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).
We are in the Thanksgiving season and want to take this opportunity to give thanks for you and to offer a holiday greeting.
Do you struggle as much as I do with giving up control? Recently I organized an event that required me to give up control. The requirements of this assignment meant that I had to put together a team and then release them to do ministry. The event was/is much larger than one person can handle. Such occasions require that somebody give up control, and that’s a hard thing for me to do. However, if I am called upon to lead people, it is critical that I continually give up control.
A few days ago, I borrowed a dirt mover from a neighbor. With the machine I borrowed some frustration I did not want. My neighbor and I spent three out or four hours working on the machine. At one point my neighbor went to pick up a part, to answer some of our frustrations. While he was gone I decided to use the frustrating, supposedly wasted time in a positive way. I used the time constructively to address another need.
Big picture thinking can be a lifesaver. How’s that so, you ask? Maybe looking at the big picture exhausts you. Many times, we are sabotaged by what I call short-term thinking. Let’s say it’s Monday morning and you are depressed because the attendance was off on Sunday. Low attendance may a relevant concern; however, before slipping into depression back off and look at the big picture. God is up to something, even when you can’t see it.
Are you a late-night person or early riser? The Bible says, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late.” Ps. 127:2 Does this mean you are a bad person if you stay up late or rise early? Obviously, there is more to this verse than the surface meaning.
Yesterday I went to the funeral of a three-week old baby. We had prayed diligently for her healing. For some reason God was silent, in response to our prayer.
Last week Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast of SW Louisiana and South Texas. God seemed to be silent.
Does it disturb you, like me, that God sometimes takes the path of silence?
What an oxymoron, the skeptical optimist. Is it possible for such a creature to exist? Yes, and you will find an example in John 6.
At the feeding of the 5,000 there was a skeptical optimist present in the crowd and his name was Andrew. When Jesus discovered the hunger needs of the crowd he asked if anyone had food. Andrew spoke up and said, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” (vs. 9)
Pastor, are you guilty of allowing your church to become a “one horse church”? That’s an intimidating phrase - one horse. It stirs a challenge to our leadership and tends to carry negative connotations. Despite its negativity, I feel compelled to use it because we need to challenge ourselves to recognize and reverse it if it’s happening in our church. Notice I said “we.” I include myself in this challenge.
One of the challenging tasks pastors face is working with lay people in the church. The challenge comes in trying to balance leadership with cooperation. Sometimes when a pastor assumes a leadership role he ends up being accused of being a dictator. On the other hand, he is foolish if he does not cooperate with lay people.