Posts Tagged ‘America’

Upperroom Daily Devotional 3-10-14

March 10, 2014

http://devotional.upperroom.org/

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

August 25, 2013

From William Barclay’s Study Bible Notes on Luke 13:10-17:

“In Christianity the individual comes before the system. It is true to say that without Christianity there can be no such thing as democracy, because Christianity alone guarantees and defends the value of the ordinary, individual man or woman. If ever Christian principles are banished from political and economic life there is nothing left to keep at bay the totalitarian state where individuals are lost in the system, and exist, not for their own sake, but only for the sake of that system.”

Have you ever wondered, considered, given thought to, cared about the direction our government is taking us. Perhaps if we were to vote our Christian beliefs, vote in politicians who we had researched and found that they openly professed their faith and lived it by example. Just an example of the criteria we could use is asking the question: Does the person I am considering voting for tithe? This is just a small part of our faith but is the one that says do we put our money where our mouth is. If we look at the giving (tithing) of our current leadership (Pres and VP) we might use that as one criteria about their faith walk. They are obviously able to give based on the salaries and other perks they receive. But do they? Tithing is just one example of our faithfulness and is not all-inclusive. There are many ways we can example our faith but it is interesting that Jesus talks more about man and his money (possessions) than most anything else.

The most important criteria for us to look for in the people we are voting for is “Do they love God the Father with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and do they love their neighbor as they love themselves.” This criteria leads us all to give (sometimes until it hurts) whether it is love, money or time. If we claim to be Christian we should live our lives differently and look for people to support who also example the love for God and neighbor.

Have a blessed week by walking in His will,

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

April 24, 2013

Wow! Was last week something else! I have been doing a lot of pondering over the events that unfolded last week with the Marathon bombings, West, Texas explosion and the tragic death of one of our church members in a car accident. If you watch the news it doesn’t take long to begin to feel an oppressive weight come over you. So much news about the negative side of our human existence/life. It makes me wonder how people who don’t know that there is a better place after this life can go on functioning in a world gone so wrong. It makes me wonder why people support belief systems that teach such hate and use such destruction to carry a message that should be positive. It makes me wonder at the selfless giving that people will do even when faced with such tragedy. When a hatefilled act like the Boston Marathon bombing takes place there are always people who will immediately respond to the injured needs. When a fire and explosion happen there are people who will respond and put themselves at risk of life and limb. When either type of tragedy strikes, whether it is accidental or purposeful, people respond in all sorts of ways in order to help because they care. So, why do they care? I believe it is the Holy Spirit prompting them. Prompting them even if they don’t believe in God or the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ as their Savior. I believe that the Holy Spirit prompts all peoples to do the good and right things and we even listen to it sometimes. For those of us who believe we must listen proactively, be ready to act as the Spirit leads us and really try to be the positive influence in the world that Christ calls us to be. For those who don’t believe continue to do the good and right things that you feel led to do. If both are listening and being led into the good and right things to do then the world will be a better place.

Have a blessed day,

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

November 30, 2012

Pastor John Jewell tells about a young boy a few years ago who at one of their Christmas Eve candlelight services expressed his excitement. Immediately after the benediction, this four year old broke out at the top of his lungs with, “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Jesus is born! Jesus is born! Let’s get going!”

It seems the boy’s parents had told the lad that he could not open his gifts until after the church service. Waiting was difficult for him, so just as soon as the service was over, he was thrilled that he could get on to the things that mattered most to him. (2) That lad didn’t understand the true meaning of Christmas, but he certainly caught its excitement. “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Jesus is born! Jesus is born! Let’s get going!”

So what do we do to generate excitement in our own lives around Christmas.  You know that some of us will get depressed this Christmas because there might not be enough money to buy the presents we want to give to those we love.  There will be some in our community who will go out and steal so that they can give others presents.  There will be some who will be angry or depressed over lost loved ones during this time of year.  There will be some who will go out and spend more than they have (plastic money) so that they can give to those they love or want to impress or perhaps are afraid of someone else being loved more. I have listed just a few of the many negative circumstances/emotions  people  will experience during this time of year and I am sure that this is not what Jesus would be encouraging us to do.  So how do we deal with our own good or bad, negative or positive attitudes toward Christmas and how we build expectations and excitement during Advent.

First of all we need to think about what Christmas is all about.  It is meant to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus and Advent (derived from the Latin word Adventus which means “coming”)  is about building excitement towards the day we celebrate His birth.  First of all keeping our God and Jesus involved in our Advent is important.  How about as we are thinking about what we will give we include God in our thoughts.  We could pray for the person we want to give a gift to.  We could pray about the gift we should give. We could pray over the gift God helps us choose.  We could pray each day that our excitement would grow because we are truly thankful that whatever our gifts to others may be, we know that God really does bless those gifts and the person they are given to when we include Him in the process. So much effort is going to remove Christ from our celebration that it is very important to let everyone know the reason we celebrate the season and that our celebration gives all glory and honor to our God and His Son, Jesus the Christ.  Amen

Pastor Randy

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

June 15, 2012

Our Bible Study time each week for the past 7 weeks has been centered around the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn.  Dr. Alcorn does a wonderful job of reaching into the Bible and gleaning scriptures that refer to Heaven.  This week we took up another book called “90 Minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper.  I recommend either of these books as a very rewarding and inspirational read.  In each of these books I am reminded that there is a very great reward that none of us living today deserve so let’s give thanks for our belief in Jesus Christ.  It is just that belief that gets us that reward and there is nothing else required of us.

