This is a post from a couple of years ago when I still tried to write some funny posts here and there and thought I would be the next Jon Acuff instead of the one and only, Larry the Deuce.
A little over a decade ago I announced a call to ministry. This followed wrestling with my decision and what it meant for me. Would I? Wouldn’t I? How do I know? This process dealt with lots of questions and few tangible answers. Then our pastor at the time did the next logical thing.
He led our church to license me just like all preachers since Peter and Paul have been licensed. I do not think Mary was ever licensed, but I digress. (If you didn’t get that one, well I just feel sad for you.)
I have never pastured a church. Nor have I pastored a church or preached in a truly official capacity either. I’ve made a few cameos and pitched in when needed. But I have never been a regular preacher in a regular church setting.
However, I have had a regular preaching gig now for eight years now. I lead and preach at a service at local campground. I do this each week May through October. One question haunts me each time I stand to preach.
What if they catch me preaching without a license?
I mean, I don’t carry my license around with me. It’s actually more of a certificate. I guess I could carry it in it’s frame, but it is a bit bulky. I don’t have a small copy that fits in my wallet or anything. Here are some possibilities for offenses I could be charged with if the preaching police show up one day.
- Failure to provide proof of being licensed
- Preaching faster than the preaching limit
- Failure to yield when someone gives an “Amen!!!”
- Preaching too long and running a red light or a stop sign.
Obviously there is no such thing as the preaching police. At least not that I know of. But if they need to see my license we will need to make a trip to house. I’m sure I can find it.
What about you? Are you licensed to do what you do?
***I hope you found this funny. I LOL’d as I wrote this. However, I did not ROTFLOL or LMBO***
One of my favorite Twitter follows is Xianity. Whoever is behind this anonymous Twitter handle is a brilliant writer who mixes our faith and satire in 140 characters or less.
A few days ago this tweet was sent out: LOCAL: Area Sunday School teacher dismissed after refusing to use tried and true “bore the hell out of them” curriculum. As a former Sunday School teacher, this tiny statement resonated with me.
A pastor in one of my former churches would preach every Sunday. Each Sunday I would sit there bored out of my mind. I was hearing the most exciting news ever talked about in a way that would never appeal to me. There was no emotion in the dull, monotone monologues that were called sermons by some.
These sermons led to me to wonder if the man truly believed what he was saying. Interestingly, he even spoke against emotion coming into the church. It was almost that he was anti-emotion. Like he was trying to purposely downplay the Gospel and its effect on those who follow Christ.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not into emotionalism for the same of drawing a crowd. Many with some skill and training can learn to whip a congregation into frenzy.
However, there has to be more to it that simply delivering the news without any appearance of it affecting the emotions. Surely, you can’t just bore the hell out of people.
We have the most exciting Person that has ever walked this earth in our lives. His message is something that draws us to come to know Him and follow Him.
Let’s live like it.
Let’s live exciting lives in the name of Jesus. That doesn’t mean that you have to wave your hands or dance. I probably won’t. That’s doesn’t mean that the emotions that He gave me aren’t running high when I talk, sing or worship with my brothers and sister. I’m not going to stand there stone cold either.
Let’s not try to bore the hell out of people. Let’s proclaim Him in a manner worthy of the One we love and worship.
Have you ever been guilty of trying to bore the hell out of people? Does Christ and the Gospel excite you?
You’ve been in that church service. The preacher makes a point. You can tell he expected spontaneous combustion or something. Unfortunately, for everyone in church that morning, that isn’t what happened. Instead he got this.
You know it’s coming. You can feel it welling up in your pastor’s shoes. It begins to travel up his legs straight past his diaphragm into his belly. It travels around his stomach a time or two to gain speed. Up it goes, goes, goes. Then you finally hear it.
“Can I get an amen???”
Immediately the chairman of the deacons wakes up from his mid-morning nap to exclaim as loudly as possible, “Aaaaaaa-Mannnnn!!!!”
And the preacher got his amen.
