All posts by pastorsyd

About pastorsyd

Pastor for 30 years, now also part-time chaplain in hospice ministry.

Green Pastures & Deep Darkness

 

We Love Green Pastures!                          We hate Darkness!

Psalm 23: Not Just for Funerals

Psalm 23 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible.  It is made famous by hearing it over and over again at Christian funerals.  It is usually printed on the back of the memorial folder containing a short  biography of the person who died. 

Words for the Dying!

As a hospice chaplain, I frequently read the Psalm 23 beside the bed of someone who is minutes away from dying, with the family gathered around the bed.  It stirs emotions. Often tears flow. This is the end. My loved one is leaving us.  Never to return in the same way again. Psalm 23 in our culture is associated with death. 

Joy for the Living

The original intent of Psalm 23 is Joy for the Living.   When David pens this song, he hopes his song will be associated with JOY. Joy over how awesome our Shepherd is.  Our shepherd leads us, provides for us, and walks with us throughout life.

Green Pastures  & Deep Darkness

Our Shepherd sometimes leads us through Green Pastures (vs.2).  We love the Green Pastures!  A place of rest…relaxing, enjoyable, peaceful.  Our Shepherd also leads us through  deep darkness (“shadow of death” vs. 4). We hate darkness.  In the dark we are afraid, alone, and  insecure.

OUR SHEPHERD’S HOUSE

Whether your Shepherd is leading you through green pastures or deep darkness … you belong to him. He cares for his own.  Your Shepherd is walking with you on your  journey to your final home: OUR SHEPHERD’S HOUSE (vs 6).   What a house He has prepared for you …  A new heavens & new earth (Rev.21). Green Pastures everywhere. No darkness anywhere!

Don’t let Psalm 23 be just a funeral home mantra.  Let it be a song of joy in your heart!

 

Son, Please come to the Party

Son, please come to the party
Son, Please Come to the Party!

Grumbling!  I hate it! First of all I hate in myself. Far too often I grumble and complain.  I hate it when I experience it from others.

Jesus endured complaining from the religious elite (the Pharisees) during his entire ministry. It never quit. One day the Elite complained that Jesus “receives sinners and eats with them?” (Luke 15:2). Jesus responded to the complaints by telling a story… the story of the Prodigal son (actually two sons).

The younger son committed sins of the flesh… spending his money and his body on whatever physical pleasure he could find and enjoy.  It didn’t work. Eventually, “he came to himself”, repented and returned home to his Father. The Father thru a party for him.

The old son committed sins of the heart… a grumbling, demanding, self-centered attitude.  He demanded a party for himself. He deserved it. He was better than his brother. Father, “You owe me a better life”.  I am better than my brother.  I always obey, he sins and disobeys.  The older son REFUSED to go the party going on for his younger sinful brother.

The Father goes outside and pleads with his son to come to the party (Lk 15:28).  The older son became angry… refusing to go to the party.

Too bad.  We too stay outside, away from fellowship and joy of being with the Father.  Instead we stay away from him angry and demanding a better life. God the Father pleads with us, “Son (or daughter) COME TO THE PARTY.  Come and enjoy ME I am the only one who can satisfy you.  Enjoy intimate conversations with me, enjoy how awesome I am, enjoy my words and promises to you”

 

COME TO THE PARTY!

 

 

Why this Suffering?

Jesus Screams Why?
Jesus Screams Why?

Most of us at sometime in our life have asked the question “WHY”?  God, why this suffering?  Why God does this suffering go on for so long?

You are not alone if you have asked God , “Why”?  Jesus asked his heavenly Father “Why”. Psalm 22:1, quoted by Christ on the cross, says: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).

If you have ever asked God “why” you are in good company with Jesus.  He is the one now interceding for you, taking your cry to His heavenly father”.  This is the Jesus that will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 4:14-16

When you find yourself asking “Why”, know that Jesus is taking your “Why” to His heavenly Father.  Know that Jesus wants to come and meet you in your soul.  He wants to be more real to you than ever before.  Your Heavenly Father is in the process of molding you into a more Christ like, compassionate person. Romans 8:26-29

 

God Sent His Son into the World

The world is a mess.  We see sin, suffering, death, and self indulgence everywhere.  No need to detail it. You know it is all around you. The gap between us sinful human beings and God is huge.

God sees the mess we are all in.  He did something about it.  He sees how we are all disobey the His laws.  The consequences of disobeying his laws is suffering, misery, and death.  But God is also merciful.  What wonderful good news, Galatians 4:4,5 : “Wen the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons:.

 

God can’t stand the mess, sin, suffering in our world either.  He did something about it. He sent his son to redeem us, buy us back, so that we could belong to him forever.  So that we could be his sons forever.

Redeemed! Adopted! Free from the condemnation of the Law!  Merry Christmas!

Overcoming Life’s Frustrations…

I am discovering something that no matter how carefully I plan or how hard I try, I cannot seem to make life turn out exactly the way I want it too.  Yes, hard work and planning does help. However, no guarantees. Some little thing or some big thing goes wrong every day or at least every week.  There is so much we do not control. Life never turns out exactly as we plan it.

When I have a frustrating day… I need to remind myself of Jesus prayer to his Heavenly Father right before he went to the cross: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent: (John 17:3).  Jesus came to give us life. Not just life after death… life in heaven.  A taste of life now… a taste of divine life now… eternal life, life from God in our souls now.  A taste of it. The full banquet, enjoying life everyday forever comes later.   But we can taste life now.

How do we taste this divine life?  Jesus said it… by knowing our heavenly Father.  Knowing him well.  Defining life not in how well things go for me today but in pursuing knowing God and his son Jesus better everyday.   Our 1st passion is not achieving our goals and wishes for today but in knowing God.  Our Prayer: “Father I want to know you, please show me who you are, I want to know you more than I want anything else”.

Searching for Peace…

PeaceDay-Logo-300x286The world is messed up. It is not the way it is supposed to be. It is not the way we want it to be. It is not the way we wish it was. Suffering, death, and sin is everywhere. WHY? WHY?

The pacifist organization, Peace Pledge Union in London reminds us how prevalent war is our world (WarandPeace).

“SINCE THE END of the Second World War in 1945 there have been some 250 major wars in which over 50 million people have been killed, tens of millions made homeless, and countless millions injured and bereaved.

In the history of warfare the twentieth century stands out as the bloodiest and most brutal – three times more people have been killed in wars in the last ninety years than in all the previous five hundred”.

More rumblings of war and conflict in the headlines recently. Russia & Ukraine (Ukraine&Russia); Gaza & Israel(Israel&Gaza); Isis & United States (USA&ISIS)

According to Romans 5:12-23 in the Scriptures sin and death entered our world when the first man Adam rebelled against God. He lived in a perfect paradise yet choose to live independently of God. The result: sin and death everywhere. Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–

We humans are kicked out of the garden of Eden. Paradise is Lost. Peace is Lost. We keep trying to find our way back in but it isn’t working. So now what?

Good news: God has given us a second Adam (I Cor 15:45). His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did something Adam never did… He obeyed God. His whole life. All the time. In every circumstance. Romans 5:19

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Jesus Christ was righteous. Yet he was condemned as a common criminal. God put our sin upon him, condemned him for our sin. When we trust in Christ God takes our sin and puts it on Christ. He also does something else. He takes Christ’s righteousness and places it on us.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Searching for peace? Trust in Jesus Christ for the gift of righteousness. How wonderful to go to bed at night with peace, knowing that you are right with God. How wonderful

Water for a Thirsty Soul

water_fallMatt Laurer recently interviewed Bill O’Reilly  on the Today Show concerning O’Reilly’s book, “The Last Days of Jesus”.  Matt Laurer was pushing back on the idea of teaching the historical facts about Jesus in the public schools.  At one point Matt Laurer says, “I grew up in a secular home…. so I didn’t get it there [the story of Jesus]. But I found a way to fill the void in other ways in my life.”  (http://www.today.com/books/bill-oreilly-revisits-last-days-jesus-younger-readers-2D79506022)

What amazed me is that Matt Laurer admitted to having a void and looking for ways to fill it.  All human beings are born with a void. Born with a thirsty soul. Not just our bodies, but also our souls get thirsty.  Thirsty for soul satisfaction.  Thirsty for a spiritual encounter. Thirsty for God.  David wrote in Psalm 42:1- 2:

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

The soul is thirsty. Thirsty for God.  No one else but Him can satisfy the soul.

