A January Note from Pastor Rich

A Word for 2017

Fortuneteller, gazing into crystal ball, to frog: “You are going to meet a beautiful young woman. From the moment she sets eyes on you she will have an insatiable desire to know all about you. She will be compelled to get close to you—you'll fascinate her." Frog: "Where am I? At a singles club?" Fortuneteller: "Biology class." Now that is a frog with no future to speak of.

Some of you who are reading this may not remember this story, but I am an old guy, so here it goes. During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives in the late 1700s.

One day in 1789, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought." The candles were brought in and the Connecticut House of Representatives went on with their business. Obviously, the Day of Judgment had not come.

Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we're to be lights as we watch and wait. Here we are, 2017. Judgment Day has still not come and God has chosen to leave you and me on earth a little longer, at Northwest Hills Community Church, in Corvallis, Oregon. So, what does a new year look like for you? What are your plans? (Read More)

I have two thoughts. First, live life just one day at a time. After a discussion about having total dependence upon God for our needs, Jesus made this statement in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Isn’t that the truth! I don’t think I have lived a single day that didn’t have some kind of trouble in it. So, why in the world would I want to bring tomorrow’s trouble into today? Often, it is all I can do just to get through today, let alone live today and tomorrow at the same time.

The second thought I have is, ask God to OWN you one day at a time. That is the only way to truly be faithful till Christ returns. In Ephesians 5:1-2 Paul gave the following instruction: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Imitate God? Does the apostle mean that we should become omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent? I don’t think so! What is God? God is love, therefore, “Walk in Love.” If you and I love every person we come in contact with, God OWNS us one day at a time. And how should we love? “As Christ loved you.” And that involves offering and sacrifice. And you will be a “fragrant aroma” to God one day at a time throughout all of 2017.

You might imagine that Carolyn and I live our lives one day at a time. A few weeks ago, we thought we were being led someplace else. In my heart and mind, I refused to stabilize any plans for the future. Then God said, in no uncertain terms, “Hagenbaugh, I want you to stay where you are for the near future.” So, we settled in and obeyed God. We get to love on the people here at Northwest Hills a little longer. Carolyn and I pray about our day and we always ask God to OWN us for that particular day. We are not perfect, except for Carolyn, but we can only do ministry as God OWNS us and we will continue to pray for that ownership, ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Serving Christ Together,
Pastor Rich