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, July 20, 2011

GOD'S COINCIDENCES

A MISPLACED PHONE, A LOST SET OF KEYS, both found after a pause for prayer. I heard these two stories this past week. Some would chock it up to luck or coincidence, but my two brothers-in-Christ gave God the glory for their finds. Could they have found these lost articles without God’s intervening help? Sure, maybe…but what’s fun in that?  Bring God into the picture and the frustration of looking turns into an opportunity for surprises (miracles?) and the opportunity to give God praise, and that, my friend, is always a good thing.
     Someone once said that there are no coincidences with God.  Everything has its place and purpose. Others would disagree, saying that God is too busy worrying about the BIG things in this world, like floods and famines, to be concerned with you and your lost set of keys. But I must heartily disagree.  
     You see, when we acknowledge that God is aware of us, even our little seemingly insignificant needs, we bring forth the opportunity to see Him work and to praise Him for the work He is doing.  When we cry out to God we are acknowledging His presence and awareness of us and our need, and that we believe that He cares about our needs. (Remember the fallen sparrow? Matthew 10:29-31) And when God answer it allows us to praise Him, which brings Him even closer. The psalmist writes,
Yet, You are holy,
Enthroned on the praises of Israel.
                                                       Psalm 22:3 (NLT)
Some of you may remember the King James version of the Psalm that declares that God “inhabits the praises of His people.”
     So, the next time you find yourself in need, no matter how sparrow-like that need may seem, call out to God, for it just might please Him to answer your call as a display His love and to inhabit your praise. And that is no coincidence.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A CALL TO PRAYER!

I will not be able to be there in person...but we can still all join our hearts before the LORD in prayer for our church, our community and our country.


The Response Promo from The Response USA on Vimeo.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

NOW HERE IS SOME FOOD FOR  THOUGHT...

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Monday, July 11, 2011

BE IT DECLARED!

Upper and Lower Yosemite FallsImage by tychay via Flickr
I HAVE SEEN IT IN A CRESCENT CITY SUNSET. I have heard it in the roar of the Yosemite Falls. I have felt it in the thunder rolling across the fields of Minnesota. I have been engulfed by it as I have starred into star-studded blackness of the heavens which hung over Kennedy Meadows. I have been humbled by it as I gazed up at the granite face of El Capitan. And I have been overwhelmed by it as I have held my new-born child in my arms.
     Be it declared I have witnessed the glory of God first hand. I can understand the emotions of David the psalmist when he wrote down,
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
                                                      Psalm 19:1-4
    Now, to stand in the very presence of the Holy God, as did the Prophet Isaiah or the Apostle John, that would leave me without words to describe the unfolding glory before my eyes.  No 3D movie could capture its depth and no Dolby surround sound speaker system could sound forth its richness. Words would fail to express the One who is the Living Word. (John 1:1) To be given the responsibility of recounting the throne room of God would be beyond my capacity and yet, both Isaiah and John are given that task.
     And someday, child of God, you too will see, not in a mirror dimly, but face to face. There we shall declare with the seraphs, angels, and multitudes of the redeemed,
Holy! Holy! Holy!
Is the LORD God Almighty
The One who was, and is, and is to come.
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Saturday, July 09, 2011

A Much Needed Prayer


I don't often re-post things I have received, but yesterday I received this prayer from Abigail that I believe would be good for many to read and to pray.

There is not much I can tell you personally about the author of this prayer, but you can check out their blog, Reflections from Beit-Shalom.

What touched me most in the prayer was the contrast between God and His creation (us) and yet His deep desire and longing for us to live in that relationship of peace (shalom) with Him.  I hope that this prayer brings you peace, and the knowledge that you too are deeply loved by our creator God.


Here is the prayer...


YHWH...You are great. You are mighty. You are above all of creation...above everything that exists...above the whole universe.

We are but dust in Your eyes...and yet, we are also the apple of Your eye!

We are a mere creation...yet we are the crown of Your creation!

You have made us. Your thoughts and ways are so far above us that we can only comprehend a tiny part of who You really are. Yet...You have called us to be Your sons and daughters! You have sent Yeshua and called us to be His bride! This is truly too marvelous for us to comprehend.

I praise You, YHWH! For You alone are truly deserving of praise and of worship. I pray that all of us will worship You in Spirit and in Truth. May we seek Your face always...Your heart...Your desires...Your plans. May we love what You love and hate what You hate.

Shape our hearts in accordance with Your desires for us and for Your kingdom. Mold us according to Your plans and Your love.

May we see with Your eyes. May we hear with Your ears. May we listen with Your heart. May we love with Your love. May we see those around as You see them. May we serve them as You desire us to.

You are our loving, heavenly Abba. Help us to understand how truly precious that is. Help us to understand what having a loving Abba really means...especially those of us whose earthly fathers fell far short of being the loving, protective men You called them to be. Help us to trust You with the heart of a child.

I thank You for Your love, for Your strength, for Your comfort, for Your provision, for Your teaching and guidance. May we love You with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strengths.

I ask this b'shem Yeshua.

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

A GOOD BROTHER FROM CHURCH sent me a funny story via email.  I will share it below. It's a good reminder that it's not education, or title, or position...but it is by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

So here's the story...enjoy...

StarHow long is forever? 

Did you hear about the man and woman who had been friends for many years, who had died and gone to heaven. They told St. Peter that they wanted to be married.

“Take your time and think about it,” said Peter, “you have eternity so take fifty years and see me then.”

Fifty years later, the couple returned and again told Peter they wanted to be married. “Well,” said Peter, “take another fifty years and really think about it….” But the couple was insistent, “We know we want to be married now….”

Peter replied, “Well, take another fifty years anyway, and if we don’t have a preacher up here by then, I’ll marry you myself.”
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Monday, July 04, 2011

FREEDOM!



Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!” so declares William Wallace in the movie Braveheart. 
     It is freedom that we long for, is it not? We desire the freedom to know that we can be safe on our streets and in our homes. We desire the freedom that allows us to pursue our hopes and our dreams. But most of all we desire the freedom that comes from knowing that we are truly and deeply loved. For when we know that kind of love we are then free to be who we are, warts and all. Even more, that kind of love allows us to become the person that God created us to be.
      God created us to live in freedom, not in bondage. This freedom from the bondage to sin and death is the very reason that Jesus came and died. (Luke 4:18-19)  The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.(Galatians 5:1)
     This week, as we take time to celebrate our nation’s birthday and the freedoms we enjoy, be sure to take time to give thanks to the Lord. Thanks not just for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, but the freedom we eternally enjoy because of the sacrificial life and glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. As the fireworks fly in celebration, may also our praises fly toward heaven for the victory that is ours in and through Jesus, our God.
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Sunday, July 03, 2011

R.I.P. AMERICA -- 1776 - ???


SOCIAL ETIQUETTE TELLS US THAT we are not to discuss religion and politics, especially in mixed company. (Not too sure what that last part meant, but people would say it.) Given that this is the month that we celebrate our country’s birthday, and given that I am one who derives some monetary benefit from “religion,” I thought it would be a good time to step off that high precipice and address both issues of religion and politics. (I might be looking for a new place of employment after some read this.)

Even though our next presidential election is a year and a half away the political pundits are already throwing rocks at each other. Lines are being drawn, stakes are being driven, and soon sides will be firmly cemented and we, who call ourselves followers of Jesus, will be drawn into the battlefield.

I am sure that some of the readers of this “Pastor’s Pondering” are either upset, or questioning the title of this piece. You might be asking yourself, “Is Pastor Randy saying that the United States of America is dead?” “Does he wish for it to die?” “Is he trying to be funny?” “Is he trying to get my attention?” Well, in all honesty, it was written to get your attention, but also with a deeper purpose in mind.

Allow me to make one thing perfectly clear, I am proud to be an American. I believe this is the best country in the world. I pray for those in leadership. I pray for those serving to protect our freedoms at home and abroad, and yet I also know that America is not eternal. One day it will no longer be. 

Therefore, we must be sure we continue to focus upon that which will last. We must remember that this country is not our final destination. We are bound for a Kingdom whose King is the One we know as King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ the risen Savior.

A few days ago I heard a quote attributed to Tony Evans, (Evangelical Pastor, Evangelist, and worker for justice) he said, “God does not ride on the backs of elephants or donkeys,” to which I would add, “nor does He attend tea parties.” That is to say that God does not pick political sides. The work of His kingdom supersedes the work of any nation, including ours. We need to remember that truth, and I believe it is only when we do remember and when we act upon that truth, that America will be able to rest in peace.

You see, when I call for the United States of America to R.I.P., I am calling for it to rest in the peace that comes from knowing that the Lord is God. (Psalm 33:12) I am desirous to live in a nation that is truly at peace, first with the Lord, and then with the people who live in it and around it. This peace is not the absence of war and trouble, but it is a peace that comes from finding oneself settled in their relationship with the Creator. It is a peace that comes when a nation lives as God desires it to live; humbly before Him and caring for the needs of the “least of these.” (Micah 6:8)

So, I ask you, to join me in praying for God’s rightful Lordship over our nation, even if we are led by a tea-drinking, donkey-riding elephant. I ask you to seek the Lord on behalf of those in greatest need and then act in righteousness to lift up the broken and downtrodden, knowing that as we do, we shall incur God’s blessing and we shall rest in peace even in a dry and weary land.

May our true prayer be, “God, please bless America…for our only hope is You!”

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