Monthly Archives: July 2012
Discussion/Devotional thought of the day:
5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)
It is challenging enough to love one’s friends, one’s neighbors. Yet Jesus calls us to love as He does – to love even our enemies – as we love ourselves. Some may hear this as law – noting the impossibility of such love, and use that as an excuse for not fulfilling this law – or even trying to fulfill it, citing Christ’s fulfillment of the law. They dismiss the command, and seek a cheaper form of grace – one that is reactive, not proactive.
St Paul in Romans 6 would highly disagree – noting that we shouldn’t continue in our sin, that grace would abound more. Instead we should strive to obey and love our enemies – asking God to turn their hearts toward Him. A challenge indeed. I love how one of my favorite authors put it.
440 When you have finished your work, do your brother’s, helping him, for the sake of Christ, with such finesse and naturalness that no one—not even he—will realize that you are doing more than in justice you ought. This, indeed, is virtue befitting a son of God! Escriva, Josemaria, The Way (Kindle Locations 1083-1085). Scepter Publishers.
Love results in action, it’s not just “being nice” or feeling good about someone else. It brings a cup of cold water to someone working, then takes their place while they work. It goes two miles with the person who demanded (fairly or not) that you go one with them one.
Love your enemies – this will not only take the mercy of God, a true level of realizing how much you are in Christ and depend on His strength, but it will give you a new appreciation of His love for you!
Lord have mercy! And as you do, help us show your love and mercy to our enemies and our neighbors,
( by the way – this includes those politicians you’ve been complaining about recently!)
Discussion/Devotional thought of the day:
“Don’t fear God’s justice. It is no less admirable and no less lovable than his mercy. Both are proofs of his love.” Escriva, Josemaria
To think of Justice as an act of love is challenging, primarily because I don’t think we understand justice. We see it primarily as punitive, and in an eternal sense – there is something to that. But justice in scripture is also righteousness – and in that form, it cannot abide unrighteousness,
It seems to be that we want God to work on the injustice in the world, that which we see as not being righteous. The challenge is wanting Him to do the same in our own lives, even as we pray it occurs in our communities and countries. And ultimately, His righteousness is proven in how He deals with our unrighteousness – He keeps His promise – His sacred covenantal promise and makes a righteous people by putting their injustice and unrighteousness on someone else- that His justice may be seen.
May we find that love every day, as we look at crosses that surround us – testifying to His justice, His mercy and His love!
Devotional thought of the day:
5:9 Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. 10 For your example, brothers, in patiently putting up with persecution, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name; 11 remember it is those who had perseverance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and understood the Lord’s purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate.
James 5:9-11 (NJB)
In my devotion today ( i read some scripture – and then one of several devotional books) I came across this quote:
“Many false apostles, in spite of themselves, do good to the masses, to the people, through the very power of the doctrine of Jesus which they preach—even though they don’t practice it.
But this good does not compensate for the enormous and very real harm they do by killing the souls of leaders, of apostles, who turn away in disgust from those who don’t practice what they preach.
That’s why such men and women, if they are not willing to live an upright life, should never push themselves”forward as leaders. “(Escriva, Josemaria . The Way (Kindle Locations 1024-1028). Scepter Publishers.
