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.
Be patient! Does this exhortation eat at you as much as it does me? This gnaws at me because I am an impatient person. I inherited this tendency from the males in our family. I think it runs in the Irish bloodline.
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.
In the political world there is a phrase “the ayes have it.” This phrase refers to the yes votes having the majority in an election. A paraphrase is this, the yes votes control.
Do you ever feel the loneliness of leadership? When I feel like having a pity party, I often tell my wife I feel “so” lonely. Why is this the case? Why do we feel this pressure?
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.
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)