Randy's Reflections
March 2, 2017, 5:37 PM

Lenten Word of the Day for March 2: Courage


This isn't always the first word that pops into my head when I think of being a Christian. Yet to truly follow the ways and words of Jesus takes a certain amount of courage. It means standing up for what is right even when it isn't popular. It means being faithful when you are with non-Christians as much as when you are with other Christians. It means listening when all you want to do is convince someone you are right. It means seeking to grow even when the path is difficult. But the good thing is God will be with us always, no matter what.


God, sometimes, I am overwhelmed by fear, fearful of change, fearful of others, fearful of the unknown. In those times, grant me courage, a courage not borne out of fear, but courage that is guided by your wisdom, gifted with your presence, and grounded in your calling. Amen.


Blessings to you,

Pastor Randy

March 2, 2017, 12:00 AM

Lenten Word of the Day for March 1: Community

Last year I shared a new word with you every day with an accompaying short reflection. For some of you it was helpful as you walked through Lent towards our great celebration on Easter. This year I found a book by the former Moderator of the 2008 General Assembly of the (PCUSA) Bruce Reyes-Chow, who is a member of our Presbytery. I will use words from his 40 Days, 40 Prayers, 40 Words book to stimulate our spiritual thinking during this Lenten Season.


Last Sunday I mentioned three subject areas which were referred to most in our survey question "What is going well at JKPC?" The one area I didn't say, which was the most frequently mentioned, was Fellowship or our emphasis on Community. This is a hallmark of our church family. This is what draws people to JKPC, that is our friendly openness to each other, be it new friends or long time companions. How can we be a better welcoming community so those who don't have a place so they can find a home in our midst? Let's seek new ways we can welcome and care for anyone who walks on to our campus at JKPC.

When I live believing my life is the only life that matters, God, remind me that the faces of others reflect your face, the struggles of others bring your liberation to my life, and the kindness of others speaks your grace into my soul. Amen.


Peace to you,

Pastor Randy

March 1, 2017, 1:00 PM

Pastor Randy's March Reflection

What makes these forty days (minus Sundays) different from any other forty days of the year? Our faith tradition calls this time period Lent. It is a time to reflect on our mortality and consider what changes we think God would like us to make in order to become the person he has called us to be. People often give up something or fast during Lent.


Fasting can help people focus on their spiritual health. Whenever they have an inclination for that item from which they wish to abstain, they instead turn their attention to prayer, reading the Bible, or spending time serving others – activities that promote spiritual well-being and growth.


Some fast from chocolate, which wouldn’t be my choice, or other candy, or they may fast from soft drinks. This helps them to seek greater physical health as well as spiritual health. Some folks have even fasted from using their electronic devices as often, or from a certain App like “Words with Friends.”


Other people add something that will help them focus on their spiritual life. They may try to pray every morning and evening. They may try to have a moment of silence every day for five minutes, just to listen for God speaking to them. They may read through one of the gospels over the forty day period. Last year I sent out a “daily word” with a short reflection for people to use during the Lenten season.


This forty day time period begins with an Ash Wednesday service. The service is to help us kick off this reflection period. The service is a more contemplative service than usual. In the service we will have a time of confession, read scripture, and hear a meditation. Toward the end of the service we will have a time to receive ashes either on our forehead or on our hand.


Through this Lenten period, over the next six weeks (minus Sundays), we will “Travel with Jesus” as he goes through the wilderness, heals the infirm, proclaims the kingdom, calms the storm, welcomes sinners, outcasts, and the poor, and enters Jerusalem the final week of his life.


I am looking forward to sharing with you these journeys of Jesus from mountains to valleys to walking by the sea. He comes not to judge us, but to encourage us and challenge us to care for our spiritual lives that we may look forward to life in his kingdom here on earth as well as his kingdom to come.


Blessings this Lenten Season,

Pastor Randy