Randy's Reflections
May 7, 2015, 11:35 PM

Pastor Randy's May Reflection


“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:14-15

We believe that to be a Christian you need to call Jesus your Lord and Savior. This is the primary confession for all people who call themselves Christian (“confession” meaning what you say you believe, your conviction of faith). Yet, when Jesus addressed his disciples, he also called them “friends.” Jesus says that what distinguishes a servant from a friend, is that a friend knows the master’s business.

The good news we learned at Easter time was that the power which raised Jesus from the dead is available to us, so that we may lead lives that are not shackled to the past, but are raised up to a new future. We live into this future during the present. This is called the resurrected life, which is the life we are to model and proclaim in the kingdom of God; this is the business of our master.

We are the ones who get to live in and proclaim the kingdom of God, the kingdom which is here and now, whenever we do what the master calls us to do. As we do these things, we become more like the people God has called us to become. So we are to be Christians, as well as do things which proclaim our Christianity.

During the month of May we will explore what it means to be a friend of Jesus. We will explore how Jonah* was the “reluctant” friend, how Ruth* was the “embracing" friend, and how Mordecai was “a friend beyond all friends” in the book of Esther*. Also, Children’s Ministry Sunday will look at how Jesus models being a friend, which helps us be a friend to others.

What does friendship mean to you? How are you a friend to others? Are you concerned more about how others treat you as a friend, or are you seeking ways you can be a friend to others? How do you choose your friends? Are your only friends those who are like you, or do you have some friends that are not like you at all? Do you spend time with just your friends, or do you reach out to others around you seeking to make new friends?

Jesus, in the passage above, is with his disciples in the upper room the night before he was crucified. The people gathered around him are definitely those he has chosen, but I don’t think these are the only friends he had. These friends are special because they will be the ones to carry on the banner of love that Jesus had come to proclaim.

So it seems that we can have friends at different levels. We can have new friends which we are just getting to know. We can have friends which we have known for years. Jesus also had some very close friends, three as a matter of fact, with whom he shared his transfiguration. They are also the ones he took to the Garden when he was so distressed he needed company while he pleaded with God to let him travel another way. These are also the friends who preached the Pentecost sermon, who led the church in Jerusalem, and the friend who wrote the most amazing gospel, and later letters, which talk about the importance of showing the world what it means to love God, which is by loving your neighbor.

Is Jesus your Savior, the one who you ask to rescue you from the sins of this world, yours and others? Is Jesus your Lord, the one who you ask to guide you through the most difficult decisions of life? But most importantly, is Jesus your friend, the one you ask to walk with you as you seek to share his friendship with others who cross your path?

I hope this month we can really learn what it means to be a friend, not just to the people we know already, but also to the people we have yet to meet. The question is not who is my friend, but how can I be a friend, like Jesus?

Seeking to celebrate new friends with you, Pastor Randy

*Short books in the Bible to read as you prepare for the messages in our Worship service during the month of May.




April 20, 2015, 11:00 PM

Randy's Reflections "Our True Colors"



I have a myriad of t-shirts. I have different colors, different designs, and even different names on those t-shirts. One of my favorite t-shirts is the blue one with “Wells” emblazoned on the front. It used to be when I wore that t-shirt people thought I worked at Wells Middle School or I had a student there. Yet just recently, in the last week, I have people commenting how well the Golden State Warrior Basketball team is doing.

    You see the colors on my Wells t-shirt and the colors used by the Golden State Warriors are the same colors. It is funny because the “Wells” word is very prominent on the t-shirt, but those who have commented on it this week, just skip over the lettering and figure I am a Warriors fan.

    Perception of our surrounding is not always accurate. Sometimes we see what we want to see. We hear what we want to hear. We are so busy we don’t really listen to people or we don’t look very closely at our surroundings. We need to take time to look around us. We need to take time to listen to those near us. We need to be attentive to others.

    I have to admit wearing this t-shirt opens up a lot of conversations and it gives me an entrance to the lives of other people. I just have to be sure I don’t squander or misdirect their interest. It gives me a chance to become acquainted with new people with whom I would normally never have an interaction.

    I believe God has given me the personality which is able to connect with lots of different people. It gives me the opportunity to share the wonder and joy which surrounds us on this earth. I hope I am able to help them see something new, that is positive and life giving.

    I guess as long as I don’t go to L.A. or San Antonio, where the competition against the Warriors is the most fierce, I hope I am able to brighten the lives of other people and share with them the resurrected life God has given me.

    May we all strive to bring more color to a world which is so often covered in shades of grey.

 

    Celebrating God’s gift of color with you,

 

    Pastor Randy




April 18, 2015, 4:18 PM

Randys Reflections "Wimpy Faith"



Do you ever realize that your faith is not as strong as you thought it was? Do you ever realize all of sudden that what you thought was a strong faith was a “wimpy” faith? Most days I feel pretty good about my trust in God. I pray for my family and trust God will take care of them. I pray for people who are ill or recovering from surgery and believe God will bring them back to health. I even pray that I will be a light to someone in need that day as I give money to someone on the street corner or smile at a frowny faced child who breaks into a smile or am able to help someone find something at the store.

    Yet every once in awhile I get a little agitated. I get anxious about how I will get all the things done I need to get done. I may even start to perspire because I am anxious. I may have an appointment to keep and the traffic is getting worse ahead of me. I may have to finish a project that is taking longer than I had hoped and the deadline is looming over me like a dark cloud. I may just worry that the bills will get paid, let alone on time.

    Well last Tuesday I was getting ready to go to a Giants game, you know that team that won another World Series, but only on even years. 2015 seems to be turning into another downer, as of today they are 3 and 9, three being the wins.

    So I drove back from a conference to go to this game, which I was going to share with a friend. But I still had to finish up our taxes, which is agitating enough as it is, but I had a list of other things to do before I went to the game. I needed to water the new plants in our vegetable garden. I needed to answer some emails, change my clothes, for that ball park which has a cold wind blowing through it. I needed to print out the tickets and I needed to head over to Bart, to get the 4:26 train into San Francisco. But I still needed to stop at the store to get peanuts, because I said I would, I almost decided not to. I had to negotiate the line at the store. I was really starting to perspire feeling I wasn’t going to get to the Bart station in time. My leg was still a bit sore so I had thought to stop at work to pick up my cane, but I was running out of time, so I dare not.

    Finally I had everything in the car, but still I needed to get a parking place fairly close to the walk over bridge since I didn’t have the cane. I also knew that my phone hadn’t been holding a charge very well so if I needed to get in touch with my friend I hoped it would have enough charge since we were meeting there. Plus only having taken Bart one other time I was going to need the charge to help me map out my walk from the Bart station to the ball park.

    I also wasn’t too sure how to use the machine to get the ticket. Well I got everything done. I got a parking place fairly close to the walk over bridge. The cashier at the Bart station was right next to the machine to help me get the ticket, the train was just coming in when I went downstairs and it was the 4:19 train, I was even early.

    Why was I so anxious? If I missed that train there would be more. I got everything done, including taxes sent off. I needed just to have confidence that I would get to where I needed to go, because I have a God who wants to best for me. Even if I have an unexpected obstacle I need to remember God will get me over it, or under it, or through it. I realized that it doesn’t always matter if I have a “strong” faith or a “wimpy” faith. All I need is faith and God will see me through.

 

    Growing in what ever faith I have in the moment with you,

 

    Pastor Randy