Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Royalty Has It Perks

I’ve been watching with some interest the situation with the Windsor family in England this week. Here in America we have not had a monarchy for more than 231 years and yet we continue to be interested in what the Royals do and say.

Not growing up under a monarchy (even a constitutional one) I never really thought about the different degrees of royalty there were. The UK papers have been all a buzz over a failed blackmail attempt of the royal family. Apparently there the family is made up of major members of the family and minor members of the family. Some less than savory characters had contacted the family with supposedly secret video of a member of the royal family in a sex act and drug use. These people were arrested while trying to extort money from royal staff members who turned out to be police instead.

The papers in covering the account never identified the royal family member who supposedly stared in the video. They just assured that public that it was a minor member of the royal family. This member immediately contacted the family and the authorities when they received the blackmail note. While the Queen was upset and embarrassed over the incident but she announced that she was standing with her “distant” family member throughout this ordeal.

You see, I’m a minor member of a Royal Family, too. I got to thinking about the royal household I was adopted into years ago and how my Father has had to put up with many embarrassing incidents throughout my life. He too has stood by me and supported me every time I’ve failed to live up to my adopted heritage. Each time that I turned to Him and admitted how I had screwed up again and asked for His forgiveness and help, He was always there to forgive and reconnect with me.

Like the story of the prodigal, my Father was always waiting for me to come back and ready to receive me back into His companionship. And unlike the story of the prodigal, my Big Brother not only accepts me, He died to enable the adoption to go through!

I have a pretty cool family and we are looking for more members.

Feel like joining?

Pastor Val

Sunday, October 28, 2007

God’s Sense of Humor

The ancient Jewish writings tell us that we were created in the image of God. As image bearers of God we can learn much about the character of God by examining ourselves. For example, we know that God must have a sense of humor since we have one. Of course it doesn’t hurt my argument when reads the ancient poet who tells us that “the one enthroned in haven laughs” Psalm 2:4. So it doesn’t surprise me that Father has a unique sense of humor.

As many of you know, I am looking forward to a new ministry. I have been learning more about God’s sense of humor. As I’ve been waiting on God and his timing to launch me into my next ministry, I can’t help to occasionally have a conversation with Father and discuss what I’m going through and how I long to get busy with my next assignment.

Recently I was praying and complaining that with God’s kingdom being so vast that there must be some small corner of His kingdom where I could serve Him. I’ve been answering advertisements for pastor on the web and a church in California responded and asked me to consider their position.

Every time a church responds positively to my resume I always get pumped. So I was excited to get a packet of information from this church. That is until I read the proposed offer. This church in California was offering salary and parsonage. Sounds good so far.

(Now here is where God’s sense of humor comes in)

Yeah, the salary was $20,000 – for California!

For 24 hours I tried to figure out if I could do it and how could I do it. Then I remembered J. I Packer talking about how to determine God’s will in his book Knowing God. Packer reminds us that when trying to determine God’s will for our life, God expects us to use our God given abilities and brainpower. There was no rational way that I could take this job. While there is always the possibility that God wants us to step out in faith thus allowing God to do something spectacular, Scripture informs us that the miraculous doesn’t happen on a regular basis just occasionally. This just wasn’t such an occasion.

I looked up to the sky and told God “Now that’s not fumy!”

I know that God is ultimately in control but occasionally He has to remind me. In His time and His way it will happen, until then God will continue to teach me patience and something about His incredible sense of humor.

So I guess the joke is on me!

Pastor Val

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Big Brother" Is Listening

Last night our local NBC affiliate reported on how “Big Brother” might be listening in to our conversations via our cell phones. Apparently there is technology out there that can turn your cell phone into a microphone even if your cell phone is shut off. The cell phone might not even be yours but another person’s in the room.

Supposedly this technology is only legal (think Patriot Act) for the government to use with a court order. But WDIV interviewed private investigators who regularly use these programs in their investigations. Some boardrooms have become Cell Phone Free zones due to fear of industrial eavesdropping.

The FBI recently admitted in open court that there have been times when they have misused this technology to listen in on conversations that were not terrorist related. The ACLU and other groups are concerned about the potential abuse of this new technology.

Apparently the only sure way to ensure that your conversations cannot be overheard is to remove the battery from the cell phone.

While this is disturbing for Americans, being overheard by someone is nothing new for followers of God. After all we have know for centuries that we cannot escape from God’s presence (See Psalm 139:7-12). Theologians call this the omnipresence of God and when you couple that with another of His divine attributes his omniscience (God knows everything) we know that nothing can be hidden from Him. Since He sees all and knows all, we can be assured that He also knows what is best for us.

If you are concerned about what others might hear you say, how much more should we guard our tongues because our Father is listening after all we all know that “POS” is true for every believer.


Pastor Val

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Beginnings

Today I begin a new blog. For years I’ve sent emails to my various ministry groups to encourage and inform them. My hope is that this blog will act much like my emails of the past.

I chose the name AncientFuture Mariner for this blog to describe the journey that I have been on for the last few years. Robert Webber, my friend and mentor, coined this concept as it applies to our understanding of the faith of the early church that once again resonates with the postmodern society, a society that is becoming more and more prevalent today. The society that we find ourselves dealing with is not the modernistic society of our parents. Rather this post Christian society of America is much like the society the early church found itself striving to reach in the first century, a society that is predominately non Christian, multicultural and poly-religious.

In this blog I expect to address areas of interest in the church, family and society at large from a Biblical perspective. My hope is that you will find this blog to be informative, occasionally humorous, and from time to time even thought provoking.

Pax my friend

Pastor Val