Dear Church Family,
I pray this note finds you doing well in your walk with Jesus. These past several months have been difficult on all of us. Please know you are so deeply loved and appreciated. Canby Foursquare family, you have been amazing during one of the most trying times in the last 100 years. I am probably a little biased in saying this about you, but it’s very true. You are shining in your love for Jesus and others with your prayers, thoughtfulness and generosity. Without fail, every day I hear the stories about how you have lended a helping hand, how you helped someone in need, how you have prayed for the sick and the list goes on and on. I am so thankful that I am part of your church and very proud we are all part of Gods kingdom.
You were called to such a time as this! You are courageous in your generosity and that is clearly seen by your faithful giving during this pandemic. It’s difficult to be generous when the future is so uncertain but you have not only maintained your faithful giving, you have gone above and beyond and your giving has increased!
While your pastoral team has worked hard at being frugal stewards of your tithe and offering, God has abundantly blessed all of us. We are strongly committed to stay the course, continuing to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I believe our financial strategy has been Holy Spirit guided, not birthed in fear but rather in the wisdom that comes from God. Moving forward I would simply ask you to be faithful in your support as you have in past and I am confident you will be in the future. Your support of this ministry really makes a difference.
One last thing, would you please continue to pray for Annette and I as we help lead and pastor our church and community. The issues we all face today are complex and at times polarizing. It is our heart to value each individual and at the same time lead according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us are tempted to react with judgmental anger but that will only cause others to do the same. We must respond with humility, love and great courage. The battles we face will not be won by politics, arguments or proclaiming our rights (as important as they are). We must regain the high ground with authenticity, wisdom and living out the gospel of Jesus. The ground we stand on is shifting every day so we must build upon on the Rock. Jesus is our firm foundation and He is the same yesterday, today and forever. You are so loved by our Father.
Blessings to you,
by Georgia Miller
On Sunday Pastor Ron encouraged us to think of this being Easter week as we prepare for various group meetings.
As I was reading the Gospel accounts of these events I came across a scripture that I don’t remember ever seeing before. John 11:55-56 “When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another,
‘What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?’”
People coming to celebrate Passover were looking for Jesus. They were familiar with Him; had possibly witnessed miracles He had performed. They wondered if He was coming….
Aren’t there times when we wonder if Jesus is coming? Does He know we’re here and need Him? Our minds tell us, “Of course!” but there are times our hearts are saying, ”I believe, Lord help my unbelief.” The times we are anxious, fearful, worried about everything…. questions unanswered and problems unsolved. Our hands are tied and we wonder “does Jesus know how we’re feeling?”
Well, let’s think about that question. Imagine the week of Passover and everything that happened to Jesus that week. His path was set and there was no changing that. He went through knowing the Pharisees were trying to kill Him, saying goodbye to His friends, being anointed with perfume for His burial, eating the Passover meal with the one who had agreed to betray Him, humbling Himself to ride on a donkey, and hearing the cries of “Hosanna!” from people who would soon cry, “Crucify Him!”. His emotion was so great in the garden of Gethsemane that He sweat drops of blood!
Imagine the emotions that He experienced just that week alone.
Then I have to ask myself, “Does Jesus know?...” “Does He understand…?” “IS HE COMING?” What a great reminder to me that He does understand my fears, my anxieties. He has experienced every emotion that I do/have. HE KNOWS and HE CARES. In spite of any or all of our fears He understands. And not only that we’re told that we don’t need to fear or be discouraged or be worried, that the “peace of God that passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” The thing I must remember is something I heard just this morning…
EVERY CRUCIFIXION LEADS TO A RESURRECTION
We might feel like everything is going sideways and up-side-down right now but Sunday is coming…. the resurrection is coming…. the King is coming! Hosanna! Hosanna!
Blessings on you this Passover week!
Pastor Rene' Bogue
Have I not commanded you?
These words rose up in me as soon as I went to prayer this morning. I knew the words that followed were a call to courage. This was not surprising in these times, in this uncertainty. But, what, I wondered, would be the specific challenge that would face me today that would make me need to be courageous?
