TURNING UP THE HEAT…………We need to pay extra attention to the heat and the way in which our bodies respond.  As I am writing this email, I see that record high temperature are expected.  Make sure to drink extra water.  If you do need to cool down, check out the attachment I am sending you for available “cooling places” in Linn and Benton counties.

Cooling Centers in Linn and Benton Counties on letterhead

This weekend at Peace we will be reminded about a large group of  people who were stranded in the hot desert (Matthew 14:13-21).  This group of people numbered at least 5,000 individuals.  The closest village was some distance away.  The disciples rightly suggest to Jesus that he should release them so that they can take care of their own provisions.  Jesus comes up with another plan.  He finds the large gathering a comfortable place to sit and from five loaves and two fish, Jesus supplies all that is needed.
The lesson of this story is that there is nothing that is impossible for Jesus to do.
Is there something in your life that you have calculated as impossible for God to do?  Is there something that you lack that you think God cannot provide?
Be reminded today and this Sunday of Jesus’ ability to provide.
PEACE UNDER THE STARS…………We are all set for our special event this Friday at Peace.  John Cowens (NASA ambassador to Oregon) is coming to share about the significance of the upcoming solar eclipse and the latest discoveries of NASA in the solar system.  His presentation begins at 8 pm.  At 9 pm we will go outside under the patio for dessert and a look at the solar system through telescopes.  Please consider downloading the app SkyView on your phone.  This helpful app allows you to point your phone to the sky and identify any star, plant, or constellation you see.
SCHOOL SUPPLY GIVEAWAY……..It is that time of year that we collect needed school supplies for Philomath School District.  See if you can pick up any deals on these items (2 for 1’s) and contribute.  You can place your supplies in the bin labelled “June’s Kids Kloset” in the narthex of church.  Please place the supplies in the bin by August 17.  The most needed items are
School glue and glue sticks
Pencil top erasers
Wide tip highlighters
Wide tip Crayola markers
Colored Pencils
Black Dry Erase Markers
Pointed Scissors
Black Sharpies, regular and fine
Inexpensive calculators
Water colors, Crayola or Prang
Zippered Pencil pouches
School Supply Boxes
Filler Paper (wide)
Composition Paper (wide)
Pocket Folders, bottom entry
3 Ring Binders
Dividers Tabs for Binders
WIRED WORD…………Come and join in the discussion this Sunday at 8:30 am.  We are meeting in the Fellowship Hall to discuss the article below.  What role does suffering play in the life of a Christian?

What Joni Eareckson Tada Learned from Fifty Years as a Paraplegic

In the News

Last week, Joni Eareckson Tada observed the 50th anniversary of the diving accident that left her a quadriplegic at the age of 17. After the healing for which she longed so desperately didn’t happen, Joni contemplated suicide. But over time, she began to discover new meaning for her life and purpose even for the adversity she has experienced.

Joni stated that the five decades since her accident seem like only “a little while,” a reference to 1 Peter 5:10 [ESV], where Peter says, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace … will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

“Maybe God … erases all the horror, all the despair, all the depression of the past when we learn how to trust God,” Joni pondered. “He pushes into the background all the terrible times of anguish, and he brings forward the highlights — the moments of hope, peace and growth. As I look back over 50 years, I just see God at work.”

To get past anger, self-pity and resentment, Joni searched the scriptures for a theology of suffering. She came to understand that “Jesus hung on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to suffer hell, but not so that we wouldn’t have to suffer here on earth.” Rather than seeking to avoid suffering, she sought to discover what God intended to accomplish through it.

She discovered that her disability helped her see how prone to sin she really was. “At times, my pain feels like a lemon that God ‘squeezes,’ revealing my sour attitude, peevish spirit and tendency to complain or grumble,” Joni said. She calls suffering “the textbook that teaches me who I really am, because I’m not the paragon of virtue I’d like to think I am. Suffering keeps knocking me off my pedestal of pride.”

“God cares most not about making us comfortable, but about teaching us to hate our transgressions and to grow up spiritually to love him,” Joni declared.

Suffering also helped Joni focus on what really matters in life. “I began to see there are more important things in life than walking and having use of your hands,” she said. “I really would rather be in this wheelchair knowing Jesus as I do than be on my feet without him.”

Now a best-selling Christian author of some 45 books, Joni has launched various ministries to share the love of God around the world and improve the lives of the disabled. She probably never would have developed those ministries, she realizes now, if she had not had her diving accident.

Joni also learned that when she was weak, she leaned on Jesus more. “The weaker you are, the stronger you will discover your Lord and Savior to be.”

Suffering not only deepened her intimacy with God, it also strengthened her empathy for others who suffer. By embracing “the God who is found in suffering … the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief … the Lord who was impaled on a cross … we can gain compassion,” Joni said. “Christian compassion means suffering with the sufferings of Christ. … journeying alongside that person who is despairing and ascribing positive meaning to their pain.”

By learning to turn to Christ in her suffering, Joni said she discovered God’s “grace in tiny moments, like breathing in and out, like stepping stones leading … from one experience to the next. … [grace that] eclipses the suffering until one July morning, you look back and see five decades of God working in a mighty way.”

More on this story can be found at these links:

After 50 Years in a Wheelchair, I Still Walk With Jesus. Christianity Today
Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of My Diving Accident. The Gospel Coalition
The Beyond Suffering Bible: An Interview with Joni Eareckson Tada. Bible Gateway
Your Problems Have Purpose. Proverbs 31 Ministries
The Battle of My Life by Joni Eareckson Tada. The Arc

The Big Questions

1. If God is really sovereign, why doesn’t he prevent bad things from happening? Why does God allow pain and suffering in the life of the Christian?

2. What have you learned about yourself in times of suffering? What has adversity taught you about God?

3. What Bible passages have you found particularly helpful when you experience a period of suffering?

4. How do we accept God’s love while, at the same time, we might be angry over a situation that cannot be changed?

5. What are some effective ways to come alongside others when they suffer?