Month: August 2015

10 Things Pastors Wish Their Congregations Would Do

I ran across this blog by Dave Gemmell its a good read…

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1. Pray for your pastor. The pastor is the spiritual catalyst for the church. That makes the pastor a great big target for the enemy. Pray for the pastor’s spiritual health. Pray for protection. Pray for wisdom. Pray that the catalytic gifts of apostleship, prophecy, teaching, evangelism, and shepherding will grow strong in your pastor. The most affirming words that a pastor ever hears is “pastor, I’m praying for you everyday.” Romans 15:30, 2 Corinthians 1:11.

2. Affirm your pastor.  Pastoring may be one of the most difficult jobs in the world these days. Pastors live in a highly concentrated environment where they see the results of sin on a daily basis through caring for humanity. While the average person may see a death, injury, illness, or family conflict occasionally, the pastor lives through these things on a weekly basis. Though pastors don’t live for affirmation, words of validation do provide a lifeline of strength through treacherous times. Those little notes saying ‘pastor, you’re making a difference,’ may be the very thing that helps your pastor make it through another day.  Acts 4:36

3. Bless the pastoral family.   Pastoral stress leaks into families and is enough to test all the family bonds. Throw in a few wild expectations about how a pastoral spouse and pastoral kids are supposed to behave and you have a recipe for a family meltdown. The antidote is the blessing. Bless the spouse. Bless the kids. Let go of any expectations and treat the family with a rich blessing of heavens grace.  And of course to relieve the financial pressure, return a faithful tithe so that the pastor is secure in getting a regular paycheck. 1 Corinthians 9.14

4. Release the pastor from constant ministry so renewal can take place. Pastors who go 24/7 for days, weeks, and months on end will inevitably self destruct. Mandate that your pastor takes weekly breaks for spiritual renewal as well as annual extended breaks for study leave and vacation. It is a small price to pay for the rich spiritual energy that comes as a result of regularly releasing you pastor from ministry. Matthew 14:23

5. Talk with your pastor, not about or around. Complaining about the pastor to someone else is corrosive for the entire church family. Writing anonymous critical notes to the pastor are acts of spiritual terrorism (by the way smart pastors just thrown them in the trash can without reading them). If you have a problem with the pastor, talk directly to the pastor and try to work it out. If resolution can’t be found, then bring a spiritual leader with you and seek resolution. And then (and only then) if resolution is not found, bring together a larger group to dialog with the pastor. Challenge privately. Affirm publicly.  Matthew 18: 15-17

6. Forgive your pastor for falling short of your expectations; because no pastor will perfectly satisfy your ideals. Remember that your vision of what a pastor should be is probably unique to you. Everyone else in the congregation also has unique expectations. Many of the expectations are mutually exclusive.  Your pastor will also make some mistakes. All pastors do. Extend to your pastor the same grace that God extends to you. If your pastor knows that he/she practices ministry in a safe, grace filled congregation where risk taking is expected and stagnancy is deplored, your church can become spiritually turbocharged.  Matthew 18:21,22.

7. Feed yourself spiritually.  Don’t expect to live on a limited spiritual diet of thirty minute weekly sermons. Going seven days without eating makes one weak. Even with the best sermons you will spiritually starve to death.  The role of the shepherd is not to stick grass in the mouths of sheep but to lead the sheep to green pastures. As you listen to the great sermons that your pastor preaches may you be inspired to get into the word yourself everyday in prayer filled Bible Study. Psalm 23:2

8. Bond with a small group.  Don’t expect the primary pastoral care to come from the pastor. It is mathematically impossible, and primary care is not his/her role. Regular spiritual support occurs in small groups. When you are plugged into a weekly small group you will grow together, pray for one another, care for one another, and support one another through all the ups and downs of life. The pastoral staff and lay pastors can serve as a safety net for those not in small groups as well as care for those in life transitions.  Matthew 18:20

9. Follow the leader. The pastor is not the CEO of the congregation, that role is reserved for Jesus. However the pastor has been given the gift of apostleship and you should take your cue from the pastor and follow after Jesus. Let your pastor lead. With leadership comes change. Things will be different. Since the founding of the church God has brought a succession of quality pastors, each one with leadership to take your church to the next level. God gives your pastor vision. Help the pastor flesh out the vision and then do your part to turn the vision into reality. Hebrews 13:17

