2609 Larch Way Lynnwood, WA 98036 | Sunday Services at 10am

Your REFUGE Weekly 7-1: GOD, then country

As Kathryn and I (or at least our house, “Harlemanor”) have started to become known in the neighborhood as the “holiday decoration house” we decided to add Independence Day to the annual rotation. Decorations were sparse and selling out, but we managed a fair freshman effort.

Frankly, I am SO grateful to be an American in the time and place that God placed me: in many practical ways, it’s one of the best times and places to be alive in terms of health, hygiene, government, economy, freedom, security, etc. Naturally, we can always see room for improvements and many things that aren’t right… but measured against the living conditions of most people around the world and certainly stretching back throughout all recorded history, it’s hard to argue I’m not better off than most. Some KINGS did not live with the luxuries my wife and I have in what many would consider our meager home.

At the same time, the last few years have been fraught with a comingling of Christendom, conservativism, political parties, nationalism, and more… and sometimes I see the same fervency about our earthly citizenship as I see in regard to our primary citizenship… as ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes I fear I see our national identity and pride as Americans supplanting what should be our primary identity as part of God’s kingdom! I always have to remember that I am grateful for my earthly citizenship as an American, and I will do my part to honor and respect my country and walk as scripture would instruct me… but as Christians, we are ultimately MORE than Americans. And what we should be MOST zealous for is the advance of God’s kingdom and the good news of the gospel.

The last few years have seen a lot of critique of the “founding fathers” of our country, and I spent a little time thinking not about THEM so much as my OWN father, Jerry Harleman. My dad was FAR from perfect, but at a base level he desired to imitate God, and showed me an (admittedly imperfect) representation of our Father in heaven. If you asked me where he fell short, I could probably spend a LOT of time detailing that… but if you asked me where he did it well, I could spend equal – or MORE =- time focusing on how he did this in ways that have helped me immensely in terms of relating to God our Father. The question is: WHICH will I CHOOSE as my focus… where my father fell SHORT, or where he did well and inspired me?

I think the same applies to the founding fathers – and the country – in which we find ourselves today. We can focus this weekend on where things fall short, on all the imperfections and problems, historically or presently… or we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude about where we ARE at in terms of freedom and virtue, and thank our Father in heaven for what is FAR less than the kingdom to come, but SO much more than many have ever experienced and enjoyed. May our attitude be one of thankfulness this weekend, not blind to existing problems but thankful for so many ways we have been blessed.

As many of you know, last week brought some unexpected obstacles and so THIS week’s sermon will be what was planned for last week! I’ll be teaching from Exodus on The Bronze Altar and how it relates to God’s overarching story and the gospel. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we start Independence Day together celebrating first and foremost the freedom we have in Jesus Christ!

On a related 4th of July note, PRAY for our fireworks fundraiser team as they finish up things this weekend!
Or better yet, stop by and support the endeavor!

And don’t forget, shop and bring donations for the Nourishing Network this Sunday!  Celebrate Independence Day with the freedom to serve and give to others. We know that’s the heart of the gospel and our salvation; we have been freed from sin to be servants of God, loving Him and our neighbor as ourselves. 

James Harleman
Pastor, Refuge Church

Grace and peace,
James Harleman
Pastor, Refuge Church

THIS SUNDAY – Exodus 27:1-8: The Bronze Altar
– 9:30am On-site Prayer in Sanctuary
– 10am On site service (NOTE: Children’s Ministry is offered)
– 10am Virtual service can be accessed through our YouTube Page: youtube.com/c/RefugeChurch 



Refuge Youth:  1st & 3rd Sundays
11:30am-12:30pm  Fellowship Hall
Email Ben:  bencharleskeller@gmail.com

Young Adults: Sundays 6:45pm
Email info@findrefuge.com


Men’s Breakfast (virtual):  7-8:15am Via Zoom
Email James:  james@findrefuge.com

Weekly Bible Study – GENESIS (virtual) 6:30- 8:30pm Via Zoom
Email Bev:  beverlycarter226@gmail.com


Men’s Happy Hour (LIVE on location – email for directions):  5:30-6:45pm 
Email James:  james@findrefuge.com


Heartbeat REFIT Tuesday/Thursday – email cynthiaksanders@comcast.net 

Gung Fu (Martial Arts) Classes midweek as well – email gonzalessteve@hotmail.com