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, June 22, 2007

GOT EDUCATION?

THIS WEEK MANY YOUNG PEOPLE throughout our area moved their tassels and grabbed a diploma and said “goodbye” to the past and “hello” to the future. For some this week marked the culmination of years of education and possibly a deep desire to never have to open another text book or attend another boring lecture. Yet, for others, it marks the beginning of a new and exciting learning adventure. For some, the diploma signifies the end to a formal education and for others it is the passport for future discoveries.

As I look back on my high school graduation MANY years ago I think I feel somewhere in the middle of the two groups listed above. I was really thrilled to be finished with high school, and I was truly looking forward to a “new way” of doing school. I wasn’t 100% sure where my educational journey was going to take me (maybe a Recreational Education degree with an emphasis in Developmental Ed., maybe underwater basket-weaving). Early on, my journey was all over the map, but I was learning, and it was fun. I may not have had a good plan, but I knew I wasn’t through with learning.

I believe the Apostle Paul had this ongoing education process in mind when he encourage young Timothy to, “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

The challenge is a good one for all of us, no matter how long ago we received the diploma and turned the tassel. Learning is a life-long process, dare I say an eternal process, so let’s keep learning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Waking @ 4

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME OR NOT four o’clock in the morning is dark. It is most definitely a time for sleeping and dreaming, but over the past number of months I have been waking up ever morning between four and four-fifteen. The reason? Christ and Krista.

I believe that the Lord has been waking me ever morning to pray specifically for our daughter Krista as she serve with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, Africa. Four o’clock our time is about noon for her (depending on good old Daylight Savings Time).

Most mornings it is pretty much the same, I awaken, turn my heart and mind toward what she might be experiencing or doing on that day, and then I offer up a few prayers, and then drift back into my state of slumber. I don’t get out of bed, I don’t get on my knees, I just lay in bed and lift up a prayer or two, and back to sleep I fall. Not very spiritual, but at least I do pray.

My Christian life is often like my four o’clock awakenings. Each day I have committed to pray for Krista and I do, if the Lord wakes me, I struggle to keep focused, and once a few prayers are lifted it time to drift back to sleep. I find in my life as a follower of Jesus I have committed to pray, if the Lord wakes me (so much for personal discipline) and then after a few fitful attempts and half-hearted moments I slip back into my slumber. Not very spiritual.

My fear is that this is what we often do on Sunday mornings. We awaken for a few short moments, utter some sleepy-eyed words of praise and prayer, and then slip back into some kind of spiritual sleep-walking. Not very spiritual.

Oh Lord, awaken us fully, so that we can be fully awake to Thee.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

OF MOPEDS AND WILDFLOWERS

SMALL CONVERTED GARAGE was our first home as a married couple, but to us it was our castle. In those early days of our marriage life was simpler. Not much money, but lots of love and desire.

In those first few months I worked as a department manager in a large retail store making $3.10 an hour. That income didn’t leave much for frills and gifts of affection, but often, while riding my moped home, I would pull off the side of the road at a undeveloped field and grab a handful of wildflowers (some may call them weeds) to present to Linda as I arrived home.

Now, the amazing thing was not that I brought wildflowers home to my new wife, but that she accepted them as if they were a dozen red roses in a gold box with a satin ribbon. What still catches by breath away is that she still welcomes my often silly attempts of expressing my love, but that’s the way real love is, is it not? Real love makes a feast out of sharing a twenty-five cent hamburger at Mc Donald’s or a high-roller vacation out of an afternoon drive through the southern California foothills. Ah, for a return to those days!

I believe this is what the Lord is calling the church to in the Book of Revelation, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Revelation 2:2-5) There it is: Do the things you did at first.

Too often life, and love, gets complicated and in the process we lose the depth and simplicity of love. The call is for us to return, and to focus upon that which is of true importance: to give ourselves fully to other person, to see them first, and in the simplest of ways live a life that expresses in both word and deed, “I love you.”