Over a month ago I went to a 2Day event with Rob Bell. One of the fundimental questions that came out of these two days for most of the young clergy leaders was one about when do we find acceptance as a leader? Now this is a question asked by almost anyone who has a bloss and who wants to see themselves grow in that carrier. What makes this question hard for those of us in the clergy world is that we ask that question of God and about our fundamental calling into vocation.
Are you a great leader when you have the biggest thing, whatever it is that your job is?
Are you a great leader when there are great crowds around you?
Are you a great leader when…?
We often times compair who we are and what we are doing with what someone else has already done. The problem with this is that you are not those people and you are not in their situation. You can never be or do what they did because the variables have changed. I’m not telling you to not look up to people but I am saying that there is so much more to what you are doing.
Rob read to us from the Baptism of Jesus. In the moment that Jesus was baptised there was a ton of stuff going on. I know that I have preached at least 7 different sermons based on that text in Matthew. What I today find most compelling is that when Jesus came out of that water, God said to him “This is my son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus had only just begun, all he had done was be faithful to God. There was nothing that we would point to as success by today’s standard and yet here God is already “well pleased.”
I wanted to share this with you today for a simple reason. It’s because I as a leader grew up in the trap of judging everything I’ve done against someone elses work and to someone elses standard. I had done this without first remembering that I am a child of God and in my acceptance and faithfulness to his calling on my life I too get to hear those words, “this is my beloved with whom I am well pleased.” Now as a leader I strive hard to fullfill my calling to the utmost of God’s will and strength moving through me. I have prayed for God sized missions, and God sized goals that could scare most yet I begin each day with that simple reminder that because I am a child of God and I am faithful, God is already well pleased.
May you go and serve in faith today and may you be blessed as a child of God.
I know that I don’t write on this blog as much as I should. Some of that has been because of the things going on in my life with us getting to our daughter and I promise to write about that soon. That said, today I want to write a touch about the nature of the denomination I work within and will continue to do so.
Every four years our global church known as United Methodists get together and work out the details of the legislative organization of our church. We worship together, come prepared to talk about proposals and then vote to keep or change our policies. If this does not sound familiar then keep thinking about our government or any large not for profit out there. We all have ways to talk, debate and set our policies.
What many people spend their time on is the crazy things that happen any time you put 1000 or so people in a room to make choices. What is really important is that God is being allowed to work through them and through their choices. Not all of the decisions that are made will be the ones I want but if I trust in God then I can trust that God will use them all to his glory. So I simply ask that you who read this pray for our church and for Gods riches and glory.
Tonight I am at our third rally for our Transforming Lives campaign. It is amazing to see how many people can be open to the dedication of God. Tonight we are gathering for something that is a huge undertaking. We are looking at a 29,000 square foot building that will cost about 6million dollars. To say this is going to be a God sized goal is an understatement. Our congregation would not be able to accomplish this if it were not of God. We have our worries but those worries are not about us not being able to do it, but it just being sure we are in all things doing it right for God’s glory. So we covet your prayers and know that if you want to be a part of something truly God sized, you are welcome to join us on this journey of faith.
I want to start this post with the statement that: this has taken me a long time to think about and prepare myself to post. This is personal, at points it has been painful and at other points very hopeful. As with all of life, it is all given to God.
First off, we are not moving so if I have worried any of you, sorry… Some of you may know, and many of you will not know, for many years Cori and I have been unsuccessful at having children. There has been years of waiting, trying, appointments, procedures and long conversations. There were moments that I thought I would never have peace and then great moments of God-given grace. We have learned much about ourselves and reliance on each other (and God of course). Some of you will relate to this process. Some will feel sadness for us, some may even be shocked that I am writing this.
Today Cori and I are at peace with this. We have come to understand that God has a great plan for us and though we may not know all of the pieces we still feel God’s guidance leading us. It is with that leading that we know that we are still called to be parents. So it is with excitement that we enter into a new way of moving forward. We are planning to enter into the adoption process. Before you ask, there are many different routes you can go with adoption and we don’t know all those answers yet. We do know that we are looking into domestic infant. Outside those two categories we are pretty much open. We have a few top choices for agencies but the applications are still awaiting a homestudy process.
