SUMMER MINISTRIES

Summer is a moving experience at Discovery. Our Over the Moat Vacation Bible School on 6/26-30 had close to 90 daily and over 96 registered (about 12% growth over last year) as we packed rooms and kids heard about Christ through the stories of David, Goliath and others focusing on Christ as our King. The center letter in VBS is "B" for BIBLE. Our goal is to plant the Word of God that changes lives from the inside out (cf. Hebrews 4:12).  Up to fifteen churches were represented and about 15% of the kids had no church. 

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Our closing program and free BBQ was attended by about 200.  $700 was given to send Ukrainian orphans to VBS in Ukraine. Decorations and props reused by several other churches following.  Thanks to our nearly 60 volunteers for one of our best VBS outreaches yet. 

Summer was a moving experience for Barry and Lisa Wils moving to Wisconsin. We thank them for their leadership in AWANA. Their SALT group on the Key Peninsula hosted a farewell BBQ for them. Pray for them as they move into a new chapter in their lives.  

This month our application for a building permit was accepted and put in process at the county.  Pray that the permit will be granted soon and we can begin construction of our auditorium extension and extensive dirt work for phase #1.  See website for details.

Director of GARBC chaplaincy ministry, Manning Brown (Lt Col. USAF Ret.) will be with us Sunday 7/23 to explain the work of the many military chaplains he oversees in our forces across the world.  He will give a full presentation at the 9:15 Adult Sunday School hour.

HOME AT LAST

"Home at Last" is the refrain of a touching Christian song about arriving in heaven. It will be wonderful to be home at last in heaven some day. Some of our church family experienced that this week in a limited but very real way. My son Caleb and his wife Christina Suko arrived home at last in Gig Harbor with their five kids after three years in Ukraine where they have served for ten years. We met them at SeaTac's pearly gates Tuesday night. 

Nancy and I had been preparing for their arrival for two weeks. When they landed it was exciting for the kids to see how their cousins had changed as we walked to the parking garage.  

When we got home they walked through our house noticing changes like the different cars and a travel trailer we now have, new HVAC system, bedrooms with desks instead of beds, and how amazingly green it is here with pretty flowers. The unfinished remodel of a portion of the garage into a new bedroom for the three girls was also exciting.

Left to right are Mishael, Naomi, Christina, Caleb and Noelle with Nickolas and Anastasia in front. 

Left to right are Mishael, Naomi, Christina, Caleb and Noelle with Nickolas and Anastasia in front. 

Missionaries returning from years on the field can experience culture shock as well as jet lag. The church they left is not the same; some have moved, some have died and some are new. The missionary may even feel like a visitor even though this is "home base." Even the country has changed with new national leaders and cultural shifts that often are shocking.

How we can help is to welcome them warmly, get to know them, and show genuine interest. That is what happened when Paul returned from the first missionary journey. The leader in Antioch "gathered the church together" and the apostle Paul and his companions reported all they had seen God do.  Then it says, "And they spent a long time with the disciples." (Acts 14:28).

This Sunday we welcome them back to home base. Caleb will report briefly and speak and then again give a fuller report on August 6th. They will be with us off and on until they return to Ukraine in February.

Pastor Mark

 

HAMMERING NAILS ON THE HEAD (SOLUS CHRISTUS)

This week I am working as a carpenter to remodel part of our garage into an extra bedroom. It is relaxing to me as I meditate or listen to sermons (Paul, Graham, Chris and others) while I am hammering away. Every pastor should learn to hammer. On one of our trips to Ukraine we helped put a floor in the Makarovo Church. The old carpenter, Philpovich, I worked under taught me my first word in Russia for a tool. “Molatak” means “hammer.”  What a blessed time we had hammering. 

Hammering is holy work. Jesus did it. He knew how to hit the nail on the head. But he is more than a carpenter too. He built the universe you know and died to save believers.  

Luther knew how to hammer too as he nailed his 95 complaints to the Castle Church door in 1517. He wanted to start a discussion on the problem of the sale of indulgences in the church. In so doing he “He hit the nail on the head 95 times.” 

The first two theses contained Luther’s theme, that God wanted believers to seek repentance and that faith alone in Christ, not deeds, leads to salvation. This is not just believing in anything, having faith in yourself or that God exists. This faith is in Christ lone as Savior.  He is the only way (John 14:6; Acts16:31). The other 93 theses really supported these first two. Here they are.

  1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.

Read them all here. http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html 

While in Wittenberg, Germany last month, where this all happened, we had a surprise when we walked to the city square one noon.  People and police were everywhere with snipers watching overhead. German President Steinmeier was even there. Suddenly church bells rang and the people sang “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” within sight of Luther’s church and statue. 

Luther's statue is on the left with his church in the center background with two spires as seen from city square as people gather for the start of the national celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Luther's statue is on the left with his church in the center background with two spires as seen from city square as people gather for the start of the national celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

The hymn is sometimes called “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation.”  Verse three makes it clear who wins the battle. “Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he; Lord Sabaoth, his name, from age to age the same, and he must win the battle.”

Solus Christus or Christ Alone is one of the Solas of the Reformation. The medieval church had added many human achievements including paying your way to Christ’s simple salvation. Luther saw this as heresy and formed the “Christ Alone” emphasis to call people to trust only in Christ.

Today there are many heresies too. Many things are added to Christ’s simple salvation in our day.  It is Christ plus self, emotions, the health and wealth gospel, living a good life, helping others and more. May we bring reform today by putting proper emphasis on trusting in Christ alone for salvation.  He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (Jn. 14:6).

Those 95 theses are still there and now engraved in the material of the door of the Castle Church for all to see.

Pastor Chris stands in front of the Castle Church door that Luther nailed his 95 discussion points to.  Today those points are engraved in the door.  This is one of the most famous doors in the world.

Pastor Chris stands in front of the Castle Church door that Luther nailed his 95 discussion points to.  Today those points are engraved in the door.  This is one of the most famous doors in the world.

 Hammering away,

Pastor Mark   

Rom. 1:17 “…the just shall live by faith.”

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P.S.

Guys,  Saturday morning join our men for our monthly Men’s Discipleship Breakfast at 8:00 AM in the Fireside Room. We enjoy breakfast, a time of prayer and this week Paul is giving a character sketch of Martin Luther in keeping with our theme of Little Known Men Who Made a Big Difference.   See you at 8 AM.

Sunday (6/18) is Fathers Day. Join us at 9:15 with dad’s favorite finger food breakfast. Then at 10:30 we’ll have a baby dedication and worship as we look at an emotional love story from Scripture and meet the man from who is a great example of manhood but is seldom considered.  I’ll be speaking.