Randy's Reflections
May 13, 2014, 7:00 PM

Randy's Reflections "Time Will Tell"



“I thank my God every time I remember you.”

Philippians 1: 3

 

     Today is a very hot day. The plants I watered just last night are wilting this afternoon. I did notice that a couple of the new plants I recently planted already have some additional leaves. Once those plants are firmly established I have no fear whether they will flourish not. They are already on their way.

  

     One of my recent plant purchases, that's right I said purchased for I have called a hiatus on the dumpster diving for awhile, is doing wonderfully. Although I paid for this plant I did buy it on the discount rack. In fact it was a dollar. That is right, I paid a dollar for an amazingly beautiful shamrock plant. When I bought it it had quite a few leaves, but it was parched. I am not sure when they last watered it, but I thought it looked very healthy for the discount rack. Sometimes you can tell if a plant just needs some loving care and sometimes you can’t see all that is wrong with it. You know, there may be some hidden bugs in the dirt or on the leaves. It may have some kind of disease. You just never know.

    

     This is kind of like us. On the outside most of us look pretty healthy, but it is not till we get underneath the layers that we find out if we are truly healthy or not. Though I must say actually all of us have some unhealthy parts in our lives. The wonderful thing for me is that I know God can change those unhealthy parts within me. Sure it doesn’t happen over night. But I know I can’t just do it by myself. God does and will use other people to help me become more healthy and God’s Spirit helps me to regroup and grow.

    

     The truth be told we all are on or have been on the discount rack at one time or another. And we probably will be on it again, sooner or later. But the wonderful thing is that God doesn’t leave us there. God has paid and enormous price for us and God desires to see us get as healthy as we can.

    

     So often Paul’s letters begin with a thank you for the faith of those Paul knew at Philippi, or Thessalonica or Corinth. So I think God is thankful to us for being willing to admit that we need his care. God will bring people to our side to help us and God will inspire us through his Spirit to become more like the healthy person he wants us to be. We just need to put our trust in him and seek to grow in him every day.

    

     Have you felt pretty dry recently? Have you noticed that your leaves aren’t as green as they used to be? Perhaps your vigor has waned a bit. Well know this, God has great plans for you. God wants you to become the flourishing plant he has created you to be. Just allow God to direct your life, give you some water, maybe a little fertilizer, and next thing you know you will be blooming your socks off.

    

     I am thankful that I have friends who won’t let me stay dry. I have friends who will encourage me to drink from the living well and to soak up the Son, so I can become the person who God wants me to be. Let me encourage you. God will give you nourishment and help you grow into the plant he has created you to be. So ask God and expect to receive his grace.

  

     By the way that shamrock is blooming up a storm, in fact I put it’s picture next to this piece. And to think I didn’t have to pay nearly the price God paid for me and for it to keep blooming I just need to give it a little water now and then.

    

     Seeking refreshment and health with you,

 

     Pastor Randy




May 5, 2014, 1:00 PM

Pastor Randy's May Update


“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”

 Philippians 3: 14

 
 
Learning has always been a major part of my life. Last week I had the privilege of taking a week of study leave; it is a privilege I do not take lightly. My goal for the week was to continue my study of the Holy Spirit, as a follow up to my participation in the “Consultation on the Holy Spirit” in North Carolina last fall.
 
The book I found most inspirational and challenging was Jack Levison’s book, Inspired: The Holy Spirit and the Mind of Faith. Levison suggests that a life inspired by the Holy Spirit includes ecstasy, virtue, and learning. I think as Christians we certainly want to have a life inspired by the Holy Spirit, but how does this include ecstasy, virtue, and learning? Levison defines these words in the following way:
 
Ecstasy is a word which, for many Christians, causes some concern. It is something we would like to experience, but only if under our control. Some definitions of ecstasy would include being in a trance-like state or being in a dazed condition. By contrast, Levison likens it more to being highly enthusiastic, experiencing wonder and amazement, or being joyful.
 
Virtue focuses on our activities. This could include dietary simplicity, courageous honesty, avoidance of greed, “and countless other actions and attitudes that embody a holy, just, and devout life” (Page 12).
 
