Friday, September 25, 2015

What's On Your Mind?

It’s not unusual for me to have multiple things on my mind at any particular moment.  I tend to be able to think about a few things at once. But, lately it’s been a bit extreme.  My mind has been going in a million different directions as I have been getting adjusted to our new church, preparing for our move, working on the purchase of a home, trying to keep up with what’s going on with my children, keeping in my mind my mom and the care she needs, etc., etc.  To say the least, I have had a lot on my mind lately. 

I’m sure we all have a lot to think about.  To me, it’s amazing how many thoughts can go through our minds in a day; how many things we can think about at nearly the same time.  And, it’s not only the particulars of our lives that we have on our minds but as well the thoughts that pass through our minds as we listen to the news, watch television, listen to a friend tell us what is going on in their life, hear a sermon or sit in a classroom.  Our minds are quite incredible in that they are able to process so much information in a very short period of time. 

At the same time, all of those thoughts and all of that information can sometimes cause stress, anxiety, fear, and a lack of direction.  With so many thoughts going through our minds at once, we sometimes don’t know what we ought to concentrate on, how to prioritize our lives, or even what to do next. We can end up feeling pulled in a million directions; being incredibly busy yet, at the end of the day feeling like we have accomplished very little; feeling quite overwhelmed by all the stuff that is on our minds. 

This past week, however, as I read my Bible I was reminded of a very simple principle to help me deal with all the stuff that’s on my mind.  The writer of Hebrews wrote to the believers, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”  (Hebrews 3:1 – NIV; emphasis mine)  As I read that verse, I was reminded of the importance of disciplining my mind throughout the day to think about Jesus—to always keep him in mind.  After all, Jesus is the One who is able to lead me and guide me, help me make good decisions, and free me from worry, anxiety, and fear. 

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3 – NIV)

Let me ask you, what’s on your mind? 

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Day Like No Other

The day began like any other. The sky was a bright blue. We had eaten breakfast. I had just driven my nephew to pre-school. I was getting into my routine for the day. Everything seemed so normal. But then it happened. The news came over our radios and televisions. Quickly our beautiful normal day became a day of confusion, terror, chaos, fear, death. It became a day like no other. 

I remember quickly driving home to my wife; I was so glad to see her.  Later that day I was overjoyed to hug my kids—hugging them in a way I had never hugged them before. After having the phones go down for a period of time, it was a relief to be able to talk to my parents and grandmother on the phone. Not everyone was so fortunate to be able to see their spouse, hug their child, or talk to their parent.   It was a day like no other. 

We all have our memories of what we now simply call 9-11.  It was a day that changed our perception of our world. It was a day that changed the way we live our lives. It was a day that, for many of us, has left a penetrating mark on our minds.  We would all agree it was a day like no other. 

Here we are so many years later.  Life has gone back to what we might call the “new normal.”  We live our lives day to day, going through our routines of home, work, school, etc.  Yet, in the back of our minds there is a sense that life is not the same as it once was—at least not for those of us who are old enough to feel that way. Those who were born into our post-9-11 world may not realize it, but that one day changed so much about us and how we live.  Yes, it was a day like no other.

On the other hand, I have had to remind myself, there is one thing that has not changed; one thing that, that day could not change; there is one thing that no event in this world can ever change. Nothing in this life can ever change the love of God for us and for the people of our world.  God’s love could not be extinguished by terror. God’s love could not be destroyed by hate. Nor, can it ever be. 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 – NIV) 

As we recall that day that was like no other, I pray that we will as well rest in the fact that, no matter what may happen in our world, the love of God always remains the same.

Have a great day! 

Pastor Tim Harris

The Love of God by Fredrick M. Lehman

Verse 1:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Verse 2:
When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

Friday, September 4, 2015

In Need of Rain

Last night I received an automated call from our local water company asking us to restrict our water usage. As per the message, this past August was one of the driest on record.  Currently, the local reservoirs are at 50% capacity. And while the temperatures remain in the nineties, there is little to no rain in the forecast.

Throughout much of the summer most of us, including myself, have been ecstatic that we have had so many beautiful days to enjoy our outdoor summer activities.  It’s been a great summer to go to the beach or lake. Few barbeques have been cancelled due to bad weather.  Yet, we are now paying the price for all the “beautiful weather.”  Just a brief look at the lawns that are turning brown and trees that are losing their leaves prematurely make it obvious that we are truly in need of rain. 

This morning I read these words from Psalm 143 and they seemed so appropriate to our current situation: “I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like parched land.” (Psalm 143:6 – NIV) In Psalm 63, the Psalmist wrote, O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1 – NIV)  The Psalmist felt an incredible thirst for the rain of God’s presence within his life. 

It is true our world is in many ways a “parched land.”  This can be a very difficult place in which to live.  It often leaves us with a sense of thirst and the need for relief. But, what will bring that relief? What will quench that thirst? I would submit to us that the Psalmist was right in looking to God and crying out for the presence of God to rain upon his life.

Let me ask you today, for what do you thirst?  To whom or what are you looking for relief in the midst of the difficulties of your life? I want to encourage you to turn to God for only he can truly meet your need.    

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1 – NIV)

Have a great day!  And, let’s pray for some rain. 

Pastor Tim Harris