Good morning dear Facebook family fellowship. Checked your schedule yet? Why is it the first thing we do is to check our Facebook or emails? I guess inquiring minds want to know. In the ministry God has assigned me, it is evident that our pastor/shepherds have their plates stacked full of responsibilities. It is like the circus guy spinning all the plates and he has to keep them all spinning at the same time. It is an endless and tiring effort. I hear a lot of folks say, “alter I retired it seems like my days are busier now than ever before. How did I ever find time to get this done while I was still working?”
Have you watched any of the XFL games (when we had the games)? This new football league has made some changes in how the game is played. People are mic'd. They do interviews with the players after each big play. When there is a call to be made, the refs in the press box are shown as they discuss the decision of the correct call and where the ball is to be placed. We are privy to the coach calling the plays so we (if we understood the play book) know exactly what the plays are. The coaches are in the press box getting a clearer perspective on the game.
I have had my time in the battles. All I see is the guys in front of me. I am in the middle of the war and my perspective is clouded. Or maybe you find yourself in the forest, confused, concerned about the correct path to take. After all, have you not noticed that all trees look the same when you're standing beneath them?
Our ministry life is like that as well. We are in the trenches every day, battling our enemy. We have to keep fighting, we have to keep going, no matter how tiring it is, the work has to get done. We must win at all costs. And sadly, sometimes winning is at all costs. I have discovered that I need planning and prioritizing in my life. I must not get the order of my life out of whack. If I do, then at the end of the day I am exhausted and there are more things left undone than accomplished.
I have found that for me to be effective in any sort of way, I need to look at my life from the press box. I need to get a glimpse of the big picture. I was taught this by our LORD once when I was running on fumes and considering throwing in the towel. It was an October Monday years ago. I knew I needed some time away to be with the LORD for clarification on my life. I was tired and worn to a frazzle. God showed me that my time with Him was the most important time in my life. I was called and commissioned by Him for HIS ministry not my own. My time with Him would improve my time with my family and my time with the church family. God took me to the press box to let me get a better perspective on how He wanted the ministry to be done.
So dear friends, to get a better perspective on life, maybe you need to take a time (guilt free) to just climb up into the press box of ministry and see it from God’s perspective. He has called you and He will guide you each step of the way. Be blessed as you are being a blessing.
Good morning you work in progress. And isn’t it great that God is not through with us, Yet! This morning I was reading a devotional thought that Max Lucado, put in his book “The Anvil” before 1985 and thinking of what is going on in and around us today. It is a story of the life of a blacksmith at work. Taking a piece of rustic iron, placing it in a hot fire, and then putting in on the anvil, he begins to imagine what it will be when the master finishes. He has a clear picture in mind and he begins to pound. The master knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size, the shape, the strength. He begins to work on it. He is taking the old and making something new. And with time, change occurs. What was dull becomes sharper; what was crooked becomes straighter; what was weak becomes strong; and what was useless becomes valuable. After the pounding and examining, the master takes the hot iron and puts it in a vat of cold water. Through the hissing and the steam, the new tool is now useful again.
As we think of how we are doing church these days, I think we are going to be forced to make adjustments, and that is probably a good thing. We have been forced to abandon our meeting together. That is just what the devil has wanted all along. He knows that we draw strength from our time of fellowshipping together in a collective body. It is there we draw strength and encouragement from our fellow believers. It is there we are shaped through our worship. It is there we are encouraged to take the Gospel outside the walls of the building and into the hearts of the lost and lonely. As Joseph told his brothers, “What you meant for bad, God meant for good.” With the new normal, we are now being forced to do church differently. Like the blacksmith taking the old iron and now making it into something new, we, as a congregation, are being forged to become a different, useful instrument for the Kingdom of God.
It is my prayer that we too will become sharper, straighter, stronger, and more useful as we keep our eyes on Christ Jesus and come through this time together. And we must remember, before the world was created, God knew the event, time, and effect the coronavirus was going to have on the ministry of His church. Proverbs is a verse that is challenging us to walk in His light. “Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:5-6). You are a blessing today, even when you have to stay indoors.
Good morning dear fellowship. Hope you are keeping your distance of at least 6 feet this morning. But this distance thing doesn’t apply to you and your closeness to our LORD Jesus. He wants you to draw close to Him as He draws close to you.
I have never attended a “Black Tie” event so I can only speak to what I have heard (gossip) you might say. From the way I understand it, you receive an invitation and are asked to reply (RSVP). When you arrive, you wait at the entrance and someone announces, "Dr. and Mrs. Lowell Warren." After your name is called, one of the staff escorts you to your seat and assists you in taking your place. I don’t think we ever had any of those kind of “suppers” in Arkansas. I guess it was because this country boy would be so totally out of place amongst these folks.
