Sunday, January 22, 2017

Accept the Diversity - We don't all have to be the same.


The United States is all about diversity.  It always has been.

Some live in the North, some in the South, some in the East, some in the West.  Those geographical designations represent different subcultures of our great nation.  But there are even more variations of those.  There is the Pacific Northwest (where I'm from), the Deep South, the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and it goes on and on.

For a project in elementary school, I had to research my genealogy.  It turns out that I am Scottish, English, Norwegian, French-Canadian, Native American (Crow tribe), Pennsylvania Dutch and I can't remember what else.  The interesting part is that I am one quarter Norwegian and less of everything else, some measured in sixteenths and thirty-secondths. US Citizens and legal immigrants come from an even wider variety nationalities and ethnicities.

Many early settlers came to North America looking for religious freedom.  Today, there are Christians, Muslims and Atheists in the USA.  There are also Hindis, Buddhists, Wiccans and a whole lot more.  In the United States of America, we are free to practice our faith, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others, without fear of government interference.

Not everyone is going to agree.  But we don’t have to agree on everything to get along.  If fact, we only have to agree to obey the law to get along.  Any laws that we don’t like, we can work to get changed.

Nobody is exactly like me.  The good news is that you don’t have to be exactly like me to be my friend.  Most of my friends are different in several ways.  But we are still friends.  We still work together or train together or respond to emergencies together (I’m a volunteer firefighter) or compete in martial arts together or go to church together.

  • I like to hunt, but I like people who either don’t like to hunt or are opposed to killing animals.
  • I know vegetables are good for me, but I still don’t like how they taste.  I like red meat, my favorites (in order) being elk, bison, grass-fed beef, and venison.  I don’t like eating fish or seafood.  But lots of my friends enjoy seafood and some of them are vegetarian and even vegan.  We don’t have to eat the same foods to get along.
  • I practice martial arts and believe in my right to defend myself.  I have friends that don’t agree.
  • I am a happily married heterosexual man.  I have friends who are single or living with their partner unmarried and/or are gay or lesbian.
  • I am a Pentecostal Christian.  I believe the Bible is true.  I have unbelieving friends.  I have several friends that don’t share my beliefs or morals.  They are still my friends.
  • I believe in intelligent design, that God created the earth and all life on it.  I have friends that believe in the Theory of Evolution.  We sometimes discuss it but usually just agree to disagree.
  • Politically, I would like to see a balanced national budget.  I would like politicians to get paid less and to use the same health care and retirement programs that the rest of us have. 

I firmly hold my beliefs.  Like my friends that have other views, we all believe that people should all be more like “me”.  But that is not the reality.  The reality is that some people will never change.  And there are some things about me that will never change.  On the other hand, I have changed some of my views over the years just like others.

So what am I saying?  Accept the reality that we all differ in some way.  We can all rally for our causes.  We can all stand for what we believe.  And we can do it without hurting each other; without insulting each other; without fighting each other.  If you want respect, give respect.

So, whether you voted for Trump or Clinton or one of the other choices, let’s work together to make this country what we want it to become.  Let’s work together.  Let’s communicate by speaking AND listening.  Let’s support each other personally even when we don’t support each other’s view.

Rick Warren said it better than I can when he said: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

I will close with the words of Jesus and the Apostles.

Jesus Christ said: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  The Apostle Paul said: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”  The Apostle Peter said: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”  The Apostle John said: Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

God be with you,

Ken Claflin

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Memories of Dad

My dad often said he was tired, and he was because he always seemed to work long hours.  He was always busy.  But my dad was never TOO tired or TOO busy to help a neighbor or to come to the rescue of one of his children.  I remember going with Dad to help him tow a teenage neighbor’s car home where he fixed it.  The way Dad did it required two drivers, his Ford F-150 and sturdy chain.  My job was to ride the breaks all the way home.  Another time, he went to rescue my older brother and tow his car home.  Something bad had happened to the car on an old golf course.  Another memory was when a Christian school administrator called after dark reporting a broken down school bus. It was raining that night but Dad went anyway.

My Dad passed away ten years ago.  As I thanked God today for those memories, I realized that my Heavenly Father is not unlike my earthly Father.  Even though He is busy watching over more than 6 billion people, He always has time to hear my prayers and to speak to my heart.  He never tires.  He is always faithful and is always there for me.

I thank God for my earthly father, Roy Claflin, for the time he spent with me, for the example he lived before me, and for his love.  But I also thank God for my Heavenly Father, who loves me unconditionally, who never leaves me, and who always hears my cry.

In Psalm 68:5, God promised to be a “Father to the fatherless”.  Is He your Father?  The Apostle John said in John 1:12 “But to all who believed Jesus and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”  If you believe on Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior, God will be your Father.  What are you waiting for?

pk

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Heroes

“The godly people in the land are my true heroes!”  Psalm 16:3 (NLT)

We rightly claim that local law enforcement, firefighters, EMS and military personnel are heroes.  They are heroes, not because of a single act of heroism, but because they show up to work every day.  They are in the struggle day after day willing to face whatever may come.