When I think about this gift God has given us it turns my heart towards the loving relationship that He desires us to have with Him.  He loves us no matter what we do and that love poured out upon everyone on this earth helps me to think about returning that love to Him.  Not because it is required but because when I think about Him my heart is warmed and His love is reflected in me and from me.  When am I reflecting that love?  When I am visiting those who are homebound!  When I am smiling at those whom I meet each day!  When I am helping someone in need!  When I am doing the things that reflect God’s love for His world.  I have to look at all of these things not as things I do but as God’s love for us being poured out from me as a willing vessel.

You see I truly believe that if you love someone you do things for them because you love them.  God loves us and has done and is doing for us just because He loves us.  Our response to that love should be that we show our love for Him by being His willing vessels that pour His love out on the world.

Smile at someone today! Better yet smile at everyone today!  Smile because you know God loves you and because you know you love God!  It is a marriage made in Heaven!

Pastor Randy

Lectionary Scriptures for 6-10-12

June 8, 2012

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

February 23, 2012

We celebrated Ash Wednesday on the 22nd. If you were not in your church home then you missed an opportunity to start Lent in your house of worship. There is no better place than God’s house to make a commitment to change your life and to follow Him more closely.

Lent is not about being somber and in a mourning state because you are a sinner. It is about knowing you are a forgiven sinner and with a joyful heart make decisions that excite God and build His Kingdom. You see God doesn’t want us to roll around in sackcloth and ashes and cry and weep because we are living life in sin. He wants us to open up our hearts and our minds to the new testament teaching of Jesus Christ and go out into the world joyful and alive with the excitement that the knowledge of our Salvation lies in the saving Grace of God through the gift of Jesus Christ.

Lent is a time for us to focus with laser beam accuracy on the parts of our lives that we know are holding us back from being all that God calls us to be. Here are some give ups that can really help us realize the new life that Christ has put into us:

GIVE UP grumbling! Instead, “In everything give thanks.” Constructive criticism is OK, but “moaning, groaning, and complaining” are not Christian disciplines.

GIVE UP 10 to 15 minutes in bed! Instead, use that time in prayer, Bible study and personal devotion.

GIVE UP looking at other people’s worst points. Instead concentrate on their best points. We all have faults. It is a lot easier to have people overlook our shortcomings when we overlook theirs first.

GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?

GIVE UP your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead, learn the discipline of love. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

GIVE UP your worries and anxieties! Instead, trust God with them. Anxiety is spending emotional energy on something we can do nothing about: like tomorrow! Live today and let God’s grace be sufficient.

GIVE UP TV one evening a week! Instead, visit some lonely or sick person. There are those who are isolated by illness or age. Why isolate yourself in front of the “tube?” Give someone a precious gift: your time!

GIVE UP buying anything but essentials for yourself! Instead, give the money to God. The money you would spend on the luxuries could help someone meet basic needs. We are called to be stewards of God’s riches, not consumers.

GIVE UP judging by appearances and by the standard of the world! Instead, learn to give up yourself to God. There is only one who has the right to judge, Jesus Christ.

Things like Chocolate and Sodas are not mentioned one time. Perhaps we have made the tradition of Lent a little to0 easy if all we can think to give up is something that feeds our sweet tooth but doesn’t really help our SWEET SPIRIT in Jesus Christ grow.

Have a blessed Lent. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Pastor Randy

Ash Wednesday Service – 6pm – 2-22-12

February 20, 2012

Come and join us for our Ash Wednesday service. A time of renewal, repentance and reflection. Have a great week, get right with God by giving your heart to Him.

Lectionary Scriptures for February 26th, 2012 – First Sunday in Lent

February 20, 2012

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wanderings, Wonderings

February 13, 2012

Mark 1:40-45  –  40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

As I read this scripture from the Gospel of Mark I was struck with the desire this outcast had to be healed from this disfiguring, crippling, slow death disease.  Jesus shows us His compassion in His willingness to heal this man.  We see the Leper’s desire in his daring to even think about approaching a group of Jewish men walking down the road.  This leper came to Jesus even though he knew that if he got within 50 paces the Law said that the men were within their right to throw stones at him to keep him at a safe distance.  He also was required by Law to shout unclean whenever he was coming upon people.  Can you just imagine the compassion that led Jesus to walk up to this man and touch him even though under the Law Jesus would be considered unclean himself.  I don’t know but it seems to me that Jesus was there alone with the Leper.  The disciples probably kind of hung back to keep the proper distance.

This thought pattern led me to think of how many of us truly seek healing from the touch of Jesus Christ.  Many of us are plagued by diseases of the heart, mind and soul.  Our spirits are held back and our spiritual growth is stunted because we hang on to the disease we have.  It could be drugs or alcohol or sex or pornography or greed or selfishness or jealousy or many other diseases that cripple our souls.  Jesus wants us to seek Him out like this leper did.  He wants us to call out to Him because we want to be healed by Him.  He can and will set us free from the disease that is plaguing us.  Is the life you lead making you feel unclean?  Do people shun you because of your actions?  Seek out Jesus and call on Him.  Seek His healing touch.  Then go out and tell everyone who healed you.

Have a blessed week,

Randy