I have to confess, I have my own list of such false prophets, men who do preach Christ crucified that people come to know the love of God, but then whose lives are filled with things that don’t quite resemble the God-man who gave up heaven to come down and live humbly among us and die, that we might live. Or those that encourage us to try and obey God, and then call for the stoning of those who don’t live up to the expectations they have placed on others. Such hypocrites (the greek for judge is krites btw) do, as Escriva points out – cause much damage – even as God uses what they planned for evil, for good. (see Gen. 50:20 for the first time someone planned evil and God used it to bless others- the cross is another example)
To me it is amazing that God can and does use their words to bless people. But hear Paul’s words about this:
1:15 It is true that some of them are preaching Christ out of malice and rivalry; but there are many as well whose intentions are good; 16 some are doing it out of love, knowing that I remain firm in my defence of the gospel. 17 There are others who are proclaiming Christ out of jealousy, not in sincerity but meaning to add to the weight of my chains. 18 But what does it matter? Only that in both ways, whether with false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed, and for that I am happy; [19a] and I shall go on being happy, too,
Philippians 1:15-18 (NJB)
What really begins to get me – is when I realize – that when I condemn those I consider hypocritical, i am acting exactly as St. Escriva describes. That is, my judgment and condemnation simply is living very inconsistently with the message I preach – for I proclaim clearly that the hope of sinners is found in Jesus’ love, in His cleansing them, and that there is hope. Yet when I condemn these men, (not just warning them, or warning others to stay away from them and why) when I bitterly judge them, when I gossip about them, or even compromise and do not confront them (if such is my responsibility) then I have become the kind of pastor I loathe most. It was once said that we need to preach about real sin – not the sin of those unlike me, but the sins that assault and tempt me and mine. And condemning those who preach and are hypocritical – in a way different than mine, doesn’t bring healing of my own sin-wracked life.
It is then, i need to hear what every hypocrite does – what every false prophet does. That there is no reason to delay our repentance, that God is willing to forgive and does. Then, refreshed by His forgiveness, encouraged by His love – we can return to preaching about Him, and living in Him. ANd perhaps, knowing my own hypocritical nature is forgiven, I can help others find that same forgiveness,… and peace!
“Lord Have mercy!” we cry! To our great relief, even as we cry it, we realize He promised to… and has!
May the meditation of our hearts and the words of my mouth be acceptable to you O Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer! Amen!
If Pastor came to your door this morning what kind of greeting would you give? Would you be happy to see him, arriving unannounced as he did. What would be your very first response to His visit? Would you feel put out or put upon because you didn’t have any warning. Would you be angry that you didn’t have adequate time to tidy things up for your guest? Would you be afraid that you were giving the wrong impression? Maybe you’d try to delay His visit telling Him to come back much later after you had straightened out your house.
Would you tell Him to come in in 30 minutes while you straightened out just the major messes in your house, put some of your junk into a closet so He wouldn’t see, do a little light cleaning, perhaps run the vacuum. Those of you with small kids will understand how horrifying these unannounced visits can be with little ones. Their stuff is everywhere, some left by them and some left by you.
Think about you house and the various rooms that are in your home. The house and the various rooms are your life as you are living it out; today.
Why do we try and put things in order at the last minute and not keep our lives in order all the time? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger – we all fall short of the Glory of God.
Now would your reaction be any different if your unannounced guest was Jesus and not Pastor Parker? Would you be mortified, terrified, welcoming, angry, hostile, or humble? How would you be?
Let’s take a look at a couple of the rooms in your house:
First let’s look at the place where you take your meals. Many families will eat around the kitchen table for most of their meals. What kind of food would Jesus find in your pantry or refrigerator? Would He find good, wholesome food like lean meat, lots a vegetables – sorry kids – milk, and fresh fruit? Would He find junk foods that are high in calories but have little nutritional value, and gobs of transfats and cholesterol? You know the type of junk food we know is bad for us but we still love to eat it! What would Jesus find in your pantry?
Let’s move to another room, say your home office. What would Jesus find there. This is a place where you do a job for others, does it have all the things you need to do your job or are their things that are missing – perhaps a scanner to input documents for you, or perhaps the perhaps the PC that is there is slow and needs to be rebooted frequently. If you work with your hands are your tools taken care of, or do they have some rust on them. Do they have the edge to do the job or are they dull and needing of sometime of the sharpening stone?
Finally we come to that closet; you know the one I mean. It’s locked and the contents never see the light of day. You go there occasionally and indulge yourself in some behavior that you feel ashamed of. It may be porn, don’t get too smug ladies – the fastest growing group of people addicted to porn are WOMEN. Maybe it’s the latest gossip or the news about the latest episode of a soap opera. Whatever you do that you don’t want others to know about, is stored in here in this dark place; kept apart from the rest of your life. What would the Pastor think, what would Jesus think?
