Welcome to Shalom in Our Times!
Just wondering . . .
Is Something Different?
Have you noticed? Do you think things somehow feel . . . different?
In some sense, because the ‘times are always changin’ that may be said in any era. But beyond the big changes that technology itself has made in recent years, something just seems different. It kind of gives you the sense that our world is moving rapidly toward something—something epic, something beyond our control.
Yikes! That’s scary! I don’t like for things to be out of my control. How about you?
We sometimes ponder how life is different from that of our grandparents, how technology has enhanced it. And then again we ponder . . . what are its downsides? Ours is a time unprecedented, a time when torrents of information, instant communication, and live current developments, zip the cyberways at lightning speed. A new vocabulary has emerged for this digital age. Viewpoints and ideologies are instantly available to billions. Political theatre plays to and from hand-held devices. Rogue nations and organizations capitalize on unfolding opportunities. Terrorism eyes up evil prospects, and tensions between nuclear armed nations rise to unsettling proportions. The litany could continue.
And with it all, there’s this different sense, something astir. The wind sweeps in from a different direction, like a winter blizzard out of the North.
Consider the Changes Around You
Allow us to ponder a moment our country—the land of our birth—while you consider changes happening in your nation. It seems here in the US, for persons of strong faith seeking to stay tuned to the Maker, numerous initiatives and movements are manifesting whirlwinds of ideologies that shove aside the Creator and His plan. This cocky perspective that we’re grown up – big boys and girls. We are quite capable of handling life on our own. The “In God we Trust” mantra has graced our currency, expressing the confession of our dependence upon the Sovereign, the One who is over our head of state—and all heads of state—our government at all levels, our people, our land. The One who is Creator-Sustainer-Redeemer, has been worshipped as myriads of His true-hearted faithful followers have stepped into the sanctuaries from week to week. But now it seems all too many no longer need the Designer of it all.
Where is the Sovereign Almighty in all This?
To the Christian faithful, it’s a new day to move from the place of spiritual leadership in the land, to, within a few years, being marginalized and targeted for persecution. There is the sense by many Christians that alien and sinister forces have moved in to tamper with the soul of our nation, while the faithful maintain the gripping conviction that the soul of the Almighty cannot be tampered with, and that He is intently observant. Their faith, based in the holy Scriptures, tells them that we are moving ever closer to events that will climax the present age, to major manifestations of his ‘Almightiness’!
Over all peoples, nations, heads of state, ideologies, movements, designs, strategies, and schemes, over all that is transpiring on our planet, what is the perspective of our Maker? How do we stay tuned? When respect for His holiness has waned to a low ebb. When His guide for faith and practice is shoved aside, replaced by an ‘enchanting’ vision of globalistic humanistic progress. When ‘political correctness’ covers a mass of human depravity. When the Creator’s life design is now relegated by many to some previous ‘unenlightened’ age. When the record of the Maker’s interaction in human affairs ranks far lower with many than the latest New York Times bestseller.
Might we wonder that the media headlines of the world continue to divulge darksome news, the never-ending manifestations of humanity’s corruption? And of its incompetence to manage its own way?
So Why this Blog?
We are doing this together, just as we have done with all our ministry endeavors. We are both writing. So we thought you’d like to know where we’re each coming from and what brings us to this new ministry endeavor.
A Note from Pastor Paul . . .
I Need to See the Big Picture. I can be quite focused on detail and on getting details right. But I navigate better when I have a grasp of the big, the whole. I then make more meaning of the segment-by-segment picture or processing of details. I love maps. I like first to see the continent, the country, the province, the state. Then the road details, the relationship of cities and towns to the whole and to each other have a setting. I find it also interesting to understand the topography of the various regions in relation to the larger geography. I make more meaning of the lesser segments as I relate to the larger.
Several of my blog posts are my attempt at processing what I understand as ‘the big’ picture. As I relate to daily life in our uncertain and tumultuous times, I need to anchor and nurture my faith in the Creator-Sustainer-Redeemer. We learn of Him through nature, as well as from the incredible mosaic that takes shape as we contemplate the holy Scriptures. And other inspired writers also help me as I process the ‘big’ in relation to my everyday navigation. So, in my posts I will share reflections of what helps me anchor to a much larger picture as I strive to make meaning in my day-to-day, hour-to-hour life trek.
