Monday, December 30, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: December 30, 2013


We have almost made it to the last day of 2013!  For many of us it is a bittersweet moment because some who started out this year with us have passed on.  Others have had their lives drastically changed for better or worse.  Nevertheless, we made it to this time of reflection on our victories, failures, missed opportunities and divine connections.

We may not have completed all that we planned to do in this year,  but we can be confident that all of God’s plans worked out.  Although it did not always seem to have been to our liking, His plans taught us lessons, provided unexpected surprises and ultimately carried out his purpose in the world.  We can be confident that God has not and will not let us down. 

We can look back to 2013 and know He has carried us through our trials and tribulations, our accomplishments and our accolades.  We can know that next year, He will still be in charge and He will carry us to completion of His purposes for 2014. 

Isaiah 46:10
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
 10 In the beginning, I told you what would happen in the end. A long time ago, I told you things that have not happened yet. When I plan something, it happens. I do whatever I want to do.
Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Philippians 1:4-6
New International Version (NIV)
 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:28
 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Please comment below and share and share how God has completed some things in your life so that others may be blessed by your testimony.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: December 23, 2013

Of the many important attitudes that help determine success in life, a book I recently read on success "The Best of Success" emphasized the attitude of persistence. Perhaps because it is not as inspiring as ambition, creativity, or risk-taking, persistence is often lacking in many of us. Many of us will try something out and when we don’t have short term success, we may give up and rationalize, “this just wasn’t a good fit” or “this really did not meet my needs.” We live in a society where persistence is not often rewarded and the “what pleases me for the moment” mantra is encouraged.
Claude M. Bristol wrote, “It’s the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles” (The Best of Success, 1984). In the Bible, Paul displayed this attitude of enduring and holding on in spite of adversity. He persisted throughout imprisonment, beatings, and stoning. He suffered having no sleep, being hungry, thirsty, cold, and naked (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). Yet, he forgot all those problems that were behind him and he pressed onward toward God’s goal and purpose for his life.
Although you may feel overwhelmed in your current situation and ready to quit, please be encouraged to press onward with God today. Give him your obstacles, pain, and disappointments and let us persist in obeying God’s word and walking successfully towards the goals He has for us. 
Please comment below and share how you have persisted in spite of obstacles so that others may be blessed by your testimony. 

Philippians 3:13, 14 New International Version (NIV)
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: December 16, 2013

Good News From God!

I recently received some good news from an unexpected source.  I had called an agency to clarify some paperwork and the customer service representative notified me that I have some unexpected benefits that were granted from a former employer. This had nothing to do with the purpose of my call, but was a pleasant and stunning surprise. I had just casually asked God for a blessing a couple of days before and the timing of this blessing really shocked me.

I shouldn’t be shocked. God said that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4).  He said that He would withhold no good thing from those that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).  Well, praise God, it looks like we qualify for His blessings!

The 23rd Psalm reminds us that He is taking care of us. He is leading us, He is guiding us, and He is preparing benefits for us in spite of those who are against us.  Furthermore, goodness and love follow us all of the days of our lives. Today, I believe God simply wants us to joyfully ask Him for the things that we need.  It is His good pleasure to give us His kingdom.

Next week many children are confident that Santa (aka their parents) will give them several gifts. If our children can believe for a bountiful Christmas morning, will you believe today that God loves you enough to meet your needs?

Please leave a comment below sharing how God has also given you good news. If you have a prayer request please email

Psalm 37:4
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalm 23:1, 5, 6 New International Version (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Luke 12:32 New International Version (NIV)
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: December 9, 2013


What do you do when something that you thought you had overcome rises up bigger and badder than it was the last time? For some of us it is a sickness such as cancer that was in remission, but now has spread like wildfire. For others, it may be people that were thankfully out of our lives but came back, settled in and plan to stick round. For many, it may be a feeling of relief to have stable employment with job satisfaction only to experience yet another round of massive layoffs. Discouragement is right around the corner to tell us that all hope is lost. As Michael Jackson sang in the movie, The Wiz, “You can’t win child, you can’t break even, you can’t get out of the game!” An overwhelming feeling tells us to just give up!

