Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time & The Healing of Wounds

The old saying "Time heals all wounds" is very true. However, wounds leave scars and may remain tender for many years. When I was in my adolescent years I had to have surgeries on my ankles to build my arches. While the surgery went well and was quite necessary for a better walking posture in the future, it left scars. I recall many, many years going by before those scars healed to the point of not hurting or being tender. No, they didn't hurt everyday. Yet, if the side of my foot was bumped in the slightest on those scars it could nearly bring me to my knees with pain.

We deal every day with people who have wounds, but they may not be so obvious to the world as a cut on our body. Sometimes we have the opportunity to be with someone who has been hurt by divorce, death, sickness, or other situations as those situations happen. We may be the first-responders of the heart and soul for these people. Other times we may come along years after an event and we may be dealing with people who are afraid to reach out or open up their life. The reason is usually a hurt from years gone by.

People may go on for the most part as if nothing is wrong, and then something happens similar to the pain suffered years before. This leads to a relapse for some, and at least a wince of apprehension for others. It happens in our own lives too. Past hurt in ministry, mistakes made in our lives, or change that didn't go as smooth as we had hoped.

Change in a church causes pain at some level no matter how careful the change may be. Just like the surgical scars left on my feet, past change in a church may come up in new opportunity for change. Things may not have went well for someone in the past. A past change may have been handled too quickly. Sometimes we come into a hurting situation, which requires us to wait, and change at the pace the majority can handle. In fact most situations are not so life threatening to a church that time can not be given to allow people the time to work through their needs.

Healing will come, and trust will be gained. Then in time the change that God is leading us toward as a church will happen. It will be less abrupt and hurtful for most. We can never think that no one will be hurt in a change, but we can work to make the wounds smaller and less intrusive in how we choose to handle it. Let us lead in the gentleness of our Gracious Heavenly father in all that we do.

May God bless your journey with Jesus today

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Turning a Ship Takes More Than turning a Speed boat

When you go to the lake in the summer and watch a water skier turn and twist to hit the wake of the speeding boat it looks fun. It is exciting to change directions and create a great stir in the water, which is felt by even those on the shore sometimes.

A ship may create a deep and far reaching wake as well; however, it takes far more to turn a huge ship in the water. It will not turn in seconds, but it takes a larger berth in making a change of direction.

It is the same for most churches. The affects of change can not be pushed through because the quick waves of change will make a churning that will rip and tear on the fabric of the church. Does that mean we do not make change? No. It means as we grow in ministry we learn that it will take more time, patience, and effort to change direction. Things that have been done a certain way will take time to change. I have been part of change in the speed boat, and I am learning the lasting changes come when the whole church can go together.

May God bless your Journey with Jesus today

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Taking a Break

It's your day off and you have decided not to travel to the place where you go to renew. That place is different for every minister. There may be some quiet table in a nearby park beside a stream where you like to relax. Some pastor's like to go fishing, play a sport, or just take a drive. However, today you want to just stay home. The problem, your home is next to the church.

There are many advantages to living next door to your job both for a pastor and for the church. Protection of property, easy access to the office, and you are able to get home for lunch, I personally thin that since a minister's schedule often gets changed by needs, it is sometimes a blessing to be able to step next door to spend some time with your family.

Then comes the question of time off. Even in the most respectful of churches comes the realization that being so close to work means work may invade those times off. The phone rings with a need that may not be so pressing it couldn't wait, someone stops by just to say hello, or worse yet we sabotage ourselves by deciding to go to the office for just a minute. Face it we minister have fallen into the same logic as everyone else. 'My job is important, and I can't afford to take time away, because someone may take my job.'

Recently studies have been coming out stating that the average person takes less than three vacation days from their job. The reason is that people fear for their jobs. However, other studies are showing that in societies where people take breaks, vacations, and even naps people are healthier and live longer.

We must remember to take a break, because we need to be refreshed and ready to serve the need. We also need time with our spouse and our family, because they are our greatest responsibility in life.

Keep on you journey with Jesus

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Working in and out of Season

Paul reminded Timothy to preach in and out of season (2 Tim. 4:2). We must continue to minister whether the mood strikes or not. Sometimes this isn't easy. Sometimes we may not feel that inspired to prepare a message, file reports, or visit a person in the hospital. Face it some of our tasks are rather draining on the emotions. However, we should take Paul's words to heart in doing the Lord's work. We should try to do our best to keep our schedules before us and give our best to the task. I pray God will strengthen me when I feel weak, and that He will strengthen you too.

