When recovering from a storm at sea, in which our ship was torn to pieces, the feel of the sand on our knees and face felt like a long, overdue dream. Every muscle in our body aches from the strain that we cannot quite comprehend or identify its origin. We grasp to the firm of the sand, yet those lapping waves still pull, tug desperately to take us back out to sea, slowly eroding the sand away. Once we make just enough distance where we no longer fear a higher tide coming, we exhaust the last ounce of gumption in our bones to roll over and look at a sky, filled with possibilities and wonder that has been there the whole time, but unforeseeable amidst the caustic waves.
For so many Christians, this marginally defines how we deal with the paradox of being "in this world, but not of it". Have you ever experienced those moments where you wake up from a battle that you have been fighting, only to realize the battle wasn't necessary, but you squandered precious time calculating, re-negotiating, compromising, debating what you believed, what others would think about your belief or if you had belief in anything other than in yourself at all?
The self-centric ego and the merciful humbleness we are taught to strive for may feel like an endless storm, beating you over and over, with no headway in sight. Please let me encourage you as someone who has been in that storm my entire life; never give up.
Most of my life, I have struggled with wanting people to "like" me. What is most ironic is there was no probable way that people could like me, because I barely liked myself. There has to be other Christians (and definitely pastors) who misplace (or misidentify) their motivation in word and deed because we are in limbo of wanting to present the likeness of Christ, but also be liked by this sinful world. Literally our sin heart and sinner's heart warring for top priority. One marked with death, the other with eternal life (only through the acceptance of Jesus Christ's free gift of grace and sacrifice on the cross for all sin).
Can a heart contain untruth and still belong to Him? Only, if the heart realizes its untruth and repents. There is hope for the worst of us humans. I take Paul's claim of being the chief of sinners and wear it as a reminder that without Christ I can do no thing. I will acknowledge my flaws as a human and not be "puffed up or proud", but remain aware of my tendency to fall towards the easy, most crooked of paths. It is time that we are true to ourselves. Speak the truth about who we are. Eliminate the phasod. We are all but brothers and sisters in Christ. We are strong, in Christ. We are whole, in Christ. We are loved, because of Christ.
The moment you realize the importance you place upon your time in the life is NOT important and makes no eternal difference.
This is both reality and falsehood.
This world provides the context. The conversations I hear in Starbucks, the mall, Cracker Barrel, the gym, the church and in my own home, are interconnected to this innate desire to be fulfilled by what we invest our time into.
Not often, are we compelled to look inwardly at ourselves and homes to identify factors to why we are so busy. How many times a week do you find yourself saying, "I can't...because I am too busy?" For this moment in our lives right now, ask yourself if that is relevant to your relationship with Christ..."I can't because I am too busy?".
The more of these moments, the more regret (or we stubbornly shove off the guilt to the far recesses to deal with in mid-life crisis or other catastrophic moments later on), the further down the trail we go, ever lengthening our distance from the narrow road we are to traverse.
If you feel like you've realized one of these moments, try...just try to deal with it. It will bring vitality to your life when you open your eyes and heart to the free future in front of you. Most of our lives consist of walking a bulging wire, surrounded by fear, waiting for us to take the inevitable plunge, but DONT DO IT! Walk straight, confidently, and strong with Christ as your balance and counter-weight to your sin.
Then in that moment...you will realize that He has had you all along.
A shepherd. A servant leader. Assertive and foundationally unshakeable.
He embraces the differences in people, but connects each person through the vehicle of friendship and relationship to the cross, the ultimate goal of the loving, devout pastor.
Despite what our culture and even those within the church, we [pastors] are not meant to be push-overs. Outward actions of peace, passivity and compassion do not equate into soft, indecisive leader. This pursuit of peace is because we live in conflict every day just like all of our members. We have no secret. There is no special formula of how many coffee's or organic bran muffins to achieve theological potency with our words. We are people who live in a glass house and we know it. We made up our minds (with the support of our family) to step up into the role God calls us to. In a later blog post, my wife Leigha, will write, "What is a Pastor's Wife?"
When researching the role of pastor (caretaker of people) you may find that vocationally the definition is difficult to define. Please ask yourself why? Who complicates simple things? God or us?