Life is like that for all of us.  We never know what we will face as we start each new day.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, doing our best to live according to God’s will can be a struggle at times.  The Bible says that Jesus was tempted the same way we are but He never sinned.  We are not so fortunate; we sometimes fail to do the right thing.  But we don’t quit; we don’t give up; and that makes us the hero that the Psalmist describes.

Later in the same Psalm, it says, “I know the Lord is always with me.  I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.”  Knowing that, we can face anything.

So rise and shine and give God the glory. Face the challenges of a new day.  Be a hero!


-pk

PS Stay warm out there.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hope for a New Year 2016

The Bible says:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

Rejoice?  Really?  We can “rejoice” when we run into “problems and trials”?  That’s not what I wanted to hear today, how about you?  But it is logical if you look at what the Bible says here.  There is a progression:  As we endure our struggles it builds character in us as well as confidence or hope.  When we accomplish little things, it builds our confidence (or faith) to accomplish bigger things.  When we look at a past and see what we have been through, it gives us HOPE to face an uncertain future knowing that we have “been there, done that”. 

We also have HOPE because of what God has done for us and what He promises to do. We are reminded by this text “how dearly God loves us”.  Wow!  That gives hope.  God loves YOU!  God loves ME!  God loves US!  And He proves it by giving us the Holy Spirit; Jesus said the Holy Spirit would live IN us and be WITH us and would be our comforter.  Finally, the Bible says that God (by the Holy Spirit) will fill our hearts with His love, a love that we can share with others.

As we enter a New Year, we know that there will be problems that we will face.  But we also know that we have been there before and here we are – we survived.  We have HOPE because God loves us and is with us and fills us with His love.


Happy New Year!!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In light of eternity...

The end of the world is a popular movie theme.  Even Christian movie makers are coming out with a new “Left Behind” movie about end time events.  Well, the Bible has something to say about the end of the world.

In 1 Peter 4:7-11 (NLT), it says, “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”

In light of the possibility of the end of the world, we should do three things: 1) We should Pray Earnestly; 2) We should Love Deeply; 3) We should Serve One Another!

Are you disciplined in your prayer life or are you careless?  Christians often say, “Prayer changes things!”  But how many of pray with consistency.  Take time to pray!

Love is arguably the most powerful force in the universe. We are commanded to show “deep” love for each other. The Scripture says to “show” love, not just say it. Actions speak louder than words! Don’t be ashamed; show the people you care about how much you love them.

Finally, the command is serve one another. Jesus said in another place that if you want to be great in God’s kingdom that you had to learn to be a servant of all. Even the best leaders are good servants. Learn to humbly serve others.

In light of eternity, pray, love and serve!

God bless!

-PK


PS To hear the entire message, go here: http://www.hamlinag.com/media.php?pageID=5

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hope!

Where does hope come from?

Romans 15:13 (NIV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s top three are faith, hope and love.  We see them listed in 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter.  We emphasize love and we emphasize faith, but what about hope?

What is hope?  Dictionary.com: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. 

Do you have hope?  To you feel that what you want can be had?  Do you feel that events in your life will turn out for the best?

So many people feel hopeless…they have no hope.

Hope comes from God!  God is a God of hope.  In Romans 15:12, it says that we can overflow with hope by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit brings us hope.

But how can we experience hope?  How can we receive hope from the “God of hope” or by the “power of the Holy Spirit”? 

We have hope because we TRUST in God.  Do you trust in God?  The Bible, God’s Word, is full of God’s promises to us.  We need to put our trust in God.  We do that through prayer and meditation on what God says in the Bible.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Don’t worry; pray.  Put your trust in God and experience an “overflowing” of hope, joy and peace.

God bless,
PK
(“Pastor Ken”)


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Don't Settle for Less

Many of you know my dog Stormie. She is a German Shepherd and will be two years old in May. She recently had a checkup and now weighs 92 pounds. Right now she is laying on the floor chewing on a bone.  She likes to chew on bones.

Sometimes we buy "soup bones" (also called marrow bones) for her from the grocery store.. Apparently, people buy these bones and use them to make soup.  They are bones with some fat and tiny bits of scrap meat and are filled with marrow. STORMIE LOVES THESE BONES!  She tears at the meat scraps and cleans the bone!



One time I was feeling "rich" and in the mood to spoil her, so I bought spare ribs--you know, the ones for humans.  They had some meat on 'em!  And guess what?  STORMIE LOVED THEM!

Given a choice, my dog prefers a meaty bone over an old dried out bone.  There are old bones in the back yard that I have to pick up and throw away because she is no longer interested in them.

Don't settle for an old bone when you can have more.  What do you want out of life?  What do you want from work?  What do you want from church?  What do you want from your family life?  Just before I left for college many years ago, my pastor told me something that I will never forget.  He said, "Ken, you will only get out of school what you put into it.  If you put effort in, you will get more out of it."  (Not his exact words. Thanks, Pastor Harold Smith!)  He was right.  And it is true about everything you do.

Life, work, family, leisure will all be better when you invest time, energy and resources into them.

Don't settle for an old bone--go for the best!

PK