In the book of Acts, Paul was a prisoner and had good reason to be discouraged (Acts 27). He was on a ship to Rome, in the middle of a great storm, with chances of arriving to his destination being slim to none. Furthermore, there was a plan in place to kill Paul with the other prisoners. However, an angel assured Paul that no one would lose their life and he would certainly be delivered. I can imagine him smiling saying, “So keep up your courage men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me.” (Acts 27:25)

Perhaps you are feeling discouraged today. Don’t worry! God is fighting for you! No matter how many times discouragement shows up in your life, He said that He would never leave you. As you walk in faith and confidence that God is with you, tell your family, friends and coworkers because your story may encourage someone else today.

Please leave a comment below sharing how God has helped you when you were discouraged.

Acts 27:22-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship.
23 For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship,
24 And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you.
25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me;

Joshua 23:3
And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you

Deuteronomy 31:6 New International Version (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: December 2, 2013

The song writers Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster wrote, “Love is a
many splendored thing.”  Sadly, circumstances in life can cause us to
question whether we are loved, special, or even respected.  Sometimes,
we may feel unworthy of love because of our past mistakes or convinced
that we will never earn someones love because of abusive or
manipulative relationships.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul came to a marvelous understanding about
God’s love towards mankind (Ephesians 5:38, 39). Our Heavenly Father
wants us to know that nothing that we have done, are doing, or will do
can stand between Him and us. Nothing, period. He loves us, He accepts
us, and His love is unconditional.  That does not mean that He will
overlook disobedience or fail to discipline us if we sin, but God's
love never waivers despite our actions. The Bible says "love covers a
multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).

Today, you or someone you know may need to realize they are special
and loved by God. Please remember today that God loves you and there
is nothing that you can do about it.

Please comment below and
 share what the love of God means to you.

Romans 8:38, 39 New International Version (NIV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor
demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will
be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus
our Lord.

1 Peter 4:8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another,
for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the
offenses of others].

Ephesians 1:5, 6

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us
accepted in the beloved.

Hebrews 12:6 Common English Bible (CEB) 

6 because the Lord disciplines whoever he loves, and he punished every son or daughter whom he accepts.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: November 25, 2013


For many, 2013 has been a challenging year. Massive violence, terrorism and natural disasters seem to be at an all time high with the most recent death of thousands from Typhoon Haiyan. You may have felt like you survived your own personal typhoon or are living through one right now. Despite these challenges, this holiday helps us to pause and reflect on how good God has been to us. Things could have been much worse or we could have given up in the process but God has carried us and continues to carry us through. The late gospel artist, Walter Hawkins, wrote “…but as for me, all I can say is thank you Lord, for all you've done for me.”
Sadly, many are not thankful for their life.  They feel they should have had better breaks, more opportunities, and fewer challenges.  It is true that in comparison to others, one may feel shortchanged, but celebrated author, Wally Lamb, wrote, “I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.”

In the Bible, David knew a lot about thanksgiving.  He went from a being boy who was isolated with the sheep to an adored King of God’s people (1 Chronicles 11:3).  He experienced tragedy and triumph, sadness and satisfaction, defeat and daring feats, but he thanked God for all He had done for him.  He lived a life of thanksgiving.

This week let us think about all God has done for us. Reflect on the challenges that made us stronger, the unexpected blessings, the close calls that were nothing short of a miracle, and the promise of his everlasting presence.

Please comment below (Click "Comments"), and share what you are thankful for so that others can thank God with you.

Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.

Psalm 100:4 
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Ephesians 5:20 New International Version (NIV)
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: November 18, 2013


Last week I received good news from my physicians.  I am still cancer free after almost two years! Other than a few minor aches and pains, I am in very good health for a senior citizen. I subsequently contacted the Red Cross and I am happy to know I am once again free to donate blood. As a regular donor, it saddened me that I was no longer eligible to do something so important to me.

Freedom means different things to different people.  For Dr. Martin Luther King and the Freedom Riders of the sixties, it meant freedom to fully participate in American life.  For some, freedom means being free from poverty, abusive relationships, fear, lack or low self-esteem.  For others, freedom means being free to explore, speak and write what they choose or worship as they desire.

In the book of Acts, a mob of people attacked Paul and Silas and they ended up in prison (Acts 16:22-35).  In spite of their imprisonment, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God (Acts 16:25).

