Randy's Reflections
April 18, 2015, 3:00 PM

Randy's Reflections "Justice For All"

I think we all understand the concept, “I was here first.” You know when you take your place in line it is always the person who was there first who is served first. That is why we have people standing in line for hours for “One Direction” tickets or the opportunity to be the first to buy the iPhone 6 or to be the first to check out when a new cashier opens up.

    Yet as Christians, who know that “the last will be first and the first will be last (Matthew 20:16),” how important is it really to be the first one in line or maybe to be served in the order of the line. I don’t think we should let everyone go in front of us because it may be hours before we get served at a restaurant, or helped at a shoe store, or even get into that concert we so badly want to see, if we let everyone go ahead of us.

    So a couple of weeks ago I was at Costco in Danville. I was with my mom getting sunglasses. I noticed that the ticket number machine had the next number as 63, which I took, while the number displayed on the sign of the person being helped was number 50. There seemed to be some confusion between the display and those being helped since I only saw about three other people waiting. Sure enough as the next person who was to be helped was 60 I realized either the others had left or somehow the connection between the display and the person being helped had been broken.

    I had an appointment in about 30 minutes so I was hoping we could get helped before I needed to go. Then I noticed the person who came just before me was being helped. She had ticket number 62, but the person who had number 61 had left so salesperson started to help number 62 without taking her ticket. Since her ticket wasn’t taken I noticed the person after me asked to take the ticket number 62. I thought, wait a minute I was supposed to be next. It wasn’t fair for that other person to jump ahead of me. Sure enough the next person to be helped was the one who was supposed to be after me. That really bothered me. I started to come up to say something, but then another salesperson was available, and number 63 was called, that was me.

    I just felt I had to say something so I commented that 63 was my ticket and I didn’t know why the person who had come after me had been able to go ahead of me, but I was ready to be helped. After we were done I noticed that the other person who went ahead of me was still being helped. Justice had been served. I was done before they were.

    But did it really matter that I had to wait an extra minute? I still got to my appointment in time and we got the sunglasses we needed. Perhaps the best thing that happened is that I realized I don’t have to be next. I don’t have to be served when my number is called up. There will be times when others will go ahead of me when it doesn’t seem fair, but still I get served and that is what is important.

    The story about the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16 it a good reminder that God will see we get what we need even if it is not in the order we think is right. We need to trust God will be there for us when we need it and sometimes others may need it more or sooner, so let us put our confidence in the Great Provider who will be there for us when it is most needed.


    Learning to trust Him more with you,


    Pastor Randy

April 6, 2015, 5:00 PM

Pastor Randy's April Reflection

“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:16

Easter is almost here! We are on the cusp of the greatest celebration ever! Yet, why do we celebrate this day in history? Why do we consider the resurrection of Jesus so important to our faith? And why is this good news not only for us, but for everyone?

Easter is the day we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. But there have been other resurrections; just read Mark 5 about the daughter of Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue. There is also Jesus’ friend, Lazarus, whose resurrection story we find in John 11. And in Luke 7 we find the story of the son of a widow in Nain who, although neither a leader in the town nor a friend of Jesus, was also raised from the dead.

All these people were raised from the dead, just like Jesus, but not really like Jesus. One difference is that although they were raised, they did not live forever after they were raised. They all died again. Jesus was not only raised from the dead but was also lifted up to the heavens before the eyes of his disciples (see Acts, chapter one).

This event happened in the past. So why is this good news for us today? This is good news for us today because we are offered that same resurrection if we believe in Jesus. This is also good news for us because we believe that Jesus came to usher in the Kingdom of God here and now. We believe that we can be transformed now, and that the world can be transformed now. We are no longer shackled to our ways of sin, but are free to make good choices and to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to recognize and participate in the Kingdom of God here and now.

In the passage above, found in John, Jesus reminds us that this opportunity is not only for us. This opportunity is for everyone in the world. There are people all around us who believe they are stuck; they don’t know they can change. There are people all around us who lack self-worth; they don’t know they are loved by God. There are people all around us who are alone, who don’t have a community of fellowship that will care for them, encourage them, and challenge them.

