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, September 30, 2008

Like A Child


LAST WEEKEND WAS A JOY! A couple of days of uninterrupted family time encased in the environment of the Happiest Place on Earth -- Disneyland. It was a joy to have the whole family together. It was a joy to laugh and be crazy together. It was a joy to return to places of past memories and to welcome new memory-making moments. To all who made this trip possible, I give you thanks.

For a few moments I chose to forego enjoying a ride with the family (Splash Mountain, if you must know) and I enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes, people-watching. As I sat under the shade of a tree, in ear-shot of voices of Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends, I was often humored by what grown people were wearing upon their heads. From CEO’s to gang-bangers, they wore funny ears, bouncing stars, crowns, or pointed hats of a fairy princess. Now, I am sure, that many of these head-worn adornments would never be worn outside the safety of the ivy-covered fences of the Magic Kingdom, but here within these relatively safe confines, one is safe to be a kid. The very thing we were created to be.

Within Holy Scripture we are commended to become like little children. We are told that without our return to this simple state of faith we shall not see the Kingdom of God. Not unlike those who seek to experience the joy of the Magic Kingdom, yet choose to remain a cold and aloof adult and therefore miss the very essence that is Disneyland. The same holds true for those who seek to experience the reality of God’s Kingdom and yet refuse to step into child-like humility and faith. You will miss the very joy that is the Kingdom.

Now, where did I put those ears?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

UNINSTALL

THERE ARE LOTS OF INTERESTING programs you can install on your computer. Lots of them for free, expect for what they may rob you of in wasted time and crashing systems. This past week I installed a little program called Digsby. It allows you to “keep track” of all your friends who happen to be online, as well as your various email accounts. There, all in one cute little sidebar window, you can see who’s where and what they’re up too. The problem is being distracted by all the coming and going on your online friends, and the pull to actually open up a chat window to talk with them. Sure, you can “minimize” the window, but then what’s the point of having the program if you’re not “watching” it?


Needless to say, after a day of distraction, I unceremoniously uninstalled little Digsby. Sorry ol’ chap

.

Sometimes distractions can be good. We all need a break from time to time, but being distracted can also lead to being unproductive, which can lead to frustration, and at last reading, frustration was not one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit filled life. In discussing distractions, Dennis Okholm (Professor of Theology at Azusa Pacific University) writes, “distractions not only divert us from routines like daily Psalter readings and housekeeping chores, in which we can find God’s presence, but also keep us from recognizing the spiritual impoverishment that results from such habitual scatteredness.


There’s the worrisome part for me; I can be so distracted by the stuff that bombards my life that I don’t even realize how distracted I am. I have believed the myth of multi-tasking and in the process I am made poor.


Maybe it is time for all of us to check out the registry of our lives to see what needs to be uninstalled so that we can focus upon that which can truly make us rich. For as the Apostle Paul prayed, “… that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.(Ephesians 1:18-19)

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Friday, September 05, 2008

GIFTED!


“IT’S MORE BLESSED TO GIVE, than to receive.” As a kid I had a problem with that old adage. I thought the blessing of receiving far outweighed the blessing of giving. Even when you brought a gift to a friend’s birthday there was the hope, dare I say expectation, that you would receive a “goody bag” and lots of cake, and maybe a prize or two if you won the infamous pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey game. When you gave it was always with the anticipation of getting something in return.
Isn’t it good that things change with age? Or do they?
Even as adults our giving is often shadowed with the hope of receiving. We help another person with a task, with the hope that some day they will help us. We lend a tool or our car, with hopes that it will come back in better shape than when we lent it out. We may even tithe knowing that we shall receive the blessed tax-deduction at the end of the year.
But, for those blessed by God, our response should be something a quite different.
God tells us that we are gifted to be a gift, and this all started with the One who is the Gift. (John 3:16-17) We are reminded in His Word that we love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Our ability to love, and thus to give, comes from the One who gave all for us. (Philippians 2:6-8) As God told Abraham, we were blessed to be a blessing. (Genesis 12:1-3)
So, there’s the grand secret to discovering the blessedness that comes from giving; you, in Christ, are the gift. In living, and giving, as our Lord did, we find the true blessing. The best gift we have to give today does not come wrapped in a box, or written upon a check, but expressed in the full giving of ourselves.
You ARE gifted . . . so, give!

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