From the monthly archives: April 2014

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'April 2014'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

East Asia Update: Life, School and Church in a City of 23,000,000 People


You may have seen that the final pledge tally for this year’s missions campaign came in at $112,632.85, a shade over our goal of $110,000. As pastors, we can’t describe how thrilled we are to see each of this year’s missions projects fully funded, and we are tremendously blessed by the generosity of you, the church.

It’s interesting: This year’s goal wasn’t based on some anticipated level of giving, but on needs we felt God had placed in our laps. And somehow the total pledge sum came out to almost exactly what we believed was needed. Makes you think Providence is at work.

In any case, as we anticipate what will be put in motion this year through your generosity, I wanted to give you a quick update on what is currently happening as a result of your generosity from last year. You might recall that part of last year’s campaign went to help support a team of six Summitview missionaries during their year-long stay in East Asia. These six young adults are the initial guinea pigs of our ACT (Asia Cross-Cultural Training) Program, in which participants spend a year in Asia learning the language and serving some of our ministry partners in Asia. They hoped to help with short-term ministry efforts there, while also receiving long-term training and experience for potential cross-cultural ministry in the future. Last week, I spent a week in Asia with the team and wanted to update you on their adventure.

Each person on the team is a full-time student, taking four hours of language courses each day, with the goal of becoming semi-conversant by year’s end. As I mentioned, they are also helping our ministry partners in the country. We have two main partnerships in different locations, so at semester break in February, they transitioned to a new city and new church. Here are a few things that struck me from Phase 2 of their journey.

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Anne Kainu's Cabin Has a Roof, Thanks to You


Randy Rivers, our dear friend and pastor at Poudre Christian Fellowship, sent us this photo of the shiny new roof that now adorns Anne Kainu’s cabin in Rist Canyon. He mentioned via email that the siding will be up quite soon.

So, there you have it. Your $3,000 have been well used, Summitview. As Randy wrote, “This is the fruit of your church family’s labor! Many thanks!”

Take courage knowing that the love of God is being made known in very tangible and practical ways to Anne in her post-High Park Fire life. Thank you, Summitview, for letting the love of God motivate your joyous generosity.

Roots, Me Monsters and the Importance of Healthy Relationships in a Get-Stuff-Done World


“Why are you so frustrated with me right now? What could I have possibly done?” 

I just couldn’t understand why leaving our house at our normal time on a normal Wednesday morning was causing my wife to be exasperated. As we talked on the 15-minute ride to the church building, it became apparent. We both had assumed the schedules of each other, and in so doing, were both irritated and annoyed by the other’s expectations. It was as if we had forgotten many basic communication/marriage skills and reverted to patterns that had troubled us early and often in our relationship.

Now, one thing you have to know about my wife and I is that we’re both “turtles” when it comes to conflict. We naturally hide in our shell and wait until it’s safe to come out. God has been faithful to grow me out of this tendency and to communicate graciously even in the midst of feeling hurt. So it was truly the grace of God that in 15 minutes we were able to succinctly share how the other’s assumptions had laid burdens on the other that were unbearable, and that we both desired unity and care for the other.

Grounded in Christ

There are many references in Scripture to the “roots” or “springs” of our heart — the core and central hub of our being. There are many promises from God that “all my springs are in you” (Psalm 87:7) and that “the root of the righteous bears fruit” (Proverbs 12:12). Jesus promises that “the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). To all of these promises, we can in Christ say, “Amen!” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

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Every Little Bit Helps: Thoughts on Barliman Butterbur and the Object of Our Faith


It’s Sunday night, April 6, 2014. I’m reading The Lord of the Rings in bed. The events and impressions and feelings from earlier that day have settled warm and reassuring, like the cat sleeping at the foot of my bed. A few minutes with Frodo and Strider seem like a fine ending to a remarkable day filled with $108,415 in pledges, five loaves, two fish and one new pastor.

Then I read this: 


"They came from Mordor," said Strider in a low voice. "From Mordor, Barliman, if that means anything to you."

"Save us!" cried Mr. Butterbur turning pale; the name evidently was known to him. "That is the worst news that has come to Bree in my time."

"It is," said Frodo. "Are you willing to help me?"

"I am," said Mr. Butterbur. "More than ever. Though I don't know what the likes of me can do against, against—" he faltered.

"Against the shadow in the east," said Strider quietly. "Not much, Barliman, but every little bit helps. ..."


Every little bit helpsBarliman Butterbur didn’t take the Ring to Orodruin. He simply gave Frodo a safe place to rest his head one night, and in the larger scope of the War of the Ring, this doesn’t seem like much.

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The Questions of 'Noah': A Review


Editor’s note: Anthony Alvarado and Trevor Sides love movies and talking about movies. They also love Jesus, and so they watched Darren Aronofsky’s epic, Noah, together on Monday, March 31. Then they exchanged mostly long-winded emails about the film and about the Christian approach to culture and art. There are spoilers, so reader beware. Trevor sent the first email on Tuesday, April 1.

SIDES: I don't always start email threads with The Sound of Music, but I think it fits the occasion. In this post, we're supposed to talk about Noah, but that's a large-scale operation. Anthony, you and I watched it together last night, and we both came out feeling like we had been on a loaded, wild ride. Noah is a very full, very unique, very bizarre-o film.

So, I feel a bit like the sisters in Nonnberg Abbey. But instead of trying to solve a problem like Maria, the question that's been rattling around my head for the last 12 hours is this: "How do you process a movie like Noah?" (Please pronounce "Noah" in a sing-songy, three-syllable manner.)

I think it will be helpful if we break this thread into two main sections. First, let's discuss the cultural-engagement angle of Noah. This film hit a nerve with Christians, even before it was released last Friday. It re-ignited the debate about how God's people should engage/interact/create culture. Many prominent evangelicals lambasted the film and gave stern cautions to not see it because, you know, "artistic license."

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