Randy's Reflections
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

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