Kids Camp Prayer Week

We are another week closer to Kids Camp 2013!  Thanks for all who are praying with me for the kids, staff and speakers.  Here is the prayer focus for this week:

1.Pray for our Activity, Décor, and Chapel time coordinator; Pastor Harvey Walls

2.Pray for our Prayer Coordinator; Pastor Isaiah McGarry

3.Pray for fun, organized, and safe activities for all

4.Pray for all of our prayer partners

5.Pray for operation of all equipment to be flawless

6.Pray for consistent prayer among all our prayer partners

7.Pray for kids with difficult home situations

Thanks for praying!
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Fearless

I was praying the other day over for our country, its leaders and for the people of America in general, and felt the Lord speak something to me.  What I felt him say that we are a country that is totally ruled by a spirit of fear.  The more I think about it, the more I believe it to be true.  Think about it, we are motived by fear in so many things.  Take air-travel for example.  we go to extreme measures to “guarantee” safety and make sure that no one disrupts the flight.  We have metal detectors, pat downs, screenings, people searching luggage, and we even have to take off our shoes for screening.

Or take the economy for example, people are terrified of not having enough money for retirement.  But, we are also scared of investing in the stock market.  We are too scared to save, but too scared to spend as well.  Housing prices are up and down, so people are too scared to buy a house, yet renting is a scary proposition as well.

Or take medical care for example, you can hardly watch 10 minutes of TV without seeing a commercial for some prescription for an ailment that less than 1% of America struggles with.  That’s not even getting into the financial side of health care and insurance.

Or take playgrounds as an example.  The other day I was reading an article about “new playgrounds.”  They’re the same old playgrounds, but made super safe, so no one gets hurt, because no one wants to get sued.  The unfortunate side effect of such playgrounds is that we, as people, are meant to make mistakes and get hurt physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, or otherwise.  That is how we learn.

All these things are legitimate fears.  I’m not suggesting that we do away with any of these things (except these playgrounds), but what I am suggesting is that we look at ourselves and take a look at what we are really afraid of, and why.  Then, compare that with what God’s word says about fear:

“For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 ASV”

God did not create us to be afraid of everything we can imagine.  In fact, He advises us to do something radically different:

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7”

Often times, I will pray in December for the year to come and sometimes God gives me a word or theme for the year to come.  Nearly every time this has happened, I’ve seen it come true.  Perhaps it is self-fulfilling prophecy, or God is challenging me in how I view the year to come, I don’t know.  In any case, I was praying about 2013, and to be honest the reason I was praying is because I felt a lot of anxiety about it.  There are some things in my financial picture that are unknowns for this year.  We have a baby due this year.  No one has any idea what the economy will do this year, and how that may or may not affect anyone’s job.

The word for this year came to me: FEARLESS. Not stupid fearless, like risk my life everyday doing stupid thing because I’m fearless.  Not fearless, like I need to be bold or brash.  Rather, to not fear these things, because God is with me.  The God who spoke the world into existence, who sustains the universe and everything in it, who formed the mountains; rivers and flatlands with his hands,  who lives in your heart, He loves you and looking out for you.  He may not always give what you want, but He always provides what you need.  He may not always make you comfortable, but He is always with you through the discomfort.  He may not always give you all the answers, but He tells you what you need to hear.

I choose to be FEARLESS this year, and trust in God.  He is my everything.

The Snake of Bitterness

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15

Have you ever held a big snake?  Like a really big snake?  At Royal Family Kids Camp this last year, we brought in a mobile reptile zoo thing to entertain the kids for a about an hour while most of the adults were taking care of business to get the camp cleaned up.  Not having a specific duty at the time, I went down to see what this reptile zoo thing was all about.

At one point, I was asked to be one of 3 adults to hold a snake.  Not just any snake, but a python. Pythons are long (on average about 12 feet), heavy and strong.  While holding the tail end for only a few moments, I made some observations.  All three of us adults had trouble holding our section of the snake, not only because of the awkwardness of holding such a long and heavy object, but also because of its goal.  Over the course of a few short moments, the snake managed to wrap itself around me-not all the way around me, but around my wrist and was working his way up my arm.  Again, I’m not a snake expert, or for that matter know any more than the average person about snakes, but it seemed to me, that this snake had a plan.  It I had continued to stand there and allow the snake to do what ever it wanted, I am pretty sure that it would have worked its way up my arm, around my body then I probably would not have been able to escape.

I find this a striking parallel to anger and bitterness.  Anger and bitterness can creep into our hearts and seem harmless at first.  After all, we have a right to be angry right?  What they did to you was wrong! Oh, and you are not only person hurt by their actions, it hurt your family as well!  And it is emotional too, so your anger is justified. Lets not forget that Jesus got angry too, or at least it would seem so by the account of Him driving out the money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12-13).  We can find all kinds of reasons to be angry and hold our anger.

I’m not saying that having anger is wrong.  It is perfectly natural feeling to having and can be good at times, and I do believe that Jesus was angry when he drove out the money changers from the temple.  We do have to be careful about what we do with our anger.  Jesus’ anger drove him to do what was right and necessary in the given situation.  The problem is that so often we choose to hold  our anger too long, and it becomes bitterness.

