Randy's Reflections
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September 7, 2013, 7:33 PM

Randy's Reflections "Give Me Your Eyes"

Recently I went on a walk along Amador Creek Trail. I love to walk that trail for I never know what animals and how many of them I will see. It wasn’t but 100 yards and I already saw a half a dozen turkeys in a flock. There were numerous squirrels and a bevy of about eight quail ran up the hillside from me.  I then stopped to notice a deer down the hill from me standing as still as ever. How I ever saw that deer I don’t know, it was a young buck with some new antlers on his head.

He just stood and stared. I walked slowly but deliberately along the path taking a few pictures with my IPhone. I was amazed that I saw him. His coloring was the same as his surroundings, but just enough contrast that I could pick him out among the tall brown grasses and the shadows among the trees.

I quietly said “Good Afternoon” and continued to stroll by. He never left that place while I was watching him. It made me think of how amazing our senses are. We can detect the slightest movement with our eyes, the most unusual feeling with our touch, and some of us have a nose which can detect the slightest perfume, natural or manufactured.

It also makes me realize how many things we don’t see. I love the song by Brandon Heath, “Give Me Your Eyes.” It reminds me how many people there are around me who are going through a difficult time and all they need is a word of encouragement. They are struggling with issues of health, finances, relationships, and even sometimes their own identity, but we tend to be so focused on our own needs we fail to really see or sense their despair.

Don’t get me wrong I think we all need to acknowledge when we are struggling and find ways to take care of ourselves, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But God gives each of us special senses to notice those who are in need.

I hope this week you will not only find peace for yourself along your journey, but you will be able to give someone a hand up, a pat on the back, a smile of appreciation, a word of hope.

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see.

Looking with you,

Pastor Randy

September 7, 2013, 7:13 PM

Randy's Reflections "New Wine"

When I came home from a week at Pinecrest Lake I found my grapevine in the side yard on the ground. I have been amazed at how many clusters of grapes it was producing, but I never thought of how much weight that would add to the trellis it was on. I actually had two six foot picket fences leaning up against the side wall and then put in another six foot by six foot trellis in front of that to lay the vines on. Evidently as the clusters grew and the grapes filled with delicious juice the weight increased and the trellises (trelli?) couldn’t handle it (or stand for it).

Anyway, over the vines went and the grapes with them. I decided I didn’t want to waste the grapes but I can only eat so much and I didn’t think the neighbors would like seedy pinot grigio grapes. So I picked two mega bowls full and then filled up a cooler with grapes from the ground and those weighing the trellises down. I was finally able to put the trellises back up with some grapes still on the vine which needed more ripening.

As I used our food mill, a great suggestion from Joan, I decided to make some grape juice ice cubes. After six trays of those I found that I still had three quarters of an ice chest full. I continued to juice the ripest ones and throwing out about half a chest full of the ones not so ripe. I let the juice settle out as the pulp and some ground seeds slowly drifted to the bottom of the containers.

So last Sunday at our church I made not only bread for communion, which I do periodically, but we had grape juice from the fallen grapes. I tried it that morning and it hadn’t fermented so I was still within Presbyterian guidelines.

It is the first time I have squeezed juice out of a grape to drink and the first time to use it for communion. It was a great experience and it was meaningful to me to offer all those who came to worship the elements made from my own hands.

That is one an important part of worship anyway, right? We are to not only acknowledge and worship our God, but we are to offer ourselves to the community to which we have committed our time, talent and treasure.

So next time you are at worship think of what you can offer your community of faith. It may not be as tangible as bread and grape juice, but it is important to share something you have or even who you are. Remember we can always learn to make lemonade out of lemons we just need to ask God when and how we should do it.

Serving you with gladness,

Pastor Randy

August 16, 2013, 6:50 PM

Randy's Reflections "Messages 4 U"

I love sending messages on my IPhone. Yes, it is true I do have an IPhone. I can send pictures, messages, emails, look at facebook entries, and even play Words With Friends. One of the things I like most is reading the messages I get and trying to figure out what the person is saying.

                Usually that is not too hard. Sometimes the person will retype a word that is sent wrong and sometimes they will just keep you guessing, and of course sometime they don’t even know they typed it wrong.

                Recently I had a message conversation with a friend and he was grateful for some information I gave him. So he typed to me, “You Rick!” Of course he knew my name was Randy. He meant, “You Rock!” which he typed later, but I knew what he meant. I knew what he meant because we have been friends for a couple of years and knew each other well enough and respected each other well enough that I knew what he meant.

                The context of the message and our connection with each other helped me understand what he wanted to say even though it wasn’t spelled correctly. I think that is how we should read the bible as well. I mean we don’t always understand the words written or the translation that is used, but if we spend enough time with God and reading other parts of the bible and enough time with others who do study the bible we can understand its message even if the words are not clear to us immediately.

                God has a message for us in scripture. There is a context in which the authors have written that we don’t always understand, but if we have spent time in God’s word we will get the main thought. I think if we remember that God wants the best for us. That God loves us. That God sent his Son to bring us back into relationship with him, then we can understand more clearly what God wants to tell us.

                Let me also say that we also have an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to help us interpret the message God is sending to us. I don’t think we will always understand the message and sometimes I think we will need help for others to get that message, but God does want to communicate with us and God will help us understand what we need to know at the time.

                So continue to talk to God. Continue to read God’s word. Continue to listen to God. And always remember John 3: 16, “For God so loved the world . . .” That is the most important message God has for us, but let us strive to learn more about who this God is and who we are in him.

                By the way there is an ap on the IPhone for the bible so you can read it even when you don’t have your bible with you.

Listening to God’s message with you,

Pastor Randy

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