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Posts Tagged ‘Ministry’

Don’t Wait For Experience

March 13, 2014 6 comments

Something we all need in our lives is experience.  Currently, I have almost a decade’s worth of experience in the division of my company at work.

Experience gives us the judgment we need to succeed and perform at highest level.  A saying captures much of what we understand about experience and judgment:

Good judgment comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgment.

It almost seems that many people don’t want to give someone a chance if they don’t have some experience.  My daughter tried to get a job a few months ago.  She was told to go get another job and work for a year to gain experience.  Once she had a year’s worth of experience, then this company would consider her.

Whatever good things I do on this blog is because of experience.  I began writing a few years ago.  I wrote badly.  I wrote badly often enough to gain the experience I needed.  Now, I don’t write as badly as I did five years ago when I started.

This is also the case in ministry.

Think about the reaction some give those who come to know Christ.  They are on fire, wanting to serve the Lord who just saved them.  They want to contribute to the building of the body of Christ.  Many are politely told to wait until they grow in the Lord and gain some experience.  Steven Taylor satirizes this thought in his song, I Want To Be A Clone.

So what should we do with new Christians?

We should include them in everything we do.

Do we need to make hospital visits?  We should take a new Christian with us.

Are we serving the homeless or those with wrecked lives?  A new Christian should be included.

Instead of throwing a wet blanket on those who are the most on fire of all of us, we should find a way to stoke their fire and make it burn even hotter.

Does experience matter?

Sure it does.  But let’s find ways to help those who have come to know Christ gain the experience they need in dealing with situations.  Maybe they and we will grow in Christ when we do.

Have you ever let waiting for experience keep you from actually experiencing?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

Just Some Random Monday Thoughts

September 23, 2013 24 comments

You don’t know how many other posts I tried to write for today.  I even wrote some that I think are great ideas.  But, man, few things are meshing well in my writing right now.  I know why.  It leads back to what I talked about Friday.  I’m kind of worn out.  The light is at the end of the tunnel.  I have two more weeks until a week off of work.  That will help.  I have about 6 more weeks of campground preaching.  At about the same time, my son’s football season will be over.  All of these are good things, if you notice.  What we all need to realize is that even too much good stuff ends up bad.  It’s kind of like the manna that God sent Israel.  He said to take enough for one day.  Just what you need.  if you took too much, it spoiled.  So, if I can make it until October 4, then I will have a week of rest.  Then I can power through three more weeks of this season and move to the next one.

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I was talking to a lady that I know fairly well Friday.  She is about ten years older than me.  She is at a place in her life where her kids are grown and she has no idea what her passion is anymore.  She has been working in the same type of work for thirty-three years now.  I can tell from speaking with her that she is bored out of her mind.  One of my fears is that I will be in this condition in ten years.  I want to fight this from occurring in my life.  I want to pursue my passions on a daily basis.

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There are some other changes coming in my life other than just what will happen over the next six weeks.  Some of those won’t be realized for a  few months.  Ministry is important to me.  It’s time, though, for a ministry shakeup.  Mack Brown has probably outlived effective leadership as the head coach of the University of Texas.  I think that happens to us sometimes in the ministries we are involved in.  Sometimes we need a shakeup.

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I have several things on my mind that I want to write.  I have loved writing my fiction series over the past year and have found out that I definitely love it.  I want to write more of it.  We’ll see how it goes.

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My friend, Jim Woods, calls me the Cal Ripken of blogging.  Not sure that there is anything like Lou Gehrig’s record out there for me to break though.

Any random thought you would like to share?

4 Reason I Need Your Prayers Today

August 7, 2013 16 comments

Folks, there are four reasons that I need your prayers today.  I rarely, if ever, come like this asking you to pray for me for things going on in my life, but today will be an especially grueling day.

First is the lightest one.  I am appearing on Michelle Moran’s podcast, People I Almost Know.  Michelle is a great friend of this blog and in the Twittersphere.  In fact, you can follow her on Twitter here.  If you have ever wanted to hear what this Southern hillbilly from East Tennessee sounds like, here’s your chance.  You will hear us discuss my blogging history, the Dunn Holler Report and all sorts of other fun stuff.  It was a lot of fun to spend some time talking with Michelle.

