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Pastor's Monthly Message

Pastor's Monthly Message March 2013

Pursuit of Joy

The great musical work by Johan S. Bach “Jesu, Joy of Men’s Desiring” is one of the best known musical works in the Christian church. It has been the processional march for thousands of brides for their weddings. I think one of the reasons it is so well loved is because it captures the thought and hope that every human heart responds to, the pursuit of joy.
When we look at the life of Jesus, we may well wonder how the life of Jesus could serve as a model for joy. He was born poor, the son of a village carpenter, the resident of a tiny town in the rural area of an occupied nation Isaiah. The prophet, described him as “a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief and suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). When He attempted to preach love and compassion to his own people, His life was cut short in the most humiliating manner possible in His day.
So we ask where was His joy? By our standards, He really never had a responsible job. He did not convert great multitudes. Jesus, however, did not measure His life in terms of economic or numerical success. He was ultimately concerned with the quality of light and truth that He could bring to human souls.
He really did not enjoy the things of this world. He was not wealthy in a material sense. What He did enjoy were the beautiful gifts of God in this world. “Consider the lilies of the field” He said, “even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”. (Matt 6:29)
He really did not experience much friendship. People came to Him, to hear Him, to use Him, to get something from Him, but they were equally willing to leave Him when He needed them. In His darkest hour in Gethsemane, He was totally alone. The most important friendship was with His father in heaven and that never failed Him. His friendship with His Father sustained Him through His trials and crucifixion.

Pastor's Monthly Message February 2013

Love Over Duty

We do many things in life out of a sense of duty. We obey speed limits, come back to to work after the weekend, observe the laws of Nation and State. All of this is out of a sense of duty. There are many Christians who also see their relationship with God as acting out of a sense of duty. We worry that He is stalking us, peeking around some corner ready to "get even" if we do too many bad things. So with grim resolve we are determined to read the Bible, go to church, give our offerings while we mentally check off our list of Christian attributes.

Duty certainly has a place in everyone's life. We admire it for what it is. It is a wonderful teacher, a bell that wakes us up from moral slumber. It is a stick that prods us on and reminds us that life is greater than our own small passions. Like children, we would rather play than work, and therefore, need something to motivate us into more noble living.

However, we should not be bullied into thinking that duty alone is enough to transform us, cleanse our hearts and lead us back to God. It is not strong enough for that. At some point, it is love that must transform duty. We should obey God, not because we fear him, or even because it is "the right thing to do". In the end we need to obey him because we love him. We should ache to serve him. We should yearn to be like the one who is the center of our highest ideals and fondest affection.

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness". We understand "hunger" and "thirst". Perhaps the most real things we experience are "hunger" and "thirst". "Love" is another work which breaks through the barriers of the heart and moves us like nothing else can.

Pastor's Monthly Message January 2013

A Promise of a Future

We spend a great deal of our time, especially in the church, trying to protect our past. We worry about old things being "done away" with. Certainly, we want to honor tradition and keep things of value to us as long as we can. However, sometimes our fear of losing something robs us of our enjoyment of them.

Most of us have seen people with new furniture, cars or clothes who choose not to use them much or at all because they are afraid of wearing them out. The fear is not only about the possible loss of new things or familiar possessions, but that they won't be new again. A similar situation exists in our personal relationships with loved ones.
Life is an ongoing process. It started before our birth and it will continue after we pass. In a word, life is eternal. But sometimes we become so attached to the present that we began to fear the future. It is understandable that we would like to stop life at its most pleasant moment, to cherish that time and live the happiness forever. Most brides and grooms would like to constantly experience the excitement of their wedding day, but the reality is that life must go on and there is a need to find new excitement in the routines of daily living. The purpose of life is not to hold on to a moment but move forward into the promises of the future. There is a danger in the natural desire to hold on to a pleasant enjoyable time and let it distort our vision for the future.

Pastor's Monthly Message June 2012

A Word for Wisdom

A noted philosopher once wrote, “Nothing in the world has been accomplished without passion”. A second said, “When passions become masters, they are vices”. The poet, Emerson, made the observation that “passion is a powerful spring”.

The book Lost Horizon deals with a fictional place called Shangri-La. The message of this book was that wisdom begins when our passions are spent. The point was that passion can interfere with good judgment.

Much evil has been created from unrestrained passion. What harm and misery has been created by the passion for power, case in point, and our political process. However, passion for power is not only reserved for politicians, it is a passion that can infect any of us. The desire to rule and control others is almost a universal desire.
Then there is the passion for possessions, which probably is one of the great diseases of our time. Our directive from God was to use things and love people, and many times we have chosen to love things and use people.

