Several years ago Dr. Paul Meier, Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Frank Minirth wrote a book entitled We are Driven: the Compulsive Behaviors America Applauds! The book addresses the driven mentality that afflicts Americans. I experienced this first hand on a mission trip to Mexico.
Let’s say you are a minister on the staff of a medium-sized church. You finished seminary and at the invitation of this church, you moved your young family here to this city and have gotten deeply involved in ministry. You are in the process of buying a house. Life is looking good.
Then one day, you are asked to attend a meeting with a few leaders of the church. The administrator is there, accompanied by the chairman of the personnel committee and the deacon chair. Long story short, you learn you are being terminated. Let go. Superannuated. Fired. Getting the ax. Pink-slipped.
Do you remember the last time you thought you gave a bad sermon? Last Sunday was one of those Sundays for me. If the truth be known there are probably many Sundays when our preaching is bad, but most Sundays we don’t recognize it. LOL!
Do you remember an occasion when God showed up in a special and unique way? My experience was a night visit. I had been serving as a pastor for approximately ten years when this occurred.
I was tired, discouraged, and burned out. In addition to these emotions, which pastors encounter on a regular basis, I was hurt by the loss of a large group of people from the church I was pastoring. The hurt was intensified by several people making disparaging remarks, as they were leaving the church. The disparaging remarks were like pouring salt into a tender wound.
Do you ever feel torn between the flesh and the spirit? This morning my wife and I said goodbye to our son and his family, who are missionaries overseas. We shared a refreshing ten-day visit in our home. We said our goodbyes at the airport at 5:00 a.m. The last image I have in my mind is our seven-year-old granddaughter standing at the door of the airport, waving goodbye to us.
(This post is outside the normal parameters of our web site, but Bro. Joe shows some unique wisdom in sharing this post. Thanks, Bro. Joe.)
“Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business…” (Acts 6:3)
The original trouble-shooters–the Lord’s S.W.A.T. team perhaps–in the New Testament church were the deacons. They still are best at this risky business.
Have you ever observed the past upsetting the future? This can happen in a number of ways: being in the wrong place at the wrong time, painful experiences that haunt you down the road, poor decisions, failed relationships, inappropriate behavior, moral failure, and the like. The bad thing about the past upsetting the future is that our past should compliment our future, not delay, sidetrack, or cause defeat as we face it.
I recently spent time with a group of pastors walking through John Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I found myself comparing Jesus’ leadership with those advocated by John Maxwell. One principle, in particular, stood out like a golden nugget as I considered Jesus’ leadership. That principle was Empowering Others.
On a blog devoted to professional speakers, the author gave advice about “that great killer story you love to tell,” and then “the heart-rending windup.” I imagine every speaker wants one each of those in his messages.
Then, the blogger dropped the bomb.
Have you ever been guilty of impulsive leadership? Impulsive leadership happens when you plan an activity as an afterthought or in a hurry. Most often these occur because the activity is expected or the calendar dictates. For instance, if you serve in a location where a fall revival is a part of the church tradition, impulsive leadership can creep in. And the results will show your impulsiveness.
“Mr. Jon,” my young son asked, “what is the purpose of Skyler’s life?” I gasped with embarrassment that he would ask such a question, and then thanked God for our friend’s response. “Skyler’s purpose is to bring glory to the Lord.” Jon’s daughter Skyler is confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, yet, her dear father sees a deep purpose in her life - to glorify God. No matter our life’s situation, no matter how much or little we think we can accomplish, God has big plans for us.
Our approachability is vital. Our integrity is at stake.
“Did you read my email?” A ministry friend asked me this question – he was following up on an earlier promotion that had sent me. At times like this you have several choices: lie, act dumb, or admit the truth. By the time the question was posed (truthfully) I could not remember the email correspondence. My answer was, “I cannot remember getting the promotion.”
Are you ever guilty of worshipping yourself? What a disturbing possibility! In his book, Dangerous Calling, Paul David Tripp says, “Perhaps in ministry there is no more potent intoxicant than the praise of men, and there is no more dangerous form of drunkenness than to be drunk with your own glory.” (p. 167)
MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. Little did those accepted for this job out of the thousands who applied realize how true those words would eventually become.
Years ago I cut an article from a magazine entitled, “In Spite Of.” The writer, J.B. Fowler, was editor of a Christian newspaper. Fowler referenced people who had significant life accomplishments “in spite of” challenging circumstances. Some of the examples he used included: