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church, faith

the Church, blog post #. . . [take a breath..]

Yeah, take a breath.  Let’s take a break from this intense thread… kind of. 

The scary thing is, this blog thread could go on and on and on and on…. exactly what I DON’T want it to do.  I just want to raise some questions and get to the bottom of things — what’s really important?  what really matters?  Getting there (for real) requires getting beyond some of our pre-conceived notions, prejudices, and our “well, if we just did this . . . “-type of trite, know-it-all-I’m-right-and-the-system-is-wrong answers.  (Forgive me if that sounds judgmental.  I don’t think any of your are operating in that kind of spirit, but it is easy (for me) to get in that mode.) 

The truth is, I’m not truly convinced that any of us truly has THE right answer.  I think it’s God’s pleasure for us to find His mind TOGETHER — yeah, that whole unity thing.  It keeps us humbling ourselves and “considering others better than yourself”, it keeps us remembering that “I’m not an island” and that the Good Shepherd speaks to ALL of His sheep, not just the lucky few.  And, I’m not trying to start an endless discussion of opinions with no resolution in sight.  I hate that kind of thing.  What I believe is that as we truly wrestle with these ideas, bite off a question and chew on it for a while, digest and put on the table what surfaces in our hearts… that together, we might actually find some nuggets of truth.  I think we learn a lot, in the struggle.  I think we grow in the discomfort of the unanswered questions.    So, we don’t stop life until we get it all figured out, we keep going with what we know… until we find the better way… the more excellent way, if you will.  This is why (though it seems like it would be easier) I’m not a fan of the “trash it all and start over” kind of mindset. 

Most of us are trying to do something… and I say, keep going!  Adjust as you go.  Take come chances.  Be free to fail.  Even if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be “working” (I feel that way, for sure), don’t give up!  God loves faithfulness and He WILL honor it.

We’re not done with this discussion.

Let’s see.. question for this time:

1.   Is your personal ministry (EVERYONE has a ministry!) “working” the way you want?  Why/why not?

I dare you to answer that question honestly, and not wait for someone else, or sit back thinking you don’t need to deal with the issue. 🙂 

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About Jessie

Lover of God. Husband. Dad. Director of the Furnace at Michigan State University.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “the Church, blog post #. . . [take a breath..]

  1. I really like the idea of being reminded that no one has the REAL right answer. Searching for something always becomes more evident when more than one mind is put to the task. I realize that and thank God for the fact He wants to speak to every one of us no matter what. (and there are no exceptions) It shows me I am His precious child and there is no neglect in His plan for the world. The thing is I wish I could be thinking that throughout my hard days. How do I see that when I’m upset wondering what I am going to do about family problems and schoolwork blocking me for those realizations I need most? That leads me to the thought of stupidity in my head. Duh, spend time with your Creator and just do what you are trying to do for Him.

    “Most of us are trying to do something… and I say, keep going! Adjust as you go. Take come chances. Be free to fail. Even if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be “working” (I feel that way, for sure), don’t give up! God loves faithfulness and He WILL honor it…..”

    This was very encouraging… I thought I knew what I was doing and what I might want to do later. Now its hard to know if anything is right , wrong or if its God as opposed to my feelings desiring what im wanting to do. My personal ministry was my school. I also went on a missions trip to Haiti and loved it. Now that the year is almost over and being class Director of ministries, I have become depressed since at my “Christian School” there is no ministry to direct. I now wonder if it was me that should have started something, or if I would even be willing to. My missions trip was great, I LOVE serving God over seas…. I just know that isn’t what I will be doing my whole life. I am always open to what God wants me to do, or am I? I have been so frustrated with searching for my goals and desires. I don’t have any plans now because I feel as if I am in the middle of some huge invisible ministry I cant see. I don’t want to leave but if I should… where do I go? I feel I have lost part of my spark for serving God. Its been a year now and I have been resting in the Lord trying to figure out what road I should take next.

