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

 

Three Life Approaches

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath, June 12, 2021

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Shelley and I got away for three days early this week. One of our destinations was Anacortes, where we took a stroll along a trail near the waterfront. We passed by what must be a rental boat storage area, and I enjoyed looking at the names on the sterns.

Some people today seem to be sailing on the leftmost boat, Aimless. They seem not to know or even care about their destination—maybe they don’t think there is one.

Others seem strenuously to be aboard the boat on the right, whose name, slightly obscured by the wooden staircase, is Endeavor. This is the “bootstrap” crowd, whose philosophy seems to be, “Whatever I am or become is my responsibility. In our survival-of-the-fittest world, I’m going to get fit enough to outlast and out-trample the weaker ones.”

But the healthiest people—emotionally and spiritually—are the ones who step aboard the center boat, Gratitude. Studies increasingly are showing that grateful people are happiest and healthiest. And when our deepest gratitude goes rightfully to God, we appreciate and empathize better with other people.

For four insightful Bible passages about thankfulness, click the link just below.

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/gratitude

By Appointment

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Maylan Schurch
Friday, June 11, 2021

During the first half of this past week, Shelley and I spent three days on our very first “getaway” in two years. We drove north, and visited several towns (mainly in quest of used-book stores!) We had a great time, and absolutely perfect weather.

I don’t remember which town we were in when I snapped the above photo. (That’s my reflection in the window—but my car is not the Mercedes on the left but the Toyota on the right!)

What you see above is a window advertisement for some kind of spa treatment. But as I spotted this sign, I immediately thought, That’s a perfect description of the Sabbath!

First, it’s an appointment. God doesn’t say, “Take a Sabbath any time you feel like it.” Instead, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.” Sabbath is a non-negotiable appointment with its Creator, to commemorate His Creation.

Because of the Sabbath, you can relax. Not so much doze or nap, but relax in the sense that because your Creator so obviously cares for you, you can have confidence that the worries which harass you can be handled by Him.

Also, on the Sabbath, you receive. Of course, we shouldn’t go to church merely for what we can “get” out of it, but the Sabbath—properly understood and observed—is the world’s top sanity-saver.

And on the Sabbath, you are restored. “Six days you shall labor,” says the fourth of the Ten Commandments, “and on the seventh day you shall rest.” Do no work—and that counts anyone in your household.

And finally, on the Sabbath you are rebalanced. Think of it—all through the week you’ve been encased in human-built structures, maybe staring at human-created screen content, which includes human-generated advertising persuading you that you need more and better things than you have, available for a limited time only at these shockingly-reduced prices. Shop now! But on Sabbath you pull back, ‘way ‘way back, back through Eden’s gates for a time, in the Garden given you by your heavenly Father, a garden containing all your needs.

We don’t have to travel on far pilgrimages to find the Sabbath. The Sabbath comes to us. Week by week, as the sun-band travels the seventh time around the globe, every part of the planet is Sabbath.

Sounds enticing, right? Check out more of what the Bible says about God’s favorite day at the link just below.

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/sabbath

Many Hats

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Russell Jurgensen
Thursday, June 10, 2021

The wall pictured has somewhat of a local history display. From the left it has railroad remnants from a logging operation. There are old farmer’s tools that have stories to tell. The metal hard hat near the top was worn by a great great grandfather who I believe was a logger. A leather hat was found in the woods that may have been worn over 50 years ago. A red felt hat does not look like a work hat but maybe was someone’s town hat. We don’t see too many people wearing those now. The child (whose parent gave me permission to take this photo) is wearing an outdoor fishing hat. There is a yellow hard hat that looks more recent.

We all wear different figurative hats in our lives. There will be times when we make mistakes and there will be times when we exercise the fruits of the spirit. Let’s strive for the later and make our histories be full of productive hats as we thoughtfully follow God and share love with others.

