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

The Road less … marked

Maybe three-quarters of the way up to El Valle, in one of the little towns, a road veers off sharply on the right. Nicely paved and lined, the narrow path drops steeply from the main road.  It doesn’t look like a way back to Coronado, but it is an alternate route.
The first time Sue and I ventured down this scenic route, we weren’t entirely sure we were on the correct road. We proceeded cautiously, but quickly became enthralled with the rugged beauty of the scenery. Not far down the uncertain path, we encountered a choice; another paved road careened to the right. I slowed and considered my options. The road straight before us continued with the neatly painted sidelines. The road to the right was bare pavement. I didn’t hesitate long; the marked road would obviously take me home. I continued past neatly manicured Panamanian houses … obvious signs of more civilization to come. I crossed a fairly modern bridge; surely this was the right path. A young boy playing at the edge of the river, smiled grandly and welcomed us with and enthusiastic wave. The pristine lined pavement climbed a gentle hill … and ended abruptly in an open field. A fifteen point turn in the narrow lane allowed us to retrace our course. On the other side of that gentle hill, the little smiling scoundrel jumped from behind a tree and shouted. His eyes gleamed merrily with … “I knew you’d be back!” It was indeed the unmarked road that led us home. It was filled with deep depressions, steep climbs, hairpin turns and … awesome beauty. If you like scenic drives, you owe it to yourself to find this path.
Our trip down the nicely lined dead-end path cost us only a few minutes. There are other path choices with infinitely more serious consequences. It is so attractive to take the clearly marked paths in life, even in our beliefs. Sometimes though, the road less marked … the road that looks more challenging is the right road. Jesus warned His hearers about choosing the easy path,
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”  
Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)


Worthless Compared to What’s Free

What liquid price have you complained the most about in your lifetime? I’m guessing fuel is number one and milk is probably number two. The reason
people watch the prices of these liquids so closely is because they use them in quantity. When I was in grade school, my father regularly groaned about milk … but then he had four boys. I remember him saying, “I’m sure glad my car doesn’t run on milk!” and “I think it would be cheaper to buy a cow!”
Despite our complaints about these commodities, they are by no means the most expensive liquids we use. The box on the right contains a few notable examples. The list should give you a different perspective on cost per gallon. You might be curious about those last three liquids. Why would anyone use them, much less pay such exorbitant prices for them? Horseshoe Crab Blood is used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry for testing new medicines. King Cobra Venom is so deadly that one bite can kill a full-grown male elephant … and yet, it’s being tested as a possible cure for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and to treat schizophrenia and depression. According to the weblog cited, “The protein in scorpion venom is used for the treatment of conditions like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.”
All just interesting factoids that made me think of a word-picture used in Isaiah.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:1-2
This prophetic offer was fulfilled completely in the coming of Jesus the Savior, who declared …“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Deep Water

The headlines sound like the material for another Jules Verne novel. Or … maybe like the Frenchman’s tales weren’t so farfetched. One science website proclaimed, “Huge Underground “Ocean” Discovered Towards Earth’s Core.” Another, “Huge Lake Discovered 15 Kilometers Under a Volcano.”
It’s not as simple as it sounds. The oceanographic society is not preparing their deep-water submersible for a sightseeing tour. No one is trying to tap it to solve the Earth’s water problems. The articles were enough to make me go a little cross-eyed. They talk about the subduction of the tectonic plates, incredible depths, strange rock formations and incomprehensible temperatures. Let me spare you the jargon … the water is trapped in molten rock. Not an ocean or lake as you might have imagined it, but water non-the-less. This is not a new discovery, scientists have known for centuries that volcanoes ejected vaporized water. What was not imagined was the amount of water potentially encased within our globe.
The “Huge Lake” spoken of is located beneath the Uturuncu Volcano in the Bolivian Andes and has an H2O volume roughly the size of Lake Superior. Scientists believe the water content in the rock below many volcanoes is as high as 10% by volume. Here’s the astounding thing … if only 1% of the Earth’s crust is water, that amount of water equals three times the volume of all our oceans!
I remember being told in science class that there never was enough water on earth to support the kind of global flood spoken of in the book of Genesis. Now Scientists are theorizing that 300% more water is present on earth than once believed.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. Genesis 7:11
Just Sayin’ …

Running Out of Gas?

I grew up amid the Kansas natural gas fields. Refineries gleamed in the dark night like distant metropolises. Their waste fuel stacks blazed with eternal flames celebrating superfluous abundance. Abandoned salt mines stored gargantuan reserves; supply lines snaked off in every direction through the waving fields of wheat.
When I bumped up the thermostat on a frigid Kansas night or filled a tub with hot water, I never gave a second thought to the reservoir somewhere at the other end of our gas pipe. My father, who worked in the industry, undoubtedly had a different perspective … but limits to the reserve never entered my mind.
It’s a different perspective being hooked to a tank rather than a pipeline. You realize, that you have no idea how many hot showers, loads of laundry, meals or sinks full of dishes are bottled up in that little can. It just doesn’t look like much … it looks like scarcity.
This a microcosm of the difference between relying on God’s resources and my own. For … going against the immoral grain of society, for persevering in marriage, for resisting my own fallen tendencies, for fighting off emotional fatigue … my resources are limited and exhaustible. But there is a pipeline of grace that was opened by the cross of Christ. It leads to an inexhaustible reservoir filled with God’s sustaining power for life and obedience. When I burned through resources in my youth, I depleted a vast, but finite supply of gas. That is not true with God’s power for living. In fact, as we learn to rely on his supply, our ability to access it grows. Turn up the heat, bathe your life in God’s abundant grace, wash every aspect of your character clean, drink in His blessing … taste and see that the Lord is good. There need not be scarcity in your relationship with Him.

2 Peter 1:3  His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

(see also Ephesians 1:3; 1:17-18; 3:16 and Philippians 4:19)


End of the Line:

Have you had the fine dining experience at PriceSmart? The food’s not too bad and the price is great …but those lines! The first trick is to get in the correct que. Stand in the line leading to the sign, “Ordene Aqui.”   Make sure you in that line … otherwise you’re waiting to pick up food you haven’t ordered yet. Every time I’m there, someone discovers they’re waiting in the wrong line and shuffles sadly to the back of the ordering line with a look like they’ve just been held back a grade.
When you’ve finally ordered your food, you’re handed a ticket and pointed to the line where you wait to receive your food. When there are two food pick-up lines, that’s when it gets super tricky. If you see me waiting for my food, chose the opposite line. I always pick the slow one.
Why does it matter? Because … they’re not handing out the food in the sequence it was ordered. They don’t begin working on your order until you hand them that magic little receipt. All sorts of things can thwart your progress in this endeavor. Once I was behind a group of guys and noticed their friend was just ordering for all of them. When he was done, he handed the receipt across to his compatriots. He ordered after me, but his receipt for sixteen chicken dinners slid across the finish line before mine. Am I complaining … YES!
Last time I was enduring this smoldering purgatory, I was nervously eyeing the other line. My mind was gauging the fairness of the process and I was in full internal grumble. Suddenly, a thought came to me very clearly, “You have never stood in a line and not received food.” It’s true. Every time I have been in a line waiting for food, I have received food … and usually in quantities most of the world only dreams of. I was ashamed .. then repentant … and then deeply grateful. What a privilege to wait in line for food and actually receive some.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-7