Blog Archives

Slogans, Sermons, and The Celebration

A devotional thought for our days…

Jesus went with them, and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell Him, “Lord, don’t trouble Yourself, since I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. 7 That is why I didn’t even consider myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be cured. 8 For I too am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under my command. d I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”  Luke 7:6-8  HCSB

705      Christian responsibility in work cannot be limited to just putting in the hours. It means doing the task with technical and professional competence… and, above all, with love of God.

Yesterday, my birthday presents were delivered a bit early.  Actually, they came just in time for the Superbowl ( my second favorite part of tomorrow!) 

The present included two items, a hat and a sign for my office. 

The first is a new cap, with what I thought was my favorite slogan for sports and ministry.  “Do Your Job” and that is a critical aspect in football, in the military (as the centurion noted) or in our relationship with God and the ministry that is created by God in our lives.  

We simply need to walk with Him and do as He leads.  Which takes faith, the dependence on God that provides the will and ability (Eph 2:13) to do what pleases Him!   Do Your Job, do it trusting in God.  Do Your Job, loving God

The second slogan now hands on my office door, a few feet from me.  No Days Off!  Oddly enough, this slogan was not revealed during the march to last year’s Superbowl victory, but afterward, during the victory parade.  What was the secret to the victory?  The coaches and players lived football, they lived the game, in season and out of season.  They lived according to the standard of their slogans… and did their job, whatever it required.

Can you imagine if the church did this?  If it made the sacrifices to walk with God each day?  If it dwelt in His presence, depended on His mercy, realized His love and peace fills our lives?  If we stopped treated being Christian was a part-time gig, and desired to live in His love, not just part-time (as if to hit the minimum requirements to gain heaven) nor even full-time ( meeting what we think is our duty) but every day treasured our time with Him, and rejoiced in the love that is our, in and through Jesus?  That is really what our “job” is, everything else, worship, loving for others, caring for others, these things are just the impact of walking with Him. 

Then there is the motto I don’t have anything on, one that I couldn’t find applicable in the Kingdon of God.  The most recent slogan, ‘Not Done Yet”

Then I realized where that slogan comes into play in the church.  It happens as the sermon finishes, and for some people, that is the high point of our church time together.

It isn’t even close.

Altar with communionFor the sermon is simply revealing God’s plan in our lives.   But we aren’t close to being done at that point.  The greatest time in the church comes when we approach the rail together, as we bow together, recognizing the presence and invitation of God, and those who can kneel, and as a community of His people, share in the Eucharist as one.

As I preach, my hunger for the sacrament grows, and I pray it grows in my people.  To be welcome at the table, fully righteous in the eyes of God, fully cleansed by Him and made ready to celebrate.  Even as we realize we are not done yet, as we take a knee, the Lord’s Supper is the beginning of the celebration of Jesus completing His work in us,  For He has done all it takes to make us His own.  And the Eucharist is His thanks to the Father, and our thanks to Him, for it is finished.

He Has done and is doing, His job.  
He takes no days off…
And He is not done yet but will be, when He brings the last prodigal home.

Until then, let us walk with, work with and celebrate the love of God.  AMEN!

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 2578-2581). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

A Lesson Pastors Could Learn From Coach Belichick

Belichick.jpg1  When I came to you, my friends, to preach God’s secret truth, I did not use big words and great learning. 2  For while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and especially his death on the cross. 3  So when I came to you, I was weak and trembled all over with fear, 4  and my teaching and message were not delivered with skillful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God’s Spirit. 5  Your faith, then, does not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (TEV)

It is, therefore, an inherent right of the Church to have at its disposal and to employ any of these media insofar as they are necessary or useful for the instruction of Christians and all its efforts for the welfare of souls. It is the duty of Pastors to instruct and guide the faithful so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family. In addition, the laity especially must strive to instill a human and Christian spirit into these media, so that they may fully measure up to the great expectations of mankind and to God’s design.

Yesterday I watched the some of the Patriots press conferences.  It started with the coach, then moved to Tom Brady, then Danny Amendola. They were absolutely hilarious, because the reporters kept asking the same questions over and over again, hoping to get a different answer, some great admission about the state of Tom Brady’s hand, and whether he will play Sunday or not. 

