Welcome to the "Little Church with the Big Heart".
EVPC Update 28 Aug 2020
Who of us would have guessed back in March that we’d still be dealing with the COVID-19 restrictions five months later? Yet, here we are. Next week we enter the month of September. Our summer months have passed. It has certainly been an odd season in the life of our congregation.
We had to suspend worship and fellowship in person, but have discovered the joy of seeing each other nearly daily via the internet platform, Zoom. Sure, there were some hiccups along the way, but most of you have found this to be a safe and welcome way to stay connected.
Our roof started leaking. But God had blessed us with a truly wonderful financial year in 2019 and we were able to replace our failed roof with minimal damage indoors.
The HVAC in the sanctuary quit working and was so old it couldn’t be repaired. But God had blessed us with a truly wonderful financial year in 2019 and we were able to replace our failed HVAC and now we’ll be blessed for many years to come with heating and cooling to keep us safe and comfortable while in worship and fellowship. (As we thank God for all that, let’s also pray that the unit for the Saints’ Room keeps working!)
Our ageless and almost tireless lawn mower broke down, but we were given funds to purchase a new one. (Marcia swears it’s more fun to drive than her van!) When we figured out that it was just a little too wide to fit into our storage shed, Larry built new doors that widened the opening and made our shed usable for the new mower.
The Scout troop led by the Yocoms, former members of EVPC, volunteered to restain our playground equipment. The unfortunate part was that only Max and Sheila new of this gift. Consequently, when Larry found the slide detached from the playset, we were concerned about vandalism. Thankfully, no one called the police!
Unfortunately, only a week later, we found the doors to the shed had been partially removed by real vandals. Whether their efforts were interrupted by Marcia’s timely arrival, or they simply didn’t see anything they wanted, nothing was stolen. Yet, it did create a lot of extra work for Larry. (Thank you, Larry!) Thanks go out to the folks at Otis Hardware, too, who stored our mower for us until we could resecure our own storage for it.
That bit of attempted larceny revealed to more attentive eyes that we’d allowed the trees on the west end of the church to create a nicely concealed work space for thieves/vandals to take their time in breaking into the shed.
So, last week Larry, Madronna, Mark, Max, Sheila and Marcia came out and
did some logging. Max and Sheila hauled three trailer loads of trimmings to
the dump from this project. They’d also spent a lot of time trimming trees
and shrubbery all over the church’s property earlier in the summer. That
work left two more trailers full of stuff for the dump. Fletchers also got a
few carloads of firewood out of it all.
Thank you to everyone who helped in all of this! The church is truly looking great and inviting us to return—hopefully soon!
When will that be? Only God knows. We are watching the numbers on COVID cases in Spokane County. Thankfully, the rate of new cases is going down—FINALLY. We’ll see how things go as kids get partially back into school. In the meantime, all we can do is be patient, remember that, in God’s time, we’ll be together in person again. When that day comes, we hope and pray that ALL of our church family will be able to safely join with us, if not in person, then still on Zoom. In the meantime, keep praying for an end to this pandemic. Remember all the lives that have been lost and all the families who are in grief as an incentive to keep following the protocols. Stay safe. Be blessed and be a blessing to those around you. We’re all in this together.
Scripture for the Day Exodus 16
Prayer for the Day
O Father, I see what I need—I need to bring my goals in line with Your more important goals. Unfold more of this important truth to me as I pursue it over the next few days. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen
Chuckle for the Day
You think English is easy…?
The bandage was wound around the wound.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
He could lead if he could get the lead out.
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Let’s face it – English is crazy. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England nor were French fries invented in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. Quicksand sucks people down slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. If you get rid of a bunch of odds and ends but keep one, what do you call it? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Why is it that we ship by truck but send cargo by ship? And, on what planet do we have noses that run and feet that smell?
Now do you understand why some folks have such a terrible time with English?
Selwyn Huges & Thomas Kincaid, Every Day Light: Daily Inspirations, Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, © 1997.
East Valley Presbyterian Church has served the communities of Otis Orchards, Newman Lake, Liberty Lake, and Greenacres since 1986. Located on Harvard Road, just 2.5 miles north of Liberty Lake, this is a small church in which people see one another as family. The hallmarks of this congregation the warm, welcoming, and loving way in which all newcomers are treated; its traditional-style of worship; its deep exploration of scripture; and, its firm belief in the power of prayer.
