It continues to amaze how the days play out. And I am still learning through the moments of frustration... that never seem to stop building on each other.
Focus on making the best decision for the "thing" that you are doing right now, right in front of you. It is so easy, at least for me, to go into some sort of auto-pilot mode and it doesn't work. You have to stay engaged; you have to stay focused; you have to work the process. The system works best, if you work it right.
There is a delicate balance though, as one decision affects the next; impacts another and the next thing you know, you are a day late and dollar short. At a minimum, you are an hour behind for most of the day.
Decisions are like prayer. You have to take care of what's right in front of you, You have to consider all approaches, in making sure nothing is missed or overlooked. This is why you must stay engaged in the process. This is why you must stay engaged in prayer. Lest one wrong move or turn that causes movement downhill and how it will look when it ends, who knows.
On this New Years Eve of 2015 (aka: last #deaconThursday), pray (again) for the decisions and situations facing pastors and church decision makers. May the be diligent in completing and resolving the situation or task at hand. May they be thorough in matters of complexity, to cover and consider all aspects, ensuring that nothing is missed or overlooked. Pray their prayer life to be strengthened; that they would be effectual in bringing the needs to God; fervently seeking His wisdom. Pray fresh revelation and a move of the Holy Spirit; that while unable to predict the future, may God guide their steps and light their paths as they move forward in the plans and calling He has placed upon them.
Decisively moving forward; not rolling downhill, losing control. May 2016 be the year of favor and blessing for God's people as we seek His face in all things; regardless of our place and walk of life. For the glory of God. For the cause of Jesus Christ.
I don't even remember how this happened, it came just so quick this morning, but I was thinking about #youthPastorWednesday for what seemed like only a second or two, when I thought about the verse from Jeremiah 17.
He shall be like a tree, planted by water, that sends out its roots to the stream. It has no fear of heat. It leaves remain green. It is not anxious when the drought comes, for it always bears fruit.
It was the first line that stood out. Trees planted by water.
This is the next generation. Flowers have their place, as do plants. But when storms hit, it's the trees that provide cover; that block the wind; that shield from the elements. The next generation of adults need to have a pivotal moment in their life, when spiritually-speaking, they were planted near the Living Water, as Jesus depicted Himself to the woman at the well. At an early age, a root-system of faith that is nourished and fed by Christ must be established; that they may endure all that nature's elements may throw and blow their way.
There will be tests and trials and destructive attempts on their life as we all have faced, but a deep faith, grounded in Christ will endure and remain constant, in expressing the love and adoration to God Almighty.
The world is coming to a place where its needs people of strength. Pillars in their communities, fortified against the forces that would lay waste to anything it's path.
Pray, this #youthPastorWednesday, that God would help us raise, mentor and pastor kids and teens who would be as trees, planted by water. May the trust in the Lord God Almighty with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. May the truly have no fear of drought, always full of life, knowing their source of supply comes from God. Pray they always produce fruit that reflects and advances the cause of Jesus Christ. As pastors and parents partner together in bring up this generation...
May they forever impact the landscape of this world, for the betterment of its people; for the kingdom of God.
To God be the glory, as the body of Christ moves forward in prayer today.
I went to bed last night and woke up again this morning, both times, the megachurch pastor in Georgia who committed suicide recently, still roaming the forefront of my mind.
As 2015 closes in less than 72 hours, I can only imagine the year that some pastors and churches have endured. Incredible moves of God, for sure... but also great tragedy. Great loss. Seemingly insurmountable frustration. Faith-breaking situations. Struggles so real, that if people knew even a fraction more of what was going on than they perhaps already know, they would shake their heads in disbelief... having nothing to offer in terms of comfort or strategy that might bring help to the person and/or situation.
While I'm the farthest from being an expert on the subject of suicide, I imagine there are a number of process-stages that one goes through in arriving to the decision to go through with the act. I also, believe, that given how life builds up and situations and frustrations compound, it's harder to know exactly, just where one is at in the process.
Everyone copes and manages life differently and there are so many things in the world that are changing so much, there's more to the process that's hidden than perhaps we realize.
Burn-out. If not managed well, life will scourge our hearts and minds... and the life that was once beautiful; you can't even tell what it is or what it used to be any more. For those in ministry, this is their edge, And with 1500-1700 a month walking away; who knows who is next? Who knows just how close they are?
