Archive for the ‘Pastor’s Ponderings’ Category

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

October 27, 2014

We will be voting soon, so:

Matthew 22:34-46:
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. ’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it:‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

We Are Citizens of This World

In an invocation prayer at the United States Senate, Peter Marshall said, “Lord Jesus, Thou who art the way, the truth, and the life, hear us as we pray for the truth that shall make men free. Teach us that liberty is not only to be loved but also to be lived. Liberty is too precious a thing to be buried in books. It costs too much to be hoarded. Make us to see that our liberty is not the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to please, to do what is right.”

It is unthinkable that a Christian would not vote! It is unthinkable that Christians would not run for public office! It is unthinkable that Christians would withdraw from the responsibility of taking part in public life. The Christian has a responsibility to Caesar for all the privileges which the rule of Caesar brings. We are citizens of this world and must be good ones, if we are Christ’s disciples.

While we may not all be suited to public office, we must all vote. It is not only our right to go to the polls and vote but it is our responsibility as Christians to go vote our Christian values. I will not tell you who to vote for but I will tell you that if we love God with all our heart, soul and mind then we must reflect that love in the life we lead and the things we do to make life better for all of God’s children. For us as Christians we must not vote by party lines but for individuals who best reflect God’s will in this world. It is your choice, it is your conscience, it is your relationship with your God that will lead you to vote for who best reflects your relationship with God.

Have a blessed month in Jesus Christ,

Pastor Randy

L’Shanah Tovah

September 24, 2014

A Jewish Blessing for a Happy New Year. It is Rosh Hashanah. New Year for our Jewish brothers and my son in law Jeremy Parzen. Check out this link for a better explanation of Judaism’s New Year celebration.

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm

So to my son in law Jeremy and my two semi-semite granddaughters as well as my daughter Tracie I want to wish a Happy New Year. What a blessing it is to be able to wish them Happy New Year two times each year. It is also a blessing to have all of them in our lives. Thanks to Jeremy and Tracie for those beautiful granddaughters, they are a blessing to us all year every year no matter when the new year starts.

Have a blessed day and New Year,

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

September 23, 2014

Philippians 2:1-5

2:1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy,

2:2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.

2:4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

When Paul was writing this letter to the Philipians he must have really been trying to encourage them to change a lot about themselves. While Paul was writing to a church to thank them for being so faithful and generous, in so many ways he is asking them to go against so much of their own human nature. We just have to look at the two human traits that are so prevalent in so many people, selfish ambition and conceit, to know that there were some problems within the church at Philippi. It is natural for us to want more, to do better than others, to be honored in our daily lives. It is so natural that Satan will surely use those things against us and keep us from being the people that Paul is encouraging us to be. We get caught up in our own lives, thinking about our own needs and forget about just what Jesus taught us to do and who He taught us to be.

So you ask how can we be those people. How can we put aside our own feelings and desires and serve God. Well, Paul gave us the answer and it is in this next scripture below.

2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus

If we study scripture, read the teachings of Jesus, pray and meditate, allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate our thoughts and profess our faith to others we will move closer and closer to to being in the same mind that was in Jesus Christ. Our God graced us with Jesus Christ so that we would have a different model to follow than the one our flesh would follow.

Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life! Study, Believe and Live,

Have a blessed day in Jesus Christ,

Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wanderings, Wonderings

September 3, 2014

Posting three things I am thankful for: Day 5

1. I am thankful for all of my life’s experiences. Some were good, some were bad but all were beneficial. All were opportunities for me to choose to grow or choose not to grow. In some of those experiences it took a while for me to see some benefit/opportunity for growth in all that was going on but through the Holy Spirit I am able to look back and see the profound affect they had on me. I know through the leadership of the Holy Spirit I will always be able to grow in my understanding of life and how we should live it here in this earthly realm.

2. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit who touched my heart and changed me.

