Several weeks ago I wrote about an ugly church, the church at Corinth. Corinth faced many issues that made it an ugly church: division, immorality, lawsuits among members, problems with marriage, arrogance, and worship wars. We see similar issues in churches today. In fact, you may be serving an ugly church.
How do you relate to an ugly church? Paul gives us some wisdom. In II Corinthians 2 we find food for thought. First, we must exercise restraint. Paul said, “I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow.” (2:1) Paul restrained himself from making a painful trip to Corinth. He waited until God’s time was right.
Today I am feeling better than good. You might ask, “Are there days when you are not good?” The answer to that is yes and no. If, every morning, you asked me how I am doing, 90 percent of the time I would say good. However, there are days when things are better than good. Today is one of those days.
“Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and I have done all these things at Your word.” (I Kings 18:36)
What Elijah prayed on Carmel, I pray.
It is entirely in order for the Lord’s messenger to pray that the people to whom he was sent will recognize that God is God and in charge, and that he himself is the Lord’s servant, on mission from Him.
I prayed that prayer during the worst time of my life when a little group of self-righteous and mean-spirited members clamored for my resignation. I was going through the fire, being tried as I rarely had.
The prayer felt like the dying gasp of the weakest child in God’s family.
Did God hear the prayer? Did He answer?
Have you ever stepped on a rotten piece of fruit? Such missteps are not a pretty sight. The pressure of your step might cause an explosion of gunk. Not fun Charlie Brown.
This image leads to the question of the day. Have you ever exploded under pressure? This often happens when you work with people and organizations, such as the church. The issue is not the pressure but how we cope with the pressure.
any pastors secretly struggle with measuring up to very successful pastors and churches. It’s tough, but it comes with ministry. People compare pastors. In this post I suggest a few ways to deal with this “measure up mentality.” I begin with one pastor’s experience. He received this e-mail from someone in his church. The names are changed to protect the innocent (uh, I mean the guilty).
As a minister, you have surely asked yourself, “Why do I do this?” When we ask such questions it usually comes at a time of discouragement or personal struggle. When discouraged or weighing motives, instead of asking the negative question, “Why do I do this?” I think it important to consider the positive, affirming statement, “Why I do this.”
Let’s face it; the church is not always pretty! In fact, there are times when we would say, “The church is downright ugly.” Laugh out loud or cry out loud? Regardless of our response, God has given us the responsibility of shepherding the church.
The book of Acts describes the amazing story of Jesus’ work through the Holy Spirit in the early church. With an explosive start, problems were certain to surface. And they did. In the first example of internal dissension the Apostles displayed great leadership. The church had grown so rapidly that some of the widows were being overlooked in the regular distribution of food (Acts 6.1-7). And murmuring began that potentially could fracture the church. However, they lead the church well and model for us 9 things great leaders do.
About two years ago I accompanied my sons on a hike up Mount Le Conte, a 6,593 foot mountain peak in the Smoky Mountains overlooking Gatlinburg, Tn. This is a grueling hike. I have made the hike a number of times. This particular hike was different. I was approaching my sixtieth birthday and my sons were in their 30s. The energy and age difference was obvious. I had to push on, even when I felt like my engine was running out of gas. (I can laugh about it now.)
Reprinted with permission, http://joemckeever.com/wp/
One: I hate the conflict. It has been with us from the beginning (see Acts 6:1-7). God can use conflict to achieve good results, but it’s no fun and unless it’s handled well will, it can hold the church up to ridicule in the community.
Reprinted with permission, http://joemckeever.com/wp/
One: I like the idea of church – a regular gathering of the redeemed to worship, remember, nurture one another, hammer out questions, and hold one another accountable. After all, “it is not good for man to be alone.” We were made needing one another and do not function well in isolation.
Do you ever feel like you have it bad? All of us have been there. A good prescription for such times is studying the trials experienced by the Apostle Paul. I recently led a study of II Corinthians. A major emphasis in this book is Paul’s sufferings and trials. Any minister who reads this book will find his trials to be minimal in comparison. When we think we have the worst situation possible we can look around and find someone whose situation is worse. This is certainly the case when we compare our trials to those of Paul.
Judy and I have a dog named Lucy. Lucy is a delight to be around. She always wags her tail when someone approaches her. She always has a cheerful countenance. She will help you keep things in perspective. A while back I came home from work with a negative spirit. I walked into our home and Lucy helped me change my attitude. She convinced me to play ball with her. It is hard to play ball with a dog and not receive a new perspective.
I hate disappointing people. And, every time I say the word “NO,” someone isn’t happy with my answer.
Has anyone ever suggested that you relax? Such suggestions usually stir my hidden animal instincts. I want to strike these people. LOL! Most of the time these suggestions come from people who care about me. The suggestions also come at times when my face betrays me. Those who know me see the need for me to relax. The need to relax slips in when the demands are greater than the energy or the clock does not allow enough flexibility to get everything done.
“Don’t try anything today without relying on the power of God!”
I occasionally like to correct a myth I have heard all my life. How many times has someone said to you, “God will never put more (trials) on you than you can bear”?
I challenge you to show me that in the Bible. God WILL allow more than you can bear.
The problem I have with that lie is that, as innocently as it is given - even offered mostly as encouragement, it’s not encouraging at all.