Our church has seen many changes in the last year. We have read through the whole Bible. We have learned to be more understanding about different interpretations of scripture. We have learned and are still learning to live within our means. We are learning to be challenged in our faith and to think outside of what we have grown accustomed to.

Here at John Knox Church, we will continue to provide opportunities for everyone to grow closer to God, to find new ways to share their faith, and to be part of the Kingdom of God here and now. This takes some listening to the Holy Spirit, this takes vision asking God to help us think of new possibilities, and this takes some work to implement new ways of being the “called out ones,” that is the Greek meaning of the church. We are called out of our complacent way of life to live with expectation of new things.

This is one reason why we are starting a new vision process called “2016 and Beyond.” Please consider being involved with this process so we can all seek new ways to know, grow, and share our faith in God.

I also encourage you to ask God how can you be of service to this fellowship as we explore new ways to follow the challenge of John 10:16 that reminds us that there other sheep in the world around us who don’t know God, who have never experienced the love of God, and who long to be accepted and valued for who they are, as creations of God.

Let us not leave Easter as a one day celebration of something that happened in the past, but let’s continue to celebrate Easter as an entrance into the possibilities for the future. It can be a future that takes us to a new understanding of God, a new way of being God’s people, a new way of walking in the Kingdom of God. No matter what the circumstance, may we always ask, “Lord, who do you want me to love next? Help me let others know you are a shepherd who sacrifices himself for the sheep.” May we continue to help the flock grow as we introduce others to the kingdom of future possibilities.

Seeking God’s way with you, Pastor Randy 

March 24, 2015, 5:00 PM

Randy's Reflections "Taking Care of Business"

I really enjoy planting flowers or vegetables. Recently I planted some green beans from seeds, with the warm weather and the rain they are starting to sprout, yipee. No snail or slugs yet, thank you Jesus. One job I don’t like doing is cleaning out the weeds between the bricks of our backyard patio.

    I have tired to pull them up by hand, and often only get the foliage and not the roots. I know soon they will be rising from the bricks again. I tried the weed whacker, which took off not only the foliage, but some of the stems and a bit of the roots, but not all. This last week I used the hand held weed puller. I pried the bricks apart then pulled the stems close to the root and was able to get all of the weed. Sometimes the bricks were so close together I needed to use the hand held wood puller to leverage the weed out of the tiny bit of soil in which it was embedded.

    This is not a job I enjoy, but when it is done it is very satisfying. One thing I appreciate about the weeds is they are very visible against the red brick patio. Not so some of the weeds in our life. I don’t know about you, but it seems there are times when not so good behaviors start to sneak into my life. I mean like talking to those other drivers on the road who are in the way of my car. They just don’t seem to really know how to drive right.

    Then there are those times when you keep going to bed too late, because you were futzing around the house. This usually means it is harder to get up in the morning so you are rushing to get the kids to school or to work or to some appointment for which you can’t be late and words are said or actions done which are not helpful.

    Or maybe you keep making promises to others, because you want to be helpful, which you don't really have the resources or time to accomplish. These are all things which tend to clutter our lives and put us on edge because we keep failing to fulfill our obligations or be the person we want to be.

    Sometimes we just need to take stock of our calendar and stop adding things to it that aren’t necessary that week or that day or that minute. It can be painful to say “No,” especially to those people we care about.

    Yet, periodically, I think we need to assess our life and get rid of those things which cause us more frustration than it is worth. We need to not make another promise we can’t keep. We need to get the rest we need, instead of watching that show or read that book or do that last minute project on the house. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath when we are driving and remember some drivers are not on our schedule.

    Those weeds, the things that creep in on us, are not always visible until they are huge, but they need to be dealt with at some point. So take a moment this week and consider is there anything you would like to change in your life? Is there a habit that is not helpful that you need to change? Is there a weed that has taken root and you need to get rid of before it becomes to big to handle?

    Trying to weed the patio with you,


    Pastor Randy