Pastor John’s last musing
This will be my last column to you as pastor. It has been fun to do one of these each week. Usually I would present some thought relating to my Sunday morning message. Other times I would try to tie my thoughts in with some current event. Today I just want to thank you for being part of my life for this past year. Thanks, Winona, for putting these little columns in the bulletin from Sunday to Sunday. And, thanks for putting the bulletin together, week after week. Thanks, Jim, for always being there bright and early on Sunday morning. No matter how early I arrive, you have already put the coffee on and the lights are on and the door unlocked. Thank you, board members, for your faithfulness and support. This church would no longer be here without your prayers and support. Thank you, Bob and Mary Lou, for the music, week after week. We all enjoyed signing the songs of grace with you. I can’t name all of you, but thank you, one and all, for making this year a very fun and fulfilling time in my life. I have enjoyed the challenge of being your pastor for these past months. Now, as we all look toward the future, we need to thank the Lord who has made all of this possible. Now it’s time to put all of our support and prayers behind Brad Murphy and his family. He will begin next Sunday, and while Mary Ann and I will continue to attend the church, our part in leadership will be in new hands. I’m looking forward to new directions and new challenges. Let’s all go, together, with Pastor Brad as he opens up new horizons for this church.
It is time to put Christ back into Christmas
Christmas is approaching like a runaway freight train! There is nothing we can do to slow down the march of the calendar. I do think, however, that we can all take a deep breath, now and then, and remember what Christmas is all about. Years ago there was a song that was popular for a brief time, and in its lyrics were the words, “Put Christ back into Christmas.” I know that we are tired of seeing “Xmas” instead of “Christmas,” but sometimes I wonder…do I do my part to put Him back into His birthday? By the time we buy the presents, put up the lights outside and the tree inside, and then do the baking and get ready for the parties…how much are we remembering who this party is really for? It is very easy to get caught up in the tinsel, lights and music. I have determined that during this month I will make a very conscious effort to remember that Jesus should be the center of my thinking and planning. I invite you to join me in this effort. I think it is time to put Christ back into Christmas! Let’s do it together!
For All The Right Reasons
December has arrived. We can expect colder weather, some snow and ice and chilly winds. Grey skies will be more frequent, and we will be using our gloves and heavy coats more and more. Of course, December is more than the weather! It is also the month that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. December 25th is the day the world has set aside to celebrate his birth. The commercial world has done their best to hijack this day for their own benefit, and they have been quite effective. However, the true meaning of this day will always be before us. I would like to suggest that for these next three weeks we practice what His birth is all about; the real meaning. Love is what drove God to send His Son to this earth and to be born in such humble surroundings. As the angels proclaimed His birth, peace was announced time and time again. Love and peace, such beautiful words! We should practice the true meaning of each of these in our lives. December would be a good time to decide that in the midst of turmoil, commercial messages on the right and the left, we will be people of love and peace. We should strive to be people that radiate these to those around us. As we strive for peace and love within our own life, we will become an island of peace and love that will draw others to us. Isn’t that what the birth of God’s son is all about? Yes, through these expressions we will be an instrument that will draw men and women to the Lord. Let’s make this December a month to remember…for all the right reasons!
Our New Pastor Needs You
Eagle Life Church has a new pastor. On a Sunday afternoon, the 20th of November, the membership voted to call Brad Murphy and his family to lead this church as its’ next pastor. The vote wasn’t even close, and it was very evident that the entire membership had heard the Holy Spirit telling them the same thing. So, what happens now? First of all, Pastor Brad and his family will be moving here from Bellevue, Washington. As Lori sets up housekeeping, gets the children involved in school and does all the rest of what needs to be done to start living in a new place, Pastor Brad will be helping her and working himself into the routine of pastoring a church. He knows what to do and I’m sure he’ll do it well. The question we need to ask ourselves is: What can I do to make his ministry effective? The answer is quite simple, although with several parts. We can all continue to pray. We have prayed for God’s will to be done in the selection process, now it’s time to pray God’s wisdom and blessing upon the new pastor. We can also cooperate. Pastor Brad will need our help, not our excuses. We can bless him with our attendance at the services and activities. It is very easy to find an excuse for not attending church, but I don’t think the Lord is happy when we do stay home. I still believe that if the church doors are open, God’s people need to be there! We can help provide for him through our tithes and offerings. If God blesses us, we need to bless him. The churches budget does not allow much of a wage and we are all going to have to do our part to make sure our new pastor doesn’t starve! We can invite him to our home for a visit or a meal. Pastor Brad is coming with his family to serve you, but he cannot do it by himself. We all need to rally around him and help him in every way we can as he leads this church forward for the Lord. Ask yourself this question every day: What can I do today to help Pastor Brad?
We need to remember to be thankful
What a wonderful time of the year! This week we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday and next month we have Christmas, then New Year’s…what a wonderful time! Let’s think, for the moment, about Thanksgiving. We probably know the traditional story; how the early settlers to our country had gone through one brutal winter and as another winter was now approaching, they could welcome this season with confidence. They had planted crops and had harvested the crops. They had fresh meat hanging in the meat house, being aged properly before its use. The Native Americans had been most generous in sharing their knowledge of weather and crops, helping them get ready for another winter. Yes, they had much to be thankful for, and according to tradition, there was a huge feast where people came from miles around to enjoy the bounty spread before them. They were thankful, thankful that they were prepared for the coming winter. How close to reality this tradition is does not really matter. This is what most of us believe happened and it probably did happen pretty much as tradition tells us. What is the lesson for us? Those early settlers were thankful that they were facing the future with their basic needs supplied. I believe that we too, in today’s culture, can face the future that is in front of us with thanksgiving. God has promised to provide our basic needs and He will. In this season of Thanksgiving, we need to remember to be thankful for those little things that we take so much for granted. The food that we eat, the shelter that protects us from the elements, the friends or family that we have, the health we enjoy; all of these and more, are very basic, but we need to be thankful to God from the depths of our heart for what He has supplied for us in this season. As we sit down to our traditional turkey and ham dinner, we should be very thankful for all He has provided!
“Peace, be still”
As we walk down the pathway of life, there are times when we wonder, what happened? There are days when everything goes real good, and then there are days when nothing goes very well. Some of us might wonder why these huge differences in the daily grind that we call “life.” I suppose the disciples of Jesus might have wondered the very same thing. One day the crowds couldn’t get enough of His teachings and He healed so many people on some occasions that He was forced to go somewhere to the hills, just to get away from the crowd. On another day it seems like everything went wrong. A big storm at sea just about killed them all, then a ghost appeared to them on the water and finally Peter just about drowned! What is going on? When things are going good, we sometimes forget that God is up there watching out for us. But, when things turn sour we do remember Him and we ask Him for help. Let me just finish these few words by quoting what the Lord said on that dark stormy night. He was now in the boat but the disciples still were afraid of the storm. Jesus simply said, “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39). If you are feeling like a storm in this life is about to overwhelm you, just turn it over to Jesus, then hear Him say, “Peace be still.”