3. I am thankful for the United Methodist Church for it’s teachings and it’s tolerance for and love of all us sinners and hypocrites. We all know the church is full and overflowing with them. Well maybe not overflowing or full but still welcome to worship and praise the one who saves us, the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wanderings, Wonderings

September 1, 2014

Day four:

1. Thankful for my brother and sister’s spouses.  Dianne and Mike have been a blessing throughout the years. Our Mom’s and Dad’s must have given us each a sense to choose the right person because we all have been married over 40 years. We all plan to stay that way as long as possible.

2. Thankful for Jeannie and Ken Perkins who taught me so much about our faith. Jeannie who sponsored me on the Walk to Emmaus. It was on this walk that I verbally spoke about God leading me into a different life. A walk with Him. I have been walking in Paradise with Him every day since then. Thanks to Ken for his gentle nature and easy flowing love for God. Ken still is that very same person.

3. Thankful for all my Pastors who taught me that it is okay to be me and love God because I am me. The different personalities of people like Art Pry, Rudy Pace, Ed Barlow, Lindsey Smith and Kevin Kissel were key in helping me understand that God wants us to be individuals who think and witness to how God’s love has inspired them. It is through such diversity that God is able to reach out and touch so many different people.

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wanderings, Wonderings

August 30, 2014

Posting three things I am thankful for, for five days. This is day two:
Yesterday I posted that I was thankful to God first and foremost, thankful for my beautiful wife and thankful for my grandchildren.

1. I am also very thankful for our two beautiful daughters, Misty and Tracie. They are the ones who made our life complete and were the driving force for us to join St. John’s UMC in West Orange almost 40 years ago. We knew raising them in church would make them better people. Thank you girls for the five beautiful grandchildren.
2. I am thankful for family. Thankful for Jane’s side of the family, the Johnsons. They accepted me into the family and are my brothers and sisters. My Mom and Dad, Mom especially, for dragging me to church. Not that we went every day but often enough to give me some basic knowledge. Dad for his strong moral direction.
3. I am thankful for our daughters husbands. Having two son in laws who are good to our daughters and who are hard workers and very good dads is such a blessing.
I know that is really more than three things to be thankful for but each blessing is surrounded by blessings flowing out from them. That is just the way God works in this world. “Give thanks to the Holy One”.

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

August 29, 2014

My good friend Jeannie Perkins challenged me on Facebook to list three things daily that I am thankful for. This will be my first day and I will try to post each day on Facebook and here too. Hope everyone has a blessed day and that through your faith in Jesus Christ you will be able to love more deeply.

Posting three things I am thankful for, for five days. This is day one:
1. Of course, first and foremost, I am thankful for God who sent His Holy Spirit to lead and guide me with gentleness and patience. Lots and lots of patience.
2. I give glory and honor to God because it is through Him that I met my beautiful wife, 43 years of marriage, it seems like just yesterday.
3. I am so very thankful for grandchildren, (5). Lots of joy and blessings come through those little ones as we watch them grow.
And a reminder to all, that truly all things good come from our God. Give Him glory and honor at all times. Claim Jesus Christ as your savior. Put Him first in your life and things of this world can be seen in a different “light”.

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

August 23, 2014

In my role as preacher I hope to convey to each and every one who hears my sermons the message we see in the Lectionary reading from Matthew 16:13-20 for 8-24-14 where Jesus asks the question “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Of course we should all be able to answer that question with the same words Peter used when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Do you remember what it meant to you when you made your profession of faith before the congregation? I know that when I think or speak those words it gives me a chill. Those words mean something to me as well as they should to each and every one who sits in a Christian church whenever services are held. But more than just that weekly service that you attend, those words should mean something to your life lived as a Christian.

Everything we do and say should reflect that belief. When I speak to my friends, family, acquaintances or strangers I should reflect those words to them in my actions, thoughts and deeds. So should we all.

There are many who will deny that Jesus is the Son of God. Muslims will say that he was a prophet. Jews will say that He was a great teacher. Liberal protestants and religionists of various stripes will say “Exemplary man, yes, Divine, no!” Over a billion people out in the world will deny the divinity of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

For many reasons I refuse to be one of those people. Do you? The more we refuse to proclaim to people that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, the more people turn to other faiths. The more we deny Him through our actions and words people will turn to something else. This sounds like a heavy burden but when we feel that Holy Spirit leading us it becomes light and easy to carry. For all who say they just cannot get the words out remember the disciples. While Peter spoke up, he temporarily failed, as did the others. We can only run from our duty so long. Sooner or later we must profess our faith to someone.

