Pastor’s Letter – June 2024

Dear Family,

“Timing is everything!” I heard that 3-word insight years ago and probably didn’t give it much thought when I was young. Today, it has taken on greater importance. Reflecting on those past occasions when needed answers to important lifedecisions felt just beyond my reach, in an uncanny way and just at the right moment, “timing is everything” occurred. From my vantage point today with 20-20 hindsight, I can only attribute those “timing is everything right moments” to the unseen but everpresent hand of God!

During my years at High Desert Christian College, I taught different Bible courses. After several rounds of preparing and teaching these courses, I became more conscious of patterns in the way the biblical authors and editors put together their materials in both Testaments. One insight, which shouldn’t have been a surprise, became more and more apparent – God is never in a rush when working out His plans and purposes, and when we see specific demonstrations of those plans and purposes being realized in Scripture, they occur at just the right moment!

In his letter to the Galatian Church, Paul uses the statement “in the fulness of time Jesus came” to signify that his arrival to the remote town of Bethlehem was at just-the-right-moment-in-history – not too early, and certainly not late. If one surveys the 400+ years between the Old Testament’s final prophetic book of Malachi and the beginning narratives of both Matthew and Luke regarding Jesus’ birth accounts, one discovers a whole lot of “happenings” occurring that contribute to Paul’s “fulness of time” meaning regarding Jesus’ arrival.

Political dynamics were topsy-turvy during the four-plus centuries between the Testaments with empires coming and going in record fashion. Each one, however, left some unique legacy elements that contributed to the “fulness of time” significance. New philosophical ideas were being espoused during these years, challenging many long-held national beliefs and inevitably creating an environment of openness to new religious and philosophical considerations. On a practical level, with Rome as the dominant power when Jesus was born, one of its greatest practical achievements occurred during the reign of Caesar Augustus. He instituted major infrastructure projects both on land and by sea that provided, “relatively,” good and safe transportation options to travelers and merchants throughout the empire.

Though other contributions from the various empires during the Intertestamental period, occurred, the two mentioned above provided, unwittingly, to the timing of Jesus’ “fulness of time” arrival in at least two ways: First, it was the right time to proclaim the “good news of God’s Kingdom” to persons ready to listen and respond to his teachings. And second. . . thank you, Roman Empire!. . . because of their infrastructure activity, they inadvertently provided the transportation avenues that allowed Jesus’ followers to begin spreading with greater ease than at any time prior, the “good news to all nations” Jesus commissioned his followers to do and which the book of Acts well illustrates. “Timing is everything!”

I’m not saying this just to give a Bible lesson. We are still wrestling with Jenny Long’s announcement in early May that a candidate for SCF’s senior pastor position felt led to turn it down. Suddenly the Call Committee was back in the trenches, restarting the search process. My previous comments are a reminder that – God is never in a rush, but He’s never late! There are two “timing issues” we need to keep in balance. The first is the one we want and need – a new senior pastor – now! But there’s a second issue, what I call the “them” issue – “our new senior pastor, whoever he/she is, is also being prepared for us!” And, perhaps, something in this person’s “timing for us” is currently taking place which needs a bit longer to be settled – and which we need to be likewise prayerful about. The eventual convergence of “them” and “us” is in God’s timing, not ours.

We are blessed to have a Call Committee that is diligent and will continue to pursue with carefulness a new senior pastor. Pray that both our need for a new senior pastor intersects with our future senior pastor’s readiness at just the right time. “Timing is everything!” . . . and – God’s plan for us will ”not be late!”

Pastor Rob