Sep 27 2013

A Time to Give Thanks for Life

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven..." and the text goes on to list 14 positive and 14 negative events that are just a part of life and living on planet earth.  In other words, there's the good and the bad of life.  And the text tells us:  "Everything is appropriate in its time."

Anyone who has been alive more than just a few years can attest to these truths from scripture.  Even young children can tell the difference between the fun/good times, and the not fun/not good times.

The timing for studying Ecclesiastes 3 couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for me.  This has been a long season of stress in our family, emotional and physical.  As a child might say, "Not a fun time."  It's likely you, too, have been through seasons of stress and pain and difficulty.  In fact, maybe you are right in the middle of it all right now. After all, you are human like me... and even believers are not spared the trials of this world.

We are, however, promised that the end of the story is much better than the middle.  And there are very powerful applications for our lives from Ecclesiastes 3 to help us navigate difficult seasons.  Let's face it, this earth isn't heaven... and life is filled both good and bad times, happy and sad times, and fun and not-so-fun times.  God's Word strengthens us for the "not so good times" and gives us countless applications to navigate through life in a healthy way.

Pam and I have missed YOU dearly.  We've ached to be back among you and finally life is permitting that.  If we could, we would visit each and everyone of you and we'd shake your hand and give you a hug and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love and prayers, the cards and texts and emails and facebook messages, the help in ministry, and the food and the gifts of resources that have helped us with 4,000 miles of travel over these past weeks.  We'd embrace you to let you know of our appreciation and gratitude and our deepest thanks that God brought our lives together.

There's a time for life... and there's a time to give thanks for life.  

Blessings,
Pastor Bud

Sep 05 2013

Choose Things that Matter

I hope this note finds you well and looking forward to the kickoff of the 2013-2014 NFL season tonight!  No, just kidding.  I really hope this note finds you well and looking forward to the weekend... some "down time" on Saturday and some "UP time" in worship together on Sunday morning!

I'm studying the book of Ecclesiastes right now and God is showing me some interesting things.  The book of Ecclesiastes is said to be written by King Solomon -- reported to be one of the richest and wisest people of all time.  Solomon relentlessly pursued happiness.  Not a superficial happiness that fades quickly, but a real, deep, and lasting happiness that fills and satisfies the soul.  But life can be short and difficult and filled with things that don't eternally matter.

A good friend recently wrote these wise words:  "Sometimes you have a day full of everything, but nothing important to your soul.  Yes, we have to work for a living but that should not be our 'life.'  If we let work become our life then we may have a special 'hell' in store for us.  Take a deep breath, realize that life is so much bigger than your job.  I have personally committed to myself and my husband that I will not repeat last year.  Stay focused on the prize and the prize is not the paycheck.  In the end, the prize is the number of people who really do miss you when you're gone.  Once you're gone, the fact that you lived on the street or in a mansion on a hill is irrelevant."

So true!  Solomon himself couldn't say it better.  Life is short.  And in the end, there are only a few things that really matter.  God wants you to choose wisely for the sake of yourself and your family... and He wants you to choose a relationship with Him over everything else.

See you on Sunday for worship!

Blessings upon blessings,
Pastor Bud

Jun 08 2013

What Prayer Does...

Hope this note finds each of you well... and strengthened and uplifted even in the challenges of daily life.

I heard a story yesterday about a lady who, in mid-life, decided to take voice lessons from a very good instructor.  While the student was practicing a beautiful old Italian song, the instructor broke in and advised, "It's charming.  But do you need to sound like a vacuum cleaner at the end of each phrase?"  The student responded, "I think I do need to suck in air like a vacuum because otherwise I think I'll asphyxiate and crumple in a heap on the floor."  "Look," the wise instructor offered, "if you'll open up your ribs, the air just falls in."

I was thinking about that while doing some gardening last evening.  That's what prayer does.  If we will open our time to God's Word and to prayer, and to adoring God and listening for the voice of God to speak into our lives, the Spirit just falls into us.  If we pray, we don't have to suck inspiration like my Shop Vac in my workshop.  The whispers of the Spirit will nudge around the edges of our minds and surface in subtle ways.  If we will open our ribs in prayer, inspiration and clarity will fall in.  If we read and study scripture and prepare ourselves to be used, God will direct us, lead us, and use us for things He wants to do.  It's really no more complicated than that.  Christ stands at the door and knocks.  Open your heart and Christ will enter in.  We all have choices. Make the best one today.

Love,
Pastor Bud

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