Posts Tagged ‘Birth’

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,


Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

January 3, 2012

 I am the one with just his nose sticking out. The one in the yellow is my brother Jim who lives in Utah.  We are at Snow Basin which is just down the road from where he and Dianne live.  Beautiful country with more post card picture scenes than you can shake a stick at.  The trail we are about to ski is down the hill to the right.

Mark 1:4-11

In reading this scripture from Mark we see Jesus begin His ministry.  We see Him subject Himself to John’s Baptism.  John was offering baptism as a means for the Jewish people to show their repentance and return to righteousness.

Obviously Jesus did not need this baptism for repentance or righteousness but instead subjected Himself to it to show us the right and good way.  He set this example for us as a way to start our lives anew.  His baptism was the start of His ministry and is to be the start of ours also.

Our baptism in Jesus Christ is also a time of revelation to us about our lives.  Just as God revealed to Jesus that He truly is the Son of God He reveals to us that we are His children.  If we are truly repentant and seeking righteousness we will see our lives, the sin in them and work towards righteousness in Jesus Christ.  What Christ came to give us is the realization that His blood has washed us clean and given us the freedom to worship Him even if we are living in sin.  Our baptism is a sign of who we are in this world, a people living with sin in and around us but forgiven by the sacrifice Jesus has made for us.  His baptism gives us the revelation that we are His children, washed clean and living in His righteousness.

How we live our lives in Christ is kind of like learning to snow ski.  You just have to point your ski’s downhill and use the skills you have learned, hope that what you know will get you to the bottom of the slope and know that next time it will be a little easier.  When we fall we get back up and get going again in the direction that leads to the bottom of the hill. Living our lives in Christ is knowing Him as our Savior in a way that we want to carry His message to the world.  We sometimes start out with very few skills but know that our knowledge of and in Him will get us started down the right trail.  We may make mistakes that we can learn from and make our trail easier next time.  The most important point to realize is that Christ gives us the courage to step out in faith that will lead us down the path to guiding others into His saving grace.

In order to begin skiing we must point our ski’s downhill, give a little push, choose our path and know that if we fall we can get back up and try again.  In order to become a child of Christ we must push ourselves to the altar, choose our path and know that if we fall we can get back up and try again.

God’s Peace and Blessing to all,


Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

December 27, 2011

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Christmas is over, or is it? The sun is setting on this year, isn’t it?  Jesus Christ came to save us all not just for the one day of the year we celebrate His birth but everyday of our lives. So why do we act like this is the most important day of the year?  Why do we go to so many extremes to buy, cook, invite, shop, eat, wrap, decorate, party and stress our lives away?  Good question you say!  Well I say it is a good question.  One each of us as individuals need to answer based on our own reasons for how we waste away the opportunity to truly worship our Lord and Savior.  Now I am not saying we should not enjoy the season and give to our family and friends, but what I do want to say is we focus on the wrong things while we are working our way through this season.  Our focus with everything we do should be on the salvation, forgiveness and promise of eternity with our God.  Our focus should be on His love poured on us and His teachings that show us the good and right way.

Spending time with family and friends showing the love you have for them is the good and right thing.  Sharing all that God has given you with them is a really good thing too.

What I really want to say today is that we should treat Jesus just like He is a beloved member of our family.  We should spend time with Him, we should hear Him talk to us, we should share our hopes and dreams with Him and live our lives as if He were shopping, eating, buying, decorating, cooking, partying and inviting right along with us.  Perhaps we would spend at least some of the treasure we have on things He would have us do and on people He would have us be with.  Kind of puts a different spin on it doesn’t it. Wouldn’t it change the way we do all the holiday things we do?  Yes, I believe so too!  A New Year is coming and could be a new way of living it if we will just think about what we do each and every day.

Have a blessed and very Happy New Year,


Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings 12/20/11

December 20, 2011


Well it definitely is not a manger, she wasn’t born in a stable, no hay just warm blankets, no shepherds just nurses, no wise men but Aunts, Uncles, Nanna and Pawpaw, and we sure do love her a lot. Jeremy and Tracie may not have been Mary and Joseph but I don’t think you will find parents who love their child any more.

This Christmas is a more special one for the Branch/Parzen family. As most of you know we have a new granddaughter. All Christmas days should be special to us all because we do believe in His birth, His life and His sacrifice. His deity is proven to us in His resurrection and ascension. Holding a newborn is a reminder of our responsibility as Christians. We are responsible for those little ones. Mary and Joseph were responsible for Jesus and God led them through the dangers that surrounded them.

Do you listen to your God to help you raise your little ones. Many of us have failed to follow Jesus as well as we should have in raising our children. If you feel that way, you need to realize that first and foremost God forgives you. Secondly, it is never too late to start being the person Christ calls you to be. Kindness and unconditional love go a long way to the witness that Christ wants us to have. Christmas is all about kindness and unconditional love so go out and love your family, friends and even a stranger or two. That is the gift that Christ would have you give.

Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year,


Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

December 14, 2011

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We went to Austin for the birth of our new granddaughter Georgia Ann.  She’s named after Jane’s mother.  The slide show is just a very few of the many pictures taken on phones and cameras.  Baby and parents are at home now and getting settled in with the newest member of the household.  I guess we all know who will be ruling the roost for a while.  She is a beautiful little girl with a head full of dark hair.  Tracie had that same kind of hair but we also hear that Jeremy had a head full too.

Monday I experienced some beginnings and endings.  Tracie called Monday morning and said she was being admitted to the hospital and should have the baby early afternoon.  The baby was born at 3:52pm.  That was the beginnings and the endings were the funeral for Chuck Swiderski at noon.  Chuck was a member of Wesley United Methodist Church here in Orange and it was my honor to preside over the funeral.  The day was a reminder that we experience life and death everyday and we must prepare ourselves for all that life throws at us.  While Georgia has her life ahead of her as a new beginning we see that Chuck lived his life in a way that left his children and grandchildren missing him with the ending of his life.  As Christians we believe that Chuck has experienced a new beginning, a rebirth into a new body and a new life with our God and Jesus Christ our Savior.  Our lives can be rewarding and so can our deaths.  We just need to pay attention to the teachings of Jesus Christ and live our lives the best we can today, each and every day.  Chuck did and he received his reward.

Tracie and Jeremy received a reward Monday as an expression of their love for each other.  Georgia will continue to be a blessing to us all and we will do our best to raise her knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ.  Baptism is in the works for this little girl, maybe even on Christmas day.  Hope you all can be there.

God’s peace  and blessings to all with prayers for a Merry Christmas all around,