Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Eggs, Matzos, and Macaroons

If you come into our home this time of year, you will find signs of the two holidays that we celebrate: Easter and Passover. There are the little ceramic bunnies and decorative Easter eggs sitting on the dining room buffet.  And, there are boxes of matzos and cans of macaroons on the table on the other side of the room.  For some it might be a bit confusing. For us, it is normal.  (For those who don’t know, I’m Jewish on my mother’s side!)

Last night our family had our annual Passover Seder. Through it, we remember what God did for us as his people when he delivered us from slavery in Egypt.  And as believers in Jesus, we can’t help but also recognize the many parts of the Seder that point us to Jesus and cause us to remember who he is and how he has delivered us from slavery to sin.  The story of the Passover is very much tied to the story of Easter for both are stories of God’s great love, his incredible intervention, and the new life and freedom he brings to his people.  And at the center of each of them is a lamb.   

Tonight we will remember the death of our Passover Lamb, Jesus, through our Good Friday service. And, on Sunday we will celebrate his resurrection.  This weekend is dedicated to recognizing both the price that was paid for our sin and the incredible gift of life that has now been offered to us. It’s a weekend that is meant to cause us to reflect, repent, and eventually rejoice in all that God has done for us through the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. 

Through both events, Passover and Easter, God was making a way for us to be set free and bringing us into a saving relationship with him.  Both holidays can be summed up in the verses of scripture that are central to the Exodus story: “…I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves…I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…I will take you as my own people and I will be your God.” (Exodus 6:6, 7 – NIV) That is what God was doing through the Passover for the Hebrew people. And that is what God has done for all people through the giving of his Son. 

In the end, it’s not so odd to have Easter eggs, matzos, and macaroons in one home.  They all help us remember that there is a God in heaven who loves us and who has made a way for us to live our lives as his people. 

So, paint an Easter egg, have a matzo, and have a wonderful Easter weekend! 

Pastor Tim Harris

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Haircut! (Or, Where Did the Time Go?)

This afternoon I finally went for my monthly haircut.  I say “finally” because my wife, Kim, thinks that I go for a haircut every other day.  I know she’s going to say, “What, again?  You just got a haircut!”  The truth is, it has actually been more than a month since my last haircut…but, whose counting? Oh, Kim is! To her it seems like my last haircut was just last week, while to me it feels like it was a year ago. Obviously, the truth is somewhere in-between.    

Time can be a very confusing thing. Those things that seemed to have happened just yesterday may have actually taken place twenty years ago. On the other hand, what seems to have taken place so long ago may have only been a few days ago. My nearby yesterdays can seem like distant memories while the distant past can seem so nearby. Somehow, for some reason, our memories become very confused when it comes to time.

In reality, our human perspective on time is very poor.  Not only do we lose track of time when it comes to how we perceive time that has passed, but we also get mixed up when it comes to that which is to come. When we are looking forward to something with excitement and expectation, time seems to move so slowly.  When we are dreading that which is to come, time moves so much more quickly.  Ah, the games that are minds play with time!

The Bible says, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8 – NIV). The Apostle Peter wrote those words to those who thought that God had lost track of time.  They had begun to doubt God because they were thinking about time from a human perspective.  But, Peter reminds his readers that God stands above time and therefore is not affected by it.  For him days, years, centuries and even eons are one and the same. Thus, even when we don’t understand his timing, by faith we believe he is still at work according to his divine understanding of time. 

Let’s not become impatient with God or doubt his promises because of our human perspective on time. Rather, let’s trust that God is at work and that he will fulfill every promise he has ever made…all in his good time.

Well, time to go for another haircut! 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Dying Battery

The past few weeks I’ve begun to have trouble with my Blackberry. It’s not that the phone doesn’t work properly. Rather, the battery keeps on dying in the middle of the day.  Whereas, previously I had to charge the phone once per day, now I need to charge it three to four times per day.  I have found it best to keep a charger with me at all times, never knowing when the battery will begin to die.  Hopefully the solution is simply a new battery.

It is amazing how in a relatively short time, we are all dealing with gadgets that need to be constantly charged (or is it recharged?).  At any given time, the power strip in our bedroom can have a phone or two, an ipod and/or ipad, and possibly a laptop.  My car has a phone charger, a GPS charger, and its own ipod charger.  Something seems to always be plugged in getting its battery charged.  Why? Because, batteries die.  Over time and with use, batteries just naturally lose their energy and power.

I’ve had plenty of times in my life when I’ve felt like I could use a new charge; times when it has felt as if my energy levels have dropped to near zero; when my enthusiasm and passion have waned. Worst of all, have been those times when it has felt as if my spiritual power has dropped to a new low.  I know you’ve experienced the same.  We all have those times when we need for a power source from outside of ourselves; times when we need the batteries of our lives recharged!

Jesus said, “But, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you….”  (Acts 1:8 – NIV)  The Bible speaks about the believer, “…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that (we) may have great endurance and patience….”  (Colossians 1:11 – NIV) And, the Apostle Paul prayed for the believers in this way:  “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being….”  (Ephesians 3:16 – NIV) 

Thankfully, God doesn’t get angry with us when we begin to feel like a dying battery. Rather, he invites us to come to him with our need and receive an outpouring of his life as we open ourselves to the ministry of his Holy Spirit.  He invites us to plug ourselves into him and have the batteries of our lives recharged with his divine power.  He calls us to come to him and be strengthened by the very same power that raised Christ from the dead! (Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:19)

Do you feel like a dying battery?  Let God recharge your life today with his divine power! 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Good Name (or Apple Picking in NYC!)

A couple of weeks ago I heard on the radio that there continues to be a rash of robberies taking place in New York City, all targeted at Apple products (e.g. iphones, ipads, ipods).  In fact, it has gotten so bad that the NYC police department supposedly has a special task force set up to take care of the problem, complete with a special communications line to Apple.  And, they’ve come up with a special term for this kind of thievery.  They call it, “Apple Picking!”  So, now people are apple picking right in the heart of NYC! 

What amazes me is how a particular product can become so popular that it actually becomes a target for thieves.  This has happened not only with Apple products, but it is said that there are particular brands and types of cars, headphones, and jackets and other articles of clothing that have a higher rate of being stolen than other similar items. These products become valuable not only because of their function, but because of the name that they carry.  Somehow the name brand printed on the product speaks of value, worth, and even status.

The Bible says,  “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”  (Proverbs 22:1 – NIV)  We are reminded that, the name we carry either adds or detracts value to who we are.  When we live in such as way that we bring blessing into the lives of the people around us, we create a reputation that goes before us, a reputation that adds value to our name. When we live in such a way so as to hurt and deceive others, we diminish the value of our name. People are either attracted to us or not, often based on the reputation that goes along with our name. 

That’s why the book of Proverbs gives this instruction to those who want to have a good name: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” (Proverbs 3:3-4 – NIV)

Let’s live our lives in such a way that our names are more valuable than any product on the market. May your life and mine be examples of what it means to live with a good name.  (And hold onto that iphone!) 

Have a great day! 

Pastor Tim Harris