Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, tonight we had our Christmas Eve service, and it went well....I enjoyed the time with the church family, and am now on my way home to spend the rest of the evening with my kids and grandkids...all in all, it is truly a blessing to be able to share this time of the year with those I love, and who love me! May all of you have a wonderful Christmas, and a most beautiful and blessed New Year....I am anticipating the Lord moving in a wonderful way!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Latest Ramblings

Lately I just haven't been in the mood to write...I usually like to respond to current events, or to share what is on my mind, but to be honest...I just haven't felt like writing anything. Still, with Christmas coming, my mind begins to drift towards two days past Christmas Day. December 27th, to be exact. That is the Sunday that I gave my heart to the Lord, and it is a day that makes December 25th special to me. When I think of that day, I also think of Jesus' parable of the Sower and the Seed, how He speaks of seed falling on both unreceptive and receptive soil. Out of the van load of kids who went with me to the Hollywood Palladium on that December day, I know of only one who continued in his walk with Jesus. All of the others seem to have fallen away. One of them used to attend our church in our early days, but he ended up marrying and divorcing twice, and while at our church was using cocaine and finally just walked away from the Lord. I heard a few years ago that he went to Calvary Chino Hills for awhile, and I pray that he did and that he is still there, as my hope would be that he came back to the Lord. Interestingly, our church bought the house where his ex-wife used to live in on Pipeline, and we "paved paradise and put in a parking lot". When we bought the house, I believe she had started going to Calvary Chino Hills, and again, I sure pray she is still there. 
It is amazing, when I think of it, how many people I have known and cared about (and for) who have left their walks with Jesus. Friends that I would break bread with, pray with, laugh with, and even confide in who were trustworthy and yet, when it came down to it, more than likely never were saved. It amazes me. I think of their impact on my life, especially when I first came to faith in Jesus and sometimes wonder what made the difference. We went to the same church, had the same friends, made the same profession of faith in the same Savior, and yet they walked away and I have remained with Jesus. Truly salvation is a mystery. 
Jesus likened the Kingdom of God to a man sowing seed in his field, and the seed sprouts and grows, but he himself does not know how (Mk 4:26-29) I certainly have no idea why someone claims faith in Jesus and walks away, and others make the same claim and become missionaries, pastors, teachers, full time ministers, chaplains, etc. and remain and grow strong in Jesus. All I know is that I want to remain faithful to Him, until the end, and that I want to be one who encourages others to love and serve Him, too. It never has been an easy road for me, but it has been a blessed one.
When I got saved, I had been dating a girl who broke up with me. Of course, I thought I would die of a broken heart! She actually was used by the Lord to make me consider my life, and to get it right with Jesus. It is amazing how the Lord used a broken relationship and a broken heart to bring me to a place where He could be the mender of broken hearts (Lu 4:18) It took around five years for me to get over her, and I really didn't get over her until the day she got married. I went to her wedding, and then went home and cried myself to sleep (drama is my middle name). God gave her a great young man whom I knew was better for her than I could ever be, but I never dreamed of the incredible gift He had waiting for me when He opened my eyes to a beautiful young woman named Marie. He used my sorrow over being such a jerk to bring me to repentance, that I might be a better man and to grow into a good husband and His servant...and to be the pastor of the church I now love and serve. Hmmmm, what a wonderful God and what a beautiful plan He had for me, and has for you. 
May you remain strong in Him, Merry Christmas, and remember that the best is yet to come!