Rivergate Community Church

4737 N. Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203-4533
503-285-3138

Sunday Service
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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UPCOMING EVENTS:

• Camp Arrah Wanna
Summer Camp
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• Tuesdays at 11:30am
RCC Women’s Group
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• Tuesdays Noon to 1:00pm
Prayer Group
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• Thursdays 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Feeding the Hungry - Volunteer
more…

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Weekly Message

May 14, 2017

Mother's dayHappy Mother's Day! Here is an anonymous poem that was given to me, and I pass along in honor of all mothers:

“God took the fragrance of a flower...
The majesty of a tree...
The gentleness of morning dew...
The calm of a quiet sea...
The beauty of the twilight hour...
The soul of a starry night...
The laughter of a rippling brook...
The grace of a bird in flight...
The tender care of an angel...
The faith of the mustard seed...
The patience of eternity...
The depth of a family's need...

Then God fashioned from these things A creation like no other, And when his masterpiece was through He called it simply – Mother!”

Celebrating all mothers with you,

Pastor Carren




April 30 and May 7 - Vacation




April 23, 2017

sunshineGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

Did you get out and enjoy the sunshine on Friday? It was our first 70 degree day of the year!!! Everywhere we went that day it seemed like folks were streaming out of buildings to get a bit of sunshine on their faces. It has been an unusually long and cold winter, and the spring has been a very wet one as well. When the sun does come out there is a longing to be able to stay out all day long.

Our spiritual lives are much the same for us. You may feel stressed and overwhelmed and it feels like the rain is pouring down on you every day. Even on those days it is important to remember that the Lord is always with us – no matter what the weather or days may bring. He is covering you – and you can take courage and strength in knowing that you are never alone to face the days to come.

Trusting in Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


April 16, 2017

SmileI remember these declarations from my childhood when we were in church each year. It was the best day of the whole year. This was the day to celebrate what God has done. Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He has risen! That is what gives us hope as followers of Christ. We no longer are trapped by the power of sin and death. Jesus' death on the cross set us free, and the power of the resurrection lives in each one of us here this afternoon.

As a Christian this is the day that we take the time to celebrate that the tomb is empty. Jesus has triumphed over the power of Satan and sin and death. May your hearts be encouraged and filled with the power of the resurrection all year long.

We have a story to tell all those we meet. Jesus has risen from the dead!

Celebrating the resurrection with you,

Pastor Carren


April 9, 2017

Palms“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” Those words were shouted as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. It was the culmination of his earthly ministry. As Jesus came closer to the city the people took their coats off and spread them across the road and they waved leafy palm branches which they had cut from the fields.

It was quite a scene of honor and triumph for Jesus. I wonder what it would have felt and sounded like that day. The crowds were pushing in to get a closer look at Jesus who they had heard about. They had heard of his teaching and the wondrous miracles, and now they honored him with shouts of honor and praise. What would you have been doing had you been in Jerusalem that day?

Today is Palm Sunday which we set aside to remember that day and it marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day we celebrate that Jesus is our Lord. It is a time to reflect back over the last week of His life on earth and to prepare ourselves for Good Friday and then Easter service next Sunday.

May we each lift our voices in joy and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ this afternoon in our worship service.

Shouting Hosanna with you,

Pastor Carren


April 2, 2017

SupperGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church on this first Sunday in April. We will be celebrating the Lord's Supper later in the service, so please take some time to prepare your hearts for this special time.

New life is so wonderful. We see it all around us this time of year. Our yard is bursting forth with new buds and colors. Just a few weeks ago those shrubs and bushes looked dead and now they are covered with green leaves and some already have flowers forming with pinks and purples shining in the sunshine.

This time of year is a good opportunity for us to look at our spiritual lives and make sure that we see new life happening within us. We can find that in prayer our Scripture reading each new day. This is the holiest time of the year for as Christians, may we find renewal in our hearts bursting forth just like all of nature around us.

Growing with you,

Pastor Carren


March 26, 2017

CrocsWe are delighted to have you join us this afternoon at Rivergate Community Church. May you lift your voice in praise and adoration of our Lord.

I finally was able to get outside yesterday and mow our lawn. It seems like all of a sudden the grass was several inches high. As I was mowing I took a look around the yard and was pleasantly surprised that most of our plants and flowers had survived the harsh winter. There is still a lot of clean up we need to do -weeds have spring up in the flower beds – hedges need to be trimmed back – but it felt wonderful to be outside again – to see new life spring up all around us.

How is your spiritual life going this Spring? Do you see signs of new life? Is there some trimming that needs to be done? Where do you see growth? Is there a place that has died back? Just as we go around our yard to inspect what needs to be done; we need to do the same in our spiritual side as well. I encourage you to take an inventory of where you are with the Lord, and look for ways to get to work to encourage new growth.

Growing with you,

Pastor Carren


March 19, 2017

PrayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be encouraged as we gather together this afternoon to worship the Lord.

I am so grateful to be part of a church family that believes in the power of prayer. Over the 15 years I have had the honor of serving with you at Rivergate, we have seen a lot of answered prayers. We have seen folks receive physical and emotional healing. The Lord has provided for us financially through all that time. We have had a vital and important ministry in the community for almost 70 years.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Spring, which is always filled with hope and promise. May you take some time tomorrow and this week to thank the Lord for all the answers to prayer through the years. We also ask that you take some time to lift up the prayer needs listed in the bulletin. May we continue to carry those we love to the One who loves them most.

Grateful for the lifeline of prayer with you,

Pastor Carren


March 12, 2017

Clouds SunGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us in worship of our Lord.

Can you believe the sudden burst of warm weather we've had? It seems like all of a sudden we went from freezing temperatures to 60 degrees. If you have lived here a long time you know that we will still see cooler weather, but it does feel as if our long, cold winter has passed. It set a lot of records for cold, snow and rain, and most everyone is ready for a change.

What kind of winter did you have with the Lord? Those long gray days that we get here can get depressing and overwhelming for some. One thing that we can do is to turn our focus from the sun in the sky to the Son of God. As we spend more time listening and speaking to Him in prayer and reading His Word we will find our spirits being lifted and peace and hope coming into our heart and lives. No matter what the weather may bring we can always have “Sonshine” in our lives.

Grateful to Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


March 5, 2017

LentWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this first Sunday of the Lent Season. Lent is that time of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter – a great time to reflect on all that Jesus has done for us.

We had a wonderful Ash Wednesday service this past week with our friends from Journey 3 Church. It was a time of reflection on the sufferings of Jesus for us, but also a time to be reminded of the steadfast love of the Lord.

May each of us take time during these 40 days to think about this season in the life of the church. This is our time as the Church to celebrate the love of God shown through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. Take some extra time each day to sit quietly before the Lord and allow Him to speak to your heart. Begin praying for someone who you may want to invite to church during Holy Week. You will find that many people are more open to coming to church during this special time of year. This is our time as Christians to reflect and remember.

Turning to Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


February 26, 2017

TrustGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May all of our hearts join together as we worship the Lord.

Did you get a chance to get outside yesterday? The blue skies and sunshine were such a wonderful gift. As I was out trimming back the roses and some shrubs it felt so great to be outside and feel the warm rays of the sun on my face. We've had a very long and difficult winter season this year, and days like yesterday are reminders that it won't last forever.

Our spiritual lives can be just like the weather. We can go day after day and feel the weight of the world on our shoulders and wonder if it is ever going to get better. As we turn our focus to the Son – Jesus – we will find strength, courage for today and hope for the future. We will feel the warmth of His love in our spirit and that will help us through all the stormy and difficult days.

Turning to Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


February 19, 2017

LentWe welcome you to Rivergate Community church this afternoon. If you have a prayer request, please fill out the form and place in the offering.

This promises to be a winter to remember. We've had ice, snow, wind and lots and lots of rain. This February is already one of the greatest amounts of rain Portland has seen in its history. Trees have come down, rivers have flooded roads and there have been power outages as well. Just when you think you can't take another day of rain we get a day like Friday. I walked down our driveway and felt the warmth of the sun hit my face. It felt so good, and I remember saying Thank you out loud.

In our spiritual life we can have storms as well. It can be an unexpected visitor, a child who is ill or the pressure to pay the bills. It is at those moments that we have to remember where our peace comes from- only the Lord. Jesus said that in this world we would have trials, but to take heart because He had overcome the world. May we remember that no matter what we are facing in our life – the Lord is with us – all of our days.

Remembering we are not alone with you,

Pastor Carren


February 12, 2017

Valentines DayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May all of us lift our hearts in praise and worship of the Lord.

This week marks Valentine's Day – a day to celebrate love. For many this is a great time to show that special someone in your life how special they are and how much they mean to you. There will be lots of candy and flowers bought and sent this week. It is always a good thing to tell those you love how special they are to you – regardless of the date on the calendar.

All of us have a far greater love that is eternal – the love of our Heavenly Father. That love is unlimited and it is something that we can't earn. It is a gift that God has poured out on each one of us. The Father's Heart is described in various places in Scripture – but one I like is in Exodus 34: 6-7 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

May we all celebrate the heart of our Father in Heaven.

Rejoicing over the Father's heart with you,

Pastor Carren


February 5, 2017

foot printsWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon.

This winter is one to remember. Portland has not been known for severe winter weather, but if you do some checking we have had weather like this in the past. You can find pictures of the Columbia river out by Jantzen Beach and it is frozen solid. There are old Model T cars out driving on the river because the ice is so thick. You can think how long it had to be cold for the mighty Columbia to freeze—many of us who are native Oregonians remember snow storms where we had 2 feet or more of snow on the ground.

As Christians it is important for us to remember that the Lord is in control. We will face all kinds of storms in our spiritual lives as well. There will be unexpected challenges and at times it may seem overwhelming. We know from the words of Jesus that we are never alone. He is with us all of our days. May we take comfort in knowing the Lord is with us, and He will carry us through the storms that come. He is more powerful than anything we will face, and that is reason to have hope, peace, joy and love.

Resting in God's loving arms with you,

Pastor Carren


January 29, 2017

Church frontGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May we all lift our hearts in worship and praise of the Lord.

Today after our worship service is our Annual Meeting. This is a time for the Rivergate family to come together and review our past year and look forward to 2017. We invite you to take some time before the service to pray for our time. We all need to seek the Lord for what He wants to do in us and through us in the year ahead. May we also take the time to thank Him for all the answered prayers of the past year.

May we come together as one before the Lord today in humility and gratitude. He has given us the opportunity to show His love to the North Portland community. Help us Lord to hear your voice above all the others as we seek to serve you. I am grateful for each one of you who calls Rivergate their spiritual home.

Seeking God's will with you,

Pastor Carren


January 22, 2017

St John's snowWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to come together to worship the Lord!

What a beginning we have had to 2017 with the winter weather. This is our first Sunday together in 3 weeks...we had an ice storm followed by a foot of snow and that has kept us homebound for a long stretch. The snow is so beautiful to look at, and it does bring a peace and quiet to our soul. It does force us to slow down, and that has been a good thing. Our lives are so busy and noisy that we can't catch our breath.

I sat and watched the snow come down one afternoon. There were big fluffy flakes floating down to the ground and it was quickly turned all white. I thought about how each individual snowflake is different from the rest – no two are ever the same. That is how it is with each one of us. Our fingerprints are unique to us – never will there be anyone like us. Just as the snow comes to cover the ground – so the blood of Christ covers you and we are washed clean – just like the snow. May we take time each day to say thank you to the Lord, to slow down and be quiet before Him.

Grateful for the blood of Christ with you,

Pastor Carren


January 15, 2017

No Service – due to snow.

Pastor Carren




January 8, 2017

No Service – due to Ice storm.

Pastor Carren




January 1, 2017

Happy New YearHappy New Year!!! Welcome to 2017.

Can you believe that another year has begun? It is the time that we can look back over the previous year – all that has happened to us, in us and through us. What answers to prayer did you receive last year? How are you different now then you were at the beginning of 2016? Is your faith stronger? Do you know Jesus better than you did?

It is also a chance to look ahead. What are you hoping for in 2017? What things do you want to change in your life? How can you grow in your spiritual life? What is Jesus speaking to your heart? We get another year to follow Jesus. Where will He lead us? What challenges will we face? As you read these words...are you excited or fearful? The answer that you give to that question will tell you what areas of your life you need to work on in 2017.

May we all recommit ourselves to following Hard after Jesus all of our days.

Looking forward to a New Year with you,

Pastor Carren


December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to everyone – Special Christmas Service – No bulletin

Pastor Carren




December 18, 2016

Snowy berriesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May we join together in worship and praise of our Lord this afternoon.

What a beautiful day to come to church with the snow all around us. It has been quite a couple of weeks for our area. We've had two snowfalls and it is still fall on the calendar. There is something about it that does make everything new and quiets our spirits. As I look out my window today it is like a light dusting of powder has covered our plants and lawn like blanket to protect them.

Our walk with the Lord can produce moments like a surprise snow storm. There are days where we are fearful and not sure what will happen. Like the snow that blankets the earth – the arms of the Lord surround us and envelop us to protect us from the storms that come. May we all find our hope, peace, joy and love in Jesus.

Grateful for God's love with you,

Pastor Carren


December 11, 2016

Snow TreeGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be lifted as we worship the Lord.

Well... we had quite an end to our week with all the winter weather. The snow is always so beautiful to look at – as long as you don't have to be out in it. The ice was not as welcome as it brought down so many trees and people were without power. Once the ice was in place it has taken much longer than predicted to drive it away.

It can be that way in our spiritual lives as well. Something that may seem not that bad to start with – can get a grip on us – and it can be almost impossible too get rid of it. The good news for us is that nothing is impossible with the Lord. We have been studying how the finger of God is more powerful than anything in this world. If there is something that is sticking to you like the ice way – take some time this afternoon and give it to the Lord. He came to set us free – from everything – including those things that we can't let go of.