The food that you eat is really about how you feed your spiritual life. It consists of your prayer life, the time you spend reading the bible, the time you spend in silent prayer and meditation. This is how we learn what Jesus has in store for us; what He wants us to do with our lives. We do this so that the peace that surpasses all understanding is with us. Here we learn about the deep love the Jesus has for us; how he desires to spend eternity with us in heaven as co-heirs of His Father’s Kingdom, we learn that nothing on earth or under the earth can separate us from the love of God. We learn that despite all the sin we are burdened with, He has forgiven that sin. He has cleansed us from ALL unrighteousness. It is here that we learn, we begin to understand what it means to be one of God’s people. His Holy, and treasured possession, the pearl of great price. This is what today passage means when it states: “… what is the breadth and length, and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. It is speaking about the incredible level of God’s love for you and for me. The Love that would, before the foundations of the earth were formed, would devise a plan of rescue that would entail the torture and credulity heaped upon Jesus to reconcile us, to God the Father. He was, and is, and will be forever the Lamb of God who took on sin for you and I so we could become co-heirs with Him in heaven.
I’d like to go back to my earlier analogy of Jesus coming to visit your house. As He stops in the pantry and sees all the junk food we take on in our lives, He becomes the celebrity chef. He personally takes out the useless junk food and throws it away, he then takes you to the store and buys for you, out of His own pocket, good, wholesome, and nutritious food; the exact food that your spiritual life needs and requires. They type of food that will make you grow strong in the way of the Lord, reading the bible and learning what God has done for you and continues to do for you. What He wants for you. It tells us of God’s incredible love towards us and that He wasn’t to be with us during the high points as well as the low ones. He wants to walk by our side to ensure we stay on the path that He has set forth and He wants us to grow strong in our faith. Not as a “to do” list, or some sort of spiritual check list, but as a response of what He first did for us!
The workroom or home office gets the same attention; Jesus sharpens our tools of love, compassion, and humility towards others who need to hear the message that will save them from sin, the devil and death. God gives us the tools, the relationships so that we can spread the Good news that He has to offer a broken and sinful mankind. The tools are there for us to use, or not; but for what He did for us on Calvary, we pick them up and use them as best we can. Asking for His intercession to use them better.
Finally, that closet. That closet that contains all the ugly, dark, foul-smelling sin that we hold so, so dear; Jesus wades into that cesspool we call our lives and He begins the clean-up we can’t even imagine. He carts out the foulness, He wipes the closet floor, He introduces a fresh clean aroma into what was a pit of nasty, nasty garbage. He does this out of love, pure unadulterated love. Love for His people, His sheep, and His treasure. That is what we mean to Him so we could be co-heirs with Him of the greatest treasure of all time – forgiveness of all our sins; because of His love, His incredible love for us.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Grace, mercy and peace be to you from our Heavenly Father so that through Christ, you are strengthened and empowered knowing that perfect love given to you.
To him be all the glory!
As I was preparing for the sermon today, I was reading the Epistle from Ephesians and one of the verses reminded me of an incident while on vacation last week in the Sierras.
We rented a pontoon boat to fish from on June Lake thinking this would be the perfect platform to fish from and knowing that also we would have multiple people on and off through out the day.
As the dedicated fishermen got on the boat for the morning fishing run we left the marina with the water smooth as glass.
Needless to say, that didn’t last long. Sure, we caught a couple of fish but then the wind showed up and it changed the dynamic of everything. It blew and blew all day long. There were white caps on the water by eight A.M. and then it even rained on us that day. In fact the wind blew all week long until the day we left to come home but that’s another story
We were not able to pleasantly anchor any longer and stay on target for catching fish and no matter where we tried to anchor up we would get blown around like a bug on a leaf. We had two anchors; one on the bow and one on the stern but they were not heavy enough to stop this pontoon boat from being pushed around like a little toy boat.
No matter how hard we tried and no matter what we did to set those anchors they couldn’t hold that boat in place due to the power of that wind blowing across that lake.
The other problem was that the anchors that were assigned for this large pontoon boat were in adequate for a boat of this size. They were too small and too light to do their jobs properly and to be effective in keeping us in one place. Sure, they worked fine if there was no wind blowing but in any adversity they failed. But really they were the wrong anchors for this boat.