In one swift moment, the pastor morphs from proclaimer of the word of God into someone who helps lift girls up on Saturday afternoons and yells into a megaphone. He is actively soliciting reaction for his preaching.
If you are a preacher, you’ve probably done it. I know I have.
The question is, should we?
And what happens if you actually didn’t get an amen? What if someone stands up and yells,”Nay-men!!!” What if no one agrees with you?
What if you were heckled?
Asking for an amen is dangerous. Be careful what you wish for.
Have you ever asked for an amen? Have you ever gotten no response? How did you react?
Yes, the Lord has made this day. If you don’t get that, think about it for a minute.
I begin my yearly ministry preaching at Big Meadow Campground. I’m just a little pumped up this morning as I prepare myself. I’ve been preparing for a while, so I’m just putting the final touches on it. So, what do I expect this morning?
I expect to be just a little nervous. I haven’t spoken much since the end of October.
I expect to see some people who I haven’t seen since last fall or maybe earlier last year.
I expect to learn something from someone. Someone always comes up afterwards and makes a great point that I missed.
I expect for someone to tell me that God touched them in a way that I couldn’t anticipate.
I’m ready and raring to go.
What are you pumped up about today?
Two weeks from today, I begin an annual adventure. It’s something that I have been doing now for (wow!) ten years. It will last six months and then I will be return to normalcy (whatever that it) for six months. Then I will be back at it.
What is it? Glad you asked.
I will be spending my Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. at Big Meadow Campground. I do this as a ministry through our local Baptist association called CHARM.
I’ve been doing campground ministry for about 13 or 14 years. I’m not sure which. It’s been most of both of my children’s lives. I’ve doing it so long that I even include them. Here’s how it goes.
On Saturday evening, we will go pass out fliers inviting the campers to come to the Sunday morning service. This campground has people who have been coming there longer than I have and many stay for weeks at a time. Passing out fliers is often like a family reunion. The only problem is that food isn’t involved, which makes all of the grilling smell even better.
On Sunday morning, I arrive a bit before 9 and greet everyone as they arrive. Some Sundays I might have six people. Another I might have 35. Usually it’s somewhere in between. If I didn’t see someone the night before, I will get to spend a little time with them and catch up on what’s been going on since the end of October.
I used to stick my finger in the wind each week to determine what I would preach about. Now, I do it a bit differently. This will be my fourth summer preaching from the gospel of John. I will be starting in chapter 16. The first year I preached through 5 chapters. The second four. I hope to manager better than three chapters this year.
Lord willing, we will have another outstanding year. Pray for me each week, specifically each Sunday at 9 eastern time.
What ministries are you involved in within and outside your church?
What can I say about this week’s church experience that I haven’t already said?
Solid preaching from our interim pastor.
Worshipful music that leads to a corporate experience with God.
However, that isn’t what I want to focus on today.
I want to zero in on what happened after the worship service yesterday.
We had a potato/chili luncheon to raise money to send the youth to a conference.
It was fantastic to see the response of so many people bringing chili and potatoes to support the youth.
But even that isn’t what I really want to talk about.
Jan and I spent time with a couple who shared how much they led and loved the youth when they were younger. Now, some of those youth are now having children and they are loving those children. They also shared with how God has blessed them at different times in their lives.
We also got to spend time with another couple. One of them is having surgery on Friday, so we have an opportunity to pray this week for them. On a side note, they also own cattle. Growing up, my family had cattle as well. It’s great to get to know people who you have things in common with.
The bottom line is that we are truly beginning to feel connected in this church. We love it and it is becoming home.
How are things going in your church?
Just some random thoughts I had this month.
Can you have true kindness and compassion without Christ?
We Built This City is possibly my least favorite rock song of all time.
Do you remember the show, Alice? I never wanted to kiss Flo’s grits. I prefer to eat grits with salt, pepper and butter for breakfast.
A friend of mine forgot to pray until he was halfway through lunch one day.Does it still count or is it, like, half a prayer?
