Pleasant Home UMC
Saturday, July 04, 2015
Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.
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June through August

Sunday Service 10:30 a.m.

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From the Pastor’s Desk...
Last weekend, our family attended the high school track and field State Final that lasted for two days in Eugene Oregon. Only the top athletes from high school could participate in the State Final and one must be pretty good if he/she made it to the State Final. If one wins the top three on the first day in the concerned event, he/she will be qualified for the semifinal on the second day. Our son made it to the State final; so we were very excited and looked forward to see our son compete with the best of the best high school athletes. Our son's event was 110 high hurdles, and he is quite good at this.

A couple of events were going on as we arrived there. I could feel that my wife was waiting anxiously for Tongia's event. She was checking her phone to make sure it had sufficient power back up to take pictures and videos. She was looking around for a good spot for taking pictures. Then she went to the finish line. Of course, she had to before others get to where she wanted to go. Finally, the event started and I heard my wife screaming "run son! son run..." from where I was sitting. Well, eventually, she enjoyed the event and we felt delighted after the event. He came third which qualified him for the semifinal, the next day. Of course, all those pictures and videos she had taken were sent out on her face book page and some other social networks. Amazingly, a lot of people commented on it saying how great a job our son did. Unfortunately, we could not make it for the second day. So, after his event, he sent a text to us saying that he came 8th. Of course, he had our support and we told him how proud we are of him. We felt it was a great accomplishment. However, when my wife posted it on her face book page several of her friends never responded.

I was able to relate this to the world we live in. We compete to get to the top in everything we do or possess. We live by our strengths because they preserve us; we get what we want because of our strengths. In technology we like to have the most sophisticated one; we desire to be the healthiest and the strongest and we like to have the best of everything. Sadly, this is the kind of world we live in. Most of us want to be the first and we want to see who is the wealthiest etc. We tend to favor only those who have the most superior achievement. Speaking of this, my nine year old son just walks in and asks if we can go to the store and buy Pokemon cards. I said, "Why do you want more cards?" He said, "Because my friend has more cards than I."

You know, having more is not a bad thing, but if those things become one's priority, then we are doing it the wrong way. When I look at some of the responses people give that reflect the same attitude: "I thought when I became a Christian I would be achieving more in life. I would be healthier and don't have to face a lot of problems; it seems as if I have more issues than my non church friends." Well, today is the Memorial Day, and I am thinking about similar things. I've lost both of my parents in the same year which left me without any direction in a foreign country. I had no family or any support whatsoever. Is there any difference for being a Christian? Are the disappointments and failures in life going to be less severe for a Christian? But we would like to think that we should be better because we believe in God.

Let us understand what Paul says to the Corinthians "Three times, I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." These verses seem like contradictions to what Jesus is saying, "You can do all things through Christ; Ask and you shall receive knock and the door will be opened, seek and you shall find; come to me and I will give you peace etc.

As you can imagine how hard it had been for me to deal with these things. Thereby, I come to realize that when I live by my own strengths which means being stable, strong and sure, comfortable, superior etc. I don't rely on God but me. On the other hand, weaknesses represent some one who is in need of assistance, and who is broken. I have come to realize the importance of this verse in my spiritual journey that my weaknesses make me good and uncomfortable to the point that I know I can't do this - whatever it might be without Him. It's the place where I become humble and God has my attention. I become His clay, willing and ready to be shaped, molded and made stronger for Him. I no longer say my weaknesses are negative. In fact, there's nothing more positive than being a helpless dependent on Christ. "In my strengths, I know God. But in my weaknesses, I need Him. And that's when He guides me most." (Author unknown)