Lord bless those who minister and serve others through their churches today. Give an extra dose of strength during this middle of the week day. Help us all to have the energy and focus to get the tasks ahead of us today and into the future done in You.

- Keep on the Journey with Jesus today

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Keeping up on Paper work

I have been finishing up paperwork, for year end financial information. With taxes and student loans this can really be a chore. When you find out that you may have to make corrections in information that has been incorrect for years it really can make you crazy. I am talking about keeping files in order for quick recall, and review when needed.

It reminds me of how important it is in a small church when information and files are passed from one person to another, that you are sure to follow up that all the information is correct and all there. Sometimes years later you will realize that something was left out, or a number on record was a wrong reference and it can cause a lot of undue stress, confusion, and a lot of extra work to get fixed.

I appreciate people who pass along records clearly. I hope we do our best to keep good records, and pass those processes on to the people who follow us or who work with us. In a church many records have public accessibility (ie. financial records) and it will help if a question ever arises too.

I am far from perfect, but hope that we can continue to improve ourselves. After all for ministers everything comes back to us and our leadership. We may celebrate joys, but we also have to pick up the pieces of our weak areas. I am learning to do better, but realizing that there is always room for improvement.
- Keep on your Journey with Jesus (and good record keeping in your future)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ministry Has Many Sticky Wickets

A Sticky Wicket is a term that comes from the game of cricket, and indicates a tough and sometimes hazardous situation. In ministry we may find ourselves in situations that are very touchy and hazardous to our ministry and the community we are a part of. We may out of necessity be placed in the midst of family struggle, disagreements, divorce, or other situations where we may be called to negotiate or mediate. It is in these situations we need God's grace and mercy to see our way through.

I pray that you will not have to face anything to difficult, but mostly I pray that God will guide you through all the tough situations in your life.

- Keep on your journey with Jesus today

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Getting It Done!

Larry the Cable Guy has a statement that people all over continue to say, "Get 'er done." I have even heard Christians say this in jest. The problem with ministry is that you often feel like you'll never get it all done. Worse yet, to get things done it often seems to take a lifetime. People talk and share ideas for months or even years before a project or ministry ideas gets off the ground and under way. We need more time in prayer and listening to God when we plan together, so that when we come together we can have a clearer plan to getting things done.

Thank Goodness Christ only took three years, and three days in the grave to get the most important thing in the world done for us.

Let's work less in our power and more in Christ's guidance and strength.

Keep on your Journey with Jesus Today

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pass God's Blessing as You Go

Matthew 10:12-13 reminds us that as we go about spreading the hope of the Kingdom of God we are to go among and be a part of the life of those we witness to. We are to pass a blessing on to the "houses we stay in." This really means a lot to us as ministers. We are invited into the fellowship of a church to be a blessing of God to the people, whom He calls us to. We should keep these words of passing God's blessings in mind, and before us always.

For some ministers this means reevaluating how we relate to those who are serving along side us, and those we are responsible for training under our direction. We are to help people grow in the way God would desire, and not lord our personal opinions or directions over people. This may mean slowing down plans in order for people to catch up. It may mean spending sleepless nights in care of those who are in need. We may be called to bless others in being faithful with our lives and witness before men in how our work ethic is lived out. There are numerous ways which God may call us to serve those we are called to serve.

We must take time evaluate ourselves, our witness, and whether we are blessing others in our ministry. The New Year offers a thought of new beginnings. I pray that we can all better serve and follow Christ in His great example.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Keep following the Leading of God

Traveling this weekend through snow I was reminded of God's hand and protection upon us. My mom told me the story of a lady and man traveling. When they finished a long trip and pulled off the expressway a the man said, "Thanks Lord for the protection, I can handle it from here." The car immediately went into a spin, and reminded the man that God needed to stay in control.

How often we want to take life in our own hands instead of staying in the will and guidance of our Lord. We need to stop and remind ourselves early in this new year that God needs to direct our paths, since He knows what is truly best for us.

-- Keep on your Journey with Jesus this week