do at the church. Mark invited several men from New Life who called others to join them for a work day. Yesterday morning, Saturday, November 15, eight men showed up. Here are their names: Mark Hannifan, Tim Smith, Tim O'Gara, Darin Hagey, Billy Ferguson, Matt Cummins, Lee Bennett, and Derrick Elkins. The men put on siding on one of the class rooms.

Thanks Guys!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why the “Beautiful Things” are Most Dangerous

I’m about halfway through Shane Clairborne & Chris Haw’s ironically titled Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals. It’s a pretty fast read, thanks especially to the book’s relentless graphic design (check the web-site out, you'll see what I mean). The book isn’t without its share of controversy (just Google the title and read the blogs), but the following quote really struck me.

It’s the beautiful things that get us. Perhaps the greatest seduction is not the ANTI-GOD, but the ALMOST*GOD. Poisonous fruit can look pretty tasty. That’s what is so dangerous about ideas like FREEDOM, PEACE AND JUSTICE. They are all seductive qualities, close to the heart of God. After all, it’s the beautiful things we kill and die for. And it’s the beautiful we market, exploit, brand and counterfeit.


and enslaved by the pursuit of freedom. Nations fighting for peace end up perpetuating the very violence they seek to destroy. Serpents are slippery and slimy things.

MOST of the ugliness in the human narrative comes from a distorted quest to possess beauty. COVETING begins with appreciating blessing. MURDER begins with a hunger for justice. LUST begins with a recognition of beauty. GLUTTONY begins when our enjoyment of the delectable gifts of GOD starts to consume us. IDOLATRY begins when our seeing a reflection of God in something beautiful leads to our thinking that the beautiful image bearer is worthy of WORSHIP (pg. 26).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thank You from Olga!

Dear New Life Church:

Thank you so much for the flowers. It truely brightened my spirits. I know there are a lot of people supporting me and praying for me, and I want to thank each and every one of you so much! I cannot thank you enough. May God bless each and every one of you. Thanks so much for all of your care and love for me. Sincerely, Olga Koran

Current Events Discussion Group - November

“Separation of Church and State”
November 20th @ 7:00pm, Riverfalls Campus

Mission Statement:
The Current Events Discussion Group (CEDG) exists to explore and evaluate contemporary social, political and cultural issues so that each member may discern and apply their personal faith convictions within their daily lives.

The opinions and views expressed at the CEDG reflect those of the person who gave them and not New Life Church.

The CEDG will be meeting will be the third Thursday of the month at least for November and December to avoid the holidays.
Discussion Questions:
  1. How did the concept of “separation of church and state” evolve in America and why?
  2. Does “separation” demand that governing officials ignore their religious convictions to make decisions affecting public policy (i.e., how secular must/can a secular state be)?
  3. How does the current level of “separation” degrade or benefit Christian/religious goals? Does this warrant a change in current practices?
  4. Is the gospel a spiritual message, a political message or both? How should this understanding shape the way Christians (and/or the church) interact with the state?
Contact Information:
For more information on CEDG procedures and for an Information Packet addressing this month’s topic contact Tiffani Howard: 503.223.6357 or tiffani@howardink.com
Required Preparation
  1. Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-7 and Mark 12:13-17
  2. Read the following articles:
    America’s Two Foundings by Mark Noll
    Separation of Church and State in the United States by Wikipedia
  3. Pick and answer one of the Discussion Questions from the list above. Be prepared to give a 4-5 minute defense/presentation of your answer (i.e., less than one page written).
  4. Consult at least two additional media sources dealing with the question you've chosen. These sources must reflect two varying/opposing answers to the question and they must be from reputable, evangelical sources.
  5. If you do not complete the required preparation before the CEDG meeting then you may only participate in the discussion/questioning portion of the meeting.
Upcoming Monthly Topics:
Creation Meets Evolution • Is America a “Christian Nation”? • Evangelical Environmentalism • Christianity and the Israeli State • Old Testament Wars vs. Modern Wars

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Biblical Training

Interested in making a significant investment in Biblical Training, but don't want to pick up and go back to school? Here is a resource that will give you an in-depth start to a Biblical education. And, best of all, it's online and free! The developer of this site is a part-time faculty member at Western Seminary and received and honorary doctorate from them last year.Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Life in OC!

This Sunday, with great delight, I will return to the pulpit of New Life Church Riverfalls. I have been so pleased with the ministry Aaron Orendorff has had among you.

Here is a brief account of what is happening in Oregon City these past three or four months:

  • October 26th both churches, Maranatha Baptist Church and Light on the Hill Fellowship voted overwhelmingly to merge.
  • For a year, a transitional period, they have surrendered their autonomy to CB Northwest. That means CB Northwest will be responsible for leadership decisions for the year.
  • During that year, New Life Church will be providing guidance, preaching, pastoring and leadership for the Oregon City congregation. We, as representatives of CB Northwest, will be providing transitional interim leadership.
  • They will be called New Life Church Oregon City for this transitional period. After that they may decide to change it.
  • November 2nd was their first joint worship service.
  • November 9th will be Aaron's first Sunday preaching there and my first Sunday back at New Life Riverfalls.
  • November 16th will be their first day in a new building, Lord willing.
Thank you for your prayers. Please don't stop. They are doing very well.