Randy's Reflections
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November 28, 2015, 6:43 PM

Randy's Reflections "Popcorn and Gasoline, a great combination"

Raw popcorn and gasoline were part and parcel of my two days after Thanksgiving revelation. Yes, God uses strange ways to teach us things we thought we had learned so long ago, but need to have reminded to us again.

    One thing I have learned over the years is that a garbage disposal is not the ultimate composting machine. More than once I have found out that that metal cylinder under the sink has as sensitive a stomach as I do. It doesn’t like chicken bones, artichokes, or even mandarin orange peels.

    So when I had to clean our hummingbird feeder I knew that after I was done with the fast acting popcorn I would have to be careful not to pour it down the drain. You see Joan taught me that to clean that funky shaped hummingbird feeder you had to put some popcorn in the container and put in a small amount of soapy water. You then shake it up and the popcorn rubs against the inside of the glass container using the detergent to clean off any mold in the feeder.

    Ot course when you are done you have to pour out the popcorn and the liquid at the same time. So I decided I would pour it into a strainer sitting over the drain. It was working perfectly until I hit the strainer when reaching for the bottom of the feeder. It flipped the strainer upside down and the kernels of popcorn which had been trapped from entering the drain now made their escape quickly down that drain.

    What were the odds of that happening? I couldn’t have done that intentionally if I tried. I remembered, at that moment, that this world is a world of chaos and it is God who brings order to it. So those things that we complain about going wrong actually are what should be expected to happen.

    With that in mind I recovered more quickly from such a traumatic event and besides not all the kernels went down the drain, plus the drain they went down was not the one with the garbage disposal, yeah!

    Next project was to go to work in my truck. I had been driving it around while the gauge indicated empty for a couple of days now. Since there was still frost on the windows I decided to warm up the truck a bit. It started just fine, but then coughed and died. I tried to start it again and realized, yes, it was out of gas. I just happened to have some gas in a container for our lawnmower and I gave thanks that all that driving around, especially on the freeway to take and pick up Joan for work, had not be interrupted by running out of gas.

    So, as I said, we need to remember chaos is typical in our world today, but God will bring order, and when good things happen we need to remember to give thanks. So my tank is now full and the hummingbird feeder is hanging from the eaves with new food.

    God is good and life continues on,

    Thankful for goodness and God, with you,

    Pastor Randy

November 16, 2015, 1:50 PM

Randy's Reflections "Christ in Christmas"

Tis the season. We are moving into the advent season. The season when we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus. So, I often see magnetics on cars or cards saying keep Christ in Christmas. 

    What does this mean? Often it refers to reminding us that Christmas is not so much about lavish decorations or extravagant gifts. It is not about sending out the earliest or most Christmas cards. It is more about the birth of God’s son here on earth.

    But what does that mean? Does that mean we make sure there are only Christ centered Christmas carols sung, not Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer or Jingle Bells. Does it mean that we are concerned about the lack of snowflakes or deer on the Starbuck’s coffee cups? Does it mean that we make sure our outside Christmas decorations include a cross or a nativity set?

    Recently I saw this quote:

    “Want to keep Christ in Christmas?

    Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, 

    welcome the stranger and the unwanted child, 

    care for the sick, love your enemies.”

    I think in keeping Christ in Christmas means we need to not only be mindful of God’s love for all humanity and our partnership to meet the needs of those less fortunate than we are our Christmas, but we need to be constantly asking God what would you have me say or do today, every day of the year.

    Let our words and actions daily bring Christ to the world around us. Not because our language is laced with Christianeze, but because God’s love pours out of all our interactions with those around us.

    This will certainly be the better way to celebrate Christmas and every day the Lord has made.

    Seeking to mature in faith with you by keeping Christ in all my life,

    Pastor Randy

November 11, 2015, 1:52 PM

Randy's Reflections "Ranger Randy"

    So, on Thursday I got at text from my daughter who lives in LA. She was wondering if I would just happen to be in LA on Monday. It is only 343 miles to her house from ours. Not a real long road trip, but then not just a skip in the park either. It seems there was an audition for a father/daughter pair, that get along well and enjoy spending time together.  The synopsis was “Family deals with their phone addictions in a light-hearted comedy.”

