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, March 09, 2007

Running for Others


I’M NOT RUNNING FOR MYSELF, at least not at this present juncture of my life. I am running for 4 other people right now, not that their not running too, but they are in some fashion dependant upon my training, as I am of theirs.

There are five of us who are training to run in the Big Sur International Marathon Relay. We are running under the team name of “Hebrews 12.” Take a look at the passage and you’ll see our “motivation.” Anyway, these teammates are dependant upon my training. If we are going to compete as a team, and finish as a team (winning is most definitely not the issue), then I must train with due diligence. They need me to run my best, if I give in, or give up, they suffer, the team suffers, and in fact we become disqualified.

This past week, while running, I was listening to a preacher talk about the Apostle Peter’s words to the young men seeking to lead the church. He says that we are to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) What rang in my ears was a new understanding regarding the reason I am to resist Satan and to stand strong; it is not because fellow believers throughout the world are in just as bad situations, but because my standing firm, in some way helps them to stand firm. I run for them. When I resist it helps them to resist. I don’t know how all this works out, for it is truly a spiritual battle that we wage, but I do know what I do, that is how I run this race set before me (Hebrews 12) matters.

Train well. Run well. Race well. For we run not for ourselves alone.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

AMERICA SAVES WEEK

THIS PAST WEEK MARKED AMERICA SAVES WEEK, but according to an article in US News and World Report, we are not doing very well at saving. The article states that the Federal government has reported “that the nation's personal savings rate fell to negative 1 percent last year. In other words, for every $100 in disposable income workers enjoyed in 2006, they spent about $101.” The article goes on to state that “this marks the lowest household savings rate since the Great Depression.” Ouch!

Now, if we were all a little honest, we have to admit that if it were not for those generous employers who take some of our pay and “sock it away for us” for that proverbial rainy day, it would be increasingly difficult for most of us to save anything. Day-to-day living costs so much more than ever, and pile upon that the constant barrage of our consumer-driven culture, and it’s no wonder that so many find themselves only a paycheck away from living on the street.

But my purpose in writing this edition of the Shepherd’s Staff is not about opening a savings account at Bay Federal, but about the increasing our savings accounts in regards to our spiritual life. As I read the article in US News and World Report, I began to wonder how they would report the “savings rate” of the Christian church in America? Of the blessings that we have each received from the Lord this past year how is your saving rate? How have we done at turning the blessings we have been given into blessings for God and His kingdom? The Lord told Israel they were blessed in order to be a blessing, and that through them all the world would be blessed. It was through them that the saving One came.

I think it’s time for some investment in saving souls. Care to make a desposit?