A Message from Pastor Craig: 5-15-2022

On the north side of our church property you will find a wall. I don’t really understand the wall – it doesn’t span our whole northern property line, it doesn’t even fully span the office building that I assume built it. And it has a break in it to allow people to walk through.  Maybe one of you all can explain it to me.

Currently, you can’t even see the wall. We have a company renting parking spaces that is doing infrastructure work for the city, and they have fenced it all off. But you can walk back there if you insist on verifying what I’m sharing here.

From our side of the wall, we have a very nicely landscaped parking lot. Lots of trees and bushes make the parking area look like a park. On the other side of the wall on the other hand, is a dumpster, the end of their parking deck, and the little walkway to get to our property. It’s not junky necessarily, but just a non-descript, least picturesque piece of their property. Nobody really goes there.

Which is why it struck me as odd yesterday when I walked through there, just to find a lovely, blooming
orchid. With four flowers in full bloom lined up sequentially, this purple hanging plant blared with contrast the beauty of these bright flowers against the backdrop of a dumpster and a bunch of concrete. Who put it there? And why?  Why waste such a beautiful flower where no one sees it?

That happens you know. There is a lot of beauty that goes unappreciated. Or at least apparently so. I think of the Washington Monument, where it says “Laus Deo” on the famous aluminum cap. Can anybody see it? To whom does it proclaim “Praise be to God?”  Well…

In Costa Rica there is a very boring, slow ride through the canopy of the rain forest. You imagine yourself riding up with the toucans and hovering over monkeys and wild cats.  But you know what?  They all hightail it out of there when they hear the whir of the cables (and the loud tourists).  But occasionally, way up there, you might see a magnificent beautiful flower, sunning itself at the very top of the tree line.  What a waste of a beautiful flower!  Who will see it?  Who will appreciate its beauty?  Well…

Every day there’s a nondescript woman who leaves a little food for the homeless. And a guy who picks up trash around the places where the homeless hang out.  Who sees them? Who appreciates their small acts of kindness?  Well…

That kind thing you did yesterday for somebody?  Nobody saw you, nobody thanked you.  Why did you do it?  Who noticed? Well…

God did. And God finds pleasure and delight in the random acts of kindness. He finds himself smiling at the flower of His own creation reaching out from the top of the trees. He is perpetually praised by an inscription on a famous monument that only He can read.

And me? I had the blessing of appreciating the beauty of an orchid, stuck in an ugly corner of a parking lot, a place where God can see it, and you too if you take a minute to find it. Beauty is that way.

Back to work,

Craig

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.  Revelation 4:11 KJV

A Message from Pastor Craig: 5-8-2022

Dealing with the upgrades in our sound system has taken an inordinate amount of my time for the last month or so.  And we’re not done.  But things are improving!  It really seems like the saying “if it ain’t one thing, it’s another” is true.

This week, I installed a new wireless microphone for Pastor Madeline (I can do simple things!).  It worked just fine, but if the receiver (the box in the back) was on, and you turned the transmitter (the little pack that you wear) off, you heard this horrendous static sound.  It was horrible.  And while none of you heard it on Sunday, if Madeline had turned her pack off, you all would have jumped through the roof (this was only in the Sanctuary – I couldn’t figure that out either!).

So, I got some long cables and separated the receivers back in the balcony.  I thought they might be interfering with one another.  Then I changed the little antennas on them, wondering if that was it.  I plugged the thing into a different outlet.  What could it be!?

Sunday night I decided to google the problem. And there I found various people had the same problem, and they suggested that the problem was with the “Squelch.”  Now, some of you who went through the CB radio craze of the 70’s and 80’s may remember the “Squelch” dial.  I don’t know what it did, but you had to play with it so that the radio wouldn’t produce that horrible hissing.

After reading the manual (uh huh, I actually read it), I adjusted the squelch and voila! The noise was gone.  I was so happy!  This Sunday, Madeline can safely walk in and out of the Sanctuary and we will all be OK!

What did I learn from this?  One, happiness is based on circumstantial events in our lives.  I was happy for the rest of the day because of that solution.  Joy, on the other hand, is a delight in life that comes because of the eternal redemption we have in Jesus Christ.  Joy makes me a content person, regardless of the circumstances—regardless of what the microphones, or the rest of the sound system is doing.