Although they were in dire straits after being beaten and then imprisoned, they seemed to behave as if they were free men. They did not allow their external circumstances to determine their relationship in Christ. In the midst of their praise, the chains fell off of them and their fellow prisoners.

What does freedom mean to you? How has focusing on God led to your freedom?  How might your praise help others to get free?

Please comment below about your freedom from or freedom to do something.  Others can receive their freedom from hearing from you!

Revelation 12:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of
their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink
from death

Acts 16:25, 26

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:
and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations
of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened,
and every one's bands were loosed.

John 8:36

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: November 11, 2013

Time flies!

I was startled to read that John Lennon, the leader of the Beatles, had died over thirty years ago.  We have many documentaries of President Kennedy who was assassinated fifty years ago.  Twelve years ago, planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  Death has a way of marking the passing of time.  It makes you think about all of the things that you intended to do, but just never got around to doing.  It helps us redirect our efforts on important instead of frivolous tasks.

In the Bible, David, the king of Israel, wanted the Lord to keep him aware of how transient his stay on earth is so that he would not waste his time with meaningless exercises. While he fought many wars (1 Chronicles 28:3) and was considered a highly effective leader of his time, he too was guilty of the distractions of present day and his short term desires (2 Samuel 11). Eventually, he recognized that our brief earthly existence requires us to focus on what is most important, which is our relationship with God.  Although the emergency of the day may take our time and attention, David reminded us to seek, spend time, and focus on the beauty and wonder of God.

While our time flies by, let us remember to keep our focus on the Lord!

Psalm 39:4 New International Version (NIV)
Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. 

Psalm 27:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 New International Version (NIV)
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pastor's Pondering's: November 4, 2013

Don’t despair!

Many years ago, my family and I were going through a perfect storm of financial, relationship and emotional challenges. We ran into locked doors, missed opportunities and unmet goals. Things that had worked in the past, were not working for us now and we felt like giving up.

In the midst of our troubles, my youngest brother came over to our house and began to pray for us. I don’t remember all of his prayer but what has remained was, “Don’t despair, Mr. Fair.” Soon after his prayer, God began to work miraculously in our situations. Blessings came one after another. Since then, whenever I run into problems, I first remember not to despair.

The Bible tells the story of King Saul, the leader of the Israelites, who fought many successful battles against his enemies because God was on his side. However, when Saul began to disobey God, the Israelites began to lose. Saul became frustrated and cried in despair (1 Samuel 28:3-22) because he felt God had abandoned him in these critical battles. Instead of seeking the Lord, he turned to forbidden help and brought disaster upon his nation, his family and himself. In contrast, the Bible also tells of King David who had the unfortunate situation of being attacked by his enemies and having his soldier’s wives and children taken into captivity. However, David spoke triumphantly and encouraged himself even though everything was going wrong around him. Without him lifting a finger, God delivered the captives.

We have a choice today. We can throw in the towel and give up or we can encourage ourselves in the Lord. We can despair or we can turn to prayer. Let us not despair, worry or fret but let us declare the triumphant word of the Lord over any challenges the day may bring!

1 Samuel 30:6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Psalm 27:13 New International Version (NIV)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: October 28, 2013

The Abundant Life!

I woke up early on last Saturday morning with every intention to run. However after looking at the weather report, it was a near freezing temperature, the wind was howling, and there was a significant chance of rain or snow. In addition, I was battling a head cold and I did not want to make the situation worse. My excuses for staying in bed went on and on and I decided not to run. I was not prepared for the elements that morning.

Without my asking, later that evening my youngest daughter dropped off proper winter running gear (and thanked me for reimbursing her!). I put on the thermal base layer, dry wic sweatshirt and running pants and faced the cold for an easy run. It was great! I was warm, cozy and prepared and I knew that I could now confidently run in the cold.

You may feel unprepared and reluctant to step out of your comfort zone. We can rest assured that our loving Father is always dropping by and taking care of us. Jesus said that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. With Jesus, we have everything that we need because He richly supplies all of our needs. Although we may have hundreds of excuses for not taking that leap of faith, we must remember that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and he has given us everything we need to be successful. It is glorious to know that He looks beyond our faults, failings, and shortcomings and still provides for us. Let us always thank God for supplying everything that we have needed, do need, or ever will need.

