Summer Camp

Summer camp.

For many of us that phrase brings back amazing memories of weeks away from family and responsibilities, meeting new friends, learning new things, and having tons of fun.  Last week we took our Summit kids (4th – 6th grade) to summer camp for the first time in CH history.  That is exactly what they experienced, and more!

Our kids spent the week swimming, kayaking, and playing games, but most importantly I watched our kids experience genuine encounters with Jesus through worship, prayer, Bible teaching and quiet time with God.  At the end of the week, we even watched a few of our campers choose to be baptized this past weekend at our annual BBQ Beach Baptism at City Beach here in Sandpoint.

I know our kids will remember their time at camp for years to come.  In particular, they’ll remember the things God spoke into their lives and the deep conversations they had with their counselors.  I can think of few better ways for them to spend a week of their summer.

We’re already planning for next year!

 

-Andrew

Serve Sandpoint

 In April, over 60 Cedar Hills volunteers gathered at the Bonner Community Food Bank to expand their community garden.  We added more garden beds, installed automatic watering systems, weeded, and planted.  This garden provides fresh, organic produce to our families in need.  Our food bank is currently assisting approximately 800 families per month.  As of mid-June, over 30 pounds of lettuce, kale, and chard were harvested from this garden.

     This past Saturday, we had volunteers come to the East Bonner County Library. Our East Bonner County Library is an amazing resource for our families and community.  The latest addition to the library is a community garden, adjacent to their newly remodeled facility.  This garden hopes to bring our community together to explore, create, grow, share, connect, and learn in a beautiful interactive garden setting.

      Volunteers from CHC showed up to help break the ground on this garden.  We are looking forward to continuing to support this project!

     There is another Serve Sandpoint opportunity coming up for those that want to join the fun! We will be assisting the Christ Our Redeemer (COR) garden project, scheduled for this Saturday (7/21/18), and we will begin at 8 a.m.  We will be building more beds and planting more seeds.  This is a new community garden - the beds will be available, free of charge, to our families, including the neighboring low-income housing residents and Panhandle Health clients.  COR also will be offering free cooking and food preservation classes.  

     We already have built 26 raised beds - please join CHC to help build 10 more raised beds!  Questions - call COR at 208-263-7516!

God's Plan

God’s plans for you are bigger than your own.

 You know the saying, “you make plans, and God laughs?” I feel like that has been the story of my life for a long time. When I was younger, I always planned on going to college close to my parents, so I could go home on the weekends, graduate from college, get married, get a job, have kids, and live in the same community I grew up in. Life did not unfold that way.

 I went to college 4 hours away (I know it’s not too far, but it was extremely far for me). I left my comfort zone, and I’m all the better for it. I met some of my best friends in school, and I was able to establish my independence in a way that I would not have been able to had I stayed closer to home. I was challenged in my beliefs, and forced to defend my beliefs because they were my own, and not my family’s. I graduated from college, but I did not get a job right out of college like I had planned. I spent a year looking for a job, and in that time I was able to care for my Tia (aunt), and help her get back to a form of normal.

 After working part-time retail, I found a job as a receptionist at a chiropractor’s office, and it was more in line with what I wanted to do, but still not quite what I wanted. Fast forward a year or two, and I’m still at the chiropractor’s office, and finally getting comfortable and growing in my position, and I was in a car accident. The car accident left me with injuries to my back, shoulder, and hip. Less than a week after the accident, I was let go from my job. My days were full of physical therapy, pain, doctor’s appointments, pain, and more physical therapy. I had to have surgery on my hip, and go back through the gambit of physical therapy again. Two months after surgery, I got the all clear from my doctor that I could begin to look into working again, and literally 2 days later, I slipped and fell and reinjured my hip and back.