Second, I engaged in a lot of superstitious activity when I didn’t know what the problem was.  Left to my own devises, I tried any number of silly solutions to the problem.  I didn’t even have a name for my problem.  It took other “witnesses” to let me know what had to be fixed.  And the way to fix it was in the manual.  I think in life we can try to fix spiritual problems with all kinds of superstitious things – drinking, hanging out with different people, reading self-help books on this that and the other.  But the real answer lies in somebody sharing their testimony of what God has done in their lives.  Those people have experienced similar problems to ours and have found the Solution.  And where is the Solution?  Well, it’s in a person (“I am the Way” said Jesus in John 14), and we learn about Him and His ways in the
manual, I mean, the Bible.

I had called Technical Assistance in the midst of all of this.  I was on hold so long that I gave up and resorted to google.  Having somebody to talk to is really helpful when you have problems.  On the one hand, God doesn’t have a call center!  God picks up Himself.  But it occurred to me also that sometimes we need to be available to others, to give our witness and testimony to somebody who has questions.  Let’s make ourselves available to that, and not make people wait so long that they give up, or have to subject their souls to the Internet.

God wants the best for all of us.  God wants us to be spiritually healthy.  And God needs us all to support one another, to love one another, to be helpful.

Striving towards that goal,

Craig

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.  Colossians 2:8

A Message from Pastor Craig: 5-1-2022

The good news is, the scoundrels cannot lease dogs in Massachusetts anymore. The bad news is, wait, what!?  You can lease dogs?!

I read a news article this week about the State of Massachusetts settling with a lending company from
California that was illegally leasing dogs in Massachusetts. The settlement included the firm canceling almost $700,000 debt involving 211 outstanding leases, transferring full ownership of the dogs to the Massachusetts residents, paying $175,000 in restitution to consumers for lease payments the firm collected but legally couldn’t, and paying a $50,000 fine to the state. That’s an average lease of over $3,000 per dog. I live in this country and lead a fairly normal life in it, but I don’t understand it.

This also means that 211 people in Massachusetts were leasing dogs. Now, if you are currently leasing a dog, I apologize but, I just have to say that this seems crazy to me. I don’t belong to PETA, I am not an over-the-top dog owner, but first off, you lease cars or houses,  inanimate objects not dogs. Dogs aren’t people – I know that – but they are alive. How do you terminate a lease with a dog?  Last Sunday I preached on Genesis 1 and marveled at the creation.  How do you lease a fellow creature?

The second moral issue has to do with the lending practices of these financial institutions. It’s one thing to use credit to make a purchase (and you do purchase pets) but a lease implies ownership being retained by the lender. They can repossess Fido. They will keep billing you if the dog dies. They will charge you for depreciation at the end of the lease (what could go wrong there!?). Predatory lending happens when people can’t afford their purchases. Shame on those institutions who practice
usury.

But in this case, it’s the consumer who is driving these schemes. You shouldn’t purchase a pet if you can’t properly care for them, and if you have to lease it to get that full-bred, high-end dog—don’t do it!

I think this is one of the largest temptations that we have living in this land of plenty. We end up wanting more and more – we covet the cars or houses, or DOGS, that other people have, and we end up going to crazy lengths to get them. Getting things that we can’t afford  including, apparently, leasing dogs. 

In Hebrews 13, Paul says: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  If we truly believe that God is with us, and will never leave us, then we can be content with what we have. That contentment is a direct reflection on my trust in God. If I can’t be content with my Puerto Rican street dog rescue, and need some purebred dog to satisfy my longings, I am not only dissing my dog Hunter, but I am telling God I don’t trust Him. 

So it’s not just about dogs – crazy as this story may be.  It has to do with what I do with my money, and what that says about my relationship with the Lord.

Petting my dog,

Craig

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.  Proverbs 16:8

A Message from Pastor Craig: 4-24-2022

The road sign said “stay in your lane.”  It seems obvious to tell drivers to stay in their lane. Captain
Obvious (remember him?) would say something like this.  It seems about as obvious as if they would make a sign that simply stated “obey the law.”  Oh wait, maybe I’ve seen that one flashing on a sign, too.

I suppose you could find any number of obvious or redundant signs (like the one that says Caution – Water on Road when raining).  But the “stay in your lane” expression transcends traffic, and I think hence some of its clear implications.

According to one article I read on the Internet, “stay in your lane” as a command started in football.  Players are given a route, a lane to run, and they are told to stay in their lanes.  Of course in football there are antagonists to fight in the process, something you usually don’t find in traffic.  Staying in your lane in football means that you are following orders, you are being faithful to your teammates, and you are playing to your strengths.

