September 24, 2019

Good morning,

            It seems hard to imagine that fall is already here. We started off the year with lots of snow and cold and moved into a time of rain and cold followed by a late rainy summer. For the crops that got planted it seems we are way behind, seems the leaves are way behind, and seems that frost is way behind, seems that my wood pile is way behind… in case you haven’t figured out it’s easy to think things are not on the right schedule when we measure things according to our own plans. When you talk to a pregnant mother often as it gets closer to the due date the language of when the baby is due is often heard. If you talk to someone that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, doctors will talk about the life expectancy. In all these areas we measure time based on our understanding of events and our expectations on how things should be. Have you ever thought about what God’s timing might be like? Is it possible that he really does know what is best when it comes to the weather? Or when it comes to dealing with life and death? Maybe God has a schedule that is better than ours. Most often our disappointments come from our expectations.

            One of the things we are reminded of in scripture and we talked about last week is that God has a plan that is perfect. I know I don’t always understand what it is and I don’t always understand why it works out as it does, but God’s plan is right. It takes a lot of trust for us to get to a place of relying on God. In some areas we say, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

            This coming week we will be looking at John 21. In this passage the disciples are still reeling from the events that have taken place. Jesus has been crucified, buried in a tomb, and now he’s gone, no longer in the tomb. The disciples have met him in the house where he restored Thomas. The disciples are still afraid of people, and so they go back to what they have always done… fishing. They were professional fishermen that Jesus called to come and follow him. So now that they don’t know what else to do, they go back to what they did in the past. This seems safe, secure, and providing they catch fish it brings reward. We will talk about what we do when things don’t seem to go our way, or we don’t understand they way things are working out. These are powerful words when Jesus says, “throw your net on the right side of the boat”.

            As I was cutting some wood this week, and thinking about the winter that is to come, I was asking myself the question, how much wood do I need? That’s a loaded question, it depends on many factors. How warm I keep the house, when I start the wood stove, how cold it gets outside, how much the wind blows, how I personally feel, how warm my wife wants the house…the list can go on and on. A couple of things I know is I want my house and my garage warm enough. Warm enough for whatever I want to do in those places and warm enough that my wife is content in those places. So, what I do in preparation is cut wood. I try to reflect on past years and how much I’ve used and cut more wood. What I have learned in all my years of burning wood, is that I can never burn what isn’t cut at my house. Since there are a lot of factors I can’t answer, I prepare for what I know. Here’s what I know, winter will come, snow will fall, wind will blow, and we want to be warm. So, it’s not rocket science, just preparation.

In our lives it’s the same way, there are a lot of factors we don’t know. We don’t know how long we will live, we don’t know who we will meet in life, we don’t know a lot of things, but we do know that there is a plan that God wants us to follow. Jesus says it well in scripture when he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” More than that, he tells us in scripture that there will be a lot of things we don’t know how to deal with. So, he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, empower us, comfort us, and guide us. In other words, to make the life that we live amazing.

            It’s the time of year that I like to go on hunting trips with my boys. I’ve learned over the years in preparation for the trip, the number one piece that denotes all preparation that happens is knowing where we are going. When we went to the mountains, we packed gear for cold weather, gear for long distance searching for an animal. If we are planning a trip to eastern Ohio, we know it’s a short time, close distance, and a lot of different gear is needed. If we go to the desert, we know that we are dealing with cactus, snakes, and dry weather so we plan according. Just like in life, it is always contingent on our destination. The destination denotes everything. It denotes how I live today and what I plan for tomorrow. So, I encourage you to decide again today how to live. Deciding on our destination doesn’t mean perfection in the present, but it does mean we have a plan. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit and himself to make it possible for us to live this life. Just like these trips I go on, sometimes it requires us to back up and take a new route, but it doesn’t change the destination. I pray that today is a great day for you as you contemplate your trip.

 Blessings - Pastor Glenn

North Clinton Church