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.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spilling the Details

Sippy CupImage by adwriter via Flickr

SOMEONE ONCE SAID, “LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS.” A few days ago I learned that lesson in a messy way.


I was given the opportunity to babysit Chase Maple and as any good mother would, Marci spelled out for me the details of taking care of this little fellow. One specific set of details dealt with Chase’s mid-morning-milk-break. I was told that if I did not follow the directions Chase would know and would not drink the milk…so I listened very carefully.


They went something like this: Pour milk from red carton into sippy-cup, pour milk from sippy-cup into glass mug, put glug mug in microwave, heat for 45 seconds, give milk to Chase. Sounded easy enough. So, at mid-morning we took our break. I am sure that Chase was watching, and of course I explained each step to him as I went so he would feel comfortable that Pastor Randy knew what he was doing.


I called Chase to the table, he hauled himself up in the chair, I placed the mug of warmed milk in front of him, he turned the handle to face the right direction (or so I surmised) and then he proceeded to pour the whole cup down his front, across the table and all over the floor. He looked at me with much surprise registered in his eyes, which reflected the surprise in my own. It was at that point that I realized the one detail that was not shared…pour the warm milk back into the sippy-cup and replace the lid, then give it to Chase. DUH!


Assumptions are dangerous things! Marci, I am sure, assumed that I would know that a 22-month-old little boy most likely is not drinking from an adult-sized glass mug. Chase assumed that a 54-year-old father of four knew what he was doing. As I said, assumptions are dangerous things.


Spiritual lesson? In order to avoid spills, pay attention to the details. Don’t miss the little details in God’s Word, they are vital to our daily walk with Jesus. Sure beats the clean-up later!

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Handstands


THE ONLY WAY I could stand on my hands is if I bent over and actually stood on top of my hands. I have never had the strength, balance or grace to actually be able to perform the acrobatic feat of standing on ones hands. I guess I could not have made it as part of the Incredible Kayslowski Brothers, though I might have made it as a clown!
The truth of the matter is each of us have a different set of talents, gifts, and aptitudes. God made each one of us unique, and for a reason. Can you imagine if the whole world was like you? Honestly now, would we really be better off? No, I don’t think so.
From the beginning of creation God made it clear that it was not good for man to be alone. We were created for community, by a God who has lived in community for eternity. We need each other!
The Bible states that when we respond to the grace of God and commit our lives to Jesus Christ, as our Lord, Savior and God, we no longer belong to ourselves. First, and foremost, we belong to God, but secondly we belong to God’s family and to this entity called the Body of Christ. We were saved out of our selfishness and sin into Christ’s Body and holiness. It is no longer about us, but wholly about Him.
Some may say that the church is a circus, and at times they maybe correct, yet the exciting thing is we each have a place in God’s family and a part in Christ’s Body. We each bring our histories and traditions, the good, the bad, the ugly, and we see these things transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within each one of us. It is that transforming power the unleashes in us the God-given gifts, talents and aptitudes that allow us to love and God, each other and the world.
So, don’t worry if you can’t do a handstand, not everybody can. But you can do what God has given you to do, that which is the desire of your heart in service for the King.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Hula Hoe


HOW DID I SPEND MY VACATION? Weeding. Well, at least a good portion of it. Now, it must be understood that while growing up, weeding was not one of my favorite pastimes. Whenever called to the task by my parents I would see it as one of the lowest forms of punishment. But had I had that almost miraculous tool called the Hula Hoe®, things might have been a whole lot different. (Well, maybe.)

Having a Hula Hoe® does not make weeding a perfect way to spend your vacation, but it surely does make the task of weed eradication a lot easier, and let me tell you the weeds had gotten pretty nasty around our little garden. Some of them definitely not willing to give up the ghost without a fight, and fight I did. And if I do say so myself, the little gardens around our home are looking pretty nice.

While weeding a few lessons popped into my pastoral noggin. First, the problem with weeding is that we often let it get out of hand before we tackle the chore. We may even think that some of those weeds are flowers and hesitate to remove them early (our problem) only to find them more difficult to remove later. Application: sin eradication, like the weeds in my garden, is better handled early before things have an opportunity to take deep root.

The second lesson learned was that no matter how diligently I work at getting the weeds removed, a few days later I can begin to see the signs of their (or at least their cousin’s) return. Thus, I must take note of lesson number one above. Application: When it comes to sin, and it will come to sin, it is best to keep your spiritual eyes open and clear things out before it gets out of hand.

Lastly, a tool or two to help you in weed removal is well worth the cost. That Hula Hoe® sure made the job easier (fun?) And it makes staying ahead of the game a little easier, too. Application: when it comes to dealing with sin we are given what we need to help with the removal, first and foremost it is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) The second tool is the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8) who helps point out the weeds in the garden of our souls, and then there is the tool of confession (1 John 1:9). As we confess our sin, Jesus, the Master Gardener, puts the Holy Hula Hoe to our souls and cleanses us of all sin. The result: a more beautiful and fruitful garden.

How’s your garden today?