By Pastor Gary Jennings
Wow! I am getting ready to add another year to my life. Any day now I will have to begin to make the mental switch and write down a new number when I am asked for my age on paper. I have to ask myself what I have learned over the years that I have been alive. Surely I must have been schooled in something. Surely there must be a shelf in my life where I have been stacking up all the great truths I have learned.
I find myself on my riding lawnmower about 5 hours a week in the summer time. It’s there that I do a lot of deep thinking. As the grass shoots out the side (and the odd mouse), its right there on my moving chair that I ponder and go deep into my mind. Yes, I have learned a few things over the years. Here’s just one of the things I have learned. It’s the swift moving hands of the clock on the wall or on my wrist. Time waits for no one. Time keeps on slipping into the future. I hear phrases like, I don’t have the time, look at how the time has gone by, it’s time to say goodbye, I must be at an appointment. We adults are always talking about the time. We never seem to have enough of it. It’s like we are always trying to catch it. But it’s like cotton candy. As soon as you taste it, its is gone.
I don’t remember time moving this fast when I was a boy playing in the dirt with my little matchbox cars and trucks. I just wanted to hurry up and grow up; my, how that has changed. I do remember my father making a couple of regular statements about time. He would say, I just got up and out of bed and now it’s time to get down and back into bed. When he was living in his retirement years, he would say, I don’t know where I ever found the time to work.
OK, with learning comes application. At this stage of my life, God is asking me to be a good manager and steward of the time I have been graciously given. My time cannot be saved, but only spent well. Ephesians 5:15, 16 tell me to be careful how I live and to be wise. This is tied in with an encouragement for me to redeem my time. This means to cash the moments in now and make the best of those fleeting seconds.
I want to take more walks with my wife. I want to stop and enjoy a good sunset. I want to make use of every opportunity God gives me to tell others about the marvelous saving grace of Jesus Christ. I want to make a big difference in the lives of the wonderful church people that I pastor. I want to discover ways to do good to others. I want to spend my time well so one day I will hear the words, Well done, and well timed!
How about you? Your moments are moving by just as fast as mine. Think about it!
By Pastor Nikki Ragush
A couple Sundays ago I was asked by a parent, “Did you know what you wanted to do after high school?”
Immediately, I said “Yes!” But regretted it quickly, because none of us have a simple story of how we got where we are now. Being the pastor of the youth group here at Calvary Temple, and being a young adult myself I am weekly put into discussions about future plans and what we are called to do. Simply, I could say that in Matthew 9:9 we are given the easy directive, “Follow Me.” Yes, we know we want to follow God but what does that look like for each one of us, on a daily basis we can portray the fruits of the Spirit but what should our career be? Should we move away or stay here? Should we take the job promotion? Should we continue in school not knowing where we are going?
But, when we are going somewhere how do we know we have “arrived”. It’s easy to see our lives as one-dimensional that it’s about moving to an end, but how much do we miss around us in the moment when we are just trying to finish well?
One of my favorite Christian bands has become a group called ‘All Sons and Daughters’, they have a way of making their music simple yet powerful. They have a song called ‘Called Me Higher’, it says “You have called me higher, You have called me deeper, And I’ll go where you will lead me Lord”. What if each of us lived our lives continuing each day as a journey and not seeking to find the finish? What if our lives are about falling deeper into God’s calling, and having that calling change and develop into things we never dreamed?
After I bumbled on for a bit about how I arrived at the decision I did to pursue youth ministry, I then said something that my mother has told me many times “Do we ever really know what we want to do when we grow up?” I pray that if God spoke to me tomorrow and said “Whom will I send? Who will go for us?” I would be ready with Isaiah’s response “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).
By Pastor Ruth Denboer
Beauty is all around us!
I grew up on the west coast of Canada in a little community called Port Moody, a suburb of Vancouver. I loved my childhood days so much. We literally had a mountain behind our home and we were about 3 blocks from the ocean. I grew up climbing trees, building tree forts and swinging from the huge cedar trees just beyond our back yard fence. There was a cedar mill down by the ocean’s edge, so the smell of cedar is engrained into my childhood memories.
For years now I have struggled with some resentment due to the lack of large green trees here on the prairies. I guess because of my early memories of huge trees and clear lakes with majestic mountains as the back drop … the scenery here just didn’t cut it for me.
However, God has lately been helping me see the beauty all around me. I can honestly say the prairies have a beauty all their own. The glowing grain fields with the setting sun as a back drop are a gorgeous picture in their own right!
Psalm 19:1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
By Pastor Vern Kratz
At the end of August I drove my son back to college where he will be attending classes for the next 8 months. When you have to fit everything you need into one vehicle it becomes a matter of deciding what is important and essential, and then separating it from those things that are not necessary. Some call it downsizing. When it comes to daily life I like to see it as simplifying.
As we head into another busy season of life and ministry it will help us greatly if we take a moment to simplify and wade through the clutter of our “to do” lists and really decide what is important and essential.
Philip Yancey (writer/speaker) told about his time spent at a monastic retreat centre.
…A monk had shown him the room in which he was about to stay. It was small and very simple. The monk instructed him: “If you need anything, let us know and we will teach you how to get along without it.”
I am often surprised by how much I can do without.
I hope when you downsize your list you will find that you have plenty of time for moments that God can speak into your life, time to spend with family, and time to serve and care for the needs of others around you.
As we begin a new season take a moment to simplify your life. Make time for what is really necessary and important.