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Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

The past 3 weeks of my existence have been challenging, to say the least. Facing perpetual unrest and uncertainty in my own walk of faith, dealing with challenging relationships, preparing to buckle down for the VBS (which was happening the very next week), and on top of that, going through literal crisis in family (which I cannot even begin to describe in any detail). I had been left with a new understanding of what it means to feel hopeless, numb, emotionally calloused. I felt so tired that I had a hard time feeling anything but the occasional anxiety and fear over the situation going on with my family.

For a while, everything seemed so inescapable. The oncoming struggles just seemed to never end. I tried to keep my head on straight, and stay calm for the sake of doing my job and helping prepare for VBS; at least that way I had tasks to occupy my mind so that I could escape my own wandering imagination of how things will all turn out.

I know this sounds like an awful story, however, thank God, this isn’t a story of defeat, it’s a story of how Love perseveres and prevails, and God remains victorious over the troubles of this world every time. I am happy to report that God sent armies after me amidst that chaos. He called his people who Love me, and I them, and they were willing to respond: They reached out to me, lamented with me, and prayed with me. They did not turn their face away from me simply because my disaster and sadness was too much to bear. Then, the weekend just before VBS, it was made possible for one of my dearest friends from Whitworth to come and visit me. During his visit, there was much fun, and joy, and laughter (God’s greatest pain relievers). That friend was able to physically stand there with me, in the face of all the misfortune, anguish, and hardship, and he was able to remind me of God’s faithfulness. I was reminded of how the story always ends for those who trust in the Lord, even amidst a severely troubled world. I not only maintained stability enough to work VBS, but I would say that when I needed it most, I received a “peace that passes understanding” and was able to deliver the gospel, and pass on that great Love to the children who attended VBS. God’s timing is perfect, and the fact was, that even as the storm was coming to full fruition before my eyes, God was already on the move. And here I stand, still facing all the same catastrophic pains and troubles, and thinking “What do those matter? My gaze has shifted to face an even greater King of the world.”

John 16:33

“In this world you will have many troubles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

Brisa Reyes

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I heard on NPR near the end of May that Clint Eastwood completed his 89th year of this earthly life.  Did I really hear 89?  That’s only a year younger than Dad!  Thinking about his works that I’ve seen, including the character Rowdy Yates in Rawhide, Lt. Kelly in Kelly’s Heroes, Sir Richard Burton’s partner in Where Eagles Dare, the Man-with-No-Name in Sergio Leone’s trilogy of spaghetti westerns, the character Harry Callaghan in another series of movies, and his director’s works, it’s all rather incredible.  He also served as the mayor of Carmel, CA.

I wanted to play it with an economy of words and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement. It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past. It came about after the frustration of doing Rawhide for so long. I felt the less he said, the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience.

— Eastwood, on playing the Man with No Name character    In: McGilligan, Patrick (2015). Clint: The Life and Legend (updated and revised). New York: OR BooksISBN 978-1-939293-96-1.

Actions often speak louder than words, or “words without deeds are dead.”  That may be in the Bible…  (I just wanted to see if anybody noticed, for it’s definitely there.)  Often times, merely a small action makes a big difference in someone’s life.  Several times a parent delivering students to Sorensen Magnet School in the morning has rolled their window down to tell me that seeing my smile and wave gives them a lift to the start of their day.

Gran Torino is a great movie in that way.  Clint directed and starred as the old man of the neighborhood that has changed through his years of living there.  He still rocks on the porch in the evenings, but lately with a shotgun in his lap to deter mischief from the peer groups of immigrant teenagers passing by.  (Nationality or ethnicity doesn’t matter, does it?  We’re all different and unique.)  After his property is damaged by one of these groups, a younger lad walks up and begins to help him repair the damage.  After this first visit, the young man’s visits become more frequent, and he learns more about and from Clint’s character, and the latter learns and understands more from the young man, and his family.  When it’s time, guess who teaches this young man to drive and what car they’ve been working on and use in the endeavor?   From being at odds with each other in the neighborhood, both arrive at rewarding relationships.

I have tried to explain to my brother that if you stop talking and listen, you’ll find that everyone has a story to tell and they appreciate a good listener.  A neighbor told me on my second visit over coffee about his service as a navy pilot (1960-1967, involuntarily extended two years to deploy with VF-213 to SE Asia).  I wrote up his story the next day, handed it to him several days later on my next visit (over coffee), and it was much appreciated.  In fact, he invited me to go through his material together sometime, and there is potential for a magazine article in his past adventures.  That’s just the Navy, not to mention the airlines.  You just never know who you’ll meet, but they always appear for a reason.

