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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Holy FOB, Batman!


I FIRST ENCOUNTERED F.O.B. while attending the Camper in Leadership Training (C.I.L.T.) program at Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center’s Redwood Camp. The acronym F.O.B. stood for Flat on Back or Flat on Bunk. It described the time, right after lunch, when all campers were required to take a period of rest. In retrospect I came to see that it was a time more for the counselors, than for the campers. But whatever the underlying motive, its direct purpose was to get everybody to stop, rest, and get ready for the fun-filled (and often exhausting) afternoon events at Redwood Camp. Whoever designed F.O.B. should get a medal!

God, in His divine wisdom, created a F.O.B. for His children. In the Scriptures, it’s called Sabbath. The Heavenly Father knew that we, His children, would need regular “time-outs” lest we live lives that would lead us to a God-imposed time-out in the corner. God’s creation of Sabbath, as our Lord Jesus Christ pointed out (Mark 2:27) was for our own good. It was something that we all need on a very regular basis. Sabbath is not a curse, it is a celebration of God’s provision, peace and presence.

This week begins a month-long Sacred F.O.B. for me, but this very graciously offered sabbatical is more than just a month of hammock swinging F.O.B. It is designed to be a time for consciously, consistently sitting at the feet of the Master. (Luke 10:38-42) It is a time for long periods of prayer and study. A time, like the F.O.B.’s of Redwood Camp, will hopefully prepare me for the exciting and exhausting days of ministry which lay ahead. Thank you for allowing me this very important time with the Lord.

Speaking of rest, you can rest assured that in my absence the work of the Kingdom will continue on here at FBC. God has provided some great brothers and sisters to carry on the work, to preach His Word, and to minister to your need. Rest in His provision and enjoy both His peace and presence.

And as we said in the 70’s, “I’ll see ya, Here! There! Or in the Air!”

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hot April Nights

WHEN THE TEMPERATURE COOLS to a balmy 95 degrees in the late evening, it’s time to move your sleeping gear outside. This is what my daughter, Krista does on those hot April nights in Burkina Faso. During the day the thermometer stretches to 110 in the shade, and then “cools” to the 90’s in the evening. When this happens Krista grabs her screen tent, sleeping pad and headlamp and settles down under her “hanger.” (think of a thatch-covered porch) It is a more comfortable way to sleep, but it’s not without its problems. Such was the case this past week.

In the middle of the night, while her head was filled with dreams of a pool-side retreat and an In-N-Out burger, she was awakened by a munching sound (and it was not her eating the burger). Peering into the darkness she made out the form of a huge bull. (Think Texas Long-Horn) It was enjoying her hanger as a midnight snack. (In-N-Out Burger Drive-thru, Bilam Perga style) Desirous of not frightening the evening intruder and becoming a dance floor for some crazed Burkinabe bull she made some rustling noises in hopes of discoursing her new roommate from any more evening consumption of her home. All turned out well.

So, what’s the lesson for us? (I haven’t the foggiest idea, but it’s a great story.) Truthfully, Krista’s midnight encounter reminds me of 1 Peter 5:8. Your enemy, the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” Since this is true, Peter implores us to keep alert…to sleep with one eye open, as it were. And if we hear him munching away at our home we are called to resist him, by standing firm in our faith.

Remember this truth; often just when we are finally resting, the danger comes. So stay alert!

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Didyaseeit?

UNLESS YOU KNEW TO LOOK you would have missed it. Even knowing to look was no guarantee that you would see it. But, there it was, floating across the night sky, a small pinkish light, quite unassuming really, the International Space Station, in all its glory.

Wednesday evening, after our men’s Bible Study, we were conversing in church parking lot when someone said, “Hey, there it is.” Looking upward we all focused upon that tiny illuminated dot hurling across our portion of the night sky at a approximant speed of 17,500 miles per hour. Had we not been alerted to its potential arrival over our area (thanks, Duane) and had we not been gazing heavenward at the correct time, we would have missed it. Sure there wasn’t much to see, but the “cool factor” was still pretty high.

Jesus was once having a discussion about the final days, the days which would usher in God’s kingdom in its fullest measure. He told His followers to be alert, to be watching, for the “signs of the times,” and when they saw these “signs” to lift up their heads and look toward the heavens for their redemption would be drawing near. (Luke 21)

Jesus has made it clear to us, His followers, that He is returning, and that there would be evidences that would point to His return. He said there would be time for Bible study, and time for chatting in the parking lot, but we should also be keeping an eye to the sky, anticipating His promised return, and unlike the International Space Station, His return will not be just some momentary passing across a star-lit sky.

As we study and chat, wait and wonder, we are given the task of telling of Christ’s promised return. We have been given the charge to help direct eyes heavenward, in eager expectancy of the coming King of kings.

Are you looking up?