I got married while still out of work, and in a lot of pain, but finally we got married. We planned to live in the area, and start a family at some point soon. Without warning, the management at our apartment complex increased our rent by $1000/month. We had no choice but to move in with my parents, and into my childhood bedroom. This was not in the plan. This was not what we wanted. Because we were so cramped in the room with a majority of our stuff in storage, it finally pushed me to accept the fact that we need to look into moving out of state. Tyler found a position in Sandpoint in the end of September, flew up for an interview in October, and was offered the position in December. We had 2 weeks to move our life from Southern California to Sandpoint. We left my parents’ house without a home to move to. We didn’t have time to plan everything out. The way that everything worked out is a story in itself, but we are here, and we are thriving.

My friend from college recently resigned from a job in the career that she loves, due to some internal issues at the workplace. Since I’ve known her, she has always had a plan for how things would go. She has wanted to be in education, and help kids for even longer. She is now up here looking for options. She is letting God work His plan out. It certainly wasn’t in her plans to be out of a job when she came up here, but she is going with it. I think this time is providing her the opportunity to relax, to enjoy some time off, and recuperate from a really tough season.

It’s difficult to believe that God has a plan for the rough season you are going through…but He does. If I hadn’t been in the accident, or even been let go from my job, we never would have moved up here. We never would have experienced spiritual growth at the depth we have. I wouldn’t have been able to provide a home for my friend to come to. I wouldn’t be able to introduce her to incredible people.

As Eric said a few weeks ago, it’s ok to be frustrated with the situation. It’s ok to be disappointed. I couldn’t understand not even just why, but HOW, God would use my being let go for his plan. But the truth is, He’s used it in a way to get me closer to Him. He’s surrounded me with people who will help me to learn to listen for His voice. And in turn, I can introduce my friend to that same space.

I mean…who would you rather have plan your life? The One who created it and can see all things…or the one with a limited view that is the here and now. I know which one I pick; which do you?

 “'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’"

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Holding Loosely

When my wife Nicole and I returned to her hometown of Sandpoint to start a church in 2001, I didn’t know anybody. I was eager to build some relationships and get to know some guys my age (I was 28 at the time). So Nicole got me in touch with a friend of her’s from high school that I had met in Seattle 7 years earlier. We set up a coffee meeting for the following week.

His name? Colin Moody.

Our first appoint arrived, and I stood him up! He was gracious, and we rescheduled a few days later…and I stood him up again! Ironically, I think I’ve missed two appointments in my life, and both with the same guy! The third time around, I finally showed up. We connected right away, talking about life, mountain biking, the local Young Life ministry he led, life in small-town Sandpoint, and the church we were starting. In an afternoon, one of my first North Idaho friendships was born.

That March, Colin wrote a press release for the Daily Bee about Cedar Hills Church—which had begun meeting in our (Nicole and I) living room. Then in August, Colin filled in as guest teacher at Cedar Hills when I was out of town one weekend. In October, Colin and I co-led a significant small group campaign at Cedar Hills. And by December, Colin joined our ministry staff, and we’ve never looked back.

It’s crazy to think that 17 years have passed since those two skipped coffee appointments. I have been honored to serve alongside Colin for 16 of those years. In the church world, 16 years working for the same church is close to world record status!

In just a few short weeks (July 29th), our church says goodbye to Colin as he heads to the mission field to join the staff at The Luke Commission…an amazing Christian medical missions organization serving the remote regions of Swaziland. It’s literally the other side of the world. For those of us who know Colin well, we see the fingerprints of God all over this. Yet in order for Colin to pursue this next adventure with God, he must be willing to let go…and so must we.

And..so…must…I...

Many have asked me in recent weeks, in the wake of Colin’s announcement, ”Eric, this must be tough. What are you going to do?”  My answer...”I’m going to do what I’ve tried to do my entire life…hold loosely."

We believe everything we have belongs to God. Its not ours…we are just holding onto it for him for a while. We hold it, but not too tight, lest we begin to believe that it is ours. The secret is holding loosely. God gave our church an amazing 16 years with Colin. And now, with open hands, we release him to the adventure ahead. Goodbye?