Back to the snake analogy: holding  the snake for too long and becoming comfortable with it would allow it to overtake me.  Becoming comfortable with anger also allows makes us vulnerable to it overtaking us by becoming bitterness. Bitterness is poison to the spirit, it causes one to not be able to say, do, or think anything positive about a person or group of people.  It ruins your outlook on life an allows your situation to be bigger in your life than God.  It creeps in slowly and takes over your life while you stand there thinking you can control it.

As I write today, I believe that I on the side of victory from anger and bitterness.  The crazy thing about it, is that I had not realized how much anger and bitter I was carrying around, until I decided to let it go.  The other day, I was driving home from an event, and Roberta was sleeping resting her eyes.  We had a conversation earlier in the day about some negative things that I had to say, and as does so well, she called me out on it.  She told me that I needed to work through my anger and bitterness (which I denied existed, or only admitted to so she’d stop talking).  As I was driving, I prayed.  I don’t remember exactly what  I prayed, but I clearly heard God tell me to put it down.

So, I thought about it.  I decided that there is no one in my life that I want to control me but Jesus.  As long as I held anger and bitterness, I was allowing something else to control me.  My mood could be affected by a comment I made or someone else made that reminded me of someone or something.  I could not speak positively about certain people, or even think a good though, and these people are brothers and sisters in Christ! How wrong is that?

I walk in forgiveness.  God forgave me of all the things that I have done wrong, so who am I to hold what wrong has been done to me against the supposed wrongdoer?  I choose forgiveness.  I choose freedom.  I choose love.  I choose to let go of anger and bitterness.

What would Jesus Do?

When I was in high school the phrase, “What would Jesus do (WWJD)?” became really popular.  As I understand it, it started in the middle of the 20th century as a Bible study group got together and decided that they wanted to start living like Jesus.  In order to carry out this enormous feat they came up with the catchphrase “what would Jesus do?”  If they ever came across a situation in which they were unsure of how to respond, this question would be their guideline.  Though I am sure that someone could explain how this became popular in the mid 90’s, it escapes me.

It became so popular that WWJD began to appear everywhere: bracelets, t-shirts, earrings, on Christian kids, those who preferred to party, jocks, nerds, rednecks, it did not matter, everyone was wearing WWJD.  Few people knew what it meant.  It most likely began with a few kids wearing it as identification to other kids that they were a Christian, but it spread far and fast.

In any event, I woke up this morning, wondering what Jesus would do.  The answer I came up with is pretty simple: if we look at Jesus as our model, we see that He chose love.  He was accepting to everyone around Him, the Samaritan (by the way, Samaritans and Jews hated one another) woman at the well (who had 5 divorces and was shacking up with another man), the prostitute who anointed Him, Judas the disciple who betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver, Nicodemus who had big questions, the thief on the cross, the soldier who executed him, plus you and me. Jesus loved and accepted everyone around him.

His love looked different depending on the situation.  With the Pharisees and the money changers in the temple, His love was confrontational.  He told them the truth in a way they needed to hear it.  His confrontation was meant to bring change in their lives, but their hearts were hard.  With many others, his love was shown with quality time spent with those who needed it.  For the thief and Roman soldier, his love came in the form of forgiveness. That demonstrated f his forgiveness and acceptance of you and me as well.

“What would Jesus do” is a dangerous question.  It’ll lead you to people who you no one wants to be around.  It’ll take you to places that no one wants to go.  It’ll take you to the most sinful of sinners, the most hardened criminals, society’s outcasts and marginalized, and to the most Godforsaken places.  Asking this question will put your life in danger, and cause you to be hated.  After all, who is Jesus?  Yes Jesus is the Son of God, but He was homeless.  Jesus made friends with “tax collectors and sinners.”  He did not despise prostitutes, or criminals.  He loved everyone, and accepted them for who they were.  He spoke the truth when it was unpopular, and in the end He proved that He was right all along.

Go ahead, ask yourself “What would Jesus do?”  I dare you…

Promotion info and Summer Activities For Parents of PCC Kids

Hey Parents,

Summer is right around the corner, and before it officially gets here, I would like to take a moment to let you know about all the excitement that is coming up!

First of all, we have our promotions coming this Sunday!  If your child is a new Kindergarten, 5th or 6th grade student, they may go to their new classes beginning this Sunday in the 9:00 hour.  If they are not here for the 9:00, but are here for 10:15, new kindergarten students may come to the Trailhead, and 6th grade students may attend the adult service.  For 6th grade students, the middle school does have a section where they sit together (look for Pastor Aaron), or they may sit with their parents.  If at any time, anyone is unsure of where to go, you can ask myself, their previous teacher, any other pastor, usher or greeter where to go.

Summer activities:

We’ve got some amazing summer activities on tap this year!  First of all, Young Champions is coming up fast.  Mark your calendars for July 25-28.  Registration is online at www.PCCtoday.com or you can register on paper using the brochures that will be coming out soon.  Young Champions is an awesome track and field clinic where kids learn not only track and field skills but also how to be a true champion.  Cost is $20 per child with a maximum of $60 per family.  Invite a friend!

