Jesus says, "Follow me."
Greetings! I am shifting my blogging energies to a new blog. This new effort is particularly focused on encouraging pastors. Through it I am encouraging pastors to build the habits, skills, and attitudes that lead to excellence in ministry over time. The blog is titled, "Enduring Ministry", and you can check it out at this link:
I plan to leave this (Daily Build Up) blog open, but my posting to it will be even more infrequent than it has been recently. Thank you for following this blog and for all of your encouragement.
The phrases "balanced lifestyle" and "pastoral ministry" are rarely found in the same paragraph. However, on the rare instance when we find them together they are not linked favorably. Why is that?
When I look at Christ's ministry, it doesn't seem overwrought. Rather, His way seemed cool, collected, and, dare I say it, rested. Instead of being wrung out, Jesus always appears to be the calm in the center of the scene.
I have often made the joke that military intelligence is an oxymoron (which I had to look up how to spell, so who's the real "moron"). However, the military outfits its platoon leaders with much less gear than the troops. Why? This way when heat-of-the-battle-decisions need to be made, the officer is not worn out from carrying 60-pounds of gear like the other soldiers. Instead, he is fresher and can make clear, life-saving decision.
Pastors need to be similarly prepared for their decision-making, because many of the "battles" they fight are about life and death, too. The significant difference is that pastors deal in things that last eternally.
And maybe, just maybe, could this apply to all the other people that follow Jesus, too?
When I tell people about what "I do" at Acorn Ministries, I usually get a response something like "that's nice". The tone is usually the same as if I had just announced that I'm wearing a clean shirt today.
Perhaps when you read this excerpt from a blog by Micheal Hyatt you will better understand why "I do" what "I do".
According to an August 2, 2010 article in the New York Times, entitled, “Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work”:
In addition, PastorBurnout.com reports that:
This makes the ministry one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet. God never intended for us to go it alone.
Acorn Ministries builds up the body of Christ, the Church, one leader at a time.
That's what "I do".
We all have a basic understanding that God is “all-knowing”, but do we really think about what that means? Certainly God doesn’t pay attention to every detail, does He? Surely God overlooks my momentary lapses and my insignificant “no-harm” sins, don’t you think?
I thought that could be true until I read this:
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13 NIV)
Ouch! According to this passage, God is aware of everything! Well, OK, so God sees what I’m up to, but that’s as far as it goes, right?
Psalm 139:1-4 NIV
You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
Double ouch! You’re telling me that God knows my thoughts, my words? O man, I’m doomed. Why would God want to pay such close attention to me? I’m not a troublemaker. I go to church. Why is He scrutinizing my life? Is He trying to stack up enough “charges” to send me to Hell? Is He trying to get sufficient dirt on me to send me into eternal punishment?
But wait a minute, God is all about love. Scripture says:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… (John 3:16 NIV)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1John 3:1 NIV)
If God loves me so much, it doesn’t make sense that He would search my life to condemn me, does it? What if God’s purpose for paying attention to the details of my life has a different purpose than to punish me? Instead, what if there is a loving purpose for concentrating on every detail of my life?
Parenting experts teach us to “catch our children being good”. That is, as a parent it is good for my children if I look in on them now and then with ”praise” in mind. Instead of looking for something that deserves a punishment, I look for an opportunity to praise their behavior.
What if this is what God is doing with us? What if He is paying attention to the details of our lives – even our thoughts – so that He can catch us being good? If that’s the case, then what does “being good” look like for God?
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 NIV)
Then what if God’s purpose in scrutinizing the tiniest details of our life is to catch us loving Him? What if He pays attention to our thoughts to see if we love Him with our hearts and our minds? Do you suppose He watches our every movement to see if we love Him with all our strength? Could it be that God watches every detail of our life to see if we love Him with our whole soul?
…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness… (Matthew 6:33 NIV)
Are you thinking about God?