Sunday, March 22, 2015
On Sunday I will assume a role that I have filled for years, leading my congregation in Sunday morning worship. The week leading up to Sunday, I work hard ensuring that all of the details have been taken care of. Having been born into a preachers home, being in church is a very routine thing. It can become a very normal thing to think that I am important - that the church needs me - that God needs me. But, in reality, that entire line thinking is very egocentric.
Growing up in a denomination that has the Great Commission at its core I understand how important it is to serve God. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..." Matthew 28:19, 20a NASB. However, it is always important to remember that we are to serve God, not become God.
This can be such a slippery slope. In fact, for most of us it may not be intentional. We serve and sacrifice. We bring our "A" game every week. But then it starts. We fail to take time away. Maybe we find it difficult to raise up future leaders. Or, we might struggle with embracing another persons vision, simply because it isn't our own. Then suddenly we have lost our way. Our voice has now become a lot louder than Gods.
Now, let's remember that verse we all learned a long time ago "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me." John 14:6 NASB God is the way, I am not the way. My opinion is not the truth. We all need to realize that God has it all under control. This doesn't relinquish us from preparation. However, it allows us to rest in his sovereignty.
Resting in His sovereignty, could prevent so many ministerial and relational disasters. How many times, with the best of intentions have we over-stepped thinking that we had to "do" or "say" this. Then have it just blow up in our face. We sing these songs with great lines like - "God will make a way..." "We serve a God of miracles," Yet how many times do we think we are the only way. If there has to be a miracle, it is up to us.
Believing that God does not need us and embracing that we need Him is the mind shift that will keep us humble. It will help us get of the way, when we need to release a new generation into ministry. Real rest will begin in our lives when we take a necessary step back. And most importantly it will allow us to hear God better. So just remember, God does not need us. He simply wants us to need Him.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Today is report card day. I know you might be dreading it. What will it say? How badly did I do? What will my parents say? Will I have more work to do now? Or worse, will I be punished? I totally understand. I was a student once too. I had that pain in my gut as well. But, I need to let you in on a secret. Parents sort of freak out about report card day too.
We worry about everything. Did we spend enough time with you on your homework? Should we have hired a tutor? Maybe I should have talked to your teachers more often. Flashcards, maybe they could help. Do we have enough time to turn this thing around? Maybe I should have ordered those omega 3 daily vitamins. They are said to promote brain health. Parents stress out too.
From the moment you enter school we want you to perform better than we did as students. We read every letter and research every learning method. We talk with other parents and weigh the cost benefit analysis of tutoring. Our calendars fill up with meetings and events all centered around you and your development. You are the first thing we think of in the morning and the last thought on our mind as our eyes close.
As we watch you grow we pray you are listening to us. More importantly, we hope you trust us. All that we teach you comes from all we learned as we were growing up. Those awkward situations that we suffered through, are now cautionary tales for you. The advice we give you is not to control you. It is to keep you from making the same mistakes we did. When we yell, know that it is out of desperation. Our desperate love for you and deepest desire to jump in front of whatever oncoming train is headed your way.
Understand, that we are in this together. We aren't in this, to tell you what to think. We just want to help you learn how to think. How to infer and deduce. Those two skills alone will help you make the right decisions for the life you will find waiting for you. So, for the next several years trust us. Take what we say seriously. Feel our love as it pours out of every obsessive compulsive thing we do. Then when that day comes and you are standing on your own two feet and walking down your own path, take a moment. In that moment, just turn around and wave and know that we love you and always will.