Randy's Reflections
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October 2, 2015, 9:21 PM

Pastor Randy's October Reflection


          Recently we heard there is a new driver on the road. Our 20-month-old granddaughter got her first helmet and pushbike from a recent garage sale. I think she gets keys to the car sometime next week. Kids grow up, we get older, but the benefit for us is that sometimes we become wiser.

          I find it interesting that Paul calls those to whom he writes “saints.” This word, which comes from the Greek άγιος, actually means “those who are separate from others”. It is a term which is given to those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior not as a reward for what they have done, but because of the one in whom they have believed. It is considered, in part, parallel in meaning to the words “called” (Romans 1:7), “elect” (Romans 8:33; Col. 3:12), and “faithful” (Col. 1:2).

         Yet, the above is only part of the meaning of the word “saint”. It also infers that since we are God’s creation and his chosen, we are becoming “Imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1). If we are the “holy ones” infused with God’s Holy Spirit, then we need to strive to be like God in our love for the world and each other and our conduct. This is why the second half of Ephesians is so important, for it speaks to how we can conduct ourselves in a “holy” way.

      As we grow in our faith we move from our old self to our new self. At the end of the article will be the list I made of changes (mentioned in Ephesians) that we hope to see as we mature in our faith.

     Ephesians and Romans (chapter 12, specifically) are not the only Pauline books that address this “holy” conduct. This theme is also found in Colossians and Philippians, which are the next two books we will be studying this fall. Starting in October, I will preach through Colossians and then, as we move into the “Thanksgiving” month, I will preach from Philippians.

      The Anchor Bible Dictionary states that “God is considered the ideal manifestation, indeed the source, of holiness.” It is this holiness which God places on us because of our belief in Jesus, but it is also a conduct to which we are called. We are urged to reflect in our lives those actions which shout about our love for God and for others.

       As listed below there are ways which speak louder than others of God’s holiness in us and which we should strive to manifest in our daily conduct. So come with me and live out the holiness to which you have been called as we explore how we might live “holiness” together.

       Those who are not growing are dying, and God has resurrected us to live life as new selves, with grace and mercy, as we present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12: 1). And don’t forget, it is not only for our benefit as wiser and more mature Christians. We also have little ones who look to us as models of God’s grace and holiness in this world, and they will have the keys to our cars sooner than we think.

Striving to be more holy with you, Pastor Randy

 

Old Self

New Self

Goal is fulfill deceitful desires

Goal is true righteousness and holiness

Falsehood

Speak Truth

Act sinfully with anger

Don’t harbor anger

Stealing

Sharing

Unwholesome talk

Build up others with talk

Bitterness

Kindness

Rage

Compassion

Anger

Forgiving

Brawling Brawling

Walk in way of love

Slander

Offering

Malice

Sacrifice




August 28, 2015, 2:20 PM

Pastor Randy's September Reflection


           Recently Joan was teaching our granddaughter Lincoln about the different parts of her body using the song, “Head, shoulders, knees and toes.” Kids love moving up and down. It is so fun to see them move their hands from their head to their shoulders to their knees and then to their toes. As this song moves faster and faster, usually before the song is over they are giggling uncontrollably. An important part of this song is the movement involved. It helps the children to better remember the names and the parts of the body. Many of us learn better when we are mimicking certain movements. This movement helps us develop muscle memory which helps us remember how to walk or jump or run or duck. Being a bit taller than average can be hazardous to my head if I don’t duck sometimes.

          Action is also an important part of living. This summer I have talked about head knowledge, that which we most often gain when reading the Bible. I also talked about heart knowledge, those practices which help us move that information into our hearts. We call this spiritual formation.

          Resurrected living, the third part of our Christian faith, occurs when head knowledge and heart knowledge begin to transform our actions. It is transformative in the sense that people see us begin to follow the model of Jesus; others see that being a disciple is not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. The community in which we live recognizes that we are different because we exhibit the hope, joy and peace of God regardless of the circumstances. In resurrected living we begin to become the people God created us to be.

