Ramblings from Pastor Ken

As the title says, these posts are ramblings from Pastor Ken. They can be movie comments, interesting books to read, local musicians, or simply observations of how God works in our day to day.

Ezekiel 3:1-11 and commentary

Posted by on Sep 24, 2020 in Ramblings from Pastor Ken

Ezekiel 33:1-11    New English Translation (NET) Ezekiel Israel’s Watchman 33 The Lord’s message came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people, and say to them, ‘Suppose I bring a sword against the land, and the people of the land take one man from their borders and make him their watchman. 3 He sees the sword coming against the land, blows the trumpet, and warns the people, 4 but there is one who hears the sound of the trumpet yet does not heed the warning. Then the sword comes and sweeps him away. He will be responsible for his own death. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, so he is responsible for himself. If he had heeded the warning, he would have saved his life. 6 But suppose the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people. Then the sword comes and takes one of their lives. He is swept away for his iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for that person’s death.’ 7 “As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them on my behalf. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you must certainly die,’ and you do not warn the wicked about his behavior, the wicked man will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 9 But if you warn the wicked man to change his behavior, and he refuses to change, he will die for his iniquity, but you have saved your own life. 10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you have said: “Our rebellious acts and our sins have caught up with us, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but prefer that the wicked change his behavior and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil deeds! Why should you die, O house of Israel?’ ~   ~   ~ __________________________________________________________________________ Commentary ~ Ezekiel 33:1-11 “Old School” O my, where do we begin? We will only be reading from the prophet Ezekiel a few times this year, so I’m hoping to make it count. Ezekiel is one of those figures that simply captures your imagination. The intensity of his visions were so vivid and believable. You have to wonder what made this guy tick – but then, we know the answer to that, don’t we? Today’s reading begins: “The Lord’s message came to me,” and that is certainly what happened. God is instructing the prophet to speak against evil and not hold back, even if the people don’t want to hear it. Not only that, but God is clear that if he fails to do that, there will be consequences. It’s safe to...

Read More »

Notes from the pastor July 19, 2020

Posted by on Aug 25, 2020 in Ramblings from Pastor Ken

Notes from the pastor ~ I wonder if there was such a thing as a “meme” in the time of Christ? Well, before we go any farther, I need to define this rather infectious phenomena as we know it today. Simply put, a meme (meem) is “An image, video, or piece of text, typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by internet users, often with slight variations.”  So yeah, I guess there weren’t such things around over 2000 years ago. But today, nothing is stopping folks from posting pictures of Jesus saying things that…well, things that he did not say. “But they’re catchy and they’re fun and they don’t hurt anything.” I may have thought that myself at one time, but here’s the thing – they do hurt. They can distract and distort. They can dismantle and cast doubt. And unfortunately, there is a growing number of hurtful people who have discovered that this fun, harmless medium is a great way to spread their message. I recently chanced across a meme about the Dr. Denis Mukwege. Dr. Mukwege is a Nobel Prize recipient currently practicing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is also on the Covid 19 response team in his home country. Under the picture of Dr. Mukwege was a news item, of sorts, stating that Dr. Mukwege had resigned from the task force because “we have been ordered to declare any illness to be coronavirus and any death.” According to the meme, Dr. Mukwege went on to say, “In addition, the thing that displeased me is that, after more than 100 samples, none of them came out positive….. Getting rich by lying is a sin before God; I quit,” indicating ‘they’ were offering to pay him for his false statements. Normally, I would let this kind of “news” just slide on by, but I was curious. Why would the Republic of the Congo want to exaggerate the numbers of Covid 19 victims in their country? It didn’t take long to research the issue and discover that this “news story” was totally false. It looked official and had some very official looking photos of Dr. Mukwege, but it was totally made up. In today’s Gospel message, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the tares – the Parable of the Weeds. In biblical times, the Greek word for weeds (tares) was ‘zizania’ which is a very particular type of weed that looks just like wheat as it is growing up. You can hardly tell the difference. Today it is called Darnel wheat. It looks like wheat, it appears like wheat, but it is not wheat. It fools you. For us who live in this, the Information Age, the Parable of the Weeds has a particular value. Thanks be to God for the eternal wisdom of scripture. We need it now more than...