Grateful for God's power with you,

Pastor Carren


December 4, 2016

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are celebrating Advent on these four Sundays leading up to Christmas. We are glad to have you this afternoon.

Each Sunday we will be lighting a different candle in our Advent wreath as we anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. We affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing.

The candles on the wreath signify that Jesus is the Light of the World. The evergreens remind us that he is life and brings life to us. All these are arranged in a circle because life in Christ has no end.

May we enter in to this Advent season with hope, peace, joy and love.

Grateful for the Advent season with you,

Pastor Carren


November 27, 2016

prayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are delighted to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

Black Friday – Small Business Saturday – Cyber Monday – we are bombarded with all this advertising trying to get us to spend our money on more things. I heard that over 3 billion dollars was spent on Friday alone. We are being enticed all over the place to spend more and more – and if we don't have it to just charge it – because we deserve it!

All this follows the one day of the year where we stop to give thanks to God. It can be difficult to hang on to our faith when we are being told that more things will make us happier. May we take time each day to stop and thank the Lord for the many blessings we have received, and focus on the eternal things in our life – each other. Let's invest in our relationships this holiday season.

Thankful for the gift of Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


November 20, 2016

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your heart we encouraged as we worship the Lord this afternoon.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hard to believe that we are coming up on the beginning of the holiday season. I enjoy this day as it is a time that traditionally we have set aside to gather together with those we love and we take time to give thanks. In our busy lives it is good to slow down and reflect back over all that has happened this year, and to look into the eyes of loved ones and simply say – thank you. At the table it is also a great time to invite everyone to think of all that the Lord has done and give thanks for the many blessings.

On this day I want to say that I am thankful and blessed to be serving as the Pastor at Rivergate. The Lord has been so faithful, and I am deeply grateful. May our hearts be filled with deep gratitude for the love and care of our Lord in our lives. We stop this day to simply say – Thank You Lord!

Thankful for the gift of Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


November 13, 2016

forgiveWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are so glad you have joined us as we gather to worship the Lord.

Have you heard the word mulligan? You hear about it in sports – it is a do over. When I was younger. Our mom was teaching me how to hit a baseball. Normally, you only get 3 strikes and then you are out. Mom just kept throwing me the ball over and over until I could time it and get the bat to hit the ball. She knew that what was important was learning how to hit the ball, so getting a do over was vital to my development.

For us as Christians we also get a mulligan from the Lord. He gives us the opportunity to confess our sins and receive forgiveness. We also get a new start with our baptism. It is the symbol of our old life dying and new life coming. We will celebrate a baptism this afternoon, so please take some time to reflect on your life – where you are with Jesus. May we experience the new lift and forgiveness of sin that Jesus came to give to all of us.

Grateful for the gift of baptism with you,

Pastor Carren


November 6, 2016

prayWe are happy to have you join us today for worship at Rivergate Community Church. If you have a prayer request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering.

Sacrifice is not something we see around us very much. Our world has become pretty selfish and when you see or hear about someone making a sacrifice for someone else it does stand out. There was a story recently of a school teacher who donated a kidney to one of her students. The student would have died without the life-saving transplant. It was a heart warming story of the love of one person for another.

On this day we will celebrate the Lord's Supper. It is a great reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us. He gave His life up for each one of us. His sacrifice was life-saving and life-giving for all of us. As we come to that part of our service, please take a moment to think of all that God has sacrificed for you. May it warm our hearts to remember that we have been given the best gift of all – Jesus. We would have died without that gift.

Thankful for the gift of Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


October 30, 2016

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to come and worship the Lord.

Time can go by so quickly. I realized this week that Thanksgiving is only 4 weeks away. We only have 2 months left in this year. It seems that our world is spinning faster and faster these days. Changes in technology keep coming at us almost faster than we can adapt. We have all this smart stuff that we can buy that is supposed to make our life easier, but I am not sure I want to be that smart.

As a Christian it is easy to get swept up with all that is going on in the world around us. We can lose sight of the fact that nothing surprises the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We may not be able to keep up with the technology in this world, but with God we don't need the latest gizmo to get through. All we have to do is pray – to speak and to listen. That brings me great comfort – for all of my days.

Grateful for the lifeline of prayer with you,

Pastor Carren


October 23, 2016

prayWe are happy to have you join us today for worship at Rivergate Community Church. If you have a prayer request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering.

We have had quite a fall season already with all the rainstorms and windstorms that have come through our region. We will probably set another record for rainfall this month. Just when we were feeling like he gray skies would never end – yesterday we had the gift of blue sky and sunshine. Did you notice how your spirit felt better when you looked out the window? Did you step outside and let the sunshine warm you up? I always think that the Lord knows just when we need a break and he likes to delight us with unexpected blessings like yesterday.

We never know what storms may come in our weather. We can feel small or afraid in this world, but we need to remember that we are safe in the arms of Jesus no matter what the storms of life may bring.

Resting in Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


October 16, 2016

prayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be encouraged as we gather together to worship the Lord.

We had quite a little storm go through the past few days. We had downpours of rain and then a very strong wind storm blow through yesterday. I sat and watched as the trees seemed to almost bend in the middle as the winds carried off anything that wasn't tied down. We don't get severe weather very often in our area, but when it comes it is amazing to see the power behind the storm.

The eye of the hurricane is the place of peace and calm. There is safety in the midst of the raging winds that circle the eye. The Lord is like that to us. In the midst of whatever storms may be raging in our lives, we can find peace and hope with the Lord. He is our rock and fortress that will protect us from the storms that try to destroy us. May we always know that we can find safety in the loving arms of Jesus.

Thank you Lord for your being our place of safety.

Safe in Jesus' arms with you,

Pastor Carren


October 9, 2016

prayRivergate Community Church welcomes you to worship this afternoon. May your heart be encouraged as we gather together.

Sandy and I had the opportunity to sit in a hospital for 3 days this week. We went to be with our brother who was having knee replacement surgery. When a loved one is going into surgery there are always fears about what might happen. As only God could have designed it – the surgery would take place in the same hospital where our younger sister had died 28 years earlier. That memory has always overshadowed our family. As the days passed we felt a change happening in our hearts. Healing can be hard to understand sometimes, but we all could feel peace and comfort coming to our lives. We felt your prayers all week long, and thank you for them. As we left the hospital yesterday it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and we could feel the warmth of the sun touching us. This place now had a new meaning for us – new life had come to our family – peace to our hearts.

Thank you Lord for your healing power both physically and emotionally.

Grateful for healing with you,

Pastor Carren


October 2, 2016

last supperWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this first Sunday in October. We will be celebrating the Lord's Supper during our service today, so we invite you to spend some time quietly preparing your heart. If you have a prayer request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering.

What a difference a week can make. Last week at this time we had to have the windows open and fans blowing because of the warm weather, and today we needed umbrellas. It seems that Fall has officially arrived. It is the time of the year that you may need a jacked in the morning and shirt sleeves by afternoon, and you have to make sure and have the umbrella ready as well.

Do you like to know what is going to happen or be surprised? We usually fall into one category or the other. Some can just jump up and decide to do something and others need weeks to plan and prepare. The Lord understands that we are different, but there are days I think that He likes to surprise all of us. May we know that uncertain days do not mean that the Lord has left us. His Word tells us that He is with us all of our days. We can count on it...no matter what the weather or the day may bring!!!

Thankful for God's promises with you,

Pastor Carren


September 25, 2016

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are delighted to have you join us this afternoon.

What a glorious day we have. Two days ago the winds were whipping around and rain was coming down, and yet today it will be 80 degrees. What a delightful gift from the Lord. One last burst of summer weather that gives us the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beauty all around us. Have you noticed how the leaves are beginning to change? Last week marked the beginning of fall on the calendar.

Change comes in our weather every three months. I think it is just right. Each season brings great opportunities for us to enjoy the beauty of creation. Fall brings the bright reds, oranges and yellows tha burst forth all around us. The cooler nights are a welcome respite from the summer heat. The one thing that will never change is the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today and forever! May we enjoy the beauty of each season, knowing that a new one is just around the corner.

Grateful for each season with you,

Pastor Carren


September 18, 2016

bibleWe welcome you to Rivergate Community Church. May you lift your voice in praise and worship of our Lord this afternoon.

I love photographs. They capture a moment in history forever. Even when that person is no longer with us here on earth, we can still see them and feel connected to them with a photo. Each week as I sit down to type my sermon and this bulletin I look at photos of loved ones, many of them long gone from this earth, but at that moment time has stopped, and we are still together, forever in my heart.

The Bible is like a giant photo album for us. As we read we get visual images of those events and the people who were there. We can see them and hear their voices, as they are still telling their story to us. We are all connected, down through history. Their story is our story, and their struggles are much like ours today. May we take time to sit with God's Word this week, and think of all those who have gone before that are part of our story.

Remembering with you,

Pastor Carren


September 11, 2016

prayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

Our nation was changed forever 15 years ago this morning. I am sure that all of us remember just where we were when we heard the news or saw those images on the television.

Sandy and I were on our way out to the farm where we were working to help get their produce harvested. We heard the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center on the radio, and I remember looking up into our beautiful blue sky wondering if something was going to happen here. It was almost unreal to be outside on a beautiful late summer morning and hearing the tragedy unfolding across the country.

We want to stop today and remember all those who were lost that day – those on the planes, in the buildings and all those who rushed in to save them. May we honor their memory this day, and in our lives going forward.

Remembering with you,

Pastor Carren


September 4, 2016

trustWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this Labor Day Weekend. As it is the first Sunday of the month we will be celebrating the Lord's Table during the service.

Labor Day has traditionally marked the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. Schedules have changed recently and some children have already finished their first week of school. Change is in the air though, you can feel the difference today in the temperature. Last week we had to have fans blowing and windows open, and this morning we had to turn our furnace on to take the chill off the house.

Changes in our lives can happen just as quickly. Most of us have a hard time adapting very quickly when life throws us a curve ball. One thing that can help is to prepare for change before it happens...by working on being able to trust the Lord in all circumstances. You can start with something small and work up to bigger things like money, family or health. We have to remember to give ourselves to the Lord each day – all that we are and all that we have. As we do we will be stronger in our faith and better able to adapt to any change that may come our way.

Learning to trust with you,

Pastor Carren


August 28, 2016

faithGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be encouraged as we lift up the name of the Lord.

Tomorrow many children will head back to class. It is hard to believe that another school year is starting. Do you remember that first day back at school? It was a bit overwhelming... finding the class and a desk to sit at. Who were the other kids in the class? Would the teacher like me? Would I know the answers to the questions?

Do you ever still feel that way in life? At times it can seem overwhelming. Especially when we don't have all the answers. Trust and faith are words we use as Christians, but do we know how to live them out on a daily basis? I told folks last week that following Jesus is neither logical or practical, and that it goes against all that we were taught in school about figuring out the answer. May we find peace and hope as we journey with Jesus. We don't have to have all the answers...that's the great news!

Learning to not try to figure everything out with you,

Pastor Carren


August 21, 2016

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. What a great day to come and worship the Lord.

We had a great day yesterday with the 3 different churches that use this building coming together for a work day. We had people on the roof, out in the yard and all over the building cleaning and doing some much needed maintenance work. We were so blessed to have so many willing to come out and work on the hottest day of the year. I so enjoyed seeing how the different people, who had not met before, were working alongside one another.

Yesterday was a sneak peek at what heaven will be like as we all come together from different nations and backgrounds to worship the Lord. May we remember to lift up our brothers and sisters from Journey 3 and Greater Bethseda and the ministry they are providing to our community. We will look for other opportunities that we can serve together for the glory of the Lord.

Grateful for the body of Christ with you,

Pastor Carren


July 31, 2016

prayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We invite you to spend your time prior to the service in quiet prayer for the needs listed in the bulletin as well as those in our world.

Each night when we get home and turn on the news it seems like the world is getting darker and darker by the hour. We hear of shootings, attacks on children and we can get worn down by all the evil that is talked about.

As I have been praying for our nation and the world, it seems like now is the time for us as the The Church – to be speaking up about the Good News. We must be willing to speak a word of hope, peace, love and even joy to those we meet. Our hope is not based on world leaders, money or anything this world can offer. Our hope is built on Jesus Christ – our Rock – our Redeemer – our Lord.

May the light of Jesus drive back the darkness.

On my knees in prayer with you,

Pastor Carren


July 24, 2016

quietWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship this afternoon.

We are living in a time of instant news from around the world. Not so many years ago we had to wait to hear about someone who had traveled to Africa or Asia. Then we were able to talk on the phone and that was amazing. Now we have FaceTime and immediately we can see them and the places they are visiting. The world and technology is changing very quickly and it can be impossible to keep up with all the information that is shouting at us from all sides.

As Christians the good news is that we don't need the latest technology to talk to God. We can share our hearts and listen for His voice without being hooked up to some phone or mobile device. The challenge for us is to find the quiet place in our hearts and homes so that we can hear the voice of the Lord. May we all take more time this week to find the quiet place with the Lord.

Longing for the quiet place with you,

Pastor Carren


July 17, 2016

peace-love-hope-joyGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community church. We invite you to spend your time prior to the service in quiet prayer for our world and the latest victims of violence.

Early this morning came the newsflash that more police officers were shot and killed. This follows the horrific scene of people being mowed down by a deranged man in Nice, France earlier in the week. Our technology brings the horrors of this world right into our lives instantly. We are seeing the faces of families and friends in shock and grief.

It is at these moments that we, as Christians, need to fall on our knees in prayer for the victims and their families. We also need to be a voice of calm and hope in these days. May we stand with those in need all over our world, and may we lift up the name of Jesus – our hope – our strength – our life.

May the light of Jesus drive back the darkness that has come this week.

On my knees in prayer with you,

Pastor Carren


July 10, 2016

prayWe welcome you to Rivergate Community Church. We have come to lift our voices in praise and worship to the Lord this afternoon, and to hear His Word for direction in our lives.

