Changes Ahead…Pray for Us

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Sometime in early 2006, I interviewed at a church in the Pacific Northwest to be a Youth & Family Minister. The interview went well and the church offered me a joba month or so later. Treneé and I prayed a lot and decided to accept the offer. We were excited to move from Connecticut to this area of the country, it was the first opportunity we had to be close to her side of the family. I shared the news with my Elders, we broke the news to my teen group and their parents, and I then told the congregation. About a week later we received a call from the church that offered us the job. Due to things unexplained they had to rescind the offer. Trust had been broken with my youth group and there was a strong feeling of awkwardness over over our staying. After praying and discussing the situation with my elders, we decided to move out here without a job. I contacted the church that had rescinded their offer. I requested they still provide the moving expenses they had originally offered since their rescision of the offer caused the problem. They agreed.

In June 2006, without jobs, and without a place to live, we moved into Dan & Bev’s basement. It was a challenging transition. We looked for work and eventually settled into our own place. Throughout all of the transitions, challenges and dificulties God was present and with us.

It is with a heavy heart that I want to share with you the next transition in our lives. On August 1, 2018, Treneé will start a new job in Oklahoma City. Stephen and I will be joining her sometime in August or at the latest September. We know that God will continue to guide us as we follow Him and we know that God will continue to be with the church here in Spokane Valley.

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28

Glenn Tunick, Minister

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying Ourselves As Christians

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In a recent meeting on strategic planning at the Division of Child Support something caught my ear. Our new 5-year strategic planning phase has begun and one of the facilitators started talking about the need for “diversity”—a term that bothers me. But, what stood out was her reason why. “our purpose is to develop a plan that will move our division with unity in direction, not uniformity of opinion.” Unity in Direction! Hopefully, I didn’t miss anything important that was said after that because for the rest of the meeting my mind was thinking about church.

An article in the current Christian Chronicle shared an early slogan from the Stone-Campbell Restoration movement, “We are Christians only, not the only Christians”. Sadly, what I have heard through most of my years is very much opposite of that. Too many churches of Christ now hold to the concept that we are ‘Christians only AND the only Christians’. A quick google search will turn up mutliple quotes from early “Church-of-Christers” (if I can use that term) who recognized that the greatest error of denominationalism was that of division. Some of the more notable names include F.D. Srygley, M.C Kurfees, F.G. Allen, N.B. Hardeman, D. Lipscomb, and J.A. Harding. Sadly, division within the church is alive and well today. We will never be unified as long as we think the standard for unity is agreement on every issue.

I believe with all my heart that the only cure for division and strife, the only hope that we can be ONE as Jesus prayed the night before He was crucified (John 17:20-21) is if we hold firmly to prayer, scripture and grace. Nothing less than these three will preserve unity. We must pray. Jesus demonstrated this vital need by retreating to connect to the Father on multiple occasions (Matthew 14:23, 26:36, Mark 1:35). Paul reminds us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to “be faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12).We must study our Bibles. Paul reminds Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” And the Bereans in Acts 17:11 were praised because they “examined the Scriptures every day” to make sure the teachings they heard were Biblical. It may be good to note that what they were hearing contained things which were VERY different from they had always been taught. Finally, we must be gracious. I love to think I am right—but I am not always right. Even when I am certain, I’m right, and when I have no doubt, and when I would put my own life on the line—even then, sometimes I am wrong. Jesus reminds us “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2) We would all be wise to exercise more grace to those around us. After all, I am certain I will require a much greater measure of grace from Him who will judge me.

Math formula & the Good News

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 I love math. I love algebra and geometry. There’s a formula. It is predictable. It is consistent. It is black or white, right or wrong. 1 + 1 = 2, always. Or, at least, that is what I thought until I picked up the gospels. Read the story in Matthew 14:14-21. Jesus feeds the five thousand and try to follow along… There was a crowd and everyone was hungry. No one packed a lunch except a small boy; he was probably in Boy Scouts and knew he was supposed to “be prepared.” Anyway, he has his lunchbox with him. In it, he packed five small loaves and two small fish (most likely fist-sized dense rolls and the sardine or similar fish). Jesus used this food to feed the crowd and ended up with twelve baskets of leftovers. So, based on this story here is my equation:

(5 + 2) – 5000 = 12   So much for consistency in math!?!?

            I have found in my Christian life that this is the way things go with God. The Bible says God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6). This means that His love (1 John 4:8), grace (Titus2:11), omnipotence (Jeremiah 32:17), omniscience (Psalm 147:5), and perfection (2 Samuel 22:31) will never change. It does not mean He’s predictable. You can’t put Him in a box. With God you end up building boats in the desert (Genesis 6), walking on top of the sea (Matthew 14:29) or walking on dry ground through the sea (Exodus 14:21-22). God makes walls come tumbling down using trumpets and a parade (Joshua 6). He can bring a cemetary back to life (Ezekiel 37), and even make donkeys talk (Numbers 22:28). God doesn’t change, but He is not predictable. God’s ways and thoughts are far greater and higher than ours could ever be (Isaiah 55:8-9). So what does this mean for you? What does it mean for me?

I believe the truth of this can be best seen in Jesus’ promise to us. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that He came so we could “have life”. And not just any old kind of life—He promises us an “abundant life!” Just like in the math formula above, God gives you more. More everything. God is consistently, wonderfully, perfectly, lovingly unpredictable. When God gets a hold of math, you end up with a formula like the one above.