Pray, this #associatePastorTuesday, for pastors struggling with suicide. Pray for those who are at the various edges of life and decisions that could forever affect, their life, that of family and friends; those who sit in their churches and under their ministry. Pray for the healing and restoration of their hearts and minds through the power of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. May they be brought back from the brink of the edge they find themselves. May they know they are loved and appreciated; for indeed, they are. More than they and much more the people express.
Rescue those in need; especially those who lead. For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ.
May the healing of our land coming through the healing of our leaders
I really don't like changing churches. And it makes me sad to see friends and pastors move to other locations, ministries and opportunities. Yet this is a normal part of life. God places, uses, and moves people, their talent and resources as He sits fit, to benefit the body of Christ and to accomplish His sovereign plan.
I was thinking about this yesterday, as a friend told me during service, that it was their last Sunday; he was taking a Director of Outreach position at a church much closer to their home. I'm excited for them, but they will be missed. Then I remembered our Pastor was still out of town for the holidays and I remembered the last time I told a Pastor that it was time for us to change churches. It's almost always a mixed-emotion moment.
Yet, I'm excited for my friend... for what God is going to accomplish through this opportunity. What will God do in their community, in that church body, as they work to make an impact for the kingdom of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. Plus, this is what growing in faith is; discipleship and preparation to go and share.
So, on this #seniorPastorMonday, pray for churches and pastors, that their congregations and communities would continue to grow in the faith and knowledge of God. Pray there be a sensitivity to the move of the Holy Spirit and the prompting of God as He directs peoples paths in the opportunities of life and of ministry. May their not be a rush to quick decisions, but a readiness to go when God moves quickly. Pray for a strengthening of those who continue to serve where they are planted.
For where there are people will needs, there will be people needed to go and serve. For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. Rooted in God; transplanted for His plan.
The countdown to 2016 is here. And in the remaining days and hours, i can't help but consider how quickly things need to happen and come together, so that one chapter can properly close in preparation for the new one that awaits. Things get crazy and frenzy and dicey and it becomes easy for things to get missed and over-looked.
It's the day after Christmas and things are beginning to return to normal. Perhaps the house is still a mess (which may be common); perhaps you're glad to have more space, now that the Christmas presents are out of the way. And with Christmas falling on a weekend, we're thinking about all the stuff that needs to get done before going back to work on Monday.
With all of that, the birth of Christ forever changed all the days that would follow, as it does for anyone has a child. Yet Christ is the only One whose gift of life comes with the promise of life after death. No day should be normal after coming to Christ. Yet it so often does, as its easy to do. Not even intentionally, do we find ourselves living life "normal", instead of forever changed by the power of Jesus Christ.
And if the difference isn't noticed in the life of the believer, then how will an unbeliever have an expectation or desire that their life could be complete with Him, rather than the life they lead today?
As we close out this Christmas season, may we remember on this #communitySaturday, the lives that were forever changed through salvation in Jesus Christ. May we remember the impact they made on the world around them; many an impact on the world that allows us to enjoy the life we live today. Pray the change Christ has made in us be on the forefront of our minds as we share life with our fellow man, living and communicating in ways that express the difference Christ has made in us
There is no normal, after Christ has entered the room called your life. Neither is life normal after one has ignored Christ' knock on the door of their life.
May God continue the good work He has started in us and start a new work in those who have yet to accept Christ as Lord.
For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. Answered prayer in the form of lives changed for eternity and earth.
I had to smile yesterday afternoon, as I thought about #missionsFriday and Christmas landing on a Friday. And I believe it was a God-moment, as to just how quickly it occurred to me... Christ left His place of comfort and familiarity to go to a place most would not, to reach a lost people group with the message that God had a plan to restore humanity and bring them in, to right relationship with Him.
Only this missionary was the message, rather than communicating the message a lost people.
Perhaps you've seen the meme being posted throughout social media, that shows a Christmas wreath on the left side and a crown of thorns on the right. Over the wreath, the phrase "Tis the season. Over the crown, "For this reason".
It really is quite incredible to consider. For all those who don't think they have value, that they are of worth, that have never been told that there is a reason and purpose for this thing called "Life", Christ came to bring life. Not just life on earth, complete with meaning, but eternal life; using His life to bring us into right relationship with God the Father.
