Pastor's Monthly Message

Pastor's Monthly Message for May 2011

And The We're Older

Nothing is life is quite as fleeting as the present moment. It passes quickly and becomes forever a memory. A man once mused, "All the best sands of time are somewhere getting into the wrong end of the hourglass". Yes, somehow life does pass more quickly than we think and suddenly we are older.

The philosopher, Cicero, put the passing of time into a better perspective when he compared the aging process to the passing of the season. And a wise man, he said, will no more lament his entrance into old age than a gardener will lament the arrival of the blooms and the fruit he has neutered during spring and summer. The proper fruit to be gathered in the winter of our days, according to Cicero, is "to be able to look back with self approving satisfaction and the happy and abundant produce of more active years".

As we move toward the winter of our lives we must remember, as the apostle Paul said, that "whatsoever as man soweth, that shall he also reap". With the passing of each fleeting moment we build what we can, but refer to as a "storehouse of memories". Each moment has the potential to become a treasured memory or an unwanted recollection. Both are written into our minds with indelible ink.

As we age, we make use of our memories to give us courage in the face of fear, to give us knowledge, to call to remembrance what has been learned and experienced, to renew our faith in the good things of life. How important it is that we use each moment of our lives in a positive way. With as much concern for future memories as for the momentary pleasures of the present. How important then it is to fill the storehouse of our minds with the kind of memories which we can benefit from, over and over again, through the years.

Pastor's Monthly Message for April 2011

God Forces No Person

Almost any person who has lost their freedom will readily agree that of all God's gifts, not one is more important than freedom. This freedom allows us to worship God in any manner that we choose, and by the same freedom, reject Him completely. "God will force no person to heaven", said Will Clegg.
As we have said many times, and in the last two sermons, freedom carries with it a responsibility to understand the wisdom, love and light which God provided us to guide us in our lives. But the choice is still ours as is the responsibility for the consequences.

Today is a new day, a new chance to decide how we will use our gift of freedom. It can be wasted on the trivial or it can be utilized for some great good. What is important, is to remember that part of our life will be spent this day and permanently written in our life record. It can then be a day of gain or a day of loss. The choice is ours. Hopefully it will be a day of success not failure; and happiness not sorrow.
We should realize that the price we pay for this day is premium and absolute. This is the problem with time. Once spent it is irrevocable. So, we must consider well what we purchase with our time. We should live in a manner we will not regret the price we pay for each day.

By God's grace, we hold in our hands both the freedom and the time to do what we will with our lives. It is my hope that I squander neither, but rather reap the rewards of golden moments well spent.

Pastor Hans Lillejord

Pastor's Monthly Message for March 2011

The Secret of Success

There is an old proverb which says, "if a man is lucky, you can throw him into the river and he will swim out with a pearl in his hand". Others have suggested that there are some who constantly stumble into prosperity in spite of themselves. Yes, doesn't it seem that way, that there are others (certainly not us) who seem to have all the luck. Success follows them or certainly as summer follows spring. They are the ones who rise through the ranks of any group to emerge as the leader, who have full checking accounts and whose dreams don't turn to dust.

All too often our attempts to be like one of them, to move in a more satisfying life, is in reality no attempt at all. We wait, thinking some lucky break will come our wally and change our life. We might think something will come in the mail or someone winotice our hidden talent, and then we'll move ahead. Or we wait till tomorrow, believing it will feel different than today — and when it comes and it doesn't, we wait for another day.

The truly successful have a different approach, quite the opposite from waiting. It is action. When an opportunity comes their way, they grasp it. If they have a good idea, they believe in it and won't shake loose. An eminent medical pioneer is said to have a sign over his desk which says, "I've been lucky. The harder I work, the luckier I get".

In summary, what the truly successful seem to do is crush the spirit of procrastination that haunts them as it does every human being. They have learned that a hesitant heart will lead them nowhere. They have learned that the security that comes from never taking a risk is no security at all. This earth, after all, is not a safe place to be, and the safety seekers who procrastinates his best intentions and his best dreams for fear of failure must soon realize that he/she is not safe anyway. Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing.

Pastor's Monthly Message for December 2010

The Light of the World

This last Sunday the first Sunday in Advent, we talked about Isaiah's reference to . Christ as the Light of The World. We are reminded that we are to be reflectors of that light. We are to shine also.

There is in each one of us, the desire to do right, to do good. We love and are loved, we hope for the future, we learn from the past. In very good deed that we perform, in every pleasure that we receive from doing good, there is evidence of the goodness in us.