Try something for me. Say to yourself three times, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” Then turn to your spouse or another loved one and say to them three times, “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”

Now go out into the world and proclaim the way, the truth and the life to the world by showing and telling them that “Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God!”

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wanderings, Wonderings

July 13, 2014

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As I sit looking out the window from our timeshare the blinds are partly closed to help keep out some of the brightness from this clear, blue sky day outside. Looking out the window caused me to think and apply the sermon I just heard from the North Shore United Methodist Church at Canyon Lake. The blind reminds me of how we put blinders on to keep the light of Jesus Christ from shining into our lives.

The pastor at the church used a very familiar life situation to all of us as an illustration. She talked about her childhood and climbing the ladder to the high diving board. I can well remember being in that very same situation. The part about getting up on that diving board, walking out on to the end of it and looking down at how far the water seemed to be away from my toes hanging on to the end of that board. At the time it seemed like something that I could never overcome. That I would never be able to make that leap of faith into the water below.

As I thought about that sermon and that leap of faith I had to apply it to my life. I can remember many times refusing to take that leap of faith off of the high diving board of Christian faith. There are many out there in the world who have the same experiences with the real high diving board and water as well as the leap of faith that says we as Christians are willing to trust in our God and leap into the life that Christ has for us.

As we take one step at a time in our faith climb we can gain strength and knowledge of who God wants us to be. Looking up that ladder building our courage we must know that there is the living water waiting for us to plunge into. Jesus tells the woman at the well that if she had asked Him for a drink He would have given her the living water that would never let her thirst again.

When I finally made that leap of faith off of that high diving board I immediately knew that I could and would do it again and again. It was the same with my Christian faith. When I finally gained the courage to leap into the living water my life and my life witnessed changed forever.

Have you the courage to take the leap of faith into that living water?

Take the plunge and live the faith. It really is cool and refreshing.

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

June 7, 2014

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Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday. I want to share a story about Pentecost involving a preacher-teacher named Fred Craddock.

The well-known author and preacher Fred Craddock tells a rather funny story about a lecture he was giving: A few years ago, when he was on the west coast speaking at a seminary, just before the first lecture, one of the students stood up and said, “Before you speak, I need to know if you are Pentecostal.” The room grew silent. Craddock said he looked around for the Dean of the seminary! He was nowhere to be found.

The student continued with his quiz right in front of everybody. Craddock was taken aback, and so he said, “Do you mean do I belong to the Pentecostal Church?” He said, “No, I mean are you Pentecostal?” Craddock said, “Are you asking me if I am charismatic?” the student said, “I am asking you if you are Pentecostal.” Craddock said, “Do you want to know if I speak in tongues?” He said, “I want to know if you are Pentecostal.” Craddock said, “I don’t know what your question is.” The student said, “Obviously, you are not Pentecostal.” He left.

What are we talking about on Pentecost Sunday? Is the church supposed to use the word Pentecost only as a noun or can it be used as an adjective? And so I ask you: Are you Pentecostal?

In spite of the fact that the church doesn’t know what the adjective means, the church insists that the word remain in our vocabulary as an adjective. The church is unwilling for the word simply to be a noun, to represent a date, a place, an event in the history of the church, refuses for it to be simply a memory, an item, something back there somewhere. The church insists that the word is an adjective; it describes the church. The word, then, is “Pentecostal.”

If the church is alive in the world it is Pentecostal.

How do we keep this aliveness, this fire burning, this spirit moving? What must exist in us, around us, and through us, if we are to be Pentecostal? Simply these three things:

1. We Are To Be Of One Accord
2. We Are To Join Together Constantly in Prayer
3. We Are To Repent

Come join us tomorrow for Pentecost Sunday. I will talk some more about how United Methodist as well as other denominations must be Pentecostal in their beliefs.

Have a blessed day in Jesus Christ,

Pastor Randy