Peaceful


Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Darren Milam
Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Hopefully most of you had a collective “Awwww” when you saw this image of our dog – Taima. Yes, he is a pretty handsome guy. In this particular shot, he is very content and sound asleep. Like most pets, when they feel comfortable, they can drift off into deep sleep. The way they get comfortable is being at peace with their surroundings. When they aren’t afraid of things, and they know they are taken care of, they can let their guard down. I don’t think it’s much different for us Christians. We want (and need) to find that peace and know we are cared for.

A little while before Jesus was arrested, tortured and ultimately crucified, He had some time with the disciples. On this particular occasion, He was explaining to the disciples He would be leaving them for a while. At the moment they didn’t understand what He was saying and were getting a bit concerned He wouldn’t be around to care for them and to watch out for them. Jesus knew exactly what they would need, both to provide that comfort and peace, as well as continue the work of spreading the gospel. They needed a Helper (with a capital “H”) to give them that peace.

John 14:25-27

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

You see, Jesus knows what we need and when we need it. He provided the disciples (and us) the gift of His peace, in the form of the Holy Spirit. This, along with our daily walk with our Creator, provides us with the necessary comfort, faith and overall peace so we are able to relax and know we are cared for. If we concentrate on what is provided for us, maybe we can get some good rest too – just like Taima.

Finding Truth That Works – Windmill and Solar Panels

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The struggle between the old and the new has been around nearly as long as time itself. Each has merit and each promotes its way of thinking to justify its own existence. The conservative, by definition, is attached at the hip to the tried and true; while the liberal, again by definition, is just as strongly committed to exploring exciting new alternatives. And quite often it’s this devotion to the position that the opposition finds so threatening. We see this increasingly in the polarization found in both the political arena as well as within the body of the church.

An unexpected example to the solution of this quandary emerged from the dust Hill Country of Central Texas. While searching for endangered vireo and warbler west of San Antonio, I came across what is to me the only workable answer. I spied the older and taller first, a working symbol of the Old West, the tried-and-true- windmill. Countless revolutions of those blades had proved its dependability and trustworthiness. But to the credit of the landowner, within the shadow of the tower stood a recently erected stand containing three solar panels. Energy was needed for survival and two tools were employed to reach that common goal. They couldn’t be a more different proffered solution, but both were working toward the same objective.

Oh, that it was always that easy. We understand the tensions that can arise when our position is threatened. It’s easy to become defensive, and in turn reject that which might answer part of the equation. But to do so fails to keep in focus the bigger picture. Quoting J.R.R Tolkien, “Even the wise cannot foresee all ends.” (The Fellowship of the Ring) The advantage we have? We do know Someone who has all the answers.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Cheryl Boardman
Monday, June 7, 2021

I picked up some breakfast in Spokane last week and decided to eat it at Manito Park. As I was looking for a place to park my car, I spotted their iris display. There were so many colors and varieties.

The flowers reminded me of the song “All Things Bright and Beautiful” by Cecil F. Alexander. Here are the first and last verses along with the refrain (if you’re a fan of James Herriot, you may recognize some of his book titles):

Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

Refrain:
All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Water Lines

Photo and Commentary ©2021 by Maylan Schurch
Sabbath and Sunday, June 5 & 6, 2021

Shelley and I were taking a stroll recently when we noticed this interesting sight. What looks like a rainwater drain pipe emerges from under this building’s corner-facing, and heads down into the ground, while an approaching tree root has forked out, the larger tendril passing above the pipe and the smaller underneath.

Both root and pipe are water-lines. The pipe carries rainwater away from the building, and the root does the opposite—it draws moisture from the soil and transports it to the tree’s main body. Both are healthy and necessary processes for the larger “organisms.” If the building hoarded its rainwater, its roof would rot, and if the tree didn’t gather water to itself, it would die.

I don’t know about you, but I take my body’s systems—and even its health—far too much for granted. Giving myself the right kind of maintenance not only keeps me from pain and disability, but it’s one of the ways to honor its Creator.

The Bible says quite a bit about health. Take a moment to look at the verses at the following link, and as you do so, thank God for His amazing gift of you!

https://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/health