And, there is evidence of our purpose in the world. Consistent with our natures, we are born to do good, to be good, to make the world a better place, and, in the process, to refine ourselves.

The impulse to do good springs not only from our eternal natures., but also from the Light of Christ, a light that permeates the world, touching and influencing all things, a light that call all of us to return to a loving Father in heaven who gave us life.

However, though the Light of Christ is in each of us and shines through us to the World, there are many in whom this goodness is dimmed-clouded by what they do and by what they do not do. The ability we have to choose means we are free to choose, free to choose even against ourselves; free to choose even against the truth that is in us.

And when we choose to do evil, to look away from goodness, a mist settles between us and the Light. Just as we are not infallible, neither is the goodness in us infallible-it must be protected to stay bright.

Pastor's Monthly Message for November 2010

The Religion of Sports

At no other time in the history of this country has the fever for athletics been as high as it is today, especially in this country. There have and are today, many rabid fans all over the world for all kinds of different sports. But on the whole, more people are enjoying some form of athletic activity than ever before.

The attraction reaches a high point in the fall and spring of the year when many of the sports overlap. In the fall, football holds the spotlight, but basketball is starting and baseball is in the middle of playoffs. Hunting and fishing are at their best and most other activities from golf to tennis continue to attract a large following.

Sports are good for the most part. For the fans it provides exciting entertainment. Many sports, like football have great season rituals, adding to community life. For the participants in all sports it means added self discipline and confidence, increased physical powers, and healthy exercise of competitive spirit.

Recreational sports have been with us for a long time. The Lord was always an advocate of physical as well as spiritual strength of a healthy body as well as a sound mind. In this respect, the interest in sports is good fora nation or the world in general.

But as in all good things, there is a need for mediation and responsibility in our recreational pursuits. If some unknowing visitor came to this country between September and April, he could conclude that the national "religion" is football or basketball. Unfortunately they have, in fact, become the only "worship" service many persons attend.

Pastor's Monthly Message for February 2010

An End To Discouragement

A characteristic of many people who succeed in life is an absolute unwillingness to admit defeat. Many a cause has been won after the cause seemed hopeless simply because there was an individual who refused to be discouraged and who saw beyond the possibility of defeat, the bright hope of success and believed in it.
There is no question that defeat is a part of life. The only persons who have not experienced failure and defeat are those who have never tried; the only ones who have never tasted the bitter legacy of failure are the ones who have never risked devotion to a cause.

They who would succeed must understand defeat and not be defeated by it. And it is possible. in the words of the hymn "There Is A Balm In Gilead", there is a moment of succeeding and hope beyond all our momentary failures and defeats.
All too often we are impressed by the limitations of our lives; all too often we focus on failed dreams and unfulfilled expectations; all too often we see not the seacoast-the vast and hopeful bounty of the sea-but rather, the sand which slips through our fingers and cannot be held. Certainly, there are those who have talent and abilities greater than our own; there are those who have suffered less, who have gained more. God, however, does not measure us with anybody else. He does not value our lives in the context of other's living. The hymn promises and persuades us:

If you can't preach like Peter,
If you can't persuade like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say "He died for us all",

Pastor's Monthly Message for January 2010

A Way Home

Home is where the heart is. Home is where mother and father are. Home is where children play and think about the holiday past and wonder what bright and beautiful surprises lay ahead. Home is where we long to be and where we need to be, especially at Christmas time. The spirit of the season reminds us that we are members of a family, that we are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

Our world is such that we cannot always be home and there are many in this season who will not be with the ones they love. Our occupations, educations, and all other aspects of our life frequently draw us apart, separate us from the home we love.
But there is a way home — The birth of Christ promises us that way home and not merely in the ultimate sense. Although geography may come between us, our love for one another —which is a sign of the love of Christ — can make us one.

When Jesus prayed for his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, He said, "Neither pray I for thee alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me and I in Thee".
There is no substitute for being home but, just as "home is where the heart is" the heart can take us home, or nearly there. As Christ's love reaches across the time and distance of creation to call us home to our Father, so our love for one another can be a bridge between family members pulling us closer together, no matter how far we are apart.

So in a sense there is a way home to one another and to God. Though we have wandered far, the joy of Christmas is its promise that the star of Bethlehem is a true beacon and a sure way home. Because of Jesus, because of His birth and ultimate sacrifice, because of Christmas, no one need wander or wonder. No one is without home or a way to find it.

