Thursday, June 24, 2010

From the PDN


Isaac Alexander Smith went to be with the Lord on June 19, 2010, following a serious accident on the way to a family gathering in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

Isaac touched many lives during his memorable 12 years on Earth. Although we will miss him every day, he will remain forever in our hearts and we are thankful for the privilege of knowing him and for all the wonderful memories.

Isaac was involved in the Dungeness Community Church Youth Group and Theatre, the Missoula Children's Theatre, Aspire Academy piano and Olympic Peninsula Home Connections.

Isaac had many and various interests, including drawing, composing piano music, bike riding, kayaking, reading, Lego, inventions, stop motion movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox, magic tricks, guitar, sword fighting, motorcycles, building forts, camping, hiking, tubing, fishing, mechanics, swimming, playing spy, juggling, archery, birdwatching -- especially eagles -- and the color blue.

Isaac's life is one to be celebrated. He loved Jesus with his whole heart.

He committed his life to Christ during a bedtime conversation with his father in which he expressed his concern that he could go to heaven to be with God and Jesus.

He prayed with his dad that night -- he was only 2 years and 9 months old.

Just one year later he expressed to his dad, "Dad, I was wondering, if someone in the neighborhood or school got hit by a car and people were around him and crying, I'd go out there and tell them, 'Why are you crying? He's in heaven.'"

Isaac always asked questions about God, trying to wrap his mind around spiritual truths.

He had a sweet ability to see the hurt in others' lives and bring encouragement and help.

A month ago while working with his grandfather in the garden, Isaac spoke about heaven and how cool it would be.

Isaac is survived by his loving parents, Josh and Teresa Smith; sister, Adalie; paternal grandparents, Ron and Jeri Smith; maternal grandparents, Fritz and Hanne Seidel; paternal aunt, Sheri Huisman (Therin, Jessica, Zach); paternal uncles, Der Smith (Lani, Dammond, Destiny, Joelle, Jenaye, Laila) and Matt Smith; maternal aunts, Jackie Seidel, Stephanie Westlund (Scott, Cameron) and Katie Bidulock (Darryl, Owen); and maternal great-grandmother, Alma Kobabe.

He was predeceased by maternal great-grandfather, Heinrich Kobabe; maternal great-grandparents, Pearl and Clair Gilchrist; and paternal great-grandparents, Neil Smith and Genevieve Schmuck.

There will be a memorial service Saturday, June 26, 2010, from 10:30a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Dungeness Community Church, 45 Eberle Lane, Sequim. A reception will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a fund set up in the name of Ron Smith/Isaac Smith at Sound Community Bank.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Isaac Smith, a young man of great faith.

I had the privilege of knowing Isaac Smith, his smile and laugh will not be forgotten. He was the ideal student for a teacher, (any teacher, I would imagine) bright, attentive, with a heart passionate to know more about God. You could simply look at his face and tell gears were constantly moving behind those bright eyes. He spoke from a depth and maturity beyond his years, and was truly a pleasure to be around.

My father emailed me, while I was in the Laidlaw Library. I haven't wept like this since the death of a treasured highschool friend. This isn't an email you ever want to receive or could even fathom. I was in front of my laptop when I started crying, and praise God that I had two Godly friends alongside of me. We stopped in the middle of the library and just prayed. For the family, for the friends and the salvation of the truck driver.

I distinctly remember Isaac's father Josh asking me about my vision behind the youth ministry at DCC. It was the first time I had been asked this by a parent, and I wasn't the slightest bit put off. What I saw was a father that loved his son, seeking the absolute best for him. Isaac loved God with his whole heart, and I know that was in part to witnessing his father live with integrity and model what matters most. I can't imagine what this feels like for a family, let alone on fathers day.

What I do know is that we have a Father in heaven that is greatly concerned with our struggles and wants the absolute best for us. He created a perfect world, in perfect relationship with his creation. Sin fractured this relationship and now disease, sickness and death became present realities. I can't imagine the grief God experiences now, death isn't the way he intended it to be. Death is terrible, and Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that we don't have an absentee god aloof in the clouds, unable to understand suffering. We have a God that has been through it and experienced loss. The hope of the believer rests firmly on Gods promise of salvation. The death and Resurrection of Christ firmly established His kingdom here on earth. For the believer whose hope is in the Lord, we know that death isn't the end.

