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.
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. Our church in Alabama went to Matamoros, Mexico to build a church.
As I selected this title I did so by looking in the mirror. I am speaking to me. By speaking to me I can speak to fellow pastors. We are cut, in many respects, from the same mold.
What a message, “He knows!” In several locations, the Bible assures us that God knows. There are other references, but I will mention only three. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cooper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.” (Matt. 10:29) In the very next verse Jesus repeats the same concept, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt. 10:30) The Psalmist expressed a similar thought, “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” (Ps. 147:4)