Friday, May 16, 2014

Why do we do this?

If you were to ask a minister why he signed up for this “job” of being a minister, what would he say?  Would he ever encourage his son to follow in his footsteps?  If he had it do over again, would he?

What is it that causes a man to follow a career path where he is only as good as his last sermon?  Where if he really listens to the Spirit and preaches what is needed he is often hated because many don’t want to hear their failings.  If he somehow doesn’t make enough hospital or home visits, or phone calls, he is regarded as a failure.  He meets couples at the brink of divorce and takes on their pain and hurt in order to help them find the ability to let God put it back together again.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. 

Why would someone want to take on a position where everyone has their own opinion of how he should do his job, and what his priorities should be, and no two people agree on any one thing except that he could and should do better.  What is it that causes a man to want to accept the task of taking different generations, races, cultures, ages and sexes all together into one group and finding a way to help them all mold together even though they all have different preferences, opinions, and purposes?

Is it the constant criticism?  Maybe he enjoys being told that the music is terrible, or that the services are not what they are looking for.  Quite possibly he enjoys being told that parishioners are leaving because they aren’t being fed.  Could it be that he secretly likes to be away from his family far more than is healthy and doesn’t want to be at home?  Or the fact that his wife cries herself to sleep many nights because of the way either she or her husband are being treated or talked about?

What causes a man to lose sleep because he is up all night praying for the Church, for the lost, for saints who are dying, for those who are gossiping and tearing the church apart, and for his family that is being torn apart at the seams because of the seeming insensitivity of the very people he is serving?  Maybe it’s the great pay and/or physical benefits. 

Don’t get me wrong.  Getting paid anything for taking the message of Jesus to a lost and dying world is a bonus, however unfortunately sometimes the ones who are supposed to be on God’s team make being a minister a very thankless and difficult job. 

Maybe he does this, because he just can’t see any other way to do what he wants to do the most and that is to reach people for Jesus.  His life will never be the same because of the caring hand of the Master and more than anything he wants everyone he knows to find that same life changing relationship.

I write this for one purpose and one purpose alone.  I want you to put your thinker on today, that’s it.  Think about the minister or elder or volunteer servant who has made a huge impact in your life and tell him/her thank you.

Think about ways you can make their lives easier not more difficult.

Think about praying for them on a regular basis (and do it)

Think about reaching out to their spouses and children, and not in a judgmental way but in a loving gesture.

Think about what you say in regards to those who are putting their lives on the line for the Kingdom of God every day, before you say it.

Think about (really think hard) what it would be like to be in their position and have mercy on them, show grace to them, and forgive them for their failures w/o holding it against them.
May you be blessed today as you think of those who have served you in this capacity at different times in your life.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Which one are you?

You’ve met them, you’ve had your perspective on life changed by them (sometimes good sometimes bad), maybe you’ve even been one of them a time or two.  I’d like to introduce or re-introduce to you, some church members we’ve all known throughout the years.
Anonymous Al

Anonymous Al – You know the one who writes letters to the leadership complaining about everything but never gives you his name. He never has to answer for the damage he inflicts by his comments and negativity.

Billy the Bully
Billy the Bully – Yep the church is full of bullies but Billy outshines them all.  He is the loudest, most demanding, not just with his voice but with his actions.  If he doesn’t like something he removes it, if he thinks something is a terrible idea he sabotages it.  It’s his way or the highway and to be honest, churches do themselves a favor when they show him the highway.

Wanda the wet blanket – Ah yes dear Wanda, she’s been in the Church for 50 years and any new idea is either doomed for failure because “we tried that and it didn’t work”, or “we’ve never done it that way before”.  Dear Wanda, “bless her heart” loves to throw a wet blanket on any idea that is presented.
Backstabbing Gummie Bears?

Barbara the back-stabber – Whenever there is gossip flying around or dissension or fighting of any kind, you just know that it has either been instigated or fueled by this woman who just seems to love making everyone as miserable as she is.

But to be fair the Church is full of the following as well.

Erin the encourager – Every church has one.  Erin is always smiling, always building others up even when she has her own struggles.  You never hear anything but positivity come from her mouth.

Harry the helper – Need a lawn mowed, some snow shoveled, roof fixed, a leaky faucet replaced, etc., Harry is your man.  This brother isn’t as young as he used to be but it never stops him from lending a hand, no matter what it does to his back.

Betty the baker – While her talents don’t always help with our bulging bellies she just knows how to spoil us.  Always there with a plate of brownies or a cherry pie.  She loves to sweeten lives by the sweet tooth and does it with a smile.
Modern Day Epaphrus!

Pete the prayer warrior – When he says, I’ll pray for you he means it.  This isn’t the casual mention of you in a 2 minute prayer, this is him wrestling in prayer on his knees, before God, tears flowing down his face, on your behalf.  Epaphras in Col. 4:12 has nothing on Pete.  He loves God and he loves you, and he loves to go to God for you.

Here’s a few more that you can use your imagination to come up with descriptions for – Timothy the tightwad, Sallie the sniper, Gideon the Giver, Bob the builder, Sammie the smiler, not to be outdone by Freddie the frowner.

God give us all grace as we try to allow His Spirit to flow so heavily in our lives that he takes our natural strengths and weaknesses and allows us to be like Jesus rather than like the first four on this list.

So finally, which one are you?  Which one would other people say you are?

In Christ,


Wednesday, January 1, 2014


What is the first word you think of when you think of me?  Go ahead, say it out loud, even if it’s not complimentary.  What do you see when you look at me?  Do you see a 40 year old who is bigger than he should be, has less hair than he used to?  Maybe all you see is the skinny jeans J or the clothes that I wear.  Maybe you see a preacher or minister or pastor or whatever word you want to use. 

Do you know me for who I am, what I do, what I wear, how I act in stressful situations, or any mix of all of these things?  What do we talk about when we converse?  Is it the weather, or sports, or politics, or do we just sit around and gossip? What at am I really asking? What is my identity as far as you are concerned? 

Something I’ve come to discover in life is that we are not good evaluators of ourselves.  I see myself a certain way, but you don’t necessarily agree.  I see what I’m thinking, or how I’m feeling or what my motivation is when I do what I do, but all you see is what I did, whether good or bad.  My identity in your eyes is shaped not by my good intentions but by my actions. In the justice system they call it evidence.  The tangible evidence of who I am is there for the whole world to see.

It seems to me that we spend a lot of time trying to treat the outward evidence of who we are (this is why I got angry, that is the reason I don’t treat you right, I acted poorly because I was tired, etc.) instead of allowing the glory of how we were created establish our identity from the inside out.  What would your life look like if you allowed your Creator to shape your identity? You have a God given Identity that is just begging to come out and make an impact on this world.

Think about it, when was the last time you taught your lungs to breathe or instructed your heart to beat or gave your brain a step by step instruction of how to process thoughts and memories and turn them into words?  You are a glorious miracle of God and although we all pretty much breathe the same way and our hearts beat in similar patterns, we each  have a unique DNA that God put in us when we were formed in the womb.  Ps 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Every day the Spirit of God is at work shaping you into who God made you to be.  The question is are you allowing Him full access into your heart.  Jesus said that out of the heart the mouth speaks, He also said to clean the inside of the cup first. My God given identity continues to take shape when I allow Him to transform me from the inside out.  When I give full access to the Potter to have Him shape me, and form me, He gives me an Identity centered in Jesus Christ my Lord!

Isa 64:8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. NLT  Identity is not just a hot topic, it is the essential core of Christianity – Redeemed – Forgiven – Blood Bought – In Christ (and that pretty much sums it up)