Each day, a number of our church members, who are also photographers, post photos and spiritual commentary, following this schedule: NOTE: To see previous blog entries, access blog archives on the right sidebar.

  • Sunday (Bev Riter)
  • Monday (Cheryl Boardman)
  • Tuesday (Robert Howson)
  • Wednesday (Darren Milam)
  • Thursday (Russell Jurgensen & family)
  • Friday and Sabbath (Pastor Maylan Schurch)



Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sometimes it is good to think about positive traits that we might not often talk about, and bravery might be one of those traits. I thought about it when visiting Mount Rainier this summer. It must have taken courage and bravery for the first people that explored the mountain. By being brave and going forward, they discovered some pretty amazing places like this lake and view.

I’m sure the fist explorers had to prepare and plan. It is the same with us when we choose to follow God and bravely look to follow His precepts. We need to prepare ahead of time. One way is to put on the armor of God by reading His word.

Go to the following link to read from the Bible about the armor of God. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6%3A10-18&version=NIV

High On a Mountain Top

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

When I did a search on the word “mountain” within the NIV Bible, there were over 300 results. It gives me the impression that, not only is this a common word in the bible, but also there are multiple times where the word is referenced as a way to get closer to God. Of course there is the fact that its altitude will get us closer in elevation to the sky, but it’s more than that. I see several of the searches bringing back results about “getting away.” In many cases, different individuals would climb these mountains to find solitude – for prayer, for sacrifice, to be alone – with God.

I love the outdoors and one of the biggest reasons, is the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A chance to find peace and quiet, focusing on our Creator. This particular image is of Snow Lake Trail, just outside of Snoqualmie, Wa. Now, this particular day, on this particular trail was not exactly “peace and quiet,” as it is a VERY busy trail. However, the views heading up to the ridge and the view from the ridge, is pretty amazing.

Whether you can climb to top of a mountain (or hill) or you find a quiet spot in your living room – go there daily. Give yourself a chance to speak with God and most importantly, listen to Him.

Ginko biloba

Ginko biloba
Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ginko biloba is a unique tree with no close-living relatives. In fact, it was thought to be extinct in the wild for hundreds of years. Then it was rediscovered, growing in a limited area in China. Also known as the Maidenhair Tree, this “living fossil” is now given that title since other Ginkgoales, other than biloba, are not present in the fossil record after the Pliocene. And yet today, this attractive tree is widely grown as a cultivated plant. Its cultivation may go back prior to the written record since recent studies of the trees found growing in the wild show high genetic uniformity which suggests they “may have been planted and preserved by Chinese monks over a period of about 1,000 years.” Their closest relatives are the cycads which can be found growing in the tropics.

As shrouded in mystery as its past may be, the Ginko has been used medicinally for thousands of years and today in the United States it is still one of the best-selling herbs. There is evidence its use has benefits in the treatment of dementia, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Many other claims are made which lack conclusive evidence either supporting or negating its benefits. The fan-shaped leaves may turn a bright yellow in the fall and it was this two-lobed characteristic of the leaves that caused Linnaeus to give it the name biloba in 1771.

It appears to be resistant to disease and infestation by insects. As a result, some specimens may be older than 2,500 years. Their durability was displayed when following the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima in 1945, several of the trees were among the few living things that survived within 1-2 km of the center of the blast. Most other plants were killed, but their charred remains survived and soon returned as healthy plants.

In general, not a bad example for Christians to follow in their own lives: to show beauty to the world; be useful to those around you; not ashamed to be different and unique; resists that which would harm the body of Christ; perseveres, even when the going gets tough. And lastly, be part of the community where you are planted.

Windows of Heaven

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday and Tuesday, October 9 & 10, 2017

This is definitely not a “window of heaven” but I do really like this window that I saw on a house in Port Gamble. I would love to see it from the inside when the sun is shining through the stained glass.
The Bible mentions windows – quite a lot, actually. This verse in Malachi spells out how to test God and gain a great blessing at the same time:

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

Malachi 3:9-10 (NLT)

Martin Luther – The Man

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Bev Riter
Sunday, October 8, 2017

Throughout many of the Protestant churches in Germany and other places in the world, the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s actions that changed the course of Western history and Biblical beliefs are being commemorated. Having just returned from some of these significant historical sites, I’ll be sharing photos and thoughts about the Reformation with you during these next few weeks. I took the above photo from a poster of Martin Luther that was in the Protestant Church in Nonnenweier, Germany.