It’s interesting that in popular culture it has come to mean something else.  When someone disagrees with your position and begins to argue against it, you tell them to “stay in your lane.”  I think that means that you don’t want them treading on what you perceive to be your domain, your right, or your opinion.

So its use gets interesting when used outside the context of traffic or football.  It seems to me that if I end up saying that to somebody, I am shutting them down.  If in conversation I tell you to “stay in your lane,” you will be hurt, put down, and maybe challenged.  It demeans the other person.  Now, I can envision that we might say that to somebody we love and want to keep from embarrassing themselves, to “stay in your lane.”  But still, it cuts off, or shuts up the other person.

On the other hand, if I apply it to myself, it seems like wise counsel.  I have long understood the propensity that I carry naturally within me, to carry an opinion about just about everything.  Whether I know anything about it or not!  I will go to great lengths to make a point, for which I bring little to the table, and usually have little to do with anyway. To remind myself to “stay in my lane” then
reminds me to participate in the conversation, but to not wander too much from what I truly know.

Now, I am a car guy.  It seems to me that within your lane, you should go fast.  Within your lane you should get your half of the middle (as my grandfather used to say).  In our own lanes we should contribute as much as we can.  It’s the place where God has put us, blessed us, and expects us to flourish.

And with blinkers, we can change lanes.  Where we are allowed in, where we ask in, where there is room, changing lanes isn’t bad.  It’s when we force things that we get into trouble.  So I guess the self-reminder to stay in our lanes is really just an expression of humility. Proverbs 11:2 says: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”  Right.  When I get to talking about stuff I don’t know, disgrace follows my pride.  But stopping an exit or so before that is wise, and others think you as wise when you do.  Pretty cool.

Trying to stay in my lane,

Craig

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  Romans 12:3

A Message from Pastor Craig: 4-17-2022

OK, so, this didn’t happen 100 years ago or 10 years ago for that matter. Did you see this in the news? San Francisco has several competing companies testing their autonomous driving cars. They peddle the idea as taxis operating in a defined area of the city, and right now you can sign up and get on a waiting list for a free ride. I’m all for technology and everything, and would take a ride from a risk basis, but…. I love to drive!  And to let “Nobody” drive, I just don’t know.

Oh, yes, speaking of “Nobody.” Last week one of these autonomous driving cars got pulled over by a cop. Now, that’s just funny in and of itself. At first blush it seemed a little incredulous to me as those cars never exceed the speed limit. But, it turns out the cop stopped it for not having its lights on. Built into the software of these cars, is a protocol of what to do when the car senses flashing lights and a siren. It hits the gas and goes for a chase! I’m kidding. It pulls over immediately, then looks for the safest place to park which this car did. Somebody videoed the cop trying to figure out what was going on. The cop was a little confused. I mean, if Nobody is driving, and Nobody makes a mistake, who do you give a ticket to?

It turns out that those cars have a number to call for this very thing. In this case the company figured out that somebody had flipped the headlight switch to off and didn’t return it to automatic when they set it loose. The cop bought the explanation and, indeed, nobody got a ticket.

They blamed it on “human error.” All the “autonomous” stuff had worked, but somebody had switched the headlights off, maybe while cleaning it or something. I wonder if God sees our bodies kind of the same way – that He programmed them OK, that they were actually “programmed” perfectly to start with, and then “human error” came into being. Now, the Creation story tells us that the error was actually instigated by an outside force that humans were introduced to by the devil.  And we’ve been living with the “bugs” in the programming ever since.

Today is Easter. (Happy Easter BTW!). Today we celebrate the remedy to our “human error” conundrum.  Our errors, call them sin, disrupted our relationship with God. We deserve to be pulled over. But Jesus paid the price for our errored ways, and so it’s not that no one gets ticketed, it’s that the penalty has already been paid. Our sins have been forgiven. This is the reason for our Hallelujahs today. (Have you noticed we haven’t sung a hallelujah during Lent?)

Today we sing praise to God for all He has done, but particularly for taking on our sin so that we could enjoy our relationship with God forever. This is big people!  Really big!

Again, Happy Easter!