Today was payday. And on this particular payday of the month, I have two large obligations – my rent and my tithe - and this month I have a quarterly tax payment due. This is usually routine for me. But this time I hesitated for just a moment. Deeply grateful for still having a paycheck, I felt the distant voice of an old foe: “What If?”
He should know by now I would not entertain him.
As a survivor of four bouts of aggressive cancer, I learned long ago that I cannot entertain “what if.” To keep my mental and spiritual health, and by extension help my physical health, I cannot afford to watch the imaginary dominoes fall until I am in the depths of worry.
I have learned, instead, to say, “even if.”
Even if hard things befall me – the Lord is with me. He has seen me through the pain and horror of cancer. He has seen me through the deeper pain and horror of loss. He has walked beside me, provided for me, and whispered love to my heart. He has been my Guide and Companion in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health. In birth and in death.
I wrote my checks this morning, knowing that so many around the world are facing similar acts of courage today. I almost typed “small acts.” But for many today, those are great acts.
For those of us who are able, our decisions to continue to pay our taxes will help things flow to those with less.
When we continue to pay our tithe, our churches are able to stay operating, paying their staff and helping people. Even paying our utilities makes a difference. We are all part of each other. We all matter. What we do matters.
I opened up my Bible app, and read the rest of Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Let me encourage you – today and every day – to turn away from the path of “what if” and remember:
Even if. He is with you wherever you go.
Shortly after Pastor Ron and Annette left Albania, the country was hit with a major earthquake. They just received the following update from Pastor Sokol Zefi, the leader of Foursquare Albania.
Hope that you, Annette, your family and church are doing well.
We are good although the situation in our country was so sad.
God has protected our lives, and every one else from the church is doing well too.
We are so thankful for your heart and support in The Foursquare Albania churches and we pray that God may bless you abundantly..Looking forward in the good things that God will do through your ministry in our country..We feel a heart connection with you and can't wait to have you and other people from Canby church here in Albania.
As you think and pray for us during this time, I would like to share how the situation is right now....
550 continuous aftershocks, 49 victims, 900 injured, hundred of damaged buildings, colossal economic damages, great pain and psychological traumas...
Thousands of people are in the open sky. Some of them yet without a tent. It is cold and rainy. There are a lot of children and infants outside. Is happening a big exodus, because of fear many people are leaving the city and even the country. Many shops are closed dawn.
Please pray for God's protection on all the potential diseases that may develop due to lack of hygiene, cold or other conditions and pray also for wisdom and good cooperation of government and all the humanitarian organizations to bring the resources in time to the people in need. Pray for a better communication and coordination between volunteering groups.
Hundreds of people are left with no housing, many buildings are partly or totally destroyed. Many houses needs to be rebuild and furnished, people have lost everything....
More than ever we are hoping and praying that God may turn this situation into a blessing for our country..
Lots of love and hugs from our family,
Pastor Rene' Bogue
If you’re like me, you have moments of scrolling through social media and wondering why everyone else has all the fun. And, although we have heard the encouragements, and read the memes – that what we casually observe is not the real lives of those we watch, but rather their highlight reel – we can’t help but wonder if we’re behind the curve.
Sometimes the same thing happens to us in our Christian walk. The stage in our church is 27.5 inches high. That barely-over-two-feet somehow has the power to elevate the perception of those on it to a much higher level. To be sure, our Pastors study hard, our Worship Team practices and worships in preparation for service. But, their location and calling does not presuppose any sort of perfection, or greater affection from the Father. These are people. Like us. We are seeing their highlight reel.
Even as we embrace the equality of those within our own tribe, surely those folks in the Bible are of a far higher spiritual status than we are. Surely. A careful reading of the Book of Acts – and a quick Google search – shows a timeline that brings perspective. Each of the books we read by Paul, each of the mighty acts of Peter and John, are, in fact, parts of their highlight reel. These were men with dusty feet and earthly faults.
And I have to think that’s intentional.
If God had created super-human heroes to lead us in our walk – would we even try? If not for the humanity of Peter and Paul and Pastors and Leaders, would we see ourselves able to walk a path toward greater closeness with God? Would we even put on our shoes? With every post that shows our dusty feet, every ironic “nailed it!” meme, every honest post from a harried mom, we have encouragement to keep going, to draw closer, and to embrace our humanity and the humans around us.