Who was Martin Luther? Martin grew up in eastern Germany where his father worked in the copper mines. His father wanted him to become a lawyer. To begin with, Martin attended Latin school and when only 13 years old started studying law at the University of Erfurt. He earned his baccalaureate and master’s degrees in the shortest time allowed by the university. In 1505, the 21-year old Luther was caught in a severe thunderstorm where a bolt of lightning struck the ground near him. This moved him to give away all of his possessions and become a monk, much to his father’s dismay. As he thought was necessary for salvation, he prayed, fasted, went without sleep and endured extreme cold. Later he commented, “If anyone could have earned heaven by the life of a monk, it was I.”

Even though he sought to love God by these means, he found no consolation. He became increasingly terrified of the wrath of God. As he studied Romans 1:17, his focus was on the word “righteous”, thinking that only the righteous could live by faith. He thought that God punishes those who are not righteous and felt he could not live by faith because he was not righteous.

He was told to study for his doctorate in the Bible and become a professor at Wittenberg University. In 1513 and 1514 while lecturing on the books of Psalms and Romans he began to have the insight that the righteous live by faith which is a gift from God. He felt relieved that faith didn’t consist of abiding by the church’s teachings but by trusting in the promises of God. This prompted him to study further. Check in next week to find out what Martin Luther did next. Below is one of many banners we saw commemorating this special 500-year anniversary. This one was in Worms, Germany.

Beyond the Sunset

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, October 7, 2017

Last weekend our congregation enjoyed its annual retreat at Walla Walla University’s marine station next to Rosario Beach near Deception Pass, a few miles from Anacortes, Washington. At sundown that Saturday (Sabbath) evening, I snapped this photo.

Even though the old gospel song “Beyond the Sunset” takes only two minutes and seventeen seconds to sing, I’ve always been rather restless while it’s being rendered. It’s partly because the song has no verse-chorus structure—which would provide variety—but it simply has four long verses, one after the other. And it’s most often sung very mournfully.

One of the websites which came up when I Googled “Beyond the Sunset lyrics” was called FuneralHelper. And sure enough, in a number of the early funerals I conducted, the families often asked that that song be a part of the service.

But even though I’ve felt less-than-satisfied about the song—and especially its mournful performances—the lyrics are very heart-healing, especially to those in bereavement. Read them over, without musical accompaniment (and then look up some performances on YouTube, because there are many), and thank the Lord for the hope He gives beyond the grave.

Beyond the sunset,
O blissful morning,
When with our Saviour
Heav’n is begun.
Earth’s toiling ended,
O glorious dawning;
Beyond the sunset
When day is done.

Beyond the sunset,
No clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten,
No fears annoy;
O day of gladness,
O day unending,
Beyond the sunset,
Eternal Joy.

Beyond the sunset,
A hand will guide me
To God, the Father,
Whom I adore;
His glorious presence,
His words of welcome,
Will be my portion
On that fair shore.

Beyond the sunset,
O glad reunion,
With our dear loved ones
Who’ve gone before;
In that fair homeland
We’ll know no parting,
Beyond the sunset
For evermore!
–Virgil Brock



Wood Rot

Photo and Commentary ©2017 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, October 6, 2017

Yuck. Wood rot isn’t a pleasant topic, right? Yet wood rot caused a pretty major crisis at our church this week. The above beam (along with its twin to the left out of the photo) was supporting a portico over the south entrance to the foyer. Yet over the years, imperceptible through its coat of paint, it had been absorbing water. And finally its lower part broke loose.

Providentially no one was hurt. But the beam’s repair (or more likely replacement) is going to cost a lot of money. And its twin beam is going to be carefully examined and dealt with as well.

This reminds me of how subtly pervasive sin is. Jesus understood how evil the natural human heart is, and was especially emphatic in His condemnation of sinners who tried to pretend they were righteous. Notice what He said to some religious leaders of His day:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” — Matthew 23:25 – 26 NKJV

To find out more about what the Bible has to say about sin—and what to do with it, click this link: