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There is a story in the Bible about Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac on the top of a mountain. His only son for whom he waited 100 years before God granted him one. We commonly refer to this part of Abraham’s story as “Abraham Is Tested.”
I recently spoke to middle school students about this story during a trip to Romania, and it was interesting to hear how they absorbed the story. (more…)
As a student in the Comparative Religion program at the University of Washington, I was one of ten students in my cohort and the only one who did not practice the religion I studied (Islam). While my fellow students were not raised in these traditions, at some point they made the decision to convert and become Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Wiccan, and Taoist, among others.
I often wondered what caused their conversion. Answers ranged from purpose, to morality, to the environment, and in one case, to being accepted by her husband’s family. I understand the interest in studying these religions more closely. Perhaps you will reach enlightenment, or you will “catch up” to those who have been part of the religious tradition their whole life. (more…)
May 25, 2015
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Please join us in thanking and honoring the sacrifice of military men and women who died serving the nation during war.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
It was dark and roughly two in the morning; while it seemed everyone else in the world was sound asleep, my friend was about to face the worst night of his life. Time seemed infinite as nausea and pain endlessly cascaded around him. He lay helpless in the face of the apathetic dark until morning.
Years of substance abuse and neglect of his health had come to a head; his body rejecting all the poison that had built up over the years. He was detoxing, but without help. A high fever, constant sweats, vomiting and the shakes: all perks of your body letting you know it’s had enough. In his own words, “I felt like I was dying. It was really bad.” (more…)
Here’s an exercise: take a piece of paper and write down four of the biggest, best things that have ever happened in your life. Maybe the birth of a child or your wedding day, the day you got the job offer of a lifetime, your college graduation or that of your last kid. Now, think of a famous piece of music that would be the perfect soundtrack for each moment.
Just curious, did you pick “Halleluiah Chorus” for one of them? Is it running in your head right now? (more…)
As a young professional, I often think I’m supposed to have it all figured out. But instead, I frequently feel like I’ve hit the “awkward teenage” phase of my career. I’m eagerly taking on a rapidly growing list of responsibilities and leadership roles, but I don’t necessarily have enough experience and confidence to guide some of the key decisions headed my way. Last year, the Global Leadership Summit was a reminder of all the ways the Lord was guiding my decisions in every single aspect of my life, and that being a leader isn’t just about how I manage projects or a team from 9-5. It is about how I live every moment of every day. (more…)
God is on the move here in Bellevue. On January 11, the Seattle Times article, “Downtown Bellevue Gets Younger in a Hurry, With Much More Growth On the Way”*, cited that the average age in downtown Bellevue in 2000 was 57; in 2015, the average age is 34 years old. Chalk it up to all the new tech companies bringing in a younger population or the new karaoke bar that opened downtown. Whatever the reason, more young adults are flooding Bellevue and the Eastside. In keeping with that trend, Origin, the weekly gathering of young adults at BelPres, decided to think outside the box (quite literally). (more…)
The Adventures of the High School Spring Deeper Retreat
Back in March, the high school department had the privilege of taking a group of about 35 students down to Gig Harbor for the spring Deeper Retreat. Early that Friday afternoon, four student leaders and two staff members drove down to the lodge and prepared the space.
Lights were hung, goodies bags were made, and snacks were purchased, all to ensure the space was ready for the students’ arrival. (more…)
What do the San Diego Chargers’ Doug Legursky, astronaut Jon McBride, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, 30 Days), former New Jersey Nets player Tamar Slay, and groovy singer Bill Withers (Lean on Me, Ain’t No Sunshine) have in common? They’re all from the town of Beckley, West Virginia, where I worked at a church as youth and education coordinator in the 1990s. (more…)
One evening before a trip home to Christchurch, New Zealand, I finalized plans with my cousin Dorothy. Just before hanging up, she added a teaser.