As they answered them, the press got more and more frustrated, even to the point of asking the Coach if the decision to play Tom Brady will be a game time decision.  The coach shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s Friday,” meaning how will he know if it will be a game time decision, if it isn’t game time.  Brady and Amendola both gave similar answers, though you could tell they hadn’t quite perfected the flat affect of the Coach.

As I was thinking about that, I thought about the church.  We get as distracted as the press corps did, as we create this moral crusade and that moral crusade, and even crusades against moral crusades!  Yesterday I saw some ministers argue about who spoke at a pro-life event with such hostility that they looked like they would take each others life!

We need to learn from the Coach, and from St Paul, and in regards to the media, to a document written 50 years ago during  Vatican II.   We need to know, and present Christ, our hope,to use what we’ve been given in social media for the welfare of souls.  (Or to use another phrase, the cure of souls)  To see people know God’s mercy, to receive the forgiveness of their sin, to be cleansed of all unrighteousness, to be reconciled to God. 

Reconciliation, the  revealing of God’s mercy and forgiveness is our job, much as winning football games is the Coach’s job.  It is the word we preach, it is the sacrament we administer.  It is the reason we do what we do, and the reason we can do what we do!

To help people have faith in God, to help them depend on His mercy, to count on His love for them.  That changes everything, it is at that point, when it is revealed, that the victory happens, when the party, even including heaven begins.

This is what we do, this is what we are called to be, walking with God, sharing in His mission. Whether in real life or in social media.

Lord have mercy on us, and walk with us, as we do our job…. AMEN!

Catholic Church. “Decree on the Media of Social Communications: Inter Mirifica.” Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011. Print.

The Hope for the Miracle of Reconciliation

54e14-jesus2bpraying

God, who am I?

I want them to be strengthened and joined together with love so that they may be rich in their understanding. This leads to their knowing fully God’s secret, that is, Christ himself. In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept.  Col. 2:2-3 NCV

  1. To attribute to God the good one sees in oneself.
  2. To recognize that the evil in oneself is attributable only to oneself.
  3. To make peace with an adversary before sundown.
  4. Never to despair of God’s mercy.  (from the rule of St Benedict)

For at first Jerome, when objections were raised against him (e.g. for his statement, “If anyone says that God demands the impossible, let him be anathema”) simply replied in his Dialog. adv. Pel., Bk. 2 [MPL 23.577], “These things are impossible for our nature but possible for grace.” And he understood grace only in the sense of the aid and renewal of the Holy Spirit. Also Augustine in his first argument with the Pelagians said many things like this: “Grace restores the will so that the restored will fulfills the Law.”

The green words above are from the rule of St Benedict.  They are critical for us to understand in these days where division is growing, where people are reacting not to what is said, not even to what they think they heard, but how they interpret it.

One friend recently said that he wouldn’t watch football because of the protests of players.  He didn’t listen to what they said, he immediately interpreted it through his emotions, and admitted it, bringing into the equation his father, who was buried at Arlington Cemetery. 

I wonder if he realized some of those players have relatives buried there as well?

I am not saying the football teams or those who support their actions are any better at listening to people.

In fact, the anger towards each other is simply reactionary.  It is done with though, but not thought about the other people involved. 

What originally started with one man, concerned with issues far deeper than a meme or slogan, has polarized many in this country, deepening the rifts.  Rifts encouraged by some in the media, rifts that are unavoidable according to some.

Rifts that even divide those in the church, those who are united by something more powerful than anything else known, the power that raised Christ from the dead.

A power that we need to see now.

Chemnitz pointed out that what seems impossible for our nature is possible for grace, specifically the aid and renewal tht the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete/Comforter brings into our situation. The Spirit who is responsible for the good we see in ourselves, and overcomes the evil which we must recognize and take responsibility for, only to accept the grace that will redeem it. 

