Ruth: honoring a faithful mother

Last weekend Beth was out of town visiting family and friends in Southern California. It was only about three hours after she left I realized everything she does around the house. 

When the kids needed a nurse, mom is there.

When one of the children has a bad dream, mom is there in the middle of the night.

When the family is hungry, mom is there in the kitchen.

When clothes are dirty, mom is there doing laundry. 

All this is difficult and sometimes probably seems endless, yet mom does it every day even if it is unnoticed. And mom also does many more things than the number of thank you's she receives in return. This is why we celebrate Mother's Day!!

The story of Ruth reminds me of the same undervalued and unrecognized mothers in this world. Here in this small, very short book is the story about the character of a Godly mother.

Ruth was willing to care for her mother-in-law Naomi regardless of the circumstances. Even though the death of her husband and a famine changed her future, she said: 

 “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 NIV)

There was no fanfare for this decision. No celebration. Instead Scripture records this about her decision:

 “So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem." (Ruth 1:19)

Very anticlimactic almost. In fact, the people of Bethlehem were more excited about Naomi than they were about the decision of Ruth. Of course this was the natural response of the people where Naomi called home.

Yet, Ruth's decision seems to go unnoticed. Except until Ruth, the outsider in a foreign land, met Boaz where ultimately she would become a mother herself. Then ultimately become the great-grandmother of David.

Did Ruth wake up one morning and say, "I am going to be a better person. I am going to try harder. I am going to be noticed for being a mother."?  No, I don't believe she said anything like that at all. Instead she simply lived her life and cared for the people God brought her in contact with. She lived her life as a mom. 

This is what we honor at Impact this weekend.

Therefore thank you to all the mothers like Ruth, who faithfully care for their family. Who simply go about the daily things around the house, maybe even unnoticed at times. We appreciate each one of you and the legacy God is creating through you in the lives of your children and families...

A one year reflection

Today marks one year since my official arrival at Impact Christian Church as the Lead Pastor. It has been a year like no other, filled with moments of an incredible sense of purpose to what God has asked our family to be a part of. 

I can say wholeheartedly that our family is just as excited about the future of Impact as we were last May 1st.

But there is one thing that has changed - our care for everyone who calls Impact their home church. We have come to love each of you so much!! From day one, we have felt embraced just as you would welcome someone into your family. Therefore we want to say thank you for making us feel at home. 

As I reflect upon our journey this past year, I thought it would be encouraging to highlight what God has accomplished here at Impact since becoming the Lead Pastor:

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(1) The signing of a three-year lease for the Marysville Ministry Site with Hillside Christian Church. This not only has given the building there in Marysville new life, it has provided Impact with a steady lease arrangement to help us move forward toward a permanent location in Lake Stevens. It has also maintained a place for us to use during the week for our Young Adult and Bouncy House ministry. 

(2) Start of a new children's ministry curriculum in October geared toward age appropriate programming and additional resources for parents to help their children grow. This has created a new momentum for what is now known as Kids Cove as we teach children about Jesus.

(3) Brought on a new youth leader to help establish a direction for the older kids in our congregation. This ministry is vital because it gives students a place to ask questions about their faith and learn how to live out a relationship with Jesus in crucial moments of their growth into adulthood.

(4) Established new Impact Home Groups this Spring providing a way people can meet together and therefore grow in their relationship with Jesus. These relationships have created a sense of community throughout the week for people who are a part of Impact.

(5) Set up a new website for Impact to better advertise information about who we are and what God is doing at Impact. This has been vital in our connection with the community of Lake Stevens as we invite others on the journey with us. 

(6) Recently launched a Impact 2020 Vision initiative to help lead us toward God's ultimate plan for Impact. This way the church together will be able to revisit our mission statement and create a strategic vision to carrying out the Great Commission here in Lake Stevens.

(7) Taking the church budget from a negative trajectory of being only months from closing the doors (in early 2016) to being financially stable today a year later. Now our fiscal standing is much improved from a year ago helping us have the ability to dream and plan toward the future. 

(8) Started a monthly prayer ministry to pray for the needs of the church and seek His guidance for the future. This has given the church a place to bring both praises and prayers before the Lord on a regular basis.

(9) Just recently created the beginning format of a regular newsletter which is going to be sent via email to members of the congregation. This will be an addition way people can stay informed with what is taking place in and around Impact. 

(10) The creation of a few new traditions with Impact including regular events which take place throughout the year. This has included our involvement with Wyldlife, the Lord's Little Cooker, Lake Stevens Food Bank, and Ashley Pointe. This has provided a way for us to interact with the community around us. 

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All ten of these items are something to be really excited about!! For they demonstrate God's faithfulness during this past year as we exited a season of transition from one pastor to another.

But it is also important to note how they reflect what God has accomplished through people like yourself. Church requires people to give up part of their week to help see these things through. Therefore we are so grateful to everyone who selflessly volunteers their time here at Impact. Thank you!!

So I believe the future of Impact is very bright because God has promised to build His church (Matt 16:18) and use the local church as His instrument to reach out to a broken world (Matt 28:19). 

Granted, there have been moments where it looks like we have not had momentum toward God's future plans. Many times these moments of doubt has shown up on Sunday mornings when the church looks empty because of people sick or traveling. 

Yet we should not find ourselves discouraged since we are called to live by faith, not by sight (2nd Cor 5:7). 

I believe there are many exciting things ahead... Including the rollout of the 2020 Vision as we seek out what God is asking Impact to do in our community these next few years. 

Hopefully you find the same excitement and joy as I have for Impact. We are expecting big things because we worship a God with unlimited resources, eternal love for His people, and the desire to have a personal relationship with everyone.  

Come join us on the journey!! 

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