We were excited about our youngest son and his family flying in from Chicago to spend the holidays with us. Did I mention we were excited about their visit? That is when “it” showed up. The check engine light came on in our van. Sometimes technology gives more information than you want to know. The computer adviser instructed us to get the van to a shop, pronto. That was not what two excited parents wanted to hear, especially when we were ready to head to the airport. (By the way, we did get the problem resolved.)
I once heard someone say, “A pat on the back, though only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, is miles ahead in results.” WOW, how I need to be reminded of this truth, on a regular basis.
Had you told me seven or eight years ago to sit down and write 300-400 articles for a pastor’s web site, I would have said, “No way.” However, this has happened. This blog marks number 400.
In Romans we find a warm word of thanks from Paul for his co-workers Priscilla and Aquila. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.” (Romans 16:4)
In 2014 my wife and I built a new home. At the time we also added a small catfish pond. Over the past four years we have caught a few small catfish but no large fish, until this past Saturday. We had gotten a little discouraged because the fish did not seem to be growing. In fact, we caught very few fish in recent months.
I started this week feeling fruitless. I needed to write this blog, prepare a sermon for Sunday, and prepare a sermon for a prison ministry. None of the tasks came easily. The little productivity I squeezed out flowed like molasses. You know those weeks. Sunday is coming, and the sermon is not there.
As I drove to work, I pondered the fruitless stages of my life and asked myself the question: What does it take to rise above fruitlessness? I offer the following points. I even alliterated, for you preacher types. I hope my ideas will help.
I woke up this morning feeling a little glum in my view of people. Don’t be so pious, we all feel this way from time to time. People don’t live up to our expectations. People don’t stroke us as much as we would like. People aren’t as perfect as we want them to be.
Today I picked up a copy of John Maxwell’s book, “25 Ways to Win with People.” This book quickly refocused my glum attitude. I did a quick scan of the contents of the book and was reminded of the truth, “people are our business!” In short, the Lord reminded me to get over myself.
The past several years I have performed two jobs. I have served a church, as pastor, and I have served as a Director of Missions. As a Director of Missions, it is my pleasure to serve forty-three churches. There are times when the juggling act of fulfilling these two positions gets tedious.
Failure, this is not a word we relish. In fact, most of us avoid as if it were a disease. I would venture to say most of us would rather never hear or read the word again, especially if it’s being applied to us.
Have you ever seen a team that refused to play as a team? I once witnessed a basketball team that self-destructed because they failed to play as a team. It was predicted that this team would win a state championship. The previous year they had great success and won most of their games. At the end of the year they lost very few players.