Friday, April 17, 2015

Google Maps and Traffic Reports

Because I travel back and forth to Queens from New Jersey at least five times per week, I have become very dependent on two tools to help me find the best and quickest route there and back: Google maps and the live radio traffic reports.  With Google maps I can turn on the traffic function and look for the colors on the main roadways.  Green means the traffic is flowing well, yellow that it is a bit slow, red that it is nearly stopped.  Oh, red with a black line in it means, don’t even try to go that way!  By looking at the map, I can determine which bridge I should take, what roads to travel (or not travel), and approximately how long my commute will be. 

Of course, there’s still nothing like the old-fashioned live radio traffic report—especially when it comes from the chopper!  Not only can the reporter tell you where the slow downs are, but also why they are occurring and any prognosis or timing issues.  So as I am getting dressed in the morning, it’s my habit to listen for the traffic reports as I begin to strategize the best route to take that day. And, when I get into my car I look at the time knowing that 880 am radio will have its report on the “8’s” and 1010 am radio will have its report on the “1’s.”  It’s all in an effort to spend the least amount of time sitting in traffic. 

As we journey through life, we’d often like to know the best route(s) to take.  We are constantly faced with options regarding the way we should go or live. Lots of choices—“roadways”—are before us.  Sometimes one is as good as the other. At other times, one may lead to trouble while the other may lead to that which is good.  Unfortunately, we can’t always tell at the outset.  That is when we could us some “tools” to help us along our way. 

The good news is, God has given us some “tools” to lead us to the best route(s) for our lives.  One tool is his word, the Bible.  The Psalmist wrote, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119:105 – NIV)  Like a Google map, the Bible lays out for us clearly what we can expect in our world and how it is we should respond and live. The second is the Holy Spirit, which in essence is God himself.  Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13 – NIV)  Like the live traffic reporter, the Holy Spirit warns us and updates us and gives us counsel on a very personal level—if only we will listen.   As we read God’s word and depend upon the Holy Spirit, we don’t need to guess which way to go. Rather, God is able to lead us into the route that is best for our life.

I’m thankful today for the “tools” God has given us to direct us, lead us, and guide us.

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14 – NIV) 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, April 3, 2015

Signs of Springtime!

After a long, cold winter, which seemed as if it would never give up its grip on us, we have finally begun to see some signs of springtime.  Crocuses have begun to push up through the earth.  Robins have reappeared. The days have lengthened. And, although they have not been many, we’ve had at least a few days that have reached into the 60’s.  Thankfully, it appears that the winter of 2014-2015 is being overtaken by spring. 

I think most of us would agree that, it can feel as if our world has been trapped in what often feels like the dark and cold of winter.  C.S. Lewis likens our world to a place where it is “…always winter but never Christmas.” (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)  What a dreadful thought!  As we continue to hear one bad news story after another; as we face our own personal difficulties that seem to pile up one on top of another, we can begin to feel as if there will never be a springtime. We are longing for and looking for any sign of life—something that will breed hope and tell us that we will not be trapped forever in pain and sadness, darkness and cold. 

That’s what the resurrection of Jesus, that which we celebrate this weekend, is all about!  After his terrible and dreadful death--one which seemed to indicate that “winter” was here to stay—signs of life began to appear.  The stone was rolled away.  The tomb was empty. Angels came with a message.  Then, Jesus appeared!  Jesus was alive!  Life had returned!  Spring was breaking into the winter!  Suddenly, life didn’t seem so cold, dark, and hopeless after all. 

The result is, today you and I can live with hope.  Although our world and our lives can often feel like the dark and cold of winter, life has begun to break through.  We can see the signs of springtime. The resurrection of Jesus tells us that, life is greater than death!  Jesus’ resurrection proclaims that our world will not always be as it is; our lives will not always be as they are!  Jesus is alive!  Springtime has begun to overtake the winter! 

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-56 – NIV) 

Let’s rejoice!  Jesus’ resurrection is the ultimate sign that springtime is on its way!

Have a great day and a blessed Resurrection Sunday! 

Pastor Tim Harris