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, January 24, 2011

Plumb Lines -- The Journey

SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY. Last Sunday I received the opportunity to see a very familiar redwood forest from 150 feet up a redwood tree. (Check out the Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center's Redwood Canopy Tours) Let me tell you, things look really different from up there! There’s nothing quite like swooping through the redwood canopy on a thin cable and standing upon a small platform with some of your brothers and sisters in Christ to get you thinking about the really important things in life.

As one is who terrified of heights (or maybe it’s just falling from terrible heights) it was sure good to be traveling with a group of friends who were looking out of my best interest, and it was even better being up there with two well-trained experts who were not only making sure we were safe, but also that we were learning and having fun at the same time. Honestly, the whole event was great, once I learned to trust in the equipment and those leading our foray into the forest tops.

One of the plumb lines that makes up hw we see and do things here at Fetlon Bible Church is the understanding that “The Christian life is a journey that is best traveled within a community of those who are also following Jesus.” The Christian life is not a destination, and certainly not a place to which we arrive, but it is a constant pilgrimage of following Christ. We also believe that the journey does not end at the culmination of our life here on earth, but in fact continues on as we enter the fullness of the kingdom of God, that place we refer to has heaven.

The journey continues there as we continue to follow Jesus, what is different is that those things which cause us fear and doubt here in this present life, will be replaced with a fullness of faith as we see the Savior face to face. There, in His presence, within the company of the committed, we shall continue on our journey of following Jesus, evermore being conformed to His image as His glorious Bride.

Therefore, I invite you to journey with us, as we assail the heights, seeking to see things from the vantage point of our Lord and Savior, “who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

KEEPING PLUMB -- THE WORD OF GOD

IN LAST SUNDAY’S Shepherd’s Staff I wrote that the Ministry Team of our church has been praying about and working on those things that we value here at Felton Bible Church. We are calling them our “Plumb Lines.” These plumb lines are not about what we hope to become, rather they are the values we already hold dear. They will act as a measuring rod of the life and ministry of our church family. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing those with you, our church family.

Our first plumb line is that we believe in the teaching and implementation of the Word of God. We believe that the teaching of the Bible is of primary importance always to the end of applying its truth to our lives. In other words, we seek not only to teach the Scriptures faithfully and correctly, but we desire to put into action what we learn about God and the Kingdom that He is building. It is this plumb line that motivates us to exposit the Word of God every Sunday morning. It is what moves us to create other opportunities of learning for all ages. It is one of the great impetuses for the ongoing ministry of our Sunday school classes, AWANA, youth groups, Vacation Bible School, our weekly Bible studies and Community Groups.

We believe that the Word of God is one of the most important tools that the Holy Spirit uses to convict us of our sin, to comfort us in our sorrows and to encourage and train us for godly living. We believe that the Holy Scriptures should be available to young and old and to those in our communities and around the world. It is one of the reasons we support the work of national and international missions.

We believe that one of the key reasons that the church is in the world today is to faithfully proclaim and teach the Word of God, to not do so would be an act of disobedience and would withhold from a hungry world the bread they so desperately need.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

KEEPING PLUMB

Noun: plumb line - a cord from which a metal weight is suspended pointing directly to the earth's center of gravity; used to determine the vertical from a given point. It is a tool used in a number of applications, from determining the depth of a body of water, to ascertaining whether a wall is perpendicular. In layman’s terms it can help us make sure that we are building straight and true.

In the Bible the term refers to times when God came to measure whether or not His people were remaining true. Sadly, the plumb line of God often found His people not quite straight. (Amos 7:7-8, Zechariah 4:10; 2 Kings 21:13)

Recently, the Ministry Team of Felton Bible Church has prayerfully determined a number of plumb lines for our church. These plumb lines determine who we are as a local expression of the Body of Christ. They come in the form of statements; not of what we desire to be, but rather they define what we value, and thus who we are as a church. They are not “sacred,” nor are they set in stone, but we desire to use them to help us measure both the things we are doing and those things we may desire to do in the future.

As we celebrate this year of jubilee leading to our 50th anniversary as a church we wanted to take a good hard look at how God has not only blessed us in order to be a blessing, but also how he has formed us as the body of Christ here at Felton Bible Church. These plumb lines, that I will be sharing through the Shepherd’s Staff over the next few weeks, help us to see how God has formed us to be the unique family that calls Felton Bible Church home.

Therefore, I encourage you to keep your eyes pealed as you begin to see these plumb lines shared here on this page and also throughout our church facility over the next weeks. Our prayer is that as you are introduced to them you will rejoice with us as we see how God has uniquely formed us to join Him in the work of building His kingdom, to His glory!

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

PLAYING WITH PASSION!

I LIKE MIKE SINGLETARY. As a brother in Christ, he has passion. As a linebacker he played with passion. As a coach for the San Francisco 49er's he coached with passion, though the team’s recent record left much to be desired, and after their loss to the Ram’s last week he was fired. Most 49er faithfuls saw that coming.

As I thought about this sad turn of events I was drawn to how many people of passion I have known throughout my life in God’s church, men and women who have sought to serve the Lord with every ounce of their being. Sometimes these individuals have been used by God to accomplish great things for the Kingdom of God, and sometimes I have seen much hard work and intensity seem to come up empty. What I have learned is that passion is not all that is needed.

Passion is of great importance, the Lord desires us to run to win and to finish strong (1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 2:2; Hebrews 12:1), but we also have to playing the right position. In football parlance, some were created to be linebackers and some were created to be coaches, and some water-boys, or cheerleaders…all are important to the game. God has gifted each of His children, by the choice of the Holy Spirit, with gifts that are given for the building up of the Body of Christ, and for the expansion of His Kingdom. (1 Corinthians 12:4-9)

One of the goals of the of the believer / follower of Jesus Christ is to discover and develop the gift(s) that the Holy Spirit has chosen to give and then use those gifts with passion in places where they can accomplish the best for the Kingdom of God.

As we move forward in our celebratory year of 50 years of being “blessed to be a blessing,” I encourage each of you to discover your gift(s), to find your best place of service, and then to live with passion for God and His Kingdom. Need help in accomplishing those tasks? Well, that is why the church is here! That's what pastors are for...why not seek the help you need and start pursuing God and the work of His kingdom with passion?!

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