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

Toddler Christianity

kiddy-ride-2

He broke free from his parents and headed straight for the ride. The toddler was already doing an awkward limbo under the turnstyle before his mother caught hold of him. In a few moments they returned and paid the fee. He made a beeline towards a little camouflaged jeep and beamed as the attendant buckled him in. Sue and I watched with amusement as the car swung around the track in our directions. Cherubic cheeks, a broad smile and crinkled eyes betrayed the simple joy of his experience. His parents were enjoying the moment also, so much so that they paid the girl at the booth for another round.
 
But … all good things must come to an end. The car halted and the father stepped forward to collect his child. The boy began to crawl toward the other side of the jeep. He clung to the safety bar and began to wail as his father gently pried him from the ride. The child’s face was transformed into a canvas of grief and loss as he gazed back at the object of his desires. I felt sad that such a moment of joy ended with pain. I wondered what his tiny mind would remember of the experience; joy or loss. Why do we come out of the womb programed to want … more?
 
Lord save us from toddler Christianity … teach us to experience contentment in the midst of abundance or privation, because our ultimate hope and joy are fixed on you.
 
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
(See also 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Habakkuk 3:17-18)


Zipping through traffice

lane closure 3b
You can hear Rod Serling’s thin, wiry voice in the back of your head…“You’re travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of … torturously slow traffic; a journey into a cramped little world of bumpers and taillights. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, Lane Closure!”
 
I see the flashing arrow of doom and because I was raised to be conscientious and polite behind the wheel, I move over at an appropriate and safe distance. All drivers of a similar constitution do the same … leaving the closed lane empty for a space of some thousand meters. There is another class of drivers on the road; ones who have always suspected that they are more important and should be moved to the front of the line. They see the open lane as our tacit agreement with their inflated self-assessment. They speed gleefully ahead, careening in at the last possible moment. As we watch them, our ire rises and we try to turn our cars into an impenetrable wall of resistance against these pretenders to the throne. Both sides end up frustrated, perplexed, delayed and sometime with crumpled fenders.
 
It has been proven that if drivers stay two abreast and take turns at the bottleneck, traffic is safer and flows significantly faster. It’s called zippering. Zippering is safe, polite and would get us all where we’re going faster. Doing what’s best for the other guy would be best for us. The downfall of this technic is that it has to be observed by all or at least most of the drivers to work. I don’t know that I’ll ever see that lived out on our roadways. We can at least strive to live it out in the Body of Christ … the church.
 
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
(See also: 12:16; 13:8; 14:13; 15:17)


If It’s Not Broken … Replace It:

 

broken wheel

I noticed it first taking the curves in the mountains heading toward the city. The steering felt loose and the car seemed to float a little on right hand turns. It wasn’t terrible, just a little harder to keep in the lane. It only added a little exhilaration to our drive. 
 
As soon as two essentials lined up (time and money) I headed to the shop. The mechanic ran our SUV up on the lift and quickly identified several problems. The main issue was with the left hand linkage for the stabilizer bar assembly. It wasn’t broken … it wasn’t there! Almost every other bushing in the steering linkage was shot. I guess Panama is hard on your steering.
 
Have you ever seen a car with one of its wheels facing the wrong direction? That’s what we were headed for … and it could have resulted in worse than being stuck on the side of the road. We do drive an SUV …Suddenly Upside-down Vehicle. I thank God for the resources to take care of the problem.
 
Have you ever felt a little drift in your life? Like you’re having a harder time keeping life on track. It doesn’t feel bad at first, just a little fading over the center line. The rougher the terrain, the higher the speed, the more curves get thrown at you … the more dangerous life feels. Soon, your white-knuckling through situations as your pulse and BP rise. You feel as if your careening through life and just might lose control. Things could end up … upside-down.
 
Have you checked the stabilizer linkage for your life lately? It could be damaged … or missing. Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Is your life controlled by a foundational trust in Jesus … or something else? If that trust is there, is your mind “stayed” … fixed on him?


Falling for Jesus

Net falling
On Saturday, July 29, 2016, Luke Aikins jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. This was nothing new … he has done it over 18,000 times. This 25,000 foot plunge over the California desert varied in only one detail; this time, Luke wasn’t wearing a parachute. It wasn’t absent mindedness, this was a purposeful and calculated choice. Friends described Luke as the only man crazy enough to attempt this jump and cautious enough to survive.
 
This time he was not relying on his chute for a safe landing, but on a net. The net was 100-foot square and suspended between four cranes, 20 stories above the ground. In theory it would provide enough space to cushion his fall, without allowing him to bounce out of it. One test mannequin proved that he would not bounce out … the dummy went straight through. Luke showed little concern and said, “That’s why we practice.” As observed by his friends, Luke is not reckless. Other precautions were very obvious in the film of his descent. He had other jumpers who were with him for the first few minutes of the jump. They seemed to surround him as if to keep him on target. Gravity was the key player, but when Luke could finally visually see the target, he tucked his arms accelerating through the heavens straight toward the net. It all paid off … a perfectly safe landing!
 
There is something of our faith echoed in Luke’s jump. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus we are promised that our future is secure, but we cannot see our destination (Hebrews 11:1). We need guides to keep us on track (Hebrews 10:24-25). The inexorable gravity of heaven draws us, but we have no control over the time of our arrival (Romans 8:22-25). Luke diligently scanned the approaching earth for his target. We should do the same (2 Corinthians 4:18). Life passes quickly and our salvation approaches, let us, in faith, press straight for home (Hebrews 3:6; 3:14; 4:4; 12:1-2).
 


Answering in the Storm

 

stormy sky

I cannot explain my mood, but small discouragements, internal and external, rolled into a somber smoldering cloud of emotion. The storm blew up quickly and then hung over my heart … heavy, dull-gray, oppressive.
 
Late in the afternoon, I heard the distant timpani of thunder. A storm was brewing outside the confines of my heart. I scanned the horizon from our balcony, but no clouds looked as if they meant business. Suddenly, I realized that I desperately wanted it to storm … I wanted to be in the midst of the storm. I walked to the back of our building and there were the heavy boiling clouds of rain. Their deep laughter spoke to me from the distance, but they remained aloof, hugging the heights of Altos del Maria. “Lord,” I prayed, “send the storm my way.”
 
A meteorologist might tell me that the storm’s course was determined long before the prayer, but it seemed only moments after I breathed those words that the clouds broke loose of the hills and raced past our building out to sea. When the storm was past, so was my dark mood. Is it strange to find your soul soothed by forces that others fear? I cannot put words to all the spiritual therapy of the tempest, but I never hear thunder without humble thoughts of God. Most often when I’m in turmoil … humility is what my soul needs most.
 
Maybe I’m wired like Job who could not, by reason alone, cease from all his emotional striving. Peace and clarity came only after … “the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm.” Job 40:6
 
(Bonus)  For an interesting personal study use an online Bible search to query on words like: storm, thunder, wind, rain, etc. See how they are connected to God throughout the Bible. When you’re done, you may look at storms with new appreciation. Here’s a sample:
Praise the Lord from the earth … lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding.
Psalm 148:7