Pastor Hans Lillejord

Pastor's Monthly Message for December 2009

Home and Christmas

"Home" is a very special word for us. Home is where our parents are. Home is where children play and think about the wonderful Christmas season to come and all the bright and beautiful surprises which lie ahead. Home is where many of us long to be and where we need to be, especially at Christmas time. Christmas reminds us that we are members of a family, that we are all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.
Our world is such that we cannot always be at home. There are many people during this season who have no home, cannot come home or will not be able to be with the ones they love and care for. Jobs, responsibilities, and other matters quite often keep us apart, or separate us from the home we long for.

There is, however, a way home. The birth of Christ promises us a way home. Although we might be separated by space, our love for one another, which is the emblem of the love of Christ, can make us one.

When Jesus prayed for His disciples just before he was crucified, He said, 'Neither do I pray for these alone, but for those also who believe in me through their word; that they may be one; even as you, Father, are in me and I in You."
There is no substitute for being home. The philosopher said, 'Home, is where the heart is" so we understand that the heart can take us home, or nearly there. As Christ's love reaches across the separation of time and distance to call us home to our Father, so our love for each other can be a bridge between family members, pulling us closer together, no matter how far apart we are.

So, in a sense, there is a way home to each other and to our heavenly Father. Though we might have wondered far, the joy of Christmas is its promise that the star of Bethlehem is a true beacon and a certain way home. Because of our Saviour, because of His birth and His ultimate gift upon the cross, because of Christmas, no one needs to wonder or wander; no one is without a home or a way to find it.

Pastor's Monthly Message for November 2009

A Most Basic Need

Our needs in life are many and varied not the least of which is prayer to almighty God. We say to the Lord, "Hear our prayer", not because he is in need, but because we are in need. Many times when we want to help others, it is because we, ourselves, are in want of something, the desire to be wanted and needed.

It is sometimes difficult to satisfy this need in our complex society, because our world has changed so much throughout the ages. So has the means of service. But the need to serve and give of ourselves has always remained.

We are most richly rewarded when we help others on a one-to-one basis. Modern living requires us to be dependant on others for most of which we have. But that dependence is usually on people we never see, quite a contrast to the earlier times when neighbors helped neighbors build their homes, till their soil and weave their fabric. The fact that our world is specialized and complex need not take away from us the opportunity to enrich ourselves by serving others and being served by them There is no opportunity to enrich ourselves by serving others and being served by them There is no faster way to get closer to a person than to be asked to do something for them. Ina way we are being told that we have a needed ability, a talent that is valuable.

Most of our deep and lasting friendships are built on our willingness to help someone in a moment of need-out of our need for each other. We truly appreciate an individual when we are able to do something for them.

Our involvement with others and the opportunity to serve them brings happiness. And it is most keenly felt when it is a person-to-person involvement through church service, volunteer work or simple neighborliness.

Yes, we need each other. But more than that, we need to be needed. Not so much because others need our help, but because we need the self-esteem and satisfaction of knowing that we have served our fellowman.

Pastor's Monthly Message for October 2009

Free To Follow Your Heart

Like the lion cubs in the movie "Born Free" you and I also have a need to follow our heart. We call it "conviction" which is the belief and testimony which give us the courage to challenge life.

Conviction does not come easily. There will always be other people who have a different point of view, different beliefs, and different standards. To be able to decide for ourselves and to establish our own operating principles is part of what it means to be "born free".

Varying options will always create divisions. At best, we will find others who share our convictions; at worst we will stand alone, sometimes even find it necessary to defend our beliefs at great personal cost. It is when we stand alone that we must examine our position most carefully. There is not much of a challenge in accepting what everyone else believes; the difficulty lies in defending an unpopular viewpoint-especially defending it to ourselves.

Part of that challenge is to know one is right. No one wants to be wrong, but determining what is right requires soul-searching effort. Sometimes, both sides are right, or partially right; sometimes neither side. And so each of us must arrive at our own conclusions, develop our own convictions. If we are sincere in our efforts, we will rely both on logic and prayer. In order to have deep convictions we must trust the Holy Spirit to give us guidance.

There is something else we need to remember. We cannot condemn another person because they disagree with us. Even if we think them wrong, we should give them credit for their beliefs. No one should be faulted for acting in a way he honestly believes he should. Leaders are often placed in a precarious position of carrying out the will of the people while not violating their own personal beliefs. Sometimes, there is no choice, as one's conscience will not allow him to do other than what his convictions dictate.