Randy's Reflections
May 17, 2018, 11:19 PM

Pastor Randy's May Reflection


It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone
in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
For this I (we) toil and struggle with all the energy that he
powerfully inspires within me (us).           

Colossians 1:28-29

 

I had an amazing week at the  West Coast Presbyterian Pastors Conference (WCPPC)  a couple of weeks ago. Each year, eight days after Easter at Mount Hermon, the WCPPC begins. We usually have two teachers, one who emphasizes biblical study and one who emphasizes theology, who lead us in informative, stimulating, and challenging sessions. They usually split nine different sessions and we have an opportunity to quiz them about their presentations.

This year’s conference was the best ever. The first teacher, Adam Neder, is from Whitworth University, my undergraduate alma mater. He taught a challenging perspective based on Barth about our connection with God and participation in the ongoing presence of Jesus. Because of Christ Jesus all of us are reconciled to God, each other, and ourselves. We need to continually seek to be in Christ so we can act out our transformation in Christ. It is through Jesus that we say good bye to the old person, and it is through him that we can learn to embrace the new one.

Haley Jacob, our second presenter, shared her findings from having investigated the word glory and glorified throughout the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. She found that when these two words are used in reference to human beings, in all but one occurrence they mean status, authority, power, rule, or dominion. When someone is glorified he or she is granted, or acts, as one with God-given authority. This was an authority that was to be imparted from the very beginning to those who bear the image of God (see Genesis chapter one).

When Jesus talks about being glorified in the gospel of John, chapters twelve and thirteen, he is referring to fulfilling his role as the one true bearer of the image of God. Jesus predicts his crucifixion. It was the crucifixion which glorified Jesus; through crucifixion, Jesus was living, or actually dying, out his calling. As was true for Jesus, we each also have a calling; when we live out that calling we will be, and are being, glorified by God.

Glorification is not only what will happen in the future. Just as Jesus lived out his call to die on the cross and was glorified in that crucifixion, John 12:23-26, so we are glorified when we live out our calling. So what is our calling? Our calling is multifaceted. It includes our participation in the Body of Christ and our behavior in this world, as well as the way we live out our God-given personalities and potential together.

Our Session is considering how we can help equip the people of God here at JKPC. We hope to help people discover their calling, if they aren’t sure of it already. We want to continue to offer various opportunities for people to engage in our church, our community, and our world. If this strikes a chord in your heart and you desire to be actively pursuing your calling, please let the office know, and if you haven’t already filled out the talent sheet, that would be a great place to start.

Know this, that we are called to be God’s people and, as it says in Romans 8:30, “those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” All of us are on the road to maturing in Christ. Let us help you, so you can help us grow in faith, hope, and love. To God be the glory.

Hallelujah!

 

Pastor Randy

 




April 11, 2018, 1:24 AM

Pastor Randy's April Reflection


Image result for puzzle piece for god

"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.
Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential;
not many were of noble birth.
But God chose the foolish things to shame the wise.”

I Corinthians 1:26-27a

 

 

 

In our study of the Sermon on the Mount we have been exploring the last verse of chapter 5, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The perfection Jesus is talking about does not mean we are to be without fault, but rather that we are to fulfill the purpose for which God has created us. Each of us is an important part of the puzzle that makes up the universe. By being and acting out our part, we help the universe be what it was created to be.

That being said, the Corinthians passage cited above reminds us that we may not be the wisest, most influential, or noblest person, but because of Christ’s call and our reception of his grace we can become the best puzzle piece ever.

So how do we move from being called to fulfilling our role? How do we become that person who fits best into the ongoing purpose of God? I think it is by becoming the disciple Jesus has called us to be.  Disciples are those, like Jesus, who are living out the greatest commandments, to love God and love our neighbor as ourself (Matthew 22:34-40).

I don’t think you can truly love God or your neighbor without knowing them. It isn’t too hard to get to know your neighbor; you can simply introduce yourself and have a conversation with them, but how do we get to know God? Since God isn’t visible, we have to depend on learning about God from others and from reading the Bible. One reason we have been doing “Words of Encouragement” during the worship service is to learn about God through others. But the other avenue through which we learn about God is the Bible. If we are to learn, however, we need to take time to read, study, and reflect on it.

I want to help you learn more about the Bible. Some may say they already know enough about the Bible, but I can attest that I have been studying it for years, and I am still learning new things every time I read it.

What book, of the 66 books of the Bible, do you want to learn more about? Please let me know. This is one reason we have Adult Education classes so we can learn about the Bible, but I would like to hear from you as to in which books you are interested in learning about. I want to help you learn more about the love God has for you and to help us both learn to love God more. I want us to become the best puzzle pieces God designed us to be.

This is one way we can move towards perfection, that is to fulfill the purpose for which we were created.

 

Growing in discipleship with you,

 

Pastor Randy

 




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