Sunday Ponderings

Pondering...

Pondering…

There is a lot on my mind and there is a lot off my mind.  Does that even make sense?  In the past few months I have experienced excitement, fulfillment, and absolute frustration, sometimes at the same moment.  Ministry is tough.  There is a battle going on for the souls of man and when we jump in to be a minister of the Gospel, well you know the devil is not going to just stand by and watch.  I find myself wrestling with the Church — what is it and why don’t we look like it?  I find myself looking at my own sinful heart and the hearts of those around me who claim to be followers of Jesus and I wonder — really?  Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to set myself up as some spiritual giant, I just wonder if when Jesus said “they will know you are my disciples by your love” what exactly He had in mind.  It is true I see people loving each other — at times.  It is true that some of the most amazing examples of this I have seen in the lives of some of our missionaries who have gone to difficult places because they love the people there.  Is that what it looks like?  What if the church really loved like Jesus?

In the past three months I have seen some really difficult things in our community.  I have seen people die suddenly, people attempt suicide, people drink themselves to sleep at night, and others just trying to figure out what it takes to make it through one more day.  Where is the church in all of this?  Is the Church standing on the corner shouting at the world saying “you must change and be like us” or do we really have the love of Christ in our hearts overflowing to our communities.  I believe that the Church is in each community for a reason and must actually engage in the mission there.  I also am constantly challenging those around me to look at this community and consider how we as the Church might make this community a better place.  It seems to me that when we start loving people where they are, then maybe they will want to hear what we have to say.  The walls need to come down and we need to go to the world.

Recently I was at Council for the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  During that time we sang a song many different times.  So often I found myself unable to sing it because I was so moved by what it was declaring and in such agreement with the prayer for the work of Christ’s Church worldwide.   The line was this:

“There is no power in hell or any who can stand.  Before the power and the presence of the Great I AM.”

That image comes from an interaction God had with Moses.  Moses wanted to know who would authenticate his message and God said “tell them I Am sent you.”  That is so simple and so powerful.  We don’t need any fancy methods, techniques, mission statements with clever words — we need the power of the living God.  The gates of hell will not prevail.

The same is true when in our own personal lives we can’t seem to breathe.  Who is it that has given me breath?  Who is it that I submit my life to?  The Great I Am.  And I know I long to see the Church be the Church again as a living testimony of the power of the Great I Am.   That means you and that means me.

Here is the song — Maybe it will minister to you like it has to me

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5 comments

  1. People are really hurting and I’m not surprised that it’s been impacting your ministry. It’s also nice to hear from you!

    I don’t have any easy or simple answers. Keep looking to God is a great one to say, but much harder to actually execute especially when the pain is so bad. But it helps to get through each day when you just look for the next thing and the next thing after that. That might be what some people you advise need to hear – just one step at a time, looking for God’s provision.

    Nancy

    1. One step at a time is great advice. I think that most of us have a hard time with that because our minds like to run all of the “what ifs” The pain is real and all around us. But that is where we can make a difference too. I start at a new church this coming Sunday and am looking forward to what that brings.

  2. Congratulations on the new job! And thanks for dropping me a note to let me know. Are you staying near Green Bay or moving again? Last winter was pretty brutal, but it’s hard giving up on living near home. It can be so pretty there.

    All is well here. I was laid off shortly before Thanksgiving, decided in May to retire and pursue my writing instead, and now have a contract job that could lead to permanent part-time. God is blessing us, one step at at time. In fact, we’re walking in a time of unprecedented blessing right now (my husband and I), which is really nice but very weird after all these years of waiting on God and being told not yet.

    My prayer for you is in Deuteronomy 28:12 & 13 that God would bless you richly for your obedience to him.

    Nancy

    1. I can’t believe I didn’t respond to you on this. We actually are living in Minnesota now and are planning on being here for a while now. — I hope you are enjoying retirement. It would seem that the changes, as hard as they can be at first, really do bring blessings for us. It sounds like that is what you are experiencing.

      I do also have some blogging to do now. The last couple years was really tough for us on a number of levels. But it seems like life is getting back to a more “normal” pace again.

      1. No problem, Derek. I certainly understand being busy and overwhelmed! I ended up un-retiring after all. I got an offer I couldn’t refuse, but thankfully I’m set enough financially I don’t have to work full-time anymore. So on Monday, my position goes to a permanent part-time, which for my field is 30 hours a week (very part-time for me). It matches my energy level much better and gives me time for some extras.

        Congrats on your new job! Minnesota is a great state, even with the winters.

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