Friday, August 10, 2018

Moving Day!

Right now I’m down in Arlington, Virginia to help our son Nathaniel move into his new apartment as he prepares to begin his grad school career.  Of course, it’s a lot of work—as anyone who has ever moved knows.  Yesterday, we picked up a nine-foot cargo van. I thought it would be big enough for the amount of stuff we had to transport. (We also had my SUV and Nathaniel’s car coming down.) Well, the cargo van was barely big enough.  Somehow the amount of furniture and boxes and bags grew overnight, or even as we were packing.  I found myself putting together a puzzle as I tried to make everything fit, using every corner and inch of the van and our other vehicles.  Miraculously, we got it all in! 

Then last night we took the drive down here to Arlington. This morning he will get his keys to the apartment.  Then we will spend much of the day moving that very same furniture and those same boxes and bags into the apartment.  It will be a busy day. By the end of it, we will be quite tired. But, by tonight Nathaniel will be moved in and able to stay in his new home.  After much preparation, today is his moving day!

Someday there is a very special moving day that we will all face.  All of God’s children are all going to make a move to a new home, a home called “heaven.” Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:2-3 – NIV)  Did you catch that? Jesus is preparing a room for each of God’s children. And, I tend to think he is working hard to make sure everything is properly prepared.  He wants each room to be just right. And, when it is, he calls us home!  

But did you know that, we also have to do our part in the preparation? We also must prepare for our moving day. How? The Bible speaks to us about living a life of faith, living a life of love, and living our lives filled with hope as we persevere through the difficulties and challenges of this life.  The writer to the Hebrews put it this way, “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:22-24 – NIV) 

Moving day is coming!  Let’s live our lives preparing for that day, even as Jesus is doing his part to get our new home ready for us!

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Suddenly An Empty Nest!

The other day I was doing some trimming of the bushes in our front yard.  I had in mind I would have to skip one of the bushes that I knew held a robin’s nest and in it three baby birds. I had seen them in the nest just the evening before and didn’t want to frighten them.   Out of curiosity, however, I peaked in to check on the little birds, which I knew had been rapidly growing. To my surprise, they were all gone.  After just a few weeks, the nest was empty!  It had happened so quickly, and to me so suddenly!  (Well, I could now trim the bush!)   

The empty nest
Today Kim and I are celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary.  Part of the joy of our marriage and home has been raising our kids.  But, over the past few years, Kim and I have begun to experience the “empty nest syndrome” within our own lives as our children began to first go off to college, have since graduated college and begun to set out on their own life journeys.  One by one they have begun to leave the nest we call home. In fact, this coming week our second child/son, Nathaniel, who has been home with us for the past couple of years, will be leaving us, most likely for good. He will be moving to the Washington D.C. area to begin his doctoral studies.  With his moving we know once and for all, our nest will be empty.  

Although Kim and I have known all along that one day we would see our children grow and venture out on their own (and it’s what we know is best for them), it all seemed to happen so quickly and so suddenly.  The years have gone by faster than we ever imagined they would.  It seems like it was just yesterday that we were chasing three little ones around the house, putting them to bed, or packing them into the minivan to go on vacation.  At times it could all seem so chaotic as we worked to take care of three kids all born within four years!  Yet, here we are now, facing an empty nest. 

The Psalmist wrote, Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”  (Psalm 127:3-4 – NIV)  I’m reminded that the children we raise are not meant to stay in the nest. They are arrows that are meant to soar into the future that God has planned for them. It is our job as parents, grandparents, and as a church community, to point them in the right direction, empower them to live the lives God has called them to live, and then release them into the future he has for them.

I know it can feel as if it all happens so quickly and so suddenly, but we know it is the way God has planned it. And, we know it is what is best for them.  So, I want to encourage us today as parents, grandparents, and a church community to not be afraid of the “empty nest,” nor to take for granted the time we have to invest into the children who have been entrusted into our care.  After all, our times and theirs are in God’s hands! (Psalm 31:15)

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Dangerous Mission!

It seems like the whole world was captivated by the plight of the twelve boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in that cave in Thailand.  I know I was. It was as if we were all sitting on pins and needles, watching a drama unfold that one would have only expected from a fictional movie.  Unfortunately, it was real. 

Thankfully, with the help of an incredibly brave group of divers and all of the rescue workers on hand, all twelve boys and their coach made it out alive and are currently recuperating and doing well.  There was one diver, however, Saman Gunan, who did not make it out alive.  I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it appears that during his mission to deliver oxygen tanks into the cave for the boys and the other divers, he lost consciousness after not having enough oxygen for himself. 

The most incredible part of it all is that, Saman did not have to be there. He was a former Thai Navy diver who came of his own accord, volunteering to be part of the rescue mission.  He knew the risks were high, yet he willingly offered himself for the sake of those whose lives were in such great danger.  I don’t know much about Saman; I don’t know what kind of faith he had (most likely he was a Buddhist—I’m not sure).  But, I do know that what he did for the sake of those boys and their coach was very much reflective of the heart of God. He modeled the very way Jesus lived his life and taught us to live ours. 

Saman Gunan entering the cave to rescue the boys!
Jesus said of himself, For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 – NIV) Elsewhere he said, “…whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28 – NIV) Jesus came on a very dangerous mission, a mission that eventually cost him his life.  Because he did, you and I can know the joy of being rescued from our sins and from an eternity of separation from God. We were once lost in our sin, but because Jesus laid down his life, we have been found!

Let’s ask God to give us his heart for the lost people of our world.  And, let’s live our lives like Jesus did—even a bit like Saman Gunan did—always looking for ways to seek, to serve, and to save those who are lost. 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris