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, November 29, 2010

LIVING AMOUNG GIANTS

ONE OF THE GIFTS I ENJOY LIVING WHERE I DO is the ability to walk amongst the giant redwood trees. These silent giants reach hundreds of feet into the sky, have girths tens of feet in diameter and some push two thousand years in age, to walk among them is both humbling and awe-inspiring.

Another gift I am blessed to enjoy is to walk among some spiritual giants, those who though trial and triumph have set their roots deep in the Lord Jesus Christ and in doing so have grown tall and strong in His wonderful grace. Walking in their midst is as well humbling and awe-inspiring.

One of the sad aspects of living amongst the redwoods is when one of these aged trees fall. To see these giants laying silently in a bed of redwood sorrel can sadden the heart. But their new position does not mean they are finished. Often these now horizontal giants continue to produce new growth and their falling opens the forest canopy allowing new light to penetrate the forest floor bringing much needed sunlight to the new plants desiring to grow.

So too, when one of God’s saintly giants passes away their passing does not mean the end, but rather opens us to the heavens, so that God’s much-needed light can once again penetrate our hearts, bringing new growth to bear.

This past week, Irene Rathe, one of God’s saints passed away. She was one of those spiritual giants that I was privileged to walk alongside. Sure, Irene had her faults and scars, one does not grow strong without them, but those trials taught her the sweetness of surrender to her Creator. She leaned on Him in the good times and bad, and now, in her passing, has provided what is needed for new and continued growth. The legacy of her love for her Lord, her family, her church and community shall continue.

Such is life lived among the giants.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FAVORITE SONS

“MOM ALWAYS LIKED YOU BEST!” This line, uttered by Tommy Smothers of the old comedy team, The Smother’s Brothers, seemed to repeat itself over and over again anytime these two very funny guys would perform. Tommy felt that is brother, Dick, always got the preferential treatment, especially from mom. I suppose Joseph’s brothers felt pretty much the same way whenever their younger brother would come traipsing across the field wearing the special and colorful jacket his dad, Jacob, had given to him. (Genesis 37:3-4) Let’s face it, being a favorite son can have its downfalls, Joseph might even say it was the pits!

The amazing reality though, as we read the “rest of the story,” is that we find that this favorite son, so hated by his brothers, becomes their redeemer. (Genesis 45:1-27) He is in so many ways the forerunner of another favorite Son, who too became hated by those who should have loved Him most. This Son, Jesus, also became the Redeemer to all those who put their trust in Him. But, hold on, here’s the amazing thing, this Son of the Most High God also had a robe to wear, the robe of righteousness, (Isaiah 61:10) which He freely wraps around those who call upon Him as Savior and Lord. (Philippians 3:6-11)

I guess that makes us one of the favorite sons, and daughters, too. (2 Corinthians 6:18)

How cool is that?!
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

WE WON?

“WE WON!” OVER AND OVER I have read those words this past week on Facebook or in the newspapers or heard it declared from people standing in line at Starbucks or the super market. We won, really? How are “we” really included in the “won” part? What part of the Giants progression to winning the World Series did “we” really have a part in?

Yes, I know the adage of the “12th man” in football and I suppose the 10th man in baseball. Yes, I realize that the fans in the stands can seem to make a difference in the play of those truly on the team, but the reality is we, that is you (unless you actually find yourself on the Giants’ team roster) and I did not win the World Series…those on the team, those who pitched, caught and threw the ball and swung the bat, those are the men who won the World Series. We just get to benefit from their hard work, their skill, and their tenacity in the midst of battle for supremacy in the sport we call baseball. There is a certain joy, and maybe even honor, from being a loyal fan that proudly sports the orange and black, but I did not win, they did.

The same holds true to my place within the family of God, those redeemed by the blood of Jesus, which was shed upon the cross. It was not I who died upon that cross. It was not I who defeated sin and death. It was not I who provided the perfect sacrifice for sin. It was not I who brought the opportunity for reconciliation with God. It was not I who won the battle. It was Jesus, the Messiah! It was the holy Son of God who won the battle for me, and the benefit, joy, and yes even honor, I receive is because of Jesus alone. And some day I shall stand shoulder to shoulder on the streets of heaven and loudly proclaim with millions of the redeemed, “We won!” for “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!(Revelation 5:12)

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