Randy's Reflections
March 7, 2018, 12:37 PM

Pastor Randy's March Reflection

Anyone who intends to come with me

has to let me lead.

You’re not in the driver’s seat - I am. . .

Self-sacrifice is the way,

my way, to finding yourself, your true self.

What good would it do to get everything you want

and lose you, the real you?

Luke 9:23-25 (Paraphrase of The Message)



Okay, for how many people is this their favorite passage? Well, it is not mine. Yet these are words Jesus speaks to his disciples just after he has predicted his death in the gospel of Luke. Such words should cause us to ponder if we are really backing the right horse in this race of life. I mean isn’t our faith in Jesus supposed to bring us love, peace, and joy? Aren’t we supposed to experience the abundant life because we have a Savior and Lord who has our best interests in mind?


So I guess this is a good passage to ponder during Lent. As I think about it, I would want to start with the last question first. “What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?”


This is not really a hard question to answer. Of course, we don’t want to forfeit or lose our very self. God has made each of us unique, and we each bring something special to the table or to the world. It is an awesome opportunity to be a special part of the puzzle of life. Why would we want to give up our precious piece of the puzzle knowing that without us the picture would be incomplete?


What does it mean to get everything you want? The NIV says, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” We all like to receive affirmation or get some kind of financial reward, but at what cost? How much are we willing to compromise so we can live better? Life does take some compromises, but we don’t ever want to give up our true self.


So truly it is not good to gain the whole world and lose our very self. Agreed?


So what does it mean self-sacrifice is the way, the way of Jesus? I think it reminds us that we aren’t the only person on the planet. There will be times when we need to give up a personal benefit, so someone else can experience the goodness of life. When we share our resources with others, financial or relational, we are including others in the puzzle. When we don’t hoard what we have, be it money or friends, we are actually participating in the world.


We can’t live an isolated life. We are part of a global community. If we aren’t part of the solution, then we are part of the problem. Jesus wants us to recognize that we may have to deny ourselves momentarily, as it says in the NIV translation, in order to receive the benefits Jesus has for our world, which includes us. We may not see the benefit immediately, but in the end we will receive the greatest benefit, what is the best for us and the world.


So, during Lent look for an opportunity for you to give up something, in order to benefit someone else. That giving up, that self-sacrifice, that denial means that you are letting Jesus lead your life, a life that will be more fulfilling than the life which you are living now. Let us share the wealth, the time, the love we have been given and it will lead us into being the real us. That is a promise from Jesus. I look forward to receiving that promise, what about you?


Blessings, Pastor Randy


February 1, 2018, 4:52 PM

Pastor Randy's February Reflection

This year February 14th is the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday, as well as Valentine’s Day. Easter, the end of Lent, is April 1st, April Fool’s Day. It seems appropriate somehow that the forty days of Lent, when we spend time thinking about our relationship with God, is between those two days of celebration. The first being a day when we remember or share the most treasured gift we can offer someone, love. The last day being a day when all of Jerusalem thought the upstart rebel from the little town in Galilee was long gone. I mean three days in a tomb, surely this would-be Messiah was finished. But it was only the beginning – fooled them!


The season of Lent is an important part of the Church year. It is a reminder that the Christian walk includes a time of personal devotion, commitment from a community, and love from above. At some point in our life we need to decide if following an obscure itinerant preacher from two thousand years ago is a wise thing to do. And if it is, then are we willing to pay the cost in time and effort. It is a personal promise that will extract the deepest commitment from us. Discipleship can be costly, but it is worth it.


Such personal devotion is not something we can achieve on our own. We will need an emotional support base which will stand by us when the world around us seems to be dragging us down. We will need encouragement when it seems as though a pin point of light in the darkness is but a mere dream. We will need to be inspired to hope when all around us people are giving up. We will need a community that will stand with us through thick and thin.


Of course this Christian walk will not be left to our own devotional devices. Nor can we only rely on the people around us to help us keep walking through the tough times. God sent his son for our redemption because he loves us. This love will surround us, envelop us, and carry us through the toughest times. I hope and pray that you will experience this love and know that God wants the best for you. God has promised us peace and joy.


As we celebrate our Christian walk together during worship I want to try something different during Lent. As we offer God adoration and praise on the Sundays during our services this year we will give you an opportunity to share some “Words of Encouragement” with the rest of the congregation. Like last year we will take time for Confession and hear the Assurance of Pardon each Sunday during Lent, but during our regular prayer time we will hear from people in our congregation who have recognized how God has touched their lives.


I will be preaching through chapter five of Matthew, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. This is a great section on Christian ethics, but Jesus often punctuated his teaching with stories. So we want to give people an opportunity to share a small portion of their story with the rest of the congregation.


If you have an experience you would like to share about how God touched your life, please email me at jkpcrandy@sbcglobal.net. I would love to hear from you. Perhaps you aren’t interested in speaking, but would love to share your story. You can write out your experience and I can read it to the congregation. Or perhaps you just want an opportunity to share something meaningful about God with one other person. I am available.


We all need a word of encouragement from other followers of Jesus to bolster our faith and to inspire us as we walk this road of faith.


Hoping to hear from you. Whether you want it kept private or are willing have your experience shared publicly, please share with me.


Blessings, Pastor Randy


December 29, 2017, 10:12 AM

Advent Words of Winter


How do you picture Jesus? I don’t mean skin tone or color of eyes and hair, but does he have a stern, scowling face or a face which is serene or happy? Maybe he has a face that has a Mona Lisa smile. The lyricist of Silent Night says he there were “Radiant beams from Thy holy face.” It makes me think of a face of a child showing wonder and joy. Too often I think of Jesus as a non-smiling somber man. Someone who has known the hardness of life and is unrelenting in his view of justice, yet Jesus was compassionate and welcoming. Jesus is merciful and forgiving, so remember he loves you more than anything, like a doting grandpa or grandma.

Lord, help us not only to see others with compassion and open arms, but help us to picture you with a loving smile. We are the ones who need your encouragement and embrace and we need to know that we can come to you at anytime. Help us to turn to you whenever we are in need and to know that your grace welcomes us all the time. Amen.