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 Pastor's Blog 
Monday, October 26 2020

"You are where you are today because you stand on somebody’s shoulders. And wherever you are heading, you cannot get there by yourself. If you stand on the shoulders of others, you have a reciprocal responsibility to live your life so that others may stand on your shoulders. It’s the quid pro quo of life. We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give."

Vernon Jordan

 

Good morning, friends!  We’re in the home stretch, and I’ll just leave it at that.  As for us, let’s get to it.

 

In recent years two grand adventures have been taking place in my life, but only recently have I become aware of the interconnectedness of the adventures.  On the one hand, I have been moving towards a more minimalistic lifestyle.  To my family’s chagrin, I am shedding homely assets faster than a rabid dog and encouraging my family to join me in the effort.  I want to live a much lighter life and I don’t want to carry them, either. 

 

Equally, my mind has been sifting ideas in recent years of the people who have assisted me in my life.  I’m talking about the big assists, the people who have made grand efforts to help me actualize.  Specifically, I think of the one gentleman who devoted years of my young adulthood to my care, concern and support.  I think of another gentleman who not only used the times our paths crossed to bless me, but also reached out to me early in my career to support me.  And I think of a young couple (at least at the time!) who embraced me, encouraged me, and supported me at a very vulnerable time of my life.  And I could go on and on about these people and more people, but you get the point.  I’m not a creature of my own making.  I am a product of a community.

 

The connectedness that I see now is clear.  I want less of my time and energy spent on maintenance of my lifestyle (as if I ever had one) and more on opportunities to bless other persons.  Quite frankly, I’ve learned this lesson as a pastor, and particularly at funerals.  Bad and poorly attended funerals are focused on the lifestyle of the person.  Great and well attended funerals are filled with stories of how the person sacrificially gave.  I see it all the time, and I clearly want to be on the giving side.

 

What about you?  I’m not suggesting you follow my grand adventures.  I’m only asking if you are aware of who helped you become you?  Do you know how much they gave to help you?  Can you see how different you would be if they had not?  And do you have the courage, and understand the blessings, of blessing someone else in similar ways?  It certainly presents things about which to think.  Will you?  I hope you do, and have a wonderful week (current events notwithstanding).

 

Hebrews 13:16

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 08:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 19 2020

Unacceptable

The word has a very specific meaning, which is why it’s so powerful.

If we accept behavior that’s unacceptable, we’re compromising on something that we thought was too important to compromise on.

And that’s how we end up with the unacceptable becoming commonplace.

Seth Grodin

 

Good morning, friends, and welcome back!  Or welcome back to me, at least.  Last week was a Godsend for me and now I’m back in the groove.  Let’s get to it!

 

One of the major arcs of my life in the past ten years or so has been to turn words and ideas I once considered only relevant to other people back towards myself.  One simple example is judgement.  My old pattern was to let judgement run rampant at the end of my eyes, like a wild dog on the end of a long leash.  I was, as many people are, easy to judge anyone and anything based on my own biases, understandings, ignorances, fears, etc.  But a little self-reflection turned that dog onto me, where it belonged in the first place.

 

Another word equally misplaced is “unacceptable”.  (I’ll save the puns for another day…)  So often in my life I’ve applied “unacceptable” to the behaviors and ideas of other people.  Perhaps you have, too.  Isn’t it so easy to examine “them” instead of “self”?  But what if we turn “unacceptable” to ourselves?  It isn’t so comfortable, is it?

 

I’m not suggesting that we do unacceptable things, although we likely do.  I’m suggesting, as Grodin does, that we participate in the “unacceptable” business.  For example, you may have at one time or another considered some weight to be unacceptable.  But bit by bit and bite by bite you got there (as did I), compromising to the point of commonplace.  Or maybe you titled certain personal behaviors unacceptable, or connections, or anything else. 

 

One point to remember is that we have to be careful what we title “unacceptable”; too much can wear you out.  But take a look at what in your own life is or was unacceptable and ask yourself if you are true to your word.  And be careful what you label going forward, all the while upholding your standards.  And have a great week!

 

Matthew 5:33-37

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 06:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 05 2020

I used to resent obstacles along the path, thinking, ‘If only that hadn’t happened life would be so good.’ Then I suddenly realized, life is the obstacles. There is no underlying path.”

Janna Levin

 

Good afternoon, friends!  I’m sorry this email has come at the end of the day, but duty called earlier.  I’m glad I had time to complete this task.  Let’s get to it!

 

There’s so much meat in this quote that it’s hard to know where to begin.  Let’s begin with resenting obstacles.  Have you ever done that?  Consider Covid.  This is the granddaddy of obstacles.  I’m not making light of it at all or disrespecting anyone who has suffered.  But from the beginning, I’ve noticed that there are at least two ways to consider it: as a burdensome obstacle, or as clarifying event.  Those who resent learn little, grow little, and tend to regress.  Those who embrace learn more, grow more and tend to blossom.

 

But as the author clarifies, life is one obstacle after another.  I’ve experienced a plethora of obstacles myself, and those I have embraced have taught me much.  Those I resented held me back, and some still do.  I’ve witnessed this phenomenon in many people.  Persons who have developed no ability to lean into challenges tend to emerge on the other side shackled with weights that represent the problems of yesterday. 

 

Recently my son complained about some of his high school math lessons.  Why, he asked, did he have to learn this “stuff”?  When, he wondered, would he ever use this information?  Foolishly I waded into the misery and told him that tomorrow’s math depends on the mastery of today’s problems.  Almost all learning does in all disciplines.  And when he stops wrestling with today’s problems the learning process ends.  He took it like a teenager.

 

And the same is true in all our lives.  When we stop wrestling with and learning from today’s challenges our lives become stunted and stifled.  And the challenges of tomorrow become impossible.  Nobody “wants” to lean into challenges, but the alternative is to be overrun by them.  Change your perspective and make the best of every situation.  And have a wonderful week!

 

Acts 16:16-40

Posted by: Pastor Thomas AT 07:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

PFAFFTOWN BAPTIST CHURCH
4336 Transou Road| Pfafftown,NC  27040 | Phone: 924-0126 | Email: pbcoffice@windstream.net | ©2020