I cannot be more excited for my friend and ministry partner.  Colin, we’re cheering you on! 

Kids Kamp '18!

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Last week we put on our first ever KIDS KAMP (aka VBS) at Cedar Hills!  I think I speak for every kids’ pastor, director, or volunteer who’s ever organized an event like it when I say, “I’m tired.”  In fact, I’m more than tired.  I’m exhausted, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

We are often told in our Christian walk that it’s important to create margin for rest, which is absolutely true.  No one can run at top speed for too long without starting to slow down, but I truly believe there are times when we should be justifiably exhausted. Sometimes our kingdom labor means that we expend a disproportionate amount of effort over a short period of time to create a disproportionately positive result.  This year during KIDS KAMP we did exactly that.

This summer, we served almost 150 kids in Sandpoint over a week of ministry.  Over 85 adults and teens at Cedar Hills participated directly in making the event a reality, and so many more contributed in prayer.  We saw kids made a decision to follow Jesus for the first time.  We met several families that do not have a church home or who are new to the area and are looking for community.  I’ve heard story after story of God showing up in ways I wouldn’t have even imagined. And on top of it all, our kids and our team had an absolute blast!

Basically, we’re going to see tons of kids in Bonner Country grow up with Jesus because of KIDS KAMP this year!  

I could not be more proud of our team that went above and beyond to create an irresistible environment for kids and see them experience the love of Christ in a life-changing way. They embodied what it means for the church to be not just a building, but a living, breathing, Spirit-filled community that takes ground for the kingdom of God every day.

We’re one step closer to our mission to see “every KIDin our community experience full life in Jesus Christ.”

…I can’t wait for next year!

-Andrew

BBQ Beach Baptism

What could be better than a perfect summer day at the beach? How about a perfect summer day at the beach celebrating people who are going public with their faith in Jesus Christ?

For the last 16 years, as a church family, we’ve gathered every summer for a BBQ at the picnic pavilion on the south side of Sandpoint City Beach. This year, we’ll gather for this BBQ on July 29that noon. 

But this isn’t just any BBQ picnic—this is a picnic with a purpose.

That purpose? To celebrate with people as they go public with their faith in Jesus Christ through baptism. Before family and friends, the people getting baptized on July 29 will emerge from the waters of Lake Pend Oreille boldly proclaiming: Jesus is at the center of my life, and I want everybody to know it.

Baptism broadcasts God’s transforming work through Jesus Christ. Here’s what one person wrote before last year’s beach baptism:

Today, down goes powerlessness. I’m doing away with my futile attempt to get things right. I’m ditching the baggage of the past—condemnation and all the guilt that goes with it. I’m taking up the love and life of Christ, along with the luggage he has packed for our future.

If you’ve placed your trust in Jesus Christ and have yet to be baptized, I want to see you get baptized on July 29. To sign up, mark your connection card at this weekend’s gathering or email info@cedarhillschurch.com.

See you on July 29 for BBQ Beach Baptism.

Jesus is......frustrating

Frustration.. such a great emotion huh?  Frustration is defined as "the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something" .. the inability to change something..  or the prevention of the progress, success, or fulfillment of something.....wow.. both of these definitions hit home in my life right now. Not being able to become a "pastor" when I know that God has called me to speak & teach = FRUSTRATION.  The inability to change the minds and hearts of those that are decision-making place is frustrating and its even more frustrating that they serve a person named Jesus too!  I heard a pastor from a church in LA speak this weekend and he said " nothing in your life is wasted"  what we believe is wasted life , a missed opportunity, a time of being stuck in one place, our goals always seeming so far away, the bad decision we make.. periods that we call wasted, God uses as fertilizers for growth and that includes these times id often we say things like " Jesus. Seriously.. now.. are you there" "Got. Why... come on...." " IS this really happening".. "Jesus...where are you"

 

Tonight’s talk is Jesus is frustrated(ing). bold I know.. true statement ..yes... 