This has been a week filled with tragedy in our country. The loss of life has been senseless and shocking. With the technology that is now available we are able to see these events playing out right in front of us. It is at times like this that we, as Christians, need to go to our knees in prayers for the families and communities that have been devastated.

It is also at times like these, that we need to offer a word of hope, healing and peace to those around us. We need to reach out to our neighbors and lift them up in prayer. We must encourage forgiveness and a coming together as a people rather than coming apart.

May the light of Jesus drive back the darkness that has come this week.

On my knees in prayer with you,

Pastor Carren


July 3, 2016

FireworksGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We invite you to take some time before the service to quiet your hearts and pray for those listed in the bulletin. If you have a specific prayer request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering.

Happy Independence Day! We don't hear those words much anymore. We talk about the 4th of July, and getting another day off of work. We don't always remember that it is a day that we remember how and why our country came into being. Through the years since that day we have had to fight to keep our independence. We want to take a moment to thank all of those who have helped to protect our country.

As wonderful as it is to be an American and celebrate our country, we have so much more to be grateful for on this day. We are loved by God, forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus, and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us each and every day. Now that is a great reason to celebrate every day!

Celebrating with you,

Pastor Carren


June 26, 2016

Jesus Foot PrintWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord this afternoon.

Summer has officially arrived this past week and we welcome the warm sunshine and blue skies that we get to enjoy this time of year. It was hard to believe on Thursday of this week when the rains came with such force that all the gutters were overflowing and we had to turn our furnace on at home.

Our spiritual lives can be just like this past Thursday. We can be going along with blue skies and happy days and then out of nowhere, it seems to us, we get hit by a deluge that overflows in our hearts and lives. It is at those times that we need to know the storm will pass over. We can hold on to Jesus the rock of our lives, and know that he hears our cries and understands our fears. He is our strength, our hope and our life through all our days.

Holding on to Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


June 19, 2016

Fathers DayHappy Father's Day! On this day that we think of fathers I wanted to pass along something from a book I am reading by Billy Graham's daughter.

Ruth Bell writes of 6 things she learned from her day that I wanted to share with you.

1. Love for the world - “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son and whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

2. A Father's heart - “Fathers tell their children about your faithfulness.” Isaiah 38:19

3. Humility - “I have become all things to all men, so that I may be all means save some.” I Corinthians 9:22

4. Grace - “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16

5. Loyalty - “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” Psalm 133:1

6. Authenticity - “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

Thankful for our Heavenly Father with you,

Pastor Carren


June 12, 2016

cloudsSunWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We pray that your heart will be encouraged as we worship the Lord this afternoon.

What a difference a week can make! Just last week the temperatures were topping 100 degrees, and we had to have fans blowing to keep folks cool. This past week we even had to have our furnace run in the early morning to take the chill off the house. That is the beauty of the seasons and our changing weather.

How is your relationship with the Lord this afternoon? Do you feel the sun shining in your heart and all is well? Is there some fear or anxiety that has gripped your heart and you feel the cold of doubt creeping in? Each one of us will be at a different place in our relationship with the Lord, but the key for all of us is to come here and give ourselves once again to Jesus. We come together to worship, but also to submit ourselves to the Lord. We come to renew our commitment and to receive the strength and courage to go out and tell others the Good News of God's Kingdom.

Renewing my commitment with you,

Pastor Carren


June 5, 2016

giftWhat a glorious day we have to come together and worship the Lord. We welcome you to Rivergate Community Church.

Birthdays have always been a big deal in our family. We celebrate each person's special day as a gift from the Lord for their life. Sandy and I just got back this morning from celebrating our niece, Kasey, who just turned 40. It was a great time with family and friends driving from all over to meet in Boardman for 2 days. There was about 60 people ranging in age from 3 to 70 out at the campground.

As we sat with old friends and family and reflected back on the past 40 years we all were so grateful for the many blessings. There have been great losses and grief during those years as well, but it was wonderful to take time out and say thank you for this one life. She has grown into a beautiful woman of God, and we could not be more proud of her, but what was touching was to hear her share her heart with the group. She felt very blessed and honored beyond measure.

May we remember to celebrate life,

Pastor Carren


May 29, 2016

memorial dayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May we rejoice together as we worship the Lord God Almighty! This is Memorial Day Weekend, and it has come to have a variety of meanings. For some this is the kickoff for the camping season, and they have headed out of town.

Our family always takes time to go and decorate the graves of loved ones. Sandy and I both have memories of going and putting flowers on the graves of grandparents. We watched how the flowers were picked and cut to just the right size and water was put in containers each year. Even if you don't have family close by, I encourage you to go and visit a cemetery this week. They are beautiful with all the colors, and you can go and read the names of the people and say a silent prayer for them – many don't have anyone who comes anymore. It is a reminder that our time here on earth is short compared to eternity.

May we take time to say thank you to all those who have served and given their lives for our country this week.

Honoring those who have gone on with you,

Pastor Carren


May 22, 2016

Stop And Smell the RosesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

You can learn a lot from a 2 year old – if you slow down enough to look. Yesterday was the part for our great niece, who will turn 2 this week. She was delighted to sit on the floor and open her gifts. She loved taking out the different pieces our colored tissue paper and peering inside the bags and boxes. She loved the whole experience, and wasn't in any hurry to get through the packages. In fact, she would have liked to have time to look at each gift longer. She squealed with delight at each new thing.

I wonder how often I have missed so many things by being in such a hurry. I don't always appreciate the process as I could. At times, I can get focused on the goal and forget to enjoy each step along the way. May all of us take some time this week to slow down and look at the world around us with the wonder of a 2 year-old. We might be surprised what we find!

Slowing down with you,

Pastor Carren


May 15, 2016

daisiesGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May we lift our voices in praise and worship to our Lord.

How was your week? Our weather has been pretty remarkable. We went from temperatures in the high 80's to the low 60's in one day this weekend. The bright blue and sunny skies have given way to rain and lots of clouds. We were blessed with a beautiful Spring this year. The flowers in our yard have never looked brighter and more beautiful. Our garden is growing and it seems like it won't be long until we are enjoying fresh vegetables.

Our spiritual life can feel like our weather this week. We can be rolling along and enjoying the sunny skies and feel like we are doing well. Then it seems like all of a sudden a storm will roll in and everything changes. We may feel anxious and overwhelmed at times, and yet it is at those times that real growth is taking place. As we learn that our strength, our hope and our life is found only in Jesus – we will blossom and grow more beautiful in our spirit, just like the flowers.

Growing more beautiful with you,

Pastor Carren


May 8, 2016

Pink RosesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship this afternoon.

Happy Mother's Day! This is a day that we have set aside to remember and honor our mom's. I was blessed with a mom who loved being a mother. She wasn't just a mom to the kids in our family, but to all those that she met. For some this is a difficult day because you may have not had a loving mother in your life. For some this is a tough day because they wanted to have children, and were not able to have that happen.

All of us had someone along the way who did show us love and nurture us in some way. That may have been a grandparent or aunt or uncle, teacher or co-worker. We will take some time in the service to honor our mom in a simple way by saying her name out loud. We know that God gave us this command to honor our father and mother, and it has a promise – so it will go well with us.

Grateful for all the mom's with you,

Pastor Carren


May 1, 2016

Sun TreeGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are so happy to have you join us for worship on the first Sunday of May.

What a glorious day we have been given. There is such beauty all around us. As I write this I can see our rhododendrons are bursting forth with blossoms all over the bushes. Our peony bush is loaded with buds that are just starting to pop open. I walked through a nursery this week and the smell of the flowers brought a smile to my face. The long and wet winter is all but a memory now. It is only the first day of May, but our plants and trees are enjoying this warm sunshine.

How are you growing in your spiritual life right now? Are there new blossoms ready to burst forth with bright colors? Is there a pleasing aroma from your spirit towards others? Does your heart rejoice every morning when you get up? If you find yourself struggling right now in your spiritual life then you might need more Sonshine in your days.

May you find strength, courage and hope in your relationship with Jesus this week.

Grateful for new life with you,

Pastor Carren


April 24, 2016

RhododendronGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May we lift our voices in praise and worship to our Lord.

Spring is a time of growth. As I look out my window I see how the new plants in our garden boxes have stretched their leaves out to catch each drop of rain that falls. Just this week the buds on our rhododendron bushes have started to open and you can see bright bursts of purple and pink peeking out of each plant. The leaves on the trees in our backyard are getting bigger each week. That growth is a sign of new life.

How are you growing in your spiritual life? Last week we talked about what book we had read that challenged our understanding of God. We all need to commit to growing each day in our relationship with our Creator. What are you learning? How are you different this Spring from last year? May we each commit ourselves to making sure we are seeing signs of growth and development in our spiritual life.

Committing to growing with you,

Pastor Carren


April 17, 2016

May we take all our cares and worries to JesusWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. What a glorious day to be in the house of the Lord. May we join together in praise and thanksgiving.

We had a lot of folks needing to see a doctor the past few weeks. Each week it seemed that two new people were dealing with cold and sinus problems. On top of that we have had quite a few that needed medical tests and physical therapy. At times it felt like we needed to rent out an entire medical wing at the hospital. Some of those are still needing our prayers, so please check out the list of needs in the bulletin.

A few years ago Sandy was facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis after some initial tests. I still remember how she shared with me her conversation with the Lord. She said: “Lord, I don't like this and I would rather not have cancer, but I am willing to go through anything – including cancer – if in some way you can get the glory.” Afterward she said she felt a deep peace come over her, and as the further tests were made, she didn't have cancer.

May we take all our cares and worries to Jesus.

Pastor Carren


April 10, 2016

sunflowerGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

We got an early gift of summer this week. Hard to believe we had a couple of 80 degree days in April. We had not been that warm in almost six months. It did allow us to get outside and get some much needed yard work done at our home. Hope that each of you got an extra bit of time outside in the warm sunshine as well.

I was talking with someone this week about how the Lord always seems to know just when we can't take one more day of gray skies and rain. Then suddenly we will have warm sunshine and blue skies to lift your spirits. It is that way in our spiritual lives as well. Just when we are feeling the most overwhelmed and we wonder how we can keep going – Jesus will show up and give us strength or courage to continue on our journey. May we always know that we are never alone and that we can count on Jesus to help us become all that we were created to be.

Pastor Carren


April 3, 2016

forgivenessWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We invite you to take some time to look over the prayer needs in the bulletin as you prepare your hearts to worship.

As I sit in my office writing this there are signs of Spring all around our yard. The trees have bumps and little leaves poking out of their limbs. Our one tree is covered with beautiful purple blossoms. Our lilacs are blooming as well with their fragrant perfume filling the air. New life has come again after a long and wet winter season.

We just celebrated the most joyous time of year for the church as well with Easter Sunday last week. It is a reminder that new life comes into each of our hearts through the forgiveness we receive from the Lord. May we always be aware of our need to forgive others as we have been forgiven. As you see the beauty unfolding all around, please take some time this week to remember that new life is also coming into your heart as well.

Pastor Carren


March 27, 2016

He Is RisenHe is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

I remember these declarations from my childhood when we were in church each year. It was the best day of the whole year. This was the day to celebrate what God has done Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He has risen! That is what gives us hope as followers of Christ. We no longer are trapped by the power of sin and death. Jesus' death on the cross set us free, and the power of the resurrection lives in each one of us here this afternoon.

As a Christian this is the day that we take the time to celebrate that the tomb is empty. Jesus has triumphed over the power of Satan and sin and death. May your hearts be encouraged and filled with the power of the resurrection all year long.

We have a story to tell all those we meet. Jesus has risen from the dead!

Pastor Carren


March 20, 2016

Palm Branches“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” Those words were shouted as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. It was the culmination of his earthly ministry. As Jesus came closer to the city the people took their coats off and spread them across the road and they waved leafy palm branches which they had cut from the fields.

It was quite a sense of honor and triumph for Jesus. I wonder what it would have felt and sounded like that day. The crowds were pushing in to get a closer look at Jesus who they had heard about. They had heard of his teaching and the wondrous miracles, and now they honored him with shouts of honor and praise. What would you have been doing had you been in Jerusalem that day?

Today is Palm Sunday which we set aside to remember that day and it marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day we celebrate that Jesus is our Lord. It is a time to reflect back over the last week of His life on earth and to prepare ourselves for Good Friday and then Easter service next Sunday.

May we each lift our voices in joy and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ this afternoon in our worship service.

Pastor Carren


March 6, 2016

CamelliaGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are so happy to have you join us for worship this first Sunday of March.

Have you noticed all the beautiful color that is bursting out all around? Flowering trees are covered in white or pink blossoms. We also saw that the tulip trees were blooming this week. Camellia bushes are covered with flowers. There is new life bursting forth every day. Spring will officially arrive later this month, but with our milder winter the plants have got an early start.

The beauty we will get to enjoy the next few weeks comes after a period of barrenness and darkness. We endured the wettest December on record for Portland ever, and January also set records for rain. There were days that the sun was hidden behind thick overcast skies. You can wonder at those moments if the sun is ever going to shine again.

We have the same experiences in our spiritual life. We can go through days and weeks without much light or joy in our hearts. It can seem overwhelming at times. The one constant that helps us regardless of what the days may bring is that God loves us. We matter to the Lord. Because of that assurance we can have hope in our hearts that new life will come. Our life, hope and strength is in the Lord.

Pastor Carren


February 28, 2016

BlossomsWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We invite you to take some time to look over the prayer needs listed in the bulletin as you prepare your hearts to worship.

You get an extra day this year. What are you going to do with it? Every 4 years we get a February 29th, and so that is tomorrow. One whole extra 24 hours that we didn't have last year and won't get next year. Have you ever thought about what you would do if you had one more day? We hear that sometimes that we wish for just one more day...what will you do tomorrow?

