Randy's Reflections
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February 28, 2013, 2:56 PM

Randy's Reflections "Ancient Rituals"

                This morning I followed an ancient ritual that my father taught me, about fifty years ago. It was a ritual that most people and, most assuredly, men don’t follow too much anymore, if at all. We all have rituals in our life. Those things which are patterns of behavior we have learned from our parents that give us a sense of well being. For some of us it is the way we get ready for bed at night, taking our vitamins, fluffing our pillow, and saying our prayers before we close our eyes. Maybe it is something we do in the morning. We get up, immediately brush our teeth, start the coffee, read the e-news and then get ready for work.

                These rituals are not necessary for our survival, but they are helpful in making us feel comfortable and ready for the day or night. Rituals give us handholds in life, which help us from spinning out of control. They help define who we are and where we came from. One of the quotes that sticks in my mind, for no reason, is, “You can always tell a gentleman by the way he takes care of his shoes.”  Now most shoes now-a-days don’t need special care. A lot of people wear tennis shoes, or clogs, or uggs, which don’t need special care, but every once in a while I look at my leather shoes and think I should do something to enhance their appearance. This is when I get down the polishing kit and go through the ritual of cleaning, applying polish, brushing it in, and then buffing the shoes with a cloth.

                You see that ritual which my father taught me brings back fond memories of my dad and I feel much better about my appearance. I am certainly not a slave to taking care of my shoes for I know that a gentleman is much more than a good shoe polisher, but it does make me feel good.

                Do you have some rituals you follow? Another ritual I find helpful is reading the Psalms. I don’t do this often enough, but when I feel really lost, or unsettled, or down, I know I can turn to those words found in Psalm 46 or Psalm 66 or even Psalm 2. It is there I am reminded that God is here for me. These Psalms tell me not only who I am, not only where I came from, but whose I am and that God will never let me go.

                If you don’t have any rituals which are comforting for you then let me suggest you read a Psalm a day. There are 150 of them. Some will be more comforting than others. Some will be more challenging than others. But they were written to express who we are, where we came from, and to whom we belong. May you always remember you are a creature created by a loving God who longs to be there for you and give you peace.


                Pastor Randy

February 18, 2013, 5:08 PM

Randy's Reflections "Go Big Dog"

I needed to get to the right hand lane so I could make the next turn.  As I prepared to move over from the furthest left lane to the middle lane, there was a black Dodge Ram truck in my way. The driver was driving too fast for me to get ahead of him so I slowed down. As he passed me I noticed his Marines sticker in the back window. His short sleeved tattooed left arm was crooked out the window and his bearded face was quite solemn. But as he passed me, I noticed sitting cuddled in his arm was a miniature Chihuahua.

The contrast made me laugh. I don’t know about you, but too often I make judgments about people based on appearance. I try to hold those judgments loosely, I mean I try not to hold a bias against people, but I do tend to think about how they may talk, or walk, or even act just based on what they look like. I have learned that you really can’t tell a book by its cover, or its title for that matter.

When Samuel was in Bethlehem to look for a new king for Israel, Samuel made judgments based on appearance, yet the Lord said, “Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees in to the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) The first seven sons of Jesse came before Samuel, but none of them were selected to become the new king. I wasn’t until Samuel asked Jesse if he had any other sons that David was summoned. David was the youngest of eight boys. He was just watching sheep for the family. He wasn’t even invited to the sacrifice, but God knew David’s heart and that heart was one which was courageous and trustworthy.

It is okay to make judgments about people, as long as we hold them lightly. As long as we don’t let our prejudices turn into a stigma that labels a person unfairly. Sometimes it is important that we are cautious when approaching people, but we can certainly offer them the opportunity to change our view.

Hopefully when people see my license plate frame which reads, “I follow the Son” they won’t be disappointed. That is one label, a Christian, I hope I can live up to. So offer others the grace you have received for you may find yourself receiving a kindness from the roughest and toughest Chihuahua owner you will ever meet.

Trying to be grace-filled with you,

Pastor Randy

January 24, 2013, 12:44 PM

Randy's Reflections "The Joy of Ants"

                When I was a kid I loved having pets. I had a white rat I trained to go through an obstacle course I made. I had a chicken that grew up to be a great laying hen. I had a dog which was a faithful companion through thick and thin. Perhaps one of the first pets I had were ants. That’s right I remember having an “Ant Farm,” actually I had more than one. You know those plastic frames that you fill with special sand and there is a plastic insert that looks like a silhouette of a farm.

                I know I had more than one farm for I remember the trial and error of feeding and taking care of those ants. One time I forgot to feed them for a week and they died trapped in that plastic frame. Another time I left them on the window sill in the hot sun and they fried, sorry ants. Another time I feed them so much they drowned in the sugar water. Thankfully my parents continued to humor me as I finally learned how much and how often I should feed the ants, plus the best location for them.

                The reason I recently thought of those memories is because we have had a recent infestation in our bathroom. I know they don’t eat much and they are there only looking for water, but they can be annoying when you try to wipe down the shower with all these black bodies running around.

                I am fascinated with the antsr orderliness as they walk single file from place to place.  They are such small creatures, but for their size they can carry huge loads. It also reminds me of the wonder of a child. This Sunday we have ‘Preschool Sunday.” This is the Sunday that the families of our two Preschools on campus receive a special invitation to join us in worship. Periodically we send out invitations to the parents to let them know we have a special program beginning or a special Sunday celebration, but this Sunday is when we have the kids from the two preschools sing in the service.

                Nancy Polcyn has been visiting each preschool throughout the week teaching them the songs they will sing this Sunday. This is a great opportunity to make connections with these children and be reminded of the wonder and enthusiasm found in children.

                So though the ants can be annoying when they populate the shower uninvited still they are part of the wonder of God’s creation and it brings back good memories I have as a kid. Hopefully this week you will be reminded of the wonder, enthusiasm, and joy you experienced as a child. And if you are so inclined please join us for Preschool Sunday.  It will be a great time praising God and again celebrating the joy which God has for us.

                Thanking God for all the ants in my life,

                Pastor Randy

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