“Oh, and Francis, when you come home, I have something to give you.” Intrigued, I pressed her for more details. She adamantly refused. “No,” she insisted, “I will give it to you when you are here.” I had no idea that her package would hold the key to unlocking my lifelong struggles with self-acceptance and love. (more…)
Let me introduce you to our behind the scenes volunteer for the month. In a nutshell, he’s a true candidate for “The Apprentice.” He has the street smarts and the education. His specialty? A hammer. “My dad taught me how to use a hammer, and then I went to college to understand the business side of the hammer.” Our church and community have been fortunate to be the recipients of Andy Taber’s talent. (more…)
We recognize that BelPres is full of many inspiring stories that detail God’s work and presence throughout the congregation. While we sometimes hear of these stories, most of the time they go unrecognized. We would like to extend an invitation to submit articles (300-600 words) to the Messenger.
Guidelines for Articles:
The Messenger is a publication provided by Bellevue Presbyterian Church. Full of inspiring true to life stories of people’s walk with Christ, their struggles and triumphs, in order to help lift one another up in Christ.
To submit your piece for consideration, please email Katie McRoberts at KMcRoberts@belpres.org.
Georgia Amari-Ellisa Haase
Born 2-25-15 to
Joshua Men Russell Tran
Born 11-2-14 to
Linsey and John Tran
Bowen Baxter Van Cleave
Born 1-29-15 to
Alisa and Jared Van Cleave
James Grayson Soules
Born 1-14-15 to
Jocelyn and Ryan Soules
Hayden Michael McLaughlin
Born 2-17-15 to
Jessica and Michael McLaughlin
Axel Robert Bean
Born 12-4-14 to
Emmy and Joshua Bean
Samuel Joseph Flemer
Born 3-11-15 to
Kristen and Jonathan Flemer
Conner Riley and Nathan James Irwin
Born 1-31-15 to
Jeannette Fassbind and Jason Irwin
The New Baby ministry seeks to greet new babies in our church community with the love of Christ. If you know of a family who is due to have a baby or adopt a baby in the coming months please contact Jenelle Mullet, firstname.lastname@example.org, so we may include them in this ministry.
When I was 19, I moved to Sharjah, which is a tiny, very conservative emirate in the United Arab Emirates, in order to study Arabic. I had completed a year and a half of my undergrad in Virginia, and although I regularly attended Intervarsity’s Friday Night Fellowship, it was purely social and my relationship with God was non-existent.
Growing up in a Christian home and attending a religious school, Christianity was all I knew. In my high school world religion course, other religions were presented as dead religions – religions that were significant in the past, but that ultimately were not practiced today. (more…)
From Breakthrough: Prayers for Transformation
Do you know you have towel service?
The guy at the gym inquired
I had no idea I had towel service
I thought an extra fee was required (more…)
Have you ever felt like your career has gone up in smoke and there is nothing left but ashes? Have you ever lost the passion you had for your work and found you were going through the motions just to earn a paycheck?
Have you found that your career has those Good Friday feelings of loss, but the joy of Easter hasn’t shown up yet? Have you ever faced a lay-off from a job and struggled finding a new one?
I have. (more…)
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19
Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that the Kingdom of God is already breaking into our world! And just as the disciples and many others experienced a taste of that kingdom with Jesus, we have moments in our lives when we experience God’s promises. Maybe we see a little of the promise, like the little mustard seed, and begin to see how that will grow, flourish, and bring life in its branches. In that kingdom we are all brothers and sisters – rich or poor – in every part of the world. (more…)
A few years back, I walked out of my therapist’s office completely distraught. In that moment, it felt like all the pain I’d ever experienced (including the loss of my mom to Multiple Sclerosis, a broken engagement, more vocational misfires than I could list, and a lifelong battle with depression) had reappeared to collectively bully me.
Leaving her office in desperation, I did something I’d never done in my 30-something years of life: I called a friend to ask for help.
Not a mentor. Not a counselor. Not a pastor. Just a regular old friend. (more…)
Surely this man was the Son of God! Mark 15:39
This quote comes from a centurion who was standing watch at the crucifixion of Christ, according to the account of Mark. He was the commanding officer of the soldiers who mocked and laughed at Jesus while He was up on the cross. He stood by while his soldiers insulted Jesus and most likely joined in on the fun. If he didn’t, then he did nothing to stop it. Have you ever been part of a similar scene? Have you watched some one being abused and done nothing to help or maybe even joined in? (more…)