Archive for February, 2015

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Posted: February 13, 2015 in Family

My six-year-old son was making out valentine cards for his upcoming classroom valentine party. The teacher helpfully sent home a list of every student in the class. My wife instructed our son to fill out one card for each student in the class.

“But what if I don’t like that person?” he asked.

“You still need to make them a card,” my wife explained.

“But what if they’re mean?” he persisted.

“You still need to give them a card. You need to make a card for every person on that list,” my wife maintained.

As we were putting all the cards together in a bag my wife noticed that he’d done exactly as she told him. There was a card for each child on the class list…including himself.

Not as Bad as All That

Posted: February 6, 2015 in Church, Faith

Church leadership is a pain in the backside. Whether one is full time, bi-vocational, volunteer, a lay leader, etc. matters not. It is a difficult calling. Years ago while church planting my mentor and I worked through the book of Nehemiah. For as much and as often as I have been frustrated in ministry I must admit that I’ve never faced as daunting a task as that prophet.

Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. 6While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. 10I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field. 11So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses.
Nehemiah 13: 4-12 (ESV)

I read these words and am encouraged. Much like reading Job, no matter how bad things might get, I’ve never had it as bad as he did. No matter my struggles in ministry, my hurdles have never been quite as extreme or intense as Nehemiah’s. So I feel better reading about men who persevered against constant frustration and I hear a still small voice whispering to me, “keep pressing on.”

It would be nice to end the post on that high note, but I can’t. I feel the need to add that just because I feel comforted and hear the voice that doesn’t mean I don’t slump in my chair with fatigue and something just shy of despair on occasion (sometimes on frequent occasion). Nor does it mean I don’t raise my fist to the heavens and literally shout at God in my anger and frustration. But I will also admit that as I am engaged in these less than productive activities that I feel the draw to return to Scripture, to the Word of the Living God. I know there I will find my solace and the encouragement I need…and God in his grace let’s me have my pity party and patiently waits for me to return to my senses and draws me back to him.