Pastor's Blog

Sunset at Pismo Beach

For the Glory of God

The other day, my daughter, Karisa, and I happened to be driving north on the five freeway through Camp Pendleton just as the sun was setting. Now I grew up near the beach in Ventura, California, I’ve lived in San Diego for 23 years, and I’ve been to Hawaii a couple of times - I’ve seen my fair share of gorgeous sunsets. That said, I have never seen a sunset as big and beautiful as the one Karisa and I saw that day. The sky was fairly clear, and due to the position of the earth to the sun, and the bit of haze in the air, the sun shone as a gigantic, shimmering ball of stunning orange and yellow descending into the Pacific Ocean like some kind of god out of Greek mythology. It’s no wonder people throughout the ages have been drawn to worship the Sun - it is beautiful, majestic and glorious.

 King David must have been reflecting on a similar experience when he penned Psalm 19 which begins, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork”, (Psalm 19:1 (ESV)). 

From its Hebrew, Greek and Latin roots the word “glory” has the sense of heaviness, weight, righteousness and fame. We tend to proclaim something as glorious when it is bigger, brighter and more wonderful than we can contain or adequately describe. And yet, we almost always want to share the joy of these experiences with someone else. In contrast to his pagan neighbors who saw the sun and worshipped it directly, David saw the sun as a testimony to the glory of the God who created it and the rest of the universe, and was moved to write a song to share with the world.

Here’s the amazing thing; Jesus said our lives should have the same effect on people around us. Look at his words from Matthew chapter five:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:14–16 (ESV)).

Our church mission statement in brief is “For the Glory of God and the Good of our Neighbors.” What does it mean to live for the glory of God? It means that, just like the sun, we don’t exist to draw attention primarily to ourselves, but that we speak and act in such a manner that people see the glory - the weight, the reality, the righteousness - of God through us. We exist to make God famous and attractive as he, through Christ, seeks to draw his children back to himself.

The prophet Isaiah said it beautifully hundreds of years ago. May his prayer be ours, as together we seek the Glory of God and the Good of our Neighbors.
“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts,” ( Isaiah 26:8 (NIV)).

For His Glory,
Pastor Scott