Pastor's Corner - march 24th
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). It's pretty easy to lose our way in life. Just one wrong turn and suddenly we have no idea how to get back to where we belong. Like prodigal children we are all looking for our way home. So where do you turn when you are lost? Some people flip through Ikea catalogs to find their best life. There’s a line in the movie, Fight Club that perfectly captures this charade: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy [stuff] we don't need.” So where do we go next when materialism leads down a path of dissatisfaction and disappointment? Many pursue achievements in their search for meaning. Some turn to addiction in their pursuit of happiness. With all the wrong paths to choose from it is no wonder so many are lost.
But in Luke 15, Jesus provides a way back home in his parable about the lost sheep. He reminds us that we have a shepherd who actually drops everything to come find us. Others may leave us to our own device, but our shepherd goes over the mountains and down through the valleys to bring us home. Like a good shepherd, Jesus provides protection from the elements and sustenance on the journey. I love the way the prophet Isaiah describes our shepherd in Isaiah 40:10-11:
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Maybe you feel a little lost this week. Perhaps you feel a longing in your heart for home. The human predicament is this: we are all lost until God finds us. Believe me when I say that it is no small wonder that we can call upon our shepherd by name. In the moments when we can’t tell which way to go, may we discover that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Chris Allen
The Final Installment
Today is the final installment in my five-week series on the Lessons I Have Learned From Being a Rebel.
Lesson five has to do with rebels taking on a long-term view of change. In most places and with many people, change comes slowly. Even those changes that the rebel would count as critically important. Incremental change is still change! Rebels should tape that statement to the top of the computer screen to temper the fiery e-mail they are tempted to write/send when their proposed change isn’t embraced more enthusiastically.
In fact, incremental change (in most instances) is the best kind of change, because it mitigates against unintended consequences. It is difficult to anticipate how any proposed change will affect other behaviors. We may think we know, but we don’t. It is likely that sweeping change would create other challenges that the rebel never anticipated. Therefore,
Lesson FIVE – rebels learn to restrain their insistence on radical change. They see the benefits of incremental change, knowing that this kind of transformation is more manageable and effective.
Add this lesson to the previous ones, and you might just become the kind of rebel that does more than annoy people.
Lesson ONE – rebels who are remembered (for goodness sake), are not just against things as they are, they are diligently giving themselves to things as they should be.
Lesson TWO – the best rebels understand that respecting all people is fundamental in the pursuit of any goal, and under the Christian banner, love might even demand that we honor the “opposing” person over and above the cause.
Lesson THREE – a passionate rebel must be persistent in the cause and patient with the people who don’t feel it as deeply as the rebel does. The rebel still needs them. If you’re the rebel – don’t alienate people. Lead them.
Lesson FOUR – strategically, it is essential for rebels to authentically affirm what does not need changing before advocating for the things that do need changing.
~ Pastor Piet