Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Flock,

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14

This Saturday Christos will be starting a three-session discussion on the “Essentials of Faith” in the EPC. At our first session we will look at the first three essentials which have to do with the Trinity.  

Each paragraph of the “Essentials” is a carefully crafted statement on each of the Three Persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  The wording on the Person of the Holy Spirit relies primarily on Scripture. The other two paragraphs on God the Father and God the Son are also heavily influenced by Scripture but also lean into the historic Confessions – the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed and the Westminster Confession of Faith. 

I am so grateful for the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is our “Helper” (Jn 15:26), and Jesus said that He will “guide us into all the truth.” The Holy Spirit not only speaks what he hears from the Father and the Son, but he will “declare things that are to come.” (16:13)

Theologically speaking we live in the “last days.” That is, we live between the time of Jesus’ ascension and His second coming. I don’t know about you, but lately, it feels like we really are living in the “last days!” 

The last two days I’ve awakened with headaches from smoky air. This morning we woke up to an email from a former congregant in rural Northern California asking prayer for another congregant who is fighting to save his one hundred year old family homestead from raging fires. 

We live at a time of a one-hundred year pandemic, extreme civil unrest across America, a struggling economy and now hazardous smoke that is contentedly making its home over the entire West Coast from raging wild fires. 

Today I take comfort that the Holy Spirit dwells within me and is my Helper in “times of trouble.” May the Spirit of God who dwells within you, “hover” over you (Genesis 1:2) and bring you comfort and calm today. The Spirit hears our prayers and makes intercession to the Father on our behalf even when our words seem inadequate. 

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Flock,

“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deut 8:3

It’s a truism about human nature that we often do not appreciate the value of something until it’s taken away and we no longer have it. 

God knows this. He made the Israelites eat only manna when they wandered through the wilderness. Not only would they come to appreciate real food that they would eventually receive in abundance when they entered the promised land – a land “flowing with milk and honey” – but He also wanted them to understand that more important than food was the word of God that nourished the soul.

Like the Israelites we are in danger of not valuing God’s word. Ironically, in America, there seems to be an over-abundance of ‘the word of God.’ Bibles are easily obtainable. You can drive down to your local Christian bookstore or order a Bible online in any translation you prefer with a soft, hard or leather jacket! Heck, you don’t even need a physical Bible anymore. You can just download it on your favorite Bible “app.”  

Yet who is really hungry for the word of God? Who reads and studies God’s word except pastors? (I hope some of you are saying, “I do, I do!”)  Could it be that it is so readily available in so many forms that we have lost our appetite for it? Or do we have just too many other tantalizing distractions? (Have you enjoyed your sabbatical from sports during the pandemic?) 

I’ve mentioned before that I spent a summer in Mexico serving on an orphanage. We ate with the kids – oatmeal for breakfast, rice and beans for lunch and dinner every day. Mid-summer I contracted an amoeba so I couldn’t stomach rice and beans anymore. You know what happened besides the obvious that I lost weight? 

My soul began to hunger for the word of God! I sensed God’s presence reading Scripture in the morning. My soul was filled with the joy of the Lord! Relationships became more meaningful! It was hot, dry and dusty and all we had was each other. Nothing to entertain us except school in the morning. But somehow that didn’t matter. Doing less actually produced a greater appreciation for what I did have! Less became more! I could more fully appreciate the psalmist’s words: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” Ps 34:8  

Sometimes it takes a ‘desert experience’ to rediscover the richness of God’s word!

Pastor Bill

Reflection from Ps. Bill

Dear Logos Flock,

              O Lord, our Lord,

                           How majestic is your name in all the earth!

              When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

                           The moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

              What is man that you are mindful of him,

                           And the son of man that you care for him?

              You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

                           You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen,

              And also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,

              Whatever passes along the paths of the seas. Ps 8:1, 3-4, 6-9 (ESV)

Jennifer and I just returned from a three-night camping trip around the “Cascade Loop.” We highly recommend it if you like breathtaking scenery. The stretch along highway 20 through the North Cascades National Park is particularly spectacular. It definitely rivals Glacier National Park in Montana considered by many to be the most scenic National Park in America.

The psalmist reflects on the majestic nature of God and the work of his “fingers.” None of it is by accident. He has carefully set the moon and stars in their respective places. We know how accurately our solar system is constructed with the planets orbiting around the sun and the earth perfectly situated for animal and human life.   

The creation gives evidence to the existence of God. We call this “general revelation.” How can you look at the world and the universe and all of its exquisite beauty and not be convinced that a higher power had a hand in its formation!

Yet even with all this grand creativity the psalmist muses “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Even more impressive than the beauty of creation is man and the role God has assigned him. He has dominion over the all the works of God!

When God created the heavens and the earth, He said it was “good.” (Genesis 1:25) But when he created man he said this was “very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Sometimes I forget this when I watch and listen to all the chaos going on in our country right now. I can easily lose God’s perspective that man is “very good” despite his fallen nature. Which is a good reminder for me to keep my mind focused on Jesus, the “author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Grace and peace,

Pastor Bill