Friday, August 2, 2019

The Flash Flood Warning!

The other day as I was sitting at my desk, an alarm on my phone sounded so loudly that it startled me and caused me to jump in my chair. It was a flash flood warning from the National Weather Service. Summer thunder storms were rolling into our area bringing heavy rain and the potential for flash flooding.  Before we knew it, the sky was lit up with lightening, thunder was roaring, and rain was coming down in buckets. And, the church parking lot along with the roads around us became rivers of flowing water.

Thankfully, we didn’t experience any major flooding, at least not on the roads I had to take home. And since it was a Wednesday, our night at the church for our kids and youth programs and adult prayer, I was glad the storms passed relatively quickly so that people were able to make it out.  Although I was thankful for the warning, I was more thankful the flooding didn’t actually occur in any major way. 

Ironically, one of the scriptures that came to the surface that night in the teaching at our prayer service was from John 7:38 in which Jesus says, Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Then John goes on to explain, “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:38-39 – NIV)

Jesus promised his disciples that, as they put their faith in him the Holy Spirit would flow into and through their lives like a flowing river.  On the Day Pentecost, Jesus’ promise was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples as they were praying and worshipping. They experienced a flash flood of the Holy Spirit! From that moment on, everything changed for the disciples. They had new power and new life—a power and life that impacted everyone around them.

Jesus gave his disciples a flash flood warning that still holds for us today. Jesus promised that all who believe in him would experience an incredible flow of the Holy Spirit into and through their lives  as they allow him to rain down upon them. That means, each and every believer has the potential to know what it means to have “rivers of living water” flowing through their lives—rivers that will fill them with new power and new life.

The flash flood warning has sounded. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us like a mighty river.   

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, July 26, 2019

Running With the I-Trainer!

Kim and I were down in South Carolina over the past few days to help take care of her parents. While here, we’ve been staying with Kim’s cousin and her husband who happen to have a Nordic Track treadmill in their basement, complete with a video screen that has tons of workout options. So, a couple of times this week I’ve run on the beaches of Costa Rica with an I-trainer (as he calls himself) via the video workouts.  It’s quite a different experience and actually makes the time go by quickly.  (It’s also made me want to go to Costa Rica!)

When the training video first comes up you see this incredible view of a Costa Rican beach and you meet your trainer for the session. He then begins to tell you what you will be doing during the session and then you begin to run.  As you go along, he is giving you information about the country, the people, the food. He talks about running and training, what to do and what not to do and all kinds of running tips. Most of all, he encourages you to keep on going, to keep on running, to not give up, to stay the course. At the end of the session, he encourages you one more time to come back and run some more. 

Ahh...Who wouldn't want to run on that beach?
As I was running on the Nordic Track this morning, I was thinking of how the role of the trainer in that video—or, any trainer for that matter—is actually very much like the role the Holy Spirit plays within the life of the believer. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit has been sent to guide us, teach us, and encourage us.  It is the Holy Spirit who works to keep us moving on our spiritual run through life, helping us to keep the faith and to become all God intends for us to be.

Jesus said, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. “and, But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 14:26; 16:13 -NIV) Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the “paraclete”—that is, one who comes alongside another to comfort, encourage, and advocate for them.  Yes, we might say the Holy Spirit is our trainer!

I’m thankful when Jesus left this world to go back to the Father, he didn’t leave us to run by ourselves. Rather, he sent his Holy Spirit to run with us, helping us along the way, that we might make it all the way to the end of the race (i.e. heaven). He’s a terrific trainer!

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris

Friday, July 19, 2019

Living in a Tent

My son Jonathan and his wife Danielle love to camp. In fact, right now they are traveling out west through some of our national parks setting up tents and sleeping in sleeping bags. And, I am sure they are having a great time.  When I’m asked about camping, however, I tell people that my idea of camping is staying in a fully equipped and furnished cabin or going to the nearest Residence Inn.  In other words, I really don’t want to have to sleep in a tent.  A tent has little to no appeal for me. 
I know that for some people staying in a tent can be fun. It’s nice to get close to nature and to experience a different side of life. But I would submit that given a choice, few people would choose to live in a tent. Most people would prefer to live in a house, a building of some sort. After all, a tent is not always the best protection from the elements of nature. Nor is a tent the most stable; a tent is easily blown down or knocked over. A house provides much better protection, stability, and comfort. Thus, although it may be fun to periodically stay in a tent, given the choice most people would prefer to live in a house rather than a tent. 

Seems like fun...but not forever!
In his second letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul likens our physical bodies to a tent.  Think about that: our physical bodies are likened to that which is easily put up and just as easily taken down; our bodies are likened to that which is easily blown down or knocked over. The truth is, our bodies lack long-term stability for we are all mortal. Thus, Paul reminds us that our bodies are like tents—just temporary dwellings that constantly remind us of our own mortality.  

But the Apostle Paul tells us as well, we will not have to live forever in tents. God has a much more permanent dwelling planned for his people.  God has promised to us a life beyond this life. It’s a life that is eternal and that includes a new body which is better likened to a house.    

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands…For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (2 Corinthians 5:1,4 – NIV)

Today you might be experiencing some aches and pains in your body. Maybe you are dealing with an illness or disease that seems to be getting the best of you. It might be that you are sensing that your body is just not what it once was. If so, remember: your body is just a tent—a temporary dwelling.  God has in store for you “an eternal house in heaven”—i.e. a new and glorified body; an eternal body—if you will trust him with your life.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 – NIV)

Have a great day!

Pastor Tim Harris