We get unexpected blessings from the Lord all the time – like an extra 24 hours, but we may not always recognize them. Last week we got an early spring gift of a beautiful day with almost 70 degree temperatures. It was great to be able to get outside and enjoy the warmth and the beauty of flowering trees that suddenly have appeared. May we slow down enough each day and realize that there are blessings to be found.

Pastor Carren


February 21, 2016

RainbowWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this Sunday afternoon. We invite you to take some time before the service to prepare your hearts for worship.

As I sat down to write this left-hand-page there was sun shining so brightly that I turned the lights down inside the house. Yet, before I could finish typing the first paragraph the clouds rolled in and now there is rain coming down. It is the joy we have of living in this part of the world in winter. Late on this week I hear it will be over 60 degrees.

It is a good reminder for us that our life with the Lord is a long journey. We will have lots of days filled with sunshine, and there will also be those that bring storms that beat against us. In the midst of the showers that will come is the promise of the rainbow – they will not destroy us – we have the hope and assurance that God is with us and will carry us through.

Pastor Carren


February 14, 2016

Unconditional LoveWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We hope your heart will be encouraged as we worship together this afternoon.

Today is a day set aside to celebrate love. Depending on your personal situation this can be a great day to spend with someone special in your life. It can also be a lonely day for those without someone or who have lost that person. The focus in the world is on candy, flowers and chocolate. I heard on the news how many millions will be spent this one day to celebrate love.

All of us have one whose love is unending, and it is that love that will carry us through all the dark and lonely days we may face here on earth. We know that God so loved us that He sent His one and only Son to us. We have that assurance no matter what the days to come may bring in our lives. God loves you! You need to let those words saturate your heart today. God loves you and His care for you will never end. That is a lot to celebrate.

Pastor Carren


February 7, 2016

CrocusGood Afternoon and welcome to our worship service on this first Sunday of February.

We are still in the dead of winter according to the calendar, but this week our temperature is supposed to top 60 degrees. As I write this the brilliant sunshine is beating down on our yard. I can see new life bursting forth out of the ground with our snowdrop flowers already blooming. It is an unexpected bonus to be able to get out and do yard work the first week of February, but I don't hear anyone complaining.

Just as we get some unexpected warm weather this week, we also get surprises from the Lord in our spiritual life. Just this past week something that I had been praying about for a long time, and it felt like it might not happen, was answered. May we draw strength from the Lord this day and remember that at the most unexpected days the Son will shine in our lives and bring renewal and new life.

Pastor Carren


January 31, 2016

cloudsSunWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we gather to worship the Lord.

We have come together again to praise the God who created us and loves us. There are times in our days when we can easily get overwhelmed and forget what is really essential – God loves us. When we look at the beauty all around us and ponder the Almighty God who created everything we see, we can seem tiny and insignificant. It is vital for us to know deep within ourselves that we were formed by the hand of God. Think of that for a moment. Our lives are a gift. May we always remember that God called us into being. We are loved by the Eternal Father, not for anything we have done, but for who we are.

As you come into the sanctuary take a moment to thank the Lord for all that He has done for you.

Pastor Carren


January 24, 2016

GratitudeGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May you find encouragement and hope as we gather together to worship the Lord.

Today we will be having our Annual Meeting after dinner. It is a time to reflect back over all the Lord has brought us through in the past year, and to look forward to new opportunities in 2016. May we each take time before the service to thank the Lord for His faithfulness to us. As I look into each one of your faces each week I think of how you have changed. It is such a joy to see how your faith has grown as you faced challenges and disappointments as well as great blessings. We grow stronger in community.

I am grateful for each one of you that the Lord has brought to Rivergate. May you feel at home as you come into the church building. The Lord's presence is with us as we gather together.

We thank you, Loving God, for all that you have given to us this past year. We are stronger individually and as a community because of your touch.

Pastor Carren


January 17, 2016

Roy LessinWelcome to Rivergate Community Church this afternoon. May your hearts be open to receive from the Lord this day.

This is taken from Roy Lessin's book - “From God's Heart To Yours”

“God wants you to be the kind of person others enjoy thinking about. Through the example of your life and the testimony of your faith, thoughts of you will bring a smile to the hearts of others.

He will bless you in such a way that a sweet remembrance of you will remain with others even after you are gone.

How great is the prayer, how rich is the meaning, how full is the gratefulness of those who say, 'I thank God for you!”

“The memory of the righteous will be a blessing.” Proverbs 10:7

Pastor Carren


January 10, 2016

Sunshine PineWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this Sunday afternoon. We invite you to take some time before the service to prepare your hearts for worship.

What an interesting start to 2016 we have had. Last week unexpected snow canceled our service, and then we watched as ice gripped the city for a few days. Now today comes and we are blessed with brilliant sunshine and clear blue skies overhead.

We may not know what lies ahead in the new year, but we do know who is going with us, and because of that we can have hope, courage and strength for the days to come.

Pastor Carren


January 3, 2016

Church service canceled due to snow


December 27, 2015

Cross FlowersGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join with us as we worship the Lord.

This is the last Sunday of the year. It is hard to believe that another year has gone by. I am grateful for each one of you who calls Rivergate your home. You have grown in your faith this past year. It was a year that brought significant change with the sabbatical gifts we received from the Lord. We will continue to celebrate the rich blessings we were able to have through the grant.

Please take a few moments to think back over the past year. What did you learn? How have you changed? Where is there still room to grow? It is vital for each one of us and for the church to continue to seek the Lord for guidance on our path. May you know the Lord's great love for you, and may our hearts be filled with a sense of wonder all of our days.

Pastor Carren


December 20, 2015

peace-love-hope-joyWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this 4th Sunday of Advent. May your hearts be open to receive from the Lord this day.

We will be exchanging gifts later this week with family and friends. There are still gifts to be purchased and wrapped and placed under the tree. Some of you are still working on your Christmas cards or making cookies or candy. There are lots of traditions that we do each year to celebrate this special time of year.

May each one of s take time this week to remember the gifts that we have received this year from Jesus – peace, hope, joy and love. They aren't wrapped in paper, but they are real gifts that we have been given by the Lord. They are just the right size and never go out of style.

Give yourself the gift of time with the Lord this week to open the gift of His love for you. It is the most precious gift – He gave His life for you. Remember the one who knows you best also loves you most.

Pastor Carren


December 13, 2015

All church retreat – no service at Rivergate.


December 6, 2015

SermonGood Afternoon and we welcome you as we gather together to worship the Lord.

Sandy and I had a most enjoyable week with our brother Ed. For so many years he lived in another state, but he and his wife have moved back to Central Oregon, which has been a great blessing. We were able to sit around and share our lives with one another. We laughed until our sides hurt and we were all crying. It is good to be with those who know you best and love you most.

No matter what your family situation may be this afternoon, the good news is that each of us is part of a much greater family – the family of God. And the one who knows us better than anyone else is the one who loves us more than anyone here on earth ever could. During this season of making room in our hearts and lives for Jesus – may we remember how special we are – not only to our family and friends – but to our Father in Heaven.

Celebrating family with you,

Pastor Carren


November 29, 2015

Golden LeavesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this first Sunday of Advent. May we take time this afternoon to reflect on this season of preparation as we make room for Jesus in our hearts and lives.

It has been a week of cold and clear weather, which reminds us that winter is coming. The brilliant sunshine has brought welcome warmth to our days. We watched our maple tree in the backyard letting go of its brilliant mass of colored leaves this week. Some of them fell one at a time, but when there was a bit of wind then a cluster of different colored leaves would fall to the ground. As I look out my office window today I see this mass of color covering the ground.

Each one of us is different from everyone else. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. Think of all the people who were born before you and all that are still to come, and no one is just like you. We are as different as all the colored leaves. We all share something that is vital to remember – we were all created by the Lord. Even though there is no one just like us; we were called into being by our Creator God. The seasons will change, but the Lord remains the same.

Grateful for God's Creation with you,

Pastor Carren


November 22, 2015

PineconesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this Sunday afternoon. We invite you to take some time before the service to prepare your hearts for worship. There are prayer needs listed across the page, and if you have any need, please fill out a card in the pew and place it in the offering.

I watched a bird's nest this week in the windstorm we had. Leaves and branches were coming down all over the place. The tree was swaying back and forth with each gust of wind. I wondered when it would all come tumbling down to the ground. To my amazement as the day went by and the debris covered the yard the nest was still in place. It was safely held in place right where it had been built twig by twig earlier in the year.

How is that possible? It was as if the Lord was showing me that it is the same for each one of us. As we build our life on Him we will be able to withstand all the storms that come against us. We will be held safely in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior. It was a great visual reminder of one of God's promises, and one that was a great encouragement to me.

Safe in the arms of Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


November 15, 2015

PsalmsIt's a great day to come together to worship and praise the Lord! We are glad to have you join us at Rivergate Community Church this afternoon. May our hearts be encouraged as we gather.

I began this month reading through the book of Psalms. If you read 5 Psalms each day you can get through the entire book in a month. It is such a great book that expresses all the emotions that we go through as Christians. There are the great highs where we are so grateful for answered prayers, healing, help or support from the Lord. And it also tells of the despairs and fears that also are part of our journey. It has been a great reminder of the strength and encouragement that we get from reading Scripture.

We talk of why we read the Bible at Rivergate, and the core truth is that we read it not for information, but for transformation. That change only happens as we establish a daily discipline of opening up our Bibles and reading. No matter what you are experiencing in your life today there is something in God's Word that will help you through it and give you the strength and courage you need for each day.

Grateful for God's Word with you,

Pastor Carren


November 8, 2015

royLessinWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us for worship this afternoon. May this excerpt from Roy Lessin's book - “From God's Heart To Yours” help prepare your hearts.

“Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38

“As long as you are giving away the things that God has given you, you can never be empty. His provisions are limitless; His grace is endless; His love is boundless. He will always replace what you have given and return to you in even greater measure the things you have given away.”

May we have hearts that are always willing to give to those around us.

Thankful for God's generosity with you,

Pastor Carren


November 1, 2015

changeGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We invite you to take a moment to quiet your hearts before the worship service.

Did you remember to set your clocks back? If not, you were probably early to your first stop today. It is only one hour difference on the clock, but many find that their bodies take awhile to adjust. Most of us have a hard time with any kind of change. We react if someone is sitting in “our pew” at church. If you want a new experience – just try moving across the aisle at the church. It will give you a whole new perspective.

Change is necessary for our spiritual life. If we stayed the same there would be no growth or development. It is vital that we keep expanding our horizons with the Lord. We need to read different parts of the Bible, and let the works sink deep into our soul. If you haven't been keeping a spiritual journal you can start one. With the longer nights we have more time to read and write.

May we always have hearts that are open to change with the Lord.

Looking forward to changing with you,

Pastor Carren


October 18, 2015

Domenico_FettiWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be encouraged as we gather to worship the Lord.

This is from Roy Lessin's book - “From God's Heart To Yours”:

“The richest blessings of God in your life are best understood, not by what it cost you to follow Him, but by understanding all you have gained in obeying His call. To go where He leads you means you have taken the higher ground. To take up your cross means you have drawn closer to His heart. To keep your hand to the plow means your eye is set on greater riches. Like Abraham, you look for a city to come; like Peter, you are a pilgrim whose journey leads to an inheritance that can never perish; like Paul, you count all things but loss to gain Christ – the pearl of greater price!”

Glad to be serving with you,

May each of us find the richest blessings in following hard after Jesus.

Pastor Carren


October 11, 2015

rainbowGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

Yesterday we got a small reminder of the power of wind and rain. Sandy and I were driving back from Central Oregon after visiting our brother and sister-in-law. The day started out with brilliant sunshine and blue sky. We saw the clouds starting to thicken as we headed home. The rain began softly and as we looked north we saw this beautiful rainbow across the sky. By the time we got to the top of the pass on Mount Hood it was a driving wind and rainstorm. There were leaves and small branches coming down along with the rain. It was very difficult to see at times.

In our spiritual lives we can see changes happen just as quickly. We can be sailing along through our days without much trouble, and then suddenly everything can be turned upside down. The sunshine gives way to clouds and rain beating against you. There may be times that you can't see which direction you should go. It is at those moments that we need to remember that Jesus is always with us. His promise is to never leave us or forsake us. We just need to cry out to Him. He understands our pain, sorrow and fear. He will lead us safely home.

Depending on God with you,

Pastor Carren


October 4, 2015

PsalmsWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this first Sunday in October. We invite you to take some time before the service to prepare your hearts for worship. There are prayer needs listed across the page, and if you have any need, please fill out a card in the pew and place in the offering.

I never cease to be amazed at the opportunities that the Lord brings to us each week. Sandy and I went to fundraiser breakfast yesterday morning for ALS research. We showed up about halfway through the morning and got our plates and sat down at a booth thinking we would eat and then leave to do the rest of our errands. As we started to eat a man asked if he could join us – and we said sure. It turned out to be a Portland City Council member. We had a great time sharing and getting to know one another. He then asked what the city could do to help the churches in North Portland and our work with the homeless. We had just prayed on Thursday that the Lord would give us favor with the City of Portland...and look what he did in 2 days!

Thankful for the gift of favor with you,

Pastor Carren


September 27th, 2015

leavesWhat a great day we have to come and praise the Lord! May your hearts be encouraged as we gather to worship.

As the seasons begin to change we can see different colors popping out all around us. As I sit in my office I see how the leaves on the trees and bushes have begun to turn shades of yellow, orange and red. They are preparing for the winter that will come in a few months. It is always amazing to me to see how all of creation is directed by our Creator God. We see the birds finding our bird feeders more and more each day. I can see the squirrels putting food underground. At times I find myself just sitting by the window watching the miracle of creation unfold right in front of me. The trees know a change is coming as does all the wildlife, and they are busy every day getting ready.

