Randy's Reflections
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November 1, 2012, 7:18 PM

Randy's Reflections "Flying High"

Joan and I just got back from our vacation in Hawaii, or more accurately Kauai. We had never been and we wanted to make the most of it so we scheduled at least one activity a day. We snorkeled, we zip lined, we rode bikes down Waimea Canyon, we kayaked, and we took a helicopter ride around the island to name most of them.

It was amazing. Some of the things we did were a bit out of our comfort zone. Some we hadn’t done before and we were a bit anxious about. I have to admit it took me a good fifteen minutes to get a handle on using a snorkel, so before then I was pretty much hanging on to the floating board the whole time. Sometimes I was wondering if I should bag it and just go sit on the shore to wait till everyone else was done, but I didn’t and it was amazing. The zip lining was awesome after I went on the first easy one and then the long high one. The other five lines allowed me to see an amazing forest area below and all around me. The refreshing swim in the natural pool at the end was a great capper.

The helicopter ride was also amazing. That ride was the most calming when we took off and when we landed. Yet the sights in between took my breath away both with the beauty and because I was praying it seemed almost constantly. It wasn’t till after the flight that I looked at the crash statistics, only ten down in fourteen years throughout all the islands, though eight were on Kauai. Considering the number of copters out and about those islands, it was safer than crossing a street in L.A.

We not only were able to relax, between activities, we had some interesting conversations with natives and visitors alike. We learned about the island geographically, historically, and economically. We found new people we could pray for and new terrain to be thankful for. We had some interesting and delicious food. If we go back some time we will spend more time on the beach and snorkeling in the ocean, but also we will be more mindful of those who struggle on an island of paradise that has been deeply wounded by economic flows, both in and out.

I can’t thank everyone enough who made this trip possible, from the people who bought our home two years ago which provided some money to go on a vacation such as this. For family that provided housing that was easily affordable. For the staff that covered everything while we were gone. To the neighbors who watched over our middle school cat.

It was an amazing trip. It was also great to get back home. I hope and pray everyone will be able to enjoy whatever vacation they have and be thankful for all that they have received. It was a highlight, one among many in our vacation times. I am definitely thankful for the air that kept us afloat especially that air that the pilot said helped us over the mountain ridge.

May God’s grace embrace you with strength and wonder,


Pastor Randy

October 16, 2012, 12:23 PM

Randy's Reflections "Limb Down!"

This month we are looking at the book of Job. This is such a sad story in so many ways. It is about a man who is devoted to God who experiences more tragedy than seems necessary. Job never deviates from his commitment to God, though his laments turn into angry outbursts at times. It is a reminder that bad things happen to good people. When they do we often feel sorry for others, but when it hits home sorry doesn’t do it. We may end up asking, why me?

                This last week we had a thirty foot limb fall from one of three pine trees just east of the fence to our Joy Preschool yard. There was no wind and no indication it was on the verge of taking a fall. We were so thankful the limb did not fall while the kids were outside and even more so that it did not fall in the play yard itself.

                The cost for removal was minimal, but the concern about another limb maybe coming down due to some compromised structural damage was too great to just remove the intruder and let the rest of the tree stand the same. One of the two trees flanking the middle culprit had a precarious limb that was too close to the Joy yard with possible future issues. The other tree needed some trimming though not as drastic. We wrestled with the possibility of removing all three trees or to remove the first culprit and trim the others.

                After wrestling with where to get the money, what would be best to do, take down or trim, and then negotiating with the trimmer, we finally decided we would take down two and leave the third standing. The last one standing does not have any compromising issues, though it looks a bit forlorn. The cost will mean at least another year before we seen replacement of our fifteen year old office carpet, but good things came out of this.

                First it reaffirmed our priority is the safety of the children at our two preschools and our church programs.  Secondly, we learned the importance of collaborating among the leadership responsible to make this decision. Finally, we are so thankful that a greater tragedy was averted due to a minor, though costly, inconvenience.

                We certainly were in the position of Job, but we again were able to celebrate that God will help us make good decisions and will provide us with the necessary resources, people, equipment, and vision. Hopefully when those inconveniences strike us we will be able to take a moment and prayerfully consider all our options and not just react.

God is with us and we can depend on that. By the way we have been offered two new trees at no cost to us. A limb down may be the beginning of a brand new tree of possibility. Take heart He is with us.

Blessings on you,

Pastor Randy

October 3, 2012, 9:06 PM

Randy's Reflections "Yom Kippur"

I know it isn’t Christmas yet, even though I already see Christmas items put up in the stores even before Halloween has happened. But it seems I keep running into thoughts that remind me of that time of year.

This last week we talked about Yom Kippur, the day that comes at the end of the ten day celebration known as the Ten Days of Awe, of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.  Yom Kippur is the day when people ask for forgiveness. It is the day they  hope to begin a New Year in a new way. It is also the day when the High Priest made his annual entrance into the Holy of Holies. In the Christian tradition it is the day when Zechariah was told he would be a father of the last prophet before the Messiah came.

Zechariah was chosen by lot to enter the Holy of Holies that day and it was there he encountered the angel, the messenger, who told him he would have a child by his wife Elizabeth. He could not believe it because they were both very old. He asked how that could be and because of his disbelief he was not able to speak until his son was born. Until he was able to confirm his son would be called John.

This story is part of the Christmas celebration every year, but it wasn’t till Yom Kippur this year that I realized how the announcement of John, the son of Zechariah, occurred on the day the commemorates the importance of repentance. This man who was the last prophet before Jesus was announced on the day that repentance was underlined for a nation in their celebration of a new year, a new era, a new era.

John calls people to repentance telling them that the one to follow him would baptism with fire. He would cleanse the people of their sin. But he would do not by receiving their sacrifice and making it holy, but by his being the sacrifice that would make them holy.

On Yom Kippur the High Priest sacrificed one goat on the altar and another was sent off into the wilderness carrying the sins of all the people. But Jesus came to be our High Priest and the sacrifice was himself. John is the one who paved the way. It was the one who announced the coming of a new way of life. By believing in Jesus people did not have to wait till Yom Kippur to ask for forgiveness. By believing in Jesus people could know that they could start over again and again and again, if need be.

Every day is a new day for Christians. So this week let us thank our ancestors for celebrating the festival which would someday become a reality for all those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

And have a Happy New Year.

Celebrating with you,

Pastor Randy

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