What a journey. Moments of joy, moments of sadness. Miraculous stories untold. Realizations of rejections from those who refuse to hear. Sounds like many a missionary journey. Paved by the very first; planned by God from the very beginning.
This is perhaps the most profound point of the gospel; that sovereign God made a way of redemption well before the fall of man.
Jesus Christ on a cross, for the salvation of man through the plan of redemption was not a "hail Mary" (forgive the pun) by God in a "oh my goodness, what do I do" moment of strategy.
God is not a half-way, half-thought, half-hearted God. He goes all the way, not having missed a thing, not having given less than the very best of all He had. A price can not be placed on a life, let alone a person's one and only child. Yet that's exactly what God did... because every man, woman and child was and remains, worth every drop of Christ' shed bled.
On this #missionsFriday Christmas, pray many would hear and respond to the message of Christ. May the gift of eternal life be the greatest gift received this joyous day, for it remains, the greatest gift ever offered. Pray for divine appointments and family, friends and strangers cross paths on this day of occasion, the celebration of the birth of Christ...the first missionary.
The human body continues to amaze me. You go sit down for just a few minutes and your body knows what you need. Two hours, maybe four. Six hours, perhaps even eight hours later... all you did was sit on the couch for five minutes. And it's morning time. Its 3 am. And you may or may not have an idea that you were running low on fuel, but not fumes... at least not yet.
It's been a long year... that has gone by terribly fast. And on this Christmas Eve, in the frenzy of gifts and family and services and outreaches to the community and families in need, today is and will be a difficult day to balance. Plus some still have to go to work today! (at least for a little bit)
Just remember, minus the appearance of the heavenly hosts and the star that lit up the sky, Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem with little fan fair. None to be exact. Just the presence of Almighty God and the expectation of His beloved gift to humanity. In the final moments of insanity before Christmas day and the celebration of God's gift to us, through the exchanging of gifts with us, may we remember the gift that truly matters. As much as we love to catch up on rest, it's coming to Christ and the rest we have in Him that matters for all eternity.
For all those who are burdened and heavy-laden... REST. In the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Pray, this #deaconThursday, for deacons, administrators and staff (and pastors for that matter) worn out; physically exhausted, mentally-spent, emotionally weary from the activity and ministry of church and ministry. On this Christmas Eve, may they be strengthened and renewed; quickened in their mortal bodies by the power of God. Pray for the outreach and services that will continue today and tomorrow as we celebrate the birth and life of Christ. May many people experience His love and forgiveness and experience the greatest gift one could ever receive... the gift of One laying down His life for a friend. Pray many would receive that gift, for those who do are called the friends of God. And He is not willing that any should perish.
For the cause of Jesus Christ and the glory of God. May Heaven and Earth celebrate over the lives of those who receive Christ as the greatest Christmas gift ever given!!
I'm thinking about the Pastor that committed suicide, that we prayed over yesterday and my heart breaks the kids. Christmas is stressful enough for how life unfolds during the holidays. Sometimes, it doesn't take much. Other times, the drama and the circumstances that pile up is just too much to handle. Then ministry kicks on.
The extra events; the extra programs and outreaches, the extra demands and requests that come in for those in need (which are higher in number simply because it is that season) .. the extra hits everyone. And the kids of those in ministry are left to watch it all play out.
Their are some professions where you expect a level of risk; a level of danger. It comes with the territory and you know if something where to happen, on the job, that was part of the gig. Pastoral ministry, by and large, save for persecution, isn't one of the professions that you would normally associate with such risk. But when a pastor commits suicide because of the demands and expectations of the calling to ministry; clearly something is out of sync.
On this #youthPastorWednesday, pray for the kids of those in ministry; that are negatively impacted by the hours and the investment their parents and family are making in other people. Pray for understanding and patience as pastors and family work to find balance between home and church. Pray that families would fortify themselves and that strong friendships and support systems would come alongside, to help carry the responsibilities and provide relief for those struggling in the management of family and faith. Pray pastors would be strengthened and encouraged to focus on their family this holiday season; may the be refreshed and strengthened; ready for what God has in store as 2015 comes to a close and a new year around the corner.
May the faith of families be strengthened anew, ready for the calling God has placed upon them. For the glory of God!
“He needed to take a break from ministry and the way our culture is, the culture forbids that. How much do you share? How much grace do people allow?” [furthermore...]
