The Pastor’s Corner is written by the pastor of Coronado Bible Church.

Hidden Slavery

HelpMeTrafficking

Ah, the uncomplicated ease of growing up in a rich and developed nation. My public education left me with the impression that slavery was a thing of the past. It had been abolished … it was illegal to own another person. I was happily ignorant of the fact that while I played in the sun, children (and adults) in other parts of the world were forced to work in mines, dimly lit factories and even in the sex trade. That last one was probably the biggest and latest shock to my naïve sensibilities.

Slavery takes many forms and is known by many euphemisms, but it is still going strong. I just want to unmask one form of slavery that hides in plain view. In case you didn’t know, the sex trafficking of humans is the fastest growing and most lucrative form of slavery today. Maybe we’ve all seen enough TV to realize that most prostitutes don’t choose their profession, but many of us are still happily naïve about the realities of the sex industry.

Pornography in all its forms is slavery. It is gaining wider and wider acceptance in our society. It’s rapidly being mainstreamed and normalized. The proliferation of web-connected devices has made it more readily available and to increasingly younger ages. What many people don’t realize is that pornography is in bed with the slave trade. The biggest lie of pornography is the lie of consent. Is some pornography produced by people who freely consent? Undoubtedly, but you will never know which you are viewing. There are no scrupulous producers of pornography; what they can’t pay someone to do, they will coerce someone to do. And it’s all mixed together on the internet. If you have viewed or payed for pornography, you have touched the sexual slave trade. That’s a jolting statement, but it’s true.

One slave you may have overlooked in the equation is yourself. The Apostle Peter wrote …“a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”(2 Peter 2:19)  If this is an area of your spiritual walk where you feel enslaved, I will do my best to help. With men, I can sympathetically share my own struggles and strategies for victory. For women, Sue and I will do our best to connect you with resources to help you find freedom.


The Strange Things Pastors Do and Why They Do Them:

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Okay … there’s no film. This is print media. But if you followed your pastor around with a camera you might catch him doing some strange things on the premises. Here are a few …
  • On my knees with a razor blade scraping wax and paint off the floor tiles.
  • On a ladder fixing damaged ceiling tiles or running sound cables.
  • With a hammer drill putting up closet doors.
  • Staring blankly at the kitchen … I’m mentally rearranging.
  • Straightening, hiding ecclesia-clutter (all the stuff that accumulates at a church).
  • Washing windows … washing anything that needs washing.
  • Buying carpets at PriceSmart to capture some of the dust that blows under the doors.

Don’t let me fail to mention that Sue is right beside me, doing the same things. I’m so thankful that we’re wired the same way. I’m admitting that part of this is due to our personality bents. But I’m also glad she shares my vision for a clean and inviting worship space. I like to come into that kind of environment and I think others do too. Actually research by the Rainer Foundation bears this out. People form instant opinions about a church if it is cluttered or dilapidated.

Now … do I think a committed Christ-follower will be put off by such things? I hope not. I do want a nice worship space for all of you, but I also want to remove barriers for the seeker and the disenfranchised. I will not dumb down the Gospel to reach out … but I don’t mind cleaning up the church.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

Colossians 4:5



DISTRACTED!

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Productivity coach and author David Allen maintains that the human brain can only keep so many balls in the air at one time. The core concept of his “Getting Things Done” method is listing every project that’s on your mind. According to Allen, getting it all out on paper frees your mental processes to better concentrate on solving problems. The rest of his material focuses on how to process the items on your list and make intelligent decisions about how to accomplish them. His method really does work … if you work his method.

One issue that I have with his technique is that making exhaustive lists can be … exhaustive! Seeing on paper everything that must be accomplished can be overwhelming. I do much better at identifying a few high priority tasks and then attacking those. The real secret, of course, is to never let your list get too long to begin with.  That’s great as long as you are in control of the flow. But sometimes, something huge gets dumped on you … and someone else sets the deadline. That emergency is like having an elephant stuck at the end of your escalator with all other projects piling up behind it. You’ll never win by staying on your list … you’ve got to deal with the elephant before the pileup can ever be sorted out.

 After the service today, Sue and I will be leaving to hunt elephant in Kansas. Our goal in being gone is to be able to return … and be ALL here. God has already provided much in the way of the resources for this trip. Would you please pray that we’ll have the needed wisdom as well? In the meantime, we’re going to take one step at a time and trust God. If your facing something huge and looming, make the best plans you can, but don’t forget to …

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7



Presumed Dead

Joseph Squestion_markterner III was pronounced dead four times; twice as a POW in the Pacific Theater during WW 2, once in his early sixties … and once for real. Despite those two initial reports, Sterner survived the war, returned home, married and raised five children. Stresses associated with his war experience took their toll and Joseph separated from his family. Then in 1986, his truck was found abandoned in Pittsburg and he was presumed murdered. After an extensive search and investigation, Sterner was declared legally dead.

Ten years later, the 72 year-old Sterner contacted the family lawyer looking for his vital records so that he could get medical benefits from the Veteran’s Administration. It was the same lawyer who had filed the death petition on behalf of his family.

Jesus Christ, was not presumed dead, He was dead.  Then … there He was alive again! Talking, eating drinking and teaching His baffled, befuddled, dumbstruck disciples. One modern skeptic claimed Jesus only swooned on the cross, but later revived in the coolness of the tomb. I wonder if that cynic considered the report from John 19:39 that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus’ body in“a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.”
I don’t think being wrapped in 34 kg of spices would aid in reviving someone who was comatose!
Then there are those who admit the reality of Christ’s death, but totally deny His resurrection. “It was merely a hoax perpetrated by his followers,” they say. If that were the case, it would have been audacious for Paul to write that Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living.” (1 Corinthians 15:6). At the time Paul was writing, this was an invitation to his readers to investigate the claim from themselves … which they could have done. Jesus was really dead … and now He is really alive! Read the rest of 1 Corinthians 15 and you’ll find out that our entire faith pivots on that one fact!


Time’s Up!

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Well, now that we we’ve got our Permanent Residency Card and our E-card for Panama, it’s time to go get our four-year driver’s license. No hurry though, the expiration date on our current license reads “12/03/2016.” We’ve got like nine months … right? WRONG! Wrong country, wrong system, wrong date = wrong Wiziardes!
The U.S. records dates ordered by Month/Day/Year. This is known as the Middle-endian dating system. The majority of the world uses the Little-endian system, placing the day first and then the month. Only a handful of nations use the Big-endian system … and it would be the minority if it weren’t the favored system of populous China. I personally like Canada’s solution. According to Wikipedia, they use all three. No wonder the world likes them J. Anyway, all that to say … instead of having nine months, our Panamanian driver’s licenses are EXPIRED.

So what calendar are you living by? By which time system do you recon life? While it’s not often expressed, one popular scheme (Existential Materialism) measures time like this … “Get what you can, while you can, because this life is all you get.” Another says, “Careful how you live, what goes around comes around.” That’s Karma. But what does God’s word say about time?

God’s Mercy: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

(2 Peter 3:9)

Our Brevity: You sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 

(Psalm 90:12; see also Psalm 39:4 and Job 14:5)

Our Mission: As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 

(John 9:4)

Let’s get on God’s time system. If you haven’t yet, start by accepting his patient mercy … while there’s time!