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, December 29, 2010

BE IT RESLOVED!

WE ALL LIKE NEW BEGINNINGS. We appreciate those times and places where we are offered the opportunity to start afresh. I guess that is one reason why days like January 1st are so important.

In many ways January 1st is just another 24 hour period of time, not unlike the day before or the day which follows, and yet through the construction of that entity which we call a calendar, the first day of January provides for an acceptable date to start anew. It becomes that day in which we are granted the freedom to leave the old and press on to the new. It is a day of new possibilities, a day in which many of us resolve to do things differently this time around.

For us who call Felton Bible Church our home the year 2011 is becoming for us a year filled with celebration as we look back at God’s blessings over the past 50 years and as we look forward to new opportunities in making those blessings into blessings for others in our local community and in our international community as well. Throughout the coming year we will be joining together to remember the years that have gone by. We will rejoice in the ongoing story of God’s grace and love, and we will renew our commitment to serve well our Lord and Savior, working to further His Kingdom here at home and around the world.

As I was pondering the possibilities which are before us, I began to wonder what resolutions would I make at the beginning of the year. Not about exercising more and eating less, though that is a good idea. Not about less televisions and more quality time with the family, though that is a good idea, too. But, what would I resolve about my life as a follower of Jesus? As I was pondering this question, I found myself reading a very familiar portion of Scripture, John 4:1-54, and amidst the story unfolded before me I “discovered” 7 resolutions for 2011…and beyond.

Be it Resolved:

To daily ask Jesus to quench my thirst. (John 4:10-14)

To daily accept that Jesus knows me and accepts me. (John 4:16-20)

To daily seek to worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:21-24)

To daily remember that Jesus came to seek and encounter those outside the flock (John 4:4-10; 27-30; 39-42 and 46-54)

To daily desire the “food” that Jesus desires, to do God will and work. (John 4:31-34)

To daily see the “harvest fields” as Jesus does and respond as He would. (John 4:35-38)

To daily take Jesus at His Word and to live by faith in Him. (John 4:43-54)

I realize that this may all seem a little over the top, but I feel it’s better to set the bar high and work diligently to reach the heights, knowing that failures may come but so does His strength and with that strength, greater victory. Care to join me in the challenge?

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Monday, December 27, 2010

FEELING THE LOVE

THIS IS MY FOURTEENTH CHRISTMAS back at Felton Bible Church. Each year I am humbled as I look back and see how God, by His grace and love has brought us all through another year. This year is no different.

As a church family we have been deeply touched by many losses as we have grieved the passing of dear brothers and sisters. We have said good-by to members of our church family who have moved away, and we have suffered with those touched by loss of employment, illness and economic woes. Yet, at the same time we have seen God’s continued blessings as we have added new members to our church family, seen God provide new pastoral support and care through Pastor Ron and family, and witnessed God’s provision for our financial needs as a local congregation. Yes, God’s love and grace have once again been lavished upon us.

This past week my family and I have also been reminded of the blessings that are ours as we serve here with you. You have poured out tangible expressions of your love and support. Cards, gifts, goodies and most of all kind words of appreciation overwhelmed us as we opened our cards and gifts. Yet, even more blessings have come to me as I have heard some of you share how God has been working in and through your lives, as you have become part of the family that calls itself Felton Bible Church. To hear these God-sightings brings the greatest of blessings to me as one blessed to be your pastor.

So, as I look forward to this our 50th year and as I consider all the ways in which God has blessed us to be a blessing, I give thanks to God for you, the Body of Christ at Felton Bible Church. Thank you for your service, your giving, your support, and your ever so generous expressions of love and care. God bless you, each and every one.

Let us covenant together to make 2011 an even greater year of blessing the Lord through doing the work of the Kingdom all for His glory. And I know that as we do, we shall once again be blessed to be a blessing.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

JUST GOTTA LOVE CHRISTMAS!

