Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Matthew Peter Spiritual growth’

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

Lectionary Scripture May 6, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

April 30, 2012

Lectionary Scriptures for April 29, 2012 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 23, 2012

Lectionary Scriptures April 22, 2012 – Third Sunday of Easter

April 16, 2012

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wanderings, Wonderings

March 20, 2012

A scene from my life in Church at St. John’s UMC in West Orange, Texas came to mind the other day and it got me to thinking. Many years ago we were having an evening worship service and during several of the songs a lady who had been visiting our church began to jump up during the song, dancing around and holding up her fingers at the mention of different names. Certain names would be represented by certain numbers. When I asked our Pastor at the time what was going on with the lady he told me that she believed in Numerology. Check out Wikipedia for a definition of Numerology.

I am not a Numerologist nor do I believe in Numerology.  But I do place a lot of faith in Numbers.  Numbers such as 3:16 found in the Gospel of John or 22:37-39 found in the Gospel of Matthew.  There is 13:1-13 found in Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians or 3:1-17 found in his letter to the Colossians.  There is 4:11-13 in  1 John and so many more that remind us of God’s love for each and every one of us.

So I guess you could say I believe in numbers.  Those numbers that lead us into a divine relationship with our God and His Son.  An individual and personal relationship that we each can find in the scriptures found in the Holy Bible and experience if we give our heart to Him.

Don’t let belief in some other way deceive you or distract you away from God’s way of love and peace in this world.  There is but one way to eternal life and that is through belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  His Holy Spirit is here touching you right now.  All you have to do is acknowledge Him and give your life to Him.

Have a blessed day,

Randy

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

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

February 7, 2012

In our Bible Study for this Wednesday we will be reviewing Matthew Chapter 20.  Jesus tells the parable about workers getting the same pay (1 denarius) for the work they have done.  Some of these workers went to work early in the morning, some in the middle of the day and some late in the day.  In the parable they all receive the same pay. Jesus is telling His disciples that no matter what time in our life we come to a saving knowledge of Him we will all receive the same reward.  That reward of course is our salvation and life eternal in Heaven with Him.  The reward however does go further than that.  Those of us who come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ early in our lives are blessed with a new outlook that can make our lives much better and can give us the opportunity to witness and share with many more people.

Jesus also was addressing the Jewish belief system which was saying that their favored nation status was being taken and given to all who believed in Him.  We who come to this saving knowledge of Jesus Christ become children of God without following the letter of the law.  Jesus teaches us that we are to love God and to love our neighbors as the most important guidelines we can follow.  He even calls them two new commandments.  Very important for us and for the new disciples.  Jesus gives us all favored nation status as His children.

A learning for many in churches today would be that no matter how long we have been followers of Jesus Christ we are to be accepting of and care for those who are new believers.  We need to remember that our status in God is just the same as the new believer.  Our blessings in this life are that we have the opportunity to be known as people who love, care for and support each other no matter how long we have known our Savior.  We are to be known as people who reach out to the world and exclude no one.

God’s Peace and Blessings to each and everyone,

Randy Branch

Pastor’s Ponderings, Wonderings, Wanderings

December 30, 2011

Seagulls at MacArthur Shopping Center parking lot.

This is just a few of the Seagulls that hang out in the parking lot.  I am not sure why other than I did see someone feeding them the other day.  To say the least they are a little off course as far as the normal environment they usually inhabit.  There is not any natural food, you know fish, shrimp or salt water, so why do they hang out there.  They are there on sunny days, rainy days, cold days and cold rainy days.  But they are not there everyday.  I am sure there is some scientific explanation other than they just got tired and decided to rest.  Well maybe that is it, tired and resting.

Sometimes in our Christian lives we get a little lost, get tired and decide to just land somewhere and rest. Have you ever experienced feeling lost, tired and needing rest?  Me too!

One of the essentials that seagulls seem to need is salt.  They are hardly ever to0 far from saltwater. They depend upon it to provide the sustenance they need to survive in this world.  Just like the seagulls we need salt but the salt that can make the biggest difference in our lives is the salt found in the Word of God.  These few scriptures are very important to us and speak to us about how important it is for us to stay in His Word and keep it close to our hearts.  We need to keep this salt close to our hearts and let the Word nourish us and revive us.

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the world. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty again? It’s good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled on by people.”

Mar 9:50  “Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, how can you restore its flavor? Keep on having salt among yourselves, and live in peace with one another.”

Go to the place that offers you nourishment often.  Live with those words close to your heart and revive your heart and soul. In our world today being salty may not be a compliment but being salty in the Word of God is never a wrong place to be.  Like the salt water the seagulls live in we are a people of the Water and Salt found in His Word.

Have a blessed New Year, be of the Water and the Word getting the nourishment you need from His salty water. It will revive and refresh you, 

Randy