North of 60

Time always reveals the truth! I recently celebrated my 59th here on the planet. The reality of the quick passing and brevity have hit me like a ton of bricks. More than ever I am aware that the majority of my life is behind me. If I was to counsel my younger self what would I say to him? Good question, isn’t it?

By the grace of God, he has given me the awesome privilege to serve some very incredible people in some awesome places on planet earth. But…it could have been much better than it was. I often wish that what I know now I could have learned much earlier. It is not as if there were not people who tried to tell me but I was too stubborn to listen!

First, I would say, “Be patient with people and circumstances.” I often wanted people, and ministries, to change their point of view. Instead of working through situations I decided to move on. They may never have changed into what I wanted them to be but grace teaches me to give room for God to work in you and in them.

Second, I would not have listened to the opinions of others who were negative against administration and people in authority. My older self would now say that God knows what he is doing, there could be a greater purpose for why that policy was brought forward that you know nothing about. Furthermore, they could be right!! The horror of horrors! I could be wrong!

Third, allow God to mature you where he has placed you. I have often thought about people who are “lifers” in those places I left. There is such a maturity when they speak of their ministry. They speak with the wisdom that can only be grasped after years spent investing in a place and people.

Finally, I am thankful that I am still learning. God is still teaching me that there is much yet to be done. I don’t look backward with bitterness or depression but I optimistically use the lessons from the past to move forward. Philippians 1:6 continues to give me hope, ““And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I am not 60 yet, I have 360 plus days to go! But I am excited to build on the foundation that God has established in my life. I’m still in process, still learning and still want to learn! How about you?

God Bless,

Pastor Bill Finch‭‭

Achieving Your Resolutions

AchievingYourResolutions

Tis the season for setting goals, resolutions and then, plunk! Nothing! It was a good college try but it will have to wait until the weather is warmer, or until I get over this cold, or maybe even when my schedule clears! Have you ever thought that way?  “Tomorrow” is always the best day to start a new project but inevitably something else comes up that gets in the way or has greater importance on our priority scale! Continue reading

The Blank Canvas

Before us lay 365 days that are like a blank canvas awaiting the brush strokes of the artist.  Our confidence and hope lay in the brilliance of the artist who will not waste a stroke, every one being intentional and mindful of the final outcome.  Like the artist, God has in mind what he wants to accomplish in and through us. Every action, every so-called “coincidence” has the final product in view.

Listen to what God is designing through you and I:

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another-showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shapedup for the tasks God has for us.     

2 Timothy 3:16-17 The Message

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. 

Philippians 3:7-8 ESV

God is designing us to be people who grow to maturity in Christ to become like him through the application of his Word to our life. And, we grow to become mature in Christ because we understand that to be the greatest priority of our life.

How does God do this in us? He does so as we make daily choices over a long period of time to honour him through our obedience to his Word. It is not an overnight, quick process. One choice at a time, one decision at a time and one day at a time. It is not complicated but requires a God-centred obedience that aims to please him in everything.

He also does this through the refining fire of suffering. Sickness and disease, difficult relationships, our own bad choices, unexpected and unwanted circumstances all are a part of the Master’s brush strokes as he carefully paints on the canvas.  This is where daily life happens and daily choices are made. God refines us into the mold of his Son. Our experience of suffering causes us to yearn for more of God and less of ourselves. We slowly come to realize that everything in life has a  spiritual component to it. Yes, I did say everything!

Before us lay a years worth of opportunities to experience his grace. Our goal as individuals who belong to the community of faith is to encourage one another to patiently allow the Artist the freedom to create what he has in mind.  For far too long in my own walk with God I attempted to use God to get what I wanted. I used spiritually sounding words to manipulate people and circumstances. But God would have none of it! He had a greater plan in mind that he persistently and patiently continued to draw on the canvas. Save yourself some time and heartache, my friend, do what he asks nothing more, nothing less UNTIL he tells you what the next thing is.

I read years ago that our lives are the result not of the dreams we dream but of the decisions we make daily. Personally, I choose to awake early to read the Scripture and pray. Nothing mystical or magic about that but it is determinative. It speaks to what is priority and what is the goal of my life. If you have developed this habit, keep going, it is worth it, if you have not yet, do it and find someone to keep you accountable.

This blank canvas before us called 2018 will slowly begin to be painted upon. Each hour, each day, each week and each month will uniquely contribute to the final product. Think about these words of the Apostle Paul as you consider what you desire for this year,

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 3:13-14

One More Time

nothing-new

It is about to happen, again! Every year it happens, time passes by and it seems that the same themes dominate our conversations and our lives. The same problems, the same habits cling to us like the proverbial barnacle on a rock. We can’t seem to break free.

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  How do we break the monotonous cycle that dominate us every year?

2017 can be a complete bust or a period of time in which we live in rapt expectation of what is going to happen next.  Continue reading

Are you ready?

“All aboard the roller coaster 2015 now leaving platform 1!”

design

We are not sure at all what is ahead of us but we are strapped in ready for some excitement. The great news is that we are not left guessing about what the road ahead looks like because we know who is in charge. He has a plan for our good and for our growth as we walk daily with Him.

We are not sure at all what is ahead of us but we move ahead full of faith that God will not be surprised by one thing. We know that everyday that He gives us breath that He has a purpose for our lives. Therefore, we live for His purpose not for ours. We put his agenda ahead of ours and delight in living to serve Him and others.

As I anticipate this year I want to continue to strive ahead for all that the Lord has for me to accomplish. I know that whatever I accomplish it is rooted in the daily habits of reading and meditating on His Word, asking Him for daily doses of wisdom to be prudent in the use of time and energy. My priorities must be aligned with His. Matthew 6:33 tells me to seek God first above anyone or anything else. That is my daily battle because I struggle with the flesh and the world to control my thinking and feelings.

I also want to be a faithful husband to my wife. I want to grow in my love for her and deepen those cords. This year we will celebrate 32 years of wedded bliss! That is hard to believe but it is only because of her patience and God’s faithfulness that we have made it this far.

I want to be faithful to the ministry that God has called me to. It is my desire to grow in my knowledge of the Word of God and its application to my own life and the life of those I have been called to shepherd. I want to continue to be involved in serving the Spanish speaking church, wherever that may be. I am not sure what form that will take but I trust God to open those doors in his timing.

God also surprises us along the way. I am sure that in 2015 he will do the same. What about you? God has given us tremendous opportunities to grow in our relationship with Him and grow in love with others. Pray, be observant, and be involved in His work!

I close this blog with Paul’s prayer for the Romans in that New Testament Epistle, chapter 12:1-2. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Are you ready for the ride?

Pastor Bill