Craig

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

A Message from Pastor Craig: 4-10-2022

Palm Sunday is this odd day in Lent.  Lent starts with Ash Wednesday, a service that reminds you of your sin and mortality.  It sets the mood for Lent.  This week is Holy Week, marked by somber (yet really significant – both the Seder meal and Good Friday are going to be inspiring and contemplative) services.  And yet here is this celebratory Sunday amidst it all.  How’s that?  Well, for one thing, every Sunday is a celebration of Easter.  We don’t worship on the Sabbath because Easter so changed everything.  As Christians we celebrate the new life, the new relationship with God that Easter brought.  It literally changed everything – for us personally and for us as humankind.  (And the day we worship).

We want to be transformed and transformational.  The term “Good News” has been so used in our churches that we forget that indeed we have learned “good news” about the meaning of life, the purpose it carries, and the explanations of where it started and where it goes.  We have been the recipients of it, and need to share it.

The sharing of the Good News happens in different ways.  We share it from the pulpit.  We share it in Sunday School.  We share it through missionaries nearby and far away.  And I think that Easter makes us mindful of those who bear good news.  Isaiah had a funny way of saying that.  In Isaiah 52:7 he says:  “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet”?  What?  What is that?  What does that mean?  Have you ever brought good news to somebody?  Maybe somebody was in trouble, and you told them help is on the way.  Maybe somebody was financially in trouble, and you brought a little cash to pay their bills – they are so grateful, they can’t thank you enough. They might poetically say blessed are your feet for bringing them help.

I was delivering food for Branches in Miami years ago, and I remember one particular lady – precisely because she was so grateful.  That ministry mattered to her. Branches is an urban ministry in Dade
County.  A similar ministry in Palm Beach County is called CROS (Christians Reaching Out to Society) Ministries.  As a church we have supported CROS for years. Our own Rev. Juanita Goode is the Director of Engagement for them.  I am one who would say of CROS “how beautiful are the feet of them who bring good tidings.” (I wouldn’t say “on the mountains” because, well, we don’t have mountains.) CROS brings hope daily to people who need food in pockets of our county that are truly needy.   I want to invite you to consider an Easter gift to the mission emphasis this month which is CROS.  They are our feet in our own backyard.

Grateful for what we are able to do together,

Craig

O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!”  Isaiah 40:9 (NLT)

A Message from Pastor Craig: 4-3-2022

At 150 feet, the Statue of Liberty is the tallest, and by far the tallest, statue in the continental United States.  Around 4 million people go yearly to celebrate this great symbol of our country: a symbol of freedom (her name is Lady Liberty after all), a symbol of our country desiring to be a beacon for those seeking freedom, a symbol of welcoming everyone who comes from afar.

That’s the tallest statue in the continental US (there is a taller one in Puerto Rico).  Do you know where the second tallest statue is in the US? Hallandale. Yes, Hallandale in Broward County (just south of Ft.
Lauderdale). Yes, just down the street basically and my guess is that you didn’t even know it was there, much less have seen it. That’s not a judgmental statement because I’ve seen it and wouldn’t blame you for not having heard about it.

This statue is right on US1 and is a 110-foot tall. The statue is of a horse with big wings, named Pegasus from Greek mythology, and a dragon coiled up that Pegasus is pouncing on. It’s a lot wider and longer than the Statue of Liberty, but not nearly as tall. While everyone who goes to bet on horses at Gulfstream Racetrack or shops at The Village at Gulfstream Park has seen it, I dare say few others have. Thousands drive by because it’s US1, but I didn’t see anybody stopping to take a picture when I drove by the other day (how many New Yorkers have never been to the Statue of Liberty?)

I was dumbfounded by the colossus, I mean Pegasus.  It’s really huge. Surrounded by trees, buildings and urbanization in general, it doesn’t stand out like the Statue of Liberty there in the Hudson River. You don’t get a good view of it until you are right in front of it. So when I read that somebody paid $30 million to put it there, I couldn’t help but ask “Why?” 

Built in 2012, the developers of Gulfstream, which would now include a mall and a bunch of condos, decided to build an entrance to beat all entrances.  “OK…”  In my mind they could have given a $35 million rebate to all the residents, and have spent the money better.

And a Pegasus?  Why that?  Was that the best definer of their values and aspirations?  Well, Gulfstream is known for its horses, and I suppose that there’s something to be said for a flying horse, I mean, a symbol of strength and freedom that can slay dragons.  But still.

I will say that you should go see it – only here in South Florida do you find the second largest statue in the US. You have to go to Butte, Montana to see the next tallest one after all.

