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.

Monday, December 28, 2009

MUCHAS GRACIAS!

{The following is a little more "personal" as it was originally written to my church family. But, I want to share my thanks for them with the larger "community" because they deserve it.}

I AM ONE BLESSED MAN. As I take time to look back over the last 12 months I find many ways in which I have been blessed, specifically in regards to being part of the family here at Felton Bible Church. The out-pouring of your gracious and loving Christmas gifts last week were a reminder of how generous you are as a church family Allow me to share just a few of the blessings.


I am blessed by your faithful service to the kingdom of God here in our community and around the world. You have made and distributed “care-bags” for the homeless, and provided monetarily for the needs of the missionaries we support. You have provided for the needs of our local schools, and served in our ministries of AWANA and Vacation Bible School.


I am blessed by the ongoing service to Christ’s Body that so many of you provide. There are those who help out with the worship service, or work in the kitchen, or teaching Sunday school. And of course those who clean and maintain the church facilities, as well as setting up tables and washing dishes.


I am blessed how so many of you respond to a immediate need, whether it’s collecting goods to send to Mexico, or adopting a child through Compassion International, or giving sacrificially to those who have been ravaged by earthquakes and storms. And I am blessed by the generous giving to the Benevolence Fund which allows us to care for those both inside and outside the walls of the church.


I am blessed by those I serve alongside on our Ministry Team and those who stop in to say hello and offer a word of encouragement or prayer.


Yes, I am truly a blessed man, and as I look toward 2010 I wonder what new blessings we shall all receive as together we seek to serve the Lord.


So, with a grateful heart I say thank, and may our gracious Lord bless YOU bountifully!


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Sunday, December 20, 2009

One More Gift

AFTER ALL THE GIFTS ARE OPENED at our home there is a rush to the tree to seek for the Christmas Pickle and the one who discovers it gains an extra little gift. The historicity of this tradition is in question, some stating it has Germanic roots, but whatever its earliest beginnings it has become a fun tradition within our family.

The truth-be-known, our kids often search for the pickle as early as possible, it seems waiting until the other gifts are open has become rather passé, and woe to mom (the hider of the pickle) if she should forget to place it upon the tree.

The hiding, seeking, and finding of this little Christmas treasure is one more family tradition that adds joy to the season, and serves to remind me of God’s hidden treasure of love wrapped in the Person of the Christ-Child in the manager.

Two-thousand years ago the angels appeared to the Bethlehem shepherds and announced that God’s treasure of love had been placed in a manger. The promised Messiah had arrived and was waiting to be discovered, and once found, could be received as God’s unique gift. Jesus, the Son of God, would be the gift that would bring forgiveness of their sins, reconciliation with God, and life everlasting. He is the love of God incarnate.

The good news is that this indescribable gift of God is still available for you to discover. This Christmas take time to stop and look and discover anew the love of God wrapped in the Person of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Savior of the world. And if you need some help in your search we here at Felton Bible Church would love to help you make this life-changing discovery.

May God bless you Christmas may God bless you with new and fresh discoveries of His love.

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Something for the Whole Family



I CAN REMEMBER GETTING CHRISTMAS GIFTS MARKED, “Something for the whole family,” and I very soon learned that meant nothing fun for me. Usually it turned out to be something to hang on our wall, or last year’s fruitcake (Ugh, nothing worse than “re-gifted” fruitcake!) Whatever it was it surely was not anything a young boy would see as an exciting Christmas gift. Gifts were meant to be personal. I didn’t want something for the whole family, I wanted something for me.

What I failed to know, at that wonderful age of me-centeredness, is that a gift for all can be also a gift for each one. The giver of the gift was in no way trying to slight me, but rather seeking to bring a blessing to all in the home, by which each one would get a blessing. (However, I still have questions about fruitcake blessings.)

This “one for all” blessing was brought home again to me as I pondered the Nativity event in Luke’s Gospel. Luke recounts the appearing of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds and their subsequent response of painful fear, as the King James version says, “and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:9). To which the angel responds with these words of comfort, “Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today on the town of David a Savior has been born to you, He is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10)
This Savior was for all the people everywhere, Jew and Gentile 2000 years ago and for you and me today. This great and gracious gift of God is truly some One for everyone, and also some One for you.
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Holding Hands



IT’S A SIMPLE ACT, yet in communicates so much.  There is something special about walking hand-in-hand with someone you love.  It communicates, “I want to be with you,” without even saying a word.  It declares, “I don’t mind the world knowing that we belong to each other.”  It speaks of connection, acceptance, even safety and peace, all in the simple act of holding hands.
     This hand-holding is not limited to husbands and wives, or boy-friends and girl-friends; it is shared among parents and children, even as they grow older. In fact, there are times when I am with my grown daughters that they still grab a hold of my hand as we are walking down the street. J  In other cultures holding hands can be seen between men without the specter of a “sexual relationship.”  Little children do it readily with their playmates as a natural out-growth of their friendship.
     I believe that holding hands is needed now more than ever, especially as we live in these days of fear and uncertainty. We need to feel the warmth of that tiny embrace and the gentle squeeze of assurance. Sadly, the ongoing fear of transmitting germs, especially in this heightened flu season, has caused us to keep our hands in our pockets, lest we catch, or pass on, some unwanted disease. Yes, wisdom (and a squirt of hand sanitizer) is needed, but let’s not have fear keep us from reaching out to those around us.
     As we celebrate Advent we stand in awe at the incarnation of our God.  The Word became flesh and held our hand. (John 1:14)  He connected, He cared, He comforted and He called us His friends. So great is the Gift of God.  Another gift to be shared.
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

CHRISTMAS TRADITION

TRADITIONS ARE GOOD THINGS. They bring a sense of continuity and security to ones life, and in a world that is rushing by like an uncontrollable torrent, traditions can provide an anchor and a safe harbor.

When it comes to traditions, it’s hard to beat the Christmas season. Food, Nativity scenes, colors, aromas, presents, music, trees, gatherings of family and friends and let’s not forget the lights.

A sure sign that Christmas is coming can be seen as strings of Christmas lights are strung from homes and businesses. In our family I don’t know what would be worse, not having a Christmas tree or not adoring the eaves of our home with Christmas lights. There have been those times when the season has been filled with extra cold and rainy days, and thus I suggested to my family that I forgo the annual tradition of ascending the ladder and hanging from the gutters while attempting to string a straight line of lights. But, needless to say, the look I receive from the cherub-like faces of my family is nothing short of incredulous disbelief. A Christmas without Christmas lights is well…dark!

Light is a powerful metaphor amongst the Christmas traditions. It reminds us of the star that shown brightly in the ancient Near East sky directing the Magi to the baby Jesus. More importantly it reminds us of the Christ-child Himself, who came as the Light of the World. (John 8:12) A Light desperately needed by a people who are lost in the darkness. (Isaiah 9:1-2)

So, as you ponder the wonderful traditions of the Advent season, do not forget to light the lights, those upon your eaves or in your windowsill and most importantly, in your heart, for the Word of the Lord states, In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Let’s light the Advent light!