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

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

Humbled and Encouraged

… those two words describe my feelings after the U.S. Missions Conference which I just attended. The meetings were held at the Chicago area church that I served prior to pastoring at CBC. Over twenty of the missionaries and international pastors that they support gathered for the week of meetings. The missionaries represented, the United States, the Navajo Nation, Guyana, the Philippines, several Southern African countries, Egypt … and Panama. The way these men and women serve and who the serve varies greatly, but they are all spreading the good news of Salvation in Jesus Christ. Their testimonies not only humbled me, but encouraged and incited me to persevere in the ministry of the Gospel. Here are some snapshots:
Richard John who pastors four churches in Guyana, South America, regularly removes his socks and shoes, rolls up his pant legs and slogs through mud to preach the gospel in a local village. One of his fellow pastors, James Garraway, routinely ministers in a crime infested slum from which you’re lucky to return. Elmer Surigoa, from the Philippines, visits one church under this care that requires a flight, a boat ride, a bus, a motor cycle and finally a horse to get there. Most of the missionaries from South and Southern Africa have invested twenty to thirty years of their life in God’s work. Tim Kuehl told me that he taught and preached for four years before he saw the first sign of life among his hearers. Now, after twenty-eight years of ministry he’s seeing such rapid growth that he almost can’t keep up. It’s easy to get focused on what you’re foregoing for the sake of your ministry. It’s good to be reminded of the struggles that face other missionaries. Their level of sacrifice and commitment to proclaiming the good news of Jesus is refreshing and humbling. I feel privileged to be numbered among them.
I appreciate the CBC Elder’s encouraging me to attend the conference. We also appreciate everyone who pitched in to cover our absence. Sue and I return a little over-fed and under-rested, but humbled, encouraged and inspired for future ministry.