Randy's Reflections
October 26, 2017, 2:55 PM

October Reflection


In our current sermon series we are discovering how to more accurately understand who this Jesus, the Son of God, is. We are looking at Jesus’ seven “I am” statements in the gospel of John. We began with “I am the bread of life,” bread being the very essence of life. This substance was used in the Passover Matzah, which is pierced, scarred, and hidden away for a time, before it is brought back to leave the final taste of the feast on one’s tongue.

This same substance took a different form during the years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness; it came from the sky to feed the “people of God” on a daily basis. This was called Manna, which means “What is it?” This same foundational substance was mentioned in the familiar Passover Haggadah but was given new meaning as Jesus shared the Passover with his disciples before he was betrayed, beaten, bullied, and hung on a cross for all our transgressions.

This was also the substance given to Abraham after a battlefield victory by a local priest named Melchizedek. In the time of Jesus again it was blessed, broken and multiplied when thousands of people had nowhere to turn for their meal away from home. Finally this was the same substance that Jesus gave the disciples for a resurrection breakfast after they were done fishing.

Bread is an appropriate symbol, metaphor, or image for any who long for nourishment both physically and spiritually. It is faith, that which spiritual bread feeds, which brings comfort, consolation, and challenge for us both now and the future. Bread is a world wide commodity, sometimes made in an oven, sometimes baked on a stone, and sometimes in a make shift pan with only coals to heat the raw ingredients.

“I am the light of the World” is the second “I am” statement Jesus uses. Light is that which chases away darkness and accompanies warmth from the largest ball of fire we can see with the naked eye. Light exposes darkness and makes clear what we face and have to overcome if we are not to let darkness overwhelm us. Grayish, fuzzy images become more clear and colors pop out with the light of the morning dawn as it creeps over the mountains and onto the land.

Light can help us to physically see, but it also is a great metaphor for a sudden brilliant understanding of what was once unknown, but is now clearly apparent. It can provide the environment for growth which occurs to those who are maturing in knowledge and wisdom, the application of our growing knowledge.

Light is what shines on all that is good and will guide us to a vista which when viewed from the eyes of God will take our breath away, perhaps even the very breath God gave us, but not without first freeing us from the gloom and darkness that can envelop the soul.

Jesus is all that is good in the midst of a battered and bruised world begging for relief and restoration. We are the ones who can share the light and the bread. We are the ones who can help dispel the darkness and ease the hunger. Let us receive the bread and light of life, not just for ourselves, but for all who yearn for something that is best when shared and celebrated.

May all your doubts be made clear and all your hopes be fully fed.

 

Blessings,

Pastor Randy

 




September 22, 2017, 3:28 PM

Pastor Randy's September Reflection


Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.

 

For the past year I have read a lot about the Jewish background of the New Testament. It has been an eye opening endeavor. Most of my information has come via an internet class out of Norway taught by a doctoral student who is studying this area. I took this class for 30 weeks and have been reading some of the extra biblical resources suggested by my professor. Ask me about the book of James sometime.

 

I am fascinated by this information, and it has enriched my understanding of the context in which the Bible was written, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Lately, however, I have become weary of learning all this information, not because it is redundant. I believe it is pertinent to a greater understanding of the Bible. Yet, this information is more about the Bible, about God, and about his people, but it is not about the relationship we have with Jesus.

I did not “sign up” to be a Christian because of the way the Bible was written and put together. I signed up because of an encounter with the risen Savior. It is my relationship with Jesus that keeps me believing and growing in my faith.

So, even though I really like studying the context of the written word, it is more important that I spend more time with the redeemer of my life. I also want to share with you what I am discovering in that relationship as well as to encourage you to start or grow in your relationship with the living God we worship through Jesus.

I have decided that this fall is an opportune time to walk through the gospel of John and review the seven “I am” statements. I believe this will help us understand more about who Jesus is and how these metaphors speak to us of our relationship to him.

Have you started a relationship with Jesus, and if you have what is that like? Is it like filling a hunger that is deep within (Jesus says, I am the Bread of Life)? Or maybe it is like walking through a gate which opens out to a whole new world (Jesus says, I am the gate)? Come explore with me what it means to have a growing and active relationship with the risen Savior.

We will take this walk in chronological order as found in the gospel of John. You can prepare with me for the first “I am” statement by reading John 6. It is a long chapter, but since I will not begin this sermon series until September 10, you have lots of time to read the first 59 verses of chapter 6.

I look forward to sharing with you, and having you share with me, our walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Blessings,

Pastor Randy

 




August 30, 2017, 11:53 AM

Summer Words


Willingness

Perhaps this is the heart of our faith. Are we willing to accept that which seems fantastic, from a world’s view, that a being, other than a fellow human, created us? Are we willing to step out in faith to believe that this being provided us a way to have a relationship with him? Are we willing to believe that this being has inspired others to write about their relationship and this writing has traversed the ages intact and continues to be a guide for all who desire a relationship with this being? Are we willing to believe that through this relationship we have help to live life fully both now and forever? When it comes down to it we need to decide if we are willing to take that leap of faith that all the above is true. If we are willing then we will experience something truly glorious.

Lord, help us to be willing to receive your word to us, not only your written word, but your living word Jesus Christ. Help us to embrace the Spirit which hovers over us seeking to inspire, guide and bring us gifts of love, peace and joy. Lord, help us to be willing to recognize we are not the center of the Universe, but that he who is beckons us to enter into his presence and be filled with your grace. Lord, help us to be willing to receive all that you have for us and be willing to share whatever blessings we have with those around us. Lord, help us to be willing. Amen.