Royal Ranger Powwow

For so many boys, this is the highlight of their summer.  Activities include rock-climbing wall, zip line, bb guns, canoeing, batting cages, paintball and more!  They will also hear from a great speaker and come away changed by the power of God.  Powwow takes place at Camp Wildcat near Corvallis.  Boys going into grades 2-5 may attend without a male adult coming with them, younger kids must have a male adult chaperone (dad, uncle, grandfather etc) August 11-14, cost: $110 per boy.

Kids Camp

Kids going into grades 3rd -6th are invited to join us at Kids Camp August 15-19, at Kellogg Springs, in Sutherlin, Oregon.  At Kellogg Springs, the kids will be treated to amazing speakers (Jenni and Jeff Smith from Horizon Community Church in Tualatin), zip line, pool, archery, and much more.  For sign ups, see Pastor Brad.  Space is limited, so sign up soon.  Cost: $225 per child.

M’s Club Girls Camp

All girls between 1st-5th grade are invited to Girls Camp at Driftwood Creek Camp in Lincoln City.  Suzie Star will be our guest speaker and she will knock it out of the park!  This will be an amazing time for the girls to connect with other girls, worship God, and be challenged in their relationship with Him.  Cost $90 per girl.

Music Day Camps The 2011 Kids’ Summer Music Adventure Camp

August 8-12, 2011
Morning Only from 9:00 AM – Noon or
Full Day from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
For: Kids entering Kindergarten-4th Grade
Location: Portland Christian Center

Kids will have a blast during five fun-filled days packed with action and adventure as they explore music from the Appalachian Mountains all the way to the Islands of Hawaii!

Each day we’ll dive into a different style of music, have demonstrations of instruments, interactive music games, music instruction, get artsy with fun crafts, learn fun new songs and dances and snack on yummy treats! Optional afternoon activities will include outings to the Oregon Zoo, OMSI, Oaks Park Roller Rink, the pool, and more!

COST:
Morning Music Camp – $130 (Early Bird Rate of $115 if registered and paid by 7/25/11)
Full Day Camp – $245 (Early Bird Rate of $220 registered and paid by 7/25/11)

For more information email lhalling@pcctoday.com

If your child wants to participate in any of these activities, but cost is a factor, don’t fret! Scholarships are available.  I don’t ever want for a child to be hindered from doing something because of money.  For more information on any of these activities, email me at bshimomura@pcctoday.com.

Have an awesome summer, I hope to see everyone at at least one of these events!

Pastor Brad

Blowout

I got a flat tire on the way to church this week… I was driving down I-5 at 60 Miles per hour and pop, glug, glug, glug, flat tire! Not just flat, but blown out and shredded. To be honest, it could not have happened at a better time. No, I am not being sarcastic.

Being a Pastor has certain inflexabilities. Church wont wait for me to get ready, and to be ready, I have to get there. It so happens that this weekend, my parents were in town, and for the first time since Zane was born, Roberta decided to come to church with me. The only reason that was even possible is because my parents could stay home and take care of our baby boy.

As soon as the panic settled, Roberta suggested that I call another pastor and see if he can pick me up. She stayed with my car and waited for my dad to come to try to put the spare on. The other pastor arrived, and I went to church only a couple minutes later than I normally arrive on a Sunday morning. Roberta got the car take care of thanks to roadside assistance our car insurance provides (good thing too, because we had none of the tools we need to even change a tire), and she met me at church about 30 minutes later.

Looking back, I clearly see the miracle of God in it all. Had it been any other day, that would have caused me to be massively late to church (work) and it would have ruined my day.  God had an incredible sense of timing.  The tire was going to blow, there is no doubt about it, but God allowed a bad situation to happen in the best imaginable circumstance.

A friend of mine occasionally challenges me to look for God in the “everyday” situations of life.  He says when you put on that mindset, you’ll be amazed at how much you notice God doing.  When I actually take him up on this challenge, I am never disappointed.

Psalm 1:6: “The Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

When have you seen God in the “everyday” situations of life?

Where you end

I’m secure enough to admit it.  From time to time, I wonder why God choose to me to be a church leader, Children’s Pastor or to be a part of a decent sized church.  Some days I feel like I am ill-equipped, too young, not smart enough, not strong enough, or a million other things.  The truth of the matter is, that is a good thing.

God does not give us everything to be a perfect leader.  He gives us a certain set of gifts, passions, and even limitations so that you can be exactly the person that He created you to be.  People were not made to attain perfection.  If we were perfect, and had every spiritual gift that we needed and were perfect leaders, we would have no need for God.

We were created with limitations so that we can learn to rely on God.  I love the way John the Baptist puts it in John 3:30.  In John’s teachings of his disciples about Jesus, he made this amazing statement: “He must become greater and I must become less.”  As people we are broken, frayed, flawed and imperfect.  The more of us that shines through, the more the flaws shine through.  When we realize that, get out of God’s way and allow Him to work, He will really show up and do things beyond our imagination.

When you come to your end, God is just getting started.