Getting a Grip

Family On Wire


The 2008 award winning documentary, Man On Wire tells the true story of Philippe Petit and his seemingly impossible (and very illegal) attempt in 1974 to walk a high-wire between the tops of the World Trade Center. It’s a fascinating look at a man’s courageous attempt to try the impossible!


I remember the feelings I experienced when first watching the film. Tense...anxious...and by the time the movie ended...exhausted! I do a good job of making you want to run out and watch the movie, don’t I?  You’re welcome. 

I thought about Petit’s story while reflecting on my weekend sermon [You can watch it HERE] where I talked about finding balance in our ever busy lives. In my message, I briefly told the story of how I had recently found myself screaming in my car because the busyness of life had just felt like it was becoming too much. In case you’re wondering...yes, the temporary onset of rage helped, but not recommended to try at home, or at your workplace.

Tenseness, anxiety, burdened and exhausted was how I was feeling that morning in my car after several weeks of work, coaching baseball, homework and every other calendar demand that seemed to be pulling at me. That’s what happens to us when life begins to feel like a balancing act on a high-wire. Where you have so much going on in your day that one mis-step makes you feel like your day will crumble, or worse, you feel like you’ll let your family down.

Jesus knew something about being busy, meeting the needs of others and trying to find some time for himself. In all the madness of his busyness, Jesus always managed to stay on course and honor the Father with his life’s mission. And that should be our goal, too. To honor God with our daily living while not getting lost in the chaos of our calendars!

Of course, we’re never going to be perfect at this. We’ll have our moments of insanity where we find ourselves screaming in cars. (Or maybe that’s just me...)

Grace. Lots of grace, friends. And patience. Be patient with yourselves and your family. Life does feel like a high-wire act at times, but be patient as a family and remember that no one can ever be "all things to all people".

Are you currently feeling overwhelmed by busyness? Like your calendar has become your master? Like everyday is a balancing act on a tightrope? Remember this promise from Jesus today.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Grace and Peace.

Pastor Rex

Alone No More


Have you ever had a slightly (or maybe not so slight) irrational fear of something?  I think we all have something that frightens us and we really can’t quite figure out why, but it is still there.  My fear was of being alone.  It did start when I was a child, but as a child I can’t think of one time that I did not have either my mom or my dad in the house with me at night.  Even in college I had a roommate asleep in the other room at night.  When I was a live-in nanny, I had the family I worked for with me.  So it wasn’t until I got married that I had my first experience of being totally alone.

My husband, Rich, was in the Air Force and he had times that he would need to travel and I would be left in our apartment alone.  This was in Forest Hill, Maryland, and I knew no one.  My parents were 3,000 miles away (literally) and I had not had time to get acquainted with our neighbors.  I laid awake all night tossing, turning, and crying.  It was so bad that Rich finally called my mom and dad, unbeknownst to me, and arranged to have my dog flown out to live with us.  That was really sweet and I will love him forever for his kindness, but Gidget weighed all of 15 lbs and was not what you would call a watch dog. 

Even after Rich was discharged from active duty and took a job at an advertising agency in Philadelphia, he still traveled.  My fear kept me awake most of the nights he was gone.  This continued for about 30 years of our marriage.  I could not seem to shake it.  It was so bad that even installing an alarm system did not help me sleep. 

I kept telling myself it was not rational and I needed to get over this.  But all the self-talk in the world was not making a difference.  I loved my life, I knew I had many loving friends, I knew that I was loved by God, but being alone haunted me.

One night I was crying out to God to take away my fear and I opened up my Bible to Psalm 91.  The entire Psalm spoke right to my heart, but the words that jumped out to me were “You will not fear the terror of night…If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you….For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”  I felt a peace come over me.  That night I slept so soundly and awoke refreshed and renewed. 

From that point forward, if I ever felt anxious, I recalled God’s angels standing guard.  I thanked Him that He was with me.  It became real to me at that time, that I am never alone.  You are never alone either.  God’s loves you.  He designed you specifically to live in relationship with Him and He will never leave you.  That is not my promise to you.  That is His.

Pastor Linda Skinner

Grip it


We are currently in the middle of a new series, “Getting a Grip” on finding God in your family.  When I hear our sermon series title golf comes to mind, because in golf they have a saying ‘grip it and rip it.’  Growing up, my dad taught all of my brothers and me to play golf when we were very young.  It was not optional.  He continued the tradition, teaching his grandkids too. However, growing up we used to hate it.   We played when it was windy and we played in the snow.  One time we went to play when the green was frozen solid and the staff would let us out on to the course. Despite all that time practicing and playing I still had room for improvement. For example, one afternoon I hit my brother with an errant golf ball as he was playing on another green.  Rubbing his soon to be bruised skin he yelled, “Tim, you always do that!”  I responded truthfully, “I couldn’t do that even if I tried.”  After all those unpleasant, grumpy, uncoordinated experiences, as we become men we’ve learned to love golf.

One time out on the green, I was with my three brothers and dad playing golf at Apple Tree in Yakima.  Storm clouds were closing in on the horizon, so we had the course to ourselves. So here we were playing one of the most beautiful courses in the state all together.  We were young and our dreams were fresh.  Suddenly it started to down pour rain.  We weren’t going to let it stop us from enjoying this rare opportunity.

Rain-GolfAs we approached the signature green shaped like an apple in the middle of a beautiful pond.  One of my brothers complained, “it’s raining to hard out here.”  My dad always the one to make his boys into men responded, “Aw, there is no rain. It is a beautiful day somewhere.  ‘This is the day the Lord hath made and I will be glad and rejoice in it.’  Let’s just tough it out.”  We all ended up having beautiful drives and our next shots were iron shots approaching the par four.

When it was my dad’s turn to shoot first, he swung into the heavy rain with all of his might.  He swung so hard that the ball bounced two feet in front of him. Despite this disappointment his swing took a surprising turn when his nine iron flew perfectly toward the hole.  We all thought it was going to be a hole in one with his club.  It was a high arching flight, flipping in the air just barely missing the hole.  My dad just turned and said, “I think I will play my club instead of the ball.” We all laughed so hard we almost fell down.  That is why they say, ‘grip it and rip it.’ You can’t play golf unless you grip the club.  And you can’t find God in the family unless you are very intentional about it.

I loved Doug and Jeanie Sutten’s story they shared this weekend with church of God at work in their family.  He is so present in their family because they place him there; on their vacations they have devotions by different family members every day.  They intentionally keep their kids involved in church.  They sit together in worship.  They share rejoice when their grandson accepts Christ.  They share stories of God’s presence in their lives, in their blessings. And they were very intentional about this important task. Sharing stories about God has deep Christian and Jewish roots.  We tell the stories of our families in faith just as Passover is celebrated.  We are a family of God and instead of filling sorry for ourselves we reach out and adopt others into our family and drive down deep roots of friendships and faith.

I hold fast to your statues, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame.  Psalm 119:31

Grip it and hold on – when it comes to faith in your family.

Your friend for the rest of my life,

Pastor Tim White


Photo Credit

Learning To Love (and Like) Crazy Uncle Eddie


Central to Jesus’ teachings is the message that we are to love others. In fact, he says in John 15 that his very commandment is to love each other the way that he has loved us. Love. At first glance, we might think, “No problem. I love people!” But his word for love has a much deeper meaning than what our society often understands, embraces, and practices. The word for love here is “Agape”. It simply means that we will fully love others in ways that show sacrifice and humility. Remember when Jesus washed his disciples feet? That was agape love. If we believe Jesus died on the cross for us, then we essentially have accepted his agape love. Even when we did nothing to deserve this kind of love. When it comes to family, most parents understand and practice agape love to their kids all the time. They understand the sacrifice of putting the needs of their children before their own. That explains why we, parents of young children, often look tired and haggard walking into church!screen-shot-2015-12-13-at-2-13-20-pm-1 But what about our crazy Uncle Eddie? You know...the people in our family who not only are difficult to love, but to LIKE?!? What about these people? How do we show agape to them when we’d rather not be in the same room with them? Frankly, there is never an easy answer this..

Rather than try and provide solutions, I thought I’d offer a couple insights that are worth remembering when we are having a hard time loving (or even liking) difficult family members:

  1. It’s worth remembering that Jesus showed agape to others when they had done nothing to earn it, or even deserve it. Are we making anyone in our family feel that they have to earn our love and acceptance?
  1. When Jesus displayed agape to others it was also a way of showing his respect to them. Despite some family being hard to love, are you respecting them? Do you shame them behind their back? Do you disrespect them in front of other family members?
  1. Remember, that to someone, somewhere we are probably difficult to love, too. It’s never just about others and not about us. We need grace just as much as crazy Uncle Eddie!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Rex

Photo Credit