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24 Responses

  1. Reuben says:

    Being a pastor. My father was, and the people I admired most were. I remember as a small boy, I watched a fire and brimstone preacher go off for an hour, yelling and pounding the podium. I was in awe, even at that age, at how he could get a crowd of thousands going. This of course was followed by the 100 piece choir wailing and chanting at the top of their lungs for an hour, darn near blowing the roof off the building. I was hooked.

    Later in life, as a teen, I watched Ron Luce whip tens of thousands of teens into an emotional frenzy. That drove the hook in even deeper.

    For years, nothing brought me greater satisfaction than preaching and teaching.

    I was thinking this morning about all that has happened in 38 years. Now, I am much more interested in providing for my family. I used to be consumed with what Guitar I would own next. Now, I just want a decent set of work boots to last me through the upcoming winter.

    I wonder how much of my time as a pastor was created by myself. I wonder if God even cared about those years. I mean, sure, He cared, but was He in any of it? Was any of it His desire for me?

    I know this. I am not a pastor anymore, and I love my wife more. I love my son more. I am better able to take care of them.

    I can also be friends with the kids that used to be in my studies. They are all grown up. They are off to bigger and better things. Married, jobs, cars, homes, children.

    You know what? This does not depress me. I actually feel liberated that the whole life of “pastor Reuben” is over.

    I wish there were a way to relay that feeling to people who have tried, and failed for years at pastoring.

    James Jude turns 5 on the 13th. On the 15th, there will be a huge celebration. The block we live on, James’ friends, people from all over the place. My old pastor, my new priest, kids who were in my youth group, friends I have had since I was a zit popper punk skater. People who love us despite the fact that we climbed the ladder, and then jumped off. There will be cake, and beer. It will be held at our own home. A home we own.

    There ya have it.

  2. Em says:

    the music is up and i’m listening to 10,000 reasons as i type – thank you, E

    it has been interesting to read this week as a mixed group of “health care providers” have saved Michael’s life … hospitals are still just another corporate world behind the scenes with all the evils that go with it … today was my nurse daughter’s last day of employment; her specialty was sold to a national chain that can operate cheaper than the hospital by not paying a living wage (looks good, but it’s an hourly wage and you don’t get the necessary hours) … the hospital is the only game in town, so in order to carry on it looks like i must sell my house – the only downside of that is that i’m tired 🙂

    prayer appreciated that we make wise decisions in line with God’s will

  3. There is a new church opening tomorrow in my neighborhood. How do I know? They sent me a GIANT full colored postcard. The tag line;
    Church for the ridiculously AWESOME… Good thing you’re awesome

    No mention of Jesus Christ – no mentioned that they are even a christian church. But I did note 2 things – “a casual environment and FREE coffee.”

    Also, since they are meeting in a theater, they are giving away free movie tickets to the first 100 kids in the door.

    A sad day tomorrow.

  4. Lutheran says:

    Reuben,

    What comes to mind after reading your #2 is that Christians need to value the mundane more and the shiny and the spectacular less. There’s far too much putting of “fulltime” Christians (pastors and other church workers) on a superspiritual pedestal. I say, down with “two-tiered” Christianity. It reminds me of what the Church was like before the Reformation, when those in church positions (Catholic) lorded it over the rest.

    Thankfully, at least in my experience, that two-tierd style of Christianity isn’t there in the Lutheran church and in my years of observation, in the other churches of the Reformation (Episcopal, Presbyterian). People know that the doctrine of vocation says all stations in life are equally good and valid.under Christ’s Lordship.

    What I’ve observed is that at least in Lutheran churches I know, folks are very thakful for a good pastor — but theyre glad it’s not them! What we need is Christians comfortable in the skin God gave them — whether you’re a janitor, father, husband, whatever.

    Also, brother, I hope you’ll remember that it’s surely not an “all or nothing” situation with your pastoral past. Rom.8 still says God works all things together for good! I hope you don’t get all bummed when you’re reflecting. I’m sure God was at work. Thanks be to God that you are where you are now!

  5. Paige says:

    Good morning Friends! Pretty sick about the church ad MLD….. and how true, Lutheran: Christians need to value the mundane more and the shiny and the spectacular less.
    This is a constant lesson and theme of our lives….. cherishing the daily under appreciated miracles, like waking up, being able to see and get out of bed…. sunshine, soil, collecting eggs, calls from family, toy evidence that we have grandchildren, fresh tomatoes and lovely cups of coffee together at the garden table in our yard….. Praise God.

  6. jlo says:

    does anyone here have any experience with Mark Tubbs and The Five Fingers of God?

  7. Lutheran says:

    Paige,

    What you’ve said is so true. I’ve been reading lately about the power of giving thanks for all things. There’s even a newer branch of psychology called “positive psychology.” They’ve done studies that show people who are grateful and give thanks score lower in depression. Of course, YMMV and it’s probably not a panacea. Nevertheless…

    I say, the Bible said it first.

    🙂

  8. erunner says:

    Former church having financial problems.

    So, what can we do?
    1. Make a one time big gift. Every year we have been blessed with a gift exceeding $50,000. That hasn’t happened in 2012. Now is the time to step up if God has blessed you with great wealth.

    2. If 80 of you could give a gift of $1,000, or all 8oo givers could give an extra $100 we could close the gap.

    3. If you have fallen behind on your tithe (10% giving) this is a great time to catch up.

    4. If you give, but are not currently tithing- pledge to give 10% for the remainder of 2012. You will see God miraculously provide for you. (Malachi 3: 8-11)

    I’m all for letting the body know finances are tough but this seems a bit extreme.