Let us walk in the Abundant Life today!

John 10:10
10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13
New King James Version (NKJV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: October 21, 2013

In my first Pastor’s Ponderings in August, I shared that I was eagerly preparing for a 13.1 mile half-marathon race this fall. On Sunday, I finally ran that race with two of my daughters. This was the longest race that I have ever run and while waiting for thestarting gun, I was happy, terrified, nervous, and somewhat ready. In spite of the cold, hills, and fatigue, we finished! It was fantastic!All of the preparation, pain and sacrifice were worth it when we crossed the finish line together while holding hands.
This race reminds us that we are all having difficulties and challenges trying to reach various goals. Some of us are running for our career, family, or just to get through the day. While we may feel surrounded by trouble, if we continue to run keeping our hands in God’s hands, we will cross the finish the line with Him victoriously. He carries us when we struggle, supports us when we waver, and strengthens us when we were weak.
One day we will cross our final earthly finish line and have our life reflected before us. Did we cast all of our cares upon Him or did we allow ourselves to be consumed by our challenges? Did we keep our hands in His hands or did we place our trust and hope in others?
We must remember that our final medal is our reunion with Christ and our daily struggles will be a distant memory. Just like Esther Kerr Rushthoi wrote in her famous song, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.” Today let us persevere with our hands in His hands knowing that all of these things that are so important for us today will seem so small when we
see Jesus.
Hold His hand and keep running for your greatest reward, Jesus Christ our Savior!

Hebrews 12:1, 2
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…

Titus 2:13
While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,

Psalm 55:22

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: October 14, 2013

The well known actor, Tom Hanks, recently shared on the Tonight Show a conversation with his doctor after he was notified of his new diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. “My doctor said, ‘Look, if you can weigh as much as you weighed in high school, you will essentially be completely healthy and not have type 2 diabetes'…And I said to her, 'Well, I’m gonna have type 2 diabetes.’” The crowd laughed along with him as many of us can relate to this story.

Have you ever stopped to think how many of us will speak things in our lives that we really do not want to happen? How many of us will say, “This is going to kill me”, or “this will be the death of me”. Some of us justify risky behaviors such as driving without seat belts, substance abuse, or getting that delicious third piece of cheese cake by saying, “Well, you have to die from something”.

The scripture says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. We have to speak life, speak that we are blessed, and speak that we are healthy. This does not mean that we should ignore our challenges and our current situations. However, we should declare God's faithfulness and the fact that he says he has plans to prosper us.

Let us daily speak God's promises in our lives. “I am blessed, I can do all things through Christ, I am created in his image, I am an overcomer, I am healthy, and I prosper in everything that I do."

Will you speak these words today?

Proverbs 18:21
New International Version (NIV)

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will
eat its fruit.

3 John 1:2
New International Version (NIV)

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may
go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: October 7, 2013

A young man lost his job and decided to shoot victims in the Washington Navy Yard. The victims’ crime was to merely be there. We recently heard about the violent killings in a mall in Kenya. The victims’ crime was to merely go shopping. We live in a world where the innocent are routinely killed or wounded.  Sadly we have become used to a continual drumbeat of people mercilessly hurting others.

Although merciless acts such as these attract high profile news coverage, our daily acts of denying mercy to others can go unnoticed. The driver that cuts us off who gets a prompt honk of the horn, the waiter who could not quite get our order right and does not get a tip that evening, or the boss with an unreasonable request who gets an assignment turned in that is not our best are acts where we have denied mercy to others.

The Bible says if we are merciful to others, we will be blessed. We may feel that we are justified in correcting someone who has wronged us, making someone pay a price, or teaching someone a lesson.   In those moments it is important to reflect on the greatest example of mercy in history, Christ's pardoning of our sins. He wants us to follow his example, and cast the injustices that we face over to Him.

Even in the moments where no one may be watching, let us exercise mercy, trust that God can handle it, and walk in God's blessing.

Romans 12:19
New International Version (NIV)

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Psalm 37:25, 26
Amplified Bible (AMP)

25 I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread
26 All day long they are merciful and deal graciously; they lend, and their offspring are blessed.

Matthew 5:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)

7 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!