GIVE ME SOME LOVIN’.” Often what follows a statement like that is someone getting a great big hug. What’s ironic is the one making the statement is often the initiator who is desirous of sharing some love with a person that they think needs some comfort and encouragement rather than the other way around.

As I ponder this I am drawn to how God expressed His love toward us. At that first Advent of Jesus Christ two thousand years ago it was in fact the heavenly Father calling out to us, “Give me some lovin’.” It was not God needing the big hug of love and reassurance; it was you and I who desperately needed that expression of love. God looked at us and knew that we needed some serious loving, and thus He sent His Son to us to show us just how much He loved us. God knew that we needed more than just a big hug, what we really needed was our sins to be forgiven and for each of us to be reconciled to the heavenly Father.

Christmas is all about the kind of love that truly meets a person’s deepest needs. It’s about a love not only spoken, but also sacrificially lived out. It was a love that knew what we really needed and then did what was necessary to meet that need.

So, during this Advent season let’s love others as we have been loved by our gracious Lord. Let’s forgive as we have been forgiven. Let’s show mercy as we have been shown mercy. Let’s show compassion as we have been shown compassion. Let’s love as we have been loved; for remember, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

IT'S STORY TIME

ON THE DOOR AS YOU ENTER STARBUCK’S you can read, “Stories are Gifts: Share.” Once again the advertising department for Starbucks hit the nail on the head.

The Advent season lends itself to the telling of stories; stories of faith and of family. Many families will settle in around the Christmas tree and read once again the Christmas Story.(Luke 2:1-21) And then of course there are those family dinners where stories of past Christmases are told; some funny, some poignant. Christmas is a time for re-telling the stories.

A week ago, amidst the memorial services that took place at Felton Bible Church, a number of stories were shared. Stories about how the one, whose life we were remembering, had touched our own life. Some of the stories made us laugh and others brought a tear to our eyes, while others brought that simple nod of acknowledgment of a truth well spoken. Over the course of that weekend many gifts were given and received and they came in the form of story.

This Advent season I encourage you to take time to re-tell the Story that makes our celebrations possible. Also take time to listen to the Story as it shared. Don’t allow the familiarity of the Story to cause you to tune-out. Rather, seek to listen with new ears, maybe even the ears of a child. Listen to the Story, grab its wonder, and then share the Gift with someone else. I guess you could say that the sharing of the Story is truly the gift that keeps on giving. So, let’s all give.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

How to Spend Your Time this Advent Season

CHRISTMAS TIME CAN BE A CRUSH of activities. Shopping, parties, decorating, school presentations, and church events can quickly crowd our calendars. None of these are bad in and of themselves, but too often all this Christmas Crush can rob us of time to truly remember the wonder, beauty and awesomeness of the Advent of our Lord.

As I was reading through the Gospel accounts of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, I was drawn to three activities, if practiced, would allow us to use our time more prudently during the holiday season.

The first activity is to follow the lead of Mary in Luke 2:19 where she took time to ponder in her heart all the amazing events encompassing the birth of her Son. We too, can take time to ponder the wonderfulness of the birth of the Savior. We can carve out time to sit quietly and think about this wonderful gift from our gracious heavenly Father.

The second activity comes from the lives of the shepherds who went forth proclaiming the truth of what they had just experienced when they responded to the directions of the angel of God. We too must take time throughout this Advent season to proclaim the truth of the birth of the Savior. To family and friends, in conversations and cards we can make known the truth of His arrival.

Lastly, we can join with the magi, as recorded in Matthew 2:10-11, in presenting our gifts of worship. What better time of the year than the celebration of God’s greatest gift in His Son to present our gifts of worship to God. Gifts that comprise first and foremost ourselves, and then gifts of worship that come by obedience to God. It is an obedience that seeks to express the love of God as He sacrificially expressed it to us.

So, take time, amidst the hurriedness of the holidays to ponder, proclaim, and present your gifts to God. Believe me it will be time well spent, dare I say, time well redeemed.

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