“It’s hard to be honest. It’s difficult for some preachers to be honest. Every pastor needs a pastor to kind of lead and guide them. But it’s hard for us to really find that relationship because often pastors are trying to compete with or cremate you. And so it’s difficult to find camaraderie.” - Dr. E. Dewey Smith Jr., senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta, on the suicide of Pastor Teddy Parker **read article here: Pastor commits suicide while congregation waits
It really is amazing what we have come to in this culture. We desire authenticity and genuine communication and as soon as one replies "If you really want to know..."
No, thanks... I didn't really want to know. And the wall is built. Grace is contingent. So is forgiveness. Love comes with strings. Compliments are based on performance Feelings towards the sermon depend on the level of conviction we feel. Tithing, attendance, inviting neighbors and friends, one's desire to get more involved in (or withdraw from) ministry all follow suit.
I really can't get over this tragedy and stress enough, the importance of praying for pastors and churches. This is utterly unacceptable.
Pray, this #associatePastorTuesday, for all pastors, struggling with any phase of burnout, from walking away to thoughts of suicide. Pray for the miraculous power of healing and strength to fill them and combat the frustration and loneliness they face. Pray for the families affected who don't know where to turn or who to seek for help. May God be their refuge and strength during these times.
God help us... and this culture that desperately needs to return to you.
In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As our Pastor closed Sunday mornings' service, he gave an altar call for people that were going to be around family and friends in the coming days and weeks who do not have a relationship with God, as well as people who work or live near those who, likewise, need to hear the message of Christ. Pastor then proceeded to say, that He was responding... for the nephew in his family who is away from God; and not just away, but with a multi-generational history of family members who gave their lives to full-time ministry, the nephew is far, far away from God.
He than followed it up with a phrase that perfectly sums up the reasoning behind Bring Me 70 and the need to #pray4pastors.
"No family is exempt."
For whatever reason we think pastors are, they are not. For whatever reason we think they should be, they have never be. For whatever reason we hope they might be, it's never going to happen.
Pastors and their families are neither exempt or immune... to arguments and disagreements, frustrations and challenges, struggles that last for extended periods of time; tragedies of life and the heart-breaking moments of regrettable decisions made by family members they care for deeply.
All of which, sounds exactly like the life of everyone who attends church as well as everyone who has never set foot in church.
Pray, this #seniorPastorMonday, for Pastors and their families who have members wanting nothing to do with God and the church. Pray they would be strengthened and encouraged with the hope that God has a plan for them to return, just as the prodigal came to his "what am I doing" realization. Pray for the challenges and difficulties Pastors face on the home front, for the moments of stress and tension that we all experience and try to work through. May there be a grace about their lives, that would cover them, realizing they don't have to maintain some level of perfection because of their position. Pray God would accomplish the miraculous, as they seek Him and trust Him, anew and afresh, for the prayers that weigh heavy on their heart.
God is greater, than the situations that would seek to take them out and the challenges that are planned to burn them out. May their hearts and minds be fortified as they focus on God and the ministry for which He has called them to carry and fulfill for the kingdom of Heaven. For His glory. For the sake of the cross. Redemption, in the name of the Lord.
I woke up this morning, and it didn't take long that I phrase I used yesterday came to mind as I thought about the effectiveness and efficiency of the church...the pulse of the community.
It does little good to know the "heartbeat of God" and what He is concerned with, if the church doesn't also have its finger on the "pulse of the community" to know what is going on, amiss, and needed.
Ideas, solutions and programs that aren't in line with the first and relevant to the second will accomplish little compared to their actual potential.
This is what Christ modeled for us, in His ministry. Everything He did was in step with God's will and plan while remaining relevant to the needs of the people He came in contact with. It also explains why every miracle, while similar in nature, are different in execution... because the individual was different.
So it is for communities. Programs and solutions won't and shouldn't be a "one size fits all" philosophy, for the character and nature of the community in which my friends serve are entirely different from where I'll be for church in just a little .
We must seek the face of God to know what He for us. We must seek to know the community and what they need from us.
On this #effectiveSunday, pray that churches would strength their spirits, as they seek the face of God... for the plans He has for their people, their pastors, their ministries and their purpose within the community. Pray for divine appointments and open doors of opportunity to meet relevant needs in tangible ways. May God be glorified as the church offers effective ideas and efficient solutions to the challenges of the communities in which they serve.
