Randy's Reflections
January 31, 2016, 1:35 AM

February's Reflection on Love

As the month of love, Valentine’s Day being the fourteenth, and Lent, the six week period  before Easter, coincide, it is appropriate for us to ask how our walk with God is connected to love – His love for us and our love for each other.

During Lent we take time to examine our relationship with God.  We not only have an opportunity to affirm our belief in the Lover of the Universe, but we can also seek a closer connection, a more intimate walk, with the Author of our creation.

This Lent I hope we also can consider how we, as a church, are growing and causing others to grow – to walk more closely in their faith, their love of God and of each other. I recently ran across this quote “The mark of an effective church is not how many people come, but how many people live differently as a result of having been there.” I would like to add to this quote the phrase, “how many people live and love differently as a result.”

Are those of us, who belong to the JKPC family, living and loving differently as a result of being at JKPC? I am always reminded of the importance of God’s call to love when I read 1 John 4: 7 & 8, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

How can we be sure we are taking steps to make this a reality? How do we love others in a way that matches God’s call for us to love them? Maybe most importantly, how do we become a church that calls, encourages, and guides others in loving those around them?

First, let us remind each other that God is the creator of everyone in this world.  Psalm 8:5 says, “You have made them (David is speaking of humankind here) a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” There is no one who was not created by God. If we are all God’s creation, made with loving hands, how can we decide who we should love and who we shouldn’t?

Secondly, I think all of us need to be reminded that God has shown his love through Jesus, his son. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us when He died for us. In John 15: 13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus laid down His life for each of us. Jesus bought us salvation by sacrificing himself for us. Jesus loved and still loves us. And since Jesus and God the Father are one, God loves all of us as well.

Thirdly, we don’t need to die for others, Jesus has already done that, but sometimes we do need to sacrifice our agenda for others.  Sometimes we need to seek new ways we can show others our love by doing not what we want to do, but by doing what they would like us to do.

When was the last time you stopped going down the grocery aisle to help someone who was obviously looking for something they couldn’t find? When was the last time you pulled your car over because you saw someone who needed help to cross the street? When was the last time that you stopped talking so you could listen to someone else speak, even though you had the perfect answer for their problem?

We need to remember that our agenda is not the only agenda in the world and that sometimes we need to hold our agenda lightly so we can show someone that they are more important than our need to get something done.  Let us live, and love, differently not because we are part of the JKPC family, but because God is our Lord and the example of what it means to love others, even to the point of sacrifice.

Learning to love with you,

Pastor Randy


December 30, 2015, 4:10 PM

Randy's Reflections "Unexpected Light"

So our lovely granddaughter, Lincoln Rose, is now two years old. We had the happy opportunity to celebrate her second birthday with her. We missed the fist birthday, because the timing just didn’t work out. You see when you have to do Christmas Eve services it is a bit difficult to arrange a time to see your granddaughter in Spokane, WA on December 26th, her birthday.

    But we had arranged it this year and we didn’t regret, too much, having missed her first birthday celebration. Besides how much do kids remember their first birthday anyway? Though I am not sure they remember their second either. I do remember by fourth, but that is about as far a back as I can go.

    We had a great flight on Christmas Day, a good day to travel, not many passengers, though enough to keep the airlines flying. The next day we wished Lincoln a Happy Second birthday, but her parents had decided we could celebrate more fully with friends and family on the 27th. That day there were lots of balloons and an Elsa, from frozen, ice cream cake. The only downside was that Grandpa Theil, wasn’t able to be there, he wasn’t feeling well.

    So we decided to have another dinner with both sets of grandparents the next day. Wanting to contribute to the meal Joan and I left to purchase some taco shells, onions, cilantro, soup for lunch the next day, and ice cream. Being further north geographically than usual we found out that it gets  really dark by 5 pm, but no worries we could find the grocery store, Yolks it was called.

    It was only about a mile down the road, but when we got close it was all dark inside except for a few lights over the cash registers. I powered by window down to ask a patron leaving the store if the store was still open. Evidently they had a major power outage, but they were open and we had our cell phone lights anyway.

    I have never shopped by cell phone light before, it was kind of fun trying to figure out where things we needed would be, especially since we had never been to that store before. As we were walking along the produce aisle one of the employees offered to help us or give us a flashlight to look for what we needed, we took the flashlight.

    We found items fairly easily and at the cash register we gave the flashlight back. I guess the power had been out around twenty minutes, but the employees had figured out a way to still service customers, and soon we were on our way to have a great taco dinner, with ice cream.

    It is easy to take light for granted. We can figure out a way to function without it, but it certainly is easier when you are bathed in it. So as we enter into 2016 we know that we and the world can function in darkness, but it is some much easier and freer to have light. Some the light of Christ is available to us every day. Jesus can guide us, show us new wonders, help make our journey more fulfilling and joyful if we grasp on to that light he offers us.

    I pray 2016 will be full of God’s light for your path, blessings,

    Pastor Randy

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