Your highlight reel is pretty great. So is your real life. I’m so grateful that Jesus loves us in the middle of both.
Pastor Sammy Jamison
The story is told of a silversmith who refined his silver and heated it to burn off the impurities until he could see his own reflection in the silver. God is refining each of His children is that same way until He can see His own reflection is us.
When you wait for God to charge your heart with His Spirit, you will see your life begin to gain power. You have not fully seen how much He is willing to guide and direct your path in life. God dearly loves you and wants to serve you. We are used to thinking that God wants us to serve Him, but He is Who and What He asks us to be. God is motivated by a servant’s heart. That is His mercy and grace at work.
How do you think life will be in Heaven? It will be love-motivated, service-motivated, others-motivated. You have read, “He shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” This is a picture of how God wants to serve His children who come into His presence. All of God’s creation is a reflection of His heart to serve and proof that He seeks harmony in every star, in every planet, in every solar system, in every galaxy. He says, “Let there be” perfect love as each and every element serves the whole.
Give God your heart. Let Him fill you with His Holy Spirit and give you the inner motivation that reflects His very heart.
Pastor Rene' Bogue
In the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 3, we meet John the Baptist at the river. After a hefty rebuke to the surrounding crowd, John is asked a simple, bold question:
“What should we do?”
This question spoke for many in the group. These had not walked away at the harsh truths, had not laughed him off, or crumbled at the conviction of their own bad behavior. They wanted to go forward, and so, asked, “What should we do?”
In the space between the question and John’s ensuing answer, time stops. Here, the man who is preparing the way for the Messiah is about to tell us exactly how to behave. Exactly what God’s will is for our lives. How do we, truly, repent? Of what should we repent?
To the expectant hearer – and now reader – he says:
“If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”
He continues, answering specific questions from specific people. Tax collectors: don’t demand extra and skim off the top. Soldiers: don’t extort money or falsely accuse people.
Be kind. Be as generous as you’re able. Don’t abuse people.
This is the pinnacle of God’s will. Later, Jesus calls loving our neighbor the second commandment, likening it to the first and greatest – to love God with all we are. This is important stuff. In the book of Matthew, we see Jesus telling a story that highlights the importance of giving even a cup of water to the thirsty. This is so close to His heart that He says that showing these seemingly small kindnesses to the least among us is akin to showing it to Jesus Himself.
As we search for God’s perfect will in our lives, let’s start here. Who might be considered the least in our world, community, or lives? Who, regardless of status, just might be thirsty? As the world has become our community, where do we see suffering that we can help with in some small way? How many shirts do you have?
I am grateful that, with all that might be confusing in our world today, God has given us, through His word, a very clear picture of His will.
Joy Strube, Community Engagement Coordinator
In my recent Internet wandering, I stumbled across an "Engaged Feedback Checklist" by Brené Brown. The checklist has some pretty challenging (but important) guidelines to help users know when they are fully ready to give constructive feedback to another person.
Some of the checklist items are:
I was humbled as I reflected back on ways I gave feedback definitely not practicing these principles.
I also found it a great paradigm for engaging our neighbors. Whether we are settling an argument or serving, it is easy to unconsciously create a category of “other.” Whether it be “that person who is wrong,” or “that person who is poor and broken.”
What would it look like to begin using this checklist for every conversation, encounter or every argument, even? What if we started seeing ALL of those around us through the lens of their strengths and gifts, rather than their weaknesses and deficits.
Let’s be a church family that is known for seeing, living and leading through the lens of love.
We have a few opportunities this summer to live this out:
Alpha – Weekly in the Fall - People from all backgrounds are invited to this safe and judgement-free space to connect with people, ask questions, express doubt and explore faith. Each week includes dinner, a talk via video and a discussion. This is a great place to invite our neighbors! We are also looking for team members to help greet guests, serve meals, and guide discussions.
Carus Serve Day – Sat. July 20th \\ 9am-3pm - We are so excited to partner with Carus for our third Summer Serve Day. All ages, skill sets and physical conditions welcomed and valued! To sign up visit canbyfoursquare.com/carus-serve-day.
Carus Lunch Buddies – Make an impact by investing in the life of a student once a week during lunch times! To learn more, attend a no-obligation info meeting in the Conference Room on Sunday, August 18th at 10:30 or 12:30.