For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. His hands and feet extended to the world, through the body of Christ... that is the local church.
I am still in awe of what God is accomplishing through the ministry of my friends, whose church I told you won their rezoning appeal for their new location. I continued to reflect on it for the past few days, as I recalled the statements of those impacted and shared out that church is engaging community.
The "coolest" impact, were the three team members of the area's NFL team, that showed up to the city council meeting, to share their stories of the difference the church is making. But other stories came with just as much of a "wow" factor.
One such story, was that of a county jail worker. My pastor friends took our tour of the facility and at the end, without solicitation, asked what the could do to help. A short time later, they had purchased equipment for the jail that allows the inmates to watch the church services online! Inmates are expressing their realization that they are thankful to be in the jail, because it has now brought them in touch with the church... and God is doing a work in them. Furthermore, parishioners started corresponding with the inmates to offer encouragement, support and prayer!
The other story was how the church is helping the community in the fight against human trafficking. Because of the churches efforts, they are working in ways that are actually putting the area community on the forefront of bring leadership-level solutions to this destructive industry.
I say all of this to demonstrate that a true heart for people and the community should prompt and move the church to actively seek ways to make a tangible and relevant impact in their area. It may not be this big, but it could be...just by asking.
On this #communitySaturday, pray that churches would be challenged to expand their ideas of what is going on the community and the needs they can serve. May they actively engage community leaders and decision-makers who have the pulse of the community and approach problems with the heart of Christ as they work to offer solutions. Pray for timely and relevant solutions, that offer genuine support and provide visible progress towards improving situations and the lives involved,
Pray healing and restoration, love and forgiveness go forth, forever changing the status quo that says "it's always been a problem, and always will be a problem."
Almighty, Sovereign God has for us life...abundant and eternal; and solutions for the times people find themselves in places God never intended for them to go. May the church find and fulfill its purpose in helping people get back on track; both with God and with life.
To God be the glory... for lives eternally changed, by the power of God, the cross of Jesus Christ and the hands of the church.
DeGarmo & Key released an album in 1989, titled The Pledge. Wow...that seems so long ago. Dana Key passed away a few years ago, and if you've never heard of his work, you are missing out. An incredibly talented and anointed musician, to say the least.
In the title cut song, the Pledge simply states:
He died for me; I'll live for Him.
As the song played on YouTube, on a video that had over an hours worth of other D & K songs, I reflected on the state of affairs regarding missionaries around the world.
For way too many, their commitment to live for Christ because He died for them, has resulted in dying for Him merely for professing their "pledge" to Christ.
Thanks to the fall of man and the evil in this world, we have come to witness people who would rather destroy others than experience the love and forgiveness made available to them through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And thus, people have sacrificed their lives in honor of their commitment to Christ, in hopes that even through their death, people would find life because of Christ' death on the cross.
Pray this #missionsFriday, for those being persecuted and sought for all forms punishment for the having and expressing their belief in Christ and their commitment to sharing His life. Pray for strength and courage during this time, that like Paul, even in prison, may the boldly share the love and forgiveness of the cross. May their sacrifice not be offered in vain; but that through their experience, may many more come to know Christ as a result, than perhaps having through their life of ministry. Pray for families and friends impacted... may the comfort of the blessed hope rest upon them, assured we will share eternal life together.
For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. His love and forgiveness available through His death; that we have life and life eternal; even if sharing it means sharing in Christ' death as well.
You have to love technology. And the sovereign hand of God when the responds appropriately to challenging circumstances.
Friends of mine, who happen to be great pastors are experiencing phenomenal growth in their current ministry. So much so, they are preparing for plans on their third building. However, it didn't fit within current zoning laws with the city.
Tuesday night, I watched, via the city council webcam, as the body of Christ came together to show their support and appeal the decision of the local politic that rezoning this latest building purchase made sense.
For the church. For the good of the community. For the needs of the city. Plus it was the best use of a building that had been vacant for years and was proving to be difficult to get occupied under current standards and procedures. The church won the appeal, and God working the miraculous aside, I am confident it was largely in part because of the leadership team of the church and how the body of Christ responded to the decisions made by local governance, even when they disagreed.
