In October 2018, I began reaching out to pastors. I was coming out of a season of burnout and depression after giving nearly two years to the church I started. Because of that, I knew other pastors and ministry leaders were experiencing what I was on varying levels. I didn’t want them to walk the road alone, so I started sending messages to the ones I knew, asking them how I could pray for them. The responses confirmed what I already knew. In my heart, I knew I wanted to minister to those in ministry.
Why would this be a necessary ministry? Don’t pastors and Christian leaders have homies they hang with all the time (gotta love the word choice😂)? Often, the answer is no. Ministry leaders are often competitive and are out to…
I’m not sure what crossed your mind when you read the title. I don’t know if you were receptive, or if you are one who is all about the self-reliance, letting no one into your life but you. If that is the last, I must warn you that isolation is worse. Just saying!Anyway, we have three types of people we need in our life.
Everyone needs someone older and wiser in his or her life. I have always been blessed with those people. In the Bible, Paul was that to Timothy. I have been blessed with both men and women who gave sound advice to this young, struggling boy. Among my favorites was a lady named Myrtle Griggs. Myrtle went to be with the Lord nearly three years ago. I still wish I could pick up the phone and call her, but God has blessed me with several others who…
I have been blessed to connect with many of you here, and you have encouraged what God has been doing in my life. I would like to make my ministry newsletter available to you. If you are interested, please comment here with your email address or email me personally at email@example.com.
The months of November and December were met with financial setbacks are almost every turn. In November, I had to take time off for my mom’s shoulder replacement. When I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Some people have the benefit of leave. Not I. In December, I missed time when my daughter was hospitalized. I also had to take time from my regular job for my interim role at church. Then, to close out December, I missed a week of work due to the flu. Just when I thought the financial gifts from Christmas would catch us up and get us slightly ahead, I was wrong.
Today, I felt like such a failure because I could not completely meet a financial obligation I had to someone. What is the truth? The truth is I’m not a failure. The devil would love me to feel paralyzed and defined by my current (and temporary) financial plight. My financial status has always mattered. I have wanted a comfortable lifestyle for years, but I have not experienced that since 2013. This is the most difficult area of contentment for me. While I won several contentment battles in 2019, I have yet to win this one. Once again, this current situation does not define me. God will meet the need, yet I feel so responsible.
You may be reading this today, and you feel like a failure in some area of your life. Don’t believe the lie! You may be struggling right now, but you are not the struggle. I am not the struggle! May you know you are not along in the struggle. You may be in the fiery furnace of affliction, but the Son of God is right there with you. Let that encourage your heart tonight!
I’m only 39 years old, but I like things a certain way. This year, I had to face some facts about myself and accept who I am – I had to accept who God wired me to be versus who I wanted to be. Some of you would do well to accept this reality; it’s quite liberating!
Please understand I’m not the guy in church who is constantly complaining about every little change. You know the kind – the ones who gripe about music, decorations, the type of pulpit, etc. On this side of ministry, I have tried to be the kind of person who is a blessing to the pastor and staff because I know what the opposite looks like.
As I was driving on Christmas Day (normally a 4-hour round trip to pick up my oldest kids), I began thinking about how some things have changed that I wish would have remained the same. Why would I want these things? They bring back memories of good days and times. Here’s a list of some of those things. These will indicate that I’m an old soul.
I miss the days of Dick Clark being the host of the New Year’s program. He’s dead. Would I bring him back? No. But it’s a nice memory.
I would have kept Darlene Zschech as Hillsong’s worship leader into her 90s. Please don’t go on a Hillsong rant. Her music touched my heart at a key time in my life. Brooke Ligertwood’s presence in Hillsong’s music has come close, but there’s something about Darlene. (I’m not crushing on her.)
I miss the worship-leading church choir. I’m not talking about the choir that struggled to sing but the one who understood its biblical purpose and blew the roof off the worship service. You have no clue what I’m talking about until you’ve been in that kind of worship service. The last time I saw that was October 2014 at a church I previously served. The choir there no longer exists, but it once helped people encounter God’s presence. Does that mean I hate contemporary services with a few singers (worship team) on stage? No. That was my service of choice at our church before I was asked to lead the traditional service. Once again, the memory stirs the heart of powerful moments of worship in my life.
