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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

GET CONNECTED: COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS I have been sharing with you about what it means to be engaged, connected, to the family and ministry here at Felton Bible Church. Today I want to share with you the aspect of being connected through Community Involvement.

One of the greatest dangers that has faced the church over the past two thousand years is it propensity to turn inward. True the Church has known great periods of missionary endeavor and times of serving well the community in which it finds itself, but over time these movements often turned inward. The danger has increased in that when the church has turned to focus most on itself it has sometimes built walls that have kept out the very people that need the Gospel the most.

If you have been part of the life of this church any length of time you no doubt will have heard me speak to the issue of getting outside the walls of the church. We have constantly “preached” the need to be involved in the life of the communities in which we find ourselves. We were not called to come in as much as we were commanded to go out (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

We believe that one of the ways in which we can best be connected to the Lord and to His church is through obeying His command (John 13:34-35) and His commission (Matthew 28:19-20). To be engaged in the life of the local church is to be engaged in the work that is closest to the Lord’s heart, proclaiming freedom to the captives (Luke 4:18-21; Isaiah 61:1-3).

The truth of the matter is this, God has placed you in your neighborhood, school, job, and even gave you your leisure time, to be used for the living out and proclamation of the Gospel. I challenge you to begin each day asking the Holy Spirit to let you be a light in the midst of the world in which you live, and to give you opportunities each day to live out the truth of the Gospel.

Pray. Watch. Do.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

THE WORLD CUP

I DON’T THINK THERE HAS EVER BEEN a sporting event that has drawn so much attention than the 2010 World Cup. I don’t even think the Olympics have had the world-wide audience as this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. Fútbol, as it is known around the globe, is truly the world’s sport, but why is it so?

One of the reasons that this game, we here in America refer to as soccer, is so popular around the world is that its elements are simple, and everybody can play. All you need is something that resembles a ball (It could be a sphere formed of paper and tape, a bunch of rolled up plastic bags, or even a small rock.) and a playing area with some fashioned goals, two teams, and you’re off and running. The skills to play are simple enough too. Run and kick. It is a game for both the poor and the rich, the educated and the street urchin. It is truly a game for all the people.

This past week we have celebrated the joy of being part of a team; God’s team. We have enjoyed learning and laughing together. We have sung songs and built trophies. We have played games and enjoyed snacks. We have listened to God’s Word and heard of what God is doing around the world. And we have done it all together, young and old, and discovered that knowing God and living in His love and grace is something that we all can do. Everyone can be an All Star!

We experienced this week that being part of God’s team, His family, much like soccer, is for everyone. All are welcomed. All can play. Care to join us?

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Monday, June 14, 2010

MAKING THE TEAM

SOME OF THE MOST HATED MOMENTS in my life growing up came whenever it was time to “choose up teams.” Being a rather chubby little guy and without much aptitude for throwing, hitting, or catching a ball, I always (no exaggeration here) was picked dead last. My only possible relief came either when a teacher made me captain or when they were looking for someone to play deep center field. I would say that my usual position was somewhere between left field and left out.

Not feeling part of the team, heck not feeling wanted, can truly have devastating effects on a kid. But honestly, I am over feeling bad about those days…really I am, …I have no problem playing sports today…except of course when it comes to choosing teams! I suppose that is one of the reasons I was so drawn to Jesus and the message of the Gospel. He desires, not just wants but desires, everybody to be on His team. Better yet, He desires us to be in His family. No matter what our abilities or aptitudes, no matter our size, shape or social status, Jesus desires us, even calls us to join with Him. How cool is that?

When it comes to making Jesus’ team all it takes is a willing heart to follow Him, trust Him, listen to Him and to play by the rules of the Game which His Father gave to all of us. The other great thing is that His team is the winning team and no matter what position you may play, no matter what your skill level, you get to enjoy the victory celebration.

This week we celebrate the truth that Jesus calls each of us to be part of His team. Jesus invites each child and each adult to be a true All Star. It is my prayer that many who come to Vacation Bible School will respond to Jesus’ invitation to join God’s All Star Team. Please join me in praying that this will take place and God’s Eternal Roster will fill up with new teammates.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

FATHER KNOWS BEST

LIFE IS NEVER AS PERFECT as a 1950’s family sit-com would make it out to be. There are plenty of times that father does not know what’s best, and truthfully, there are many times that as a father I don’t even know what’s going on! Yet, every so often a father does get it right as is the case of my daughter Trinity’s entrance into that work we call missionary service.

Before each of our children were born, Linda and I dedicated them to the Lord. This dedication was based on the fact that we believe our children are a gift from God and that ultimately they belong to Him, and in the fact that we knew we could not care for them as we should without His gracious help.

None of us know what the future holds for our children and often we are surprised by the twists and turns along the way and by the choices (some good, some bad) that they will make. When it came to our daughter, Trinity, both Linda and I saw, at a very early age, that God’s hand was upon her for ministry, specifically that of telling others about Jesus. So, when Trinity announced to us her call to the mission field we were neither shocked, nor concerned, rather our response was more akin to, “well it’s about time!”

I would like to say that her choice to respond positively to God’s call to the mission field had something to do with her dad’s ability to “know what was best.” But the truth is it was her heavenly Father who knew what was best and has been constantly bringing about that good work He has started in her over 29 years ago. (Philippians 1:6)

It is this knowledge that allows this father to be at peace because I know that the Father knows best, and will always graciously work to that end. Trusting the heavenly Father is what we all need to do, for He does know what’s best.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

CONNECT: EVANGELISM

THE SCARIEST WORD IN THE CHRISTIAN VOCABULARY: EVANGELISM (telling people about Jesus and their need for a Savior). It strikes fear into the heart of most Christians that I know. If it is done, it is often out of guilt or high pressure, or both! We all believe in it and know that it is needed. The Lord Jesus even commands it, but it is still something many of run from in abject fear. Why is that?

I believe that one of the key reasons is because we do not see the Good News as really good news. If we did, then we would be sharing it with more people. For example, I think being loved by my wife is a good thing. Being married to her is good news, and thus I share that good news with lots of people. It’s a truth that just comes up in my conversations. Why? Because she is part of my life and I love her, and thus it just comes out.

This is the way it should be with the sharing of the Good News about who Jesus is, what He came to do, and what our relationship with Him can be like. Evangelism is to be the natural outflow of our relationship with Jesus, the Messiah. The deeper we fall in love with Jesus, the more simple, natural and effective our evangelism will be.

We have chosen evangelism to be part what it means to be connected to the family here at Felton Bible Church for two reasons. First, because it is to be a visible result of a church in love with its Lord, (2 Corinthians 5:14) and second, because our Lord commanded it. (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20)

As we moved forward in loving and serving our Lord, let us remember that it is His great love for us that has saved us, and this loving salvation is good news; a truth yearning to be shared.

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