Are we ready for change? Most of us don't like change. We have grown accustomed to our life the way it is, and we don't want to change very much. Do I respond to God as quickly as the trees? Do I trust God to provide food and water for me like the birds? Am I willing to be dependent on the Lord for everything? It is a big change for all of us, but may we find the courage to be as obedient as the rest of creation.

Depending on God with you,

Pastor Carren


September 20th, 2015

autumnWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are delighted to have you join us for worship this afternoon.

Happy Autumn! It sounds funny to hear, but the seasons are changing this week. After a long, hot and dry summer many are looking forward to the cooler days and nights of fall. You can already feel the chill and crispness in the air each day. We have even had to turn our furnace on in the early mornings at home to warm up the house. The days are growing shorter and our bodies are adjusting to all these changes.

Our spiritual lives have to grow and change as well. We see the outside changes in nature this time of year, but what do we see when we look in the mirror? Can we see how we have changed these past few months? How have we grown in our relationship with the Lord? What was difficult? What do I need to focus on this fall? We will have more time inside during this season, but what do we do with it? Is there reading I could be doing? How is my quiet time with the Lord?

May we adapt our spiritual life to this new season with the Lord!

Adjusting my spiritual season with you,

Pastor Carren


September 13th, 2015

loavesfishesWe welcome you to worship the Lord with us this afternoon at Rivergate Community Church.

As we gather together today we come from different backgrounds and communities. Each of us comes in contact with a variety of people and groups each week. Some of us were at the University of Portland Women's Soccer Game Friday night. One of the players has been a faithful volunteer for us at our Thursday night meals. Most people at the game did not know about this part of her life, but we shared with those sitting around us how we knew her. They were impressed that a college student who is also a great athlete would give up so much time to help feed the hungry in her community. We welcome you to worship the Lord with us this afternoon at Rivergate Community Church.

You have the same opportunity to share with folks that you meet why coming to church on Sunday is so important to you. Why do you give up such a beautiful afternoon to come to Rivergate? As we meet folks we need to be ready to give an answer as to why we are a follower of Christ.

Grateful for Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


September 6th, 2015

cloudsSunWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us on this Labor Day!

When I was a child I remember hearing about Labor Day, and wondering what it was all about. I would see on the news that it usually meant lots of people leaving town to go camping and there was a big picnic every year at Blue Lake Park. Most people just saw it as the last big weekend before the school year started, and fall would be here soon.

As a Christian, we are fellow laborers with Christ Jesus. We are given the opportunity to “work” in the Father's vineyard. We are trusted to finish the work that Jesus started...can you imagine that? It still overwhelms me at times that we are chosen to carry on this vital work in God's Kingdom. May we take a moment this day and think of the joy that comes from our “labor” for the Lord.

Give us strength and courage as we “labor” for the Lord.

Thankful for the gift of labor with you,

Pastor Carren


August 30th, 2015

rainWe welcome you to worship the Lord with us this afternoon at Rivergate Community Church.

Did you lose power yesterday? We had quite the storm blow through in the early morning hours. We got up about 3:30 AM to watch the lightning flashing in the sky. Then there was the sound of rain pounding against the roof. Later on the winds really kicked up and there were lots of trees and limbs coming down all around the metro area. It was quite surprising to have such a storm in the summer after all the hot days and drought conditions that we have been through.

Our spiritual lives can have storms as well. We can be going through our days with clear skies and sunny weather, and then we get a phone call, or a doctor visit with new that we had not expected. Then we feel as if the storm is beating against us. The key for us, as Christians, is to know that we can stay connected to our power source – Jesus – through all that life will throw at us.

Take a few moments this afternoon to thank the Lord that He is the source of power, and that He can protect us when the storm clouds come.

Grateful for Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


August 23rd, 2015

StAugustinWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon.

We had our Creative Writing Workshop yesterday, and it was so wonderful to hear different ones share from their hearts. We laughed at some and were deeply touched by others. It was a great turnout, and it was fun to be able to spend some time together and get to know one another. Writing is such a gift to our lives, and we will compile a book with writings from every church member and their spiritual journey during the time of the sabbatical.

If you haven't been a writer before it can seem intimidating to stare at a blank piece of paper or computer screen. I find that sometimes the best way to start is to look outside at the creation around me. What do I see? What do I feel? What can I thank the Lord for this day? Once you begin other feelings and thoughts will come and fill up the space.

May each of us continue the discipline of writing as part of our spiritual journey with the Lord.

Thankful for the gift of writing with you,

Pastor Carren


August 16th, 2015

worshipWe welcome you to worship the Lord with us this afternoon at Rivergate Community Church.

We invite you to have refreshments and fellowship downstairs before and after the worship service. As you come into the sanctuary we ask that you sit quietly and prepare your heart for worship. May the music that you hear calm your spirit. There are prayer needs listed in the bulletin that we ask you to lift up to the Lord all week. If you have any request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering.

Our world is full of noise and distractions, and it is our hope that we can create a space for reflection and peace each week as we come together. Jesus has invited each one of us to this fellowship of believers, and may the Holy Spirit bring us together in worship and praise of our Lord.

Grateful for the gift of worship with you,

Pastor Carren


August 9th, 2015

seasonIt's a great day to come and worship the Lord. We are happy to have you this afternoon at Rivergate Community Church.

I spent this weekend at my high school reunion. It was fun to see old friends that I had not seen in 40 years. We also had fun trying to guess who certain classmates were without looking at their name tags. Some of them looked like they did when we were in school, but others had different colored hair, or no hair now. We had shared so much during those years together, and now we learned what we had done with our lives during the last 40 years.

As Christians it is good to stop and look back over our lives. What have we been doing these past years? What did we do with the talents we were given? How have we impacted the lives of those around us? What would people say they remember about us? Would they say that we showed the loved of God to them? Would they notice that we cared about them?

May we each take time this week to look back over our lives and ask ourselves – what have I done that would bring honor to the Lord? We all have time to make the changes that would reflect God's love to all we meet.

Looking back at life with you,

Pastor Carren


August 2nd, 2015

BelieveWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us on this first Sunday in August.

What do you believe? It is hard to know what you really believe until there is a test. We can believe that the chair will hold us, but until we sit down we aren't really sure if it will stand or fall apart. We learn all kinds of things in school, but unless we are tested on them or use them all the time we can forget.

Our spiritual lives are much the same. We can read Scripture and know it in our heads, but until it is tested we may not really believe it. We know God loves us, but until we see it in our lives we may not be sure. His love is poured out in our lives everyday, but do we see it? We can see it in creation all around us – but also in the ways that our needs are met.

Please take a moment today before the service and think of all the ways that the Lord has showed his love for you this week.

Thankful for His love with you,

Pastor Carren


July 26th, 2015

forgivenessGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are glad to have you join us for worship.

In our world right now we don't see a lot of forgiveness happening. We see the anger and frustration of people boiling over into shootings and fires being set. Roy Lessin writes of this in his book: “From God's Heart To Yours”:

“What a blessing it is to be forgiven. It frees you from the guilt of the past and the judgment of the future. It unlocks the shackles that kept you in bondage and breaks the cords of regret that had you bound. It pulls you out of the horrible pit of despair and places your feet on the solid ground of hopefulness. It washes the stains that soiled your spirit and cleanses your heart from its wandering ways. Begin each day with the joy of knowing you are forgiven.”

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Romans 4: 7-8

Thankful for forgiveness with you,

Pastor Carren


July 19th, 2015

mthoodGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to come together to worship the Lord.

How do you stay cool? Some folks have air conditioning to help beat the heat, but most folks in Portland have to find other ways. The fountains in the city are always popular with kids, but on days like today you can see lots of adults jumping in the water to cool down. There are swimming pools, sprinklers, or the old slip-n-slide that can help you stay cool when the temperature soars in the plus 90 degree range.

Jesus met a woman on a hot dry day during his ministry. He was resting by a well after sending his disciples into town. A woman came at the hottest time of day to draw water for her buckets. Jesus asked her for a drink of the cool water. In their discussion he told her about the Living Water that she could have. When we look to the world to give us water, we will always need more and more. With Jesus, the water is fresh and brings new life, and it will never run dry. We need to come to Jesus for the Living Water for our thirsty souls.

Thankful for the Living Water with you,

Pastor Carren


July 12, 2015

oceanGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

The weather has been unusually hot and it has lasted for longer than we expected in Portland, especially in June. Most folks are welcoming the cooler temperatures we have had the past couple of days. It seems that just when we reach the limit of enduring the heat we get the cool ocean breeze to renew and refresh us.

We have seasons in our spiritual lives as well. We go through times of walking through a hot desert, and just when we feel like we reach the end, we find the spring of cooling water that brings new life. Our lives may go through seasons, but the one thing we can count on is that God never changes. He is always there for us no matter what we might be facing in our lives.

Whatever your life experience is this afternoon; please take a moment to drink of the Living Water that Jesus gives to each of us.

Finding refreshment with you,

Pastor Carren


July 5, 2015

Welcome Back Celebration!


April 6, 2015 – June 28, 2015

Pastor Carren on Sabbatical!


April 5th, 2015

HeIsRisenHe is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

I remember these declarations from my childhood when we were in church each year. It was the best day of the whole year. This was the day to celebrate what God has done. Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He has risen! That is what gives us hope as followers of Christ. We no longer are trapped by the power of sin and death. Jesus' death on the cross set us free, and the power of the resurrection lives in each one of us here this afternoon.

As a Christian this is the day that we take the time to celebrate that the tomb is empty. Jesus has triumphed over the power of Satan and sin and death. May your hearts be encouraged and filled with the power of the resurrection all year long.

We have a story to tell all those we meet. Jesus has risen from the dead!

Celebrating the resurrection with you,

Pastor Carren


March 29th, 2015

palms“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” Those words were shouted as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. It was the culmination of his earthly ministry. As Jesus came closer to the city the people took their coats off and spread them across the road and they waved leafy palm branches which they had cut from the fields.

It was quite a scene of honor and triumph for Jesus. I wonder what it would have felt and sounded like that day. The crowds were pushing in to get a closer look at Jesus who they had heard about. They had heard of his teaching and the wondrous miracles, and now they honored him with shouts of honor and praise. What would you have been doing had you been in Jerusalem that day?

Today is Palm Sunday, which we set aside to remember that day and it marks the beginning of Holy Week. During this season of Lent we have read a daily devotional written by ministry leaders in North Portland, and looked for ways to take extra time of quiet with the Lord. On this day we celebrate that Jesus is our Lord. It is a time to reflect back over the last week of His life on earth and to prepare ourselves for Good Friday and then Easter service next Sunday.

May we each life our voices in joy and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ this afternoon in our worship service.

Shouting Hosanna with you,

Pastor Carren


March 22nd, 2015

listenGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

Our world is so noisy these days. Most days we are surrounded by sounds from traffic to construction and television or music blaring. Deep inside each of us is the need to find quiet. It is when we are quiet that we can hear the Spirit speak to us. If we allow our mind and body to be quiet, they are free to be open to God. We may find it difficult to be still. Yet, if we keep our mind and body occupied with over-activity they are not nearly as able to be quietly open to God.

We may feel guilty when we stop all our activity to sit and listen, but we are just making ourselves available to God. He won't let you down. He asks that you be quiet and receptive so He might have the opportunity to “get a word in edgewise”. May we each take time this week to sit and listen to the voice of the Spirit, and allow God to work in us.

Listening with you,

Pastor Carren


March 15th, 2015

royLessinWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May all our hearts be united in worship of our Lord. Here is a passage from Roy Lessin's book - “From God's Heart To Yours”:

“As long as you are giving away the things that God has given you, you can never be empty. His provisions are limitless; His grace is endless; His love is boundless. He will always replace what you have given and return to you in even greater measure the things you have given away.”

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you gave with it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38

May our hearts overflow with the generosity that comes from the Lord.

Giving with you,

Pastor Carren


March 8th, 2015

faithfulWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. What a glorious day we have to come and worship the Lord.

This past week has been filled with many wonderful blessings from the Lord. I actually fell on my knees one day this week after the Lord had answered some prayers that have been going on for a very long time. At times we can get discouraged when we don't see answers to our prayers as quickly as we would expect or like. What is important is for us to remain faithful in holding our prayers before the Lord. The way the prayers were answered were not what I would have done, but in the end, it was the perfect answer in each situation. The end result was much better than I had even dreamed would have been possible.

It is our job to be obedient and faithful in prayer, and then to leave the results and the timing to the Lord. God loves us and those we are praying for more than we can understand. His timing is always perfect, and He is faithful.

Father, give us hearts that are tender toward you and each other.

Praying with you,

Pastor Carren


March 1st, 2015

seasonsWe welcome you to Rivergate Community Church!

We have been blessed with the most unusual of winter weather this year. While the rest of the country has had bitter cold and tons of snow we have had over 15 days of 55 degrees or warmer in February alone! I talked with family last night and they had below freezing temperatures and we were walking around in bright sunshine and blue sky.

What do we do when we see others suffering through terrible weather or natural disasters? Hopefully, it drives us to our knees to pray for those who are facing difficult challenges in their lives. Most of us know that all of us go through seasons, and while it may be sunshine weather here, we know that the rains will return with gray skies at some point.

May our hearts be tender to those around us, and may we lift them up in prayer to our Father in heaven. Help us, Lord, to be people of prayer!!!

Praying with you,

Pastor Carren


February 22nd, 2015

LentWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are delighted to have you join us as we come to worship the Lord.

What a wonderful stretch of weather we have had. We were able to work outside in our yard yesterday. In 25 years of living at our house we never had to mow the lawn in February! I know that these days are a special gift for us who endure long weeks of gray skies and rain usually this time of year.

