A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM PASTOR JIM YORK
I want to encourage each person who reads this letter. This following story sounds like anything but encouraging but you will see how it brings us to a place of perspective.
Recently I was exposed to a photo of a bronze sculpture that I cannot get out of my mind. The sculpture depicted some of the atrocities that were forced on millions of people during the Holocaust. The sculpture is of Innocent children with horrified looks as they were falling downward to their death in a ditch full of bodies. I thought about how those children were pulled away from their parents, put into cold cattle trucks with the stench of urine, human waste, and vomit. I imagined the screaming and fear that those children endured.
Questions have haunted me: How many parents died of broken hearts even before they were executed? How could the military people carry out such horrific acts? What would I do if commanded to carry out the atrocities? Would I do the brave and right thing or would I fear for my own life or possibly succumbed to the propaganda that these were not real humans?
Honestly; it is too much for my emotions to sort out. I can’t imagine the pain and loss that these people were forced to endure.
These haunting thoughts remind me of how evil mankind can be; it reminds me that these types of atrocities are still happening in the world today; it reminds me of how much I need to trust God, and it reminds me that I need to keep a realistic perspective of my life.
We need these reminders to adjust our perspective. These reminders give us an attitude adjustment; they keep us humble and thankful.
How should I view my wants and desires and fears in light of the deep loss and pain that much of mankind has endured and is still experiencing?
These events of enlightenment help us strike a better balance in our lives. They help us to treasure what is really important. They cause us value our relationships, our families, and most of all our closeness with our Creator, God. There seems to be two areas that most of us struggle with:
One area is Despair: We struggle with the uncertainty of the future due to the financial problems our country and most of the world is enduring.
This uncertainty is causing a great deal of anxiety, and this fear often leads to a paralysis which robs us of our goals and consumes our thoughts, energy and time.
The other area we struggle with is Distraction and is mostly caused by our possessions. Personally without the adjustments I can get overly focused on temporal things instead of eternal treasures. I put so much importance on that new lens for my camera, or the hottest lure to catch more fish, or more vacations to Hawaii. You can make your own list of distractions if you like.
These are all good things we can enjoy when in their proper place but so often I find that they are taking so much energy that I neglect the most valuable things in life.
Jesus modeled and spoke often about the proper perspectives; He continually showed us the importance of keeping an eternal perspective, understanding what has true value. That is why I bring practical messages to you each week. It is my responsibility as your pastor to bring the scriptures to life, to teach you how to apply the wisdom of God to your lives so that you will be closer to that balance between despair and distraction. God wants the best for our lives so He has promised to be with us in our Despair and He has warned us about our Distractions.
Our greatest tools for finding balance are to Understand And Practice Scripture, be Constant In Prayer, and Encourage One Another In Fellowship. Many times the distractions are nothing more than our response to Despair - we try to cover our fear and pain by our distractions and in doing so we self destruct and ruin our relationships thus we hurt those who we love. Let’s face it; one of our greatest fears is that we might lose some of our distractions.
I knew you would be disappointed if I didn't include a “Yorkism” so here it is: “Many people want what they don't need and need what they don't want” (Clarification of the Yorkism) Many of the things we want are not necessary and actually cause us more stress due to the fear of losing them and in the maintaining of them. The things that we really need are: more discipline in our lives to get things done - helping others - pleasing God with our lives - and worshipping God because He Is The Provider Of All Things. I wonder how God views us when we are never content with our lives, always thinking about what we want instead of enjoying what we have. If you are not content with what you have now, you will not be content with what you get later. If you are not happy with what you have, how could you be happier with more?
Here is the antidote for the Despair: 1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety (or cares) on him because he cares for you.
So, how are you doing with that constant balancing act? Do you pay attention to the reminders? They are all around us you know. Did you catch the reminder lately with the disaster in Japan and other places? But that catastrophe is only one of many reminders that our lives are uncertain and that we must put our trust in eternal treasures instead of this temporary place. The writer of the book of Hebrews has the right perspective: For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14
I want to be the first to recommit to a daily habit of starting each day with a prayer of true thanksgiving to God for my many blessings, to let God know that I am thankful for what I have right now and will be content with my possessions but not with my achievements.
In closing, I want to thank each of you who attend Harbor Chapel Community Church. Each of you is an important part of the Body of Christ. To paraphrase Erwin Mcmanus: “Separately we are a fragmented humanity but together we make a beautiful mosaic.”
Keep Perspective! – God Bless You – Jim York