"I'm resigning." That is what this pastor said to me after being in a lead ministry position at a local church in my area. I thought to myself at the time, why does it have to be this way? He is a good leader, a compassionate man, and kingdom of God guy. Why does this dude have to take one for the team? He is not alone. As a matter of fact, lots of people are resigning from ministry at rapid rates. Not good. Sometimes it is at the hand of their sin, and no doubt there needs to be some change. However, for many it is a conflict at the church. I like to call it death by church. Maybe it is not measuring up. Or perhaps a personality conflict. A power struggle. Whatever the case is, many men and women are dying in the ministry. I think of the time Jesus was not a welcome person in his own home town. To think that the Son of God was rejected is harsh, and yet he was. He can certainly understand when we go through the hard times at church. When leading it is such a hard place at times because those you are trying to lead are not being very nice. It can certainly get lonely being in leadership within the ministry of a church. Again Jesus can relate. What bugs me though is we who are in the church, by God's grace don't relate well to Jesus. You can see why so many letters were written in the first 40 years after the resurrection of Jesus. We, that is the body of believers, are having to be reminded of a death to self, and a life to the gospel. This takes faithful consideration of how the gospel will cut. Will it cut into the culture to reach the lost? Or will it cut each other off for lesser goods and service? All I know is that I can only 'do' church because of Jesus, and this can bring me comfort as I try to serve in it and alongside others
Monday, September 15, 2008
Mud. It can be fun. Most of the time it is messy. So what is so special about mud? Add a 3 year old boy and you can have some funny memories. As I cleaned up the side of my house, which is in constant need of cleaning. My son, decided to turn on the water and allow two elements to mix. Dirt and water, which makes mud. I was going to scold him for it, but seeing the fun he was having caused my adult reaction to delay. I found myself intrigued by his unabashed playfulness of two simple ingredients. What was most outstanding was his proclamation of seeing his hand print in the mud. He yells up at me to look, at which I was already doing, and wanted me to take careful note of his hand imprinted upon the earth. Again I was profoundly impressed at his excitement, and the simile of his hand on the earth. It caused me for a moment to recall God's creation and call for man to work the earth, knowing that God gave us a privileged job to be stewards with His creation. This imprint was God's message to me about how we are connected to this floating ball called earth, and how God desires us to enjoy it. May you to enjoy, His creation, especially with the playfulness of a child's heart.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
What turned out to be another day was in no way ordinary. With the opportunity to help feed the homeless in the Placer County area, Elevation Church along with Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Auburn feed and hosted the Gathering Inn. What is the Gathering Inn? Simply put, it is going to the 'least of these' (Matt.25:45), that the gospel calls the follower of Christ to help. This does not mean creating more government and committees to decided how to help, it is feeding, housing, proclaiming, and sharing the gospel of Jesus with another person. A person who is no different than me. A person who may understand the love that God does have for people by being the gospel with flesh. You see I preach in my setting at Elevation every week. To that I'm grateful to proclaim a freedom message to all who need to hear and respond to the salvation of Christ. No doubt this is important. However, the gospel can be "preached" in service too. We were able to feed, house, and relate to over 45 homeless, transitional, and working poor in the Placer County area. The Gathering Inn is the conduit for a church to come alongside the individual and proclaim the gospel. That is awesome. As I worked alongside my five kids, another Pastor in our church and his family, a couple from Elevation, and 6 volunteers from Bethlehem Lutheran I marveled at God's ability to do His work of the gospel through willing hearts. The Gathering Inn will be a place for Elevation to work the gospel out in real lives and in real needs. For more information about this ministry go to www.thegatheringinn.com
Friday, September 5, 2008
Lots of noise. Communication is certainly the mantra of our lives. We sometimes don't hear well what was said and misunderstand what was meant. Found it interesting what I heard about a Telemegaphone in Norway. This is a one way loud speaker atop of a tower that callers call to and let their voice be heard. Those within ear shot listen in on the proclamation of the caller. Even the small village town of Dale hears callers tell those who will listen what is on their minds. It is surprising that we will take on the expense of calling to some remote location to be heard, but yet we will not say a word to someone about the greatest movement known to man, 'the Gospel of Jesus Christ.' I find myself sometimes wanting to be heard, but yet what needs to be proclaimed is the greatness of God's Gospel to all humanity. Let every mountain top hear that message, until God comes again.