Category: Disciples Journey

How Your Life Is Like The Super Bowl

How Your Life Is Like The Super Bowl

supwerbowl-50Super Bowl Sunday.  It’s a national holiday, of sorts.  Two teams, having battled for months to conquer other foes, now stand at the last epic battle that for many will be marked with pain, adrenaline, defeat and victory. 

I’m always impressed at the teams that make it to the big game.  This year, one seems to outweigh the other — not in pounds but in talent.  Yet one seems to have a deeper desire for the win and one appears more ready than the other.  Each team trains all year just for this moment.  One will win.  The other will be defeated (I leave you to sort out which team is which). 

I liken the Super Bowl to battles everyone face.  Battles of forging happiness.  Battles of seeking life-clarity and battles of just getting through another day.  It is in these battles that strength is built.  It is in these battles that character is chiseled.  It is in these battles that — while mostly unseen — God shows up and leads people to victory.

You need to prepare for these battles, though.  In my book ‘Refined‘, I wrote about a message I heard in which the pastor said when you’re in the battle, its too late to prepare for it.  That’s why God shows up — to lead you in the daily training which can ultimately lead you from defeat to victory.

I’ve seen seemingly hopeless marriages redirect and end up stronger than before.  I’ve seen poor health bring people to the edge of eternity, only to have a complete healing at the last minute.  I’ve seen people with little abilities become successful in all they do.  God shows up and does extra ordinary things.

This weekend might be one of those.  The underdog might vanquish the top barker.  Or an unknown player might become this years shining star.  Who knows?  I’m just happy to watch excellence play out on the field of my favorite sport. 

Peace!

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5 Feelings Your Pastor Feels Every Week

5 Feelings Your Pastor Feels Every Week

feelingpastor.001I’ve been a pastor for many years.  I’ve been able to serve wonderful congregations and ministries and have had the privilege of being part of a team to plant a fantastic church in a Phoenix suburb.

Every year of my shepherding journey, this awkward month rolls around called ‘October’ which has been deemed “Pastor Appreciation Month.”  Mostly, I shuffle my ego during this month as it reminds me of how incapable I am in this role.  I know I’m not alone as most of us clergy-folk would rather put our proverbial noses to the ministry grindstone and do what it takes to reach people for Jesus than to receive accolades for that which we feel woefully incapable of doing. 

As I reflect on this calling, I thought it helpful to rehearse 5 feelings with which your pastor may juggle in any given week of serving this beautifully messy thing called, ‘The Church’.  Please know that I don’t pretend to be the voice of the pastorate, but hopefully you’ll find this non-exhaustive list helpful.  

  • JOY/HAPPINESS. I know that’s two and there’s a difference but I’m sewing them together for this.  When we hear that in some small way, God used our words, our presence or our smile to make someone love Jesus more, it joyfully reaffirms and reawakens our reason for doing what we do.  That makes us happy. 
  • FEAR.  Having God whisper a new or augmented vision for the church we serve, most of us try to write it off as the effects of last nights tainted shellfish that wasn’t fully cooked.  Yet, when God doesn’t let us off the hook and the new idea is confirmed by a few others in the church, fear begins his assault.
  • FRUSTRATION. Dive deep into the heart of your Pastor and most of you will find a heart that loves Jesus and wants others to know Him as well.  Sometimes we want to push our timelines and not His. Sometimes we don’t understand why you don’t see what’s in our heads.  Sometimes we expect you in the pew to change based on one sermon or letter blast that 3% of you read.  We get frustrated.  We sometimes get numb and sometimes we may do things out of this feeling that we wish we could take back.
  • INSECURITY.  We are trained in theology, church history and Law-Gospel preaching.  Some of us have specific and enduring training in counseling, care ministry or outreach.  Rarely are we trained in how lead an organization with budgets, staff and programs.  We shoot from the hip and hope we don’t blowup anything important.  Many times a week, we feel more like imposters than pastors.  God help us.
  • OVERWHELMED.  The job is never done and yes, we do work more than 2 hours on Sunday.  Because most of us love what we do, we make ourselves available sometimes to the detriment of our families, other times to the detriment of other work.  It piles up and sometimes it ‘hits the fan’ and retreat is our only perceived option.

Okay, I’ll add one more:

  • HONORED.  The role of pastor is a serving role.  It is a role that helps steward the mysteries of God’s spiritual realm called the ‘Kingdom’.  In the quiet of our souls, we know what a huge risk God took when he called us into church-work.  We know our sin and pray you don’t.  We feel immersed in the knowledge of our incapability as it applies to the perceived pastor-role.  ‘Honored’ seems to be a white-washed word when it describes being able to serve the God of the universe by serving you.

We love you, Church, and most of us do our best.  While the above list seems to be negatively weighted, the joy we find in the small moments of our day far outshines the duties of the office.  I hope I speak for all of us when I say that it is a privilege to serve along side of you to help create environments through which the Holy Spirit can change lives. 

Peace!

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[Pastors:  Here’s a free little resource that may help.  “5 Ways To Balance Your Life.”]


“For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10