Learning is wide-ranging, expansive, eye-opening. It is life-changing, transformative, recreative. It is an all-absorbing process, a synergy between competence, passion, and persistence. Learning is best defined as developing a passion for knowledge and investing the time necessary to hone it.
 
It makes sense that a life inspired by the Holy Spirit would exhibit both ecstasy and virtue, but it seems less obvious to include the functioning of the mind; that seems almost antispiritual, yet Levison shares some of the notable Old Testament characters who exhibited a Holy Spirit-inspired life like Joseph and Daniel. They put into practice skills and knowledge attained through circumstances that had been governed by the Holy Spirit.
 
It was the Pharaoh in Egypt who recognized the Holy Spirit in Joseph. After the Pharaoh hears of Joseph’s plan to survive the coming famine, he says in Genesis 41:38, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”
Joseph had learned from God over time how to interpret dreams. He learned how to be an effective administrator, first over his family’s livestock, then over Potiphar’s household and, finally, in prison before he became second in
command over Egypt.
 
Daniel was also noted as having the Holy Spirit. Three successive generations of oppressive emperors recognized that he had “a spirit of the holy God in him” (Daniel 4:8, 9, 18; 5:11-12; 6:3). This was not a onetime trance, but the fruit of a devout, virtuous life, that was lived out over decades.
 
So perhaps these definitions and examples can help us see how we, too, can live lives inspired by the Holy Spirit. Are we enthusiastic about life or finding ways in which we can experience wonder and amazement in this life? Are we seeking ways to live in simplicity, honesty, and generosity? Do we still strive to learn something new every day? Doing all these things does not guarantee that we are living a Holy Spirit-inspired life, but when we couple these with our devotion to God, it at least gets us on the right track.
 
Why not try to answer these questions above in the positive for the next month and see what a difference it makes in your life? I know that God wants the best for us for “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8: 28).
 
Seeking an inspired Holy Spirit life with you,
Pastor Randy



April 17, 2014, 1:00 PM

Randy's Reflections "The Found"



It was a great day! I was getting lots of things done. I had finished all the errands on my list and I was just leaving Costco at 8:10 pm, about twenty minutes before closing. As I pushed my cart up to door of my truck I reached in my pocket for the keys, but I only found a few coins of change.

    No! I didn’t lock my keys in the truck again, did I? Well I did have a AAA account and they have opened up the truck door more than once when I had left the keys in the ignition, but before I would call them I better check if the keys are in there. I went around to the other side of the truck and looked through the passenger window, there were no keys dangling from the ignition.

    Okay, so I lost them somewhere inside the store. How would I ever find them in there? Maybe someone had found them and had taken them to Customer Service Desk. As I started to walk back to the store I remembered I had had a wrapper from a Trail Mix bar in my pocket, which I had thrown away in the trash just before entering Costco. Those keys may not even be in the store. They may be in the trash can outside of the store.

    How was I going to be able to dig through that trash to find my keys, if they were even there? I noticed they were starting to clean up outside since the store was closing shortly. If they had already changed out that trash bag how was I going to find the bag which had been at that particular site.

    As I approached the trash can I noticed there wasn’t much trash in it, not a good sign. They may have already changed the trash bag, but I looked down in the almost empty trash can and I saw a glimmer of metal. I reached down into that can and found my keys. Yep, I had accidentally thrown them in the can with that Trail Mix bar wrapper.

    My first reaction was, “Yes!” I had been dreading how I would ever find those keys and yet as soon as I retraced by steps and plunged my hand into that trash bag, there they were. I was so elated.

    Sometimes when we have a difficult task we will worry about how it will ever get done. We think of all kinds of obstacles which we will have to hurdle, yet if we just take one step at a time the task or the solution to the problem may be so much easier than we thought. Sometimes it is that one step that is the hardest.

    What is the difficult task you are facing? Have you thought of all the problems and obstacles that could thwart you accomplishing that task? Well maybe it is time just to take that one step to solving that issue or completing that task.

    I know now to make sure to glance one more time at the things I throw away. I need to make sure what is going in the trash needs to be in the trash. I also know I need just to start with that first step.

 

    Taking one step at a time with you,

 

    Pastor Randy