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No Church Services · 3 July 2009

On August 16, 2009, several churches in the Skykomish valley will not be having services. Instead, they will be participating in the third annual Servefest. Church members from participating churches will be letting their light shine before others so that they can see and praise God (Matthew 5:16). In the words of the official website (http//:www.servefest.org), the members will be focusing “inward, outward, and upward.”


Members from the participating churches will be looking inward to evaluate their lives and what their priorities are. They will look outward to their community. And they will look upward to God for direction, guidance, and love.


Nobody can really understand the inward and upward focus of another, but the results can be seen through the outward focus – church members doing community service projects throughout the Skykomish valley. The cities of Monroe and Sultan, the Monroe School District, The Evergreen State Fairgrounds, and many other organizations will be the beneficiaries of the 84 service projects planned for Sunday, August 16, 2009.


Besides the community seeing positive outcomes of the day of service, they will see something often missing from diverse church groups around the world. Unity. The different church groups are serving the community as their one Lord commanded them to do. They are serving each other as Christ served his disciples and all the people he met.


Servefest is making an impact on the Sky Valley community like Jesus made in His community and beyond. Organizers have said, “It is amazing how people are responding to Servefest.” Emails from beneficiaries ask whether Servefest is happening again. They say things like, “I have my projects ready,” and “I can’t wait for it.” All the organizers and participants would agree with the sentiment, “We love being able to give back to our community in very real ways.”


Showing the love of Christ to people is paramount to Servefest. People serve with gladness working not only for the betterment of the communities in which they live, but for the glory of God.


While many might think that churches not having services on a Sunday in August is ludicrous or even insanity, there is a method to the madness. Jesus turned the world upside down serving His community and doing crazy things like washing His disciples’ feet. The churches participating in Servefest are trying to do the same. They are serving and changing the world in the name of Jesus.


So remember, if you plan on attending one of the participating churches August 16, 2009, be prepared to serve rather than to be served. And then join in the celebration of the day’s efforts in the evening at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds.
Turn the world upside down in the name of Jesus by focusing “inward, outward, and upward.” Participate in serving at Servefest 2009.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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I'm Alright · 28 July 2007

When I was about 16, God spoke very clearly to me. It was not an audible voice like when God spoke to Moses at the burning bush but He spoke through a song on the radio at just the right time. He spoke at just the right time to calm four worried kids.


Our whole family was at the hospital waiting while the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with Mom and why she could not breathe very well. Dad was with her and the doctors while the four of us kids were in the waiting room not sure of what was happening. It was dark outside and the only reason I know I was at least 16 was that Dad gave me some money and the keys to the car and told me to take my brothers and sister to get something to eat. We were all worried about Mom but Dad knew that we needed to eat and get out of the hospital. I know that we were all wondering what we would do without Mom.


That was the frame of mind that kept the four of us kids silent as we left the hospital for the car. I remember getting into the car and turning the key in the ignition. The radio had been left on as usual and as if on cue, Kenny Loggins’ song, “I’m Alright” started playing from the beginning. Those first words, “I’m alright; Don’t nobody worry ‘bout me,” calmed me and I told everybody that Mom was going to be okay. I think we all knew that the song was a message from God about Mom because by the time we got to the restaurant, we were calm enough to eat and talk.


We were much happier when we got back to the hospital and found out that Mom had had an allergic reaction to some medicine. That was why she was having difficulty breathing. Dad looked relieved when he told us that Mom would be okay but we kids already knew that because of a message from God.


“I’m Alright” is an old song now but every time I hear it I smile to myself. I smile remembering the message from God to four scared kids who were worried about their Mom. I smile because I know that God is still looking out for us all. And I smile because I know that God still speaks to us today. Even if it is through a song on the radio.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Smile, God Loves You · 17 April 2007

There is a lady at our church, who, when we have not seen each other for a while says, “I have missed your smile.” Martha has the most wonderful smile and it amazes me how much joy and happiness she shares with her beautiful smile.


When I think of Martha and her smile, I have no doubt in my mind what the source of that smile is. It is God’s love. She radiates God’s boundless love with not just her smile but with her whole being. She smiles with her lips, of course, and she smiles with her eyes as anybody with true happiness does. But you do not need to look very deep into her eyes to see that she is smiling with her heart. Nor do you need to listen very long to hear God’s praises come from her mouth. To see her smile and hear her voice is to be refreshed in heart and spirit. Martha’s entire being says, “God loves you and so do I.” It is like being in the presence of an angel to be around this wonderful lady.


I know that being around me is nothing like being near an angel but I do hope that my smile and my words let people know that God loves them and that I love them too. I hope that being around me makes people smile. I hope that I, like Martha, say heartfelt words like, “I have missed your smile.” I hope that God’s love shines through my smile as it does hers. And I hope that like her, I brighten a room by entering rather than by leaving.


I need to tell my friend at church “Thank you.” Her smile and her kind words always brighten my day. And even though she most often says it, I too miss seeing her smile when our paths have not crossed for a while. I miss seeing my friend, Martha, whose whole being says, “Smile, God loves you.”

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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