Second, and the heaviest, is that I will be saying farewell to someone  late this afternoon.  A longtime friend in the community I live died in an auto accident Sunday evening.  My daughter and his went to school together, graduating high school just a few weeks ago.  His boys are still in school with my son.  My heart is extremely heavy over this.

Next, I am speaking at my church tonight.  If you want to know if God has a sense of humor about the plans we make, this is it.  I had prayed that He would give me a chance to speak ONCE the campground ministry is over in October.  Of course, once I prayed that, the opportunity came almost immediately to do it well before I was really wanting to do it.  But it is all in His timing.

Finally, I have been presented a new ministry opportunity.  I don’t want to say too much about it, but I will be finding out more about it later tonight.  I have felt the Lord drawing me in this direction, but haven’t really sought it.  I trust Him in this as it will change my life somewhat as He seems to be moving me in some new directions.

Thank you for your prayers.  This is an exciting and somber day.  I believe that He will carry me along through the prayers you pray.

Don’t Limit The Size Of Your Box!

July 16, 2013 2 comments

Sometime around 1999, I did something that, at that time, I thought I had to do.  After talking with my wife and my pastor, not to mention lots of prayer, I went down in front of my church at the time and surrendered to the ministry.

Shortly after that, my family and I moved to seminary.  I spent a year going to school and working three jobs.  Near the end of that first year, I came home exhausted.  I just couldn’t do it.

Ministry was over.  I couldn’t do it.  I gave up.

Or so I thought.

A few months later I began preaching at a campground for the remainder of the summer.  Now I’m in my twelfth year of  this ministry.

What have I learned over these past dozen years?  That being called to the ministry does not mean you have to be a pastor to be in ministry.  You see, that is the only thing I could see when I announced that call to ministry so many years ago.  I thought that meant that I had to pastor a church to be of any use to God in the ministry.  I thought that was the only way that I could proclaim the gospel was to be a pastor.

Now, let me share with you how God has a bit of a sense of humor.

I had been asking the Lord to let me speak at some point after I was done with the campground ministry this year.  So you know what happened?

My pastor emailed me recently and asked me if I would speak during an upcoming Wednesday night.  I had to laugh because that wasn’t what I asked for.  It wasn’t on my timetable.

God doesn’t work according to my schedule, so I said yes.  I’m not sure what He has in store, but I’m excited about it.  It goes along with what I see in the Bible though.

God used a century old man to start a nation.

He called an 80-year-old to lead that same nation out of slavery.

The Lord had Samuel anoint a teenager to be king of this nation.

He caused a teenage, engaged virgin to become pregnant and give birth to the God-Man.

So, why should he follow my timeline?

We create boxes that we put God in and believe our ministries cannot get any larger.  That isn’t what Jabez prayed, was it?  He prayed that the Lord would expand his territory.  Yet, we limit God and the box of ministry He gives us.

We must stop.  We need to pray like Jabez did and ask the Lord to expand our territory without fences.  We must stop limiting the size of our box.

Have you ever limited the size of the box God has given you?

The Problem With Thinking Too Much

I think.  A lot.  It doesn’t really matter what the subject is, I think about it.

There’s just one problem.

Sometimes I can think too much.

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A few years ago, I wrestled with whether or not I would go into ministry.  I thought about it constantly.  It consumed me.  I had a hard time focusing on anything.  My job performance suffered.  I was miserable.  I needed to make a decision.  Instead, I drew it out.

Obviously, I needed to think this thing through.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I was stuck not making a decision.

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The problem with thinking too much is what it causes in my life and in many other’s lives.

It causes paralysis.  Paralysis by analysis.

Sometimes we need to be decisive.  Make our decision.  Go for it.  Do it.  It may be the wrong one, but it’s really not something we can’t recover from.  Mistakes happen.  Wrong decisions are made.  We learn from them and move on.

Will Rogers said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

*****

I went to a church for years wanting to make a change.  I wouldn’t make a decision at all.  I thought about it all the time.  I got to the point where I almost hated going to church.   I begged the Lord to let me leave.  I never got an answer.   I needed to make a decision one way or the other.  I decided to finally stay.  Soon after that, the Lord painfully removed me from that church.  Now, I’m happier than I’ve been in years.