It reminded me of a similar situation our church went through with our building program. Likewise, it could have been a huge battle. But the situation was handled with grace and love, not out of spite or revenge, much like Tuesday night. In similar manner, God worked the miraculous for our church, in a different direction and our church and community has been better with that outcome. Just as I am sure, my friends will see in their community.
Pray this #deaconThursday, for the decisions that churches face as they deal with local and state governing bodies and legal issues. May the grace and love of God permeate conversations and discussions amidst difficult and complex circumstances. May understanding and patience be the undercurrent throughout the process. Pray hearts and lives would be challenged and changed as communities witness the strength of the body of Christ handle frustrating circumstances with kindness. Pray for local leaders; that they to would bring open minds and understanding hearts to the table. Pray the favor of God and His sovereign will to be experienced in all matters; that regardless of the outcomes, He would be glorified and receive all praise.
May the body of Christ and the governing bodies of the state work together, for the glory of God and the betterment of its people. For the cause of Jesus Christ. Communities changed. One decision, with the favor and blessing of Almighty God.
It's amazing the power of faith through the lives of a community; a people who love God and love people.
In all sincerity of heart and genuine spirit, people truly seek the face of God and desire see God make a difference in the lives of those they come in contact with, through God's working in their own lives.
The stories are told and the ramifications are felt and noticed... right up to the point that someone looks at the math. In short, the amount of total impact is unknown... except to say it is eternal.
Furthermore, It is all priceless. Even if you could put a value on what is gained financially through a life changed and serving God, you can't put a value on the peace, joy, love and forgiveness experienced by an individual that recognizes they were brought back from the brink of being on the edge of life.
A changed individual makes for better friends, better employees. A changed spouse makes for better, stronger marriages. Stronger marriages give way to better parents, leading children by example. Stronger families result in stronger communities and even stronger churches. And the value in that is far-reaching.
Pray this #youthPastorWednesday for the process of changed lives as it extends and reaches this generation of young people. May the recognize early on, the power of God in their lives through salvation. May a firm foundation of faith be established that will allow them to stand firm in all they encounter in this life. Pray their influence is far-reaching as they share and live out, an active and genuine faith in God as they trust and believe for the miraculous in everyday life. May they experience first-hand the joy and peace that comes from living a life that loves God and loves people.
For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. The world changed as the world of one life is changed by the Cross.
The other night, at a small Christmas party, a friend of mine and I had a few minutes that we were able to step outside and catch up, away from the group. It was only 15 minutes or so, but enough to be able to share a few of life's struggles over the past couple of weeks and encourage one another... even if it was as simple as knowing someone else had a similar experience.
Later that same night, I put on a movie on Netflix as I went to bed. The younger brother was in some serious trouble and the older brother had to make a deal in exchange for his life. But the brother was going to need some help. And so the calls began in hopes of recruiting his old friends, from another time in his life
Depending on the numbers you look at, some statistics regarding pastors have them at around 70% as NOT having any close friends. A whopping 7 out of 10 pastors, do not have at least one, or a few people in their lives that they would consider close enough to share life and ministry and the struggles between the two. This is both bad and easy to fix.
On this #associatePastorTuesday, pray God will divinely place the right people in the right places to establish the kinds of friends and friendship that pastors need. Pray people, both in the congregation and community will not be so quick to judge and condemn pastors and their families for personal or professional situations or statements that they may disagree with. May tension and conflict decrease in frequency. May patience and understanding increase, as Pastors are working out their own faith and the struggles of life just as much as those not in ministry, yet with the weight of the eternal responsibility they carry, that comes with the office of Pastor.
May they be strengthened and encouraged, that they are not alone. That there is help. That there are people who care and are praying. May the church rise up and show themselves the love of Christ to pastors, just as they would their neighbors.
For the glory of God. For the cause of Jesus Christ. For what good does it do for a church to reach the lost if it destroys a pastor in the process.
At our church, Pastor is doing a mini-series this month, on The Miracles of Christmas. Yesterday, he spoke on the birth of John the Baptist and all day, I couldn't get this observation out of my head.
"I"m not sure which is more of a miracle: that Elizabeth gave birth in her old age, or that a preacher remained silent for nine months" - Pastor Brad Trask
Comical as it, I can't help but wonder how so many pastors do so well in bringing the Word of God each after service. I imagine massive amounts of time in prayer. Tons of time in study and preparation. Hours in writing and organizing thoughts to paper.
