Randy's Reflections
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January 14, 2014, 11:00 PM

Randy's Reflections "Quenching the Thirst"


    I really notice when someone gives me good service. I am always looking for models of hospitality. I like to learn new ways to treat people with love and respect. One thing I noticed employees at the bank do is they have someone stationed at the door welcoming people to their branch. They also offer water if you are standing in line or being helped by someone at the desk. I usually say no, but now and then it is nice to have some water.

    I was thinking that may be something we could start offering people when they come to church, at least on a hot day. We could ask people if they would like some water when they come into the service, or at least if they come in to do some business at church.

    Now I know that the bank does this so more people will use their services and more money will come in, so they can loan more money out and make a profit. But I think we could justify doing this by reminding our selves that we are called to be the ones who are to bless the world. What better blessing than to have your thirst quenched. Well actually I guess there is something better.

    That would be to have our spiritual thirst quenched. The thirst that lasts for a lifetime and beyond. If we could encourage people to seek a relationship with God through Jesus then their spiritual thirst would be quenched for eternity.

    Anyway I think it is a nice gesture by the bank and maybe someday we can find a way to incorporate something similar at the church that let’s people know that God loves them and wants them to fulfill their deepest heart desires.

 

    Seeking ways to share the water I have been given with you,    

    Pastor Randy




January 7, 2014, 4:00 PM

January's Message from Pastor Randy


I really believe each church has a calling to fulfill. Just as we each have a calling with our specific skills (things we have been trained to do), talents (things we do naturally), and circumstance, so I believe churches have a certain community which they are to address. This means there are certain people who will resonate with worship time here, be challenged by our teaching, and find their niche of service with our type of support.

I think we need to periodically review how we are invested and how we are investing in the community around us and consider what some areas are that we could do better. As I have pondered those who are called to our church community and I have been thinking about the community of which we are a part, I have come to the conclusion that we are church of transition. I believe we will have some people who will be planted among us, becoming deeply rooted and highly committed, but we will also have many people who will settle for a year or two and then move on. Sometimes their vocation will call them away, sometimes their family situation will require a move, or sometimes they will hear God calling them to a new place.

So, if we have a large group in the church that are here for a short time, what can we provide for them which will be helpful to their faith which they can take with them? We certainly can provide them with a rich musical experience in worship. We can also guide any children they may have in foundational faith understanding, including the importance of serving those around us, as Jesus did.

I hope we can give those who are here for a short time four things to take with them. The first is to give them an appreciation and a hunger for the word. The Bible is the foundational plum line for our faith. It is the resource that is inspired by God and passed down through the generations for our study and shaping of our faith.

Secondly, I hope we can give people a sense that prayer is a conversation with God. We don’t just pray when struggling and want a quick solution, but we pray to be open to God’s will for our lives. Prayer is a dialogue which requires listening as well as speaking. We also spend time in prayer to give thanks and praise to the creator, redeemer and sustainer of our world. Prayer is a time when we can be honest with God and share our deepest feelings, good or bad.

Thirdly, I hope we can challenge each other to be responsible in the use of our resources, be they our finances, our talents, or our time. We are called to be good stewards, that means agreeing that nothing is truly ours, that we are managers of what God has gifted us. We need not only to learn that stewardship is more than just a weekly giving of our tithe in the offering plate. We also need to be intentional in how we live with the other 90% of our income; and we need to balance our time with celebration and service.

Fourthly, I hope we can learn to share our faith. That sharing could be how we treat others, privately or publically. Kindness and generosity can always go a long way. Or we can learn to speak about God’s activity in our life with family, friends, or acquaintances in a natural way. Or we can recount how God has been in our life even before we knew Him; this can be done through journaling.

This January and February, we are going to have an Adult class which will address these areas of our spiritual growth, what I would call “Spiritual Practices.” These are practices everyone can learn. These are practices which can be used here at John Knox and where ever God will send you.

Perhaps you have some understanding in one or more of these four areas. I invite you to put these classes on your schedule, and then come for a time to share your knowledge with others in these classes. Perhaps you feel you have no understanding, then now is the time to start grappling with these areas in your faith life. I hope we can all learn from each other as we seek to become more fully who God calls us to be.

Learning with you,  Pastor Randy

 




December 15, 2013, 10:16 PM

Randy's Reflections "Buckle Up Buddy"


                In the last couple of weeks Joan and I have frequented the movie theatre about three times. This is unusual for us but with Thanksgiving, a traditional time when we go to the movies with our family, some movie gift cards, and some films we wanted to see we found this a great time to visit the big screen.

                I noticed the first time we went during Thanksgiving that I reached down on either side of my seat, after I sat down, and started to buckle the seat belt. Oh wait, there is no seat belt in the theatre. I kind of laughed to myself thinking, boy the years of driving a car is certainly affecting my habits. The second time we went to the movies I began to do the same thing, reach for the seat belt components on either side of the seat, then it hit me. I had been to Disneyland with our favorite ride guide, Bruce "the man with the plan to get in as many rides as you can" in an 16 hour time frame (Disneyland is open from 8 am to midnight and when we were there, we were going to get on as many rides as we could, even if it exhausted you).

                All the rides at Disneyland have restraints. Some of the rides have bars which hold you in, while others use seat belts. By the evening, on that marathon trip to Disneyland, making sure my seat belt was buckled was an automatic response. When I sat down if a bar wasn’t coming down to restrain me, then I was reaching for the seat belt provided.

                It is interesting how our muscles develop a memory. When we get into our usual seat in a car some of us automatically duck so we don’t hit our head on the pulled down visor or we reach to adjust the steering wheel or we may even reach to turn on the lights right after we start the car. The first two are especially for tall people who share a car with a shorter person.

                So when we are stressed, what is it you do first? Do you clench your fists, do you knot the muscles in your neck or shoulders, or do you reach for the book inspired by the living God? I don’t turn often enough to the words given to us by dozens of authors who were inspired by the words of our creator. I know many of us say a prayer and that is great, but when do we listen for an answer? I know that the Bible does not have an answer for every question, but it will bring us into a place with the holy one who seeks to be with you at all times.

                Just as we have an automatic response to stress, or after countless repetitions of putting on a seat belt, so we can develop the habit of directing our attention to God and being open to new ways God wants to enter our life and our service.

                Just as we have habits to break, I didn’t put my imaginary seat belt on the last time we went to the movies, so we have good habits to maintain or to start. Why not try intentionally reaching for that book we want to learn more about when concerns overwhelm you. Why not open that book and remind yourself that God is there for you. Read Psalm 121 or Psalm 46 or even Psalm 23.

                This is a good habit to begin and then when you feel anxious you not only have a place to turn toward, but you can tell yourself that God is in charge and will not let you down. Trust him and take the ride of your life. He will be there for you even if you forget to put your seat belt on in the movie theatre.

 

                Reaching for life with you,

                Pastor Randy

               


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