Read More »

Notes from the pastor July 12, 2020

Posted by on Aug 25, 2020 in Ramblings from Pastor Ken

Notes from the pastor ~  “The Tipping Point” As a youngster, I used to spend a good part of the summer up in Michigan to stay with cousins that lived in the east-central part of that state. My time was split between the farm with my cousins Jack & Andy and the farm with my cousins Bruce and Dale. If memory serves me, we were able to get into the same amount of trouble and cause equal measures of havoc and destruction at both locations, but today I’d like to focus on an incident that happened at Bruce and Dale’s place. Now, Bruce and Dale were the sons of my dad’s older brother, Ed – although we never knew him by that name. To us, it had always been Uncle Moose. You see, Moose was a big man and had somewhat of a temper to boot, but he was wise to the ways of the world. One thing Uncle Moose understood was that the best way to keep young boys out of trouble was to put them to work; and that is what leads us to this story. We had no idea how much hay was on that flat-bed trailer, but by today’s reckoning, I’d say there was at least 10 tons. Our job was to put in up in the hay mow inside the barn. There was no machinery, no fancy hoists or forklifts; just boy power. We decided to use the relay system – one of us pulled from the trailer and tossed up to the hay mow, while another tossed it up  even further to be stacked onto an already impressive amount of 35 pound bales. We had this stack pushing toward the roof in the back and were starting to wonder if it would all fit when I heard a crack. Now this is a sound that we rarely get to hear in our lifetimes. Everyone knows the sound of a board breaking or even a tree limb, but when a giant barn beam splits in two, it’s a sound you don’t forget. What was most memorable, however, was when I looked up and saw that entire stack of hay bales moving. The upper bales were breaking like the top of a wave and in amongst them was my cousin Bruce doing cartwheels through space. Dale was knocked onto the trailer and I hit the floor. Miraculously, when the dust settled we found Bruce only slightly buried and scuffed up a bit, but not hurt- but there was a problem. We were all thinking the same thing when one of them spoke up, “Boy, dad is gonna be mad. We broke the barn and I’ll bet he’s gonna be real mad.” Much to our surprise, however, we weren’t in trouble at all. The next thing I remember was my dad and uncle Moose standing in...

Read More »

Notes from the pastor July 5, 2020

Posted by on Aug 25, 2020 in Ramblings from Pastor Ken

Notes From the Pastor ~ Many years ago, I worked for an international timber products company in western Montana. They owned the land, they owned the timber, and they owned the mills but I was determined they would never own me. Because it was a large corporation, OSHA targeted us more than the smaller operations – at least, that’s what we wanted to believe. Every new safety restriction and every new set of rules was met with loud complaints. “Cried like a mashed cat,” was the popular expression. But sooner or later, the luxury of steady employment and free health insurance won the day and we swallowed our pride just enough to keep going. When seat belt use became mandatory, however, we were inspired to take a stand. Gruesome pictures were painted of an entire woods crew that died trapped in a pickup after rolling off the side of the mountain. “If only they could have crawled out of the rig,” we moaned, “but everybody knows that if you are trapped upside down in a vehicle, it’s impossible to unfasten those *!!@# seat belts. We’re not going to die for your stupid rules!” Needless to say, we were wasting our breath. The thousands of dollars they would save in insurance costs meant nothing to us but, once again, we swallowed our pride just enough to keep going. But wait, there’s more. Things got decidedly worse when the day came that I was loading up the kids to go to town for something or other. “Put your seat belt on, Dad,” they said. I then proceeded to explain the dangers of seat belts and how the seat belt law was only to appease the insurance industry and whatever else I could think of. They then proceeded to spend the entire trip to town explaining to me, their dad, that the data is out there – seat belts save lives. “Well, I ain’t wearing them,” I said and that was that – or so I thought. After this initial confrontation, each trip to town, every trip to the grocery store or some school function started the same: “Put your seat belt on, Dad.” “I don’t think so,” I’d say and just when I thought I had worn them down, one day my daughter told me, “I don’t want to ride with you if you don’t buckle up. It’s not safe and besides, it’s against the law.” “Well, it’s not happening,” I said, thinking that would be the end of it. But to my surprise, she opened the door and started back for the house. Now, I know about head strong kids, having been one myself. So rather than make a big scene, I called her back and asked her, “Why is this so important to you? Is it because of what they’re teaching you in school? It is what your friends...

