Happy Mother’s Day and National Day of Prayer and Cinco de Mayo!
Have you been in prayer for our country? How about for your city? Do you regularly pray for your church? Remember the Apostle Paul’s challenge to the Romans? “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” May the Lord help us all as we call upon Him for salvation and direction!
A few days ago I was enjoying the warmth in the air and the clear blue skies… today it is overcast with clouds and near freezing temperatures… well, not quite. Mid 60s is cold for me. I prefer high 90s. As I glance up on the wall near my desk I see that today is May 5th… Cinco de Mayo… celebrations will be taking place all around. There have been Breakfast Prayer Meetings this morning. Some of you will gather tonight. And as for me… I’m noticing that in two days I’m to be in Lone Pine with Pastor Jeff Bassett and Eddie Davis to run a hilly, and altitude tough 50K race. Oh boy… It is going to be ugly! In many ways I’ve been thinking, “Please someone… anyone… call me up for a very important meeting.” You see… I’m about as ready to run a 31 mile race as I am ready RIGHT NOW for District Assembly. Help!
With Mother’s Day approaching… I asked Leslie to help me. She just replied, “You’re beyond help!” I asked my mom to help me. She said, “You’re stupid for running.” (She really didn’t use those words… but that’s what she meant).
ENCOURAGEMENT: Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the banks of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. (Exodus 2:1-4) We all know this story very well. The story of Moses’ mother protecting her baby boy. It’s what moms do. They love. They protect. They do their very best to keep us all safe. What is your favorite “Mother’s Day” Bible story? I’m not sure if I have one… but this one is up there for me. Jochebed had done everything possible to protect this baby boy of hers from the evil decree of Pharaoh. And when she no longer could hide him in her own home… she entrusted him into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter. I’m certain she studied the bathing time of the household of Pharaoh. She knew where… when… and even knew who would be the best person to “find” her son. She decided to “let go” of that which was her pride and joy.
As I reflect on the many responsibilities we, as pastors have, one of my favorite moments in the year is when we celebrate the birth of babies and then come together for their DEDICATION. I love baby dedications. It’s the greatest time to speak with the family… moms and dads… reminding them that this gift of life… God has entrusted to them to love… care for… nurture… guide… And when these parents come to the front of the church they are doing exactly what Jochebed was doing… giving up her son.
I love my mom and am so glad for her influence in my life. When my folks were called to become missionaries… and then learned that they would be going to the Jungle of Peru… an isolated part of the world… my mom had two small boys and a baby girl. Ages 1-5. Mom said that one of the hardest things she had to do was lay her children down on the altar and give them up. One at a time, she laid down Rusty on the altar and said, “Lord… here he is… he’s yours. Here’s Greg… Candy.” Tim wasn’t born yet.
We left for the mission field in 1964… and then on into the jungle. Alone… far away from any city. No medical facilities for 3-4 days journey. No phones… electricity… no English speaking people for several days journey. Only jungle… and Aguaruna Indians speaking a foreign language. Yet the test would not come until 4 years later… Rusty was 9 and I was 7. It was time to put us on DC3 airplane to head off to a boarding school miles from home. Five days journey. As mom said her good-byes to us boys, she was literally entrusting us into God’s care. She had to do exactly what she promised the Lord she would do back in Whittier while placing us on the altar.
May I just say, how thankful I am today, that mom was obedient to the Lord, when she presented us before Him. Happy Mother’s Day, mom! I love you and I pray that we will all learn to let go of that which we consider valuable and place it all in the Lord’s care. All things DO work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
To you moms who are out there: Happy Mother’s Day! We love you!
PASTOR’S REPORTS: Pastors and office managers… and anyone else… please get your paperwork in to us this week. The report is to be filled out online… and many of you have taken care of it. Thank you! Please be sure to get it all in.
· Pastor’s family photo: Please don’t forget to send us an updated photo of you and your family. We will use your picture for the booklet at assembly.
· You’ve seen the schedule for Assembly: June 15-17. I hope to see you there.
DISTRICT MATTERS: And the Lord continues to lead and bless.
· Class of 2016 Ordinands: This past Saturday I had the privilege of meeting for 4 hours with this year’s class to be ordained, contingent upon the action by the District Assembly. We enjoyed breakfast treats as we listened to the testimonies of each other… shared around the table… and it also gave me a chance to cast vision for the district. We then broke for lunch and made our way home.
· Hillside Community in Rowland Heights: This last Sunday I was present to install Rev. Albert Hung as the Lead Pastor of the multi-site Church from Trinity Monterey Park, as they have adopted the congregation from Hillside in Rowland Heights. Pastor Albert, along with his team, will now begin a new journey of leading these two congregations. What a special day we enjoyed together!
Thank you everyone, for all your support and love. I am anticipating great things ahead for us all.
I can hardly wait for District Assembly when we will all be together. Have a wonderful weekend! I love you…