“Keep Looking Up!”

“Keep Looking Up!”

Last week in the Sunday Morning worship, I made a brief comment about a pastor friend of mine who pastors a church of 400 retirees in Sun City West, Arizona. Pastor Ben is an ongoing source of encouragement to me.

Pastor Ben is an 80+ year old pastor who has a doctorate in religious studies. He knows Greek and Hebrew. In the last two months or so, Pastor Ben has lost a lot of people from his church. He lost people from the choir, as several of them died from covid booster shots. In the last year he has presided over funerals for an approximate figure of 40 people in the church. The Sunday we were there, they had 240 in church service. Pastor Ben’s wife is now wheelchair bound. He is her caregiver and gets her ready for church each Sunday. His full-time Worship/Music Pastor was sick on Sunday. He lead the people in worship then excused himself and left church because he was sick. His Missions/Pastoral Care Pastor resigned because he was getting older and had felt God calling him into missions ministry. In spite of all this, Pastor Ben stood up and preached a powerful message on Sunday morning.

Today, I read about a missionary in Nigeria, Africa. Renegade men came to the village with machetes and machine guns. The missionary and his team knew they would be killed in the next few minutes. The missionary met this group of assailants boldly. He offered them food and provisions. The renegades left with the food. Later, one of the renegades came back. Through an interpreter, he told the missionary, “We came to kill you! Instead, you fed us. No one has ever given us food and provision. We are so hungry. Because you showed us kindness, all of us want to have your Jesus come into our lives. We want to become Christians.” That day, the Holy Spirit spoke to the missionary about loving and serving people. It has opened a new dimension to his ministry.

Yes, the times we live in are extreme — Churches burning down … A shooting in another church in Aurora, Colorado left four injured or dead last Sunday … Food supplies are getting less dependable … We are on the cusp of war.

Pastor Habakkuk wrote these words:  

“Fig trees may no longer blossom, or vineyards produce grapes;

Olive trees may be fruitless and harvest time a failure; sheep pens may be empty, and cattle stalls vacant,

BUT I will still celebrate, because the Lord God is my Savior.

The Lord gives me strength. He makes my feet as sure as those of a

deer, and helps me stand on the mountains.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 

Keep Looking Up!

Pastor Stan