Looking unto Jesus — chapter by chapter

Pastor Jim Courson

My greatest privilege and delight is that of what John says— “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.” (3rd John 4). There is no greater truth than the Word of God and the truth of Jesus found within. As a pastor of this very dear flock my great responsibility is to feed the flock the truth found in God’s Word.  Such truth ought always to lead us to fix our eyes upon Jesus. Pray for me and us in that we might “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever.”
I’ve been privileged to grow up and continue under pastors who were committed to the solid feeding of God’s flock. The three pastor’s who have had the greatest influence upon me are Chuck Smith, Chuck Swindoll and foremost my dear brother Jon. As a young man, they all had influence upon me, and they continue to do so. I still glean greatly from their solid, uncompromised, teaching of the Word. All three have demonstrated that the greatest gift a pastor can give to the church is the consistent, solid feeding of God’s Word to God’s people. 
I thank my God who has allowed me the great joy of over three decades of marriage to my lovely wife. Julie loves the Lord and has been faithfully and lovingly by my side as an encourager and example. We’ve had the privilege of serving together in the unique locations of Papua New Guinea, rural Mexico and here in Oregon. In each realizing the wonderful grace of God. He has blessed us with three kids, their spouses and six grandchildren. Truly God is good!

Matt Cain

Following their first Passover feast in the promise land, Israel’s new leader Joshua approaches the fortified city of Jericho. All of a sudden, standing before him, is Jesus Christ!

… and Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped (Joshua 5:13b-14a).

I love that! Jesus didn’t respond to the question at hand. He said “No… I have now come“. And that changed everything for Joshua. This passage illustrates why I love being a worship leader. We encounter Him, and He reorients us. We bring our question, but sometimes He needs to change the topic. He knows our needs. He knows our thoughts, and He knows how deceitful our hearts can be. I have a passion for serving the local church in this way: to regularly lead others into a real encounter with our Living God.

Through lyrics, melodies, instruments, and singing? Yes! Through the living and powerful Word being taught? Yes! Through hospital visits, Bible study groups, and in spiritual fellowship? Yes, yes, and yes!

I have been influenced by many pastors, bible teachers, professors, and men and women of God, but the three pastors who have had the biggest influence on me are Pastor Dale Cundall, who faithfully preached the Word of God to my soul from infancy and on into young adulthood. Pastor Matthew Casey, who helped me discover and cultivate my gifts and calling as a worship leader and who modeled a deep and genuine love for the Word. And my lead Pastor Jim Courson, who is the best pastoral shepherd I know. Those who have influenced these men, influence me to this day. 

I am blessed to be married to a beautiful, graceful, wise, and faithful wife. We have been married since 2005, and after waiting many years for the blessing of children, God has given us two stunning children. We thank the Lord for how faithful He has been to us, how He doesn’t waste a season, trial, or circumstance to bring about good in His good time.

Micah Routon

Growing up in Newberg Oregon, I often wondered what life was like in other places. So, when God opened doors for me to see what He was doing around the world (shortly after graduating from George Fox University) with One Mission Society (OMS), I jumped on the opportunity. What I thought would last only a short time stretched into over 20 years. The last 16 of those years my wonderful wife Marla and I have been working in church planting in Brazil with our growing family. Today, we have three daughters and are happy once again to call Newberg our home.

Though my wife and I are from the Pacific Northwest, we have been greatly influenced by some of the saints and mentors that we have walked with throughout the country and around the world. We have come to love and appreciate the Word of God in its perfection, reliability and relevancy to everyday life, regardless of the culture we are immersed in. I consider it a great privilege and responsibility to teach the Word and to walk with people through different seasons of life.

A verse that has been special to me is Isaiah 43:19,

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?”

I like it because it speaks of God’s dynamism; that He is active, even if we don’t perceive it. Our responsibility and privilege is to be sensitive to what He is doing and to walk in step with Him.