top of page
Pastor's Ponderings desert mountains saguaro cactus

Good Morning. I am praying that your are getting all of the necessary items together for your Thanksgiving. Even in our home where we always have a good supply of food on hand, it has taken several trips to the store to be sure that we have everything in place for our family as they gather with us on this nation's day of Thanksgiving. I am back with you because my time ran out yesterday morning for me to get to the walk in immunization clinic at our local pharmacy. So, rather than take the risk of not feeling well for the holiday, I will be going next week on Monday morning before I send my Bible Study off to you. On Sunday, my sermon was about remembering all of the time that God is good. I hope in the hectic next several days, and on Thanksgiving you will remember through prayer the Great Benefactor of the bounty this nation makes available for her citizens. God richly blesses our lives every day, no matter how difficult some of those days may seem to be. So, give thanks with a joyful heart!

Today's passage for our bible study from Mark is the final one of the five sayings of Jesus which Mark kind of links together. Today's passage is about the power of the Reign of God to take even the smallest of thing, and to create out of it the greatest at the Lord's command. In this case, it is a significantly miniscule mustard seed. This tiniest of seeds holds within it the greatness of God's creation, and when it is cared for with the creation's warmth and water, it fulfills its purpose, and grows into a very large bush which can provide shelter and food for the avian population.

Every Jewish person knew about mustard seeds and mustard bushes. They were common in the middle east in this time. They could grow larger and higher than a horse. And, we must know that it was a common practice in this time period to speak about a nation in the image of a tree. So here we have the crux of this passage, that which is small not only has a purpose in God's creation, but it is filled with the potential for greatness because the Lord has ordained that it will be so. Our first lesson here is that we should never be daunted by small beginnings. The faith of a child, or the beginning faith of an adult, can become transformative not only for the one who carries that faith, but also in it is the greatness of God's Grace which transforms all of creation. It contains enough courage, strength, peace, kindness, Love (Agape), compassion, and even "fire" to move hundreds of others to faith, changing the world by its presence.

The start of a church is most often pretty darned small. It begins with usually only about 40 people who are the Charter Members, and as the years go by that church, if it is centered in boundless grace and Love, touches the lives of hundreds and thousands of people. American has moved from small to large and back to small in it's life. Yet our congregation has touched the lives of so many people we can remember who are God's triumphant saints now, and it also touches many people through our social outreach, that though we will never meet them, their lives have been transformed too by the generosity and giving of our congregation. And if we have faith and trust our Lord, the heart of our congregation will survive and once again be the worship home of many people, bringing the Light of Christ burning brightly into our very dark and broken world. Nothing has changed much in the world, except that change of heart and mind to accept God's Love and share it with everyone we meet. I have to say that I don't know a single person who does not need the Light of Christ in their life, even those of us who proclaim Him King continue to need the Light's guidance every day. It is through this Light that we welcome every one, offering the forgiveness of Christ, and the sure and certain hope of the Salvation which is ours though our Lord. One man dying on a cross may not seem like a very significant act, especially considering how distant He was from most of the world, with much of it not even known yet to the people of Israel or any one else for that matter. Today the Church opens her doors with Christ's welcome and Love. We live in a diverse and damaged world, it is the Church the body of Christ who is called to bring this massive diverse population home to its Savior. We are migrant, immigrant, northern European, African American, LGBTQia, we are ones who are often identified by their skin color, we are the wealthy, the poor, the old, the young, and everything in between, we are the physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged, we are the healthy and the sick, we are in prison, and we are law abiding, we are... all of us received with Christ's compassion and Love. All of this has sprung from tiny beginnings which now bring hope and life to us all, and to those yet to come.

Please remember that God is Good, and that He has a plan for all things to use everything to fulfill the purpose of the creation He has made. There will be no OT study on Thanksgiving Day. May God's richest blessings fill your lives.

In Christ, Pastor Kim

0 views0 comments

As you prepare for the celebration of our nations Thanksgiving day, please be sure to give thanks to God.  All of the benefits that are in our lives are from the Father in Heaven.  May the holiday be filled with joy for you and your family and friends.  At our home we will gather with 17 people.  We will enjoy our meal together, and then I will get an outside fire going in our chiminea that we can enjoy and gather around socially.  Today I am asking prayers for our son Joshua who has been unemployed for six months.  He is interviewing but nothing has developed yet.  We will speak with him again on Thanksgiving Day.  Prayers too please for Becky P's former husband Dave.  He has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  He is a Lutheran Pastor in the upper midwest. May the Lord bless him with healing and sustain his hope in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Today we continue our study of the statements which are made, according to Mark, sequentially by Jesus.  As I told you, they appear as separated statements in Matthew and Luke.  This statement is unique, because it is only found in the Gospel of Mark.  What it does do though is fit well with the pattern of Jesus to speak in terms that would be easily understood by the people to whom He was preaching.  They understood the growing of crops in fields or private gardens.  So let's get started.  The best interpretation of the beginning of this passage is to use "reign of God" in place of Kingdom of God.  This passage is talking about the day when all of the world will come to know God the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life. (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  We know that there are many believers in God, Jewish, Moslem, and Christian in the world, but there are hundreds of millions of people and more who do not yet know the One True God!  Yet, it is God's plan that every person know Him, and indeed that the whole of the Universe comes to know Him as God.  

So in using the imagery of growth of crops, Christ is telling those who are with him, and through Mark, us, that the wisdom of this parable helps us to know how this all inclusive knowing of God will unfold before us.