When we get a special blessing like unexpected weather – what do we do? We can come up with a list of jobs that we want to get done outside, and that is important, but do we ever just stop and take a moment to say thank you? Thank you, Lord, for giving us this early spring. Thank you, Father, for the beauty I see all around me. Thank you, God, for blessing us so abundantly.

In this season of Lent, may we take the time to say thank you for all that we have received.

Thanking God with you,

Pastor Carren


February 15th, 2015

crocusWhat a great day we have to praise the Lord! We welcome you to Rivergate Community Church.

In our spiritual life we have seasons of winter and it seems that there is nothing much happening. But just as we see in nature, there is life going on under the surface. And one day that new life will come forth with power and a brilliance that would not have been possible without a time of rest and renewal. Whatever season you may be in this afternoon, we pray that you will find strength, encouragement and hope as we come together to worship the Lord.

As I looked out into the yard today there were signs of new life all around. The crocus are up and blooming bright purple flowers. The trees all have bumps coming out with the promise of blossoms soon to pop open. The grass is growing again and needs to be cut in February! In the 25 years we have lived in this house I don't ever remember mowing the lawn in the middle of winter.

Discovering new life with you,

Pastor Carren


February 8th, 2015

abbeyGood Afternoon! We welcome you to our worship service.

Sandy and I had the opportunity to join with other American Baptist ministry leaders from our region for a 2 day retreat this week. We went to the Trappist Abby in Lafayette, Oregon. It is a beautiful location in the hills of Yamhill County with 1,300 acres to explore. It was a good time to spend in quiet and allow the Lord to speak to us. One of the disciplines of the Abby is to eat meals in silence. It helps you to focus on where you are and why you are there. At first it seems a little awkward, but by the 3rd day I looked forward to not having to “make conversation”.

Most of us don't spend a lot of time in the quiet. Our world around us is noisy 24 hours a day, and then we add to that the noise of our own lives with television, music or conversation. Take some time this week and sit in silence someplace for a few minutes. It only takes a little while to begin to slow down and quiet your heart and mind. It will be a great gift for your life.

Learning to be silent with you,

Pastor Carren


February 1st, 2015

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be encouraged as we gather together this afternoon.

If you have a specific prayer request, please fill out the care in the pew and place in the offering. We lift up those prayers all week long. Please take a moment to look at the names listed in this week's bulletin and lift them up to the Lord.

We have had an unusual winter this year. Last night I heard on the news that we had 15 days in January that the high temperature was 50 degrees or above! Those bright blue sky and sunny days lift your spirit and makes you want to be outside. Now as the rain has returned it can be a challenge.

May we find our hope, strength and life in the Lord – no matter what the weather is doing outside!

Serving with you through all kinds of weather,

Pastor Carren


January 25th, 2015

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this last Sunday of January. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord this afternoon.

Time is an interesting thing. There are days that it seems that life is going by so quickly and another month has gone by. At other times we can clearly recall a day that happened decades ago, but it is still fresh in our mind and memory. We can recall that conversation just like the day it occurred, and yet we can't remember what someone told us yesterday.

It is in our memories that loved ones live forever. E.M. Bounds wrote how our prayers are eternally before the Father. I love that. Think of all the prayers that have been prayed for you throughout the years. All the prayers lifted up for this church and this community. They do not end when the person dies. Those prayers live on forever. May we be encouraged to know that those prayers carry us through all of our days. What a gift to be able to come to the Lord in prayer. May our prayers join with all those that have come before us to lift up the name of the Lord in our lives and the community.

Lifting up prayers with you,

Pastor Carren


January 18th, 2015

sunGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

We have had quite an interesting winter this year. Yesterday was another soaker with close to 2 inches of rain. Overall we have had a mild winter with lots of sunshine and moderate temperatures. This has allowed us to get outside more and enjoy the beauty all around us. As I sit in my home office writing this I see all different colors and textures out my window. The sun is peeking through the trees and casting a bright beam of light on the yard. Our long gray days can be tough to endure, so we treasure days when we get a bit of sunshine.

In our spiritual lives we can have similar feelings. We need to persevere on the tough days, and that is possible because of the hope we have in Jesus. We know from Scripture that Jesus promises to never leave us or forsake us, so no matter what we are facing today we know that Jesus is here with us. Take a moment to thank the Lord that He is always with you, and that the Son will shine in our darkness.

Grateful for the Son with you,

Pastor Carren


January 11th, 2015

treeWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are delighted to have you join us as we come to worship the Lord.

This passage is from Roy Lessin's book - “From God's Heart To Yours”:

“The gospel of Christ is the highest blessing to give and the greatest blessing to receive.

All other blessings are like sunbeams compared to the enormity of the sun, waves compared to the vast ocean, rocks compared to the mighty mountain, leaves compared to the tallest tree.

When you carry the gospel to others, you bring the glory of God to their deepest darkness, the river of His delights to their desert places, the power of His might to their inner weakness, the tree of life to the barren places of their heart.”

“I am sure that, when I come to you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” Romans 15:29

Sharing the blessing with you,

Pastor Carren


January 4th, 2015

newyearHappy New Year! 2015 has arrived... We welcome you this afternoon as we come together to worship and praise the Lord.

As we begin a new year together may we recommit ourselves to the Lord, each other and to this community in North Portland. The Lord has kept Rivergate for over 60 years, and there is much to celebrate about the ministry that has been done. We also realize that there is much more to continue doing, and so we look to you, Lord, to lead us this year. May you guide and direct our efforts so that your name may be glorified.

As you sit in these pews, take a moment and think about those who sat where you are 60 years ago. They prayed for this church and the ministry in North Portland. We stand on the shoulders of some wonderful people, who dreamed about impacting this community for the Lord.

May we draw strength and courage from their example.

Excited about 2015 with you,

Pastor Carren


December 21st, 2014

candlesGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. This is the 4th Sunday of Advent. We will light the love candle later in the service.

We hear the word love a lot in our culture. I love ice cream or I love that dress or those shoes or your hair. I love fishing or playing sports. It seems that there are lots of things we “love” in our everyday lives. We know from our relationships with one another that even those who love us will fail us at some point.

God loves us, but this love is like nothing else we have ever experienced. God's love covers our lives in ways that are both life giving and life changing. God loves us so much that He gave His best gift – ever – Jesus! We now have hope, peace and joy because of that gift of love. Take a moment this afternoon and look around the sanctuary at all the symbols of this season of Christmas, and realize that all of this is to celebrate the greatest gift.

Celebrating God's love with you,

Pastor Carren


December 14th, 2014

cloudsSunWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. What a glorious day we have to come and praise the Lord. Let our hearts be filled with joy!

The sun is streaming through the windows as I look outside. Just yesterday the skies were filled with dark clouds and there was not a hint of the sun. It is such a stark contrast. When the skies are gray some can struggle with depression. It is a common condition in this part of the state, and it can be debilitating.

The same thing can happen in our spiritual lives as well. We can have so much going on that it feels overwhelming. We need exposure to the Son in our spiritual lives and His Word. At the holidays it can be a challenge to find the balance between the commitments and traditions we have, and sill give ourselves the time we need with the Lord.

May we all remember that we need to feed our spirit as much as our bodies this Advent season.

Grateful for the Son with you,

Pastor Carren


December 7th, 2014

candlesGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

On this second Sunday of Advent we take a moment from the hustle and bustle of the past few days to quiet our hearts and prepare our hearts for worship.

Father God, we give ourselves to you this day. We come to worship and praise your holy name. May your Holy Spirit speak to our hearts and bring your peace. We ask for peace for all those who are in need of healing and hope this day.

Grateful for peace with you,

Pastor Carren


November 30th, 2014

candleGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

On this first Sunday of Advent we take a moment from the hustle and bustle of the past few days to quiet our hearts and prepare our hearts for worship.

Lord, we have all had a busy week with Thanksgiving and the rush that seems to come as we prepare for Christmas. On this First Sunday of Advent we think of the word – Hope. We thank you that because of your love and sacrifice for us we have hope. May that word surround our hearts this afternoon and be our focus for the week to come.

May we take the gift of hope to all we meet this week. May your name be lifted up in our hearts all week long. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all the gifts you have given to us.

Grateful for hope with you,

Pastor Carren


November 23rd, 2014

pumpkinGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

On this first Sunday of Advent we take a moment from the hustle and bustle of the past few days to quiet our hearts and prepare our hearts for worship.

May each of us take time this week to give thanks to the Lord for sustaining us through another season. We will be hosting a traditional turkey dinner here at the church for anyone who would like to come beginning at 1:00 PM. Lord, we want to thank you for all that you have given to us through this year. Our hearts are overflowing with love, joy, peace and hope that comes from you. May you continue guiding and directing our days we follow hard after you.

Giving thanks with you,

Pastor Carren


November 16th, 2014

robinWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to gather together to worship and praise the Lord!

Winter made a sudden appearance this week. Our temperatures dropped almost 40 degrees in seven days. The winds were howling out of the east and that caused our temperatures to plummet to dangerous lows. It is great to be a part of the North Portland community which rallied to open up a warming shelter for the homeless this week. Different folks stepped up to make it possible to have a warm place for folks to get in out of the harsh weather.

Storms in our spiritual life can happen just as quickly. We can be going along in our lives and it seems that all is well, and then we get a phone call or an accident happens and it changes in a moment. It is at those times when we are rocked to the core with sudden change that we can find strength, hope and courage in the shelter of the Lord's loving arms. When nothing seems stable it is comforting to know that the Lord never changes. It is at those times when we need the prayers and support of our church family to carry us through. Please take a moment to look at the prayer requests on the other page and lift those up in prayer.

Thankful for Jesus being our shelter,

Pastor Carren


November 9th, 2014

vetsGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

This week our country salutes the Veterans who have served or are serving in the military. We have our own members of our congregation who have served this country and many of us have family members who have served. Please take a moment this week to thank them for all the sacrifices that have been made. It is a good time to lift them up in prayer and ask the Lord to bless each one for their service. A simple thank you would be a great way to honor those who have served our country.

As we reflect back over those who have served our country and think that many paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, so that we could continue enjoying the freedoms we have. We also want to take time this week to thank the Lord for the sacrifice He made for us. He gave His life for you! Sometimes we get so busy with our lives that we forget to stop and say a simple “thank-you” for all that Jesus did for us. His death sets us free forever. His resurrection gives us hope and strength for each day. May we live our lives in the power of the forgiveness of sin.

Grateful for all who served with you,

Pastor Carren


November 2nd, 2014

SoulWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to gather together to worship and praise the Lord! If you have a specific prayer request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering plate.

What a beautiful time of year. I was out driving this week and saw the colors of the trees and actually said out loud – Wow! Thank you Lord! There are all kinds of trees and shrubs that are changing colors daily. And then with all the rain showers and sun breaks there have been some stunning rainbows stretched across the skies. We've had storms and winds beating against us, and even lost power for awhile.

Just like the world around us there are storms that come and beat against us in our own lives. It might be a phone call from a doctor with news of a disease or need for surgery. Our lives can change in moments when those storms of life come. It is at those moments that we need to have roots that go down deep that will allow us to withstand the storm. Our roots are in God's Word and the relationship we have with Him. We have to know that we can find rest for our weary souls with Him. Jesus said: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Psalm 62:1 says: “My soul finds rest in God alone.”

Resting in God with you,

Pastor Carren


October 26th, 2014

rainGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

It is hard to believe that this is the last Sunday in October. The Fall season has been flying by. How did you survive the big storm yesterday? The wind was howling all day long and when we were driving we were having to dodge tree limbs littering the street. Our house and the church did not lose power, but we know that many had a difficult day. Were you prepared for the storm?

In our spiritual lives there are also storms that will come. Some we have a little warning, but others will come as a complete shock. You may get a report from a doctor about your health or that of a loved one. When those moments come in our lives we need to remember that the Lord is always ready to help.

May we go to Him for comfort, wisdom, direction and peace when the storms of life come.

Surviving with Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren


October 19th, 2014

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your hearts be encouraged as we worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

For a small church we have had a lot of folks with physical problems that we need to remember in prayer. Many of them are listed on the opposite page, so please take some time to lift them up this week. We have had surgeries and still there are more to come. It is also the beginning of the cold and flu season, so let us ask for protection over each one of us.

It is at those times where our bodies are not functioning as well as we would like that we need to cry out to our God. Whether we are facing surgery, a serious illness or a sinus infection we need to ask the Lord to give us strength, courage, healing and peace. One of the greatest gifts we can give to one another is to pray with them. You can take a quick break from your schedule to lift up a prayer or send a card to someone on the prayer list, or just pick up the phone and give them a call. May we reach out to one another with love and hope this week.

Praying for one another with you,

Pastor Carren


October 12th, 2014

sermonGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We invite you to join us in praise and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have been studying the Sermon on the Mount passages in Matthew these past few weeks. I have read them so many times before, but the Lord is giving me new insights to my heart and mind as we are reading each week. I pray that each of you has found your heart encouraged and strengthened as well.

The teaching was revolutionary when Jesus first taught it to his disciples. In the world it is the rich and powerful who rule. In God's Kingdom it is those with strong character that will be the greatest. We have riches that money cannot buy, but at times it is easy to forget and focus on the things in this world. May we each take time this week to turn our eyes to those things that are eternal, and may our hearts be changed forever.

Thank you Jesus for caring for us and teaching us from Your Word.

Learning what has value with you,

Pastor Carren


October 5th, 2014

crossWelcome to Rivergate Community Church! It is a great day to praise the Lord!

Today we will be celebrating the Lord's Supper during our service. It is a time that we look back and remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. All of our sins were carried on that cross, and we have the gift of forgiveness. As we share communion we are also looking forward to the time that Jesus will come again. We have the gift of hope because of Jesus. Please take some time this afternoon to quiet your hearts and look back over your life and all that Jesus has brought you through. We also look forward with confidence that Jesus goes with us through all that is to come.

