Confidence in God

A native of Tacoma, Mike Doidge grew up in an Irish Catholic family.  While attending a Catholic Junior High School, he began a personal process of soul searching, seeking answers about God.  Having been given a Bible by someone at his school, he started reading.  It was an eye-opening experience for him; one that he found raised a lot of questions, and launched him into a personal quest to find out “who is God?”

Mike enlisted in the Navy in the 1970’s, shipping out on an aircraft carrier to points around Vietnam and the South Pacific.  While serving, he found himself drawn to, and heavily influenced by a fellow crewman in his division, who happened to be a Christian.  Through the course of fellowship and study, Mike gave his life to Christ in 1975.

He would later return to Tacoma in the 1980’s, where he met his future wife Roxanne; while attending Life Center Church, in Tacoma together.   The two were married, and soon set off to wander the world, with Mike returning to the Navy as a commissioned officer.  

StoriesOfGrace

What was your experience as a Christian in the Navy?

Mike:  As a typical sailor, you would go drink your pay, and things like that.  I questioned that, because I didn’t see it as being right.  But then, if you wouldn't run with the crowd, you’d get labeled… ‘You’re not really one of us.’  There was a lot of peer pressure.  The thing is, forty-some years later, I’m very good friends with these guys still.  And we all have a common respect for the guy who led a lot of us to the Lord.  So we share a common salvation.

How did you deal with the challenges you faced?

Mike:  As a Christian, I found new confidence.  I had been insecure and more introverted; and then with the acceptance of Christ, came more of a freedom, confidence, and maturity; to step out and be bold, wherever I was at.  It was like Christ would go with me, or his angels would go before me.  I felt comfortable in whatever circumstance I was put in.  And I knew I was a believer.  

I was on a submarine, and I started leading a Bible study.  I had the opportunity to be with other sailors, and be one who could be counted on. We could share our Christian faith easily in the service; and throughout my career, my faith was always there.  It was kind of like part of our uniform.  I remember having different sailors, get together in the morning to have a power moment, as we called it; a prayer for each other to start our day.  And then we would be available to each other for counseling.  

How did God change you during your Navy Career?

Mike:  I think He strengthened me.  We would go to places where we had no idea why we were there, but the thing is, that God put us there.  I always felt that we were sent on assignments where God had a reason for us to be; and I found it exciting.  It was cool to see how God worked in our lives wherever we were located.  

How have you seen God working in your life now?

Mike:  I see Him through our grandchildren.  Basically as grandparents, we’re here to help.  We’re the patriarchs.  So we are encouraging our children, and our children’s children, to grow up in the Lord; and know the Lord.  It’s one of our big duties now.  Give them training in the way they should go, and give them encouragement, and unconditional love.  Be like Jesus.

How does knowing God and experiencing His love and grace affect your interactions with others?

Mike: I’m more free to talk to people.  We’re all brothers and sisters in Christ.  I start with the perspective that we’re already like family.  It also means that I’m not afraid to approach strangers.  It’s those chance encounters, that I think God just might want us to touch someone; or get in prayer; or say, “can I help you?”  Sometimes it can blow your mind, what God might do.  I met this guy coming out of the post office and he seemed pretty upset.  I stopped and talked to him for a moment.  After he left, I thought, ‘maybe I need to talk more to him.’  We ran into each other again, at Costco; so we were able to continue the conversation.  To me, God is doing that, because maybe He wants to see something planted in somebody.  And I always thought I was just the dishwasher, like with Philip in Acts.  He helped in Jerusalem, in the kitchens, and then suddenly he was sent out by God to meet the Ethiopian.  I always thought of him as one of my heroes.  You may think you’re just someone assigned to the dishwashing duties of the kitchen of Heaven.  But He may have other plans for you too.

Mike officially retired from the Navy in 2005, working for a while with the Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma.  He now enjoys being able to spend time with, and help out, his wife; and spending time with their twelve grandchildren.  About his time in the Navy, Mike says “I just feel like the Lord was helping me, from that time, and I love where I’ve been.  He’s always held us wherever we’ve gone.  We’ve wandered the world...but we’ve found the same spirit in all these places.”

God our Father

StoriesOfGrace

What has God been teaching you this past year?

Sarah: God is teaching me that He is a very relentless Father. Lovingly relentless I should say. He has been teaching me that He will do anything in order to get my attention. It was almost two years ago I found out that I was, unexpectedly, pregnant. And that definitely got my attention; it was shocking and scary.

Then, almost a year ago, Ben came into my life. I was just blown away by love—the love that I felt for him. After that I realized a whole different dimension of how Jesus loves His kids, because I had no idea how much capacity I had to love Ben. I was amazed how much I loved him just because of who he is as my child.

If Jesus loves me like that, then I don't need to fear anything. I don’t need to be scared about single motherhood; I don’t need to feel condemned for the sin that I committed, because I wouldn’t think twice about forgiving my child. If that’s even a small reflection of what Jesus feels about me, then I don’t need to feel ashamed or like a second-class Christian.

Motherhood is hard, especially single motherhood: there’s a dimension of loneliness to it that’s really painful sometimes. Jesus has used that place of painful loneliness to keep me really dependent on Him. It’s very comforting to know that our Savior was content and satisfied in His heavenly Father. This is something I think of often to remind me that I am not lacking anything because I have a good and faithful God.

How have you seen God’s grace demonstrated to you in your experience of single motherhood?

Sarah: In a lot of ways. Primarily through my church family; I’ve always felt a lot of support and gracious love from my community group, the pastors I met with, and even in my own family. God has given grace to people to love me well. Also, experiencing the joy of having a young child. That’s a huge gift—I don’t deserve to have a sweet little baby boy, at all. Just having him, his presence in my life, is such an indescribable blessing. There’s nothing I could do to deserve that, and it’s a huge reminder of grace. Every time I walk into his room and he’s smiling in his crib, I’m reminded: this is the way Jesus loves you, He gives you this.

Called to Serve Our Kids

kidsministry

We sat down with Renee recently and asked her to share about serving in our kids ministry.

Q. Why Do you serve in kids ministry?

A. I serve in kids Ministry because I feel deeply called by Jesus to invest in the lives of kids. I love seeing the pure joy and excitement in kids when they start to understand the Gospel. It makes me want to take that feeling, bottle it up and share it with everyone I know!

kidsministry

Q. How do the kids evidence the gospel of Jesus to you? 

A. Kids evidence the gospel by showing me what forgiveness and grace mean in a simple way, the way Jesus designed them to be. The gospel isn't meant to be complicated and children always remind me of how simple and beautiful Jesus' love for sinners is.

kidsministry

Q. How has serving deepened your love for God? 

A. Serving has deepened my love for God because I always get more out of it than I actually give and in turn it causes me to be in awe of how sovereign, loving and gracious God really is.  Also it has helped me to see how much He is working and shaping the lives of His children so they can serve Him!

kidsministry

Q. What encouragement would you have for those who want to serve, but are hesitant to try kids ministry? 

A. I would tell them that serving in kids Ministry is going to bless them more than they could imagine if they would give it a try! There is a unique beauty and joy in serving God's children, and kids are so much fun to love on and invest in! Plus, in kids Ministry there's never a dull moment!

kidsministry

Shaping Culture: Recap

Earlier this month, Resurrection Church had the unique opportunity of hosting an evening of worship and learning that brought together the communities of three Stadium District churches.  

The event included teaching from First Presbyterian Church, New Community Church, and Resurrection Church; with worship led by musicians from New Community Church.  The teaching focused on our call as disciples of Jesus Christ, throughout the South Puget Sound and beyond, to shape and to engage the culture around us.      

Pastor Eric Jacobsen - First Presbyterian Church

Pastor Eric Jacobsen - First Presbyterian Church

Pastor Eric Jacobsen, of First Presbyterian Church, spoke about the fragmentation of the culture in which we live, and the importance of our intentional placement within it.  Citing God's intentional placement of Adam in Genesis 2:8 as an example for us, he taught “You now live in a particular place. And I believe that God can use that place to grow you as a disciple, and to utilize you in His mission to reconcile all of creation to Himself.”

He went on to discuss some of the common barriers and distractions to loving our neighbors that are hardwired into our culture (i.e. - television, mobile devices, isolation from neighbors), and how we can overcome them together; stressing the importance of church covenant community, which he believes can “pull us out of the insularity and the fragmentation our culture is commanding on us.”

 
Pastor Bo Noonan - New Community Church

Pastor Bo Noonan - New Community Church

The second speaker was Pastor Bo Noonan, from New Community Church, who opened with a reading of Colossians 1:15-20.  He talked about what it looks like to see Jesus preeminent in all areas of our lives, including our careers; presenting an illustration of the “8 Domains of Society.”  These are eight categories of work that can be found in every society in the world (family, economics, agriculture, education, etc.); and each of us falls into at least one.  Pastor Bo explained that we need to break and denounce the cultural lie that we have a church life and a separate work life; seeing instead the need for Jesus' reign in all areas of life.  He emphasized that “if we are people living under the reign and rule of Jesus, and we're submitted to the reign and rule of Jesus, then we need to invite His jurisdiction, and His reign, and His will, into our domains.”    

 
Pastor Bubba Jennings - Resurrection Church

Pastor Bubba Jennings - Resurrection Church

The final speaker of the evening was Pastor Bubba, of Resurrection Church, who spoke about our ability to engage culture through our stories; recognizing that everyone has a story, and that their story is a part of God's greater story.  He stated that “when we understand that to influence people and shape culture requires us helping them understand that they’re part of a greater story than themselves, then we will look for opportunities to connect them to God’s story.”  

To illustrate this, Pastor Bubba shared the account of St. Patrick, the first missionary Bishop, who engaged the “unreachable” people of the story-loving tribal culture who once held him enslaved, through sharing God's story with them; inviting them in to become a part of it themselves.   

 

Samuel, who attended the event with friends Mark and AJ, resonated particularly with the idea of sharing stories.  He shared this thoughts: “I think telling a more compelling story is pretty huge in evangelizing.  And really telling a story that implies that there’s something more than just being saved… a redemption of our lives and the passion that we have in Christ to share Him with other people."

An Undeserved Gift

How have you seen God working in your life lately?

 

Colby:

"Well I got in a pretty bad car accident recently and God has really been showing and teaching me some stuff in that. 

When I got in the accident, all I could think about was that my life is awful, that this is the worst thing that could happen me in this exact moment.

I had just taken off my jacket while sitting in traffic and hadn’t put might seatbelt back on yet when we started moving again.

The fact that i wasn’t wearing my my seatbelt at the time of my accident and ended up ok is really crazy. 

Everyone that was in my Community Group was reminding me, “You should be thankful to be alive!” 

I didn’t want to hear that.

But Jesus was pouring into my life through these friends and helping me to stop thinking about how my car was totaled and think about how God had grace on my life. 

You could say, "it was just a car accident”, but I’ve been more appreciative and thankful this week, realizing how good Jesus is.  

God showed me through the accident that I do not deserve anything, but he's given me everything with a single breath of life. 

A verse that has wrecked me is Hebrews 12:3-5. It reminds me that no matter what tragedy or bloodshed occurs to me, I'm saved by grace to enter the gates of heaven, and that pain and bloodshed still will never equate to the crucifixion of Jesus."

Christ at The Center

How has God been changing you and working in your life this year?

Bryan:

"For one, we just recently got married in December and that has been an experience that I was completely unprepared for that God uses to grow you in ways you didn’t know you needed to be grown or could grow. My friend who got married a couple years before us would say, “marriage is the hardest and most fulfilling thing that I’ve ever done,” and I didn’t know how to comprehend that until I got married. In the last year that’s what stands out the most; the way that God uses someone that you love so much to reveal to you ways that you need to grow. Every single day I know that there’s an opportunity for me to show the love of Christ to Devon and also to receive grace. There are a lot of growing pains and a lot of grace needed to figure out what it looks like for us to be married and to have Christ at the center of our relationship."

Devon:

"When we got engaged I was living in Arizona with my family, and so when God clearly gave us this direction, it became a matter of me walking in obedience quickly to the Lord. In that journey of learning to trust the Lord, it was different from how my relationship had been with God in the past, and I wanted to trust him so much but it was also very hard not to just plan everything very well.

But walking in faith and obedience and seeing how rewarding that can be and how that was way more comforting to me than holding onto everything more tightly. Moving away from my family to Washington because that’s where He’d called my husband to be and a community that he was flourishing in and clearly that God’s hand was a part of, having courage and relying on Him for that strength which throughout my faith has been a difficult thing.

The tale of my story was that I really struggled with trusting in God even when I really wanted to and at the end of the day I would always rely on my own strength. God gave me a really beautiful opportunity and it’s come with a lot of blessings and rewards and more things to work through, through marriage and learn about myself and about how to love other people.

As frustrating as it can be sometimes, marriage is the best place to see how ugly you can be and then to really feel sorrow for that. When it’s the person you love the most and you see those things in yourself and how you can love them better and it’s a really beautiful relationship to grow because God is so faithful to it."

 

God is Enough

What Has God been teaching you lately?

Jenny: 

"That God is enough. That I don’t have to do things in order to earn his love, his approval. That really just trusting in him is enough.

It’s a lesson that I always have to keep relearning, as somebody who likes to plan and know what’s going on all the time and be in control.

That has probably been one of the hardest things, learning that God’s just going to do it and he’s going to be there for me and no matter how much planning and doing he has a plan. I kind of need to be just like, okay, and surrender and realize his way is going to be the best and he’s what I need to lean on instead of all the things that I’m trying to busy myself with.

If I’m so busy trying to be in control of everything you miss out on what God’s really doing. So I think that I’ve really learned to start to step back and that finally see that there’s joy, comfort, peace, all of those things that you can be so busy trying to do on your own; because God’s will and his way is going to be perfect for me.

If I look at my life, where it’s gone, I would never have scripted any of it, but even though a lot of things were really hard, it’s where I'm at and that I have a life with Jesus is like way amazing."