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

LED to the Light

I brought lightbulbs from the U.S. in my suitcase. They’re constructed of almost unbreakable plastic and boast a life of over 10,000 hours. They produce pleasant warm-white light in ample quantities, with little heat and a 1000 hour operating cost of about 96 cents. They are a tremendous improvement over the fragile glass, energy-sucking, heat-belching incandescent lights of my youth. LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are revolutionizing the way we do light.
In 1962, Nick Holonyak, Jr. produced the first LED in the visible-light spectrum. It was not the first LED, that was produced in 1927. The reason we haven’t heard much about that inventor is because the light was in the infrared spectrum invisible to the human eye. At that time, there was no practicable use for an infrared LED, but we now we use it every time we pick up a TV remote.
It took eighty years getting from that first LED to a reliable, consumer friendly lightbulb. Holonyak may have been the first to glimpse the future. He said when his LED glowed red that he “saw the light.” He saw that there would be a revolution in how we light our world.
Consider these two Biblical references to light …
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelation 21:23
There is an ultimate revolution coming in how the world is lit. I know it must come or we will be plunged into irreparable and utter darkness. I don’t know how far in the future it is, but I’ve seen the first installment and I long for it’s coming. I long for His Advent. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

The Punchline

My memories are a bit grainy, but so were the commercials. The company used pirates, gangsters, the French Foreign Legion, a death row inmate and even an amorous walrus to ask one iconic question. The ad I remember most clearly opened in the old west with a scene in silhouette; beneath a spreading tree, a man perched atop a horse, hands tied, a noose around his neck. The camera cut in close revealing a silver star glinting on his chest. The sheriff’s lynching party was made up of black-hatted, scruffy outlaws. The gang leader leaned in, sneering and asked … “Is that too tight?” The sheriff stoically answered, “Nope.” “Any last words?” snarled the gloating miscreant, “Nope,” replied the brave lawman. Finally, the smirking outlaw asked the punchline question we all came to anticipate, “Then whata you want on your Tombstone?” Cheesy commercials (pun intended) … but a great question. One day, those who know you best may be called upon to epitomize your life in one succinct statement. What will they say? How will you be remembered?
More importantly, what will be God’s pronouncement over your life? Men and women can be fooled, but the Bible confronts us with these sobering word, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.Hebrews 4:13
The Bible has a surprising number of epitaphs. They were not chiseled in stone over graves, they were laid down by the Holy Spirit in God’s Word: His eternal testimony over the lives of men and women. Some epitaphs drip with the despair of divergent lives devoid of God (1 Kings 26:16; 2 Timothy 4:10; Acts 24:25; Acts 26:28). Other epitaphs honor highly those who hounded God’s steps to the gates of heaven (Nehemiah 7:2; Daniel 6:4-5; Acts 9:36; James 2:23; Revelation 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:7-8). What do you want on your tombstone … and with God’s help what are you going to do about it?

Whistling in the Dark

Whistling in the Dark … as an idiom, can refer to speaking confidently on a subject about which you have little knowledge. But I’m talking about something whistling in the dark outside my bedroom. It’s driving me a little crazy. It’s a loud, distinct and often repeated “puh-weoh” (accent on the first syllable). The mystery creature seems to be up all hours of the day and night, but most active when I’m trying to sleep. It could be a neighbor with a strange sense of humor, but I’m leaning towards some sort of bird. To date, I’ve been unable, with flashlight or binoculars, to spot the vociferously vocal vermin. All I can say with confidence is that something’s creating a racket. To say more would be whistling in the dark.
To some degree, Christians are whistling in the dark. Even with all that God has revealed about Himself through the pages of Scripture, the Apostle Paul still admitted the limitedness of our spiritual knowledge. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 he wrote, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” The concept of seeing in a mirror dimly comes from the Greek word from which we borrow the word “enigma.” We live with questions and confusion, but also with confidence that a day of answers is coming in the presence of Christ.
“Whistling in the Dark” also speaks of putting on a brave front despite one’s uncertainties. Christians need not do this. We should share and discuss our honest quandaries about our faith. The fact that we cannot see everything clearly is not a denial of faith, but rather a proof of it. I live in darkness on some questions, but also hear a loud, distinct and often repeated refrain that calls me to believe in a kind creator and the truth of His gospel.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
I know God exists as confidently as I know there’s a creature that belongs to that whistle in the darkness.

Shattered Reality

 I have always loved words. I suppose it is somewhat genetic … or at least inherited. My paternal grandfather was a playwright and author. My father had a broad and constantly growing vocabulary and both my parents played with and invented words. Although spelling was a struggle for me, I always tested several grades ahead when it came to vocabulary. My parents only deprived me in one area of language … foul language. I am still grateful that my parent’s vocabulary of vulgarities was so anemic. I’m not saying I never heard swearing in the home. My father’s knowledge of “choice words” was probably as robust as any World War 2 veteran … but he was very strategic in their deployment. The effect of him not normally swearing increased the affect when he did. Still, by today’s standards, my parent’s language would be strictly G-rated.
One of my father’s indulgences was calling things with which he disagreed by the initials B.S. When chided by my mother (every time), he would respond (every time), “It just stands for Basic Sediment.” Basic Sediment was the useless black sludge left in the bottom of holding tanks in the oilfield industry. Judge for yourself if my dad’s interpretation of the initials was any less insulting than the common vernacular.
My mother’s strongest denigration was to call a person a “stinkpot.” This word, she applied only to the most cantankerous, obstreperous and ornery rapscallions. I’m not sure why, but I was recently intrigued about the derivation of this word. It turns out that the term “stinkpot” originally referred to a weapon employed by the Chinese in Naval warfare. They were thin metal or earthenware containers filled with sulfur and other suffocating concoctions. When hurled burning onto the deck of an enemy vessel, they burst into a cloud of toxic smothering fumes. The enemy was either overcome or forced to abandon their ship in search of oxygen. 
Think of the implication of applying this word to a human. When you are heated, jostled or shattered, what spills out of you? How does it affect those around you? Jesus said, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

A Picture of Grace

Just one street off the Interamericana, I was driving on a road that could easily be mistaken for a dry riverbed. The dry spaces between its mudholes are paved with small boulders. It’s one of those paths that doesn’t allow a driver to look away for very long. Even though I was only going five km/h, I thought it prudent to look up at the intersecting road. When I did, a magnificent tree caught my eye. I’d never seen its kind before. It was an arching, verdant palm covered with clusters of brilliant white flowers. The second glance that it begged for helped me better understand what I was seeing. It was not one, but two trees.
The Frangipani tree puts on clusters of snow-white blossoms prior to developing its leaves. Well … one of those trees had grown up and through a standard coconut palm. The combination created the illusion of a new and beautiful species of tree. It was as if they were lending what the other lacked; one tree supplying the foliage, the other the flowers. This again reminded me of 1 Peter 4:10 and how the body of Christ is supposed to function,
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Last month I explained that in this verse, the word “serve” is the same word elsewhere translated “ministry.” The application question was, “What’s your ministry?” But 1 Peter 4 also talks about God’s grace coming in “various forms.” The Greek word translated there literally means variegated or many-colored. God’s grace is expressed with variety and beauty as we pour into others what He has poured into us. One lends leaves, another flowers as the church paints a living picture of God’s glorious undeserved favor towards the world. What are you contributing toward the picture of Grace?