The first chapter of the Letter of James (reference “Lesson Three: Listening and Doing” in Max Lucado’s Life Lessons from James: Practical Wisdom with a shameless plug from/for the McCarty Christcare Group) observes in James 1: 19, “Let every man be swift to listen, slow to speak, slow to indignation…”

– David Bentley Hart translation, c. 2017.  The translation of this first chapter stands without explanation of alternative meanings dating from the first century Greeks.   So these principles have been around for at least two thousand years, and definitely stand the test of time.

The question has always been “Will I stand the test?” and I find the answer given in Philippians 4:13: “I have strength for all things in Him who gives me the power.”

Charlie Branch

(I will always be a ‘military brat’ even though we never lived in base housing until Dad’s last AF duty station, 1970-72 at Grand Forks AFB, ND, a 15-mile bus ride to Red River SHS.)

P.S.  You don’t need this part, but I need to go get laundry out of the dryer and dry the washer load for Morgan, Audrey and Zach.  Nice to have an excuse/reason to visit with the baby…  CB

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First Presbyterian Church by Cloudadmin - 2w ago

As many of you know, I will soon be heading down to Texas to pursue my Masters in Divinity at Truett Seminary. But, there is also an even greater and more exciting life change around the corner for me: marriage! This past Friday I proposed marriage to the most wonderful girl, Annika, and she said yes! The two of us met just before Freshman year of college almost five years ago and have been great friends since. I had the chance to visit her in Ireland back in February and I took the opportunity. By the end of the trip, I could feel God’s presence in our relationship so potent that it was unlike anything else. She is the greatest woman I’ve ever known: brilliant, wonderfully whimsical, passionately spiritual and God-seeking, and stunning. Shortly after I returned from Ireland, I knew I was going to marry her. Soon after this, I found out I received the scholarship to attend Truett. This posed a question: “What should we do?” The obvious answer? Start the adventure in Texas together! Immediately we started planning a wedding for this year. Since then, the jaw-dropping number of things that have fallen and continue to fall into place perfectly is nothing short of miraculous. We will be getting married this fall and moving down to Texas together this winter to start our life together. If there is something that any of you would like to do to support us as we prepare for our life together, anything from advice to gifts are immensely welcome.

My adventure here in Coeur d’Alene with you all has been amazing. There were times I felt lonely or struggled with living over here in a new place all on my own. But, in those times, so many of you found ways to make me feel at home in the fellowship of this church. You all have exemplified what it means to be the Body of Christ and it has been my pleasure to work alongside you in our mission to serve. With just two months left in my time here at 1stPres, I want to thank you all. You have all been welcoming to me and many of you have become like family.

Josh

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Job
First Presbyterian Church by Cloudadmin - 3w ago

I have been on the daunting and painfully slow journey of reading the entire Bible since the summer of 2016. I have finally read through all the history sections and am now at the face of Job. I’ve heard mixed and conflicting emotions surrounding the story of Job. Some people say he is a saint, or a legend, while I think he is a wounded man with a poor choice of friends.

To be truthful, I haven’t been able to read Job because I couldn’t handle how God replaced everything Job had lost after allowing Job to suffer. It makes me question how a loving, compassionate God could toy with Job’s emotions by taking everything away from him and then giving it back. Even if Job was able to live a long and happy life with his new family and wealth, that doesn’t make up for the loss of his first wife and children. This image of God where God plays with humanity terrifies me to my core, and I have not known how to respond.

This fear of a mischievous God prevented me from seeing the message behind Job. The story of Job isn’t about how or why Job suffered, but the lesson of allowing God to take control and trusting that God has something better in mind. Job was given a gift of a prosperous life following his trials, but what he really gained was a complete faith in God’s actions and purpose.

I encourage you to sink into the depths of the Bible, especially something that has been challenging for you. God tends to speak and be present to me when I am reflecting over the more difficult passages in the Bible. The story of Job made me muse over my past actions and the way I view God and suffering, and I have come out being more in love with my savior than ever before. This week I challenge everyone to read God’s word and know that God never abandons us, especially in our suffering. Thank goodness for that!

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5

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Sunday night was a rough one for me. I was up three times during the night worrying about Vacation Bible School. Would we have enough volunteers? How was I going to pull off all the decorating that needed to get done? Would the children hear the gospel message in a clear, easy to understand way? How am “I” going to pull this off being brand new to children’s ministry?!

The third time I was up, I finally realized what the problem was, the focus was on me. I was wondering how I was going to make this all work, rather than trusting that God would provide everything I needed. During those minutes at 3am, I realized my error and gave our program to God. Literally saying “God, I am giving VBS to you.”

