Randy's Reflections
April 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

Pastor Randy's April Reflection

Unbelievable!! Absolutely unbelievable! Are these words of disbelief or are they words that make a believer out of us? What makes us a believer in someone or something? Is it indisputable evidence or is it a feeling? Is it something that we experience with one or more of our five senses or is it something that we just sense, we feel with our heart?

Recently I read a book called Why I Left / Why I Stayed by Tony Campolo & Bart Campolo. Tony is a well-known evangelist and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, while Bart is a community builder, counselor, and humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California. Oh, by the way, Bart is also Tony’s son.

On Thanksgiving evening in 2014 Bart told his dad that he no longer believed in God. Bart had been a social action advocate accompanying his father and, on his own, proclaiming Jesus as Lord for years. Then he had a traumatic bike accident and in the hours of recuperation he rethought his belief system. After further study he decided two things: first, that “our judgments and our desires are largely controlled by the release and absorption of certain chemicals in our brains in ways our conscious selves only vaguely understand. . . (therefore) none of us really chooses what we believe.” Secondly, there is no supernatural realm. We are born, we live, and we die, end of story. These are the main reasons for leaving his faith in Jesus.

Tony Campolo continues to believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Along with Tony, I also believe that we can’t dismiss the supernatural, nor do I agree we have no free will to make choices; we are not just governed by our physiological make up.

So, how do we respond to the two major concerns Bart has expressed? What can we say that would affirm our faith in a man, who was also God, who died, rose, and lives forever?

First, Bart says that he still believes in the values he grew up with, for he is still an advocate for social reform, but that sounds like a choice, not because a higher authority told him to. I would respond saying, “It sounds like you have made a choice and that choice may sometimes cause you inconvenience or even hardship. That choice also goes against any logical reason to help those who are in need instead of helping yourself.”

Secondly, for me, there have been too many times in my life when something unexplainable happens that is just unbelievable, except that I believe God orchestrated the assistance I needed.

Just last night we had an emergency at the church which required a quick response. It “just so happened” that one of our members, who is a nurse, was in the office and she jumped into the situation immediately. Another member called 911, remembering to use a land line for tracking purposes, and another member accompanied the person in need to the hospital. All these people were available and used their expertise to intervene in what at the time was a traumatic event. I believe that God intervened in this situation through his followers.

I feel for Tony Campolo as he seeks to remain in dialogue with his son, respecting his “choices” and praying that a supernatural intervention will occur. Easter is our celebration which acknowledges these two things. One, we can choose to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and, two, there was a supernatural event which caused him to be raised from the dead.

Let us be grateful for the great cloud of witnesses that share their belief with us and for God’s participation in our life when something unbelievable happens. Let us keep the faith, run the race, and celebrate the victory over death that Jesus accomplished.

To God be the glory,

                      Pastor Randy


March 31, 2017, 11:52 AM

Lenten Word of the Day for March 31: Security


All of us want to be secure. All of us want to be safe. Those are important things, but when they become our only guide in life we will miss the opportunity to expand our horizons, to grow in new relationships, and to interact with God's creation. Let us not let fear be our guide, but let us be willing to move out of our comfort zone to live life to the full.

Lord, we live with suspicion. We build walls, we lock doors, we hunker down, we hoard our resources, we live in fear. In our yearning for safety and security, remind us that you call us to go out into the world and not to protect ourselves from it. Amen.

March 31, 2017, 10:19 AM

Lenten Word of the Day for March 30:Power


What is so great about power is that it gives us a sense of confidence that we can control our world. Yet we can not control the world around us. We don't have the knowledge, the capacity, and the foresight to function without guidance. We need to admit we are powerless without God's direction in our life. Let's first learn to listen and then to act using God as our mentor in the use of all our resources, including those which give us power.

Lord, we have a warped view of your power. We think power is only about strength and we hope that power is used against our enemies. Yet true power is not ours to wield. Your power is liberation, Your power is freedom, Your power is creation. Help us to partner with you to become a conduit of your power of love for the redemption of this world. Amen.