 

And we aren’t new to this frustration, it has been happening since before the bible was written. The old testament is full of frustration. God to his people and God's people to Him. The new testament as well we will look at two examples one from each perspective .. Jesus's friends frustrated with Jesus and Jesus himself frustration with his friends. It’s reality. It's our reality and that is never wasted on Jesus

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite stories and one of the clearest examples of frustration we experience with Jesus… when Jesus is frustrating... John.. now I love John because John because John is an insecure probably frustrated man.. why else is his writing would he feel the need to be " the disciple whom Jesus loved..”.. ok anyway... John 11...  backstory here is Jesus has a trifecta of besties... Martha, Mary, and their brother Laurus.. these four were tight. Jesus rested at their home, their house was always open to Jesus and he took solitude there. And Lazarus was his dude. No doubt. there is a bond between Lazarus and Jesus. Now Jesus is off doing ministry...what Jesus does and he gets word.. from  M&M.. our brother is sick...Jesus.. you have to come, he is dying... Now M&M know that Jesus is the Messiah they have seen his miracles….surely he will come at once to heal their brother.. his dude.... they are all so close after all……

 

John tells us “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:5–6).The word “so” connecting those two sentences is stunning. The most loving thing Jesus could do at that moment was to let Lazarus die. But it didn’t look or feel like love to Martha. Martha was anticipating Jesus to change the health of Lazarus 

Wait; lets pause here... he waited two days where he was.. Jesus didn’t move.. seriously.... now its not like you called an uber and hopped on 95 to CDA.. it took Jesus days to travel back to their house.  And he had already done "nothing" for two days.

 Finally after days of silence Martha hears the words she has been waiting for and now are too late “Martha, Jesus has come. He’s near the village.”

Martha’s emotions collided. I am sure Martha got all blotchy like how I get when I am upset and then came the reality of grief and disappointment. Lazarus had died four days earlier. She had prayed desperately that Jesus would come in time. God had not answered her prayers. What could Jesus do now?

And yet… if anyone could do something, Jesus could. He had the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Martha hurried out.

When she saw Jesus, she could not restrain her grief and love. She collapsed at his feet and sobbed, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

I and yet in the horrible days of Lazarus’s agonizing illness and in the dark misery of the days following his death, Martha did not know what God was doing. He seemed silent and unresponsive. Jesus didn’t come. It’s likely that she knew word had reached him. She was frustrated, disappointed, and overwhelmed with grief. She knew she did not have the ability to change this situation but she knew that Jesus did. 

And yet, Jesus delayed precisely because he loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus. He knew that Lazarus’s death and resurrection would give maximum glory to God and his friends would all experience maximum joy in that glory. and even so... when he arrives in town and all this frustration and emotion is happening the John records the shortest verse in the bible " Jesus wept". It would make all their suffering including Jesus broken heart seem light and momentary.

After Martha has her meltdown, Jesus responds in such kindness...  Jesus lays his hands on her head.. (keep your head up) and she responds with frustration gone  

 “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”

Jesus gently lifted Martha’s eyes and looked at her with affectionate intensity. “Your brother will rise again.”

He replied, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”The power with which Jesus spoke caused faith to swell in Martha’s soul. .She answered, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.  

 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!

The time of delay and the emotions were not wasted. Jesus knew exactly how was going to move for his friend and for the others around. Martha was frustrated with Jesus and it did not scare or stop Jesus from working and delivering for her. And even after Martha says.. I believe that you can do anything.. a couple of minutes later she is like .. wait it smells bad... he is pretty ripe Jesus are sure?   Frustration and doubt are never far apart from each other and neither is the patience and power of Jesus 

 

Jesus is not afraid of our frustration matter of fact he is ready to do something through and in it.