WHY THE CHURCH BURNED

Last week the church burned down? It was an inside job and all planned by our board. Actually it was the old building that we used for a church meeting place that burned. It was built and used as a barn for many years before being sold and converted to a building for church use. 

For the record keep in mind that the real church is God's people.  Ecclesia, the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by a person of authority. Therefore, "church" refers to God's people called out by Him to be His own. Jesus said, "I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Mtt. 16:18b). However, the word in modern usage has come to mean a building as well as a body of people.

Now, back to the barn burning. Yes, we did burn down the church building that we affectionately called the barn. For ten years we met in it twice on Sunday morning, once in the evening and other nights of the week. I preached somewhere around 1,500 messages there.  It was a well built building and was very useful to the end.  But it was just a pile of smoldering ashes by last Saturday night. 

Why did we burn the barn? With the planned expansion of our church facilities it was necessary to remove the barn so that an equal amount of square footage could be added to our new educational building. Building codes limit the amount of building square footage that can cover our property. By removing the barn we are now able to add two or more new class rooms to the new facility. The old had a place but now gives way to the new. Remember, it is not buildings that change people. But what happens inside them does. The new buildings will be places of teaching about Christ from the Scriptures. 

Why didn't we just disassemble it and use the lumber? Good question. Burning it saved us about $8,000 in demolition costs and also provided a unique training opportunity for our Fire Department. To them it was like ten Christmases since they rarely have a real burning building to do live drills in. Thanks, Chief Burgess and Lyon for burning our church down. It was a blessing. :-) About thirty or more firefighters spent the day here handling this for us. See the special two minute video below created by my son Nehemiah.

What is next? The ashes will be cleaned up this week. We continue to wait for engineers to complete our parking design and then we hope to apply for the coveted building permit. Keep praying.  

Join us this Sunday for our Mother's Day breakfast at 9:30 (No Sunday School). Bring a breakfast snack to share. Then worship as we remember our mothers at 10:30.

Pastor Mark

BARN BURN OR REMODEL?

You may know our Fire Department was planning to burn down our barn building across from our foyer entrance this Saturday.  This was our worship center for ten years after we purchased the property in 1995. We had double morning services here and an evening one too.  The Fire Department was going to burn it for us and use it as a drill. I was a little sad to see it go. 

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But when I arrived on Friday things had changed. There was a big crew of guys there remodeling it with new hallways, more interior doors and new rooms too. It was like a house now. Even the windows had shutters on them...sort of.  What happened?

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It was a drill. The Fire Department made it into a small house so the firemen could practice as if going from smoke filled room to room to rescue people. Yes, the burn will still happen this Saturday from 9 to 1. This will help us save on demolition costs and help our Fire Department be better prepared. Don't miss it.  Bring the kids and a snack too.

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This is like burning our bridges to the past. "We're not going back." The square footage of this old building can now be added to our new construction project. This building alone will equal two large class rooms at least. While I may be a bit nostalgic, I am also excited. We used to say, "Jesus was born in a manger so we don't mind worshiping in a barn." The Word of God can be preached anywhere. The church is not a barn or a building but a people called out by God. Our church body grew in the barn and continued to grow in our new sanctuary and will again in the new enlarged auditorium Lord willing. Come and watch it burn this Saturday (5/5) from 9 to 1 PM. Park across the street and walk over and cheer our firemen on for the work they do. 

Pastor Mark

 

ON A DESERT ROAD IN THE SKY

We got to Seatac early and through security quickly. Nancy and I grabbed breakfast and did some concourse walking before boarding. I looked forward to some time to study on the flight to LA to see our son Ezra and family.

Nancy and I were seated in different areas with no chance of swapping.  After I squeezed into my seat, I greeted the young lady on one side and the Asian man by the window. As I pulled my book out the fellow said something I couldn't understand. He was telling me he had just arrived on a connecting flight from China. He was excited about this first visit to America and seeing friends in California. We visited and soon he showed me a picture of his wife and child, so I showed him our family photo with all 26 grand-kids in it. This really opened the door. He said he wished they could have a large family too; not an easy thing to do with the laws restricting many births there.  

 Mr. Suko meets Mr. Yang as we take a selfie.

Mr. Suko meets Mr. Yang as we take a selfie.

He had many questions that I strained to understand over the roar of the engines. He asked about my occupation. I said, "I am a Bible teacher." and he knew that meant I was a pastor. He mentioned that his mother in China had a Bible and had read it often. But he didn't have one. 

"Do you believe Jesus was a myth or a real person?" he asked. I sensed this was an honest question. I responded that Christ was no fable but instead was probably the most well know person in history. There is plenty of evidence for his existence from the Bible, history, and the existence of his church 2,000 years later. He didn't challenge me but went on to say in China people worship money.  "Do they do that in America, too?" "Yes," I responded. He implied he had everything he needed on the outside but there was an emptiness on the inside.  Wow!  What an opportunity tell him of the Good News that could fill that God-shaped hole.

I remembered Philip when on a desert road, he met the Ethiopian official reading Isaiah while on the way to Gaza (Acts 8:26 ff). This is likely how the gospel got to Africa. In a similar way I felt I was placed in the middle seat on a desert road through the sky for such a time as this. So I put my book down and continued to answer his questions knowing the truth might get back to Beijing.

In my bag was copy of the little evangelism booklet we give out, Ultimate Questions. I explained each page briefly as it presented Christ. He knew enough English to understand and was taking it all in. He promised to email me questions after he had translated and studied the book more. I explained that he could buy a Chinese Bible easily while in the U.S. He was amazed. 

We became good friends. Before parting we took a selfie with him holding his passport. Pray he will be able to get a Bible of his own, come to understand salvation and find a church there. China is a place where the church is growing rapidly in the new openness that is now there. Pray for my new friend Mr. Yang from China. And...be ready always to give an answer even on a desert road in the sky.

Pastor Mark