We finally after fighting it all day, just let go and drifted around the rest of the day left to the mercy and strength and power of that wind.
The Epistle made me think about the power of that wind in pushing the boat around and that Epistle kept pointing to verse16.
“ That according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
These verses not only make me think of that power of the wind on our boat but they also make me think about the anchors that were so futile and that were unable to hold us in posisition as those winds blew.
Those wimds and their power to push that boat wherever they wanted to and those puny anchors trying to hold against that power reminds us of our lives.
If you live on planet Earth then you have experienced these winds. These winds are our sin and all the stuff and horrible things that are thrown against us on a regular and daily basis. we live in a sinful world where the winds of sin, death and blow upon us everyday. We can’t escape it or get away from it and sometimes we even join it and flow right along with it enjoying the ride….
Remember the old saying, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?’
We go along for the ride and we go with the flow until our boat is crashed into the rocks or grounded and we faced certain destruction.
Or maybe in the face of such power, we try to throw our anchors out to keep us in place thinking that we can handle it. We have it under control and our anchors are set! Until that huge gust of sin comes and breaks your little baby girlie man anchor free!
These anchors will only fail! They won’t work!
There is only one anchor that holds us in place and we heard that in the verses that I just read to you and that you heard in the Epistle.
You all have the power! You are all strengthened with power. I don’t mean from a radioactive spider or super strength from a yellow sun.
Paul writes that you have the Father’s power through His Spirit in your inner being!
So I guess you are all Power Rangers!
You have been given this power so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
You have been rooted and grounded in love, in His perfect love that has no strings attached or any special rules or things you must do to acquire it. It is the uncompromising love of the Trinity that is poured out upon us and that loves us unconditionally.
You are anchored in Him.
You are anchored in Him who is Jesus the Christ. Jesus, the true Son of Man and Son of God who gathers up all of our sin and takes that sin willingly and obediently to the cross and dies for all.
He doesn’t pick and choose who to die for, His love is given to and for all people all the time. he calms the storms.
Because of that, in our Baptism’s we die with Christ only to be born again into life with our Savior.
It’s His power and His fullness. It’s His love that grounds us and roots us and anchors us so that we can stand firm in that wind knowing our anchor is more than secure.
It’s like being in a rowboat and having the Queen Mary’s anchor as your own. You aint going anywhere except to Heaven!
Those storms of this foul and sinful world rage on and they are powerful. They will do whatever they can to blow and push us around and we do give up and we go with the flow because it’s easy.
But my daughter has a saying that I now can put into practice. She is fond of saying, “ Only dead fish go with the flow!”
That statement is true. Only dead fish go with the flow. Dead fish will only go wherever the current and wind sends them.
So let me ask you.
Are you a dead fish plodding along and going with the flow and whatever way the wind blows or are we alive in Christ through the power that we have been given by God?
Dead or alive?
I’ll answer for you. We confess Christ amd His perfect love who is most surely alive and because of that we most surely live now and eternaly also. We don’t go with the flow of this evil world but instead stand anchored and rooted in the power of our Mighty and Righteous God who strengthens us the fullness of His Spirit.
That fullness and power is more than we could ever ask for. It’s so big and so powerful and so loving that our feeble minds can’t fully grasp it but it’s true. Our Father doesn’t do things half way!
That’s the only way we can endure these storms and tempasts of life becuase as Christ lives in our hearts, through the Holy Spirit we can and do have faith and trust in Him, our anchor of faith, hope and love who calms and clears the storms and howling winds.
Through the Holy Spirit revealing Christ and His love to us in God’s most precious and Holy Word we know Him who saved us and we bear His name.
“From whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.”
We share in and call upon the name of Christ! We have all the power and resources of our Heavenly Father working in us to strengthen and sanctify us and because of that we can proclaim His infinite grace, mercy and love for all people.
Christ lives in us surrounding us and grounding us in that ultimate love which flows and pours over us guiding and leading, protecting and soothing us and making us able to stand.
