Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It was about 19 years ago...She was a matriarch of the church, I was the new pastor in my first pastorate. She was a retired schooteacher, having taught back in the days when you could still discipline the students. She kind of scared me. She had invited me over to her house. She wanted to ask me some questions.

I was nervous. She was a Seppa in her first marriage, before her first husband died. The road in front of the church was named after her family. I didn't know it at the time, but her family had once owned the land on which the church was built. She obviously had had much influence in the church, and she wanted to check me out.

I didn't know what to expect, but it didn't take long before she started asking me some questions. I can't remember what all we talked about, but I do remember one question: "What is the most important virtue for a Pastor to have?" The question kind of caught me by surprise. But I thought about it a moment and answer: "humility."

My first impressions of Helen Leigh were that she was kind of stern and harsh, but it didn't take long before I found out just how wrong that I was. She was precious. In my early days as Pastor, she looked out for our young family. When I had a cold she kindly chided me for not taking vitamin C. Her and her husband took Laura and I out to dinner and then paid for the babysitting. She had a big heart. Harriet and Helen were best friends and played the piano and organ together for years. We were all saddened when she passed, years ago, but will see her again in heaven.

Back to my answer. I was asked in a recent interview about the relative importance of humility with regards to effective leadership. Great question! Not only is humility essential to leadership, it is essential to life. How is it that we, formerly dead in our sins, could be used by God (Eph. 2:1)? What abilities do we have within ourselves to serve the living God? God saved us entirely by His grace through the work of His Son on the cross. "All we had to offer Him was brokenness and strife." But He saved us and changed us and gifted us that we might serve Him. It is all by God's grace (1 Cor. 4:7). Even the good works that we do were "prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). "All that I am or ever hope to be I owe it all to Thee" the song says.

To the extent that we realize our great need we better appreciate God great provision. Three separate times we find in Scripture this truth, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (Prov. 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5). The only thing preventing me from experiencing God's grace to a greater degree--which He has lavished upon me (Eph. 1:8)--is my own ill-founded self-sufficiency. Lord help me to see more clearly both your greatness and my own need, that your provision might be "perfected in (my) weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).

Pastor Jerry

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Mike and Lynda Leamy are members of our congregation. This is a link to a post regarding efforts to repair the damage caused to their cemetery by the December 2007 storm.


Friday, June 19, 2009


Jack Capell, the forecaster who predicted the Columbus Day Storm, died on June 14th at the age of 86. At 5:08 PM on Columbus Day, 1962, Jack made the weather forecast of his life from the US Weather Bureau office in Portland. In that day weather was harder to predict. Forecasters relied on reports from far away weather stations. Ships far off shore had reported record low barometric pressures and strong winds. So, amidst clearing skies and light winds, Jack reported, "The worst storm I have ever seen is approaching Portland and the Willamette Valley right now...This is going to be a storm that causes a lot of damage." The storm arrived just as he predicted.

God has warned us of a coming storm: 1 Peter 4:7, "The end of all things is at hand." The believer in Christ has received reliable reports from far off places of God’s pending judgment. Like Harry Truman, who dismissed the warning of the pending eruption of Mount St. Helens, most look to the skies and dismiss God’s warning: 2 Peter 3:3-4, "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." But the storm will come.

Like Christian in John Bunyan’s allegory we are burdened with a message. The City of Destruction is doomed. God’s Word warns us all, "Flee from the wrath to come!" (Matthew 3:7). And to where shall we go? What storm shelter is there that can possibly protect us? Where is the place where God’s wrath can be averted? Is it not the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! At the cross our Lord Jesus Christ experienced God’s wrath to the uttermost. He died there as a propitiation for our sins. God’s wrath was satisfied there, and only there. In fighting forest fires sometimes forests are deliberately burned to prevent a raging fire from spreading. The fire cannot burn what has already been burned. The believer in Christ stands safely on such soil.

Weather forecasting is risky business. It takes a degree of faith to forecast a pending storm amidst sunny skies. It takes a degree of faith to warn the lost of God’s pending judgment. But warn them we must...As ambassadors for Christ "we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Pastor Jerry

Monday, June 15, 2009


The sign said "Lewis and Clark Bible Church" but it wasn't much to look at. It was old and weatherworn and the letters had faded. The weight of the sign had caused it to tilt away from the hole in the post by which it was supported. Tom Cameron graciously provided the funds to have a new sign made. The signmaker took the old sign and overlaid it with cedar in which were inscribed again those words "Lewis and Clark Bible Church." Another sign "Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus" was made and hung from the church sign itself. Tom even helped to trim back the branches from a big spruce so that the sign could be seen from the road. But again, over time, the sign drooped, the letters faded, and the message on the sign was obscured by the condition of the sign itself.