Plus there's the work and operations of the church to oversee. Vision to cast. People to visit. Herein lies the importance of having great Associate Pastors and other staff and administrative roles filled with people, who in their own right, are doing a great work.
There's a great difference between grabbing the "McNuggets" of the word of God and digging deep for the nuggets of significance and worth within the profound truths of Scripture.
I admire and appreciate the various Pastors, whose churches I have been a part of over the years, who have the incredible ability to consistently, weekly, dig deep within Scripture for application in our lives today. I am also keenly aware, that for many, it probably doesn't come quite so easy and one may never know or fully see how much is being missed or lost for any number of reasons, but could be something as simple as not having a team in place that allows Senior Pastors to focus on the preaching and teaching of the Word. That alone can cause long-term problems and damage.
Pray this #seniorPastorMonday, that God would help bring balance and assistance to those Pastors struggling with the responsibilities and schedule of church operations. Pray the right people and skill sets would enter the scene where and when they are needed. Pray for a fresh outpouring and anointing of the Spirit during the times of study and preparation that is invested into developing sermons and series of sermons each and every week. May they find the deep riches of truth and the proper context of understanding the Word as well as bringing to light the appropriate application of what God has for us today.
May doubt and fear and the questioning of God not stand in the way of what He would desire to accomplish.
The truth shining brightly from the depths of Scripture. May it be our portion and sustenance to get through each day.
For the glory of God. His unsearchable riches made known to all.
December is also a great and busy month...for everyone. Church, family, business... life gets crazy in a hurry. And expensive.
And reflective. It's the end of the year. It's the time to celebrate the birth of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ. It's the time of year we more greatly consider those less fortunate than ourselves and on the list of time goes.
Throw in the birthdays of a couple of immediate family members (my own included) and it becomes a time of great reflection.
What has one done well? What does one regret? How does one go about putting a game plan together, of which, after the year changes over, they will do more well, than they will regret? Plus, there's the simple, yet infinitely unanswerable question, "where does time go" in the first place!
This is a great time for the church to be effective. In sharing the reason for the season. In helping those in dire circumstances, experiencing great need and struggling with great loss. In helping people find purpose and meaning. In discovering "what's next" in our lives and with the help of Almighty God, putting our faith to daily good use.
On this #effectiveSunday, pray the church displays well, the love and power of God for those who need to experience grace and forgiveness. Pray this will be a time of healing and restoration for those struggling with the losses and blows that life has dealt them. May bitterness and frustration go as Christ brings purpose and meaning this holiday season. In all things, may people know and remember Jesus is the reason and may the live out the purpose and plan God has for them, during this season and the many that follow.
Celebrating the life of Christ by being His hands extended. For the glory of God., we rejoice in Christ coming to man.
I got to thinking last night about how much churches have changed, as I was watching some older Christian rock concerts on YouTube. To think that there was a time when church was against music that sounded like some of the some of the most-talented and popular, secular rock groups, even though the message was based on Scripture and of sound doctrine.
Shortly thereafter, I came across a sermon by Pastor Willie George, speaking on the missing ministry of Jesus. He proceeded to explain Christ's interaction with children and what the kingdom of heaven will be like.
What stuck out to me, was how he shared how he preached at some of the largest churches in America some 20-30 years ago, yet today, not only are the dwindling in size; they are altogether empty.
Sadly, there are many reasons, more than we care to admit are probably quite valid. Pastor George's point, though...20-30 years is a generation; an unending commitment to the ministry of children. A church that struggles to grow, will eventually cycle out, as the congregations grow older and the kids and youth grow up and go out.
Yes, it's important for churches to minister to widows and orphans, young couples in marriage and "young" couples at heart, but a church that isn't growing in it's ministry to families, will be a church that eventually cycles out of existence... at least to some degree, if not entirely.
Pray this #communitySaturday, as the church engages community, it will seek to make greater impact on families and children. May they grow and develop in their relationships with God and each other as they "do life together". Pray their commitment to the community begins with a community to the family unit, building strong foundations of faith based on the Word of God rather than the word of who stands at the pulpit, or leads worship or a service. Pray God work the miraculous, as the world returns to placing their trust in Him, through individuals, through families, through the body of Christ reaching their communities.
For the glory of God and the cause of Jesus Christ. Strong churches, built by strong families who in return, build stronger communities.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.