I did it.
This past week, I (Pastor Tim) pressed "mute" on everything going on the world. No social media (except sharing my Tuesday devotion!). I didn't read any headlines. I didn't talk to anybody about what was going on with COVID, phased re-openings, guidelines, elections, or speculations on what life was going to look like in the future.
I just pressed, "stop".
And, instead, my family and I drove down to the Coastal Redwoods and enjoyed a week together. We camped (which from a personal perspective, might be the best socially distant experience ever)! We hiked some pretty incredible trails, forded the Redwood River at least six times (that's a story!), ate smores, and played under some really, really big trees! Check it out...
I love these pictures because they reminded me of the picture the Psalmist paints: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Trees give refuge. Here are just a few ways that we saw this past week:
As these trees dwarf our three boys, I'm reminded that God's presence also dwarfs us. It's commonly known that cities during the time of the psalm writers would be built within a city wall. These walls would be tall, large, and strong... not as high as these Redwoods. But, we're talking about 20 feet high! Don't believe me? Check out this article to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.
Needless to say that standing among the giant trees made me feel small in the shadow of something so big... in the presence of something so powerful... in the stories and wisdoms these living beauties could tell (if they could talk). At the same time, while walking in the forests, I felt safe. Secure. Free to laugh, play, giggle, jump around on logs, and act like a kid (until we needed to chase our two year-old).
In the same way, God's presence - this refuge that the Psalmist speaks of is like these tall, large, and strong walls. God's presence can bring security, safety, and freedom. Indeed, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). How so?
I was refreshed by so many powerful truths about who God is and who I/we are by just pressing "mute" and looking at the trees (and a good bit of playing around in creation, too!). But, I need to save more of what I learned for future sermons.
This next week, my family and I will be with 22 other Our Savior families at Camp Lutherhaven on Lake Coeur d'Alene! I can't wait to share what God is doing and teaching us in next week's blog.
In the meantime, I can't wait to see you online on Sunday as we walk through more of Psalm 46, together! And, if you're traveling... be safe!
Love you more than you know.
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.