The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A COUNTRY OF CONTRADICTIONS

AS A NATION WE HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE OPEN and available to one another, shown by the number of MySpace profiles, (now standing at 145 million) and yet, almost 25% of our nation state that they have no one close enough to confide in.

We have never had so many time saving devices and yet we find ourselves under an ever-increasing time crunch. We have more “stuff” (Houses, cars, toys, gadgets) but are no closer to a sense of contentment. Church attendance is dwindling across the board, and yet people show an almost insatiable desire for the spiritual. I suppose on one hand, we could say we’re living at the extremes, and have little comfort of a place to call home.

The Apostle Paul found that place to call “home” and it was in the person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle stated that he had learned how to be content in every circumstance, and this powerful contentment came because his very strength for living came in and through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:11-13) Later, in the letter to the Hebrews, it is written that we are to be content in what we have and that contentment comes not from some drummed up sense of self-transcendence, but through the knowledge that God has said, “’I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Maybe it’s time to come in out of the extremes and find a place to call home. It is a place where you can find acceptance for who you are. It is a place where you can find rest. It is a place where you can develop a heart of contentment. It is a place where your spirit is nourished. It is a place where you are loved. It’s time to come home to Jesus.

The door is open.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

I AM NOT MUCH OF AN AL GORE FAN, but after watching his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, dealing with the perils of global warming, I believe he has some important things to say, and for us to take to heart.

I have believed for quite some time that Christians should be some of the best environmentalists. We are called to be good stewards of all of God’s creation. Stewardship is not just about managing our money well, and faithfully placing our tithe in the offering plate. It is about managing well all of our resources. Sadly, a number of Bible-believing evangelicals do not see caring for our environment as important as some of the other weighty issues which lay before us. Too often this is so because we link environmental issues with those who would place themselves on the left side of the political spectrum. But, in my humble opinion, I don’t believe, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be politically left or right, rather we are called to respond biblically. I guess I would stand with the hundred or so Evangelicals who have signed the Environmental Climate Initiative, that believe the issue at hand is not just about the protecting of the Earth, but about protecting those created in the image of God. Evangelical environmental stewardship is ultimately not about the planet, but about people.

Now here is the place where Mr. Gore falls woefully short; he purposefully neglects another “inconvenient truth,” the truth that speaks of a deeper Truth that is at work. Mr. Gore begins and ends with the earth and the inhabitants thereof, and leaves no place for God’s Story. He fails to understand and accept the truth, of which the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome,

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:20-25)

The truth is there is a Truth that must encompass all we do as stewards of God’s creation. Sometimes this truth becomes inconvenient for all of us, believers and non-believers as well. We would all like to pick and choose which part of the Truth we want to live under, and quietly neglect the rest, but that is not the stewardship to which we are called. Convenient or not, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must live by the Truth. This is what it means to be good stewards.

So may we live.