It surprised me, as Dr. Webber quoted the Rule of St Benedict, to see #71 – to make peace with an adversary before sundown,  But the context is amazing, for in thinking of that task – that discipline, we could easily despair. “I can’t do it”, “it’s impossible” “They will never…”  I could easily despair, to which the Rule responds, “Never despair of God’s mercy”

There is our answer, there is our hope for reconciling the unreconcilable, the hope for healing relationships shattered by history, our present, and concern over our future.

It is the hope we see in Paul’s words in red above, the idea that we can be joined together in love, understanding God’s secret – the hope of being in Christ himself.

Heavenly Father, Lord bring peace to our fractured and divided society.  Bring the hope and love that comes by Your Holy Spirit.  Help those of us who claim to follow you to do so, to hear those who are our adversaries, and to be with them, that we all may be saved.  AMEN!

[1] Webber, Robert E. The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006. Print. Ancient-Future Series.

4 Meisel and del Mastro, The Rule of St. Benedict, 52–54.

 [3] Chemnitz, Martin, and Jacob A. O. Preus. Loci Theologici. electronic ed. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. Print.

Whose Side is God On? The Battles to See Who is Right?

Devotional/Discussion thought of the day:

 *While Joshua was near Jericho, he raised his eyes and saw one who stood facing him, drawn sword in hand.h Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you one of us or one of our enemies?” 14 He replied, “Neither. I am the commander* of the army of the LORD: now I have come.” Then Joshua fell down to the ground in worship, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” 15 The commander of the army of the LORD replied to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.  Josh 5:13–15

“..what difference is there between philosophy and the teaching of Christ? If we merit the forgiveness of sins by these elicited acts of ours, of what use is Christ? If we can be justified by reason and its works, what need is there of Christ or of regeneration?”  (Apology of the Augsburg Confessio; Article IV

I have a friend who still contends that the Dallas Cowboys are still America’s Team.  I will concede that in his presence, noting that Bill, Tom and the rest of the New England Patriots are God’s team.  Another friend declares that God is surely a fan of the Nebraska Cornhusker’s while demeaning the Oklahoma Sooners to be cheered on by someone a bit south of God’s abode.

Most of the time, I think such revelry and rivalry is fun, as we claim which side of a battle is holy and righteous.  Except around the college bowl season – or the NFL playoffs.  It is then that such discussions take on a more serious form.

We do this in other arenas as well, such as the political arena, as those who are pro-gun rights seek a verbal “trial by combat” with those who are for taking care of refugees and immigrants seeking solace.  Or those who are pro-life take the field against those who want universal healthcare. Republicans versus Democrats, Tea Party versus something called being progressive.

We also do this in the realms of philosophy and theology, as if who wins in the public debates of blogs and podcasts determine where there is truth, and who is correct.  Lutherans versus Reformed, Catholics versus Protestants, Pentecostals versus Baptists, Liberals versus Conservatives, Traditionalists against those who prefer Innovation.   Everyone, absolutely everyone attacking the Muslims.  Oh, and we are all on the defense against the JW’s and LDS.

Even within denominations we see this, and it tears the church apart.

Listen, folks, Melancthon nailed it.  You are not saved by your pure theology or the logical supremacy of your philosophy.  It is not what you think or what those thoughts cause you to do that saves you.  What Joshua realized as he talked to Jesus, was simple.

It isn’t about whether God is on our side.

It isn’t whether your blog or mine has more followers or hits. It’s not whether my Patriots can again intercept a pass on the goal line.  There are political positions on both sides of the aisle that need to be listened and heeded.

But what is important is whether you find yourself in the presence of God, with other broken sinners, finding the healing that you need.   That the Holy Spirit will bring you to life spiritually, whether you will be transformed, and live in peace.

The desire to win so divides us if our definition of winning is causing the other person to submit to our view.  But a desire to see God’s love win is one where humility reigns, not bravado.  It is where sacrifice and service take on more meaning than statistics and trophies. It is where hanging in there with that person who others would give up on matters more than attracting the stars, and the crowds.  It is where truth matters more than our opinion, and, therefore, the journey is mutual, not combative.

We seek fellowship, with all, based in our relationship with God.

This is life, in Christ.

May we seek it in the next year, and lovingly work with all.  AMEN.

Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 109). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.

 

Death, Grief, Sports, and the Company of Heaven

Devotional Thought of the Day:

Featured image2  This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. Titus 1:2 (NLT)

1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

“with angels, and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your gloriously name”  (words of our liturgy, prior to singing the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)

It was October 28th, 2004 about 8 o’clock in the morning. I was listening to Jim Rhome’s show on the radio, driving up Palms to Pines Highway, heading to a meeting at my church in Anza.  I had to call into the show, but even as I wanted to tell the story about my grandfather playing catch with me and telling me stories of the red sox greats…. I was overwhelmed, and missed my grandfather.  The grief was hard to bear… even now remembering the grief that flooded….

Friday, two of my friends  and I went to see the move Sniper.  Watching the PTSD build up in Chris Kyle made me think of my dad.  No movies were made about him, but he too saw things, did things, that would haunt him.

Sunday, after an incredible morning in church, my son and I watched our family’s favorite football team, the New England Patriots, come from behind to win a superbowl.  I put on facebook my feelings a few moments after, as I walked through the bedroom and saw the flag presented to me at my dad’s service.  How he would have loved the game.  How he would have loved watching my son throwing a ball back and forth with me during it.  Flashbacks to our driveway in New Hampshire, and my dad and playing catch.  More and more emotions… more and more grief….

Being raised in a Irish/Italian home, I tend to sentimentality.  Even more though, I was raised not to bury grief, but rather to embrace it.  As I say the words in blue above, as I look out over my congregation, faces comes to mind.  I can almost hear their voices as well, part of the great company of heaven.  Those we’ve lost for the moment, those we’ve said good by to over the years.  Guys like Dale, and Richard, my first vicar Clyde and his buddy Armando, Rich B, who helped me define a vision for my present church, and Warren, who helped that vision become reality.  Others who’ve placed great faith in me, like my wife’s grandmother, or Joseph, a dignified retired pastor from Guyana, who pastored “his pastor” with encouragement.  Or Harley, a man who proved I could be his friend as well as his pastor. And yes, my dad…

Grief upon grief, we face a lot of it in life.

Some is quite poignant, the bitterness of not being able to play catch anymore, or watch a game together, arguing about referees calls, or trying to break the record for the most consecutive throws and catches.  (football with my dad was 232 – don’t know why I remember – with my son yesterday… it was 33)

The experience as we get a sense of the great cloud of witnesses, the whole company of heaven is different.  Yeah, I wish I could commune my dad one more time, or either of my grandfathers just once.  Or have a service with all those guys mentioned above…..and yet I know there will be a communion, that lasts eternally, that lasts forever.  And this celebration here, is a small sense of the one there.

For all who believe in God, who trust Him for what He promises will be gathered together again.  We can have confidence in that, because it was promised, this plan of God that even preceded creation.  This promise is the joy that Christ focused upon, even as He was crucified by us, for us.

We will all share eternity with God, our Father, ou Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  I can’t tell you what that will look like, because it will beyond anything we’ve ever seen, heard, even thought of, but it will be with Him.

As we hear those words, grief becomes… blessed… it transforms into yearning, and hope.  Not just to see them again, but to be together in the incredible presence of God. He’s promised it, this family gathering that will be forever.  We take that hope into the world, an share it with those who need it as much as we do.   we share it with those who know it, as we celebrate it together, and with those who do not…as we minister to them, where ever we encounter them in life.

even as we play catch with them…. or watch a game with them… or argue about which team is the best in history….

God’s peace to you… in

Are You Ready….. for Something Far More than Football?

Devotional Thought for the Day:
Featured image
15  I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: 16  When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? 17  Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is. 18  That’s basically what happened even in old Israel—those who ate the sacrifices offered on God’s altar entered into God’s action at the altar. 1 Corinthians 10:15-18 (MSG)

Who, then, receives such a sacrament in a worthy way?