I spoke with one of our pastors this week and he said that he usually doesn’t get into much conversation with certain pastors because he doesn’t speak very well in theological conversation. He told me that he just tries to talk to folks on his level and that seems to be working for him. Like me, he would feel so out of place if invited to those special events. In my studying this week, I was pleasantly reminded that as a pastor/shepherd, we are to be more into people than programs. We can have all the programs in the world but as Christ Jesus taught me, it is all about the people and not the palace. So Christ Jesus says we need to go out in the highway and byways and invite folks to the King’s feast. Have you gotten your invitation?
Psalms 15 from the Message says,
“God, who gets invited to dinner at Your place?
How do we get on Your guest list?”
“Walk straight, act right, tell the truth.”
“Don’t hurt your friends,
Don’t blame your neighbors,
Despise the despicable.”
“Keep your word even when it costs you.
Make an honest living,
Never take a bribe.”
“You’ll never get blacklisted if you life like this.”
Now I might not be invited to the “Black Tie Events” but I have been invited to surrender to God and serve Him as my act of worship. The greatest invitation I have ever received was the one Christ Jesus gave me to become a born-again child of God. I made His guest list and that is what counts. Be a blessing to others today. God will be pleased.
Good morning friends. Growing up as the oldest child I got the reputation of being the favorite child. I can’t remember pursuing this position, but I guess because I was there a couple of years before the others, this gave me the advantage. Even though I didn’t persuade my dad to do this I kinda enjoyed that favoritism. My brother lived under my shadow, you might say.
As a parent now I can see the challenges my parents and siblings had. I love both my sons equally. They have different personalities and excel in different areas. I make it a point that what I do for one I do for the other.
Reading from Luke 15 this morning about a dad who was accused of showing favoritism and of how each of his two boys responded to their dad was good food for thought. There was sibling rivalry. It was so strong that the older didn’t want anything to do with “your other son.” This older brother had it all but he didn’t have the spotlight. So he was willing to sever all ties with his brother.
God doesn’t show favoritism. Each one of us is uniquely formed and designed the way God desires. We need to relax and rest in the arms of our Heavenly Father. We need not compare ourselves with others or what others have. If we do, we are living under the shadows of someone else and that can lead us to consider ourselves the “black sheep of the family.” If you find yourself thinking like that, God tells us that He will wash us with His blood and make us white as snow.
Keep up that praying with me. I sure could use it today. Be blessed.
Good morning to all you chosen vessels out there. Have you ever been chosen for some special event? And how did it make you feel? The one that sticks out in my mind is when I was a youngster in elementary school. Trust me, I was never chosen as the teacher’s pet. But I was chosen a couple a times to dust the chalkboard erasers. Do you remember what that was? You would collect all the erasers from the room and take them outside and beat them against the sidewalk to get all the chalk dust out of them. We were not allowed to beat them on the wall of our brick school house building. Dusting the erasers was the best of all things to be selected for as a kid growing up in the early fifties.
There have been other things that I have been chosen for that have also brought me great comfort--things like leading a conference of individuals who want to develop their ministry skills. It is not so much the opportunity to lead as it is the joy of seeing others whom the LORD has called and set aside for HIs ministry.
This morning I was up early writing about the expectations between a church and pastor and a pastor and a church. They are not the same. Troubles come when we have unrealistic expectations that are unmet--more on the our website for this coming real soon.
My call to ministry verse is found in 1 Timothy 1:12. It is what I base my life on. Listen to the verse, “I thank Christ Jesus our LORD who COUNTED ME FAITHFUL putting me into HIS MINISTRY.” I was chosen to serve our LORD. I wasn’t called to pastor, to preach, or cook in the kitchen at church. I was called (chosen by God) to serve Him in whatever area He chooses. Serving as a pastor/teacher is His assignment in His ministry. As I was writing and meditating on this calling, I began to praise our LORD for how He has assigned me to different aspects of His service. God counted me faithful - He knew my short-comings, my down falls, and how Satan would temp, trick, and treat me (Luke 22:31) and He still chose me to be a Servant of the LORD Jesus. I am so thankful that God had that much faith in me that He would trust me with His precious people and pastors. Sure I fail a lot but that doesn’t relinquish the call God has placed on my life. It is a lifetime call. There is no retirement plan offered for serving our risen Savior. Just think about this pastors, God has that much faith in you that He would allow you to serve one of His churches. That is a blessing.