  9. Lutheran says:

    Ah, yes. Maiachi 3:8-11.

    Was there any mention in the letter of giving under the New Covenant? That’s supposed to be voluntary and because of grace, not law?

  10. erunner says:

    Lutheran, Yes, voluntary. That’s the key and this letter they sent out is anything but that. It reminds me too much of the “god has told me there are 10 people here tonight who are going to sow a seed of _____ to our ministry. If you are one of those ten please stand up.”

    I’m not making light of their financial difficulties but what they mailed out makes me extremely uncomfortable.

  11. It’s funny that people of the church would be offended by such a letter. I think in churches that have no membership, no voter’s meetings and no involvement with quarterly budgets get blindsided by these letters.

    If they were a part of a “true” membership, and they participated in the meetings and the financial affairs of the church, they would understand that the letter is probably one of the solutions set forth by the body to solve a problem.

    The bigger question would be “why are people just finding out that there is a financial crisis when they get the letter?”

  12. Paige says:

    I know it ‘s a ‘hot topic’, but I would appreciate seeing some comments on the subject o tithing vs new covenant ‘grace giving’…… We actually had a chat on the subject this morning here…..
    MLD, so true….however, many,many churches, as you know, do not invite or allow participation in the business realm of operations…..

  13. erunner says:

    MLD, We are ex-members of this church and I was surprised to receive the letter. The church does have membership but I imagine the numbers of actual members isn’t too high. So in that regard many would have no idea of any financial issues. Thus, the mailer.

  14. covered says:

    Under the new covenant, we are free to give whatever we want and are not bound to 10% which btw I can only find in one place in the N.T. When I recently taught on giving, a Board member wasn’t very pleased because I shared that giving could include giving time or something other than $. If a person making $10k a year gives the church 10%, there would be a clear hardship on that person. The bottom line is, this is a personal thing between you and God. If He wants you to give a specific amount then it’s on you to be obedient. What I have learned is that God is always faithful and He sees to it that we have what we need to do what He calls us to do.

  15. I don’t know if it’s a matter of tithing vs giving. But what do you do when YOUR church puts out the call for more money? Do you tell them no and advise them to fire the church secretary?

  16. “Under the new covenant, we are free to give whatever we want and are not bound to 10%”

    I think giving back in the first century was different than what we do today – which is commit to support the work of our church. Are we really free to give what we want or do we give what we are committed to give as our part?

  17. Lutheran says:

    Covered, I like your perspective in #15. Why is it that money is so often emphasized, to the neglect of helping out in other ways, such as teaching a Sunday School class or putting the church newsletter together or leading the prayer chain.

  18. Ixtlan says:

    @2
    I have a friend who viewed the pastorate in similar ways as you described. He rode the pastor roller coaster for many years. He left the pastorate more than once only to again return. Six churches and four wives later, he’s finally done…. and he finally has peace.

    Being a pastor is like riding a roller coaster. The highs are so high, and lows are so low. It has placed me in the company of a few men whom I greatly admire, and those whom I greatly dislike as they are a disgrace to the vocational calling. One of these days, the ride will end for me as well. When that day comes , I hope I can look back and see that I did not labor in vain and that God actually did something through me.

  19. covered says:

    MLD, you make an interesting observation with your #17. As far as our church goes, I don’t know who gives what. What I do know is the total giving each week. What’s interesting is that even without a membership, the giving has always been the same. Never have we needed more that what was given. In the event of a special outreach or an out of the ordinary function, extra funds have always and without fail been provided. I believe the reason is that we are blessed with people who understand that they have a responsibility to God in being obedient.

  20. covered says:

    Lutheran, sometimes giving of our time is worth more than money. I am reminded of the lame man waiting at the gate beautiful seeking “alms”. He didn’t need money, he needed healing and a Savior. No matter what our issue is, we tend to think that money will fix it. I am blessed to have an awesome accountant who told us from the beginning that God won’t hold us accountable for what He didn’t provide so based on that, we aren’t pressed for a savings plan or a building fund. We aren’t wealthy but we pay our bills. Our flock helps and serves in amazing ways and I believe that God is blessing us for not making money a priority. Serving, fellowship and caring for others has worked well. I am blessed.

  21. Lutheran – to your #18,
    I do think that the call is put out for lay help, giving time to the church but it goes without offense. I don’t know of anyone who gets offended if they receive a letter in the mail, get pigeonholed by the pastor or hear an announcement that more Sunday school helpers are needed – or it’s church workday.

    But let the same method’s be used, ie. the pastor comes to you and says “we are looking for more funds, can you help us out?” and all of a sudden the pastor is abusing his power.

    LOL, it is the money – we hate to part with it and worse, we hate to be asked to part with it.

  22. victorious says:

    Reuben. Pastor, according to the expectations you saw, learned and practiced? No. A shepherd according to God’s heart? Yes, my friend. Continue to enjoy the process of where the Lord has you. Some day you will look back and see that by setting aside the place of the office, you made room for grace to enable you to fulfill the call.

  23. T says:

    jlo I hope you see this answer: I do have quite a lot to say about Mark Tubbs and his ministry. He has ruined our church. He was asked to help our pastor who was struggling in his personal life and within months, he became the only person our senior and executive pastors would listen to. He undermined everything that was working in our church and now a year later, almost our entire leadership team, including 4 of 5 of our elder board have left the church, because it was the only recourse. He brings division and the false doctrine of the New Apostolic Reformation with him, all packaged in an affable, fatherly demeanor. He is not what he appears to be.

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