We see ourselves as “The Little Church with the Big Heart where people help one another feel safe, loved, and spiritually whole.”
Our pastor is the Reverend Marcia Taylor, a native of Spokane Valley, who has served God with us since 2000.
Centering Our Thoughts
Seek the living God, who rescues and saves us in times of trial. Seek the living God, who renews, transforms, and strengthens us in our hour of need. Our help is in the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Call to Worship
We step off the streets, away from places of work, shopping malls, billboards, and news broadcasts, to stand before the living God. OUR HELP IS IN THE NAME OF THE LIVING GOD, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. We turn away from the world and the patterns of power that too often hurt, trap, and swallow us up. WE STAND BEFORE OUR HELPER, THE GOD OF MERCY, WHO RESCUES AND RENEWS US. We come to this sanctuary seeking the living God, maker of heaven and earth. WE PRESENT OURSELVES TO THE LIVING GOD, WHO IS COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL, AS A LIVING AND PLEASING SACRIFICE.
Maker of heaven and earth, we come from different places with our own place on the journey. Some of us have succeeded and found favor. Some of us have failed and seek reassurance. Some of us feel trapped and helpless. Some of us have escaped peril and feel great relief. But no matter what our experience has been, we come here today to meet you in worship. Remind us of your power and mercy. Replenish our courage and vision. Renew our identity as your people. Reinvigorate our holy work in this world, for our help is in your name alone, Holy God, maker of heaven and earth. Amen.
Hymn You Raise Me Up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgEyLypYafQ
Call to Confession
The proof of God’s amazing love is this, while we were sinners Christ died for us. Because we have faith in him, we dare to approach God’s throne with confidence. In faith and penitence, let’s confess our sinfulness before God and one another.
Prayer of Confession
GOD OF MERCY AND GRACE, IT IS HARD TO HOLD ONTO HOPE. WE SEE PEOPLE HANDED OVER AS FOOD FOR THE ENEMIES’ TEETH, OR AS PREY FOR THE HUNTERS’ TRAPS. SOMETIMES WE ARE THE FOOD AND THE PREY. SOMETIMES WE ARE THE ENEMY AND THE HUNTER. SOMETIMES WE ARE MERELY BYSTANDERS, TOO AFRAID OR POWERLESS TO ACT AS WE SHOULD. FORGIVE US, O GOD, WHEN WE ACCEPT THINGS AS THEY ARE. MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, GIVER OF HOPE, SAVIOR OF THE DISTRESSED, FILL OUR IMAGINATIONS AND OUR HEARTS WITH YOUR SPLENDID VISION FOR THE WORLD. TRANSFORM AND RENEW OUR MINDS, THAT WE MAY DISCERN WHAT IS GOOD AND PLEASING TO YOU IN THIS WORLD YOU LOVE SO DEEPLY. AMEN.
Assurance of Pardon
Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not be able to stand against the Church. Each of us is part of this Church, this body of Christ. Each of us has unique gifts and our own unique calling. Know that through God’s mercies, you are forgiven. Know that God will bless you with new imaginings, new thoughts, new hopes, and new courage, that we too may stand against the gates of the underworld, because, in Christ, we are forgiven.
Passing the Peace of Christ
We are one body in Christ, and we belong to one another in this family, the Church. Let us welcome one another to our mutual home as we share the peace of Christ. May the peace of Christ be with you all. AND ALSO WITH YOU.
Prayers of the People
Please hold in your prayers, Devon S., Art, and an 8 yr old special needs client of Carla’s who have COVID-19. Also, please remember Marilyn, Clara, Fujie, Jan P., the Effingers, Annie & Don, Bill & Jacque, Jacque’s sister, Delores, and Marna.
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME. THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS; AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.
Scripture Reading Romans 12:1-8
Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him in the right way. 2 Don’t live the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 God’s grace has been given to me. So here is what I say to every one of you. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you should. Be reasonable when you think about yourself. Keep in mind the faith God has given to each of you. 4 Each of us has one body with many parts. And the parts do not all have the same purpose. 5 So also we are many persons. But in Christ we are one body. And each part of the body belongs to all the other parts. 6 We all have gifts. They differ according to the grace God has given to each of us. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Then use it according to the faith you have. 7 If your gift is serving, then serve. If it is teaching, then teach. 8 Is it encouraging others? Then encourage them. Is it giving to others? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.
