From the pastor's desk,


The definition of serendipity is: "The development of a beneficial/ life-changing event.  The Bible has many of them:

One day when Moses was tending to his father-in-laws sheep he saw a burning bush appear. A voice from the bush said,  "Moses, take off your sandals for the ground you are standing on is holy ground.  I am sending you to Pharaoh, for you are to bring my people, the Israelites out of Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey."  This serendipity call by God was a life-changing event for Moses in doing this extremely difficult job.  It also benefited the Jews for they received the freedom they had been waiting for.

Mary, a virgin, received a life-changing visit by the angel Gabriel who said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will give birth to the Son Of God."  This child was the long awaited Messiah.  This event would bring her many difficulties and pain, especially when she saw him hanging on the cross.  Yet she said to Gabriel, "I am the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have so said".  Her life was changed forever, and so have ours for her Son is our Savior.

The unusual and very bright star led the Magi to the manger where they were privileged to see the new born Messiah. They returned with great joy and their lives were never the same.

Myriads of Angels filled the skies singing, "Glory to God in the highest heaven".  An angel spoke to the terrified shepherds below.  Do not be afraid, for I bring you news of great joy, for today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you".  The shepherds rushed to Bethlehem and saw the new born Messiah. What a thrill and life changing moment that was for them.

In 1974 an atheist named Joel lived 3 miles west of my church in Northern Illinois. One day, to my shock, Joel, his wife and 2 children came to church.  He told me what had changed his life.  One night he was sitting on his porch looking up at the sky.  In a period of a few minutes he saw 3 falling stars.  About 10 minutes later he saw 2 more.  That's strange he thought, I've never seen this many in my entire life. Suddenly I found myself shocked because I just blurted out, "If I see 2 more falling stars in 5 minutes, I'll believe there is a God.  Immediately I saw not 2, but many falling stars.  I believe there is a God now, but there is so much I want to know about him.

Also in 1974 a member of the church named Mary, normally a happy, bouncy person became embittered and full of anger.  Her husband of 20 plus years had cheated on her. Their 3 sons became upset with her due to her bitterness. After being separated for two years, Mary told me that one day when it was cloudy, she was at the kitchen sink washing dishes when she was suddenly bathed in sunlight that came from a small break in the clouds.  She heard softly spoken words, "Mary why are you so angry and full of hatred, even your own boys don't like to be around you.  You've got to forgive your husband, he is sorry for what he did.  She felt a circle of peace and love surround her.  Mary traced her reversal to that moment, her hatred evaporated and love filled her heart.  She and her husband were reunited  and their marriage was full of love.  She had a beautiful serendipity intervention by the Lord.

Last Saturday, Bess and I attended a Richmond Symphony concert.  At intermission the woman next to her began to tell Bess how blessed she was to finally find the answer to her health problems.  Bess was all ears because she has fought the same problems following her operation 3 weeks ago.  We immediately purchased the simple over-the-counter medicine the woman was taking and now is slowly starting to overcome the problems she had.  What a wonderful unexpected serendipity moment she received from a complete stranger.

Yes, God speaks to us in many unusual ways to turn our lives around.  We give thanks for those wonderful and completely unexpected serendipity moments.  Our lives have changed and we have found greater joy in the Lord.  Can you recall those serendipity moments where God changed your life?  Have you given thanks?

Peace and power in the Lord

Pastor John

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John Place