We are excited by the opportunity that we are being afforded by God. We are excited to know that in our hearts God has been calling us to raise up a family. We are also excited that in this we have also been called to share beyond ourselves and with a child we do not yet know. This choice has and will continue to change us, a future child, that child’s birth family and even our congregation. We know that God is great in all things and we simply ask anyone that has read these words to pray for us and the future that God holds for us.
Thank you for that gift….
Peace & Grace,
Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect,
self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
— Titus 2:2
Theresa Black forwarded a devotional email that she receives daily. This was the verse that it shared and that struck a chord with both of us. This is a fascinating verse to me. Teaching those who are older to be leaders… As a young pastor I find myself in this role more often then I ever thought that I would. It can be a strange way of things but it can be critical.
First off, this is not a message of disrespect. This is a message that all of us, even those who are older need to hear and follow. We need to learn the ideals of temperate, self-controlled lives so that we can be built up in a way that leads others to God. We must build up those who others will naturally look up to so that they have the type of lives that are examples. This may even mean that those who are younger may lead the way for an older man to become the leader that God is calling him to be.
One of the things we talked about at English Camp is how when a young person comes to accept Christ in their life, they often have the opportunity to lead their parents to God. How powerful is it that the child leads his or her parents to God and helps mature them in the faith until they can lead not only their family in the faith but their community as well.
Just some food for thought. Thanks again for your prayers…. See you all in the states very soon.
Peace & Grace,
John 10:10 “I have come so you may have life, and have it to the full.”
There is almost no better way that I know of to experience people wanting to have life to the fullest the to be around 15-22 year olds. (on a side note I feel really old typing that at 30) currently I am spending time with a bunch of young Czech youth in the far Eastern end of the Czech Republic. I am learning a few words of Czech, I am playing silly games, eating strange food and most importantly I am experiencing life to the full.
I am experiencing life to the full because of my faith, not because of experiences around me. But because of my faith the things around me are full. I can clearly see the importance of coming to know someone and then seeing the impact that relationships have. Today while I was experiencing life to the full I had the privilege to walk in the rain 8 kilometers to Slovakia with a group of us from the Czech. On that walk God placed in my life a person to talk with. He is a young man with a full and exciting life before him. I got to hear him share with me his dreams and his goals. He talked about how he might experience life a life that God has prepared for him. He talked about how he desires to know life to the fullest.
On our walk he didn’t tell me that he had chose to follow Jesus in his life. He did not tell me that he trusts God with everything he has. But what he did share told me that he wants to know that life that only God can offer us. Maybe he didn’t know how to tell me in English his decision, maybe he is still just on the fence. What I do know is that today I was able to experience life to the fullest because of how God was clearly working on and through the heart of this young man.
Pray that he, and many more come to know life to the fullest in Jesus.
Peace and Grace,
Tonight I shared the story of Zaccheus with the camp. For those who don’t know that story the long and short of it is that someone who was hated by many found acceptance and a changed life in the meeting of Jesus Christ. In that message Zaccheus climbed up a tree to see Jesus walk by him because of the messages he had heard about this man.
It is amazing for me to remember the ways that I have moved myself to see Jesus, even when I have not fully understood what he is all about. I too have had the faith like Zaccheus to climb up and just try to meet him. I too have found that my life has never been the same since that meeting.
At our English Camp we are talking about Jesus. Here we are sharing his stories, stories of healing and life. We are excited here tonight because as we share these stories someone just might have the courage to climb up a tree to just try and meet Christ. The amazing thing about this, is that regardless of how the world has seen the person in the tree, Jesus sees them as they really are. Here at this camp it is our prayer that as they get to know how Jesus already knows their name, their life, everything… Jesus already has made a place for them and they just have to do whatever it takes to find a place where they can let him into their life.
Peace and grace,