As we leave this place today, may we go knowing that Jesus has been with us from the very beginning and will be with us to the end. He is faithful. We have much to celebrate and give thanks for in our personal lives and that as the family of Rivergate.

God is good... all the time...

Remembering with you,

Pastor Carren


September 28th, 2014

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to gather together to worship and praise the Lord! If you have a specific prayer request, please fill out the form in the pew and place in the offering plate.

Fall started this last week. Did you notice? I am always amazed at how quickly our weather here in Portland can change. Just last week it was almost 90 degrees and today I thought about turning the furnace on at our house when it was 46 degrees outside. I do love the fall season. The crispness we have in the air reminds us of the changing time of year. I also love all the colors that will unfold in the next few weeks.

The good news for us as Christians is that God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We can count on His faithfulness even when our world is changing all around us. May you take some time this week to enjoy the beauty of His creation and to also thank Him for His unchanging gifts of love, hope and peace.

Grateful for the Lord's blessings with you,

Pastor Carren


September 21st, 2014

sunflowerGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church! May your hearts be encouraged as you worship the Lord.

This is from Roy Lessin's Book - "From God's Heart To Yours", may it be a reminder of God's great love for us.

"The blessings of God come to you freely as His child.

God's blessings enrich you without your working to receive them. They bring no guilt or condemnation, no regrets or heaviness, no bondage or shame. God wants you to enjoy His blessings, to receive them with a thankful heart, and to use them for the highest good. They are gifts of His grace. He does not ‘balance them out’ with bad things to keep you from enjoying them too much!"

"The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22

Grateful for the Lord's blessings with you,

Pastor Carren


September 7th, 2014

mathewGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church! May your hearts be encouraged as you worship the Lord.

This is from Roy Lessin's book - "From God's Heart To Yours", may it be a reminder of God's great love for us.

"One of the great blessings of mercy is that it triumphs over judgment. Mercy delivers from the sin of revenge or the burden of ‘getting even.’ Mercy is extended, never deserved. Mercy is pity instead of condemnation, release instead of retaliation.

Mercy does not demand payment for the consequence of sin. Mercy is the pathway to pardon and the gateway to grace. Mercy is extending to others everything God has extended to you."

"Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

Grateful for mercy with you.

Pastor Carren


August 24, 2014

prayWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to you join us this afternoon.

What a great day it is to come and praise the Lord. It is days like this that I love being a pastor. We are having several baptisms today. It is a day to celebrate new life that comes to all of us as Christians. Whether you have known the Lord for decades or just given your life to Him, please take a few moments to thank Him for all that He has given to you.

On this day we thank the Lord for loving us so much that He gave His life for us. That is the greatest gift ever given. It is a great day to celebrate the hope, life and strength we have in the Lord.

Grateful for the greatest gift with you,

Pastor Carren


August 17, 2014

fountainWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon. This is from Roy Lessin's book, “From God's Heart To Yours”:

“God loves to surprise you with good things. Like a cooling rainstorm that suddenly appears on a hot summer's day, God's special blessings will come upon you in an unexpected moment.

He will turn an ordinary day or a routine event into a time of refreshing, a wellspring of joy, a celebration on praise.

He will overwhelm you with His love, assure you with His presence, and affirm you with His favor. He will not do it with a few drops or a tiny trickle, but with a full-fledged downpour.”

“I will make them and the places round them about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there will be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Grateful for the rains that come,

Pastor Carren


August 10, 2014

Water MossGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

I think today will qualify as hot in the weather book as it draws close to 100 degrees this afternoon. We went out early this morning to water the flowers and garden. I was moving a sprinkler in our side yard and had overlooked one plant. I almost missed it, but I turned my head and saw this one plant with dry ground all around it while all the others had pools of cool water surrounding them. I quickly set the sprinkler up to give it a long drink of water to keep it refreshed in this heat.

Sometimes in our spiritual lives we can be like that lonely plant. We can look around at others and they seem to be well watered and thriving, and we may wonder what is happening in our life. It is at those moments that we need to cry out to the Lord and ask for that Living Water that only He can give. It is the water that allows us to grow and put our roots down deep.

May we all be renewed and refreshed by the Living Water.

Being watered with you,

Pastor Carren


August 3, 2014

God is FaithfulWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

Several years ago my mom gave me a book called “From God's Heart To Yours” by Roy Lessin. It has provided great comfort and encouragement to my heart and strength for the day.

“How blessed are the lives of those who have a faithful friend, faithful parents, a faithful wife or husband, a faithful coworker, or a faithful brother or sister in Christ.

The faithful can be depended upon and their word can be trusted. The blessing of faithfulness is 'being there' at the time of need, 'standing there' at the time of uncertainty, 'remaining there' at the time of adversity.

It is being constant when things are changing, firm when things are lax, true when things are dishonest, steady when things are shaking.

It is being constant when things are changing, firm when things are lax, true when things are dishonest, steady when things are shaking.

“A faithful man shall abound with blessings.” Proverbs 28:29

Being faithful with you,

Pastor Carren


July 27, 2014

jesusFootprintWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon.

Last week we saw quite the change in our summer weather. We had rain and lots of it for 2 days – set a new record both days. As I looked out at the brown grass and shrubs that had withstood some hot days, it felt like they were all praising the Lord for the rain. It seemed they had their arms up to soak in all the water. Just when it seemed that they would have to endure more hot and dry days the rains came to bring refreshment and new life.

We can feel that same way in our spiritual life. We may be going through a time of testing or trials and it is like we are walking through the desert sands. At those moments when we feel like we can't go on or want to give up, may we instead cry out to the Lord. As we do, may He lead us to a place of rest and refreshment, just like the oasis in the desert.

Grateful for the rains that come,

Pastor Carren


July 20, 2014

sunWelcome to Rivergate Community Church!

Do you like surprises? I got a great one this last week. My niece and great niece called up and said that they were going to come down for a quick visit. They live in Texas and I had not seen them since last Christmas, and so it was delightful to get to spend a few hours visiting with them. We stayed up late into the night and then got up early the next day to cram as much time together as we could. It is at those moments that you realize that sleep isn't as important as getting to listen to the heart of one you love.

It is the same with the Lord. When we give Him time each day to listen to His Word and how it speaks into our hearts our days always go a bit better. We are encouraged, strengthened and renewed by spending that time with the Lord. It is always a sacrifice as our days are so filled with activities, but it is so worth it. It is the food that our spirit needs to sustain us through all the challenges that life can bring each day.

May we each give ourselves the gift of listening to God and His Word this week.

Listening with you,

Pastor Carren


July 13, 2014

familyGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is great to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

I got to spend some time the past couple of days with family. Since we don't get to see each other as often as we like it is a special treat to be together. We went down to Saturday Market yesterday for awhile. It has changed so much through the years. One thing we all wanted was to have an Elephant Ear. We walked around until we found the original stand that has been at the market since 1975, and then we sat down by the waterfront to eat.

In our hectic lives it was a great gift to sit and watch people and the river. We talked of loved ones who are gone now and they joy that little ones bring to our family. It is at those moments that we are reminded that it isn't doing that is so important, but being together is all that matters. May we each take time this week to reconnect with those we love and spend time together – in person, on the phone or the computer. Let them know how much they mean to you and just enjoy being with one another.

Treasuring others with you,

Pastor Carren



July 6, 2014

DriftwoodWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon.

I was sitting in a chair in my office at home this week. I looked down at my hands on the wooden arm of the chair. As I did I saw that part of the wood was worn from people sitting in it over the years. It is a chair that has been in my family since I was a young child. Over the years many of my family and friends sat in that chair and over time the wood has worn away. Someone may come into my office and see the chair and think it should be refinished, but they don't remember all the hands that have touched that chair through the years. All the memories that are represented by that weathered wood.

Most of the folks who sat in that chair are gone now, but they left their handprints on that wood and it has been changed by their touch. It is the same with our spiritual life. Over the years many people have touched our lives and we are forever changed by their influence. We also have been touched by the hand of God, and we are changed forever by His touch.

Grateful for all those who have touched our lives,

Pastor Carren



June 29, 2014

fire worksGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is great to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

It is so hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of June. This month seems to have flown by. We will be celebrating the 4th of July this week with our annual BBQ and picnic on the church lawn. This is a great opportunity to invite friends, neighbors and family to join with us. We will have some great food and fellowship with one another.

Many of us will also spend time selling fireworks to help raise funds to send kids to camp. We all know of adults that met the Lord at summer camp, so we make this a big priority for our church each year. Please be in prayer for our children and those in the community who will be going to camp this summer. We also ask that you be in prayer for Camp Arrah Wanna staff and volunteers who will give of themselves to make this a great summer for our kids.

As we celebrate our nation's freedom this week, may we also celebrate the freedom we have in Christ.

Celebrating with you,

Pastor Carren



June 22, 2014

Fire WorksWelcome this afternoon to Rivergate Community Church. May your heart be encouraged as we worship the Lord.

This week we will start selling fireworks. We use all the money to send local children to champ. This has been part of our focus in ministry for almost 20 years. Through the years we have sent several hundred children and youth to Camp Arrah Wanna. For our little church that has been pretty amazing. We are committed to providing an opportunity for children to learn how much God loves them. We are helping to plant seeds in hearts.

I ask you to start praying for this ministry and outreach of the church. We send children from the local community, many are not Christian, to camp each year. May those who come to buy fireworks see Jesus in us in the booth. I ask you to pray for safety and protection for everyone, and favor that we might be able to sell enough to help lots of local children and youth have a life changing experience.

Praying with you,

Pastor Carren



June 15, 2014

CloudsHappy Father's Day! On this day we take a moment to say thank you to the men. All of them have been father figures to someone along the way, and so we ask the Lord to strengthen and bless them.

Special celebrations can also be a time of sadness and struggle for some. If your heart is broken today we ask the Lord to bring comfort and peace. Some of us had outstanding men as our dad, and for that we are extremely grateful. We recognize that some never knew their birth father or he was not a loving and kind man, and for those we ask the Heavenly Father to surround you with loving arms.

For all the men who have come today we thank you for your life and ask the Lord to encourage your heart today. May you continue seeking the Lord for His wisdom and direction for each day.

No matter what kind of an earthly father we had or didn't have, we all have a Heavenly Father who loves us so very much. We have much to celebrate that He has done for us and for His Word to each of us.

Grateful for our Heavenly Father with you,

Pastor Carren


June 8, 2014

Pink RosesWelcome this afternoon to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

It is Rose Festival time in Portland. There have been three parades in the last week and lots of other celebrations. Visitors from around the world come to Portland each year to experience this event. From the world famous Rose Garden in Washington Park to the navy ships in the Willamette River there is a lot to see and experience. I remember going to the Grand Floral parade several times with my family. We would get up early to get a good spot and watch all the floats and marching bands go by.

As Christians we have reason to celebrate every day. Each morning when we awake we are grateful for the Lord's covering and protection over us. As we set out each day we know that we are following the Lord as He leads us and guides us. We are grateful for the provision we receive each and every day.

May we always remember all that the Lord has done for us and celebrate every day.

Remembering with you,

Pastor Carren


June 1, 2014

crossGood Afternoon. What a glorious day to come together to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I have been reading a small devotional book every morning. It has one page devoted to a past hero of the faith with excerpts from their writings. I thought today I would share a couple that spoke to my heart, and I pray that it will help prepare your hearts for worship.

George MacDonald wrote: “It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence. Complaint against God is far nearer to God that indifference about Him. It is by loving and not by being loved that one can come nearest to the soul of another.”

John Wesley wrote this classic called the Rule of Life: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, in all the lives you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

We thank you Lord for those who have gone before us to help show us the way. May our hearts come together to worship and praise your holy name.

Praising the Lord with you,

Pastor Carren



May 25, 2014

flowersHappy Memorial Day Weekend! We are glad you have come to share with us as we worship the Lord.

Remembering is a powerful gift the Lord has given to us. We remember all kinds of things – 2 plus 2 equals 4, Washington was our first President and all kinds of other facts. They help us navigate our days. We know that red light means stop, and a hot stove should be avoided. We remember the beautiful sunsets we have seen, and all the other wonders in creation.

Our memory is such a blessing in our lives. I have a poster in my room that says: “God gives us memories so we might have roses in December.” I love that saying. It gives us hope that life goes on inside each of us. Our loved ones that we have lost are always with us in our memories.

On this weekend we take time out of our busy schedules to remember all those who we have lost. Please take a moment to say a quiet thank you.

Remembering with you,

Pastor Carren



May 18, 2014

flowersGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you with us.

We have been celebrating the beauty in creation the past few weeks. As I write this I am looking out at rhododendrons in full bloom, and if I look in another direction I see the garden beds coming to life with little sprouts of green spinach and other vegetables sticking their heads out of the ground. What a glorious time is Spring. New life is all around us. We went to a garden store in North Portland and as we walked inside to pay I heard the chirping of little baby chicks. It reminded me of being a child and going with my dad in the spring to get seeds and plants for our garden and seeing the little chicks gathering under the warming light and chirping away.

Just as new life comes to the creation all around us, we also have new life in Jesus. The old has been put away and the new has come. We have the assurance through the death and resurrection of Jesus that we are forgiven and new life has been given to each of us. As we look at he beauty around us may we be reminded that there is a new beauty in each of us as well.

Celebrating new life with you,

Pastor Carren



May 11, 2014

Uncondiitonal LoveHappy Mother's Day! On this day we take a moment to honor our mothers. Some of us had the best kind of mom who loves, encourages and supports us. Others had women who struggled as a mom and were not loving and caring. It can be a difficult day for those who have lost their mom, and it is a day with lots of emotions for all of us.

We know that no matter what kind of a mother we had here on earth, we have a loving Heavenly Father who does care for us. We are told in Scripture that we are to honor our father and mother, and it comes with a promise, that it may go well with us. On this day, we stop to say a quiet thank you to the woman that was chosen to be our mother.

