Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Fund of IMF

“The IMF is central to this endeavor and all of us have a stake in the role of the Fund in
orchestrating the road to recovery. The Fund’s capacity to deliver is ultimately connected to how much and how soon we empower it with resources, better governance, greater
accountability and a redefined mandate that keeps pace with the requirements of the
changing world,” Statement by Mr. Duvvuri Subbarao, Alternate Governor,
Home Minister Government of India, Ministry of Finance, India.

I know it is hard all over the world and in one sense it has always been a crisis to crisis world. In short, it is living in a fallen world that needs a redeemer. The IMF is posing as that redeemer. The full article is located at this link; and you can read it yourself.

What I got out of it was that we are in a mess, not just locally, but globally. That money, loans, investments, and promissory notes have failed. The reoccurring word is ‘reform,’ and that our systems need to be challenged and changed to meet the demands of a broken system of economy. I agree, we need to be about reform, and certainly see the need for that in the many lives I minister too that have lost jobs, or about to get the hammer dropped on their company. I see it in local shops and businesses having to slim down or shut down all together. Lives have been affected for sure. What I do see in a letter like this is the one world economy. It shows the shadows of something that is just another step closer to control. I’m certainly only skimming the surface here, but the way I read my Bible is that the further we get away from the ascension of Jesus, the closer we get to his return. Articles like this one and the authorities that write them confirm the fact that time is ticking down.

So what is necessary? Reform. The same word that many leaders are saying is the very word that needs to be applied to hearts of mankind toward the Gospel of Jesus. To realize that the totality of government rests on His shoulders is a reforming thought and those who have been saved by His grace can certainly testify to his authority in and over all things. So as you look around, keep a watchful eye on the Lord. He is not devoid of our decisions. In fact he will ultimately have His glory in spite of them. Looking to Jesus. The author and reformer of my faith and life.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Missed Flights

So, here I sit at Sacramento International Airport. Why am I sitting rather than flying off into the wild blue yonder? Because I missed my previous flight. This comes as no surprise for the friends and family that really know me. I could say traffic was heavy, I had way to many errands to run, my kids held me up; however, these are all excuses good for one thing; to provide an excuse. What is comforting in all this is the opportunity to write this to you before I catch the next flight.

I stepped up to the ticket counter and told them my plight and walla, I had the next flight reserved. It was a bit embarrassing and will be an adjustment for the family that was picking me up at my destination; however, by God's grace I got another chance. Why do I say by God's grace? Because I believe this is what God has done on my behalf. He has given me a second chance. We need to know that. God is all about taking our excuses and turning them into a journey with Him. I could have turned around once I knew I would have missed my flight, I could have got all upset at the missed flight, I could have slipped into deep depression over missing the flight, but by God's Grace I got another chance.

Now let me make another point here, I don't want to make a habit of missing flights, anymore than I want to cheapen God's Grace. This is what Paul the Apostle was saying to the first century Christians in Rome about God's Grace. We cannot earn it, and God gives it through His son Jesus Christ, and once we receive it, we don't want to make it cheap with a poor example of God in me. So, though I get to write you a confermation of making another flight that I missed, I want to still be good about making the next one. That is why I'm sitting right in front of the boarding gate. A gift to make the flight, and the responsibility to keep myself on time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Celebration of 3 years!

Just three years ago a group of disciples thought it possible to be a gospel minded, disciple driven, grace living church. We started in a living room with dreams and passion, and it has not let up to this day. On Sunday the 5th of April we had a wonderful gathering of breakfast, balloons, and big stories of how God is moving among His people in the Sierra Foothills of Auburn and it's surrounding communities.

I'm thankful to be it's planter. A few things come to mind that I want to reflect upon in this blog post. First, it takes a group of people to gather for a church. What this means is being part of tribe of people committed not to planting a church but to the gospel that saves them. This comes to unfold gifts, talents, passions, and interests for the Gospel. Out of that comes a willingness to plant a church. This obviously means gathering publicly and making much of Jesus and gathering locally in community groups to make much of Jesus. Second, not everyone will want to make the journey. I feel very called to plant Elevation and hope that Elevation Church will be a catalyst to plant more Gospel/Mission minded churches. However, not everyone is called to do that. Discerning who is on board and encouraging them to share temperaments, talents, treasures, and time is a continual process. This means the work of planting is really never over. Gathering people around the Gospel is continuous. Lastly, my family, especially my wife have been such a blessing and inspiration to this call and journey within these last 3 years, that without them I'm not sure how successful things would be. I know that God can do anything, however, pastoring my family first and being encouraged by the results of that in light of planting Elevation has been a confirmation of God's grace.

I look forward to run the race that God has called me too. Doing it with God's strength, integrity, and focus. This last three years have been tremendous. So to all who have had a part in the journey with Elevation, I thank you and look ahead to God's will being done in Elevation Church. Elevating the Gospel and making disciples who will live as missionaries in their culture. Love you...Pastor Eric Van Patten