Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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Pandemic Perspective – Part 70 Worth where it all began – Part 1

Psalm 139:13-18

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.    They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

This pandemic and the changes it has brought have revealed many things. One of those is what are you basing your worth on? Have you ever watched a potter fashion a piece of pottery with their hands? It’s an amazing thing to witness as they begin with a lump of clay and start spinning it on a circular table. At the beginning of the process as you look at what is basically a soggy piece of mud, you have absolutely no idea what it will eventually become. But while you may have no idea what it will end up becoming the potter knows exactly what it will become because he can see it in his mind’s eye. As he begins to work the clay, slowly but surely it starts to take shape. As the table spins around and around his skillful hands mold and move the clay into its intended shape. What began as a ball of clay becomes an intricate piece of pottery, not only is it a one-of-a-kind piece but it also has both beauty and purpose. The same is true of our potter, God the Father, who fashions our lives as He pleases for His own perfect purpose. This is the purpose that He has planned for us to pursue. There are those who instead of being blessed by this are bothered by it. As a result, they resist and rebel against the very One who made them. For others they don’t like the work that He did, as they look at themselves in the mirror they wish He would have done things differently. While others constantly complain about His creation because they don’t like who they are and they would rather be someone other than who He made them. Many people are miserable today because they don’t appreciate the masterpiece that God has created. They are trying to live up to an image that the world has created instead of living out who God has created. In order to find our worth we have to come back to the truth of who God is and the part He plays in our life as the potter. Psalm 139 is a good place to begin if we want to understand more about our Creator. In the first six verses of Psalm 139, we discovered that God knows us, He is omniscient, All-Knowing. He knows absolutely everything about us down to the very tiniest details of our lives. In the next six verses of Psalm 139, verses 7-12, we discovered that God is always with us, He is omnipresent. This is the truth that He is holy present everywhere all at the same time, which means He is always with us wherever we go. These truths lead us to the next aspect of God, His omnipotence, He is All-Powerful. One aspect of His omnipotence is seen in His power to create us both personally and individually. David begins by stating:

  • The Source of our Being – Verse 13

The source of our being is God, we were made by Him. The first word of verse 13 “For…” introduces the reason why God knows us and why God is with us. How do we know God is omniscient, All-Knowing and how do we know God is omnipresent, always with us? Because He made us. God is the source of our being, He created and formed us. The Psalmist goes on to say: He “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” “Knit” can also mean “to cover, or to weave together.” David is revealing that God actually wove us together inside our mother’s womb. Our lives are like a tapestry, with every muscle, tendon, nerve, artery, vein, capillary, and every cell all interwoven together. The Almighty is the artist behind the tapestry. While we were but embryos in our mother’s womb, God was creating us, weaving us together to create a masterpiece. Contrary to culture we are NOT biological accidents or products of some impersonal force. We were not created by chance but by our Creator. Nor are we products of evolution which somehow progressed from slime to the sublime. We exist because God made us. The goal of evolution is to explain all of creation without a Creator. But if we did just evolve from some primordial soup then there is nothing special or significant about us. We are just a random combination of cells thrown together through evolutionary history. Our worth is tied to chance instead of to our Creator. When we cast aside the Creator, we also cast aside our worth. But the truth is that God made us personally and individually, from the moment of conception, to the day of our delivery He was overseeing our developing. Since 1982 Gallup polls have been asking the question, who made us? Today almost 50% of the US population believe that God created mankind in our present form just as the Genesis record reveals. The other 50% believe in an evolutionary process but the vast majority of these believe that while man evolved from lower life forms God directed the whole process. Only about 18% believe in an evolution in which God had no part whatsoever. What is interesting is that while evolution is being taught in schools, deep down the majority of Americans still believe that God was involved in our lives. The Media pushes the message that those of us who believe that God actually made us are in the vast minority, but this is actually not true. Now regardless of what current culture says Christians don’t decide doctrine by Gallup polls, we base our beliefs on the Bible. So, let me ask you what are you basing your worth on, what the world says or what the Word says? Are you basing it on the Creator or on chance?

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Pandemic Perspective – Part 69 Joy in the Junk – Part 2

Pandemic Perspective – Part 69 Joy in the Junk – Part 2

Romans 5:3-5 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

Verse three reminds us of our response; rejoicing, it is the power of praise that allows us to triumph over our troubles. The English word tribulation comes from the Latin word tribulum, a heavy timber or board set with flint or metal teeth used for threshing grain. It was the teeth that separated the good grain from the chaff, just as suffering separates the superficial chaff from the seed. Today suffering often comes as a shock because we don’t expect to suffer, we are astonished at affliction but 1 Peter 4:12 reminds us: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” Suffering is not strange but common place for the Christian. We may pray for a problem free life or even demand a pass on persecution, but problems have a purpose. Philippians 1:29 says: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.” Yet how many of us shy away from serving the Savior through suffering? Today I fear we are more interested in being rewarded as Christians than recognized as them. Am I rejoicing in the rubbish James 1:2 says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” 1 Peter 4:13: “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.” Do I have jubilation in the tribulation? In Acts 5:41 we are told that “the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Instead of whining they worshipped, instead just surviving suffering they were singing through it.  Paul reminds us that we rejoice in our sufferings because we know, not we guess or feel, but we are sure in our suffering that He will sanctify. Pain has a purpose, trials teach, tough times work for us not against. Paul says suffering produces perseverance which means to bear up under, so when you pray for patience don’t be surprised if you end up enrolled in the school of suffering. Some of God’s greatest blessings are poured out in bitter cups. Ask Joseph and he’ll point to prison, John can point to Patmos, or Daniel who learned his lesson in lion’s den. But perseverance is not the end product for it enrolls us in the class of Christian character. God is more concerned with us being holy than He is with us being happy. He is more committed to our character development than our comfort. We may want to make it about comfort and convenience, yet His primary concern is conforming us to the image of His Son. Character development occurs in the currents of challenging circumstances not the protective paddling pool of a problem free life. Character then serves to strengthen our confident hope; even in our hurt we are not without hope. This is a hope that does not disappoint, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. Many today are disappointed and disillusioned because life has not lived up to their expectations, but Holy Spirit hope never disappoints. Our greatest longing is love and God has lavishly poured out His love into our lives. Biblical hope is built on the confident expectation that you will not be disappointed. Disappointment is often the result of a failure in focus, things may not have gone your way, but they have gone His. Suffering is the secret reminder that God loves us. We may long to study the pages of pleasure but it’s in the school of suffering that causes us to shine. Today are you shunning the school of suffering or surrendering to what He wants to teach you?