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We’re going to make mistakes.  It’s ok.  We can live with it.  What we can’t live with is thinking so much that we don’t make any decision at all.  We have to do something.  Just do it and it will be ok.

Have you ever been guilty of thinking too much?  Did you need to make a decision and couldn’t pull the trigger?

Should I Work For A Faith Based Company?

Occasionally I see a question pop up.  Perhaps I hear it in some conversation that I am having or overhear.  Maybe it’s in a blog post, a tweet or a Facebook status.  That part doesn’t really matter.

The question that I run across is this: Should I work for a faith-based company?

There are several variations of this that I hear.  Should I enter ministry?  Should I go to the mission field?  Should I go to seminary and become a preacher?

Sometimes, though, I think there is another question at the heart of what many of them are asking.

Is what I am doing enough for the Lord?

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I think many of us get on fire for Jesus and think we are wasting our lives away in our occupations.  We think there is no Godly good in being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker.  We wonder if our lives amount to anything in the normal, ordinary drudgery of a “regular” job.

I know.  I was there.

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In 2001, I left a job that I had been at for almost five years.  I had worked my way up in the company.  I was on a path to success.

It wasn’t good enough.  I had to be a preacher.  I had to go to seminary.  I just knew that I had to be a pastor.

So, I went to seminary.  For one whole year, I went to seminary and took the classes.  I did pretty well in school.  I had the 8:00 a.m. Greek class.  I took the theology classes.  I learned church history.

Guess what?

I also worked three jobs.  I worked at UPS sorting packages.  I delivered newspapers.  I worked at a running store.  I killed myself for an entire school  year.

Then I left.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  My family and I came home.  I was burned completely out.  It was the hardest year of my life.

*****

Since then I have returned to my former employer.  I have been fairly successful.  I have also preached at a campground for a solid ten years.  There are untold ministry opportunities within my church.  The Lord is going to show those He has planned for me in His own time.

I don’t need to work for a faith-based company.  I don’t have to.   I simply need to work in the company and the church my faith in Christ leads me.

Is what I am doing enough for the Lord?  Never.  It never could be.  It doesn’t have to be.

What He did on the cross is enough.  Everything else is pure gravy.

 Do you ever think you should work for a faith-based company?  Or enter ministry?  Have you considered you have been planted in the mission field God intended for you?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

Who Are You, Part 2

December 4, 2012 4 comments

Yesterday, I suggested that many of us simply do not know who we are.  More to the point, many of us who follow Christ do not know who we are in Christ in our lives.  Paul gives us a glimpse in the salutations of his letters that he knew exactly who he was.  Yesterday, I explored that Paul was a bondservant of Christ, a willing slave to the Lord.  Today, I want to discuss his calling.

Paul says that he was called as an apostle.  In fact, if we looked deeper into his life, Paul would say that he was set apart before birth to be an apostle of the Gentiles.  I find that amazing that, in retrospect, Paul sees that God chose him before he was even born for the task that was before him.  What are we to glean from this?  God was uniquely interested in each of us before we were born.  I don’t think this was simply designated for a few guys like Jeremiah or Paul or anyone else that we think are spiritual superstars.

Dig into what Paul  says though.  He was called.  He had a calling.  Yes, it was dramatic.  He was knocked off his horse and blinded on the Damascus Road, but he was called nonetheless.  A lot of us probably think Paul jumped right into the apostleship game.  That’s not correct.  It was somewhere in the neighborhood of fourteen years before he ever began his missionary journeys.  He spent time away from Jerusalem.  He spent time in the local church.  He learned.  He proved himself.  Then the Holy Spirit and the church selected him and Barnabas to hit the road.

We need to realize that we have a calling.  We are uniquely gifted.  And it may take time to ultimately get to where and what God is calling us to.  We could even look at Mark.  He failed.  He failed Paul and Barnabas.  He was to them like Yoko Ono was to the Beatles.  Yet later he was fruitful to Paul’s ministry.  He wrote a Gospel.  It just took time to get to realize his calling.

Finally, he was called to a specific role.  He was called to be an apostle.  Not many were.  Others were called to do other things.  Yet Paul did not consider his calling to be higher than anyone else’s.  He was still a bondservant of Christ.  He simply wanted to fulfill the role that God gave him so that he could glorify Christ.

Who are you?