Archive for January, 2012
I don’t think a Sunday goes by where I feel like I just killed the fatted calf with my message! In fact, I often feel like I AM the fatted calf! I feel slaughtered by the doubts, strong holds and in-capabilities a spiritual leader encounters on a weekly basis. With all the demands of ministry, I often find myself falling short (at least in my mind) of helping everyone take their next spiritual step. Communicating God’s truth is a humbling endeavor, and the most sacred, highest call anyone can consider. Just yesterday at the beginning of service I noticed how full our auditorium was and could not wait to share God’s Word. Everything was ready, the sermon, power-point, song service, specials, video. I mean, I had great plans! Then…….
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you showed up to speak in front of a large crowd and you looked down at the podium only to realize that you forgot your Bible and notes? Then you discover other vital components missing? lol. You wake up in a cold sweat thanking God it was only a dream! Well, last Sunday was not quite that bad, but it was close. The power-point decided not to work, the video could not play, and in the middle of my sermon I trip over my object lesson, and it loudly falls to the ground!.. followed by awkward silence. But the thing that bothers me the most is that I feel that God’s Truth was not communicated and applied as clearly as it should. Does that bother anyone else?.. and do you ever reach a point when you feel like you have just “killed the fatted calf?”
Here are my Five Observations….
- I can honestly say that anything that is of eternal value is 100% God!
- When I begin to think it’s me, my ministry is over.
- I always have room for improvement. Teach-ability is something I never want to lose! When I have arrived God leaves!
- God can use anyone under any circumstance as long as they are completely yielded to Him!
- You cannot take unforeseen circumstances personally, but you can improve what you do have control over!
I am not saying that our services are always a circus act (depending on who you ask). By the grace of God many lives have been transformed and I am looking forward to being a part of the many others that will be as well. What I am saying is that everything done in ministry is for God’s glory, and not my own. So if God wants to make a fool out of His servant, in order for Him to be glorified…I am honored.
I have been a pastor for 1 year, and what a year it has been. Full of lessons, steps of faith, mistakes, victories, disappointments, laughter, absolute excitement etc… but what year isn’t like that? I have much to learn!
I will never forget leading a young man to the Lord when we first moved to Kentwood MI. He was a sponge soaking in the pure truths of God’s Word and slowly dispelling the toxic sludge accumulated over the years. Boy was he excited. I began discipleship with him once a week and it was a blast. This is what God called me to do! To make a long blog short, I showed up to the office one early morning before the sun was up, trucking through the freshly layered powder of snow and fumbling through my keys to open the church. There lay a plastic bag gently against the door. I brought it inside thinking it was a little gift for the new pastor! I looked inside and found every book, including the discipleship material I gave this man with a note that simply said “please do not contact me”. That was hard to swallow! What did I do wrong?
I could blog all day long about the countless others who are soaking in the truth and are still walking in it! The tears that overwhelm me even right now just thinking of the families, singles, teens, kids etc… that are growing in grace is overwhelming since that plastic bag! More bags are coming too!
OK SO WHAT’S THE POINT? . Romans 8:28 All things work together for good to them that love God to them who are called according to HIS PURPOSE.
Last time I checked God is still good at using every disappointment, every victory, every joy, every sadness to work together for good! HIS GOOD! This is God’s ministry, not mine! He died for it, not me!
Do you like cake? I do! A little too much! My wife says tone it down there big boy!
Let me ask you! Would you eat flour by itself? A raw egg? How about a swig of oil? Some of you wouldn’t mind eating 2 cups of sugar. How about a mouthful of cake batter? I didn’t think so. You see, individually they are disgusting and distasteful, but mixed together and with a little heat applied you can make something beautiful for all to enjoy!
God is taking all the good, the bad the ugly and mixing it all together to make a beautiful ministry!
- Joy in ministry does not come from the absence of the bad and the presence of good, but by the stirring of everything God gives you and molding a ministry that pleases HIM! Could you be happy with what God Creates? Or does it have to fit your MOLD!
- The icing on the cake is a peace and joy that passes all understanding!
Every time you see joy mentioned in the Bible it is given in the midst of a trial! Crazy Huh? Nope, thats just called the presence of God! You should try it some time!
There is nothing more enjoyable than witnessing a Christian “Walking in Truth”. John expressed this “greater joy” in III John 4, when a man he personally led to Christ (Gaius) was simply doing what the Bible says.
The Bible may be full of a bunch of do’s and don’ts. But let me remind you that do’s and don’ts do not equal bondage and suffering, but rather freedom and joy! Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? You see, we either serve Sin or serve the Savior. I like this quote, “There are two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self”. Christ’s Truths have been proven and are always righteous, my feelings and preferences have failed me too many times! I don’t know about you but I want to serve Christ and place all my trust in His Truths! What about you?
I preached our theme verse on Sunday January 1st 2012.
Text: III John 4
I. A Determination (Walk)
1Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
A. It is a Choice
B. It is a Chore
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
C. it is a Custom – Habit!
II. A Direction (In)
Note: You can walk, but walk in the wrong direction!
A. Directed in Christ
Hebrews 12:1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith!
B. Directed in the Commandments
Psalms 119:47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
Psalms 119:172 ¶ My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. They are proven.
III. A Destination (Truth)
A. The Rewards
Note: Notice Gaius had a prosperous soul!
Psalms 112:1 ¶ Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
B. The Reality
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Gospel!
I pray that 2012 will be a year of much fruit and Christians “Walking in Truth”.