Monday, January 30, 2017

Something's Happening

There's an old Buffalo Springfield song called "For What It's Worth."  The song has two lines pertinent to this blog today.  The first is "something's happening here ... what it is ain't exactly clear."  The 12 disciples had been walking alongside Jesus for months.  Jesus had taught and healed many people, including those with leprosy and demon-possession.  But in Matthew 8 Jesus calms a storm as He and the disciples are traveling across a lake in a boat.  The disciples say, "Who is this man?" ... "Even the winds and the waves obey Him!" (Matthew 8:27).  Truly something amazing is happening.

I have been both encouraged and uplifted with the excitement of this particular new year.  We are talking about ministry.  We are sharing about hopes and dreams.  We are asking questions, I hope always in a positive light.  We are present in worship as highlighted by very good worship attendance in January.  We are meeting about our 2020 Vision through which we will collectively prioritize, plan, implement and evaluate new and existing ministries.  Our Strategic Planning Team is getting ready for our next Koinonia [February 26th, 10am] and many other things that have been "on the plate" for awhile.  We all seem excited about the God who told us He does new things and he brings "streams of water in the desert."  Something's truly happening here!

The other line from the song is one about being observant, aware and participatory in the "what's happening."  The song says ... "it's time we stop, children, what's that sound. Everybody look what's going down."  Yes ... there are good things happening.  Yes, God is calling us to be "be ye doers of the Word, not just hearers!" (James 1:22).  But I think God is also reminding us that actions of doing the Word include actions that grow us everyday, becoming more able to hear and follow His Word.

I hope we are all asking the question, "Who is this man?" because God wants to teach us the answer to that question.  I hope we are all passionate about knowing that God is doing great things, even when we think things are the most dire.  I hope we all realize Jesus' call (John 10) to be those sheep (followers) who are closely related to the Good Shepherd and who know His voice.  We know that voice by seeking ... learning ... studying God's Word ... participating in activities (like your great attendance at worship!) and Bible Study opportunities ... being ready to become part of a church where the workers are not few because the Lord of the harvest (Jesus) has sent many workers into the fields.  I hope you will give Jesus the opportunity to add your name to that list of workers and seekers!  

I pray the "something" that is happening is Jesus! Randy

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Prayer

We have heard (often) the words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 that say "If my people who belong to me humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear (them) from heaven and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  That passage is several sermons worth of God's amazing and true promises.  It is as relevant and true today as it was when 2 Chronicles was written.  So I ask you, "Do we need God's healing?" I hope you can perceive that the answer to that question is obvious!

So ... how do we follow God's instruction here (I hope another good question)?  I have a few suggestions.

1. Humility - WOW, is this a scarce commodity in both our political and religious leadership.  It seems that everyone believes THEY are right.  My denomination ... my party ... my special interest group ... my brand of individual faith ... are all right.  Logic demands that we step back and understand that "all being right" cannot possibly be true.  And God says when we are not humble it causes God to turn a deaf ear to our prayers.  We would all be well served to do a Biblical search of what God considers the "no-brainers" of the faith.  These include things like praying, humility as a virtue, tithing, fasting, sacrifice, and the overwhelming power of God over history.
2. Prayer - It deserves a double mention but I am not talking about our wish list for God to do our bidding.  I am talking about less outgoing words and more listening.  I am talking about the kind of prayer where we expect God to use us a a solution to the issues we list.  I am talking about God-sized and Jesus-centered prayer.
3. Seeking - Most people I meet want a God that gives them what they think they need.  In the Old Testament when one seeks the face of another it is an action of respect, meekness and expectation of another's advice or wisdom.  It is coming to that other person believing that the other has something worthy, valuable and worthy of the "seeking" journey.

And that is only half the passage!

If you have looked around the past week you will see a nation that is filled with (and I ask your forgiveness for this ahead of time) spoiled little brats.  The brats are from every political, philosophical and religious perspective.  And they all have one thing in common ... no foundation.  They seek the face of pundits, ideological men/women and self.  God is clear ... if we seek outside of His wisdom, we seek in vain and we will find it impossible to turn from or even see our sinful ways.

Kari Jobe writes a prayer in a song that says ... "Pour out Your presence, speak thru Your word, we pray in every nation, Christ be known, our hope and salvation, Christ alone!"  In Jesus' name ... Amen!

Monday, January 16, 2017


I have to admit ... my past several weeks have been a whirlwind of duties, work, some playtime, some late evenings and a lot of time driving from one place to another.  My time has been much more chaotic than I desire and I feel there are things I have forgotten to do.  I know there are things left undone and I don't like that at all.

I am reminded of two verses as I stop and reflect on the past two weeks.  One is Hosea's warning about living life on the edge.  He writes ... "They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind."  He reminds Israel (the Northern Kingdom) that their plotting with foreign powers, their fast living, their false prosperity and their abandonment of God's plan will end badly.  God's order (plan) has been replaced by the chaotic pursuit of their schemes. God's wisdom has been replaced by high living, self-focused and short-sighted pleasures and what he calls "building wealth on the backs of the poor."  Israel is in chaos.

For Israel, and for Randy, it is important to go back to the basics and remember the God that ordered the sun, moon and stars.  Isaiah says God has it all under control, calling each star (there are one billion trillion in the observable universe) by its true and proper name.  That God saw chaos (Genesis 1) ... a world that was formless and void ... and methodically spoke order into that prehistoric mess.  Whatever happened, God made it happen, and it was good!

For a God that majestic and that big, my little messes don't seem like much.  For my day I can approach it asking God to order my steps.  For tomorrow, I can remember that God is already there, going ahead to provide the opportunities for good things.  Randy

Monday, January 2, 2017


You have heard the expression, "hitting the ground running."  I like that expression because I am a "git er done" kind of person.  I love our current Strategic Planning Team which has very much been a tactical/implementation team where we have applied the PIE concept (planning, implementation, evaluation [plus I like pie]).  But we also see a need to look out a little further.  Over the next few weeks all the folks that are under the Abbeville United Methodist umbrella (that includes all of you) will be asked some questions.  They will relate to how you see AUMC now ... how you would change what is happening ... how you see the future of AUMC.  I am hoping I can count on all of you to be a part of this.  Proverbs 29:18 says, "Without vision the people perish."  I want AUMC to be a viable, fruitful and life-changing part of the Abbeville area for many years to come, so I am asking (and I think God agrees) each of you to become an active part of going forward.  Thanks for making 2016 a good year but we can make the years to come great years if we pool the God-led vision of our leadership and our people.  I am excited about where we are going because (as the African hymn says) "We are marching in the light of God."  With God all things are possible ... Let's run with Christ! Randy