Friday, July 29, 2011

A Change of Address


Having moved recently, we as a family have had to get used to both saying and writing a new address. When asked in a store for her address, my daughter Joanna had to think twice before giving it. Just yesterday, as I was filling out some forms, three times I began to write down our old one.  Not only that, but since we are living fairly close to our former address, multiple times, as Kim and I have been driving home, we’ve started to turn down the street where we used to live. Even after close to a month, we are all still getting used to the fact that we have had a change of address.

The Bible shows us that one day, we who are God’s people will all have a change of address. We will no longer live as part of this world, but in a new place—a world designed for us by God. Jesus said, “In my Father's house are many rooms (i.e. dwelling places)... I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2-3-NIV) By his words, Jesus gives to us the assurance that one day we will move as a family—God’s family—to our Father’s house. We will have a change of address!

The book of Revelation tells us that one day we will live in a place where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…." (Revelation 21:4 –NIV).  No longer will we live in a world filled with injustice and pain, conflict and sorrow, and all the other difficulties of a world that has fallen away from God. Instead, we will live where God is at the center of all things. We will live in a place that is filled with light and life! We will have a change of address!

I want to remind you that, what you may be experiencing in your life today—the pain, the difficulties, the conflicts, and disappointments—are not the end of the story. This is not your final address. The Bible promises you, and all who are followers of Jesus, a new life in a new world. As part of God’s family, one day you will experience a change of address!

“Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18-NIV) 

Have a great day!

-Pastor Tim Harris


Friday, July 22, 2011

Relief From the Heat

Sizzling.  Steamy.  Scorching. These are just a few of the adjectives to describe the weather we’re facing here in the Northeast (as well as across much of the country).  To say that it’s hot outside is probably an understatement. Last night after the sun went down, it still felt uncomfortably hot out—more like Florida or Louisiana than New Jersey.  When driving along this morning, the air blowing through the open window was like a blast of hot air coming out of a clothes dryer.

Of course this kind of heat means running the air conditioning, going to the pool, looking for cool places to hang out (that is “cool” as in cold), and finding as much shade as possible. Most people, like me, are only going outside if they have to. And when they do, they are moving very, very slowly. Everyone is in need of some relief from the heat.

The prophet Isaiah wrote long ago, “O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name…You have been …a shade from the heat.” (Isaiah 25:1, 4—NIV ) As the prophet saw what was happening in his world—all the difficulty, pain, oppression, etc.—it felt as if life was oppressively hot! Life had too often become quite unbearable. He like most others, found himself in need of relief. Where did he find it? In God. God became his “shade from the heat.”

God wants to be the same for us. He understands that at times life can become unbearable. He knows that the situations and circumstances of the world in which we live can feel like sizzling, steamy, scorching heat. So, he offers himself to us as our “shade.” God offers to give us relief, if we will put our trust in him.

Do you need some relief from the heat? Turn to God. Trust him with your life. He has promised to be your “shade from the heat.”

Have a great day and stay cool!

-Pastor Tim Harris


Friday, July 15, 2011

Looking From Above

I recently moved into the office at the church where I am now pastoring in Queens, NY. The office is five stories up (although it’s on the 4th floor). And, although it’s not the highest I’ve ever been in a building, it is the first time I’ve ever worked in an office that is not at ground level. Thus, from my window I have a different kind of view. Instead of looking straight out the window at my surroundings, I am now looking down on them.

Of course, some of you may be used to working a few stories up or even higher. Some of you might even work in a high rise building or skyscraper. And, I’m sure that most of us have been up the Empire State Building or the former World Trade Center buildings or other buildings like them. We all know that, the higher up one is, the smaller the people, cars, and buildings below appear. When looking from above, one can’t help but have a different perspective on their surroundings.  Those things that seem so large from the ground, appear so much smaller from above.

In the same way, when we look at life from ground level, many things can seem intimidating and become so frustrating. That’s why the writer of Ecclesiastes, when writing from ground level wrote, “Meaningless! Meaningless…What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3 – NIV) But, when writing from a higher perspective—what  I like to call a “God’s-eye” view of life—he wrote, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-NIV). What a different point of view!

I want to encourage us to see life from God’s perspective.  When we do, many of the same things that seem to loom so large become small. The difficulties of life that once appeared so big become but mere pieces of thread in the tapestry that God is weaving. When we view life from a higher perspective, what once appeared meaningless and frustrating, now becomes part of God’s plan of beauty!

Ask God to help you see your life from his perspective, for when you’re looking from above you’ll see that truly God is making “all things beautiful in its time!”

Have a great day!

-Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unpacking


This week my family and I moved to a rental home and had all of our “worldly goods” delivered by the moving company that had held it all for us in storage for the past four months. Before we knew it, we had a house filled with boxes and furniture. Although we did our best to tell the movers where to place everything, in the end, it felt as if the whole house was in complete disarray. All we could do was begin opening boxes and try to put things away piece by piece.

The only fun part of the whole ordeal was the fact that, because we hadn’t seen so much of our stuff for four months, as we unpacked the boxes each of us would react with expressions like, “Oh I remember this!” or “I’m so glad to have my _____ back!” or “Why did we keep this?” Just about each box held somewhat of a little surprise.

I find that every time I go to God’s Word, the Bible, it is like unpacking a box filled with all kinds of good stuff (i.e. not the stuff that causes you to say, “Why did I keep this?”). And, often it is filled with all kinds of surprises – or at least things that I have forgotten were there! As I read God’s Word it is often like discovering something that has been mine all along, but which has been packed away.

The Psalmist wrote, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103 – NIV). The Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight….” (Jeremiah 15:16-NIV) Finally, the Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
(2 Timothy 3:16-17-NIV)
  
I want to encourage you today to read God’s Word daily. He wants to speak into your life through it. God’s Word is filled with so much good stuff; if only we will take the time to unpack it!

Have a great day!

-Pastor Tim Harris