The Shepherd's Crook
February 11, 2019, 1:01 PM

A Random Thought


As I sat and pondered yet another loss of someone close to me this morning – I thought of Jacob from the Old Testament. Jacob’s life is quite a study. In Genesis 28 – it appears that Jacob’s story is coming to an end – but he discovers that he is just beginning another story. In the time of darkest prospects, God give Jacob the brightest promises. One moment Jacob fears to look ahead at all – and the next moment Jacob has everything in the world to look forward to. In his fear and loneliness, God comes to Jacob and promises to be with him. In this revelation, Jacob confesses: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

We stand today at an apparent ending of a story, at the coming to an ending of a life. Somehow we are always caught by surprise by the endings. We haven’t expected or planned for them. Like Jacob, we dread to look to a future that is no future. We too are fearful, apprehensive, and perhaps, more than a little bit angry.

Yet do we have any beginning in our situation? What bright promise do we have? Can the Lord be in this place of angst, fear, sadness, anger, and loneliness? Could it be that this place of dying "is none other than the house of God . . . the gate of heaven?"

God came to Jacob at a desperate time in his life in a desert place and promised to be with him. The presence of God was the assurance of the new beginning. Through Christ, God has also promised that He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20) – and that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38,39). We do have beginning and hope and future, though in this place we may not know it – but I pray that somehow, we will.




February 7, 2019, 9:17 AM

Thoughts from "The New Guy"


Greetings!

Since my arrival in Ardmore at the end of January, words from the prophet Isaiah have constantly been on my mind. It’s a verse about change as Isaiah speaks the words of God: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

The emphasis here is on watching for the new thing God is doing. It’s a call to focus and pay attention. God is acting. We see – and respond.

God has gifted this congregation with amazing gifts of hospitality, welcome, musical talents, and hearts for God’s mission in the world. This church has experienced God’s faithfulness in the past – we see God’s faithfulness today – and we look forward to God’s faithfulness in the future. No doubt the future will look different than the past, but God’s presence is constant. Peace,

Craig

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