Pastor’s December Ponderings:
Luke 2:4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem
the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to
register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her
firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there
was no room for them in the inn.
“There was no room for them…” Those were prophetic words from Dr. Luke.
Throughout Jesus’ life, the religious and political leaders had no room for Him in
their hearts. In fact, they were bent on killing Him to remove Him once and for all
from this world, so they thought.
Little did these political and religious leaders know that their attempt to remove
Jesus would, instead, become the greatest gift to all. Jesus’ birth, His death and His
resurrection opens the gates of heaven to all who have room for him in their hearts.
Jesus says in Revelation 3, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears
my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” What an
invitation from the One, whom this world had no room for! He always has room for
those who open their hearts to Him. Is your heart open to receive the Gift?
Pastor’s November Ponderings:
Psalm 146:1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. 2 I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
November is a month for thanksgiving.
We can thank God that he is in control of all the political powers of world. God is always working out his purposes. While we may be tempted to put our trust in our government and military powers, ultimately we trust that God is sovereign over all things.
We can thank God for how he upholds the cause of the oppressed, feeds the hungry and sets the prisoners free. And we can thank him that he involves us, when we feed our neighbors at Casco UM food distribution and Kibbie’s Thanksgiving food ministry, and provide gifts for children during the Christmas season. What a great joy it is to be used by God to be his hands and his feet in a broken world.
We can thank God for how he watches over the foreigners and sustains the fatherless and widow. He does this through adoption agencies and foster care agencies. We thank God for all the adopted children in our congregation! And we thank God for the opportunities to care for our dear elderly members with our cards, visits and prayers.
Indeed, our God reigns! May you ponder what that means and all aspects of life and give God praise and thanks giving!
Pastor’s October Ponderings:
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Don’t worry! That is a tall order. There are so many things in life we just cannot know, the most important being, “When will I die?” Jesus assures us that worry cannot add even an hour to our lives. In fact, worry very well might subtract hours from our lives. Verywellmind.com published an article saying, “In a study published in 2008, researchers at Purdue University followed 1,600 men, ages 43 to 91, for 12 years to examine how those with neurotic (worrisome) personalities fared over time. At the end of the study, only 50 percent of the men with high or increasing neuroticism were alive compared to 75 percent to 85 percent of the other group.”
Jesus’ answer to worry is to focus on our heavenly Father. He not only has his eye on us, He also provides for all our needs, and I would add, in His prefect time! Waiting can be worrisome. But Jesus encourages us to take our eyes off our problem and focus on our Provider. And if the research is correct, worrying less could add hours to our lives. As a familiar hymn rightfully states, “God will take care of you through every day o’re all the way!”
Pastor’s September Ponderings:
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Paul delights in his partners in the gospel. He knows he can’t go it alone. He appoints elders and deacons in the churches. He takes companions with him on his missionary journeys. He writes letters to believers in most of the cities he visits. Even so, he gives God all the credit for completing the work they start.
I just want all of you to know how much I appreciate all the volunteers here at Kibbie Church. There is no way I could do it alone. Indeed, there is great joy in my heart for all of you, whether your work is volunteering for the many leadership positions, or being a prayer warrior, or sharing your talents of playing an instrument, or preparing meals or writing letters and cards, or decorating the sanctuary or maintaining the grounds, or supporting the ministry financially. Your partnership is noticed and so appreciated.
Like Paul, I know the One who began a good work in all of you will carry it out to completion and for that I am the most joy filled. So as we begin a new church year, may all work together as if it all depended on us, knowing that only what God does through us is what really counts!
Pastor’s August Ponderings:
Luke 18:15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Starting the end of month we invite children to hear about Jesus and His love for them during our Children and Worship. We pray they will grow in their knowledge of Jesus and grow in their love for him.
However, Jesus turns the learning curve on its head. He says, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” In other words, children have much to teach adults about the kingdom of God and Jesus’ love. Children are totally dependent on their caregivers. In the same way, we are all totally dependent on our Caregiver.
Kris and I love spending time with our grandchildren. They are growing in stature and personality every year. Yet, they continue to be totally dependent on their parents to give them everything they need for life: food, shelter, clothing etc.
Likewise, we are totally dependent on our Heavenly Father for everything we need for eternal life. May we continue to humbly receive the lifegiving nourishment our Heavenly Father continues to give us. Jesus says He is the Living Water and the Bread of Life! We need Him and Him alone for eternal life!
A Child of God,
Pastor’s July Ponderings:
Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
We all long to belong! That is because we were created as social beings. When Adam was alone, “Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Thus, the die was cast for humans to belong to each other and to God. Sadly, sinned corrupted God’s good creation and we all have received a self-serving ego. Nevertheless, sin did not destroy our longing to be whole again. The good news is that God intervenes with His Spirit to make us one again.