1. It tells us, that in the face of such an overwhelming task, to which we all are called, it is only by God's hand that what seems to be a small beginning will unfold before us, and we will not really know how it has been moved to happen.  It is like the navel orange tree in my north yard.  It get fragrant flowers in the Spring, and then they all fall off the tree, and look as I might, I rarely can see any thing that looks like a beginning orange.  Yet later in the month of June, oranges appear as little green balls that get bigger through the summer and fall months.  I can't see them get bigger if I sit at the tree and watch, but certainly they do.  I know they will be ready by late December, and that they will be bright orange in color.  That color appears in the same way, without my help.  This whole process occurs by the hand and power of God through His creation.  By Christ's words in this parable we can know that the unfolding of this faith knowledge is happening as I write this study, and as you read it.  God is amazing in the ways that He chooses to work in His Creation.  What I am really talking about is how the Freedom of the Will is moved to change.  It is, at first, very self centered.  Yet God's faith gift continues to move with quiet power to bring itself into the life of God's children, and to convince the self that there is a Holy One above all things, and most certainly above me, and with me and you.  It is constantly moving into the lives of all living things.  

  • a. Sometimes, the growth of the reign of God is imperceptible, but if we wait, perhaps hundreds of years, we will know that God has always been working.

  • b. So we know that the reign of God has always been growing.  It is constant!

  •  c. And like plants that are cared for, the reign of God is inevitable.  

This all makes such good sense to us, yet we are continuing to see the work of the Gospel dismissed by our youngest generation, and boomers seem to think that they don't need the Church to have faith and to be faithful.  The Church is the gift of Christ for His people.  It will be restored one day to its importance in everyone's lives.  

This parable also tells us that like the produce of the land which will mature and be harvested, because that is the inevitable outcome.  That the reign of God shall have its consummation just as inevitably because it is God who is making it all happen.  By the way, have you been watching, and then wondering if the reign of God is going to make it?  

You should only have doubts if you are thinking that people will never get the work done.  What looks impossible, with God's Work, Jesus Christ's forgiveness, and the Spirit's guidance, everything that God's Reign is meant to bring, will be provided.  

Finally, it is a foolish farmer who has not gotten ready for the harvest,  So what we need to know - it is our time to be certain that we are getting ready and will be prepared for the reign of God to become our full reality, along with the rest of God's creation.       

I am getting all of my vaccinations this morning, so tomorrow's study may be late, or not happen, if I am off my feet recovering. 

In Christ Love,   Pastor Kim.

0 views0 comments

May the bountiful Love of God be in, with, and around you this morning.

This morning let us continue to pray for all of the victims of the war in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas. In our world it is easy to point a finger at one side or the other, but the harsh reality is that there are no winners in a war, not the ones who started it, or the ones who will finish it. What is needed are the prayers of the world for the wisdom of God, and His Peace to be in all of their hearts, to intervene. Please pray for our member Annette who had 14 injections around her spinal column to try to stem the pain issues with her back. At this time, I am not so sure that the direction she has consented to is the best. Pray for relief of pain and healing for her.

Today we get a better idea of how the rebuilding of the "House of God" began to take shape. Unlike the Romans in 70CE who obliterated the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, the Babylonians destroyed the temple, yet left partial walls standing on the site. That meant to those who were coming back, there was at least a framework visible and usable for worship. In the seventh month that reconstruction was only just barely beginning. After two years, under the guidance of Cyrus, and funding for the project, it all began to come together. The passage talks about how arrangements were made with local people, though from other tribes, craftsmen to undertake the immense task. And though Solomon stripped the cedar forests of what we know today as Lebanon, that is where the people return after a 50-year growth period to acquire the cedars that would be required to do the work, and just like our midwestern people did in the 1800s, used water to move larger logs into place. They floated in the Mediterranean along the coast, and then dragged or carried up land to Jerusalem. Of course, it is critically important that this work is overseen by the ones who know what the law of Moses requires, and also the Psalms of David offer guidance for the sense of what must be present to do this all really right, and they are the Levites, the traditional priests of the Temple. These Levites would not only oversee the building, but they would also get the whole affair started with their vestments, trumpets, and cymbals presenting quite a picture of the pomp and circumstance of this event for their own people, and for people who were not Jewish or those who had returned from Persia, from their exile.

When a new church is started, there has already been a great deal of preparation done. A mission developer has already been at work, preaching the Gospel, and finding people who are willing to make a commitment to the chartering of the new place of worship and community gathering. When the ground is broken to begin construction there is always a large group of people present who are filled with excitement, praying with thanksgiving to God, and singing hymns of praise. We see a very similar response on the part of the people who gather for the start of the Temple reconstruction in Jerusalem. It is probably good for us to know that the Temple was never fully returned to its former glory as a "Palace for God", yet this event of getting started brings great excitement and emotions of joy. However, there were, according to Ezra, tears of sadness for those who knew the glory of the previous Temple structure before its destruction. It is no different when a church, which has been a vibrant member home for many years, and for many of its members, must close its doors, be sold, and all too often, deconstructed for other kinds of structures to occupy the land. Those who would have remembered the previous Temple would have been in their very senior years. The very same emotions that all of us might feel in such a situation were part of the community gathered at the rebuilding of the Temple which would not any longer be Solomon's Temple, but the renewed worship place for the returned exiles.

Next Thursday in our bible study of Ezra, we discover that all of this excitement, and the construction, was not without major problems.

Thanks for taking some minutes with me today.

In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

0 views0 comments
bottom of page