Of course, fasting and other physical preparations are excellent disciplines for the body. But anyone who believes these words, “Given for you,” and “Shed for you to forgive sins,” is really worthy and well prepared. But whoever doubts or does not believe these words is not worthy and is unprepared, because the words, “for you” demand a heart that fully believes.(1)

828      Have you ever thought how you would prepare yourself to receive Our Lord if you could go to Communion only once in your life? We must be thankful to God that he makes it so easy for us to come to him: but we should show our gratitude by preparing ourselves very well to receive him.  (2)

I’ll be the first to admit to loving watching football.
Especially watching the Patriots, who in the last 21 years, have been in the Superbowl 7 times!
I really love it when people write them off, say they are done, and they make it look like child’s play in the playoffs.
Tomorrow, I hope they beat the Seahawks, and I hope they come back for one more, next year.  B

Yet, if the game started at 9:50 here, rather than at 3:15, you wouldn’t find me in front of my television.  There is something more precious, more meaningful, more important to life where I am a spectator, and yet, am a full participant.

The Eucharist, The Lord’s Supper, Communion.  the Feast that is a foretaste of the feast to come.

St. Josemaria above puts a perspective on it….what if tomorrow was the only day, the only time you could receive it in your life?  What would your thoughts be today?  What kind of expectation would be building?  what would get in the way?

is a Superbowl big enough?  is the need for sleep?

If tomorrow was the only day you were able to commune with God, what would stop you?

If the answer is, ‘nothing”, then apply the question without the frequency, is it the same/  should it be/

This is a hard question, because to ask it could promote shame or guilt, or harden you against those things.

It will also make you examine what you think the Lord’s Supper is, and how it benefits you….. strengthening your confidence in the Lord’s love and presence in your life, healing you from the brokenness of sin, relieving stress and anxiety, and mostly giving you the rest and peace that comes from knowing the Lord is with you……

I am glad this is not a once in a life time thing… in fact, I am somewhat envious of those churches that provide it daily, simply because I know people who need this sacrament, this holy time, this holy meal…. more than once a week.  Or who cannot get there on Sundays…..

So are you ready?  Do you recognize your need for it?

I am!

(1)   Luther’s Small Catechism: Developed and Explained. Part 6, The Sacrament of the Altar

(2)   Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2940-2942). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Football Season Starts Soon: Whose side is God On? (and in other rivalries as well)

Discussion and Devotional THought of the Day:Concordia Lutheran Church - Cerritos, Ca , at dawn on Easter Sunday

13  When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” 14  “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?” 15  The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told. Joshua 5:13-15 (NLT)   

759         You complain that he shows you no understanding. I am certain he does as much as he can to try to understand you. But what about you? When will you make a bit of an effort to understand him?  (1)

It is getting near that time of year when men pray more consistently on Sundays.  They thank God more often, they pray too him more deeply, the acknowledge His presence and ask His blessings (and  quote all the passages about cursing and defeating their enemies…)

Well, those men who are football fans, and those who are fanatics.

I wonder if God ever tires of those prayers, if he ever gets tired of the rivalries that He is included in by prayer? As if God really had a favorite football team, as if he really has a favorite team or a favorite player, or even a favorite sport?

I think of Joshua’s words above – he wanted to be sure this soldier was on his side…… and that was even before he knew the Soldier was Christ Jesus.

Whose side are you on?

Neither.

Which football team is favored by God?  Neither.

With that out of the way – let’s get on to what is important.  I am here.. you are here, therefore this is Holy Ground.  

The purpose of God isn’t to have this team or that team win, or even this nation or that nation be the dominant power.  People will get mad at me, but it is not whether the Ukraine or Russia prevails, whether ISIS is in power in Iraq, or some other group.  Or who is guiltier in the war between Hamas and Israel.

Even if those who oppose God are “victorious”, or seem to be, that doesn’t mean God is not working in their lives.  That is why God raised up Nineveh, why Jeremiah 29:7 talks about praying for oppressors, why Jesus commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

Do we understand people enough to see their need for God in their lives?  Do we see that we, as His people, as to be beacons, to bring light into their darkness?

Those steps are needed, but first we desperately need to know that we are in the presence of God.  That it is not our agenda, or even our nation’s agenda that is important.  There is only one agenda, there is only one will that matters.  God’s.