Fast forward to the next morning (after grabbing a Starbucks of course). I had been trying to contact a local church that was also doing ROAR! since last Thursday with no luck. I decided I was going to step out on a limb and just stop by the church to try and make a connection. I tried a set of doors on the west side of the building and they were locked. I drove around to the other set of doors and again found them to be locked. I tried a third set of doors, you guessed it… I  FINALLY found an open door and walked into the church. I felt like I had just walked into the African Savannah! There were huts, life sized trees, amazing animals and all sorts of cool detailed decorations everywhere! I was able to meet their VBS Director Trish Glendening and she walked me through the whole operation. She was so helpful and sweet. After the tour I felt emboldened to ask what they were doing with all their decorations after VBS. She offered to let us use anything we wanted! What an amazing blessing! I literally could not believe it!

I had given our VBS program to God not even 6 hours prior to this all taking place. I literally felt like God was saying, “Let me show you what can happen when you trust me.” Later in the day I got a call from a Spokane church who needed to borrow some supplies from us for their VBS program. I of course did everything I could, and in turn I have now made two wonderful new friends who are also new to children’s ministry. I feel like we are breaking down walls and barriers that can surround churches in the same community. We are facilitating new relationships both inside our denomination and out. I am so excited to see where God will take these partnerships in the future.

A huge part of my passion for our Children’s and Family ministry is to foster relationships between groups both inside and outside our church. A big part of my philosophy is about building community. With that being said, I would love to invite you to come down to the church this Thursday afternoon at 4:00 to discuss VBS decorating. We will meet in the Fireside room. I also invite you to come down to the church any time between 8am and 4pm July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th. Come help us decorate and really WOW the children who walk through these doors to hear about Jesus. Come for 1 hour or 6, no experience necessary! We will have something for every ability and it would be a huge blessing to our program. Let’s break down walls and barriers between groups in our own church and really build on the amazing community we have right here within our walls.

Carley

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Hello! My name is Sami Cone (pictured right) and I am one of the Summer Fellows from Whitworth University. I will be working with the Youth Ministry and helping to lead Vacation Bible School and the Sunday School program. Already I have met many of you at last Sunday’s service and the Blessings of the Bikes event, and I hope to get to know as much of the congregation as I can during these next 10 weeks. Some things to know about me is that I will be a Sophomore at Whitworth this fall, and I am studying Secondary Education and Spanish. After I graduate, I hope to volunteer with the Peace Corps in Latin America for two years and then return to the Pacific NW to teach Spanish to either middle or high school students. Other activities I enjoy are hiking, singing, playing my ukulele, watching movies (especially Disney movies), and reading classic novels.

I was born and raised in Newberg, Oregon, the hometown of George Fox University; it is 45 minutes south of Portland and an hour and a half drive from the Oregon Coast. During the summer, my parents, grandparents and I would camp near the beach- these were some of my best childhood memories. My family consists of my parents Ken and Juli Cone. My mother is a retired Kindergarten teacher and my father works as an IT consultant for the Newberg School District. I come from a long line of Christians, my parents and I have attended a Quaker church since I was a baby. Recently I have been going to the 1st Presbyterian Church in Spokane and I have loved learning about the differences between the traditions. I feel fortunate to spend my summer learning more about the Presbyterian tradition and the perks of this church.

I am so excited to spend my summer here in Coeur d’Alene, this is my first time being in the town and it is gorgeous! The people have been very kind and welcoming since my arrival. My goal this summer is to hike as often as I can, swim in the many lakes in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls, and try my best to keep in shape, which will be difficult considering how tempting the various restaurants are. I also seek to uncover all the thrift shops in the area and to experience all of the coffee shops, despite not being an avid coffee drinker. Of course, I will do my best to attend several of the hundreds of events that occur in Coeur d’Alene in the summer like Car d’Alene and the Fourth of July firework show. Altogether I am looking forward to a busy, challenging and fantastic summer here at 1st Presbyterian Coeur d’Alene.

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My name is Brisa! (Pictured left.) I am a Senior Music major at Whitworth University in Spokane, and after I graduate I’d like to get my masters in teaching and become a highschool choir teacher and private voice instructor.

I’ve grown up my whole life in Walla Walla Washington, and have 7 younger siblings, 2 parents and 2 step parents, 2 grandparents and a German Shepherd Labrador who also live there. Some things that I enjoy include (but are not limited to): furry animals, cooking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, painting, dancing, singing, and above all, spending time with others. I love being active and really appreciate when others are willing to teach me new activities and skills!

My greatest hope/desire for this summer is that God will place people and experiences in my life that will challenge and grow me, as well as offer the opportunity for me to challenge and grow those around me. I hope to leave this fellowship taking with me the very best parts of the people I meet here, and having shared the best of all I have to offer with them as well.

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First Presbyterian Church by Cloudadmin - 1M ago

The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer, “Lord, I can’t go on,” he said. “I have too heavy a cross to bear.”

The Lord replied, “My son, if you can’t bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door, and pick out any cross you wish.”

The man was filled with relief. “Thank you, Lord,” he sighed, and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. “I’d like that one, Lord,” he whispered. And the Lord replied, “My son, that is the cross you just brought in.”

Author unknown

If you find yourself tired and weary carrying a burden, give that burden to God and pick up the burden He has for you. It’s the only way to find rest, contentment, and purpose.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Blessings,

Chris

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First Presbyterian Church by Cloudadmin - 1M ago

Every morning, Bible Gateway sends me a verse to start my day. When a passage strikes a strong chord in me, I know there is a particular issue I’ve been thinking about—something deserving of further discernment. So, I mark it as “Unread,” allowing me to re-read and study that connecting string that was “twanged” my heart until that song is completed. Admittedly, all too often that sound is discordant and unwelcome, something I’ve been struggling with in my heart: an unresolved feeling, an injustice of some sort, or an earlier unidentified feeling of unease. But, happily, this latest marked passage brings joy flooding into my heart:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6

For this defines how I feel about our church family: that we truly care about one another and are unified in our love of God. And I think it shows.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1John 3:1

Blessed—that’s what we are! We are blessed by the unconditional love that God has felt for us since before we were even born.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1John 4:7 

But since we are so absolutely loved, we can’t just sit back and soak it in. John continues with this:

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1John 4:11

There are admittedly times when I don’t fully agree with a fellow congregant’s viewpoint—hm, nor even my husband’s—but the guidance we have been given is that, regardless of my differing opinion, I must demonstrate love.

I feel confident that I’m not the only one who has on occasion become quite angry with another person, my feelings all churned up, resentment boiling in my brain. And then I’m suddenly brought up short with an amazing transition taking place when I remind myself that I must still love this person as God commands. It seems to me sometimes that a switch has been flicked, unclenching my jaw, lowering my shoulders, opening my heart to see the person and situation through the lens of God’s love. Ah, what a wonderful transformation!

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1John 3:18

Our amazing Deacons are a shining example of putting God’s love into action. Among the many examples: reaching out to our Friends at Home, the clothing giveaway so that children can return to school feeling good about themselves, lending a helping hand as called-upon. The Welcome Committee is another shining example of God’s love in action: I will never forget how loved Suzy Jolley made me feel the first time I came to church. The Community Outreach Committee puts on events to shine God’s light outward, such as with the Neightivity at Christmas and Trunk or Treat at Halloween. I could go on and on: our praise team, choir, bells, our tech team who share our message on the website, ecumenical kitchen, Family Promise…it is an almost endless list!

 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.  The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 1John 3:23-24

I’m thankful that God led me to this wonderful church and has filled me with His love and surrounded me with similarly loved people who demonstrate that love on a regular basis. For surely,

We love because he first loved us. 1John 4:19

Your grateful friend in Christ,

Emily Rogers

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About the time you read this Paula and I should be sitting in AT&T stadium in San Francisco, listening to Nancy Pelosi speak at our son Sam’s graduation. Sam is graduation with a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. We are proud. Very, very.

Sam is our only child. He always wanted to make movies, even from when he was just a little boy. Before he could write he would dictate movie scripts to us, which we had to write down exactly as spoken – next to the pictures he’d drawn to illustrate the action. He was a bossy director – but that’s kind of a plus in his chosen profession.

He hasn’t had any offers to direct a movie yet, but he does have a flourishing business filming weddings and corporate events. I know I’m his dad but I think the quality of his work is really exceptional. But don’t take my word for it – check out some of his stuff!

CDA Films

His business is called CDA Films, but he’s done most of his gigs in the Bay Area – in between class work. Somehow he’s managed to juggle full time school, sports, work and a personal life. I don’t know how he does it. Some of his weddings have been pretty high-end, which I would find incredibly stressful, but he seems to take it all in stride.

He’s planning on returning home for the summer. He’ll shoot weddings here, but also fly back to the Bay – or any other destination – as needed. He does his marketing online with sites that specialize in wedding arrangements. Technology makes it so much easier and way less expensive to get good leads – and to facilitate communication between him and prospective clients. He can fish in a lot of ponds all at once and just reel in the keepers.

He loves Coeur d’Alene, but he also loves his career, so there’s always the fear that he’ll end up living far away. I guess I should be glad that there is so much amazing technology available these days for keeping in touch. But will he make the time to sit down and talk to his parents on Facetime? Only time will tell.

Steve

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