REFLECTIONS BY PASTOR VERLYN

May 2 Reflections

In the midst of discouragement have you ever “lost heart?” Losing heart is the idea of discouragement…sadness…depressed…cannot succeed…to be demoralized.  Problems can do that. The problem begins to make you think you can never win. You are always going to be on the losing end. It is helpful to know that life is hard, and God is good. But I also think it is important to know that love wins…life wins…that in the end connected to Christ we will win, and that glory is coming.

Imagine with me that you had to miss one of the games of your favorite football team. You used the DVR and recorded it to watch later. You tried hard not to know the outcome until you could watch the recording. You knew it was going to be a hard-fought game. As you prepare to sit down later that night you inadvertently see a twitter feed with the score. The team you were cheering for won 28-27. A big win in a close game. You decide you still want to watch it. You know the outcome. You are confident because your team wins. But as you watch the game you wonder how. They fall behind early, 21-0. It is almost halftime before they score. Going into halftime it is 21-7. Still behind but they did make it on the board. You are not worried because you know the outcome. As the 2nd half begins the starting quarterback on your team goes down with an injury. It looks like he is done for the day. You are thinking how is it possible that my team wins? But you know they do…so still not worried. The other team scores first in the 2nd half but misses the extra point. 27-7 halfway through 2nd half. Still not worried or frazzled because you know the final score. Your team makes a comeback and with 1 minute left in the game trail 27-21. You do not know how, but you are still confident because you know the final score. Otherwise, you would have been nervous, but now a confidence. They will win. And they do with a couple of incredible plays toward the end they cross the goal line with no time left on the clock. The extra point is coming. Before you would have closed your eyes and could not watch, but now you watch with a certain knowing that it is going through…and it does 28-27 is the final score.

When you know the outcome of something even if there are continual trials, struggles and problems you live (watch the game) with a certain confidence. That is what the Apostle Paul is teaching in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Even though life is hard, and it can be filled with problems, there is hope that we will win in the end. That hope is found in Jesus Christ, “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14). We do not lose heart, even if physically we are declining, because inwardly we are strong in the knowledge of who we are in Christ, and that glory is coming where we will see Jesus face to face. We are going to think about this on Sunday in the continuing series “A Life Perspective.” Life is hard because everything is broken. God is good. And now glory is coming so do not lose heart. Some scripture passages to read: 2 Corinthians 4:4-18; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Revelation 21:1-7.

Grace upon Grace,

Verlyn



April 25 Reflections

Transition Story

There are times in life when something quirky, or unusual, or even seemingly impossible happens and God is all over it, speaking to the heart and mind. I have had such an experience recently. Ever since declining the position at Maurice Reformed Church there has been a holy uncomfortableness with declining a Specialized Transitional Ministry position. I have been praying about this, meditating in times of solitude. While on the Churches Learning Change Retreat in March and the following weekend doing a 60-mile run, I had a lot of time for solitude, prayer, and reflection. I believe that God was moving in my heart in an undeniable way. In a time of crying out to God for direction in this holy movement in my heart, all I heard was “be open.”

I went to bed on Monday evening with those words “be open.” All I said to God was, “I am open. I am listening.” I went to sleep. In the morning when I woke up, I eventually checked my email. There was an email from the president of the Council at Immanuel CRC in Orange City. It started with, “Rev. Boone as a council we were wondering if you would be open to serving as a Specialized Transitional Minister at Immanuel.”  I was literally struck with a sense of awe. This does not just happen. How could I not be open? Since that initial email conversation that, “yes I sensed compelled to be open.” God has continued to be in the conversation. This is not something I pursued or sent out feelers. It is the CRC not the RCA. I did not have any specific contact with anyone in the CRC to pursue this type of position. It truly was and still seems impossible.

But I believe God is in this. The opening and leading has filled me with awe at God’s presence. I believe that God is redirecting my life to accept the position as Specialized Transitional Minister at Immanuel CRC in Orange City. Note this is a redirection, not a rejection of First Reformed Church in Rock Valley. The years of service for me have been positive in many ways, challenging in others, but always I tried to lead in grace. An amazing truth about God is he is the One who goes before us and is always with us. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) My hope is that God will be our strength as my life/ministry will be redirected to Immanuel CRC and the life of First Reformed will be continued to be filled with the goodness of God in accepting God’s love, growing in the Word and Spirit, and serving others.

Grace upon Grace,

Verlyn

I will become the Specialized Transitional Minister at Immanuel CRC in Orange City on June 1, 2021.