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PASTORAL TEAM
 
 Pastor's Pen 
Friday, December 29 2017
A New Year

Building up to the start of the new year is always an exciting time. For some, it is an excitement in anticipation of good things they know are coming during the course of our next trip around the Sun. For others, the excitement is rather like the hullabaloo immediately after someone stirred up the ant bed! And sad to say, a lot of the unpleasantness the new year could hold is self-inflicted.

We would be well-served to remember that nothing we will face in 2018 is a shock to God. He's already there and has a detailed plan to carry us through the waters. The storm will not prevail neither will the calm cause us to become stagnant. For the Master of the storm is along when things get rough and the Breath of God fills our sails when the wind dies.

Ya gotta love Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper!"

So whatever you face in this brave new year, face it with your confidence in God.  He cannot let you down!

With love,

Richard Orrell, Lead pastor

Posted by: Pastor Rich Orrell AT 11:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, December 16 2017
Be patient

I remember it as if it were yesterday.

It was one of those years, (most families have them), when our parents had let us know things were a bit tight financially and that there wouldn't be much gift-giving in our household that Christmas. I remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I processed the thought that there would be no Lincoln Logs or Erector Set like last year.

So you can imagine my surprise when daddy and mother began dropping broad hints about what might be under the Christmas tree for me. Seems everyone in the family was in on the surprise except me.

"It's about six feet long" , one of them said.

And then to add to my confusion another family member mentioned it was only about three or four inches wide...mostly. 

What?? How can it be that long but so narrow??

But then, another "loving" person, (sibling, no doubt!) brought up the fact that another of its dimensions was 26 inches. Oh...and yet another was 20 inches, or so. 

Wait...! How can one gift have so many different dimensions??

I puzzled and pondered whatever in the wide world of sports might be coming for the kid who days earlier was considering what it might feel like to have a big zero under the tree on Christmas Day. 

The time between the "announcement" and that special day passed agonizingly slowly. I fretted, whined and wheedled trying desperately to find a weak link in the chain who might let something slip that would help me figure it out. Alas; no one broke the stony silence after those few hints had been dropped.

Christmas Eve came and went when normally our family opened presents and "had Christmas". Other than a few remembrances there wasn't much under the tree. I remember a card game called, "Authors". And that may have been the year the family at large received a "Monopoly" game. Some small thing for Sue and a sack of candy for each of us. Oh there was lots of love to go around and plenty to eat. We played games and enjoyed some of Mama's readings. I'm sure we ended the evening with a rousing time of singing around our old green and red Naugahyde covered piano. (Mama could sure make that old thing talk!) But nothing was there that fit the description I had been given.

Sleep didn't come easily that night. I didn't know whether to feel deeply disappointed or full of anticipation for tomorrow.

Christmas Day finally dawned with the family all gathered, anxious to see my reaction to my amazing gift with all the strange dimensions.

Unbeknownst to a little boy distracted by the obtuse hints, daddy had found an old bicycle someone else didn't need any more. He had gotten it for almost nothing and had invested a fortune in parental love resurrecting it with new crank bearings, new tires, new spokes, new handlebar grips with tassels, and a bright new coat of fire engine red paint! I couldn't believe my eyes!!

I have never received a more amazing and treasured gift than that!

And the delight in the family's eyes as I realized they had all told the truth about the height, width and length of my anticipated gift...priceless!

Makes one wonder what is really coming when this life is finished. The dimensions and description we have of Heaven in the Bible are no doubt accurate to the last detail. But the information we have is so far short of the reality of Eternity's magnificence! Just wait till you see the "Place" Jesus has prepared for you who believe! What an indescribable Gift!!

Be faithful and patient...

Richard Orrell, pastor

Posted by: Pastor Rich Orrell AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, December 02 2017
The Christmas Play

The Value of the Christmas Play

Things have changed; mostly for the better.  Church Christmas plays these days often enjoy the benefits of advanced sound, lighting and costuming as the Season rolls around.  But remember with me the wonder of those early efforts to re-tell the old, old story of the birth of Christ. 

Who would get to be the shepherds and wise men this year? What treasures would be brought down from the attic to serve as gold, frankincense and myrrh? Do we dare try to use live animals this year? Who will build the sets? And how about new costumes since last year's mildewed in storage? And can't we get a more realistic angel costume? 

But the one casting decision on everyone's mind was always Mary. The Baby was most often a doll cleverly disguised in swaddling clothes and lying in this year's homemade manger filled with hay.  Joseph never had any lines to memorize and mutter. But Mary; young, beautiful, holy and chosen, Mary. 

Whom do we have of that stature and reputation?? And who can carry her grand and profound speaking parts? Whose voice projects well enough to be heard on the back row?

There was always someone.  But not once did a young girl flounce onto the stage wearing the costume and the part as a badge. Without exception, the enormity of the part subdued even the budding actress among us. It was always difficult to get them to speak forcefully the wonder-filled lines as the Virgin realized the task to which God had assigned her. The cheeks of many a young maiden glistened with tears as ancient yet familiar words from the heart of Mary burst from their lips: 

"My soul doth magnify the lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."

No. We didn't have the benefit of modern technology. But somehow, bathrobes became authentic Jewish garments. Faux angel wings glistened with the dew of Heaven. And Mary once again touched the hearts of true believers with her complete surrender to the will of God.  Somehow authentic shepherds found the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger while angel choirs sang,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men!"

Might it have been more professionally done? Of course! But could it have been more meaningful to the participants? Not in a million years! We needed that moment of empathy with the characters of the Nativity in order for them to come off the pages of the Bible and into our hearts. 

That is the true value of church Christmas plays, at least in the heart of this older pastor. Hopefully, such productions will continue year after year for the next generation to whom we will one day pass the torch of Faith. 

Fondly remembering,

 

Richard Orrell

Posted by: Pastor Rich Orrell AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
    Battlefield Assembly of God
    5154 S. State HWY FF  | Battlefield, MO 65619 | PH: (417) 882-1116