Yesterday, we began our church search. It was the first time we have been in a church service since August 14. Our children were excited and I can’t deny that I looked forward to it as well.
I won’t state the names of the churches we visit on the chance that someone takes what I say here as negative. I just want to discuss what we experienced.
The church we visited is what I would call a mega church. I call it that because I noticed that the attendance last Sunday was around 3,300 in their worship services. This is certainly not what I am used to. To put it in perspective, the choir and orchestra had more members than the attendance of my previous church.
I can honestly say that I have never visited a church like this one. When we entered, there was a bustle of activity. There was a welcome counter in the front that seemed as though it was a concierge center as a nice hotel.
The service was very slick and professional. I say that only to say that the service flowed. There was no down time. There were no quiet moments. The music was powerful. Everything was done with excellence.
The sermon was biblical. What I mean by that is that the pastor read scripture and stuck with the scripture throughout the message. Humor was sprinkled in, but there was no joke telling. The pastor was not simply stating his opinion. He was busy explaining what the scripture meant and said.
Was there anything I would consider negative? The major question that I was left asking was how can you plug-in to a church that large? I’m sure you can. I simply don’t know how.
I also wondered in a church that large, how you can know the pastor? I’m used to knowing the pastor fairly well.
Leaving this church was unlike anything I have ever seen. It was difficult to just back out of a parking spot. Police also stopped traffic on a major highway to let people out.
Realistically, this church is too far away for us to plug into and be in community with. I am happy to have experienced it. It was a good start to getting back to church.
Please continue to pray for us as we visit another church next Sunday. We already have one picked out. It’s another that is atypical to what we are used to. This process is certainly a journey. I look forward to sharing that you next week.
I’ve spent the last couple of Sundays writing about a church search. I’ll continue that today, but come at it from a different angle. When I find a church in my search, what kind of church member will I be?
I want to be a church member who bases what I think about God, Christ and the Church on the Bible. Sure, I will learn through my local church and circumstances, but ultimately I have to measure that against what God has revealed in His word.
I want the Gospel to be central to my life in my church. If not for the Gospel, where would any of us be? So, I want to bring a Gospel centered life to my new church.
I want to listen to the sermons in such a way that they impact my every day life. I want to worship the Lord through the preaching of His word so that I leave with the purpose of my life being closer to Him.
I want to be a church member who is persevering to the end. I don’t want to take my salvation for granted and I measure my experience against what the word of God says.
I want to be the kind of church member who shares the Gospel. Period. I guess you could call that evangelism. With my words. With my deeds. With my life.
I want to be the kind of church member who is committed. Committed to the church. Committed to the members. Committed to pastor.
I want to be the kind of church member who is disciplined. Disciplined by the word of God. Maybe even disciplined by fellow church members who approach me out of love and concern.
I want to be the kind of church member who is growing. Growing through the word of God. Growing in love for my fellow members. Growing in my love for the Lord.
I want to be the kind of church member who follows Godly leadership. I want to follow spirit-led leaders who I can come alongside and support.
I want to be the kind of church member who joins my fellow church members in prayer. I don’t see how much can get done in a church without the people praying.
These are the main things that the Lord has laid on my heart to BE as I look for and find a church.
What other things do you a church member should be?
It’s Twitterific Thursday again. I’m writing 140 words, more or less, about my dream.
In 1999, I announced a call to my church at the time to the gospel ministry. At that time, based on what I was thinking and feeling, I did not know of any alternative. I began preaching and ended up spending a year in seminary.
What I have discovered since then is that I do not want to be a preacher/pastor. At least, not in that form. In fact, I cannot fathom actually being in that kind of position. Thankfully, the Lord never allowed me to get any of those type positions that I interviewed for.
However, I would love to be a speaker. About faith. Live. In person.
What I would really love to do is to take these blogs I write and adapt them for speaking. That way I could combine two of my favorite things: blogging/writing and public speaking.
Would you pray with me on this becoming a reality?
What’s your dream?