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, January 27, 2009

Another Inauguration

IF YOU WERE NOT MOVED, then I guess you were not watching the Presidential Inauguration this past week. No matter how one voted, this was truly an historical occasion. The crowds, bands, flags, special guests and special prayers all worked together to remind us of the great nation in which we live. This peaceful transition of power is nothing to be sneered at in a world in which military might and political intrigue are often the arenas in which kings and presidents are removed and replaced. For all of our faults, this is still a great country. We are a nation in need of the ongoing grace and mercy of God and a nation worthy of our concerted prayer.
As I watched the events of this past Tuesday unfold on the television screen my spirit was taken to another inauguration. It was the inauguration of not another president, but of the reigning Prince of Peace. The Apostle John records for us what he witnessed firsthand.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12)
Let us remember, at this crossroad of history, that it is the Lord Jesus who is our Messiah. It is the Prince of Peace who is our hope. Let us keep our eyes therefore firmly focused upon Him as we go forth to serve.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Oxymoron


COMPETITIVE YOGA, say what? I thought yoga was supposed to peaceful and non-competitive, but I heard this week that there is, in fact, a competitive arm to the “sport.” I think it has to do with how fast you can sit in the lotus-position…or maybe how fast you can get out of it! J Not too sure of all the ins and outs (pun-intended), but I do know that there are those trying to get it placed into the Olympics. We’ll have to keep an eye-out for its ongoing development.

Another oxymoron that has run through the clutter of my mind this week is, “Worship Wars.” There are churches warring over styles of worship; even to the point of churches splitting and dissolving. I am sure the Devil gets doubled over in laughter watching those events take place. Worship, when it becomes war, has taken the true focus off of God, and placed it upon ourselves. I would call that the antithesis of worship.

One thing I am very grateful for is that we here at Felton Bible Church have been spared these wars. Oh sure, we have had our discussions and disagreements in the past but for the most part we understand the reality that worship is not about us but about God. Our desire is to help create an atmosphere where all can worship the Lord together. We try to honor our histories and our traditions while at the same time seeking to help each other grow into a fuller awareness of the presence of the Lord, of His holiness, power, glory, and peace. It’s not always an easy task and we certainly don’t “get it right” all the time but we are learning to worship together with God at the center. His Presence, His praise and the proclamation of His Word, these are the elements we seek to focus upon.

Though I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around competitive yoga, I do know that we must continue to strive to keep worship non-combative. In the words of our Lord, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) This is the worship the Lord desires, the worship where He is the focus and we shall continue to bend over backwards to make sure we keep that focus.

So let us worship!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Memories

JANUARY 4, 1982 – WATER, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. So it was in our little home, located at Mission Springs Conference Center, when 20+ inches of rain in one day raised Lockhart Gulch to raging river status. Rivers crested and left their banks, mountainsides became bringers of death as they liquefied and carried away dozens of homes. Bridges were destroyed, and homes were flooded, and at least one church as well.

Yes, January 4th stays riveted in my memory. I was reminded that too much of a good thing, like water, can be bad for you. We need water to live, but water out of control brings not life, but death and destruction.

I am amazed, as I sit here typing out this Shepherd’s Staff, of how easy it is to recall the fear and destruction of that storm, and how much those memories can control my mind during the rain storms since. Gone are the days of just sitting and enjoying the rain pounding out its rhythm on the roof. Now when the rain pours in torrents my mind races back to those days 26 years ago, not to mention a similar flood we experienced in 1998. Such is the power of memory.

Yet, as I contemplate the arrival of this new year, I am sure that those memories are not what the Lord desires that I dwell upon. His desire is not for me to situate myself in past earthly crisis, but to live within the reality of His continual presence and the blessing which His presence brings. I wonder if this is what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

When we are faced with fear and uncertainty, we are to think on Jesus. When our minds are flooded by unknown crisis, we are to dwell with Jesus. When we wonder about what tonight will bring, we are to rest in Jesus. When peace seems to evade us, we are to run to Jesus. For Jesus, who is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, is the Peace of God.

May we rest in Him throughout this new year.