Romans 8:39 says,
” Not height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can take that grace, mercy and love away from us, EVER!
As you move through this life, attacked by those winds and storms know that we can stand strong against the rage and flow not because our anchor is strong but because our anchor is the power fulfilled and given to you by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ and through His love you are rooted and grounded.
Because He lives and loves you, you now live and can love others!
Only dead fish go with the flow!
We stand with Christ forever!
To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generation, forever and ever.
In Defense of Chick-Fil-A – an article that a blog-friend wrote
It is really strange to me that any government, federal, state or local would use economic pressure to stop the freedom of speech. However, they should resmember that chick-fil-a is a company with a history of patience. Many areas have indicated they would only build if they opened on Sundays (for the revenue’s sake. )
Chick-fil-A won’t bow on that issue, which is one which would only gain them financially. So why would they on this one?
Hate speech works two ways – and religious intolerance of Christians is as much hate speech…as what they accuse Chick-fil-a’s president of – the difference – Chick-fil-a is neither denying service or opportunity – whereas Boston and Chicago are.
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the day:
I write a lot about broken people – and even about broken churches. One of the reasons is there seems to be an endless supply of them. And every time I think I am completely healed, or those I minister to are, life comes along and seems to break us again. It really doesn’t, but boy does the agony, and the pain, feel like we are broken again.
St. Paul reminds us what it is like to be broken, even as he reminds us of our being made whole….
3 There was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient and misled and enslaved by different passions and dissipations; we lived then in wickedness and malice, hating each other and hateful ourselves. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour for humanity were revealed, 5 it was not because of any upright actions we had done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own faithful love that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and renewal in the Holy Spirit 6 which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 so that, justified by his grace, we should become heirs in hope of eternal life. 8 This is doctrine that you can rely on. I want you to be quite uncompromising in teaching all this, so that those who now believe in God may keep their minds constantly occupied in doing good works. All this is good, and useful for everybody.
Titus 3:3-8 (NJB)
Obviously the way we were, – very broken- you can’t but read that and realize that Paul is describing people traumatized and torn by sin. As much their own sin ( which we don’t like to face at all ) and the sins of those around us, and even the sins of those who went before us. To be blunt – life being broken sucks!
Yet, God doesn’t – He won’t leave us there. I absolutely love the description of baptism in this and those two words:
Rebirth – being born again of water and of spirit – taking what is dead, and giving it new life.
Renewal/Restoraton – to make brand new! (and it seems like He has to do this daily – sometimes hourly)
It changes everything – our brokenness – no longer is there – though it may appear that way, though it may cause us to struggle,. That is why Paul urges us to keep teaching this – without any compromise – because our hearts need to trust in God’s doing this, more than in the circumstances in which we find ourselves! We are healed – by His stripes ( see Isaiah 53) God hasn’t abandoned us, He has rescued us and we can and do praise Him as the One in Psalm 22 does, as we realize we are not abandoned – we are His!
Living in view of that is different than living broken as well…. for our thoughts become less and less about ourselves – and more about others who are broken. We begin to do good works because He is working in us. This is a promise long awaiting prior to Christ – God’s great plan – which so many testitfied to – but one of my favorite promises of it is found in Ezekiel:
36:25 I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your filth and of all your foul idols. 26 I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. 27 I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practise my judgements.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NJB)
God has done amazing things to those He has cleansed – as He fulfills a promise to take our weary broken, anxiety laden hearts, and transforms them into His own image….
As we cry, “Lord, Have Mercy” may we trust that He has done what He said He would do! AMEN!
Thought of the day:
Last night I finally started writing a book. It’s an odd thing, since I don’t see myself as a wise sage, or a wildly successful pastor. Just a plain ordinary, slightly crazy pastor who believes that God puts churches in places to bring healing to the broken in that community. And the only time a church should “close” is when all the broken in the community are healed and are perfect. In other words, the need doesn’t happen until Jesus returns.
