Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
As I try to catch up from having been out of town for a number of weeks, there are various thoughts and experiences running through my mind. The experiences are separate and different, but the thoughts have a similar thread.
Just recently I was visiting an elderly member in their home. This member is truly concerned about a much younger member of her family. This member’s loved one has struggled with behaviors that are self-destructive. Thankfully, the younger person continues to struggle and has not given up.
However, as this member and I discussed young people in general and the troubles of life, two realizations came to our lips. Sometimes the younger the person, the more they think they know about life. Maybe you’ve run into someone who thinks they know everthing! Thinking we have all the answers can be dangerous to a healthy life, especially when the unexpected is always right around the corner. A second characteristic from many young people we know which we discussed is that of thinking they are indestructible!” After all, it looks like all of life is in front of a young person. So risky and unhealthy behaviors can just seem like someone else’s needless worry. But, when the realities of life show themselves, the struggles of life can seem overwhelming! When those life realities show themselves then even a young person realizes they need help. In all honesty, they need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love.
Last week while I was in moose camp hunting, and winding down from the busy-ness of work, and processing my dad’s illness and funeral, the beauty of the world around us struck those of us who were in camp. I have hunted for over 25 years with St. John member, Gerry Zellar. This year we were also joined by Gerry’s friend, Tom Anderson. On a beautiful fall day, with the sun shining and temperature in the 60’s, as the mountain were covered with the red undergrowth of cranberries and fireweed, and as the birch trees glowed with their bright yellow leaves, Tom made an observation. “All you have do is to look at the world around us to see that God is here.” The beauty was striking and the hand of God was obvious. But, as we considered Tom’s statement, we realized there are some who don’t see or know or believe in the loving, powerful hand of God. We agreed, for those who miss seeing God’s hand in the beauty of creation, they need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love.
Last year at this time I was in Florida, preparing to celebrate my dad’s 90th birthday. We held a party for him on September 23 attended by many family and friends. When the main party was over my dad looked at me and said, “Well, I’ll see you again in 10 years.” He was expecting to celebrate his 100th birthday! But, I’m sure you heard my dad died last month. Yet, none of us live in this world forever. We are sinful people in a fallen world and we all face death. The truth for all of us is, we need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love.
There is a verse of Scripture which talks about those who reject God. Psalms 14 and 53 share this truth from God. “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." Denying that we need God, or denying His existence are foolish behaviors and attitudes. Yet, even if someone thinks they are indestructible, even if someone thinks the world and its beauty are an accident, the realities of the world catch up with us and cause us to see our mortality.
What a blessing that God has loved us and sent his Son, Jesus, for foolish, sinful people like you and me. For all of us facing our guilt, our foolishness, our weakness, and our mortality, Jesus is God’s wisdom. Romans 5:8 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible sharing the wonderful truth of God’s love. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As I try to get back into the swing of daily living, I know this truth: I need God, and His power, and wisdom, and His love, especially as He loves me in Jesus.
A Child of God, Realizing that I Need God, and His Power, Wisdom, and Love in Jesus!
P.S. I did go moose hunting September 5-14. It is always good to get away in the woods. I also had a special permit that would allow me to shoot any bull this year. However, while I saw cows and heard bulls in the woods, I did not see a bull to shoot. Nevertheless, since I’m 65 I gave my proxy to Gerry Zellar. So, while I did not shoot a moose, my permit did – the day after I left! Here are some pictures from the hunting trip. https://photos.app.goo.gl/yy6R9BkVZdwsD4iF9
P.P.S. I got a surprise from my dad recently. One of my nieces was going through some old documents and found an old yearbook. In that year book, when asked his plans, my dad said, “Would rather go to Alaska.” Hmmmm! https://photos.app.goo.gl/PriMSak2fuuwPQTw8
P.P.P.S. Being gone from home can be tough for anyone. When you are a pastor and you are gone, as I have been, that can be especially difficult. How can you shepherd God’s people when you’re out of town? Yet, our elders have encouraged me to take care of myself. In many ways, that means getting away. I want to share a BIG THANK YOU to all who kept on while I was gone. Thanks to Judy and Ethan in the office, to leaders who continued to serve. Thank you especially to Hunter Richards, Randy Luffberry, Scott Manke, Karl Kopperud, and Carl Jacobson who led Sunday and Wednesday worship while I was gone!!!!
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.