    Joan and I had planned a trip to Carmel, but the person we were going to see had a change of plans. So Joan headed off to Bass Lake with a friend, I think she was going stir-crazy being at home alone so much, and I planned on going to coach the sixth-grade girls Basketball team on Monday.

    The girls basketball team has another coach, I was just the assistant, and since I hadn’t let her know that I would be available after the Carmel cancellation, I decided I would miss the game. I could spend a day with my daughter, while being a participant in what she loves to do, modeling and acting.

    It would be a six hour drive one way. I would have to leave early Monday, since our church was having a clean up day on Sunday. I would also have to be back for a seminar starting at 4 pm on Tuesday, but if I left early Tuesday morning, about 7 am, I could probably miss most of the traffic coming back to Dublin.

    So Saturday I called Alyssa to verify everything I needed to bring on the trip. I talked with Joan about my wardrobe and started to get excited. I was going to not only spend time with my daughter, but would be doing something she loves to do.

    I have realized, as I get older, how precious our kids are. I have had a chance to spend some special time with each one this last year and I wanted to continue to make this a priority.

    Monday morning I packed my bag, got the things Joan wanted me to take to Alyssa, it seems moms always have something to give their kids, and I hopped in the truck to take off. On the way out of town I got gas at Costco, wow $2.50 a gallon, and headed out to the far southern reaches of our state.

    The drive was uneventful. One fun thing that happened on the way down is when I stopped at a Starbucks for some liquid refreshment I told them my name for pick up. After they made my Pumpkin Spice Latte, they called for “Ranger.” Yes, that is right, the girl had miss heard my name and typed in Ranger. So I decided that would be my stage name, “Ranger.” Not sure if it should be “Ranger McBeach” or “Ranger Beach” or “Ranger McGrady,” still working on that one. 

    I was at Alyssa’s apartment in six hours. Plenty of time to relax a bit, and get nervous before the audition. I hadn’t acted since I was with Ian, our son, in the “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” back in 1992. I had no idea want would be asked of me, to read some lines, to do some improv, to tell jokes or what. 

    Alyssa and I headed off to the site of the audition. Wow, I tell you I am so glad she was driving. We made so many turns on side streets I had no idea where we were, but I did see the Hollywood sign up on the hill at one point. After we found a parking place we walked back and forth along the street trying to find the audition site. Finally we noticed on a warehouse glass double door a handwritten sign saying, “Yes, this is the place for auditions. Knock and a security guard will let you in.”

    After knocking a man came to the door in a white shirt and a tie slightly askew with an open collar. He asked if we were for the audition and after an affirmative answer he let us in. He pointed to three rows of five chairs each with a table in front of it. On the table was a sheet of paper to sign in. Names, appointment time and time arrived. No one was there to inform us what we needed to do, but since I had a seasoned model and actor with me Alyssa took care of those necessary sign-in requirements.

    There were four other couples there. Evidently there was an audition for friends as well as father/daughter pairs. It was about ten minutes for each audition, though I think ours took about fifteen. As others went before us we struck up a conversation with those waiting. It was interesting talking to other wannabes. Also more people came so it looked like they were going to get a good group to choose from.

    When the came for us the young woman lead us up two flights of stairs to a stark white room with two chairs against one wall facing a table with three people, all having Apple computers in front of them. The woman sat down in a lone chair next to the table and put her Apple computer on her lap as well.

    They turned on a video camera and asked us to introduce ourselves. And so it began. The questions were mostly about what we liked doing together. How we would describe each other. What are the most fun things we have done. What was the strangest place we have been or what was the strangest thing we have eaten, since we shared we liked eating different exotic foods together.

    It was fun. We joked with each other and everyone was laughing at some point. Whether we get the job or not it was a fun experience. I think when we left we had at least given them a glimpse of a father and daughter who respected each other and enjoyed each other’s company, almost all of the time.

    Alyssa took me to a Thai restaurant for dinner and then we watched movies at her apartment. She took the couch and let me sleep in her bedroom, that was really nice of her. I got up about 6:00 the next day, did a little reading, got ready to go and was in my truck by 7 am. There was hardly any traffic and I was back in Dublin by 1pm.

    Sunday I had talked about the importance of relationships in God’s economy and was glad Tuesday that I had chosen to spend time with my daughter, since I just happened to be in LA.


    Enjoying friends and family,

    Pastor Randy

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