There is also the passion for self-indulgence. “I want to do my own thing” we cry. Most of the time this is only an excuse for irresponsible behavior. It is behavior that ignores the fact that our behavior affects other people.
But, because uncontrolled passion can bring discord and misery is no reason to eliminate it as only evil. Passion – Like fire – is dangerous but yet has great value.

What sort of country would we have without the passion for democracy, where passion infects the soul of men and women? What would life be like without the passion for truth and honesty; neither soul of men and women? What would life be like without passion for truth and honesty; neither would we like a land without the passion for justice? What about the passion for beauty? Would there be a great painting, a great book of hymns or beautiful churches like our own?

Pastor's Monthly Message April 2012

A Need for Balance

As strangers in this world, we find that life requires a balanced effort. We must take part in many events if we are going to fulfill all that we were intended to be. If we are to excel in one area of life, we will surely fall shot in others. Only by approaching our lives with a sense of balance can we be truly successful.

If we overspend, we are spend thrifts; but too little spending can make us stingy and we are called misers. If we laugh too much we can be silly but if we cannot find humor we are very dull. If we talk too much we're overbearing; if we say too little, we're thought of as boring. Some eat too much while some not enough. Some sleep too much while others lack rest. Some ignore proper body care and exercise while others can worship the body.

Balance has an application in everything that we do. The ambitious executive may sacrifice marriage, family, friends, and church - things which matter the most in the long run, in order to achieve things like wealth, fame and power. In this lost condition we hear the Savior's words, "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul".

God expects us to use wisdom and common sense. He asks for balance and moderation, thoughtfully applying all the truths we know, not emphasizing one at the expense of others.

We need the opportunity to play, and we benefit from hard work, but neither should overshadow the responsibilities to family and our spiritual development. Too much excitement at work or play, like too much of anything, becomes an addiction. It creates a situation in which the stimulus needs to be stronger and stronger in order to provide the thrills that have come to be thought of as an essential part of pleasure. Too much excitement undermines health and dulls the palate for every kind of pleasure.

Pastor's Monthly Message March 2012

A Simple Story

It was a story that was written over 140 years ago. A pioneer family was traveling west in a handcart company. One night as a storm came up, the family made camp. It was then that the family discovered that their six year old son, Arthur, was missing. The parents spread the alarm to the rest of the camp. Someone remembered that earlier in the day they had seen a little boy sitting down to rest in a wooded area. He had been exhausted from the trip.

The following two days were spent by the men of the camp searching for the missing child. And then, with no alternative for the good of the camp, the company continued to move west. The father, Robert Parker, went back by himself to continue to search. As he left, his wife, Anne, pinned a red shawl around his shoulders. She told him that if he found the child dead, he should use the shawl to bury him, but if he was alive to signal them as he came back to camp.

For three nights, Anne, the boy's mother, and her other children watched, and finally just as the sun was setting on the next night, they caught a glimpse of the shawl waving in the last sun rays of the day.

Robert's journal records, "Great joy throughout the camp. The mother's joy, I cannot describe." A nameless woodsman found the terrified boy and cared for him until his father came. Somebody later related the story and asked the question "How would you, if you were in the mother's place, feel about the nameless woodsman who had saved your little son? Would there be anything that he could desire that you could give him that you wouldn't give?"

To sense what those parents felt is to get a clearer idea of what the Lord must feel when we serve and love his children.

Pastor's Monthly Message for June 2011

Avoid Stagnation

Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of life is stagnation. All else is bearable; poverty can be overcome, ill health can be endured as long as the mind is strong and time can heal misfortune and personal hurts. Stagnation, however, destroys beyond repair; it brings meaningful life to an end, makes happiness impossible, ravages thought and intelligence and sabotages creativity.

Nature herself has issued the decree and has placed a cause on all inactivity. The pond where motion has ceased becomes a stagnant marsh without a sign of life. The species which fails to adopt and develop with changing conditions soon becomes extinct.

The same law applied to human beings; where motion ceases, desolation begins. Our mental, physical, and spiritual well being are dependant on this very principle. All withers and dies without growth. So, progress is not a luxury but a necessity, for the person who stands still goes backwards.

We have forgotten the principle of our creation and birth if we forget how to grow. We were Dorn to grow, to reach out, to develop on a daily basis.
But this is philosophy and philosophy is less painful than reality. Reality is that we all choose to stagnateto some degree. We may remain in a workplace long after development, learning and enjoyment have ceased. Word, such as security, tenure, and
pay scales keep us there, while words such as fulfillment, sappiness and achievement slide into our past.

