Monday, February 20, 2012

Loving Linsanity!

 The NFL season has ended along with all the hype surrounding the Denver Bronco's quarterback Tim Tebow and his Christian faith. Some were breathing a sigh of relief not having to endure one more picture of the quarterback in a posture of prayer which came to be known as "tebowing." However, others may have been disappointed in not seeing or hearing the name of Jesus lifted up before a watching world. Just when all seemed lost, a new witness has appeared on the scene in the NBA player Jeremy Lin. Many have followed his Cinderella story from an obscure nobody to the hottest rising star in the NBA. It seems New York is getting a lot of attention these days from the Giants unbelievable Super Bowl win to the Knicks new found confidence and energy because of Jeremy Lin's on court skills. However, the best part is we now have another sports figure who is open about his faith in Christ. Lin may not be as demonstrative with his faith as Tebow but he can be seen bowing his head in silent prayer before a game. In a recent interview, Lin was asked how he stays so focused with his sudden new found fame and all the media attention. His response was that he stays grounded by being in the Word of God and recognizing that he is not superior to anyone but is a sinner just like everyone else. What! Did he say the "s" word? Moreover, did he have the audacity to suggest that everyone is a sinner? Yes it's true. The Bible states, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.." (Roman's 3:23) Furthermore, Romans 3:10-12 adds, "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." Jeremy Lin is merely stating the truth openly and honestly as a follower of Jesus Christ. And although we may never become over night sensations nor have our names recorded in history we, like Lin, are to be faithful witnesses to the world in whatever environment we find ourselves. As Peter exhorts us, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." (1 Peter 4:15-16) Jeremy Lin is clearly an example of one who is not ashamed of the gospel for he truly believes it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
To God Be The Glory!
Pastor Sheree

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Holy Spirit Sighting

I was preparing to eat breakfast one morning when my husband called me to come quickly to the kitchen window which looks out at our bird feeders. There on the ground was a dove. It was pure white pecking around for food. I had never seen a dove like this before at our feeder. The closest we ever came were mourning doves. The sight of this dove reminded me of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus after His baptism. "As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17) However, I wasn't the only spectator of this unusual sighting. A squirrel on our porch quickly came down the steps and stopped to stare at the dove. He then proceeded to approach the bird as if to check it out and try to discern what is this pure white animal? The dove did not allow the squirrel to get too close but the pair hung out together for some time before the squirrel went off into the woods. The dove then sat near the feeder for some time before it eventually flew off. God has often spoken to me through nature and especially through activities that take place around our bird feeders. It had been a particularly difficult week with my mother experiencing health issues. Her difficulties required me to micro manage her care to some degree from a distance as she lives out of state. The combination of efforts between myself and my brother who lives with her allowed many concerns to be resolved. Needless to say I was exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The sighting of this dove I considered a reassuring gift from God acknowledging that He was and always will be with me just like the squirrel hanging out with the dove. But I also hear the comforting echoes of the words He spoke to His Son. "This is my daughter, whom I love; with her I am well pleased."
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Sheree

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Bird's Eye View

There have been some struggles lately related to ministry issues. I had entered another dry season looking for the Lord to make Himself known in a special way. And true to His word the Lord reminded me of His ever abiding presence. God has often spoken through nature and as I was on my way to a meeting with my spiritual director, I was thinking about what to share during our meeting. The month of January had started out fairly well but as time went on, I felt myself falling into a depressed state of mind. I assumed my meeting was going to be as dull and uneventful as the way I was feeling. However, God intervened as I spotted three red-tailed hawks perched on tree branches at separate intervals during my drive. The number three representing that completeness, fullness, and power of the Trinity.  After spying the third hawk, the Lord brought to mind a verse from Isaiah, "But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31 NLT) He further encouraged me to see Him "in the ordinary." As I further meditated on this verse I found it curious that Isaiah speaks about movement in a descending order. It would seem like one would start from the slowest movement (walking) and build to a grand crescendo (flying high). Perhaps the Lord was trying to draw my attention to the fact that we all want to experience those mountain top highs and stay there forever but we must deal with the reality of the seasons of life. We all move through the ordinary or daily routines of life not expecting much. However, no matter whether we are at the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, God will give us new strength, renew our spirits, and show us life from a different perspective. When I went to the Scripture in Isaiah, the Lord reaffirmed His promise through the verses proceeding Isaiah 40:31, "O Israel, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case? Have you never heard or understood? Don't you know that the Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depth of His understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak. Even youths become exhausted and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:27-31 NLT) I am grateful that even when I run out of fuel, God never does and I can call upon Him to renew my strength any time, any where, any place. He will fulfill His promises in His word and strengthen us to soar on wings like eagles, to rise above life's difficulties, and see circumstances from a bird's eye view.
Pastor Sheree