A Note from Sharon . . .
When we returned to our homeland after serving out of country 12 years, it seems we experienced reverse culture shock more than we realized initially. And that was even though we had returned every 1 ½ – 2 years during our time away. We found our nation a very different land and society than how we left it 12 years before. We quickly saw that a major sector of the population had lost its moral compass. Christians were being marginalized and some even persecuted for the convictions of their faith. Perhaps many Christians in the US haven’t felt the change in our society as keenly, since they’ve been here through it all along. Like a frog in a pan of water heated slowly that doesn’t realize it’s cooking to its death.
Quite honestly, I wrestled with the temptation to hide. And I felt a deep need to hear guiding voices about how to deal with this spiritual shift. I tried to find sources to speak to my soul, but while I did find a few now and then, mostly I continued to experience an aching void. As I prayed about it, God began teaching me, and so I journaled about what I was learning. While I’m still on this journey, I appreciate His help to gain perspective and direction.
Then I wondered how many others experience the same need. Some of you might be finding answers, and I’d love to hear from you about your sources. Others of you, however, may still be searching and struggling, and I’d love to hear about those struggles as well.
So did God want me to share what I was learning? I resisted that idea, because as an extreme introvert, I still wrestled with the temptation to hide. However, God has a way of patiently and persistently drawing us along in preparation for whatever He wants us to do for Him!
In recent months I’ve seen numbers of courageous God-fearing people in prominent places stand boldly for decency, truth and the right, even though they knew they were actually putting their lives in jeopardy. They are my heroes! They helped me find the courage to resist the temptation to hide.
So here I am, putting together a blog for all the world to see! About what I have been learning. I hope it will minister hope, inspiration, and challenge to others as well.
Where do You Fit in this Picture?
What is happening in your life these days? What are your struggles, fears, disappointing relationships, financial setbacks, health distresses? Who around you is straining to cope, just striving to survive some major kind of challenging life issue? We certainly know numbers.
Are you seeking answers that will produce hope and wholeness – shalom?
Where is your source of inspiration and challenge to continue to believe in the good – decency, truth, and righteousness?
How can you equip yourself with inner strength and fortitude that climbs out of the valley, and that assists others around you to do the same?
Keeping the Big Picture
We just believe that in the midst of it all, there are honest minds and hearts desiring to track with the Almighty, to maintain a clear alignment with His operations, His will, His purpose. Keeping the big picture of where He is going, of the Kingdom He is establishing, is vital for sincere souls in these days. Many of us are interested in staying in tune with Him while we seek to relate to our present day living. Deep within we are of the conviction that when human history has run its course, the true ‘enlightenment’ will emerge; it will be clearly known, profoundly understood—hmmm . . . the Sovereign’s wisdom was right on, after all! The Master’s plan—what He started, He did fulfill. Evil failed; right prevailed!
God’s beginnings of His yet-to-be fulfilled final shalom may be cultivated and enjoyed now—in the midst of these ‘something is different’ times. He desires His people to enjoy His transforming grace even in the midst of unsettling and uncertain times. And He knows those who are atuned to what He has in store.
This blog seeks to feed, in today’s world, the passion of those interested in listening to the Master’s heartbeat, in understanding and working toward His Kingdom goal—His final plan to reign again—unrivaled by evil, over the renewed creation.
How about a community of wholesome God-followers—enjoying the beginnings, and looking toward the fulfillment, of shalom!
With adventure in the midst of the challenges—onward and upward to Eden—and beyond!
- To discover a deeper sense of God’s shalom, anchored in the richness of wholeness, in every aspect of your lifestyle.
- To seek to better understand God’s bigger picture in the midst of rapidly changing times.
- To relate Christ’s Kingdom purposes to practical present day living—in personal lives, families, churches, communities, and the land – in ways that enable His shalom to reign over all.
- To move toward living a more sustainable lifestyle connected to the land – it grows everything you need to sustain life with vibrant wholeness.
- To inspire and challenge you to be an instrument of God’s shalom in your sphere of influence.
Join the Journey!
We’d love to share the journey with you! The Hebrew word shalom is rich with meaning. Come along! Join the Journey! As we unpack what SHALOM in Our Times means to us, from real-life events and relationships, and from the legendary love-letters of our Abba Father.
Joyfully on the journey,
Paul & Sharon