But at the end of the day, as artistic expressions go, I think this one was a waste of money. The Statue of
Liberty cost $250,000 (or $5 million in today’s money).  It’s symbolism is much deeper, and obviously more meaningful to 4.5 million people that visit it. And the third one?  It’s a Madonna, a symbol of gratitude built with the contributions of many in that area of Montana.

Jesus said: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not
destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 16:19,20).  Now, moth and rust will not destroy the copper statue, but the idea Jesus communicates is that we should invest in things that last forever – that our energies should go to spiritual things, and the spiritual nurture of others.

Where is your money going? Is it building Pegasus or is it building the Kingdom of God? While sometimes I worry that a lot of my money goes into things that disappear quickly (have you SEEN the price of gas!), I was encouraged, when I learned about the big sculpture down there in Hallandale, to be mindful of the way I spend my resources, and to focus them on things that matter.

Back home,

Craig

As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10

A Message from Pastor Craig: 3-27-2022

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Boca Raton Army Air Field (BRAAF).  I had just learned about it from a historical marker at FAU, and found it not only interesting but insightful about our community.  After church, a friend came up and told me she had written a book about it!  She subsequently lent me a video about it, and boy! did that add to the little insight that I had gotten from the marker!

Boca Raton historians contend that the Allies winning World War II came about from our airfield here. Yep.  They make that bold of a statement. The bomb in Hiroshima may have ended it, but it was won because of a little apparatus added to our planes called radar.

We think of radar as what the cops use to get us busted for speeding.  And we think of microwave as what we heat up dinner with.  But with British technology, MIT and other scientists in this country miniaturized the microwave radar technology to the point where they could be installed in an airplane. That airplane could then go and hunt German U-boats, who had been picking off ships along our coast here, and of course elsewhere.  Germany lost 13% of their U-boat fleet in one month, and so they withdrew from our seas altogether!  Pretty amazing.  They couldn’t figure out how we could so easily figure out where they were!

There is a feeling here in Boca Raton that Boca is not properly recognized for its contribution to the war because the radar program remained classified for decades.  The history of the BRAAF was unceremoniously released from secrecy long after the war was over and the images of Hiroshima and Normandy and a soldier kissing a nurse in NY had taken over our collective remembrances of the end of the war.

Have you ever felt overlooked?  Have you ever felt like you contributed to a project and others got the credit?  Whether it was money, or intellectual property, or time, you put yourself into something just for somebody else to get credit, or maybe just to be taken for granted?  I have.  Whether in my youth, or adulthood, these things happen.

What do you do when that happens? Well, you forgive for one thing.  I don’t think we should forget them however, because those are experiences that can help us make sure we give credit where credit is due—not letting others be overlooked as we might have.

But also, when we do good for others, I think we can cash in on the credit in two ways. We can get
recognized here, or we can get recognized later by God.  Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, said: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Just before that statement He said that if people recognize what you have done, you’ve gotten your reward right then and there.

So where do you want credit? Honestly? It feels good to be recognized! It’s nice to be noticed and thanked. But then the motivation becomes the good feeling derived from the action, rather than the need itself, or the person themselves.

All those airmen who couldn’t talk about what they did for decades and decades had to live with the satisfaction that they drove the Germans away, that they succeeded in repelling the advance of an evil dictator, and that they had inflicted a mortal blow on one of the biggest wrongs of human history.

Whether it be in the theater of war, or the drama of daily life, doing good is its own reward.  Knowing that our Heavenly Father watches is just a bonus. The Giver of Life, and the One who enables us to do good, watches over us—and occasionally smiles with delight when we reflect back His character. Someday we will see that smile. That is reward enough.

Grateful for the blessings.

Craig.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  Matthew 6:1

A Message from Pastor Craig: 3-20-2022

Last night Janice handed me a card to send to my Mom, congratulating her on becoming a great grandmother. Notice I am acknowledging who the kind person is in my house. The card invited me to ponder this generational shift in our family, one that not only affected my Mom, but us too.

Let me back up. Our oldest son and his wife just had their first child last week. After a somewhat tumultuous pregnancy, Emilia Reese came into this world quite wonderfully and is just beautiful. That event made my boy a dad.  I have always delighted in Peter, and have enjoyed his ability to take on whatever task lies before him. So, his becoming a dad is all good, and a blessing for Emilia.