This wholeness requires our cooperation with the Holy Spirit. In other words, God helps us, but he demands that we do our part, that is why we are told to be “completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love…”
So as we all long to belong, may we each do our part, so that, God helping us, we will live in love and unity. Such unity will draw others to join us as we reflect the body of Christ in our broken and divided world!
Pastor’s June Ponderings:
1 Peter 5:14 “Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”
Peter was a very close friend of Jesus. He walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, and ate with Jesus. He was one of the three disciples who made up Jesus’ “inner circle” along with James and John. In his first letter, he writes “one another” five times. These “one another” texts reveal what it means to be a Christian in all ages. So far, we have been told to love one another, live in harmony with one another, offer hospitality to one another and clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.
This month we are finally instructed to Greet one another with a kiss of love. Walther Gunther says, “The kiss in the ancient world was both a friendly sign of greeting and an emotional token of farewell.” I would liken the “kiss of love” to a hug in our contemporary culture. A hug is more than a handshake, which both a professional or a casual form of mutual greeting. A hug usually implies a friendship that is deeper than just an acquaintance.
Obviously, two people need to be in close proximity in order to give on another a hug. Recently, social distancing, because of Covid-19, has made hugging one another all but impossible. During that time, I remembered how much I missed getting and giving hugs. But then it came to me, in the crazy time in which we were living, refraining from hugging one another was actually an act of love toward the other. And love is what is at the heart of Peter’s command. So, the principle of showing love toward one another supersedes the practice of how that love is expressed during any given time. Today, we no longer offer a kiss of love, but a warm embrace. However, when Covid was at its peak, we refrained from touching one another to show our love to one another.
All said and done, these “one another” text have shown us how important it is to be connected to each other. May the Holy Spirit continue to draw us together for our peace and God’s glory!
With a Warm Virtual Embrace,
Pastor’s May Ponderings:
1 Peter 5:5 “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.” o
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Peter was a very close friend of Jesus. He walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, and ate with Jesus. He was one of the three disciples who made up Jesus’ “inner circle” along with James and John. In his first letter, he writes “one another” five times. These “one another” texts reveal what it means to be a Christian in all ages. So far, we have been told to love one another, live in harmony with one another, and offer hospitality to one another.
This month we are told to clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. Clothes are coverings. Christians ought to cover themselves with humility. What does that look like? Paul explains what that looks like in Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” What does it look like to value others above yourself? It is to take off your own shoes and put on the shoes of others and then act accordingly.
We live in a “Me First” culture, where we fight for our rights. Christians ought to be counter cultural where we put “Others First.” Paul says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” What is Jesus’ mindset? He considers what we need, before His own needs. He had every reason to fight for His right to live (he was truly righteous), instead He gave His life, so that we might live. Just think of what this world would look like if everyone thought of others before themselves! So, let’s try it on, clothe ourselves with humility toward one another!
Humbly your brother in Christ,
Pastor’s April Ponderings:
1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Peter was a very close friend of Jesus. He walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, and ate with Jesus. He was one of the three disciples who made up Jesus’ “inner circle” along with James and John. In his first letter, he writes “one another” five times. These “one another” texts reveal what it means to be a Christian in all ages. Over the coming months I will be pondering these verses in the Kibbie News Letter.
Over the past two years COVID-19 has been a worldwide pandemic. People have practiced self-quarantine. Hospitals and nursing homes have not allowed visitors. Restaurants and schools were closed. People around the world were encouraged to exercise “social distancing.” We were and are in unprecedented times. So how do we “offer hospitality to one another” when being kept from interacting with one another?
Peter says we each receive gifts to empower us to serve others without grumbling. Instead of pausing our serving throughout this pandemic, may God continue to help us to find new and creative ways to serve each other! I have been encouraged to see how Kibbie Church continues to be faithful in serving one another over the past year! Let’s continue to think outside of the box for new ways in which we might show hospitality to one another!
Thanks for your hospitality,
1Peter 3:8 Finally , all of you, be like minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Peter was a very close friend of Jesus. He walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, and ate with Jesus. He was one of the three disciples who made up Jesus’ “inner circle” along with James and John. In his first letter, he writes “one another” five times. These “one another” texts reveal what it means to be a Christian in all ages. Over the coming months I will be pondering these verses in the Kibbie News Letters. Why must we suffer for doing good? Well, doing good requires a great amount of humility, which is to sacrifice our egos. Peter addresses, “all of you” that means everyone! To be like minded, sympathetic, compassionate, humble, and a blessing to those who hurt you, you have to set your ego aside. To truly love one another, we have to put the interest of others before our own. In that, like Jesus, we suffer. He who gave up his own life for the sake of others, is our perfect example. Later verses 17 says, 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
May we “love one another” as Christ so loved us to bring us to God.
Loving You All, Pastor Vern