We might gain a college degree or some other mark of scholarly attainment and then cease formal learning. Altogether, only to learn that it was not reaching the objector that gave us joy but the pursuit.
Ponder life, think of ofhappiness, recall its placein your day toe day activity- in business, marriage, in raising of children, at school; and you will discover that progress and development, challenge and struggle have been synonymous with happiness.

Pastor's Monthly Message for May 2011

And The We're Older

Nothing is life is quite as fleeting as the present moment. It passes quickly and becomes forever a memory. A man once mused, "All the best sands of time are somewhere getting into the wrong end of the hourglass". Yes, somehow life does pass more quickly than we think and suddenly we are older.

The philosopher, Cicero, put the passing of time into a better perspective when he compared the aging process to the passing of the season. And a wise man, he said, will no more lament his entrance into old age than a gardener will lament the arrival of the blooms and the fruit he has neutered during spring and summer. The proper fruit to be gathered in the winter of our days, according to Cicero, is "to be able to look back with self approving satisfaction and the happy and abundant produce of more active years".

As we move toward the winter of our lives we must remember, as the apostle Paul said, that "whatsoever as man soweth, that shall he also reap". With the passing of each fleeting moment we build what we can, but refer to as a "storehouse of memories". Each moment has the potential to become a treasured memory or an unwanted recollection. Both are written into our minds with indelible ink.

As we age, we make use of our memories to give us courage in the face of fear, to give us knowledge, to call to remembrance what has been learned and experienced, to renew our faith in the good things of life. How important it is that we use each moment of our lives in a positive way. With as much concern for future memories as for the momentary pleasures of the present. How important then it is to fill the storehouse of our minds with the kind of memories which we can benefit from, over and over again, through the years.

Pastor's Monthly Message for April 2011

God Forces No Person

Almost any person who has lost their freedom will readily agree that of all God's gifts, not one is more important than freedom. This freedom allows us to worship God in any manner that we choose, and by the same freedom, reject Him completely. "God will force no person to heaven", said Will Clegg.
As we have said many times, and in the last two sermons, freedom carries with it a responsibility to understand the wisdom, love and light which God provided us to guide us in our lives. But the choice is still ours as is the responsibility for the consequences.

Today is a new day, a new chance to decide how we will use our gift of freedom. It can be wasted on the trivial or it can be utilized for some great good. What is important, is to remember that part of our life will be spent this day and permanently written in our life record. It can then be a day of gain or a day of loss. The choice is ours. Hopefully it will be a day of success not failure; and happiness not sorrow.
We should realize that the price we pay for this day is premium and absolute. This is the problem with time. Once spent it is irrevocable. So, we must consider well what we purchase with our time. We should live in a manner we will not regret the price we pay for each day.

By God's grace, we hold in our hands both the freedom and the time to do what we will with our lives. It is my hope that I squander neither, but rather reap the rewards of golden moments well spent.

Pastor Hans Lillejord

Pastor's Monthly Message for March 2011

The Secret of Success

There is an old proverb which says, "if a man is lucky, you can throw him into the river and he will swim out with a pearl in his hand". Others have suggested that there are some who constantly stumble into prosperity in spite of themselves. Yes, doesn't it seem that way, that there are others (certainly not us) who seem to have all the luck. Success follows them or certainly as summer follows spring. They are the ones who rise through the ranks of any group to emerge as the leader, who have full checking accounts and whose dreams don't turn to dust.

All too often our attempts to be like one of them, to move in a more satisfying life, is in reality no attempt at all. We wait, thinking some lucky break will come our wally and change our life. We might think something will come in the mail or someone winotice our hidden talent, and then we'll move ahead. Or we wait till tomorrow, believing it will feel different than today — and when it comes and it doesn't, we wait for another day.

The truly successful have a different approach, quite the opposite from waiting. It is action. When an opportunity comes their way, they grasp it. If they have a good idea, they believe in it and won't shake loose. An eminent medical pioneer is said to have a sign over his desk which says, "I've been lucky. The harder I work, the luckier I get".

In summary, what the truly successful seem to do is crush the spirit of procrastination that haunts them as it does every human being. They have learned that a hesitant heart will lead them nowhere. They have learned that the security that comes from never taking a risk is no security at all. This earth, after all, is not a safe place to be, and the safety seekers who procrastinates his best intentions and his best dreams for fear of failure must soon realize that he/she is not safe anyway. Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing.

12809 New Sweden Church Road
Manor, TX 78653
Phone: 512-281-0056

Rev. Hans J. Lillejord, Pastor
Cell Phone: 512-947-9044

Worship with Us

Services Held Every Sunday at 10:30am

Sunday School Held Every Sunday at 9:30am

Adult Bible Class Held Every Sunday at 9:15am


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