This all means that Janice and I are now grandparents.  We all shifted up one generation with little Emilia. I wrote to my Mom that she has now joined the ranks of an elite group of people; just culturally, not everyone gets to be a great-grandparent. Hence it’s a privilege to join those ranks. But that’s not what I was thinking about.  I was thinking about the great-grandmothers in my life—not my great-grandmothers, I never met them—but my grandmothers, who became great-grandmothers in my lifetime. They were wonderful people. My paternal grandmother was a lifelong missionary to Costa Rica, the wife of a preacher man, and a teaching nurse that started the best nursing training program in Costa Rica. She was awesome, and we loved each other very much. (I was the executor of her estate.) She was not perfect, like the rest of us, but she was truly remarkable and well known. My maternal grandmother, the stay-at-home wife of a classified ads salesman of a small city newspaper, on the other hand, was perfect. I really don’t think she sinned in the last 20 years of her life.  She was not well known, but well loved and admired by those who did.

It is to that lineage that my mom now belongs. Those were special ladies (and their husbands too!). I guess Janice and I are joining their ranks too. Those ladies loved me deeply. They did not spoil me (although my paternal grandmother did give me the coolest and most elaborate gift ever when we first got to Costa Rica) nor sugar me up and then send me home. They both wanted me to learn to love Jesus and they both modelled the life I should follow.

There is no lesson in unconditional love greater than when you have a child. I met Peter as he was delivered.  I already loved him with every ounce of my being. My love for him was complete from the get-go. That happened again with the birth of our son Drew. I love him unconditionally. Now Peter gets to experience that— that makes me smile.

Likewise, I am now experiencing love, also unconditional, that is once-removed—I love Emilia Reese
unconditionally. This helps me understand God’s love, and the agape love that God wants me to share with everybody, not just with the ones with the last name Nelson. That’s a greater challenge, of course. Love gets tested even in our families. Imagine that kind of love diffused throughout the church, the community, and the country. But God calls us to that, wherever, whenever and to whomever that might be.

I will strive to live into the models that were set for me. And to model that love for generations to come. That is the discipleship that we have been called to.

Excited to be a grandfather,

Craig.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7,8

A Message from Pastor Craig: 3-13-2022

While riding my bike yesterday, I came across a historical marker that says that my house is in what was once an Army base. Did you know that from Palmetto Park Road up to Yamato Road, and from S. Dixie
Highway over to Military Trail was all once a military base? It was huge! The numbers are pretty impressive for that old Boca Raton Army Airfield:  5820 acres and 800 structures were built on it.  All within 4 months! You can’t get a couch delivered in that time nowadays.

The numbers continue: over 5 years it was home to 100,000 people – in a day when Boca only had 700
residents. When the guys “went out on the town” there wasn’t much town to go out on! The whole base cost $12,000,000 to build. Now, a single house sells for more than that out on the beach.

On a fateful day in May of 1944, 9 airmen (they were technically Army soldiers at the time) died when their training mission in a B-34 crashed on takeoff. One of the largest tragedies in this town. On another fateful day, this time in 1947, the base was destroyed by a hurricane, and never rebuilt. Homestead Air Force Base had a similar, not identical, encounter with Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  Hurricanes are not kind to air bases!

I think it’s helpful to know our history. On a national level, our history keeps us identified as a people. Locally, it connects us too, and helps understand how we got to where we are. When we look back, we see the path that has led to the present.

And that path helps lead to the future. When events in our lives move us in a particular direction, we can get a glimpse of where we are headed. That’s why it’s important to look back and identify important times in our collective history, but also in our personal history. “Where is God leading me?” is a question that we ask often. Well, one of the answers to that is to ask “where has God led me in the past?  Where can I see God’s hand moving in my life.”  Those incidents or events or decisions that God has led us through in the past, when you start lining them up, will show a pattern, and that pattern can be projected out into the future.

I’m hesitant to say that God is predictable. Because God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). But God is consistently good. God is predictably faithful and the good that God has brought to us in the past indicates His will for the future.

I started out with a military reference. The war that is going on in Ukraine feels like it is, or could be, our war.  God’s plans, and His goodness do not include the evil perpetrated by evil and conniving people. War is outside the perfect will of God. So as we pray for God’s direction and blessing in our lives, let’s pray for the restoration of the lives of so many displaced in Ukraine. God has a plan to prosper them too.

As Easter approaches, we are reminded that the answer to whether God is ultimately good and loving was answered unequivocally with the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross. Let us always remember that and celebrate it.

Gratefully,

Craig.

He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel. The LORD is compassionate and
gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion (hesed).  Psalm 103:7,8