And so it is with the gospel message. God has ordained that this treasure--the glorious gospel--should be encased in mere earthen vessels. The forces of hell work against it. The message itself is precious and glorious and beautiful, but the earthly bodies which bear it are sometimes weatherworn. The letters are oftentimes hard to read. And the message is obscured by the condition of the human "signs" that bear it.

Some years ago we put up a new sign. The sign displays the name of the church, the service times, and some other important information. The old sign that was at the end of the road was salvaged and put in a flower bed by the church mail box. Most people didn't even know that it was there. It wasn't much too look at anyway. The inner core of the sign had rotted. The cedar which overlaid it was rough with wear. The letters were hard to read.

I asked the men if someone wanted to take the old sign home and try to repair it. Rich Parker volunteered. He removed the inner portion which was rotten. He sanded and repaired the cedar. He caulked the joints and rebuilt the frame. He painted the sign to match the colors of the building. So when we finished the landscaping work in the front of the church, he brought it back so that we could find a place for it. Oh my, what a transformation! It is shiny and new. The letters are readily visible. Its message is clear and unobscured.

Isn't it amazing what God can do! He takes us--weatherworn and ugly in sin--and transforms us by His grace to make out of us something beautiful. Ephesians 2:10 says that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." God does all things well and inasmuch as Jesus Himself if beautiful, we are beautiful in Him. The Spirit who indwells us bears in us a beautiful crop of Christlike virtues: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." These supernatural jewels are exclusive to those who are in Christ Jesus. They speak to the glory of God's grace and the saving power of His glorious gospel.

Rich brought the sign back to the church after the church workday. Bob West had stuck around because he wanted to help with the placement of the sign. We had talked earlier of locating it in the front of a particular flowerbed where it would be seen by some in the front parking lot. Bob didn't think that that was the right place for it. He suggested that it needed to be right in the front for all to see. So we moved it around from place to place, resting it on a 5 gallon bucket, to find the best location. In the end we placed it exactly where he thought it should be. Right in front of the front entrance for all to see. It looks beautiful there.

Isn't it amazing how God is able to put us right where we need to be. As lights in the world we all have our corner of the darkness that needs to illuminated. I remember hearing a story about a Bible College student at Multnomah School of the Bible. He worked for UPS and was tired of working amidst the group of unbelievers. They cussed and swore and did other unChristianlike things. He asked John Mitchell to pray for him that he would be able to find another job. John Mitchell refused and said, "I'm going to pray that God will keep you there, that is exactly where you need to be." God has a way of putting us in the place where we are most needed.

We placed the sign on a Saturday, and on Sunday it was exciting to see the response of people as they saw the new sign. Most didn't know much of its history, but Tom Cameron knew. Tom is now in his eighties. He has faithfully served the Lord for decades. He has a way about him that is such an encouragement. His daughter brings him to church, since he not able to drive anymore (though he does drive his scooter from the assisted living center up and down the hills of Astoria). I told them about the sign so Joanne drove across the parking lot so that Tom could see it. I think I saw a tear in Tom's eye as he looked at the old sign.

Its just a little old sign, but it bears a great truth. Our church building was built in the early 1970s, but it was never finished. The project was weatherworn by church divisions and strife. Great plans and dreams were disrupted as the devil had his way with a divided church. In the 1980s Lewis and Clark Bible Church had four pastors in ten years. Still the building was not completed. The church developed a reputation. "That church 'eats' Pastors" I was warned. But God had a plan.

Man was never able to finish the building project, so God did. He used a big storm to tear a hole in the roof. Water came rushing down and damaged the rooms below. The building itself shifted. The steeple was left leaning to the north. Amidst the ruins of the storm God worked to rebuild our building. It is now not just new, but better than new. It is fair to say that it is finally finished. And if you were to ask--who rebuilt it--the honest answer is that God did. But He didn't just rebuild our building, he left us with enough finances to do the landscaping and pave the east parking lot. The front of the church looks beautiful and inviting. And stuck right in the front is that old sign. Doesn't it look great! Praise the Lord!

Pastor Jerry