Friday, December 25, 2009



A tree was cut down

A feeding trough shorn

The carpenter not-knowing

For what it was borne

The long promised Savior

Did come on that day

He was laid in that manger

His blanket the hay

Wonder and mystery

God was made man

A moment in history

Where Christmas began

A tree was cut down

A cross of wood shorn

The carpenter now-knowing

For whom it was borne

The long promised Savior

The once cradled One thrown

Onto a cross, hung there

For our sins to atone

Wonder and mystery

That God was made man

A moment in history

Where Christmas began

Trees bloom and wane

Carpenters too

But the Christ child reigns

Forever, its true

A cradle and a cross

A manger and a tomb

A pure lamb's life lost

For me and for you.

Pastor Jerry


I thought I'd pass on the "Director's Dialogue" from NICE Executive Director, Earl Brubaker...

"On Monday Shirley and I were privileged to attend a memorial service for Anthony Vietti, one of three climbers recently lost on Mt Hood, and the son of NICE missionaries Jon and LaDonna Vietti. Jon stood before hundreds of people and spoke about his son’s death. I admired his composure, appreciated his reflections.

Jon told us he had spent a good deal of time pondering a news reporters question about how the families of the 2 climbers whose bodies have not been recovered could find closure. He then recalled that two days before receiving the call that Anthony was missing, he had led a men’s Bible study that included these verses.

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

John 11:25-26

Jon commented that, since a believer who dies will live and one who lives and believes will never die, putting this death behind us and getting on with life is not an appropriate response. In Christ, this is not the end from which we begin anew, it is but another page in God’s great plan -- another page for the Vietti family, certainly, and a glorious page for Anthony. It would be totally inappropriate, Jon went on to say, to look for closure at

the end of one chapter of a book. Closure comes at the end of the book. The book ends when we see the plan of God as it reflects His great glory. Anthony’s death, painful as it is, is the end of a chapter, not the end of the book.

At the memorial service, person after person spoke about Anthony’s life and his impact upon the people around him. People of all ages agreed that Anthony loved God, loved life, and loved people. He was preparing for service as a medical missionary when the page of his life turned and God called him home long before we thought the time was right. We do not know what the next page contains for the family who mourn Anthony’s unexpected death while rejoicing in his unexcelled joy in the presence of Christ whom he loved and served. We do know and trust the One who writes the book and turns the pages.

As I listened, I thought how the birth of the Christ child was a page in the book of God’s plan of redemption. As those pages turned they led to the cross and Jesus’ cry of agony in separation from the Father. That agony is followed by the glory of the resurrection. The page turns and in the next chapter we enter the church age. We watch the pages turn with eager anticipation of the return of Christ.

The final pages of 2009 include our annual celebration of the birth of Jesus. We wonder what, whether joy or sorrow, triumph or tragedy, will be on the pages of 2010. We only know that God writes those pages according to His plan and for His great, eternal glory -- and in that we rest as we anticipate the pages of a new chapter."

Earl Brubaker

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I came across this quote by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in my reading today. It was from a speech he gave over 30 years ago at Harvard:

"This tilt of freedom toward evil has come about gradually, but it evidently stems from a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which man--the master of the world--does not bear any evil within himself, and all the defects of life are caused by misguided social systems, which must therefore be corrected."

How prescient of him! Is this not the thinking of our day?...Misguided social systems must be transformed that the defects of society can be corrected. All this based on the false assumption that man is basically good, and that the source of wrong-doing comes from external forces working against him--the government, the schools, our parents--whomever else we can "throw under the bus" in an ongoing effort to blame others for our ills.

The Christian worldview has it right. Man is not basically good--we are born sinners. Rom. 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?"

The Apostle Paul spoke of the nature of these last days. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power."

Its as if Paul gleaned his description from our daily news! We did not become this way because of an oppressive or misguided government, and no amount of social engineering will undo the chaos that has ushered forth from sin-filled hearts. Matthew 15:19, "For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slander."

What is needful is not a better or transformed government, what is needful is transformed hearts. 1 Timothy 1:15, "CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS." He came to die for their sins so that they could be saved through faith in Him. Acts 16:31, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved."

He saves to the uttermost. The salvation which He alone can provide brings not just forgiveness, but heart transformation. He brings change. Sinful and destructive passions are replaced with loving attitudes and actions. God's love is shed abroad in the hearts of those who believe (Romans 5:5). Believers thus become channels of blessing through which God's love is directed towards others.

The government has no capacity to transform lost sinners. All it can do is manipulate and control. It has no power to save. No power to impart love or foster love. It is but a "minister of God," (Romans 13:4), which exists under His authority (Romans 13:1), for the punishment of evil doers (Romans 13:4). We overestimate the importance and role of government to our own peril.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn had it right. There is such a thing as sin and evil. Our social systems are neither the cause or the cure. The cause is sin. The cure is Jesus. Everything else is but political hot air--perhaps that's the real cause of global warming!

Pastor Jerry

Friday, December 11, 2009


Chaplain Ben Benthien is a long time friend of Lewis and Clark Bible Church. He serves as a chaplain with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chaplaincy. You no doubt heard of the recent tragic shooting of four police officers in Lakewood, WA. He was privileged to serve at the Memorial that sprang up in front of the coffee shop following the shooting. He wrote about it in his recent Christmas letter...


"I watched as hundreds of people have come to pay their respect.
I watched as what was a small Memorial on Monday evening
grew quite large in the next few days.
I watched as tears flowed.
I watched as they brought flowers, candles, crosses,
American flags, stuffed animals, a fully decorated Christmas tree,
posters, notes, and many other items.
I watched as a two or three year old boy took a dozen roses
one by one out of his mother's hand
and gently laid them on the Memorial.
I watched as families came and parents tried to explain
to their children what had happened there.
I watched as the officers standing watch over the site
were given hugs and food items.
I watched as a young lady kneeled with her hands folded and prayed.
I watched as one of the family members came to the site with many friends.
They cried and prayed together.
I watched as love flowed."

Praise God for men and women who put themselves in harm's way to serve others both here at home and abroad. Praise God that He is watching over us and that "though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." Praise God for those whom the God of All Comfort uses to extend comfort and hope to others.

Pastor Jerry