10. Exercise your spiritual gifts. Pastoral gifts don’t do much by themselves. However if you let those catalytic gifts energize your gifts, you will come alive spiritually.  Let the pastor equip you so that your church family can reach unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure the fullness of Christ. Take advantage of the teaching and ministry opportunities at your church. Place yourself in optimal places for spiritual growth. Ephesians 4:11,12

10 Things, Copyright 2013, Dave Gemmell.
Reproduction permitted as long as source is cited.

On the way to school today…

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My daughter and I leave the house every week day at the same time.  (If you know me you know this is true).  We have our mornings coordinated – the radio comes on (WBFJ with Tonia and Vern… and Wally) – and we go through our routine.  We left his morning on time and that is when it began to happen.

  1. The second road we turn down to get out of our neighborhood was blocked by “tree people”, though we could not see where the tree was they were dealing with, there was a lot of equipment and “tree people” working on something.  So we were forced to take a detour route to exit our neighborhood.
  2. A white car with a white lady in it found herself in the same predicament (see #1) so she decided the best way to turn around was a 3 point turn right in front of us (she may have been 30feet away when she turned into our lane).  Because I was not driving fast we did not hit her.
  3. The white car with the white lady in it decided to go 10 miles per hour in our neighborhood (the speed limit is 25). I think she was texting on her phone. This delayed our trip even further.
  4. I turned down a road in our neighborhood in an attempt to get in front of the white lady in the white car. We were now 5 minutes behind schedule.
  5. As we were about to turn on the main road and exit our neighborhood, the white lady in the white car drove by us.  She looked at us and smiled (actually the look on her face was odd but I think that was her smile… maybe?). It seems she found her gas pedal.
  6. When we turned on the main road we caught up with the white lady in the white car.  It seems once she saw us it reminded her to test her breaks.  I wanted to tell her they were working but she turned down the road we normally take and I decided not to follow and took an ALT route.
  7. The next 5 minutes was great until we got off the highway. At the top of the exit in front of us and turning right was a school bus.  It’s been my experience that school buses in our area run stop signs but they do not turn right on red.  I’m good with that, (the not turning on red thing) the kids need to be safe.
  8. There were 4 cars in-between us and the school bus.  The vehicle in front of us was a truck. A Dodge Truck.  When the light turned green the school bus and 3 of the vehicles in front of us made the light but the Dodge Truck (Ram) just couldn’t seem to get moving fast enough to make it through the light while it was green.  Maybe the truck didn’t have the power to go up that steep of a grade.
  9. It seems that Dodge Trucks ALSO do not turn right on red.  (there wasn’t a “do not turn right on red” sign at that intersection BTW)
  10. The light turned green and by this time we are way behind our schedule. I am not sure where all the traffic came from but we moved down the road at about 25 miles and hour (the speed limit in our neighborhood… see#2).
  11. We finally made it to the high school but the car line moved very slow.   When we rounded the corner  where we drop off our children I then understood why we were being delayed. For the first time ever  there was a man that was functioning as a crossing guard for the students who drive to school.  This is a good thing (really). He made sure the students were safe as they crossed from their parking lot through the car line to the sidewalk on the other side. Good News – My daughter made it to school on time.
  12. The return trip home for me went as normal until I met a trash truck on my route home.  As you can guess, there was no way to pass the truck safely. There were about a dozen of us stuck in the same predicament and more were joining our little “trash truck club” by the minute.  I finally was able to pass the trash truck.
  13. 30 Seconds after that I found myself behind a “Mayflower Movers” tractor trailer truck, with a little white bread truck behind it (that had been converted into a moving truck). I am still not sure where they came from, they were not members of our “trash truck club” (see #11).  These vehicles  were not in any hurry to get anywhere. Probably because they were trying to follow their GPS to get to their location and the tractor trailer truck was really too big for the road we were on.  I was behind them all the way to my neighborhood.
  14. Upon entering my neighborhood the “Tree People” still hadn’t found the tree they were suppose to cut (see #1) so I had to take the detour  and finally I made it back home, in barely less than an hour.

So what is the take home from all of this?

Either God wants me to slow down or learn patience.

Either way both occurred.