          Hope, joy, and peace are positive aspects of our faith, but we need to not only say we experience these; we need to also show that we experience them.   If we say we have hope then we need to live hopefully. If we say being a follower of God bring us joy then we need to live joyfully. If we say we have peace then we need to live with each other, and ourselves, peacefully.

          When difficult times occur do we rely only on our own resources or do we spend time in prayer, as Nancy suggested in her sermon? Do we rely on God and maintain the expectation that God will surprise us with a totally unexpected solution? When Joan and I were having to move out of Pleasanton because our landlord wanted to sell his house, we had no idea where we would go. We just happened to have a conversation with our Chiropractor who, we found out, was looking for a new renter. This place was in Dublin. They were willing to wait an extra month before we started paying rent. They supported our painting the inside the colors we wanted and we could upgrade the yard however we wanted. A dead end turned into a highway of hope.

          At times we face circumstances that bring darkness and despair. We struggle to find the good in the midst of turmoil. We need to ask ourselves, “Are we looking for ways in which we can experience the wonder and joy of God in the midst of this?” It is not easy having all three of our children living so far from our home. One is in Washington, another in Texas, and the third in L.A. Yet we get to talk with them, we get to Skype with them, and we Facebook each other. We enjoy them during our annual summer vacation and we get to see them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the midst of being so far from them, we still experience joy. Because of technology we are connected in many different ways. In the midst of our separation we can experience joy. 

          There are times when all of us are concerned about how we will survive financially, emotionally, or even physically. Yet if we can remind ourselves that God is for us and not against us we can experience peace. We can live with a sense that what is just over the horizon is something tremendously good. God does not just want us to survive, God wants us to thrive. We need to remind ourselves that God has our best interests at heart. We can be at peace knowing that God is in control. Just leave it in God’s hands and God will take care of you.

          Remember that the God of all creation is the God who made your head, shoulders, knees and toes. 

          Seeking to live this fall in a resurrected way with hope, joy and peace with you,

                                            Pastor Randy




June 25, 2015, 12:00 AM

Randy's Reflections: Stewardship Alive


    As we head into the summer I thought it would be good for our congregation to hear some good news about our finances as well as be reminded of the challenge we have to be good stewards throughout the summer.

 

    As of the end of June we have paid off the mortgage we had from the Synod of the Pacific. This mortgage was taken out to repair the damage to our Christian Education wing about ten years ago. The pay off was to occur in October of this year, yet with timely payments and a reserve account set aside we were able to pay off what we owed June 25th.

 

    The early payoff date was not expected, but we had planned our 2015 budget with the pay off in mind, so the only savings will be a couple months of interest, but hey, a month or two of interest is better than none.

 

    Speaking of our budget as of last month, we are about $500 in the black. Why is this good news? Well based on our stewardship history we would normally be about $20,000 in arrears. In the fourth quarter of the year is when we receive the highest percentage of our capital. It should be noted that a couple of annual pledges, usually received in December, have already been received so those pledges have come early and have moved us ahead of what we anticipated.

 

    But still we are heading into the summer with a positive balance and if people continue to meet their pledge, and perhaps give a bit more, we can start thinking about raising our budget for 2016. That would mean we might be able to increase some hours with our staff and recover those hours we lost this last year.

 

    The staff continues to put in the necessary work time to get things done and I would say sometimes that is more than the time they have been scheduled for. Please be advised we will be asking for some volunteers to help with the administrative staff since Nancy Stokely retired this month, without a replacement.

 

    So we have good news and challenging news. We can continue to live out the ministry God has called JKPC to with everyone pitching in, both financially and service wise. Let us keep stewardship alive throughout the summer and look forward to great things this fall.

 

    Thank you, 

    and keep your eyes on the prize 

    to which we have been called (Philippians 3:14),

 

    Pastor Randy


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