We are so grateful Lord that your love and care for us is unconditional. We can't do anything to earn it. We thank you for your love that has been poured out in each of our

We come together this day to worship and praise your holy name.

Praising the Lord with you,

Pastor Carren



May 4, 2014

flowersWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this first Sunday in May. It is a great day to come together to praise the Lord!

I remember when I was a child that my sister and I would pick flowers from our yard and put them on the neighbors doors on May 1st. We would ring the doorbell and then run away and watch to see their faces when they opened the door and saw the flowers. It is such a glorious time to year with all the colors and even the swift changes in the weather.

Through all the changes we have in our lives there is one constant, and that is the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We will have many changes in our days here on earth. The weather certainly changes, but our relationships also change. At times we can feel overwhelmed at all the changes we have been through. May we take time today to stop and remember that we know that through all the changes the Lord will be with us. In that thought we take great comfort.

Grateful for the unchanging God with you,

Pastor Carren



April 27, 2014

Jesus foot printWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon as we gather to worship the Lord.

Last week we celebrated Easter – the best day of the year! As I talked with folks this week it seemed like many were feeling a letdown. After some great experience in our lives we can sometimes have a dip in our mood as life settles back into a routine. Life is always coming at us with such a fast pace, and we can easily feel overwhelmed again.

May we be encouraged and remember to keep things in perspective. Jesus overcame the power of sin and death in his resurrection. We have the hope and promise that He is always with us. We have been given the Holy Spirit to give us strength to walk through whatever challenges may come. We have been given so much by the One who loves us more than anyone ever could. As you feel yourself slipping back into feelings of fear or anxiety, take a few minutes to remember all that Jesus has done for us, and that we are never alone. Our life, our hope and our strength are found in the Lord!

Praising the Lord with you,

Pastor Carren



April 20, 2014

risenHE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

I remember those declarations from my childhood when we were in church each year. It was the best day of the whole year. This was the day to celebrate what God has done. Jesus is no longer in the tomb. He has risen! That is what gives us hope as followers of Christ. We no longer are trapped by the power of sin and death. Jesus' death on the cross set us free, and the power of the resurrection lives in each one of us here this afternoon.

As a Christian this is the day that we take the time to celebrate that the tomb is empty. Jesus has triumphed over the power of Satan and sin and death. May your hearts be encouraged and filled with the power of the resurrection all year long.

We have a story to tell all those we meet. Jesus has risen from the dead!

Celebrating the resurrection with you,

Pastor Carren



April 13, 2014

palmsHosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” Those words were shouted as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. It was the culmination of his earthly ministry. As Jesus came closer to the city the people took coats off and spread them across the road and they waved leafy palm branches which they had cut from the fields.

It was quite a scene of honor and triumph for Jesus. I wonder what it would have felt and sounded like that day. The crowds were pushing in to get a closer look at Jesus who they had heard about. They had heard of his teaching and the wondrous miracles, and now they honored him with shouts of honor and praise. What would you have been doing had you been in Jerusalem that day?

Today is Palm Sunday which we set aside to remember that day and it marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day we celebrate that Jesus is our Lord. It is a time to reflect back over the last week of His life on earth and to prepare ourselves for Good Friday and then Easter service next Sunday.

May we each life our voices in joy and praise of our Lord Jesus Christ this afternoon in our worship service.

Shouting Hosanna with you,

Pastor Carren



April 6, 2014

last
It is our day to celebrate Communion of the Lord's Supper. We do this to look back and remember what Jesus said and did for us as He went to the cross, but we also do it to look forward to His coming again. We invite you to take some time before the service to think about all the Lord has done for you. With busy lives it is easy to forget the ways that He has strengthened your heart, renewed your hope, healed your body or stood with you through difficult days.

May each one of us give our hearts fully to serving the Lord wherever we travel in the week ahead. We are called to be His witnesses to the world around us. May we take the hope, strength and love that we have received and share it with all that we meet.

Grateful for the faithfulness of God with you,

Pastor Carren



March 30, 2014

rainWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this last Sunday in March.

Our outlook on our days and life depends a lot on our perspective. I was out running errands on Thursday. In case you don't remember, it was the day that Portland broke an 81 year record for the amount of rainfall in one day. It just poured rain all day long, and I got drenched at one point running from my car to the store. The television news crews were out interviewing folks about the weather. One woman said it didn't bother her at all. She said she was from Maine, and at home they were having an ice storm, so she was happy to only have to dodge raindrops.

Life is filled with unexpected happenings. It may be a rainstorm or some other event, but it can also be bad news about your health or the death of a loved one. It is at those times that our perspective as a Christian is vital. I heard someone speak at a loved ones funeral these words, which have always been a comfort and source of hope for me on the tough days. “I do not know why, but I know Who. And because I know Who I don't need to know why.”

Grateful for knowing Who with you,

Pastor Carren



March 23, 2014

Mt HoodGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church.

What a great day we have to come and worship the Lord. When the weather warms up so early in the year it is such a gift. Did you notice how people are out enjoying the warm sunshine? I flew back into Portland late yesterday afternoon, and I was able to see the majesty of the mountains, the green grass on the hills and the colors of spring breaking forth. I stopped to thank the Lord for the beauty all around.

We can sometimes take our blessings for granted. I encourage you to take some time today and reflect on all that the Lord has given to you. His love for us is amazing. He loved us so much that He came to earth to save us and give us the promise of eternal life. No matter what the weather is outside, or the problems we are facing, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ that reminds us to have hope. The son is always shining.

Grateful with you,

Pastor Carren



March 16, 2014

daisiesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you with us.

We were able to get outside this week and work in our yard. It was so wonderful to be out in the warm sunshine and get the yard looking so much better after the winter. One of the tools I use to weed our flower beds belonged to my grandmother. I still remember hearing my dad tell me about how she used it to weed the big garden she grew each year. I then watched as my mom used that same tool to weed her flower beds, and my dad would sit with it on his lap and sharpen it each year. As I held it in my hands I thought about how their hands touched that same handle. I looked down for a moment and realized that they were not so far away.

In our spiritual life we are following after others who have worked the ground before us. They have prayed for our city and the neighbors around us. They served those around this building through the years. They sat in the same pews where you are today. We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. May we take a moment to honor their memory, and remember that others will come after us. What will they remember about us?

Remembering with you,

Pastor Carren



March 9, 2014

sunsetGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. May your heart be encouraged as we praise and worship the Lord.

How is your heart today? Are you feeling overwhelmed? We were reading the paper this week and it mentioned that lack of sleep and stress were not good for your heart. I am not sure that the news is that earth shattering, but it seems to be accepted in our culture that stress is to be expected.

We know from the teaching of Jesus that there is another option. Jesus said to those following: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Sometimes we get so busy and stressed that we forget that Jesus wants us to come to Him. He wants to us to give Him all those things that we are trying to carry and weigh us down. May we take the time today to come to the cross with our burdens, our fears and our failures and lay them down. May we find the rest that only Jesus can give.

Finding rest in Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren



March 2, 2014

sunsetWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon as we gather to worship the Lord.

Our weather this winter has been one of great changes and unexpected swings in temperature. On Friday afternoon it was almost 60 degrees and we were out in our yard doing some trimming of limbs and rose bushes. The next day the temperature had dropped 20 degrees and we were running from the car to the store as it was so cold. We had an unusually dry January with forest fires in our state.

Life can be unexpected and bring changes not only in the weather. As Christians we can take great comfort in knowing that the Lord is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We can count on Him no matter what the weather may be doing outside our window. Please take a moment to quiet your heart this afternoon and thank the Lord for His faithfulness to you. Maybe it was some healing in your physical body, a phone call from a friend or a beautiful sunset that touched your heart. May we remember that God loves us, and that is something we can count on.

Grateful for the faithfulness of God with you,

Pastor Carren



February 23, 2014

prayGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. Do you ever listen to someone else when they pray? It is a great way to really understand the heart of that person. I think we all know that it is important to pray, but it seems like it is something that we are always trying to fit into our busy schedules.

So, what can you do? You just have to make it a priority and put it in your schedule. Several months ago the ministry leaders of North Portland decided that we needed to increase our time of praying together from once a month to once a week. We gather together every Thursday afternoon from 1:00 until 2:00 PM for prayer. We take the entire time to lift up the needs of North Portland, and to pray together before the Lord. It has been such a great blessing to kneel together and lift up our voices in prayer. We just had to decide to stop talking about needing to pray more and pick a time and start.

I encourage each one of you to find a time that you can pray with someone else each week. Even if you have to do it over the phone, but there is something special that happens when two or more are gathered together in Jesus' name.

Praying together with you,

Pastor Carren



February 16, 2014

pineconesWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to be in the House of the Lord!

We have a clipping of a cartoon of “Dennis the Menace” on our refrigerator. It shows Dennis and his friend Joey looking out a window at all the snow coming down. The captions says: “God NEVER goofs Joey. He just likes to surprise people once in awhile.” I thought of that last week as I watched the snow piling up in our yard. After the warm and mild January weather we had in was a big surprising to find ourselves watching it snow for 4 days in Portland in February.

We did not have to go out in the snow, so it was a wonderful gift to watch how life slowed down and there was a calmness that settled on the whole area. It forced us to focus on things other than work or all the busyness of our lives. I watched the snow change the landscape. It was light all night long. There is a wonderful crunching sound that you hear when all is quiet and you can hear your footsteps in the snow. Each day I could feel my body resting more and more and my spirit was being fed.

May the gift of the snow and a slower pace of life guide us as we go forward.

Slowing down with you,

Pastor Carren



February 9, 2014

- Church canceled due to snow



February 2, 2014

Sun TreeWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us this afternoon as we gather to worship the Lord.

What a beautiful day we are having. In our busy lives it is easy to miss all that is going on around us. I sat down on our couch early this morning. The sun was just clearing the trees next to us and suddenly those rays of sunshine came through the window and began to warm my arm. Even though it was only 30 degrees outside it was getting warmer and warmer in our living room. Later on in the day I sat and watched one of our neighborhood squirrels in the back yard. I watched as they searched through the dirt and flower beds looking for something to eat. Suddenly, they found a seed and sat up and enjoyed the bit.

As I watched I thought about how we get so focused on our schedules and going from one thing to the next that we can miss the beauty all around us. Even on a cold winter morning there was life and light that God created for us to enjoy. I pray that each one of us will give ourselves the gift of sitting still for awhile this week – look and listen – to what the Lord has given to us. And as you sit there may your hearts be filled with joy.

Praising the Lord with you,

Pastor Carren



January 26, 2014

crossWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us for worship.

After our worship service today we will have a family dinner followed by our Annual Meeting. We hold this meeting every year and it is a time to look back over the previous year to see how the Lord led us, and all the different ministries that we shared. As I sat down to write about the various ways we impacted the North Portland community it was amazing to see how the Lord us in 2013. We helped at a free medical clinic and fed those society tries to ignore, and we even washed soccer uniforms for two of the local schools. Thank you to all who gave of their time and talent to serve the Lord and North Portland.

The other part of our day is to look ahead. What is the Lord asking us to do in 2014? Where does He want us to serve? Are there needs not being met? How are we growing in our faith? I am honored to serve with each one of you. May we give ourselves to the Lord without hesitation, and continue on this exciting adventure.

Humbled to serve with you,

Pastor Carren



January 19, 2014

fogWelcome to Rivergate Community Church. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

It has been so foggy this past week. One day it had been nice and sunny out in Beaverton, where we live, and we started driving to Portland. As we got closer to town we could see this layer of fog covering the city. It was the most amazing sight. In the rear view mirror we had blue sky and sunshine and up ahead was this gray layer of thick fog. As we got into town it seemed the fog got thicker and thicker. By the time we left to go home it was dark and extremely difficult to see. As we drove up the hill we noticed the fog lifted and as we got closer to home it disappeared.

In our spiritual life we can face dense fog when we try to find our way. We can't see which way the road is going and we can easily get lost or face dangerous situations. With Jesus as our guide we find that His light drives back the fog and will light our way.

May we follow the path where the Lord is guiding us.

Following Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren



January 12, 2014

pineconesGood Afternoon and welcome to Rivergate Community Church. It is a great day to come and worship the Lord.

Did the storm keep you awake Friday night? The news had reported that it would hit around 2:00 AM, and they were right. The sound of the wind whipping through the trees near our house woke me up. They had predicted that limbs would come down and power might be lost. As I walked around our house I asked for the Lord to protect all of us.

Then I had a decision to make -what should I do? I thought about sitting up and watching the wind blow and see if any limbs came down. I realized that even if they did break off there was nothing I could do to stop them. It is at moments like this when things are going on that are beyond our power that we have to decide what to do. I could have stayed up and worried and lost a night's sleep. I decided that I would trust the Lord. No matter what happened, and so I went back to bed. During the night the storm continued to blow, but I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

Trusting the Lord is a decision we have to make on a daily basis. On the clear and sunny days it is much easier, but He wants us to trust Him when the storms of life beat against us. We can find shelter in His loving arms.

Trusting Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren



January 5, 2014

epiphanyWelcome to Rivergate Community Church on this first Sunday of 2014. We are happy to have you join us as we worship the Lord.

Today we celebrate Epiphany – which is January 6th – and it marks the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. This follows the 12 days of Christmas that started at sundown on Christmas Eve. We invite you to take a moment before the service to reflect on the journey that they took to find Jesus, and as they found him, they knelt down and worshiped him as they presented their gifts to the King of Kings. What gift do you bring?

As we begin a new year, may our hearts be tender to the Lord. May we let go of any bitterness or resentment. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything that you need to release to the Lord before we take communion. May we take some time to give those things to the Lord that are not healthy for our body or spirit. May we look for ways to come together and not apart.

We are excited about a new year, Lord, and we give ourselves to you. Use us for your glory.

Giving myself to Jesus with you,

Pastor Carren