Randy's Reflections
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May 30, 2017, 5:19 PM

June Relection

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

 

Encouragement, I love this word. It reminds me that there are struggles and trials in all of our lives and that we need not be dismayed when those struggles are in our face. Within this word is the word courage, which also reminds me that to live our lives as Christians it takes courage. It takes a courage which sometimes we don’t have until God or someone who cares for us comes alongside us to walk with us through the difficult times.

 

As I read printed material or look at the electronic media stream, I am many days disheartened by actions of terror, by bullying of self-interest individuals or groups, or by the lack of compassion so many show to those who are on the margins of life. Yet I know that ultimately these people or groups are not the ones who will determine the last chapter of this world, or even my life. I also am reminded that we have not only a Lord who watches over us, but we have a Savior who holds us in his hands.

 

We also have a community of faith who wants the best for us. We have a community of faith who wants us to experience the joy, hope, and love which Christ came to offer us through our faith in him.

 

As we prepare ourselves for each day we begin with an expectation that somehow, some way we will make it through the day, and it is the faith within in our hearts that can give us the courage to make it through. But at different times we all need to be encouraged, and to offer encouragement to others.

 

Many of you know that I live very close to Wells Middle School. Every school day morning I get to hear the “Words of Wisdom” spoken by one of the teachers, counselors, or even sometimes by a student. These words of wisdom usually focus on the importance of character building. But whatever words are spoken, the speaker always ends the message with the words, “Have a great day, or not, the choice is yours.”

 

This is so true. Most often we can choose to head into the day with an optimistic view or a pessimistic view, but we need to choose if we will only look for the black dot on the sheet of white paper or see the magnificent hues and shades of blue in the storm clouds overhead.

 

Even so I think we still can all use a word of encouragement, a word to ponder throughout the day which reminds us that our Lord and Savior loves us, wants the best for us, and will walk with us through all of life’s high points and low points.

 

This summer I will be sending out a daily word, except on Sundays, to offer you something to ponder through your day. The words come from many of you who submitted words to me in the last month. I am excited about sharing my thoughts with you and am thankful for all of you, whether you sent me a word or not, I hope you will use these words to make your summer a summer to celebrate your faith in God.

 

So think of these words and use them to guide your day or to help you think of ways in which you can live joyfully in this world, no matter what, remember you are a beloved child of the most high God.

 

Blessings to you,

 

Pastor Randy

 




May 2, 2017, 4:09 PM

May Reflections

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

I Peter 3:15a

It has been a wonderful spring. The water that has come pouring down from on high has brought flowers and new growth that have been

missing from our yard for the last several drought-filled years. I am always amazed when I see what a little sunshine and water does to the earth on which we live.

So it is with the nourishment we receive from God’s word and the community of faith in which we live. Lent was a rich time for me this year as we “Walked the Way” with Jesus together throughout Israel looking at the geography, as well as his actions. It was also a rich time for me to be able to share a word with you every day, except Sunday, through email during Lent.

A lot of you said you really appreciated receiving that daily word, so I thought maybe this summer I could do the same thing - but I need your help. The last couple of years I have used words from special books I have been reading, but I thought if I could get words which are meaningful for you or that stimulate your thoughts, we could ponder them together.

So I am asking you to send me, by either email or by text, a word you would like to ponder more deeply. Perhaps it is something that has been a special word for you which brings singing to your heart or stimulates your mind, or maybe even energizes you into action. I will try to use all the words, but I will only have 79 spots available. I will not include Sundays for the daily word.

I would love to share with you my thoughts about the words and you can use this as a catalyst for your own thinking. Anything I say will be just a primer for your pump as you acknowledge the word and ask God to speak to you about how that word connects you to your faith in your life.

Just as an example the word which has the most effect on me currently is the word, “hope.” I have shared before, but want to do so again, about how one of my parishioners from the church I served in Reinbeck, Iowa, counseled me that this is what most people come to church to hear, hope. People come desiring to be encouraged and maybe even challenged with a sign or a story or maybe even just the word itself, hope.

Hope brings to us a sense that all is not lost, that the darkness will not prevail, that the clouds will dissipate when the Son shines through the fog, the drizzle or the downpour. This is also what keeps me keeping on. The very fact that the tomb did not hold Jesus gives me hope, but I, as well as most of us, need to hear stories, see transformation, and embrace words of hope. Partly because we have short memories, and partly because we face new challenges every day.

This week I am at a Pastor’s Conference and one of the speakers reminded us that, “Our hope is not a hope in something, but a hope in someone.” The speaker said this is a quote from John Ortberg, I don’t know from what book yet, but it rings true. We can strive to gather things, cars, toys, vacations, material goods, but none of them will last. It is hope that will motivate us to continue the upward calling.

Let’s join together as we hope for what God has for us. The best is yet to come as we explore the spiritual journey God has for us.

Waiting with great anticipation for your word of the day, Pastor Randy 




April 14, 2017, 12:00 PM

Lenten Word of the Day for April 14: Justification

Justification

When I get upset because I have been treated unfairly I need not to just shrug it off, nor to demand that I get even. I need to use that concern to stimulate my action to help others when they are treated unfairly. We are called not just to love others but to stand up for what is right and help balance the scales of injustice. We are called to care for our brothers and sisters as we partner with Jesus to redeem this world from injustice as well as from its sin.

The injustices of the world can be overwhelming, so we turn away, we walk away, we give in. We think of Good Friday and know that Jesus wasn't put on the cross just by the Jews, or just be the Romans, Jesus was put on the cross because of each of us. Help us to take responsibility not only for our actions but for the injustices which you give us the resources to confront. Help us to help others so we can help you bring justice to this world. Amen.


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