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, July 11, 2007

Getting a Glimpse of the Master

THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS TIMES in my journey as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I have prayed, dare I say called out, for an opportunity to see Him face to face. Often these times have come when I am feeling stressed in the face of ministry, or when I have felt lonely. But, to this point in time I have never seen Him face to face like Moses did, or have I heard His voice in the gentle blowing like Elijah, or have I experienced the manifestation of His glory like Isaiah, or witnessed the transfiguration of others in His midst like Peter, James and John. Or have I?

I have cried out. I have fasted. I have sat in quietness. I have worshiped with reckless abandon, and prostrated myself in prayer, but His face I have not seen. I have dwelt in the darkness alone and I have gathered with a multitude of the saints, and still His physical, manifested presence I have not seen. Or have I?

This past week I was humbled by an old truth, a truth that reminded me that I have seen Jesus face to face. In fact, I saw Him this past week in the face of the homeless man walking by the church. I saw Him in the face of the day-laborer who was working at the church. I saw Him in the child at Harvey West Park.

Jesus told His followers (Matthew 24) that as they would serve the least of society they would be serving Him and I guess with that seeing Him as well. As I visited the left out and lonely, and fed the hungry and provided for the needs of the needy, I would in fact be ministering unto to Jesus Himself. No burning bush, blowing wind or transfigured person, just real people like you.

It is in serving others that we see the Savior. He’s everywhere for me to see!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Living by My Perferences

MEXICAN OR CHINESE? HASH-BROWNS or cottage-fries? Spicy or mild? I have lots of preferences when it comes to what I would like to eat. In fact, the list could get rather long as I think about it, though I will admit that sushi and grubs have not made the list.

Living by my preferences gives me lots of options when it comes to eating out. If they are not serving what I like, I can just change my preference for that meal. That’s one of the benefits of having lots of preferences, when things are not going the way I think they should, I can change to another preference. It’s actually the way most of us live. If something is not going the way we think it should, we just change our belief about that thing.

Living by our preferences can affect various areas of our lives such as our politics, favorite sports teams, television shows, reading material, even places of worship. Some of these areas are really not life-altering, but sadly, dangerously even, living by our preferences can seep into our friendships, our character, and even our relationship with God. When things don’t go our way, or meet our tastes, we easily switch to another preference, or another belief.

Thankfully, people like the Prophet Jeremiah did not live by their preferences, but rather by their convictions. It was Jeremiah’s conviction about the faithfulness and compassion of God that gave him the strength to remain steadfast even from the bottom of the pit. It was his conviction that God’s justice is always tempered by His love that sustained his hope, even in the darkness of times.

When it comes to God and His ways, may we live by our convictions, and in doing so find hope and peace.

That’s my conviction!