Sunday, February 22, 2015

OUR FAMILY IS CHANGING!!!

NO, LINDA IS NOT PREGNANT, nor are any new grandchildren on the way . . . that I know of, but still our family is changing. It seems like every day my grandkids are learning new things. My older children are deep into developing loving families, Lizzie is excelling in her Biblical Studies Major at Biola and Jordan, well, I think he’ll be the tallest one pretty soon. (And most definitely the funniest, not to mention smart. No brag, just fact!) It’s actually a good thing that families change and grow, though at times I do miss the antics of my children’s younger years.

My family is not the only family that is changing of course, your family is too and so is our church family. Sometimes family change is expected and comes with joy and anticipation, and other times the change is unexpected and may even bring an amount of sorrow and grief. It is part of life, as they say.

The church family in America is changing. In some ways it is getting older, we Baby-Boomers are not so much babies or booming much.  The younger generation is so radically different in its connections and its outlook on life that how we minister must also be radically different. No more turning pages in our Bibles, we swipe right to left and up and down. Add to that the changing ethnic and societal/cultural changes and the church is quickly becoming almost unrecognizable to the preceding generations.

Now, we could cry and bemoan the changes or we could learn to enjoy them, as I learn to enjoy my grandchildren crawling and climbing. Yes, it means at home that we must put away some of the “precious crystal” but it’s worth it just to enjoy the grandkids in all their exuberance.

So, our church family is changing, let’s face it, it’s not the 1950’s (or 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or even 2000.)  I’m excited to turn the church over to the new generation, and personally I’m working to see that accomplished in my life time.

With this caveat: The LORD God must be worshiped and obeyed. The Bible must be preached for the truth that it is and the Gospel preached unto every nation, including ours, until the Lord returns to take us home!


Until then, welcome our ever-changing family!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

SLOW DOWN. STOP. STOOP. SEE.

LIZ WISEMAN, president of The Wiseman Group, a leadership and development center, has written a number of thought-provoking and challenging books. She has worked for some of the big Silicon Valley tech firms, and brings a exuberance to working not only well, but smart.

In this TEDx video she lays forth the challenge of remember the wonder years of learning and to apply that to our grown-up experiences today.

What caught me in this presentation was her call to child-like wonder, and though she didn't call it such, there was a call to Sabbath as well. To slow down, to stop, to stoop and to see the wonder. I pray this video will encourage you in your very busy to life to Sabbath well. Maybe it's the very thing you need to experience in this Lenten Season.

Slow Down. Stop. Stoop. See.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FAT TUESDAY AND OTHER LENTEN THOUGHTS

For many, Fat Tuesday is one BIG excuse to PAAARRTTTTYY.

I would like to offer the suggestion that instead of a time to party our head off, it is a time to prepare our hearts for Jesus.

Early this morning I was pondering the beginning of Lent, those 40 days leading to Passion Week. 40 days to draw near to Jesus in a consistent and concentrated way.

This little prayer crossed my lips,
Lord, prepare my  heart for LASER-like focus upon Thee throughout this Lenten Season and beyond . . . 

LASER means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. I would light to suggest another acronym for these letters:
Love
Amplified
Savior
Embracing
Remembrance

​To help you on your Lenten Journey here are a couple of links to bring you encouragement,​ the first is a song, and and the second a link to the Biola Lenten Project.


​You might also like to check-out the following portions of ​God's Word:


Sunday, February 15, 2015

THE GIFT OF THE AGES

ONE OF THE GREAT BLESSINGS of being part of Felton Bible Church is the number of senior saints that are part of our church family. Throughout my thirty-seven year association with the church I have been blessed too many times to count from the wisdom that comes from those who have walked long upon the Earth and more importantly, having walked a long time with Jesus.

As a young married man, and a wet-behind-the-ears youth pastor back in 1977, I was privileged to have gained insight and wisdom from those who had walked before me. Of course, honesty demands that there were also a few old codgers whose words to me always seemed more like a reprimand than loving wisdom, but they were few and far between.

I learned about the faithfulness of the Lord even as people faced incredibly rough roads and decisions. The saints would share with me how they had never found themselves without great peace-filled presence of the Lord even through times of greatest loss.