It is His – that none should perish – but that all wold come to repentance, as St Peter instructs.  Raider fans, Bills fans, Broncos Fans, even Patriots fans.  Russians, Ukrainians, Iraqi’s of every ethnicity and culture, Palestinians, those in Hamas, even the Israeli’s.

That they would come to know they live in God’s presence, that the Holy Spirit would replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh, that they would have the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, give them life.

That is why Joshua would meet the pre-incarnate Christ,   it is why Israel was loved, and protected,   SO that we could heed the words of King David in the second Psalm,

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. Psalm 2:11-12 (NKJV)

Lord have mercy on us!

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3155-3157). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Pro Football, Pastoral Care and Christian Leadership

Tom Brady

Tom Brady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day:

 11  Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14  Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.  Ephesians 4:11-16 (NLT)

It was one of the worst games that I have seen Tom Brady play in 14 years.

Two of his rookie wide receivers drop 17 passes between them  Besides one veteran returning from injury, only six passes of 26 were caught in the game.  It was frustrating, obviously so.  Even the fact that they beat a nemesis didn’t take away the sting that this game was just…. ugly.

An espn article quotes Brady after the game…

“It’s unrealistic for them to feel like they can do it like 10-year veterans. That’s not what they are,” Brady said. “But they’re trying hard and they work real hard and they have a lot of skill.”

As I thought about the game that night, and yesterday, I saw some great applciation to ministry.  Especially to the very unique combinaiton of pastoral care and how that makes Christian Leadership somewhat different than Leadership in the world.

Yousee, in the real world – you play that badly, and you will get cut, or you will lose your starting position, until you can demonstrate some level of trustworshiness. Until you can prove you can get the job done.  In business, you might just get fired.  Some coaches and bosses can be quite callous about that. They would just get rid of you.. no questions to be asked.  Here’s your last check, and don’t let the door hit you on the…

Some would even argue that the Patriots owe it to their fans – and especially to Tom Brady, one of the best qb’s in history, if not the best, to get rid of these guys and get him some real football players.

But Christian leaders have another level of responsibility.  They aren’t just called to develop the good people, they are called to equip all the people of God.  Including those that, how can we say it, mmove at a different pace than the rest?   

It’s unrealistic to expect people not to fail in their walk with God.  It is unrealistic to expect them to grow at the same rate; to comprehend to the same depth, that all would awlays trust God, as completely, as deeply…

Yet i think that’s what we sometimes do, I know that is how most Bible Studies are written, as if every congregation, and every Bible study, and every confirmation class developed in the same way.  And we are trained to use them, right out of the box from the publisher – hand out the individual books – and get the study down in 13 weeks.

If people drop the pass, if they miss a week – wel, that’s their fault, and that one or two truths.. they aren’t that important.  Are they?  That odd question from the back right of the “classroom” – the one that opens a very special can of tangental worms… requiring a half-hour deviation?  Just skip it – deal with it privately.  Right?

No – we can’t expect everyone to get everything, to know it all, to not have a bad week, a bad game.  We are called to be patient, and to let our desire that no one perish determination our actions and thoughts, rather than just our frustration  We – pastors, ministers, priests, vicars, deacons, elders, and every other leader in church, are called to lead by serving.   To lead sacrificially, to lead like Christ did… bearing our cross.  To love them, knowing what it will take to get them to grow in faith, and in their being set apart to walk with God.

Leadership in  the church, and among Christian leaders is more like the USMC – we don’t leave anyone behind…. even if that requires the impossible.

Why?  Because we got the win, its assured, Christ is victorious, and therefore those with Him are as well. so let’s take our time – and work with everyone whom God brings ( or sends us out to go get)  If it means things gets dirty and ugly and frustrating, there is a win at the end of the game.  So we do what we do, fixing our eyes on Christ – the one who generated and perfected our faith in God.

The announcers both expressed a confidence during the game that was longer reaching than just the game.  They said, that by the end of the season, Brady will have transformed these two young receivers into a weapon that couldn’t be stopped.   If a mere man, playing a game can do that…. what can God do with and through us?

Let’s find out!

%d bloggers like this: