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

Reflections:

The shade was deep, the breeze was cool and I was safe … or so I thought. I don’t have much experience with palapa’s on the beach and it shows … literally. I have a picture of my sunburn, but I thought you’d enjoy the beach picture more.

I am fair skinned and have ducked the sun most of my life. My saying has always been, “I have three colors; red, white and … peel.” I know that UV is invisible and harmful in large doses. I know that you can get a sunburn on an overcast day. But I was in serious shade cast by a totally opaque object. How could I get such a serious sunburn? I had not accounted for the power of reflected light. After a little web research, I now know that sand reflects 15% of the sun’s UV radiation and evidently at multiple angles.

What about the power of reflected … love? 1 John 4:19 says, We love because He first loved us. There are myriad meanings for love in our society, but all that is truly love … is reflected love. A little earlier in the same chapter, John wrote, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. When we love selflessly, sacrificially we are redistributing the love that God has shown into our lives. We cannot create that love, but we can reflect it.

In 2005, Spain, using Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology accounted for half of the potential electricity produced in the world. Its accomplished through thousands of mirrors reflecting the sun’s energy to a focused point, usually superheating and vaporizing liquids to run steam turbines. The power of reflected light grows as it is combined from multiple sources. Again … what about the power of reflected love? 1 John 4:12 gives us the answer, No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. Don’t underestimate the power of reflected love or your capacity to be useful in what God is doing in this world.

 



Presumed Dead

Joseph Sterner 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 Pittsburgh 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!
 
Reprinted from 03/27/2016

 



Sober Celebration

Palm Sunday stirs mixed memories for me …
  • the fragrance of lilies in almost lethal doses,
  • aisles of swaying palm-branched children
  • a live donkey lumbering through our carpeted sanctuary (that could have gone drastically wrong)
  • majestic anthems from the choir
  • stirring sermons about the realities of King Jesus. 

Most all of it was tasteful, well-intentioned and meaningful. But there was always a dissonant note in the music of my soul. The refrain echoed every year … “How could they?” How could the jubilant thronging crowd turn so quickly? How could they cry “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and “Crucify him!” only days apart? How could the reverently intone, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” and with the same lips mock him? How could the crowd be so fickle? What about His close confidants? It was the same Peter who confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” who later swore “I don’t even know the man!” And why was Jesus’ inner circle so taken off guard by the way events unfolded? The Bible says … And Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31 The sense of the passage is that it was a repeated warning … but there was the repeated promise also “and after three days rise again.” How did their faith so quickly bleed out? How did they suffer such a tragic failure to hope?

In the proud petulance of youth, “How could they?” was a cry of disdain. The years have softened my tone to a weeping whisper … “How could I?” I have proven to be as fickle as the crowd. I am prone to praise followed by denial. I grasped great truths but failed to live by them. I have heard the Savior’s call to suffering and been shocked when I must. Palm Sunday has a somber and personal note of realism for me. But it is sober … PRAISE! The same Jesus who said, “You will certainly deny me” sought Peter out after his dark days of denial and said, “Follow me.” Praise God … He still does!
 
 

 



Above the Lines

Gazing out my office window, a ballet of chaos fills my lower vision. Thundering semis shutter, bellowing their disapproval at flea-like taxis. Herds of pedestrians snake between hulking, impatient SUVs. Toro Blancos snort in and out of their stall … gobbling up and disgorging their prey. Young legs climb to safety above the Interamericanna, while knees too old for stairs cross the pulsing vein of metal mortality. The stage below me presents a chaotic dance that somehow works.
 
If I lift my eyes even ten degrees, everything changes. Above the highlines rests a rugged and beautiful peace. Before combustion clambered along filled with its hurried and harried cargo, the scene looked very much the same. A caballero looking out from under his sombrero pintado loved the same mountains when this was a dusty path through the jungle. We have worried the hillsides with our wrinkled roads, but we have not aged them. A humble sort of quiescence floods my soul when I take time to lift my eyes. Mountains tell us the truth about man … and God. Mountains remind me that I am passing and God is not.
 
The setting sun runs the rim’s rugged shadow down over El Valle … reminding me that quickly I have passed half a century. The rains leave for their summer vacation and the verdant green becomes dusty brown. God’s Word is so accurate … “My days are like a lengthened shadow, and I wither away like grass.” Psalm 102:11
 
This Psalm, so replete with examples of human brevity, reminds us that our world is also passing. The hills seem eternal, but they are not. “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” Psalm 102:25-27
 
Lifting my eyes above the lines reminds me of the timeless, changeless Creator who predated and outlasts all my earthly troubles. I say with another Psalmist, “I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1–2
 
 

 



The Rush of Life:

The buildout of our church’s new space has not been what I expected. Our contractors started early, showed up when they said they would, worked later than expected and are ahead of schedule. I’m super pleased with the job they’re doing!
 
The other thing that I didn’t expect was the onslaught of questions and options. The Elders and I have been thinking about this for a long time … but there are always a few things you didn’t anticipate. The tile has been our biggest issue to date. We knew that there were missing tiles and that it would be our responsibility to replace. We didn’t realize that almost all the tile in one unit was loose. The mall management supplied what spare tiles they could, but not nearly enough to do the job. Oh … and any extra of that tile in Panama was rounded up and sent to Siberia … or was it Mars. It is NOT available. We worked it out, but the quick rush of questions, the “need it now” urgency, reminded me of something from my childhood.
 
When I was just a little tike playing outside, I’d get thirsty. I must have been small, because I couldn’t turn on the faucet. Instead, I’d just suck on the garden hose until I got a mouthful of water. It probably wasn’t real heathy, but then neither were lead pipes, leaded paint or playing with mercury … all of which I survived. If it hadn’t been for all those toxins, I might be one of them-thar geniuses.
 
One time when I was trying to get a drink, one of my “helpful” older brothers was around the corner with the faucet on and the hose kinked. He removed the obstruction and I got waters in abundance! Hot plasticized hose water up your nose leaves a lasting memory.
 
That’s what this project reminds me of … not the “hot water up the nose” part, just the suddenly “getting more than you bargained for” part. We’ve been nursing along the idea of an expansion for over two years and now that it’s finally happening … it’s happening FAST! Sometimes that’s just the reality of life. It doesn’t stop the rush, but we can have peace in the midst of it, if we acknowledge Who is in control and allow Him to shepherd our soul …
 
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-2
 
I like quiet waters much better.