Pastor's Pen
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August 5, 2013, 11:36 AM

Words from Rick

“Time Away”
 Let me begin with a verse
 from Holy Writ:
 “So, whether
 you eat or drink or whatever
 you do, do everything for the
 glory of God”
 (1 Corinthians
 10:31). Think of how differ -
 ent it would be if our leisure
 time were really leisurely.
 What if it didn’t involve
 rushing off to some event where you had to stand
 in line. What if leisure time meant not having to
 recover from a busy vacation we couldn’t really
 afford? I confess, I have had many of those vaca -
 tions where I needed to get back to work to get a
 “Life is difficult”
 to quote the first sentence
 of M. Scott Peck’s bestseller,  The Road Less
 I have known folks who really lived what
 Gordon Dahl said was the way Americans live
 most of their lives. He said,
 “We worship our
 work, work at our play, and play at our worship.”
 Have you known or do you know those folks? I
 have learned that leisure plays itself out best in
 simplicity. Leisure is merely free time away from
 work and essential domestic activity. For the fol -
 lowers of Jesus Christ, its purpose is to enjoy God
 with all of oneself and to enjoy loving others
 (Matthew 22:37-39). Leisure is good and holy in
 itself and not just a way to get recharged from a
 hurried, stress-filled life.
 All four Gospels reveal the fact that Jesus
 enjoyed times of leisure. In fact, He was quite a
 party-goer attending dinner gatherings in
 people’s homes and at least one wedding, and
 participating in festive days in Jerusalem. That
 three-year ministry of walking from here to there
 in Galilee and Judea that Jesus and the Twelve
 took included a lot of work, but no doubt, quite a
 bit of partying as well!
 Jesus also enjoyed beauty; considering a field
 of lilies more charming than the best efforts that
 human beings, including the great King Solomon,
 could put forth. Reading passages such as
 Matthew 6:25-34 causes me to imagine that
 Jesus enjoyed being alive. As Tom Wright
 observes in his book,  Matthew For Everyone,
 Jesus often watched the birds wheeling around,
 up high on the current of air, in the Galilean hills
 ...He had watched a thousand different kinds of
 flowers growing in the fertile Galilee soil...and
 had held his breath at their fragile beauty (page
 Time away. Leisure time. I’m going to get some
 of that this week and next. I’m going to spend
 some time in the northern Georgia mountains
 resting, reading and writing. From my mother’s
 porch, I hope to see the mother bear that fre -
 quents that area with her two cubs, and I am
 looking forward to taking some time to
 “smell the
 Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore
 (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:

July 29, 2013, 3:52 PM

Words from Rick

 “I Believe”
 The Blue Collar Comedy
 foursome of Jeff Foxworthy,
 Ron White, Larry the Cable
 Guy and Bill Envall brought
 many laughs as they toured
 around this country! There is
 much comedy in each of
 them that I have enjoyed!
 But, Bill has in his routine
 something that I like that
 begins with: “I BELIEVE.” Not to try to be
 humorous, but here are a couple of things I
 First, I believe in personal responsibility. I
 think it is important even though many people
 try to blame someone or something else for what
 happens to them. God created human beings with
 moral responsibility and increased that respon -
 sibility through the example and redemption pro -
 vided in Jesus Christ. I must live as one born
 anew by the love and power of God. In that love
 and power, I live day by day. It is mine to live life
 fully and to enjoy it by the grace and love and
 power of God.
 My life on this earth has spanned 60+ years
 (big deal!). I have seen many changes. I have
 known an unchangeable God (now that  is  a big
 deal!). Jesus Christ has greatly enriched my life
 for service to many people. They, in turn, have
 enriched mine. I rejoice that my life has fallen in
 pleasant places!
 Second, I believe in prayer, not so much as a
 way of praying for things we would like for our -
 selves or others, but as a way of living in Christ
 so that we become usable to accomplish His pur -
 poses. We should pray for forgiveness we so des -
 perately need (Prayers of Confession), and we
 should listen for and receive the cleansing of
 Christ by His Spirit.
 We should pray for our own needs and those of
 our loved ones, for the church and its mission, for
 those who serve in and through the church, for
 those in authority throughout our country, and
 for justice and peace in our world. Just a personal
 note... I have written prayers for worship that
 have been longer than some of the sermons I
 have written. But, I’m afraid of praying them in
 worship for, I’m confident, I would hear some
 I have not yet finished my course, but I hope to
 keep the faith that has held me during all these
 years. I trust God to purpose and to accomplish
 that purpose in time and eternity. What more
 could anyone ask for than a life which has been
 so full and so much fun? 07.28.2013
 Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore
 (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:

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