I miss the days of enthusiastic preaching that was solid and demanded a response. Some say it is no longer wanted, necessary, or it just played on people’s emotions. There are still many great preachers today, but we have come to a time when either enthusiasm exists with no substance or vice versa.
Why did I share these? Because I’m a grumpy young man who wants to be the next Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau (look up “Grumpy Old Men” if you need to). Seriously, the point is that memories are good, but make new ones. The past is great, but we’re not done creating the past. Let’s write a great history book so that people can continue to see progress for the glory of God!
We love to think about all the positives about positivity, but we are so quick to forget that the road to positive can have some potholes. You may remember the song lyrics “Every rose has its thorn.” It’s true!
The glory of God is revealed in the most unusual ways. Consider 2 Corinthians 4:17 which says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Our problems reveal God’s glory. Weird, huh? That sickness. That financial problem. That wayward child. That failed marriage. These were never in God’s perfect plan, but His glory can be shine brightest in the midst of difficulty.
Let’s connect this to Christmas. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus (the Word) became flesh (took on a human body) and dwelt among us, and we beheld the glory of the Father. Where did this happen? In a manger. In the nastiest of places, the Lord of glory was born. If that doesn’t tell you that God’s glory can show up anywhere, I don’t know what does.
I know you want to experience God’s glory this Christmas. But be prepared as you pray, “Lord, show us Your glory”, anything unexpected can happen. Elevation Worship wrote these lyrics in “Here Again” – “In my weakness, Your glory appears.” God majors in bringing beauty from ashes. So, weary soul, take heart. God is going to meet you in that rough place this Christmas, and you will appreciate His glory now more than ever before.
May I be honest again? I despise what Christmas has become. I dread it because my financial situation does not allow me to purchase gifts like others expect. Our gift exchange is modest, to say the least. I would rather do away with it and somehow find the real meaning of Christmas again.
I am normally in a funk during this time of year. Seasonal depression hits, my checking account and bills are extremely unbalanced, and everything seems to go wrong. Does anyone else feel like this?
I probably shouldn’t break my blogging silence with this, but I believe that at least one reader out there feels the same way. Your Christmas cheer is shot because you don’t have the money to keep up with the expectations. I also don’t have the credit (and I think it’s a shame that people put Christmas gifts on credit and spend until next Christmas paying it off).
Just know that you won’t be getting an iPhone from me for Christmas. I might have an old box or case somewhere. Take that and give me Jesus!
Our church just recently went through our pastor’s resignation to pastor a church in Virginia. This has been the smoothest pastoral transition I have ever seen. Our staff is phenomenal, the people continue to serve, and the congregation is looking forward to what God will do as He sends our next pastor.
Our previous pastor left very well. He prepared the staff, the board, and key leaders for the transition before it ever happened. He assisted the church in securing a great interim pastor and was very sensitive to the Holy Spirit through His final month and a half.
As I wrap up this season of blogging, I want to leave well. I want to thank each of you for four great years. I can honestly say I’m a better person than when I first started writing. I have encountered some remarkable people. Many of you have connected with me on social media, and I’m so glad. You will read thoughts similar to what I have shared before and see real-life updates.
As for now, I’m signing off. Thanks for letting me share these “honest thoughts” with you! Please connect with me at one of the sites below.
As I am in my last few days of this blog domain, I have been writing in preparation to cease from blogging and refuel. That is still the plan, but God shifted things just a little.
I received a call yesterday to fill an interim worship role beginning Sunday, November 3. We are potentially looking at two months, but this is subject to change due to some other transition. This is a great situation, and I am glad to help for these next few months.
Here is what I have learned. You and I can try to “help God out”, but God does a much better job opening and closing doors. While I have been good at giving you honest thoughts, I have been giving them to myself for the last few months. The truth has been setting me free.
In the writing sense, I’m winding down. In the church ministry sense, I getting rebooted for a time. Please join me in praying that God uses me during that time of transition and that Christ will be exalted.