Of course the statisticians will tell you that there are life cycles to church – usually a 40-50 cycle where around 20-25 the church starts slowly dying, or at least losing its significance. I know a few that fit that model, and I know a few that have been around 10o or 200 years, or more. Go to Eurpose – there are some there that have been in use for 1000 plus years – and in India, 1800. So while the stats guys have noticed a phenomena – it ain’t necessarily a law/ My book will be about keeping the church in the business of healing, in the business of salvaging people, and their relationships. There is hope for such churches, and for those who attend them, and for the community that surrounds them.
The hope is found in soup – specifically “stone soup” and focuses heavily on the sacraments, and on Eph 2:8-10 – especially 10:
“2:10 We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 (NJB)
As a lutheran – we focus a lot on 8 and 9 – and for good reason. But if there is a answer, if there is a way to stop churches from closing, it is in realizing that we are God’s art work, His poetry, and there is much work to be done as we heal from the damage of sin, and the work, the poetry God has called our lives, because He called us, is key in that process of healing, together.
I’ve seen it happen, in churches in the desert – in a church in the suburbs. This isn’t some how to get er done book, with methodologies to implement. It’s a radical way to see the church return to faithfulness, one ingredient at a time. The recipe is a parable, and realizing the truth in it. A truth best described in Eph 2:8=10
So pray for me. as I write a parable about healing broken lives and broken churches, simply with sacred simple things, water, a Stone, and some bread.
oh and realize, that this book is about all of us… for there is hope for all – no matter how broken, how burdened, how alone.. as we heal together in Christ!
Discussion, Devotional thought of the day:
I came across this concept, this description of a characteristic of the faith a few times recently. Here is the original:
” Holy shamelessness is characteristic of the life of childhood. A little child doesn’t worry about anything. He makes no effort to hide his weaknesses, his natural weaknesses, even though everyone is watching him. Shamelessness, carried to the supernatural life, suggests this train of reasoning: praise, contempt; admiration, scorn; honor, dishonor; health, illness; riches, poverty; beauty, ugliness …Well, all right, does it matter?” Escriva, Josemaria
I find this thought somewhat deeper than it looks at first. Shamelessness is the kind of attitude that we think means we don’t care about what we’ve done, we simply live in the moment without thinking of consequences. Is that the kind of characteristic we should show the world?
in a real supernatural sense I believe we should. YOu see, if we truly trust that Jesus Christ has justified us, that He can and does deal with our sin and all the unrighteousness in our lives, then according to Him, there is nothing to be ashamed of – we are cleanse, justified, righteous, and we can – with a child like faith, go about the day, trying to please the One who loves us.
It is when we allow our lives to be manipulated by what may appear shameful, when we are concerned with what others think of our behavior – then we have lost the freedom Christ gives. When we are bound by fears and anxieties of what others will think – our focus has gone astray, and we aren’t thinking like children of God. We will realize, that we have bought into something that isn’t shameless – but shameful.
And then – cry Lord have mercy, know He has – and walk away, skip away and worship the One who has freed you!
Discussion thought of the day:
“1:24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
Colossians 1:24-27 (NLT)
There is something about being a pastor, that those considering going into the ministry should know- it means long hours and being witness too – close witness too, like down in the muck with, people in trauma, people in pain. God gives us all, but especially those entrusted with shepherding His people, the responsibility to be down in the muck, involved in the brokenness, there alongside those who heart.
Some may think the job is somewhat glamorous – after all – having 95 percent of a crowd from 30 to 30,000 listening to you talk for 12 -45 minutes may sound good, BUT, the message is best delivered to those who need hope, which means you have to be there with them – to show them the hope they do have…
It is when they listen to the warnings, to the teaching, when they realize the power of the truth that God in Christ is in them – with them – working on and through them…..
Yeah – that’s why you will learn to love the suffering, the pains, the trauma – not because its fun, but because of the message that you bring, that in the midst of trauma – results in joy, peace, the ability to endure… because we know Christ is with us.
(By the way – this call – while different in scope – is still the call of the priesthood of all believers… they too can be there… bringing peace that overwhelms our understanding……)
Whether clergy or laity, or something in between – remember the hope of Glory you have, and share it with someone who needs it as well…