Weekend messages from Dayspring Fellowship in Keizer, Oregon.
Life in the Valley
Life in the ValleyThanks!November 22, 2020
It was given its forbidding name by a group of pioneers, lost there in the winter of 1849-1850. Though history only records that one of the group died there, they all assumed that this place would be their grave. Rescued by two scouts, the group finally made their way out of the valley and over the Panamint Mountains. As they climbed, one of the men turned, looked back and said, “Goodbye, Death Valley.” And this name, along with the story of the Lost 49ers, became part of the history of the western United States.
Steady drought and blistering summer heat make Death Valley a place of dangerous extremes. Winter months can be dangerously cold. Storms can produce sudden flooding on the valley floor. And summer air temperatures have reached as high as 127 degrees. It is the lowest, hottest, and driest part of the North American continent. And yet, for each extreme there is a striking contrast. Towering mountain peaks are frosted with snow. The rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and provide refuge for wildlife. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life is found in Death Valley.
We often think of valleys as being a place of hardship or unwanted challenge and filled with stress or fear. It’s easy to become overwhelmed or stuck in the valley. But, as the story of Death Valley illustrates for us, there is both life to be found in the valley and a Rescuer to lead the way through it.
I’m guessing that there are a lot of us who feel like we’re stuck in a valley right now. No one knows how long it will last, or how dark it might get. Even the most resilient and optimistic of us can begin to feel weary when there is no end in sight. This week we’re wrapping up our “Thanks!” series with a look at how we can navigate the valleys of life with gratitude. While this message will be an encouragement for all of us, I want to especially encourage those who are struggling as the pandemic pressure drags on…please join us this Sunday.
Myths of the Mountain
THANKS!Myths of the MountainNovember 15, 2020
Mountain climbing, as a sport, began in 1760 when a young Swiss physicist, captivated by the sight of Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in Europe, decided that he would either climb to the top or be responsible for it being climbed. He offered prize money for the first successful ascent of the mountain; but it wasn’t until 1786, more than 25 years later, that the money was claimed. Mountain climbing is not only challenging, it’s dangerous and full of inherent risks! So why would anyone do it? Why not just sit back and enjoy the view from below?Northwest climber Aubrey Laurence writes, “When I’m climbing, especially when I’m in a challenging position, all of life’s mundane issues and day-to-day stressors fade away… I feel a sense of clarity, focus and calm. Nowhere else in life do I feel more alive.” He identifies particular benefits of climbing such as becoming more self-reliant, developing increased confidence, displaying greater humility, and conquering deep fears.As followers of Jesus, most of us are familiar with the concept of having a “mountain top experience” with God. We savor the moments of euphoria, the thrill of accomplishment, or the incredible perspective we gain. But in order to make the most of the moment at the top, and reap the benefits of the climb, we must learn from the lessons of the journey.
The ABCs of Thanks
The ABC's of ThanksNovember 8, 2020
What a week! I guess 2020 is staying true to form. You know, it would be easy and understandable if we allowed the headlines to capture our attention, steal our focus, and dictate our mood. With the seemingly endless uncertainty, division, rioting…it can feel overwhelming. Then add the increasing COVID numbers, ever-changing and confusing guidelines and metrics. There’s just so much stress! Something’s gotta give!Science tells us that the mind reacts to bad things more quickly, strongly, and persistently than to equivalent good things. Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information attached to them is processed more thoroughly than positive emotions and information. By default, we tend to think more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones. In order to counteract the power of negative events, experiences or emotions, studies have shown that we need five positives. That’s a lot of compensating! It means that in order to maintain a healthy perspective we must be intentional about where we choose to focus our attention.Philippians 4:8 says, “…fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”In Colossians 3:1 we read, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”Fixing and setting are action words. We won’t accidentally have a positive mindset! God’s Word instructs us to actively choose what we will think about. But it’s up to us to make the choice!This week, we’re beginning a short sermon series called, “Thanks!” For the next three weeks, we’ll be taking a look at what it means to be grateful, in both good times and hard ones, regardless of our circumstances. Learning to cultivate gratitude is a powerful discipline. Will you join me as we unpack what the Bible has to say about being thankful?
REMEMBERREBOOT: Creating a New NormalNovember 1, 2020
Memory is a strange thing. The ability to remember is complex and sometimes frustrating. There are things I’d prefer NOT to remember, but can’t seem to forget, and other things I really want to remember that seem all too easily forgotten. To remember is to keep something in mind. The prefix ‘re’ means again and ‘memor’ is Latin for mindful. Put together, we get: again, be mindful.The word ‘remember’ in all its various forms occurs over 250 times in the Bible. While some of those “remembers” refer to God, many of them are exhortations for us as His people to be intentional in our remembrance of Him. This Sunday, we’re wrapping up our REBOOT series with a message about the importance of remembering.I’m Chris Voigt, Lead Pastor at Dayspring Fellowship. This Sunday, November 1st, is a significant day for me. It was 20 years ago this weekend that God called me to join the pastoral staff here at Dayspring. It’s been quite a ride over the last two decades! But over and over again, we as a church family have experienced the goodness and faithfulness of God. I’m looking forward to celebrating all that God has done in this season. Remembering the past gives us hope and confidence for the future. It reminds us of who God is, of all He has done for us, and of His promises for tomorrow.
RECONCILIATIONREBOOT: Creating a New NormalOctober 25, 2020
Our English word “reconcile” comes from the Latin, reconciliare, which means “to make good again” or “to repair.” A quick online search of the word “reconcile” gives us a few different definitions that help us more fully grasp its meaning…… to restore to friendship or harmony… to settle or resolve an issue… to make consistent, or… to submit to or accept something unpleasant The Bible is filled with reconciliation stories…examples that help us understand what it looks like when reconciliation takes place…Jacob & Esau, Joseph and his brothers, the prodigal son, and the ultimate story -- of Jesus, the One who reconciles us to God. We’re nearing the end of our REBOOT series; and this week we’re looking at what God’s Word has to say about the topic of reconciliation. We hear that word thrown around a lot these days; but, like toilet paper and Clorox wipes, it seems to be in short supply! Our world is in desperate need of some restored harmony and resolved issues. As followers of Jesus, (which means we actually follow, not just believe) what does love require of us when it comes to reconciliation? In 2 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul writes, “… God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” Reconciliation is not just a task to be undertaken, an agenda to pursue, or an effort to be made—it is our calling to be lived out.
REFOCUSREBOOT: Creating a New NormalOctober 18, 2020
Have you ever looked at an ant through a magnifying glass? They’re terrifying! Crouch down low, get your face near the ground, peer through the glass, and take a look for yourself.What do you see? Huge pinchers and menacing eyes! Did you know they can carry 20x their own bodyweight? And when they fight, they fight to the death! Ants are fearsome creatures!That is…until you stand back up again. Then you can see things from a new perspective.Depending on how you look at them, an ant is either a terrifying beast or a total non-issue.The way you look at the ant – your perspective – makes all the difference!As we continue in our series REBOOT this week, we’re taking on the oft-avoided and sometimes taboo topic of politics. In a culture that is increasingly divided and where hostility toward those of differing views continues to grow, how do we as followers of Jesus engage in a way that honors Christ? What lens do we use to examine the issues, and how does it shape what we see and the way we respond?I hope you’ll join us this Sunday as we worship together and look to the Word of God for wisdom as we navigate the divisiveness in our nation and seek to live out the hope we have in Jesus.