Want more info about any of these opportunities? Email me at email@example.com or check out Canbyfoursquare.com/serve-our-community.
Through the Lens of Love,
Pastor Chris White
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” –1 John 3:1-2
The Cross of Jesus has multiple implications for everyone, but in this series I have focused our thoughts on ways the cross speaks to our mind and heart. I call this “the Four Peaces” of the cross, because ultimately each of these, when embraced, bring us to a resting place of peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
The first peace was Shalom. In the Bible, the Shalom of God speaks of well-being, wholeness, soundness, completeness, harmony, and tranquility. The second peace the cross brings to us is relief. When you are forgiven by God there is no more guilt and condemnation. The third “Peace of the Cross” is validation. Validation is the idea that you are important. You are important enough to God that he sent his son to die that you might live. If that be true, you really do count for something in this world.
The fourth and final peace of the Cross is enlightenment. The opposite of enlightenment in the Bible is living in the darkness and futility of worldly thinking: following the wrong gods, pursuing the wrong goods, achieving the wrong ends.
Virtually every religion and philosophy on earth seeks to explain three things: who am I? what am I here for? Where am I going? The degree to which these questions are answered is the actual degree of satisfaction and enlightenment a religion or philosophy offers.
Just a side note, satisfaction with an answer is no guarantee of truth. You might find great satisfaction with the idea that the human race was seeded here by aliens from another galaxy millions of years ago or that we are descended from the invisible people that live under Mt. Shasta California in a secret subterranean city, but that doesn’t make it truth. Truth is its own thing. And truth corresponds to reality. But real truth will satisfy.
That said, the cross does give us the peace of enlightenment.
Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you going? 1 John 3:2-3 (see above) speaks to this end. Where are we going? What will be the ultimate end? We can say heaven is our end, but heaven is being with the Lord. We are children of God and our end is to be with him and to share in his glory. Because this is our future, we are live like this in the present. That’s why you are here now. To learn and grow in this reality. St. Athanasius said the reason Christ became man was so that man might become like Christ. As John states it, we only know this dimly and vaguely in our lives now, but we know the end for which we were made, to be sons of God in the image of Christ.
In the final analysis, I think the three questions: who am I, what am I here for, and where am I going are answered best in Christ. What becomes most important though is not remembering who I am, but whose I am. We belong to Christ because he purchased us with his blood on the cross and that makes all the difference.
May you attain to all the Lord wants you to be,
Pastor Chris White
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –Ephesians 5:1-2
The Cross of Jesus has multiple implications for everyone, but in this series I have been focusing on ways the cross speaks to our mind and heart. I call this “the Four Peaces of the cross,” because ultimately each of these, when embraced, bring us to a resting place of peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
The first peace we considered was Shalom. In the Bible, the Shalom of God speaks of well-being, wholeness, soundness, completeness, harmony, and tranquility. The Lord said peace I give to you. It is not the peace of favorable circumstances, but a peace from a new heart. The second peace of the cross brings is relief from guilt. When you are forgiven by God there is no more guilt or condemnation.
The third “Peace of the Cross” is validation. Validation is the idea that you are important. You count for something in this world. To have this missing in your life is to have a hole in your heart. Many of us were fortunate to have this in our family of origin where we were given confidence because our achievements and aspirations were celebrated and championed. It sent a message: you do count for something.
The converse is also true. Some of us were given the message, either directly or in ways unspoken, that we somehow don’t measure up. And what do you do with that? You either wear yourself out in a lifelong attempt at proving this wrong or you build an identity around being a failure; both of which entail a lot of stress even if in different forms.
The peace the cross brings to us is that we do count for something in this world and that we are important to our very Creator.
The very basis of the command for us to love and seek the best for each other (see Eph. 5:1-2 above), is because we ourselves were important enough and loved so much that Christ sacrificed himself to save us. If someone is of concern to God, as a Christian, they should be of concern to me and you as well.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (Jn. 15:13-15).” In the cross you are validated as a person because you really are important to God. Important enough that he would consider a friend of his son to be one of his friends.
That is some amazing news.
You are good enough because He is in you!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.