Randy's Reflections
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May 2, 2016, 12:00 AM

Pastor Randy's May Reflection


Vitamins are good for you, right?

The best medicine is preventive medicine. Yet for some reason I find it more of a chore than a privilege to take my vitamins, work out, and eat healthily. Don’t get me wrong, I like not being sick, I love reffing soccer, and I seem to have more energy when I eat healthy food at appropriate intervals. But sometimes I get tired of being sure to take those vitamins, of making time to work out so I can run up and down a soccer field, and of planning my food intake so it is timely, well-balanced, and nutritious.

So it is with our faith walk sometimes. We believe in the spiritual side of things, and we know there are ways in which we can make our souls more healthy. We also know that daily exercise of faith practices will benefit us not only that day, but our whole journey through. It is especially in times of struggle or great joy that we notice how important our faith really is. So why do we resist taking just a few short moments in our day to pray, read scripture, and spend time with other believers?

I think we feel the pressure to get things done. There are so many things that seem
urgent for us to take care of. It is hard to spend time on activities that don’t show tangible results – like prayer, reading the Bible, or  spending time with people. We feel like we aren’t really doing something significant unless we have a paycheck or a product or praise from others to show for it. Yet faith, hope, and love are not things we can hold in our hands. They are not something that we can hang on a wall or put in a safe, but they do bring us a sense of assurance, peace and joy.

So, even though it is hard to take the time to do these things, both healthy living things and healthy spiritual things, they will bring us a sense of contentment and satisfaction. Martin Luther is famous for commenting, "I have so much to do today that I'm going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.”

I am not suggesting we spend three hours in prayer every day, but I think as we pray we can certainly ask God to make us aware of those things we need to do, as well as those we need to just let go. We can ask God to help us carve out time to read His Word and to put on our hearts anyone we should call this week to check on.“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right side of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1b-3.

Running (slowly) with you,

Pastor Randy

 




April 20, 2016, 12:17 PM

Afterword "Who's in charge here?"


So this last week I had a conversation with a pastor friend of mine who is from a different country. He said one of the concepts of faith not emphasized in his country is the concept of “The Sovereignty of God.” Being here he has realized that it is God who is control not he. It of course causes some concern when bad things happen, but it brings a sense of peace when there is a bump in the road, knowing God wants to partner with you in life.

    Preparing for my message this week I spent a lot of time reading in Isaiah. The passage I preached on was Isaiah 40: 1-2. This passage scholars think was written as the people are coming back from Babylon to rebuild their capital city, Jerusalem, and their temple, the house of God, as well as securing and working their own land.

    I had often thought that the reason Israel was taken into captivity was to punish them for their sin, specifically idolatry. Idolatry really means when you don’t place God first in your worship life. Yet if we truly think God is sovereign then he has a purpose for sending the Israelites into exile. It was not their destination, but it was only a detour. It was an opportunity to make a u-turn and begin again to worship the one, and only one, who deserves to be worshiped.

    It is true that we have consequences to our actions. If our actions result in bad consequences it is not God’s fault, but God can use those consequences to bring us back to him. The Israelites never lost their chosen status. The Israelites never lost God’s love for them. The Israelites never were abandoned by God, and nor are we.

    When you feel like you have gone down the wrong road, know that God still loves you. Know that God still wants to be your God. Know that God will help you make a u-turn and get you back on the best road you can walk.

    Emerson says it well, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” But I would add, and God wants to companion with you on this journey. Just give him a chance.

    Blessings,

    Pastor Randy




April 4, 2016, 9:26 AM

Afterword


Sometimes I have other thoughts after preaching on Sunday. I think of things I should have said or I am asked questions about what I meant when I said something. So I thought I would share with you a word the day after I spoke.

    Yesterday I mentioned that “Jesus wants us to break his body,” as I was officiating at communion. Does this mean Jesus wants us to beat him or cause his bones to be broken? No, I was trying to say that Jesus, who had longed for the Last Supper with his disciples (Luke 22:15), wanted them to share the symbol of his sacrifice with each other.

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:16b, “And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” Jesus longs for us to participate with others in the body of Christ. Our faith is not a solitaire faith. Communion was a new sacrament which offered an opportunity for believers to share their faith with each other.

    Secondly, I think I was trying to convey that Jesus wants us to admit that we are the ones who put him on the cross. It was not just the Jewish leaders, it was not just the Romans, it was not just the governmental authorities, but by our sin we made it necessary for Jesus to be crucified, to be the sacrifice in order for us to be reconciled or at peace with God.

    Jesus longs for us to admit that we need his offer of redemption so we may abide with him as he abides with God. This is an opportunity to be reconnected to God.

    I appreciate those that asked me about this phrase I used yesterday, it helps me clarify my thinking as well as hopefully you can be encouraged to grow in new ways in your faith.

    Hoping to continue the dialogue as we grow into new ways of understanding in our faith through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the sharing of the body.

 

    Walking with you,

 

    Pastor Randy


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