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, June 24, 2009


THE LOCALS KNOW ABOUT MAVERICK’S. That rise in the sea floor off our coast that makes for some totally gnarly, and near-impossible-to-surf waves that only the highly experienced surfer would even to dare to ride. Even just trying to get out to them can be a death-defying act of courage and skill. Let’s face it, for the vast majority of surfers and surfer-watchers, the best place to enjoy the power of Maverick’s is from the shore, and yet year after year some hardy souls risk the danger and get the ride of their lives.

This past week of Vacation Bible School I was privileged to watch a select group of individuals paddle out past the break and into the deep water of service and receive the opportunity to experience the exhilaration of riding some monster, heart-stopping waves. In many eyes they are “Maverick surfers”. Almost 100 people from junior high to senior adults joined together to serve the children of our community. It was thrilling to watch, and a blessing of which to be a part.

Our ability to get out there and “surf the big ones” was made possible by some “Master Surfers.” I would like to honor those here who made it possible for the rest of us to enjoy the ride as well. So, a gnarly and bodacious thank you to, Faith Filey (Director), Cay Ellen Thornley (Registrar), Marci-Beth Maple, (Snacks), Kari Thornley (Crafts), Andy Williams (Games), Kahleen Edeal (Bible Lessons), Robin Patrick (Drama), Brittany Overbeck (Music), and Trinity Kay (Missions). I know that there were many others that cut wood for crafts, got the church grounds ready, helped with cooking, counted the mission offering, lovingly cared for and escorted the children from place to place and of course bent their hearts in prayer seeking God’s help and blessing for this week, to each and everyone, I give my humble thanks.

Only eternity will reveal the full effect of your loving service, but until that day let’s all keep hitting those waves. Surf’s up, Dudes and Dudettes!

Monday, June 15, 2009


WATER-DAY, ONE OF THE BEST DAYS at Vacation Bible School, and usually the one guaranteed day of drizzle and low-lying clouds, but no matter, most of the kids of VBS love Water-Day! Water balloons, hoses, water-relays, and even a fire truck fills game time with lots of opportunities to get soaked!
It is fun to watch (from a safe distance) the kids as they enter into the various water games that the Game Guys have planned for them. Some of the kids come ready for action. They have no fear of getting soaked. They don’t care if it’s cold and drizzly outside, it’s Water-Day and they are determined to thoroughly enjoy it to the max. Their goal is complete immersion.

Then there are those who are a little more tentative. They enter in a toe at a time, running from the dropping water bombs and the spaying hose, but after a short period of getting more and more wet, they fully enter into the fray.

There is a third group who desire to play the games, but will do everything within their power to not get wet. They will run and dodge and hide behind others, all in the attempt to fully enjoy the game, but also to stay completely dry.

Lastly, there is a group that will not even get close to the action. They hang-out a very safe distance, determined to neither get wet or even to have fun. They are content to watch and allow others the enjoyment of the day.

I have watched this scenario played out year after year. Some years those who have held back in years past join in the present year’s activities, discovering the joy they have previously missed. They have discovered that they will not melt when immersed in gallons of water. They have come to the conclusion that getting soaked is not such a bad thing after all.

How about you? To which group do you belong? When it comes the immersion of the Spirit, do you stand off praying not to get wet, or are you skirting the edges satisfied with a light spray, or are your ready to enter, but at your speed? Or, are you ready and willing to get soaked?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Price of Worship

IN 2007 THE MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME for those living in California was $69,932. You may be wondering what that opening sentence has to do with worship, well let me direct you to a section of Scripture we shall be addressing in my sermon this morning. It is the response of Judas to Mary’s pouring of expensive oil on the feet of Jesus. Judas responds, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

A year’s wages! Yikes! Now, if you check your footnoted Bible it might say that a year’s wages as only 300 denarii, doesn’t sound like much, in fact some of you might even give $300 a month into the church offering. But wait, a year’s wages is still a year’s wages whether we’re talking the year 33 AD or 2009.

So, let’s consider the passage with fresh eyes, Mary’s anointing of the Lord Jesus was an act of love, humility and sacrifice. Her love for the Lord brought her to her knees before Him to not only pour out this extravagant gift, but also in an act of deep humility, to wipe His feet with her hair. This public display of her devotion filled the room with its fragrance so that all present were given a gift as well.

Some today might even join Judas in his admonition that her gift was unwise and an act of poor stewardship. Her gift might have been used for the furtherance of the ministry. Yet, Jesus expounded the truth that costly, extravagant, fully devoted and humble worship is never the wrong gift to give. Giving it all is never too much to give to the Lord.

Come! Now is the time to worship!