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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memory Loss

OF ALL THE THINGS I’VE LOST, I miss my mind the most!,” so declares the bumper sticker I saw awhile back. The sad truth is that over time memory fades. The things that were once so clear now appear as foggy images from last week’s hastily passing dream. This memory loss seems to deepen as we grow older, it’s part of the aging process they say, ugh, I hate that process.

One of the reasons we need holidays, like the one we celebrate this weekend, is because without them we would soon forget the important memories that have brought us to this point in time and that make us who we are.

In 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, declared General Order #11 that officially set aside of day of remembrance for those who died in the Civil War. It was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. As the years past it came to be a day of remembrance of all of those who gave their lives through any of the wars that would follow, and there have been a few. In 1971, by act of Congress, it was moved to the last Monday in May, and thus, is so celebrated.

It’s too bad that we need these days to cause us to remember, but given our individual and national memory loss, I suppose it is a needed thing. It’s just that we should remember those who gave their lives without having to be reminded. For whom we are today, and the freedoms we enjoy, is because these brave men and women gave all for the service of their country. And so we stop to remember and reflect and pray for peace.

I wonder if this isn’t why God, in His wisdom, set aside the Sabbath?

To remember…lest we forget.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sheer Madness

FOR ALMOST TEN YEARS THEY HAVE HUNG across my office window softly filtering the light and obscuring the view. Over the past few month the dusty white sheer curtains have begun to show their age with rips and tears. Alas, I have removed them…but therein is the problem.

The light they once filtered now comes through with increased brightness, and in the late afternoon, with increased heat. The view that was once softly obscured is now strongly evident, not to mention the dirty windows that I have left unwashed for too long. It is amazing how much “seeing” these see-through drapes have hindered. One has to wonder if it would not have been better to leave the torn sheers in place, but it’s too late now.

As I contemplated my new “view” I thought about the prayers I have prayed to God to help me see Him and His world more clearly. In many ways my vision was obscured by a sheer vale, allowing me to see, but not really. In asking God to help me see more clearly He has removed the drapes from my eyes, and in the process I have seen things that I wish were still softly veiled.

Yes, I do see his brightness and glory, but I also see the dirt upon my windows, and the activities of life around me. I find myself more easily distracted, watching, curious, but I also experience more heat as well. I wonder if it would not have been better to not pray that prayer.

But it’s too late now!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

SHATTERED!

LAST SUNDAY SOMEONE BROKE INTO OUR VAN, shattering the side window and stole Linda’s purse. Not a tragedy, just a huge inconvenience, as Linda puts it. Through this “inconvenience” we have learned some lessons, one of them being; safety glass may protect people from serious lacerations, but it is a real bugger to clean up!

Those little pieces of tinted window were everywhere. We swept the car, vacuumed the car, cleaned all the nooks and crannies and still more and more pieces made themselves known. And, before the window was replaced, all you had to do was walk by the car and more glass would fall from the edges of the exposed shattered window. It was a mess!

As I thought about this shattered window it became clear to me that it represents what happens with shattered lives. First, most lives are shattered by the some sort of crisis. Second, when lives are shattered, pieces go everywhere. It’s never an easy clean-up process either. Sometimes, just when you think you got things cleaned up more pieces appear. Like the window in our van, people experiencing shattered lives need to be handled with care, lest more pieces dislodge. But, with the right care and a little patience, shattered lives can be repaired, just like the window in our van.

So, if you’re experiencing a shattered life right now, take hope, your shattered life can be repaired. The good news is that Jesus, like the glass repairman, does not come and glue the pieces back together, he replaces the whole window. Jesus is about making all things new! And that, my friend, is good news!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm a Christ Follower (Mac vs. PC Parody) Part 01

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Zusto Man


IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE! IT’S AN ENORMOUS FLYING HAMSTER! NO, it’s Zusto Man! With a zeal for the Lord and a gusto for life, it’s one crazy dude trying to save the world one person at a time! OK, so it probably will not sell like Superman, but it sure would be great to have some super hero out there proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ. If, for no other reason, it would get the rest of us off the hook.

What would a church look like if were filled with Zusto Men and Zusto Women? People who had a zeal for the Lord and a gusto for life. People who whose main goal in life was to save people from peril? It would be a pretty incredible, that’s for sure! But isn’t that what the church is to be?

Almost ten years ago Felton Bible Church adopted the mission to: Love God and Make God’s Love Known. A mission that must still drive us today. As you read over that mission, can you not see that it is the very driving force of Zusto Man? A love for God is what drives his zeal and a desire to share that love is what gives his life gusto. You cannot have one without the other. In fact, they both empower each other. This zusto is the very kind of life that our Lord (the original Zusto Man prototype) called us to live. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) This is the command that each of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to obey. And it is in obeying this command that we do, in fact, become Team Zusto!

I would like to call us all back to this mission. A mission that I know will bring glory to God by building His kingdom. Some of you are thinking, “Pastor Randy has really gone off the deep end this time,” but I do believe that this is life that God has called us to live. A life of regular-looking, everyday, mild-mannered people, who share an incredible secret, they are really super heroes in disguise. Normal people, young and old, rich and poor, learned and those learning, who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to help save lives.

I think it is time to step out from our closets of prayer and don the uniform of the Spirit and live the life that the Lord, our Savior, gave us to live. A life of Zusto!

Look there! Up in the sky, it’s a ….

The Real VIPS of Racing


AT THE BIG SUR INTERNATIONAL MARATHON, taking place today on the beautiful Central California coast, there are some real VIPs among the 9,000 runners and walkers. But these VIP’s are not the elite runners like the Kenyans, or it is the “Grizzled Vets” who have run every Big Sur Marathon, as specials as these two groups are. No, these VIP’s are the hundreds of volunteers who will wake up early, and stand all morning long, holding out to small cups of water, or packets of energy gel to the runner who steadily pass by.

Without such volunteers, both young and old, a marathon like the BSIM could not be run. Their selfless acts of caring for the needs of the runners and walkers, along with their constant shouts of encouragement, are often the very things that keep the participants moving forward. Knowing that a mile or two down the road there will be friendly faces who seek to nourish both body and soul, can keeping one moving forward when everything else in you says to stop. This I know firsthand.

Many of these road-side servants are themselves runners. But on this weekend they “return the favor” to those who now run the race. These VIPs know the truth that both runners and servers are need to complete the race.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are told that we all run in a race, but I have found that sometimes I run, and sometimes I stand along the course encouraging others in the race. I seek to nourish both body and soul so that my fellow runners can run well the race set before them. Whether to run or to support, both are vital to helping us all finish the course. May we all so encourage and serve as we run this race together.