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Pastor's Monthly Message


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.

Pastor's Monthly Message for December 2010

The Light of the World

This last Sunday the first Sunday in Advent, we talked about Isaiah's reference to . Christ as the Light of The World. We are reminded that we are to be reflectors of that light. We are to shine also.

There is in each one of us, the desire to do right, to do good. We love and are loved, we hope for the future, we learn from the past. In very good deed that we perform, in every pleasure that we receive from doing good, there is evidence of the goodness in us.

And, there is evidence of our purpose in the world. Consistent with our natures, we are born to do good, to be good, to make the world a better place, and, in the process, to refine ourselves.

The impulse to do good springs not only from our eternal natures., but also from the Light of Christ, a light that permeates the world, touching and influencing all things, a light that call all of us to return to a loving Father in heaven who gave us life.

However, though the Light of Christ is in each of us and shines through us to the World, there are many in whom this goodness is dimmed-clouded by what they do and by what they do not do. The ability we have to choose means we are free to choose, free to choose even against ourselves; free to choose even against the truth that is in us.

And when we choose to do evil, to look away from goodness, a mist settles between us and the Light. Just as we are not infallible, neither is the goodness in us infallible-it must be protected to stay bright.

Pastor's Monthly Message for November 2010

The Religion of Sports

At no other time in the history of this country has the fever for athletics been as high as it is today, especially in this country. There have and are today, many rabid fans all over the world for all kinds of different sports. But on the whole, more people are enjoying some form of athletic activity than ever before.

The attraction reaches a high point in the fall and spring of the year when many of the sports overlap. In the fall, football holds the spotlight, but basketball is starting and baseball is in the middle of playoffs. Hunting and fishing are at their best and most other activities from golf to tennis continue to attract a large following.

Sports are good for the most part. For the fans it provides exciting entertainment. Many sports, like football have great season rituals, adding to community life. For the participants in all sports it means added self discipline and confidence, increased physical powers, and healthy exercise of competitive spirit.

Recreational sports have been with us for a long time. The Lord was always an advocate of physical as well as spiritual strength of a healthy body as well as a sound mind. In this respect, the interest in sports is good fora nation or the world in general.

But as in all good things, there is a need for mediation and responsibility in our recreational pursuits. If some unknowing visitor came to this country between September and April, he could conclude that the national "religion" is football or basketball. Unfortunately they have, in fact, become the only "worship" service many persons attend.

Pastor's Monthly Message for February 2010

An End To Discouragement

A characteristic of many people who succeed in life is an absolute unwillingness to admit defeat. Many a cause has been won after the cause seemed hopeless simply because there was an individual who refused to be discouraged and who saw beyond the possibility of defeat, the bright hope of success and believed in it.
There is no question that defeat is a part of life. The only persons who have not experienced failure and defeat are those who have never tried; the only ones who have never tasted the bitter legacy of failure are the ones who have never risked devotion to a cause.

They who would succeed must understand defeat and not be defeated by it. And it is possible. in the words of the hymn "There Is A Balm In Gilead", there is a moment of succeeding and hope beyond all our momentary failures and defeats.
All too often we are impressed by the limitations of our lives; all too often we focus on failed dreams and unfulfilled expectations; all too often we see not the seacoast-the vast and hopeful bounty of the sea-but rather, the sand which slips through our fingers and cannot be held. Certainly, there are those who have talent and abilities greater than our own; there are those who have suffered less, who have gained more. God, however, does not measure us with anybody else. He does not value our lives in the context of other's living. The hymn promises and persuades us:

If you can't preach like Peter,
If you can't persuade like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say "He died for us all",

Pastor's Monthly Message for January 2010

A Way Home

Home is where the heart is. Home is where mother and father are. Home is where children play and think about the holiday past and wonder what bright and beautiful surprises lay ahead. Home is where we long to be and where we need to be, especially at Christmas time. The spirit of the season reminds us that we are members of a family, that we are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

Our world is such that we cannot always be home and there are many in this season who will not be with the ones they love. Our occupations, educations, and all other aspects of our life frequently draw us apart, separate us from the home we love.
But there is a way home — The birth of Christ promises us that way home and not merely in the ultimate sense. Although geography may come between us, our love for one another —which is a sign of the love of Christ — can make us one.

When Jesus prayed for his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, He said, "Neither pray I for thee alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me and I in Thee".
There is no substitute for being home but, just as "home is where the heart is" the heart can take us home, or nearly there. As Christ's love reaches across the time and distance of creation to call us home to our Father, so our love for one another can be a bridge between family members pulling us closer together, no matter how far we are apart.

So in a sense there is a way home to one another and to God. Though we have wandered far, the joy of Christmas is its promise that the star of Bethlehem is a true beacon and a sure way home. Because of Jesus, because of His birth and ultimate sacrifice, because of Christmas, no one need wander or wonder. No one is without home or a way to find it.

Pastor Hans Lillejord

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

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

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