Monday, November 30, 2015

Mighty God

We heard last week that we, as God's Kingdom people, have a wonderful counselor that is able to guide us through this world in a way that leads us home to God's place.  This week we will learn that we have a Mighty God that changes everything in a profound and wonderful ways.

God appeared to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-23) and led Joseph into viewing his life and situation differently.  He reminded Joseph that followers of Christ don't avoid issues ... they confront them.  Joseph faces his fears, his untrue expectations and his internal emotions and makes a decision that follows God into His plan.  God gives Joseph new possibilities and new purpose, founded in God's ultimate purpose and covenant.  God also changes Joseph's position from one wandering through life without a shepherd to a man who can truly say "The Lord is my Shepherd!"

I pray for these changes as we go through this Christmas season.  I pray you will face your problems and issues face on and allow God to lead you to a solution.  I pray that you will have open eyes to see the possibilities and purpose of God and the feet to follow God where He leads.  I pray that you will accept the position God offers you as part of a Church that Jesus sends out to offer hope, peace, grace, power, love and the true joy of Christmas.  I pray that you will, as Joseph did, see Jesus' arrival as a fulfilled promise of a perfect God.  Randy

Monday, November 23, 2015


OK ... this effort is a little rabbit trail from my usual blogs, but I wanted to make sure I thanked you for your generosity on this week when we give thanks to God for His provision.  Did you  know that when God gives and provides for his people, God often uses something very special as the delivery mechanism?  That very special thing is God's people planted in this fertile soil to grow and become blessings.

Most of you know that my guitar was stolen earlier this year and I have been using a loaner instrument from Bob and Melba Lisenby as my "go to" guitar for several months.  I am very appreciative of Bob and Melba for their sharing of their abundance so that I could offer my part of the music ministry at Abbeville UMC.  Two weeks ago Lee and I were able to go and find a new guitar that replaced the old one and all of you have given either prayer or resources so that this purchase could be made.  I am writing today to say thank you for being amazing and generous people,  I will be playing the new guitar in church on Sunday mornings, in the nursing home, on Wednesday night and at other times when God grants the chance to minister through music.  This gift is such a blessing to me and the best part is the relationship I share with you (the givers) and with others who are part of the music ministry at Abbeville UMC.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  May you have a joyful and God-filled Thanksgiving.  Randy

Monday, November 16, 2015


The holiday season is upon us.  It has come upon us quickly, but I still have had time to reflect on the wonderful people and events that God has sent in the past year.  One of my members has been posting a daily list of things to be thankful for and I felt that I should chime in on a few things before the Thanksgiving week.  Here is an incomplete list:

1.  I am thankful for the innovative, faithful and fruitful people from Abbeville that have blessed me in so many ways.  Servants who make Thursday Nights wonderful for Celebrate Recovery ... doers who thought of a Mount Up For Missions trail ride (and then they pull off this amazing event!) ... music people who share their voices/instruments/soul as they bless us in worship of a great God ... people who invite us to serve and push us into a better understanding of what life with Jesus means ... unseen people who do things quietly yet love all of us out loud ... friends who are there in the ups and downs of life, sometimes unseen but always in my heart.

2. I am thankful for those who have bravely battled debilitating issues like cancer and death of loved ones, still serving, giving and living life forward, knowing that God has good things out there for them and those they love.

3. I am thankful for the love of family ... Lee, Stephanie, Christopher and grandkids ... all part of God teaching us to do life in the midst of struggles and challenges.

4. I am thankful that though my father left this world this year he had a place to go ... a place a loving God had prepared for him and a place of perfection, healing and eternal goodness.  And I am grateful for God's care for my mother in the days that have followed Dad's death.

5. I am thankful that you, who are reading this, have given me the grace to sometimes share a good word, knowing you have to slog through a lot of rocks to find a precious stone of some value.

6. I am thankful for Christ, who enables me to do things that are difficult (sometimes impossible) because of His power and strength and provision.

I am thankful!  Randy

Monday, November 9, 2015

75% or 100%?

I have often wondered about the pervasive negativity associated with the Revelation.  While the book contains images of tribulation, destruction and end-times happenings, I tend toward the idea that this book is the sure hope of God's victory over all manifestations of evil.  It is the unveiling (though an often symbolic one) of Jesus as the way into the Kingdom God has prepared for His people.  Yet, as we see every day in news reports, newspapers and conversations, the 75% of our rhetoric is about the bad things going on around us.  Dickens said "It was the best of times and the worst of times" but we all think our times are the very worst ever.  So it is natural that Chapter 6 of the Revelation starts with the opening of 4 seals, 3 of which (75%) are not good.

There is a white rider released ... good and redemptive in John's narrative view of the world.  Jesus is not overcome by the rebellious world ... He is victorious.  Then there are three riders that represent the destructive nature of the rebellious order.  Red is for Satan who is permitted to hold a sword for a time to remove peace from those who are part of the fallen/rebellious order, Black is for famine that represents the fallenness of the economy of the rebellious order and Green is for Death that represents the fallenness of humanity (a fallenness that can only be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb).  In each case the tribulations are only permitted by the authority of the Lamb who beacons them forth.  This passage is certainly (if taken by itself) scary and negative.

But let's keep our focus.  We live in a world, society and sometimes even church-related hype that points to the 75% bad.  But maybe we should rely on the Jesus who moved Paul to write "in al these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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 (Romans 8:37-39)."  The question is ... does God's love for us (100% of the time) sustain us through 100% of the things Revelation Chapter 6 speaks about and does God's provision trump evil's destructive last gasp before God puts an end to it forever?  For me I claim the blood of the Lamb that opens the scrolls, no matter what the scrolls unleash.  Maybe the point of this chapter is to encourage us to live in God's peace, God's economy and God's redemption. Randy

Monday, November 2, 2015

Being a Blessing

The three words above describe a God-stated, Covenant-driven purpose for God's people.  Genesis 12 describes God's view of what the children of Abraham ought to become ... "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:3)."  That was God's plan for the Jews.  That was God's plan for Jesus.  That is God's plan for the Church (that's you and me).  The next three words are how Abraham responded ... "so Abraham went."

Maybe I am a master of oversimplification, but I believe that this calling, purpose and passage are pretty simple.  God says "you will be a blessing (His idea)" and Abraham goes off to do what God has asked.  I wonder why we get confused about that?  Is it that we must construct doctrine that says, "You gotta pray this prayer," ... "You gotta believe these things that people have made foundational (though God hasn't)," ... "You must be conservative or liberal," ... "You must be part of this megachurch," ... and on and on.  All of this makes our faith, our doctrine, our "foundation" all about us.  What about God?  God says, "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."  Abraham says, "Yes" and he went off to do what God had said.

I want to make a suggestion to you about your day today.  Ask yourself ... "How can I be a blessing to the people God places in my path?"  When you think of an answer to that, go do it.  Pretty simple?  Yep!  Randy