Monday, May 28, 2012

What Not To Wear

Lee enjoys watching the 'what not to wear' program on TV, I think because she likes the amusement of the strange way the contestants dress at the beginning of the program.  There are lots of Biblical examples of things not to wear ... pride, hatred, prejudice, materialism ... you get the idea.  But Sunday I want to explore the positive side of that.  It is easy to make a list of things to avoid ... how about the things we should 'put on?'

Got some essentials for you to add to your wardrobe ... truly things you must have on if you are to be a living, breathing, acting Christian.  Hope you will be there.  The Christian wardrobe is free but not cheap.  Kind of like today ... remembering freedom is a gift from God but it comes at a great cost!

Thank you, Jesus for a sacrifice that gave us building blocks for this great nation.  Thank you, men and women who sacrificed so that that building was protected!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reality Again

You all know that I am always stressing the idea of reality vs the fake nature of our society.  We don't need more fake people ... we need real people that are broken yet redeemed ... real humans who don't run from our humanity but embrace the Christ who is fully human and perfectly God ... people who live with hearts of flesh and not hearts of stone tablets ... just folks who know their roots and can be good with their new roots that (Paul said) go down deep into God (Ephesians 3:17).  Josh wrote a blog to the youth ( in which he calls out youth who deal in half truths.  But today I am speaking to adults who are perfectly willing to do life in the unreality of glamor, pride, self-promotion, and being caught up in our lifestyles of the 'wanna be rich and famous.'  I have a friend who has been so caught up in the lifestyle of the pretty people in SRB that they have disappeared from all other social interaction.  They have left their church roots and sent down roots to become another pretty/handsome face on the society page ... but they have left their first love that gave them new life from a very dark episode.  I have another friend who seems to be caught in the life of spinning life's events so that others will view them as smart, together and in control.  This person has forgotten the Bible's axiom that all of us a messed up and broken and that God is OK with honest broken people who come to Him for help (by the way, that person is the only person who doesn't see their brokenness).  The Bible doesn't promote self-help ... it promotes reliance upon God.  We go to God with our burdens and find that though he places a yoke upon us it is an easy yoke and a light burden (Matthew 11:28-30).  There we will find rest for our souls!  Finally, I have other friends who is seeking fame and success for their teen daughter.  What do they call success?  Being up front on life's stage.  Pressing this young girl into all of the things they view as success.  Nothing in this plan is based on God's idea of success ... God's idea of what is real ... God's view of the purpose of this child who is being sold out by her own parents.  I want to scream what should be evident from the stories of the fallen stars, the shattered lives and the bitter pain I have seen lived out ... not in the glamor of the stage but in the dirt of the gutter.  STOP!  Life is precious.  Real things are to be cherished, valued, nourished and grown.  The leaders in the rat race are still rats!  I love the lyrics written by Carolyn Arends that say ... 

Farther than lands you have ever imagined
Deeper than even the oceans of blue
An open horizon is waiting like morning
Waking the dreamer who's living in you

So now go with the wind at your back
And the sun on your face
With a song in your heart
And the promise of grace

Go in peace and in truth
And let love lead your way
Go with God
Go with God

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What We Say

Earlier this week I was replanting two lima bean plants that Benjamin and Phoenix placed into small pots.  I want them to see the real beans when they come to visit.  As I planted the beans I thought about the garbage we often tell our kids ... especially at graduation time.  I could tell you some of the cliche's we feed our kids but I want to concentrate on one.  "You can be anything you want." 

Where did we get that hogwash?  Not from God ... He says he made us carefully for His purpose.  He says we have a God-ordered purpose that is our perfect place in His plan.  What we actually are is not something we could just 'want' and it happens.  You see ... that bean plant could want anything it desired but God made it a bean plant.  Maybe if we spent some time finding out God's plan for our kids rather than setting them up to meet our expectations things might work out a little better.  Maybe if we concentrated on God's dream instead of some other dream (you can add whatever dream you like ... stardom ... power ... the American dream) our kids would get some real guidance.  We seem to fear what God will do to our kids rather than seek His will and follow Him.  So we try to make our lima bean plants morph into zucchini plants.  And we make our very special kids what we want them to be.  I was never satisfied until I found God's plan.  That is what I will pray for our graduates.  May God lead their way!.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Watercolor Ponies

Wayne Watson wrote a wonderful song a few years back.  It was about the pictures and memories that kids leave on our lives ... hand paintings on the refrigerator ... toys on the stairs ... and for us, the amazing words our kids left in our hearts.  All of the paintings and the words are proudly displayed by the kids as (Wayne Watson says) we try to lead our kids forward to a place in God's kingdom.  The song always brings a tear to my eyes as I remember the good things and the bad things I have taught my kids and the victories and mistakes I have made.  In watching over 100 children at Good News on Wednesday I am reminded of the responsibility and the blessing of those kids.  Several of these children have become close enough to come up to me and give me a hug.  They come close not knowing my struggles ... not caring that our Executive Committee will meet Monday for important church business.  I think that there is no more important church business that these children and our youth.  Maybe that is what Jesus meant when He called us all to Him as little children.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Still Crazy After All These Years

As I write this blog I am reminded of how slow we are to learn God's way and how quickly we forget His word in how we live out our Christian lives.  In Galatians Paul has a confrontation with Peter over this issue.  Peter is all chummy with the Gentile Christians until some of his Jewish buddies arrive on the scene.  Then Peter acts like the words of the old 'skinny legs song' ("Say man, don't walk ahead of that woman like she don't belong to you ... just 'cause hers got them little skinny legs you know that ain't no way to do").  Joe Tex might not have been a New testament writer, but he had seen that "I don't know you" behavior.  So ... what did Paul tell Peter?

Paul got up into Peters face and began to remind him that the point of the Christian faith isn't to get the Gentiles to become good Jews (seems we still have people trying to get folks to follow Jewish laws and traditions today).  Paul told Peter the people had been freed from the law ... released from the bondage of the law ... freed from trying to keep the law to become righteous.  Paul says our righteousness comes from dying to self and being raised with Christ as new creations ... free from our past ... able to live out our faith and our love for God and others.  He says it is not him who lives but Christ who lives in him.  So why go back to failed law and failed/replaced traditions?  The reason is that we are still crazy after all these years.

We are still caught up in our good works = righteousness.  That never worked and it doesn't work now.  We are also living in an age when legalism is viewed by some as being faithful to Christ.  A person told me a guy he knew was a 'real' Christian.  I asked him how he knew.  He began to tell me the legalistic positions taken by the other person and I realized he wasn't describing a Biblical Christian ... he was describing a Pharisee.

As I have blogged many times before, our desire and aspiration is not to become like the Pharisees ... it is to become more like Jesus.  Let's drop the craziness and become Christ-followers!  Pastor Randy