Tempted to worship Idols!

American_idols_2By Syd McCrorey

The TV show “American Idol” has experienced some decline in popularity recently.  According to some media news reports, ratings for the show are down 25% per cent in 2014. (http://shar.es/TWTQ8)

Yet idols are alive and well.  We all have a tendency to have idols in our hearts.  Something or someone we depend on, cling to for life.

Martin Luther says: Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.

Until a couple of years ago, I could never figure out why the last verse in the book of I John closes with “My little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I john 5:21).  It seems like John is completely changing the subject with his last sentence about idols.  What do idols have to do with anything John talks about in his letter?

Then, with help, I looked a little closer.  Before John’s last sentence are many statements about how life is only found in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life… We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

What is an idol?  Anything you are depending on to give you life and happiness. Depend  only on Jesus Christ for life. He is the one true God.  Nothing else. Isn’t it amazing how many things we easily cling to for life?  Whatever our heart says we must have in order to enjoy life is our idol.  It could be more money, success, or getting our own way in relationships.  Maybe discouragement happens because something we think we must have for life isn’t happening.

Martin Luther is right:  Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.

Little children, guard yourselves from idols.  What idols are alive and well in your heart?

Does your Heart Worship Idols?

Does your Heart Worship Idols?
Watch out for Idols in your heart!

by Syd McCrorey

The TV show “American Idol” has experienced some decline in popularity recently.  According to some media news reports, ratings for the show are down 25% per cent in 2014. (http://shar.es/TWTQ8)

Yet idols are alive and well.  We all have a tendency to have idols in our hearts.  Something or someone we depend on, cling to for life. Martin Luther says: Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.

Until a couple of years ago, I could never figure out why the last verse in the book of I John closes with “My little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I john 5:21).  It seems like John is completely changing the subject with his last sentence about idols.  What do idols have to do with anything John talks about in his letter?

Then, with help, I looked a little closer.  Before John’s last sentence are many statements about how life is only found in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life… We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

What is an idol?  Anything you are depending on to give you life and happiness.  Depend only on Jesus Christ for life. He is the one true God.  Nothing else. Isn’t it amazing how many things we easily cling to for life?  Whatever our heart says we must have in order to enjoy life is our idol.  It could be more money, success, or getting our own way in relationships.  Maybe discouragement happens because something we think we must have for life isn’t happening.

Martin Luther is right:  Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.

Little children, guard yourselves from idols.  What are the idols in your heart?

Lord, We want your Church to Grow!

God Values the Small Church
God Values the Small Church and He longs for it grow!

One of the fun things in life for me is playing with my two grandchildren, Asher (age 4) and Cayden (age 1). This is a fun stage. At least for Grandpa and Grandma. We can just play with them and go home, leaving all the work behind!

However, God’s will is that they do not stay  in this stage forever. They will grow! They will grow and change!  We want them to change.   God has put it in their DNA to grow and change.  Hopefully, not just grow and change physically, but also grow emotionally and spiritually. It is God’s plan that all living things grow. Not stay the same, but grow. The same is true for churches.  It is a living organism, dwelt by the living Christ. He wants his church to grow.  The question is….  Why are so many churches NOT growing?  In what way does Jesus Christ want  his church to grow?

Myriads and myriads of books exist seeking answers to questions. You probably have some thoughts of your own.   For now,  I find it interesting to look at a few of the scriptures on growing:

“…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” [Eph 4:15 NASB].

“… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” [2Pe 3:18 NASB]

“… the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.” [Act 12:24 NASB]

“The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem”  [Act 6:7 NASB]

Lord, just like you, we want your church to grow!