The wisdom I gained did not always come in the form of spoken word, but in watching faith in action. I remember seeing Dave Lindstedt, our cross-the-street neighbor and a church member and Elder, each morning seated at the kitchen table, coffee cup in hand and Bible open, beginning each day with the Lord. Wisdom came from witnessing Dick Mack faithfully share the Gospel with each person he could and to learn the commitment of love as he took care of his “dear Dorothy” until the Lord called her home.

I can remember sitting at the kitchen table of Irene Rathe and hearing her gracious, yet pointed words, “Randy, it’s all about surrendering your life completely to Jesus Christ. Surrender, that’s what we’re called to.”

I have a drawer full of cards from the past 20 plus years. Cards filled with words of challenge, thanks, encouragement and prayers. The fact that I still have them tells you the importance of such encouragement and the wisdom many of them possess.


So, today, I say, “Thank you, Lord, for Thy faithful saints who have trodden the path before me, seeking to make it smoother for all who follow. Lord, may I continue in their wise example, to Thy glory and the growth of Thy Kingdom. Amen!”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

PUTTING WISDOM TO WORK!

IN THIS TED VIDEO, there is the challenge given that we really don't act upon wisdom, and if we did the world would be a different and better place.  Well worth watching and contemplating.  Plus, I enjoyed his humor!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

LIVING THE RICH LIFE!

RECENTLY, OUR FAMILY made a trip to Big Bear to stay at the Club Resort. It was quite the place. Let’s just put it this way it was huge, well-equipped and for a few days I felt like I was living the life of the rich and famous.  We had a great time and then back to reality.

Now, that last line may sound a little defeatist and ungrateful, but truly it is not because I believe that though I may not be living the life of the rich and famous, I am in so many ways living the rich life.

Consider this one aspect of the riches we share, we are God’s beloved. Dwell on the following:

Put on therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; (Colossians 3:12)

to them that are called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: (Jude 1:1)

Be therefore imitators of God, as beloved children. (Ephesians 5:1)

to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

It is only the beloved that can refer to the Almighty God as Abba,

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6)

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)

So, you may not have a 2,200 square foot “cabin” in Big Bear, or
drive a 2015 Corvette, or have oodles of disposable income, but you have something of greater worth, you have the love of Abba God poured out through the death and resurrection of His Son and made abundantly available to us by the Holy Spirit residing within us.


How much richer can we be?  Let us therefore, rejoice and give thanks! 

Sunday, February 01, 2015

THE SEVEN-MINUTE SABBATH

OUR CULTURE IS ANTI-SABBATH. It doesn’t mean to be, it just is. Our lives are continually driven by the demands of family, job, school, sports, extra-curricular activities and an ever-increasing “to-do-list.”  Let’s be honest here, taking a day-off; a day for resting in the peace and provision of God is a thing of the past, and we are the worse for it!

This past week I was reading through Scripture and once again came upon the passage where Jesus reminds the religious leaders of His day, that people were not created for the Sabbath, that is to serve it, but rather Sabbath was created for people, as one of God’s first gifts of grace. (Mark 2:23-27; Exodus 20:8-11; Genesis 2:1-3)

Sabbath is a gift.  Yes, that’s what it is.  God has given this grace-gift to us for our own refreshment and renewal. Yet, we seem to do everything within our power to ignore this gift, or at least we confess that our lives are such a crush of complexity that we cannot find the time to look at the gift, let alone open and enjoy it. This reality reminds me of a quote I heard years ago regarding prayer, “If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.”  I would say the same holds true for Sabbath-celebrating.

I would like to offer you an opportunity to join me in a little sabbatical experiment. I am personally trying to take a number of Seven-Minute-Sabbaths every day. I was thinking about doing it every hour, but honestly that didn’t work so well, but I have been taking more of them each day.

Here are the rules: 1) Find a comfortable, quiet spot, or even stroll outside. 2) No agenda, no prayer list, no Bible reading. 3) Speak to Him your desire to rest in His presence. 4) Breathe deeply. 5) Listen. 6) Rest. 7) When you’re through, thank the LORD for being there with you.

It might seem awkward at first, but I believe if we are honest in taking time to rest with God, He will honor that time. Who knows, maybe you might even get to turn this into a day-long event.


Keep Calm and Sabbath-On!