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

Sing Baby Sing!

People redeemed by Jesus have countless reasons to sing, but here are a few more. Singing is like chocolate without the calories. It releases the same endorphins as you might get from a hefty dose of dark chocolate. According to researchers, that’s not the only benefit.
Singing is a workout for the muscles that physiologists call the “Core.” Done correctly it strengthens the back and improves overall posture. People who sing regularly are less likely to snore because their throat and pallet muscles are in better condition. Heart and lung function increases during singing, oxygenating the blood, improving mental acuity and reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Researchers have discovered that singing stimulates the sacculus in our inner ear in a way that produces feelings of pleasure. It doesn’t even matter what the singing sounds like … so there’s hope for us all. The University of Frankfurt tested choristers after an hour of rigorous singing and discovered that they had significantly elevated levels of proteins which are vital to a healthy immune system. They tested the same group after simply listening to music and the effect was not produced. The lesson here is that you must participate to enjoy the benefits. It’s as if we were created to sing and benefit from singing.
I thought of how often the psalmists said, “I will sing.” Over thirty times, the Psalms command the people of God to sing.
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. Psalm 96:1
It would be interesting to do a survey of the entire Bible, but two New Testament passages instantly come to mind, Ephesians 5:9 and Colossians 3:16. Both teach that singing is supposed to be a regular part of a believer’s life and community experience.
It’s not surprising to me that our gracious Creator would command us to do something we were engineered to benefit from and enjoy. It makes me feel like singing!

Addicted to Light

A flashlight was one of my favorite childhood toys. I would make rocket sounds and slowly lift the flashlight off my bed, pretending the spreading ring of light was the flame of its engines. The fascination hasn’t entirely ended. I still like to peruse the flashlight isle in hardware stores. I have enough flashlights … but it wouldn’t be hard to sell me another one. Especially if you told me it was brighter than any of my current selection.
A regular old torch isn’t good enough. Now-a-days, you must have a “tactical flashlight.” Some in this new breed produce beams so intense they can ignite paper. One model boasted a brightness of 90,000 lumens. I considered purchasing one, but I don’t have anyone I need to signal on Mars? Our society is addicted to devices that dispel darkness.
 “I don’t like being left in the dark.” Now we understand that common phrase is not talking about literal darkness. The person who says such things means, “I don’t like not knowing what’s going on.” This is the darkness we fear most. We try to dispel the “darkness” of our own ignorance in all sorts of ways. We try desperately to manage our unmanageable future. Our myriad methods for anesthetizing ourselves against the uncertainty of future range from benign to blasphemous; portfolio planning, media binging, obsessive scheduling, astrology … pay-per-view prophets. We very much want to be in the know.
When it comes to the future, it’s okay to be in the dark. Read carefully Isaiah’s wisdom.
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:10-11
You were not created to know everything. You certainly don’t have to have your future neatly tied up in a bow. In fact, you can’t, because you’re not in charge. Better to walk in the dark holding God’s hand and trusting His Word than to try manufacture your own light.

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’ …