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Faith

Faith

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Connie McClellan

Sandy Snavely

Masterpiece – The Art of Finishing Well, began with a call on the hearts of two women who said ‘yes’ to producing a conference for women over 50.
Nearly a year later that call was brought to fruition, as approximately 250 women gathered together at Grace Community Church for an full day of heartfelt worship led by Maxine Lawrence and her incredible team of musicians, two keynote messages by Connie McClellan and Sandy Snavely, who drew life-changing messages from the life of Paul, whose letters to Timothy set the hearts for all of God’s women on finishing well. Continue reading

The writer of Psalm 139 must have given some thought to where Creator God exists. He concluded that God is everywhere. He was convinced that God knew everything about him ‒ his location, what he was doing, and where he was going. If he was content having Creator God knowing all of this, it must have been comforting.

I have been noticing how evidence of the Creator is everywhere. The colorful leaves of fall reveal just one phase of their life, which began with green buds that grew and became contributors to the oxygen that we breathe. Soon they will be in compost piles, helping to prepare the soil for other plants to grow. Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

Have you ever been sitting at an outdoor cafe watching people walk by, or walking down a crowded sidewalk, when the thought suddenly flashes in your mind, “None of these people know you. How significant are you, anyway?” I know that it’s happened to me many times. The thought may be fleeting, but it’s an important question for each of us. The way in which a person answers it is critical. In my opinion, most people don’t have an adequate answer. They try to convince themselves of their significance, or value, by quickly reviewing their accomplishments and how many people they have helped. They may also look for their significance in their job or education or bank account or social standing. Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

A friend of mine enjoys camping in the middle of the woods, alone and far away from people. It doesn’t matter to him if it’s clear, raining, or snowing. He loves to wake up to a cool morning, smell the fresh air, build a campfire and cook his breakfast. Myself, I prefer waking up in my own bed, building a fire in the woodstove, having a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and cooking breakfast in the microwave.

Though I’m not much for camping, I have observed the New Testament uses the imagery of a tent to describe the physical body. This is an appropriate euphemism since tent-life is temporary for most of us. I’m sure you’ve noticed that as we age, the condition of our tent changes. Mine sure has. Once strong and flexible, it now sags and is much weaker and fragile. But, regardless the current age or condition of our tent, there is coming a day when it will be packed up and we will go home. Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

As parents watch their young children argue and fight with one another, they have a nagging worry that they might grow up and not like their siblings. Thankfully, in many of our families, the children learn to get along and grow up to love one another. The Bible lets us peer into one family in which this was not the case. Rather, there was deception and bitterness in the home. The father’s name was Jacob and his story is recorded in the book of Genesis. He fathered a large family through four different women, all of whom lived in his home at the same time! [Talk about a dysfunctional family!] Of the four women, he loved Rachel the most. She had trouble getting pregnant, so his first ten boys and one daughter were born by the other three. Finally, Rachel gave birth to his eleventh son and named him Joseph. Continue reading

Did you know the Bible is a love story? At first glance, it can seem like a thick history book filled with random people, hard-to-follow rules, and nearly impossible stories. But at its core, the Bible is a love story between God and people. It also includes human romance, and one such story is captured in the short book of Ruth. Hidden within its handful of pages is one of the most significant and intriguing concepts of the entire Bible: the kinsman-redeemer. If that term sounds foreign to you, let me show you how it applies to each and every one of us today.

Ruth, for whom the book is named, was raised in the land of Moab, southeast of Israel. The two nations were not always on friendly terms. While she was young, a famine hit all of Israel, resulting in some families moving to her country to survive. A family with two boys moved from Bethlehem to Ruth’s hometown. One of the boys fell in love with Ruth and married her, but in the span of ten short years, he and his brother and their dad had all Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

Ever been on the receiving end of this frustrated appeal? Has it ever flowed past your lips? It’s usually reserved for those times someone comes to the end of their patience. They invoke God’s name, assuming that will magically impact someone else’s behavior.

This article is not going to lambast the person who belittles God’s name in this way. I used to speak like this when I got angry or frustrated. Then I came to know Jesus as my Savior. Once I understood what He went through to bear the judgment my sins deserved, my blasphemy changed to love for Him. No longer could I drag His name through the mud. Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

Heroes. Our televisions and movies are filled with super-heroes. Men and women gifted with special abilities to fight crime. Do we really believe someone can throw fire from their hands, or throw up an energy shield to withstand an explosion, or fly at will, or stop speeding cars with their hands? Of course not. It’s our way of stating our wish that someone could fight the evil around us and bring about justice. Continue reading

Have you ever wondered if all dogs go to Heaven as the cute animated film suggests? Did this film make you wonder if animals have souls, a necessary component of an incredible afterlife as Christians believe? This adorable film prompted me to do some research (Thank God for the Internet!). My first stop was scripture where I found proof that God loves His creations, and that includes animals.

In Genesis, God creates the animals first, and then Adam and Eve. Adam in His image as the first human being. Next God made Eve using one of Adam’s ribs. He gave Adam the responsibility of naming them. But I did not read scripture that gave me clear proof that animals have souls necessary for entry into Heaven (or Hell). There are theologians who hold onto this as truth. Continue reading

Music Mondays is a summer event in the park in downtown Gresham. Music is a fusion of voice, harmonics, and instruments. These elements come together to unite our community. Music in the park is an expression of who we are as a community of forest dwellers.

We bring our chairs and find just the perfect place to create a makeshift living room in the park. We hunker down ready to feast on satisfying sounds and symmetry. The music begins with light shades of notes building rhythm blending into one voice.

A huge pine sits center stage in the park. The branches at the top of the old pine gently move with the slightest breeze as birds gracefully glide across the sky. Our senses heighten in surrender as we relax into the music. Continue reading

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