Read More »

“Bad Jokes and Good Quotes” June 7, 2020

Posted by on Jun 9, 2020 in Ramblings from Pastor Ken

Notes from the pastor ~    “’Understanding’ art is like having a sense of humour- if you don’t have one, no amount of      explanation is going to make you laugh.” ~ Michael Craig-Martin Jokes and quotes – I have to admit, I’m a sucker for both of them. Now, I’ll leave it to the experts to analyze why that is so, but let’s just say that these two things tickle my fancy; always have, always will. If you don’t count “dirty” and “clean,” then we could say that jokes come in two categories – good jokes and bad jokes. Good humor is clever, it’s original, and it always speaks to real life. Bad jokes, on the other hand, are punny, they are nonsensical, they are silly, and sometimes they are just what we need. To say that we live in a stressful time is an understatement. We are being challenged as a society, as a nation, and as a denomination. Sometimes we need some relief; something that simply takes our minds off things for a brief moment. Sometimes we have to hear, once more, why the chicken crossed the road. That’s the beauty of it; if conditions are right, even the bad jokes are good. Think “Dad jokes.” Bottom line: if it makes you chuckle, even if you’re rolling your eyes at the time, that’s good stuff. Quotes, on the other hand, are works of art. We all have flashes of brilliance in the course of our lives, but only a select few are able to have their words immortalized for all time. Statesmen, authors, philosophers, even preachers from time to time will share the perfect combination of words that causes the world to stand up and pay attention. Unfortunately, if you asked my kids what great words of wisdom I may have imparted on their young minds, they might reply with something like, “Fair is just a thing that comes to town once a year.” Oh well, not all of us are destined for greatness. My point is, in an effort to understand what is going on in the world today and to understand what causes people to do what they do, I found myself searching for what others have had to say about – understanding. The first quote I came up with was one we have heard before from Robert McCloskey: “I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” That was no help at all – or was it? I am trying desperately to understand what is going on in the world today. I feel compelled to figure out the core cause of this swirly mess that humanity  has placed on this earth. I’m trying my darndest to understand how the wrongful death of a man in Minnesota...

Read More »

“Enough of This Silliness” May 31, 2020 pastor notes

Posted by on Jun 9, 2020 in Ramblings from Pastor Ken

Notes From the Pastor ~ I’ve had enough of this silliness. It has to stop. In the part of town where Margie & I live, Monday is garbage pick up day. Just like clockwork, garbage cans appear from out of nowhere and are lined up like little soldiers on the street awaiting the moment that the trucks come roaring in to empty them out. It happens every week and it’s a sight to behold: tidy, neat, and uniform – that is, until yesterday. From a distance, I thought that someone had jammed a long handled broom into one of the bins and it was sticking up like a flag on a pole. As I drove closer, however, it proved to be something else entirely. What it proved to be – waving in the wind – was a helium Mylar balloon. Can you imagine that? Decorating a garbage can? It’s just silly. I was able to slow down enough to read a big sign that was taped to the top of the container. I couldn’t quite catch it all, but the words, “Thank You” were printed biggest of all. In keeping with the silliness theme, my daughter who lives in New Orleans posted a video clip of an event that had occurred recently. In short, the film was simply a single man with a trumpet standing in the middle of the street playing the greatest version of Happy Birthday I’ve heard in my life. The caption read, “We have the greatest people. Thank you, Kermit! You never know when New Orleans music will pop up.”  And in the words of Mike Delgado, who filmed the event: “It hasn’t all been bad. Here’s the great Kermit Ruffins playing on my street. It made everyone’s day!” But wait – there’s more. Come to think of it, I found myself in front of our neighbor’s house a few weeks ago, along with 3-4 other cars full of folks to wish LuAnn a happy birthday. The silliest part of all is that I decided on a whim that this would be the perfect time to bring my banjo and show off my new found (and non existent) skills as a banjo picker. Silly – just silly. It was so bad that we left LuAnn in tears. So, if there is a point to be made here, let it be that my wish and my prayer for you all is that the stress and the worry of the times we are in may act as a trigger – a trigger to your spirit. It’s my wish that we laugh at the dumb jokes, call for no reason, write letters, drive through town waving palm branches, bake cookies, and mow the grass without asking permission. Now’s the time to be silly now and then. Now’s the time to call upon the Spirit that our God placed...

Read More »
WIDGETS:
Array ( [0] => WP_Widget_Pages [1] => WP_Widget_Calendar [2] => WP_Widget_Archives [3] => WP_Widget_Media_Audio [4] => WP_Widget_Media_Image [5] => WP_Widget_Media_Gallery [6] => WP_Widget_Media_Video [7] => WP_Widget_Meta [8] => WP_Widget_Search [9] => WP_Widget_Text [10] => WP_Widget_Categories [11] => WP_Widget_Recent_Posts [12] => WP_Widget_Recent_Comments [13] => WP_Widget_RSS [14] => WP_Widget_Tag_Cloud [15] => WP_Nav_Menu_Widget [16] => WP_Widget_Custom_HTML [17] => UMC_Content [18] => Conference_Content [19] => Upper_Room [20] => WP_Editor_Widget [21] => AboutMeWidget [22] => AdsenseWidget [23] => AdvWidget [24] => CustomLogoWidget )