Gordon ~ Homelessness Sucks

We met Gordon recently.

I don’t know his story other than he’s a black man who is homeless in Sumner, WA. My family and I were in town for an event when we saw him sitting on a downtown bench with his stuff. We all felt the God nudge so we stopped the car. We just needed to do something. In the back of my car are these bags…

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These bags came from the brain and heart of my 5-year-old daughter. She wanted to do something to help people who find themselves homeless and so she came up with this. We are incredibly proud of her. So my wife and I helped her put these together and now the two of us have these in our vehicles. We are currently in the process of adding to these bags and now others in my congregation want to help too. To God be the glory.

Anyway, we stopped and interrupted our evening activities to meet Gordon. My 4-year-old son wanted to get out with me so we grabbed a bag and walked across the street. I introduced the two of us to Gordon and shook his hand. Gordon’s eyes lit up as he smiled and introduced himself to us. We chatted for a bit as I handed him the above bag. Gordon thanked me and my son and we parted ways.

And now…

…my thoughts and prayers continue to be with Gordon. I wrote about Sofia’s story recently and I wish I knew Gordon’s story. So many regrets with my encounter with Gordon. I wish I had taken more time to listen but maybe God is teaching me. Maybe each and every encounter is one more step in my education and discipleship. I don’t know. What I do know is that I haven’t forgotten about Gordon; I can still see his face in my brain. And that’s good. I have a feeling that when the next opportunity comes around God will nudge me more.

God help me. God help us.

I/we have much to learn.

Remember Gordon and join me in praying for him. I/you don’t know his story, but God does. And God willing, I will see Gordon again so I can learn more of his story.

So, remember and pray. Learn and grow. Respond and act. To God be the glory.

The Pastor -|—

To Begin My Day…

To You, oh Lord,
I place my trust.
To You, oh Lord,
I cast my eyes.
Hold me tight in the midst of the storm;
In the midst of enemies who claim victory.
Wield Your sword to defend me;
Your mighty arm is powerful.
Hedge me in on all sides;
Oh Lord, You are my fortress.
May I not fall into despair;
May I always see You.
To You, oh Lord,
I place my trust.
To You, oh Lord,
I give my praise.

The Pastor -|—

Tonight…Remember

Tonight you may get a warm bed,
but someone gets the cold, hard ground.
Tonight you may be recovering from a big, hearty meal,
but someone’s stomach is crying out for any morsel to eat.
Tonight you may get to kiss a loved one good night,
but someone feels unloved and forgotten.
Tonight you may feel safe and secure in your own home,
but someone is scared and alone and longing for shelter.
Tonight you may have a “happily ever after”,
but someone has a story no one knows.
Tonight you may have…
but someone does not.

So tonight…

Remember and pray for the Sofias and the Gordons of the world.
Pray and listen to the still, small voice of God.
Listen and obey that voice.
Obey and glorify God.

Tonight…

Remember

The Pastor -|—

Working Out

I am preaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The following prayer is what I am using on Sunday, Nov 4, before I preach on Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Holy God,
Martin Luther is quoted as saying,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me;
it has legs, it runs after me;
it has hands, it lays hold of me.
Oh God,
run and catch us.
Lay hold of and keep us.
Open our eyes and ears
that we may see and hear Your Word of truth;
for Your Word is a living word.
It’s active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Pierce our hearts and make us alive in Jesus.
Trim away the fat and make us lean.
May Your Word be all that is left in us,
so much so,
that You shine forth
and are glorified in and through our lives.
May we be so alive with Your Spirit
that we run after you;
working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
To you be the glory, now and forever,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Let This Soak in…

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
Psalms 24:1‭-‬2 ESV

Let that soak in for a bit;
the fact that the earth is the Lord’s;
including those who dwell therein;
You
You are the Lord’s.
This is a matter of possession,
and thus of provision.
You are the Lord’s and therefore,
You are valued.
You are loved.
You are cherished.
It is that fundamental.
It matters not who you are.
It matters not what you’ve done.
It matters not what you will do.
You are the Lord’s.
He established you.
He founded you.
He knows you.
You are never out of His
Sight
Reach
Shelter
You are the Lord’s.
Fear not the Lord but fear the Lord.
It’s that simple.
It that fundamental.
It’s that awesome.
You are the Lord’s.
Let that soak in…

The Pastor -|—

Child of God

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day.

Know the love of the Creator,

Know His amazing grace.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day.

Go and make disciples,

Go with confidence and strength.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day.

Remember that God is for you,

So therefore who can be against you.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Aside and meet the new day.

Though God reigns on high,

He is always close to you.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day,

The Lord will be your shield and fortress,

He will be your God.

The Pastor -|—-

Misplaced Fear

And Herodias had a grudge against him (John the Baptist) and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
Mark 6:19‭-‬20 ESV

Herod feared John.
Herod knew John was a righteous and holy man.
Herod listened to John.
Herod was perplexed by John yet gladly heard him.

THUS…

Herod protected John — for awhile — until his fear of man trumped his fear of John.

Hmmm…interesting, isn’t it. Herod feared and respected John the Baptist and gladly heard him, but nothing about fearing God. Nothing about wanting to know more about this Messiah to which John was pointing. Herod was simply fascinated with the man (John), not God, thus his “fear” was not firmly grounded.

And herein lies the issue — the fear of man verses the fear of God. The fear of man will only take you so far and will eventually betray you and/or the one you claim to fear. The faith-filled fear of God will keep you in awe and never betray you, and will rightly direct your worship.

It’s sad, really, as this worldly fear leads people into false worship. This is evident in how people view /think of Christian worship. The delivery or form or the service itself becomes the object of one’s worship. One’s fear of how worship is done soon captures their heart and veils the one they claim to fear/worship.
They fear not being entertained.
They fear something going wrong.

When these becomes the main fears, then God is not glorified. How can God be glorified when people want…

…entertainment, not worship
…form, not substance
…creature, not Creator
…words, not the Word
…Easter, not Good Friday
…absolution, not confession
…comfort, not suffering

They fear man, not God.

May you not adopt the ways of Herod but walk in the Way of Jesus.
May your fear not be misplaced.
May your worship be directed towards “entertaining” God not in being entertained.

May you be greatly “perplexed” about God, so much so, that you are driven, more and more, to hear God, more and more gladly, so much so, that your holy fear of God is nurtured and cultivated in such a way that God is glorified in every way in your life.

Amen!

The Pastor -|—