Summer is racing by but there’s still time to ride! Thank goodness the smoke has cleared away and we’re back to the glorious days of Spokane summer that we all love and enjoy. And tonight we’re on the eve of an extraordinary astronomical event, the “Great American Eclipse” of 2017. Looks like there won’t be any obscuring weather tomorrow so if you have plans to view it, use appropriate caution and protective glasses! (if you can find any)
You might have noticed that the days have started getting perceptibly shorter now, so we’re going to move up our evening start time by a bit to accommodate the earlier darkness. And with August rapidly drawing to a close, let’s go do the Beacon Hill roller-coaster again. I have one objective (in addition to the fun and fellowship), and that is to ride to the very top of the hill and pray over the city before we drop back down. Following the example of my good friend Yuri from Simferopol, Ukraine, we’ll spend a few minutes pondering God’s plans for our city and the ways we can get in on what He’s already doing. As always, please come and invite a friend!
Here’s the scoop:
Date/Time: Tuesday, Aug 22. Meet up at 5:45PM, roll out by 6, about 90 minutes max
Place: Beacon Hill
Meet at: Camp Sekani area parking lot, 6722 E Upriver Dr, Spokane, WA 99212
Skill level: Intermediate for long initial climb, narrow singletrack, rapid descents and switchbacks
Bring: Helmet, water, sunglasses, light clothing! It’s going to be perfect
Questions? Call or text, 509-638-3626,
“I, _____ , having been appointed [an officer] in the [Armed Forces], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”
The US military’s oath of office (or enlistment): simple words, but profound and life-changing for everyone who has ever raised their right hand and repeated them as they put on the uniform of our military forces, no matter how long they may serve. They embody a promise to be kept, with inherent duties to fulfill. What sets these words apart from similar vows is that no one taking this oath ever knows for sure where it might lead. As long as one continues in service — most times voluntarily, but sometimes not — they are subject to what has been called the “unlimited liability clause:”
Someone who becomes a soldier is crossing a legally defined boundary. A soldier gives up some individual rights (such as the right to withdraw his labour), accepts collective standards which contribute to the common good, and undertakes, in the last analysis, to kill or be killed for a purpose in which he may have no personal interest.
General Sir John Hackett called this ‘the contract of unlimited liability’. However closely the army may come to resemble society, and however rarely it is called upon to apply lethal force, the essential characteristic of this contract still remains.
In other words, only in the profession of arms can one be legally ordered to perform tasks and conduct operations that expose one to the threat of imminent harm or even death. Indeed, that defines the very nature of the military and its purpose: to conduct, and prevail in, armed conflict. As someone once said, “A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’ That truth is as humbling as it is remarkable.
Memorial Day is not really about veterans in general, but particularly honors those who have been lost while serving. People join the military for a variety of reasons: some desire the sense of adventure or unique experiences, some the education and training, and some the chance to travel and “see the world.” Most have some notion of patriotism or service above self — dedicating their lives to something bigger than oneself. They understand the tradeoff between individual liberty and the nation’s freedom and security in rendering their service, not knowing how much it might cost. For some, it cost them “the last full measure of devotion” as Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg. But they are not the only ones who paid that ultimate price.
This day will be marked by ceremonies and speeches, symbolic gestures and military honors. For many, it will include a trip to the beach or lake, family gatherings, barbecues and celebrating the beginning of summer. Those things are not contradictory. But surrounding them all will be the tears of the the families of the lost, for whom the pain of missing their loved one is not limited to the last Monday in May. Despite that poignancy, know this: It is for those very things that those who chose the military served, and in some cases perished. We enjoyed those freedoms before we enlisted, while we served, and we enjoy them now. And as a nation we will continue to enjoy them as long as men and women are willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, to answer the call to service. It is possible to both celebrate and commemorate the incredible gift of liberty and security which makes the United States the envy of other nations, while honoring those who have ensured those blessings continue.
Take a moment to remember them today, and pray for their families. The national moment of remembrance takes place at 3PM local time. Whether you pause then, or throughout the day, give them and their families a dedicated moment in time. It’s all they ever asked for, and all they really need.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
– John 15:13
Welcome to 2017! The “old” year seemed to pass on more quickly than ever before, and we’re looking out over a new set of 365 unpredictable calendar days ahead. Many of us are probably sighing with relief that 2016 is but a memory now. As we enjoy this last holiday of the Christmas season, did you have a good Christmas? Make any new year’s resolutions? Did they seem oddly familiar? Contemplating this day here at work, I read over last year’s January 1 post and I see some common themes emerging. There are so many ways we can approach the end of a year and the beginning of the next, and the chance for a “reset” is always welcome. But what do you consider your biggest accomplishment of 2016? Was it reaching some personal or financial goal, or did you experience some real growth in your walk with God? Last year I talked about relationships taking priority over resolutions; what about the most important relationship of all, that which we have with our Creator?
IN THE BEGINNING GOD…..(Genesis 1:1)
…”SURELY I AM COMING QUICKLY.” AMEN. EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS! THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST BE WITH YOU ALL. AMEN. (Revelation 22:20-21)
Those sentences bracket the text of the greatest story ever told, a perpetual bestselling book, in fact the most widely sold and distributed book of all time. Estimates range between 2.5 and 6 billion copies have been placed in circulation since the 1800’s, with millions more added each year, alongside electronic book versions and apps such as YouVersion (itself establishing a record of over 200 million downloads). It’s actually 66 books in one, written by over 40 different authors over the course of some 1600 years. You’ve probably heard all that before. Impressive statistics, aren’t they?
But — so what? What difference does it make?
You’ve probably got one, or two or five, printed copies of various translations at home along with apps on your phone, tablet, and computer (or desktop shortcuts to BibleGateway.com and BlueLetterBible.org). And there is virtually no end to the commentaries, devotionals and study guides we can easily reference with little effort at all. Despite these advantages, here in the United States we live among the most biblically illiterate population this nation has ever seen. There’s only one cure for this condition: We have to actually read our Bibles.
Just 2 days ago I finished walking through the complete Bible for the 4th time since becoming a Christian. The version I used (above) has 1268 pages, which is a daunting prospect no matter how avid a reader you are. Here’s the thing: It actually took me 2 years to read this “Bible in a Year.” Fact is, that’s been fairly typical for me. I have plenty of devos, Christian books on lots of topics, and other edifying publications on hand, but using a daily reading format (chronologically going through daily Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and New Testament passages) I usually bog down for the first time in Leviticus or Numbers. It’s hard to get going again, and then other distractions arise, and discouragement usually follows. But you just have to keep at it. Choose a different translation to liven things up; I chose the NCV and I attest to the fact that it gave me new perspective on particular books like Job and the prophets. I really enjoyed it again toward the end!
So as you set about to start your new year — for most of us it begins in earnest tomorrow — I encourage you to add this worthy goal to your list. No matter what your daily time with God looks like, delve into the riches of the full counsel of His Word. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, read it cover to cover (Genesis to Maps!). That’s the means He has provided to get to know Him. “Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scriptures” said Martin Luther.
Stay close to your Lord and Savior — the Word Himself, from John 1 — this year. No matter what lies ahead, you’re going to need His counsel, grace, and forgiveness. We all will. But all the treasure worth pursuing in life in found in His presence alone. Start reading now!
In His grace,
Your BOMB servant-leaders have added a new page to our WordPress “blog” — an online place for prayer requests, praise reports, and any other spiritual edification tools we can come up with. (Check it out by clicking on the appropriate “tab” on the page bar at the top of our WordPress blog, just above the header photo). Since this is new there may be a few kinks to be worked out, but let’s try it. You can go there anytime to submit — using the “Leave A Reply” box below all current entries — your own PR’s, or to offer comments of encouragement and support (specific prayers, words of affirmation, a particular Bible verse, etc), or just to see what’s been posted lately and add those PR’s to your prayer list. Hopefully this will keep you coming back to the Blog page on a regular basis, even in the fall and winter when we aren’t riding as much. I promise timely review and approval of all comments submitted. If the nature or significance of a particular intention or request warrants, we’ll do a new “post” as a way of notifying everyone to pray for that PR. Our aim is not to bombard your inbox with an annoying number of e-mails, but to encourage our fellowship to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Go there right now, I’ve got the ball rolling with a special prayer request for a special trip coming up very soon!
P.S. I forgot to add a few details: Your PR’s can be as general or specific as you wish; names are not required (i.e. you could simply say “please pray for my mother’s health”); and you do not have to “sign” them with your own name if you don’t want to. We’ll know when reviewing comments before we approve and post them that you’re a member of the BOMB fellowship (which will keep random or “spam” comments out), but will keep your identity confidential of you prefer. We can do this by copying your PR into the text area that only we can edit, rather than letting it appear as a comment at the bottom of the page.
As I said, this is new so we might have a few things to learn yet, thank you for your patience!