“Don’t think of yourself more highly than you should.” That’s certainly sage advice for all people today. In a world that seems to have run amok with self-absorption, self-esteem far beyond what’s reasonable and deserved, and self-righteousness, there seem to be an awful lot of people running around as if they are the only one’s in the world with any answers to any question. Yet, far too often, each time they open their mouths to speak, they demonstrate their utter ignorance on even some of the most basic topics. Sadly, for too many of the people who behave in this manner have chosen politics as their vocation.
When I was much younger, I used to hear people make the snide remark, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” It seems that a more appropriate appraisal for many people today would be, “Those who can, do it, but only for lots of money. Those who can’t, go into politics.”
What happened to our sense of community? Our sense of responsibility and accountability to others? What happened to the high esteem that used to be given to those who served others? When did we stop perceiving leadership as a form of service and not as quick and easy way to power and wealth? When did our Constitution that was designed to allow and facilitate debate and compromise get thrown away and replaced with what now seems to be perceived as who ever’s on top rules and it’s tough luck for everyone else? When was “with liberty and justice for all” get replaced with exceptions of political parties, race, ethnicity, perversion, and hatred?
Like Paul said, “Don’t think too highly of yourself.” God has given grace to each and every one of us. This grace was not designed to make anyone better than someone else. God’s grace is designed to give each person an invaluable role to play in the world, and in God’s Church. Some people have been given gifts that are intended to enable them to be helpers, leaders, organizers, teachers, preachers, and so on—all so they can help others grow in their faith, discover and develop their own gifts, then find and accept the opportunities in which they can gain confidence in their own abilities. Some people have been given to us through God’s grace so that we who have been gifted to care for others have someone to care for. In this manner, life itself becomes one long exercise in transformation. Each day, we hope to learn something new: some new fact, some new skill, some new tweek that improves our ability to do a task or perfect a skill.
Remember what it was like when you were young? What are some of the great achievements you remember accomplishing for the first time? I remember working for the better part of a day to be able to quickly hold up three fingers instead of two for my third birthday. I remember the first time I climbed and descended a flight of stairs without having to put both feet on each step before moving to the next. I remember the first time I whistled, the first time I said “scissors” without lisping. You may remember the first time you held your child in your arms; the first time you gazed into the eyes of the person you would marry; your first job; your first paycheck; the first time someone said to you, “Good job!” or recognized you publicly for an accomplishment. In your faith life, you may also remember your first communion, when you joined a church, the first time you were asked to help lead worship, of the first time you were elected as an elder or deacon. You may also remember those little ah-ha moments of insight when you really felt God’s presence or suddenly had a flash of understanding you hadn’t had before.
All such things are transforming moments in our lives. And the transforming moments that we typically cherish the most are the ones that we were able to share with others, not for our glory, but to see the joy on the faces of others as they were the ones who achieved something new and we were there to be their witnesses.
The bottom line is that each of us is just one tiny piece of a ba-zillion piece jigsaw puzzle called life. Each and every piece has a critical role in bringing the greater picture of life into completion and clarity. If we fail to bring our piece to the table, then the picture will never be fully complete nor fully clear—at least not until that time when God says we’ve had enough time and he gives our pieces to someone else.
So don’t fall into the trap of thinking too highly of yourself. Don’t be deceived by those who claim they know all the answers and defy you to challenge them. Use the gifts that God has given you to test the spirits of everyone and everything. Test them by comparing them to the Word of God. And as God’s Word fills you up with more and more familiarity with Him let God’s wisdom be your guide so you may follow God’s will each moment of your life.
Dedication of Tithes and Offerings
[Call] Paul writes that we belong to one another, and are to serve one another with our gifts. This beautiful vision moves beyond the Church through the one who draws the world together in love. We all belong to one another and depend upon one another. So let us give of our presence and vision, our resources and efforts, for the saving of our world. Let us pray:
O GOD, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, YOU ARE OUR HELP IN THE MIDST OF NEED AND DANGER. BLESS OUR GIFTS THAT THEY MAY FIND THEIR WAY TO THOSE WHO FEEL HOPELESS AND WITHOUT RESOURCE. MAY OUR GIFTS BE A SIGN OF YOUR HOPE AND LOVE, AND MAY THE PEOPLE WE HELP FIND THEIR WAY TO SAFETY. AMEN.
Sending and Benediction
Seek Ye First