Randy's Reflections
October 1, 2016, 10:21 AM

Pastor Randy's October Reflection


Sing to the Lord a new song,Image result for fall picture pumpkin

for he has done marvelous things.    Psalm 98:1

 

I have always liked the fall weather, the briskness of the early mornings and early evenings, the changing of the colors on the trees, and the harvesting of pumpkins and squash for decorations and special meals. I have to admit that I miss having four seasons in the year. Though having two seasons makes for greater flexibility to go outdoors, four seasons can be very satisfying.

One reason I like the four seasons is when the snow comes we have to rest from being productive all the time. We have to adjust our schedule and take longer to get to work and spend less time outside, which means we can spend more time around the house and perhaps even just sit a bit more. We have time to reflect and think about any changes we would like to make in our life, maybe even ask God what changes we should make.

Since we only have two seasons in the Bay Area, we have to carve out a section of our day for taking time to listen to the world outside of us, the world within us, even to listen to God who is in our midst. This is an important part of growing our spiritual side. If we don’t take time to listen to our bodies, our friends, our world and God, we will miss some special opportunities to experience the world God made because of the extreme flurry activities in which we are involved.

I mentioned last week that people in our nation believe there is a spiritual side to our lives, 95% of the people believe that, but most don’t feel compelled to be connected to a church. Only about 50% attend church more than three times a year. There are a lot of good reasons for that feeling, but what they are missing are some very special opportunities to hear God. God is not only evident in our creation around us, but also in the people we meet and the events in which we participate.

Fall can be a great time to grow in our awareness of the spiritual side of life. It can be a great time to not only be aware, but to stretch the spiritual side of our life by trying new things. We have some great opportunities happening at JKPC. ROCK, for kindergarten through fifth grade, is a great time on Sunday afternoons for the younger kids to experience God. We also have youth groups, both Middle School and High School. The new Adult Education class will help you explore the spiritual resources available for growing in your faith, just to mention some of the opportunities we offer currently.

Another exciting part of JKPC are the new people attending worship. Now is the time to make some new friends. Now is the time to participate in new activities at church. Now is the time to stretch yourself in life-with-God opportunities. Chose one new God-thing to do this fall. 

Take advantage of something new this fall. Even if we only have two seasons, this can be a new season for you and your spiritual growth. This can be a season of new commitment to some new friends. This can be a new commitment to become the person God created you to be. Let us celebrate together as we become more aware of God around us and God in our midst as we live out a new season in our lives.

New Fall Blessings to you,

 

Pastor Randy

 

 




September 1, 2016, 12:00 AM

Pastor Randy's September Reflection


“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.”                                 Matthew 5: 13

 

In the staff meeting today we talked about what a great summer of activities and worship it has been, but we are all anxious to get back to a regular routine. It was a wonderful worship celebration in June when we acknowledged new leadership for the coming year, four new elders and four new deacons. Vacation Bible School, as always, was fantastic with over 220 kids and 100, or so, volunteers. The set design was amazing, the songs were great and we had an extravagant worship celebration at the end of July. The quick turn around for the staff and participants the very next week to head off to Mexico to build a house supervised by Amor was mind boggling, but very satisfying. Meanwhile, five from our church spent over ten days in South Africa serving with Amor by building relationships and houses in 40-50 degree weather. The worship service on the 21st of August with slides, dialogue, and videos about both mission trips was fabulous.

So now we head into the fall, to catch our breath, really? Well actually, we have some great things planned for fall and please keep attuned to the newsletters, bulletin announcements  and Wednesday updates to hear about them. But the fall is also a time to re-establish, or establish, for the first time, some routines to help us grow in our Christian faith.

Over the summer we explored listening. We began with “The One Who Listens,” that is God listening to us; this is evidenced in Exodus when God hears his chosen peopled being oppressed. Through the rest of the summer we looked at listening to God, scripture, creation, others and as a life practice. This fall I want us to move ahead in our faith by exploring the “Primary Practices” of the followers of Jesus.

I have divided these practices into four categories; worship, discipleship, community life, and service. They could also be categorized as “Loving God,” most evidenced in worship. “Listening to God” as we seek to grow in our faith by following God’s guidance for us. “Listening to Others,” worked out most effectively by participating in community life. Finally, “Loving Others” as we live out our faith in service.

It is one thing to say we believe in Jesus it is another to live it out. It is one thing to give lip service, it is another to give hand and foot service. True commitment is visible when we show we have a heart for service, a heart which is filled with God’s love poured out to the world around us.

So as we seek to find a routine for this fall, let’s be sure it includes faith practices; let’s be sure to spend time in worship each week; listen to God in prayer and scripture as we seek his guidance for our lives. Let us not isolate ourselves, but connect and interact with other believers around us. Finally, let us look for ways we can serve the community in which we live on a weekly basis.

This is how we maintain, or recover, our saltiness. Let us seek to become the people God has called us to be by practicing the primary ways God has given us to become the salt of the earth.

Seeking to be salty with you,

Pastor Randy McGrady-Beach

 




July 20, 2016, 12:49 PM

Afterword "Bestsellers"



So on Sunday I mentioned that the "Harry Potter" books have sold more than 450 million copies since its first publication in 1997. What I forgot to mention is that though this is an amazing number of books sold which provide entertainment for millions of people, in the USA the Bible sells about 40 million copies a year. So that would mean in that same period of time 800 million Bibles were sold, and that is in the USA alone. Also a recent survey indicates that 88 percent of the homes in the USA have a bible.

So even though we are influenced throughout the world by the "Harry Potter" written word, the Bible, God's written word, has an even greater influence. This is a good thing since the Potter books are for entertainment, where as the bible helps us reconnect to the author of this world and gives us not only encouragement and direction, but insight to the workings of the entire Universe.

So let us not neglect in reading the inspired words of God as we traverse this world.

Blessings and happy reading to you,

Pastor Randy