Nothing happens by happenstance.

Of Time and School

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I paused for a few moments today from studying and looked at a few Facebook post.  It seems that for some kids I know it is the first day of school.

The first day of school.

These post made me stop a moment, mainly because in the pit of my stomach a realization was felt.  It’s something that I have known for a while but haven’t allowed myself to think too much on or feel the impact of…

On August 24th we (my wife and I) have a Sophomore and a 7th grader starting school and time is not slowing down to help us keep up with it all.   It seems I just got settled with the fact that my daughter was in kindergarten, I am just now really ok with that concept  – but I’m not settled with where we are currently (age wise) with both kids.

At the same time I’m thankful

I am thankful they are heathy and progressing through this life as they should.  All that is currently happening is part of the normal path of life.  They are exactly where they should be and that is a blessing. However…

if time would have just slowed down a bit it would have been great to savor a few more moments with them.

Maybe that is something I need to do now before these days are gone.

What did they say?

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We listen to words way to much and ignore the spirit by which they are said.

For example if someone was to say…

“The color is red”

What is being communicated has more to do with what their spirit is saying than it does the actual words.

If it is yelled it means one thing

If its just a kind response it’s another.

If it is said in tears it means something quite different.

To learn to listen to more than just the words that are spoken is to touch the spirit of the person who is doing the talking.

In life there are a lot of people who have the right answers. They use words to say the right things, in fact they can say them the right way with the right emotions but the thing they cannot do is hide their spirit from you when they speak.

When someone speaks their spirit is always revealed.

Now you can personally be blinded to their spirit, you can focus on their words to the point you lose the ability to ascertain what their spirit is saying, or you can just not look for that because you feel it’s too subjective but regardless if someone opens their mouth…

their spirit is always revealed.

Jesus says it this way…

“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34

Yes they knew what to say, they knew how to say it but their evil spirit still was evident even in the goodness of what they spoke. Because good words, the right answers, the right things can be spoken the right way with an evil spirit.

It takes looking beyond the words to the spirit driving the words to figure out what type of spirit is behind them.

Sometimes something is said that sounds mean but the spirit behind it isn’t. To look for what their spirit is saying would avoid a needless argument.

Sometimes something is said that sounds good but the spirit behind it isn’t. To look for what their spirit is communicating would avoid a potential mistake being made.

I know I do not want to have needless arguments and I know I want to avoid potential mistakes and I have a feeling you do to…

For we know man, not only by the words of his mouth, but also by the tone of his spirit.

So next time you listen to someone speak don’t allow yourself to get distracted by what they are saying.  Listen for the spirit behind what they are saying, only then will you truly know what is being communicated.

5 Reasons Not to Comment on a Political Post on Facebook.

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So, today I commented on a political post on Facebook. This was a bad idea and here is why…

1 People are blinded by their own political views.

If they post something concerning politics they have already made up their mind about it and really didn’t post it to hear a different view or start a discussion.  This is why when you comment on it they go to great links to disprove you and prove their point.

2 People take what you wrote and make it mean what they want it to mean.

There are three reasons for this. First, when we write we often mean one thing but the words we use mean something else. We often miscommunicate because we have written the response during an emotional moment. Almost all political comments are emotionally motivated. Second, people just take things wrong because they didn’t really take the time to think through what you were saying nor did they take the time to ask questions to clarify what you said.  So they take what you said and make it mean what they think it means rather than what you really meant.  Third, they think it makes them look good. They think that in “disproving” what they “really believe” you said they are showing their ability to really think and that their point of view is the one to have.  Well, at least they feel good about themselves because of you… so I guess that’s a good thing.

3 Other people gang up on you because they believe what their friend said you said.

It’s never a good thing when people you don’t even know assume they know you and are smarter than you.

4  Soon the post that was meant to help and open up a discussion (see #1 above) is taken as an attack.

Yep… you become the enemy of “all that is right and good” or blind or a non-thinker or some other degrading description

5  You are soon made out to be an idiot.

This is unfortunate because even though you may be in the same political party and not an idiot, you are treated as if you are and that you are a voice for the opposing party.

6. It is really a waist of time.

Yep… and you can’t get that time back.

But remember…

It could be worse…

you could have decided to make additional comments on the same post to defend yourself…

Yea… that never works well.