In Revelation, God promises all things to be made new: a new heaven and a new earth free from sin. We enter into this promise as heirs of to His Kingdom. The Lord gives rest to those who are weary. Isaac's present reality is a world free from tears, sin and death. Praise God for all he has done and the assurance we have as believers in his promise. We place all hope in our heavenly father, who keeps his promises. Our time is short. A horrible tragedy like this reminds me of the current state we live in, and the need to maximize our time sharing the joy and hope that comes from living in obedience to the Father. We don't know how long we have, and we mustn't live lives like we are here forever. One day everything will be made right with Christs return, death will be forgotten.

I pray with all my heart for peace that surpasses ALL understanding, to the Smith family. This is a terrible situation, but I rest on the promise that good will eventually come from it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Running Hard.

It dawned on me as my Kiwi friends were gearing up to celebrate the World Cup that I was in China 4 years ago celebrating the very event in my Shenzhen apartment. The time just goes by! I began to think about what has happened in the four years since then and I could argue that they have been some of the most important years of my life. I truly believe that God infringed on my sinful free will during this time, and saved me by his grace. One can only imagine it played out something like this: “I've had about enough out of this David Piper doing his own thing, time to have him fall desperately in love with me.” The faith he gifted me with has turned my world upside down and there have been no regrets following Him. What an adventure, so much to be grateful for!

Between updates, exciting things have occurred. Ministry at ABC is expanding and growing, I'm feeling less overwhelmed at Laidlaw and extra-curricular relationships are being forged. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to study Gods word everyday, being gripped and shaped by the new lenses in which I read the Biblical story. I'm currently halfway through teaching a series with the Junior High students here at ABC over the whole Bible (critical excerpts). I love seeing the next generations eyes widen as they see the culmination of Gods promise since the beginning of time unfold into the central focus of the Bible; the coming Christ and his life+death in the gospel account. It is so easy to look at that big dusty book on your desk with disdain when it's not read as a complete story, with a beginning and an end. If you don't have the firm foundation of where you came from, you don't know where you are going. Full steam ahead without a rudder. This makes for an excited teacher and (hopefully) eager students.

While studying through the book Hebrews this month, chapter 12 caught my attention. The author in chapter 11 shares the struggle and tests the patriarchs persevered through by faith. By faith, when Abraham was as good as dead, was blessed with a son. By faith the walls of Jericho fell as the new leader of the Israelites deemed it a good idea to attack the heavily fortified city with a marching band. By faith in the sovereign LORD, not out of intrinsic strength, but weakness did they conquer. This is the story which you and I have been reborn into and under as heirs of Gods promise. We have the story, and in chapter 12 we are reminded of what we are fighting for.

Over ten years ago now, a gun was put in the face of a young student named Cassie Bernall at Columbine High. Her would be killer asked her a simple question, “do you believe in God,” to which she replied, “yes.” I'm sharing this because it struck an emotional cord in me with the backdrop of Hebrews chapter 11.

Hebrews 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This is the story that Cassie has been swept into and that we are living in. We are here on earth for this time and place. We are witnesses to what God has done since the beginning through faithful servants that where nothing spectacular on their own. It's so easy to forget that we are children of promise and to think that somehow the Bible isn't relevant for today. We as witnesses to Christ are living in the “Now, but not yet.” Gods kingdom is here, but has yet to be fully consummated with Christs return. We have victory over death through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, but sin is still a present reality. It's time to turn off the TV and run! We are more than conquerors not through ourselves but in Christ. This life we have is so short! Mind the distinction between “everything that hinders” and “sin.” Often we do “moral” things that take our focus away from the biblical story that we currently live in. I struggle with this as at times;I have to consciously remind myself of what the reality of the world is, to not get caught up with its short term happiness's as I sacrifice joy.

“Witness” comes from the Greek word “martyr,” and that should draw a clear picture of what it means to live lives of sacrifice to Gods kingdom. The witness of Abraham, Isaac and Cassie Bernall should spurn us on to passionately pursue God in faith at all costs. For me to read that and realize the implications of living like I know where I come from, just makes everything else boring. My continuing story (part of a bigger and ongoing one) at Laidlaw has simply got me amped to know more about the God that created me and to re-frame the competing false stories of the people in the physical world around me.

What's your story? Have you shared it with anyone recently?

Thanks everyone for all the prayers/emails/encouragement I have received in the last month. I get stoked when I hear of other witnesses going hard in Spain/Chile/Port Angeles/Sequim/San Diego, it encourages me to keep running. Special thanks to my father and mother for all of their faithfulness and support.