    Here is my analogy …..
    It feels like I have been driving on a long dirt path through the country side… Its BEAUTIFUL, but hard to overcome the hills with rolling winds trying to blow me off. Soon I come to a city. Many roads and lights.
    Choices and decisions all placed into my responsibility. I come into the city leaving the hilly country wondering why I thought that was so hard because now I look back….. and it was wonderful back there.
    I learned so much and have matured enough to enter the city. But I have come to an intersection .I have been obedient to the red light in front of me. But the signs are getting old and I cant tell if the light has turned green yet. I want to figure this out so i squint my eyes blocking everything out to focus on the light. Nothing can block the noises from the outside. If its green I want to press on along with all of the other cars moving beside me and I don’t want to get left behind. The thing is, if it is green, I wouldn’t know which way to turn anyway. If its red I would get upset and think something is wrong, blame myself or worse blame God. SO the game plan for me… is to make a decision and go for it or wait at the red light and watch. Listen for God’s voice. Sometimes its hard to hear anything when you enter a city like that.

    My ministry feels to me like it has become a waste and fallen apart due to my carelessness and impatiens. I also feel like God has something waiting for me around the corner. (which also can sound dumb to me because I know God has a plan for everyone
    and mine seems “not so special” anymore) There is so much life ahead of me and I seem to be anticipating the future while I am not soaking in the present. I also feel like I am still in the stage of feeling mature enough to move on but too immature to be thinking this way. I’m guessing God likes it that I am trying hard to be what He wants…. I might just be thinking too hard to notice the simplicity of it all.

    Posted by Rachel | April 4, 2008, 11:51 pm
  2. 1. Is your personal ministry (EVERYONE has a ministry!) “working” the way you want? Why/why not?

    wow what a question. I have to wonder if really is ever the way “I” want it. Even when I walk the best I can, the flesh is never satisfied, even when it comes to my relationship with God. I know I want to be in a place where I know that I know that I know that I know I can do nothing without God and when He speaks I hear and obey.

    I have had times in the past that I can really relate to Rachel with the drive and for me to find out that the light was not red or green but blinking yellow. I found that in my drive (walk), i need to slow down at the intersections and look around, evaluate where I’m at and if the timing is right to go through. am I prepared to to keep going, do I have enough gas(built up in the Holy Spirit) ect.

    Also Jessie, as a youth pastor i sometimes look at the youth and see that there is so much more for them out there. I think they just need to not be afraid of what color the light is and take a spiritual road trip. Let the Holy spirit be the navigator.

    these are just some thoughts in motion.

    Posted by Steven | April 7, 2008, 10:29 am
  3. no way. At least mostly not. I’m one of the pastors in a medium sized church and I felt brought here to be a catalyst for a “culture change.” I saw a people who needed to learn how to “push back” american, suburban-induced apathy and who needed to be pushed on toward the “missional life”… seeing themselves as SENT into the world just as Christ was SENT.

    I see little things changing, but most of the time I feel like I’m failing to do enough. I’m still plugging away hoping to get through somehow.

    You asked “why not” I tend to think it’s because I’m not strong enough as a leader, or I blame other leaders here… really it’s robably due to my lack of concentrated, focused prayer for the situation.

    My “personal ministry” is actually going better. There are a few people that I’ve been investing in who are taking positive faith steps. That’s awesome and I”m grateful. The agony comes from knowing I could impact those lives like that doing ANY job on earth… so I feel like I’m squandering what God has given me in my role as pastor.

    But this prayer thing keeps coming up so maybe I should listen… especially b/c I’m Lutheran and we don’t typically pray for longer than 5 minutes 🙂

    Posted by dion | April 8, 2008, 2:37 pm
  4. hey guys! THANKS for the comments :).

    @Rachel- thanks for sharing your heart. you are awesome! let me tell you what I always tell people (and should tell myself more often): If you move in faith, and a sincere heart, I believe God will honor it, even if you’re not “right on”. It’s the heart that matters. If you’re saying, “God, I want You and what You want”, you can’t go wrong, even if you do… does that make sense?

    @Steve- I like the point about making sure you have gas in the tank — Holy Spirit! We need Him, FOR SURE!

    @Dion- ahhh. Prayer. Yes. This is key. I will hopefully post more about this soon. and, your Lutheran joke made me giggle.

    Posted by Jessie | April 10, 2008, 1:43 pm
  5. I would say that I have never thought that much about whether MY ministry is working. I really just think about whether I am communicating in a non-adversarial way or representing what is on the Lord’s heart as I hear it. Therefore prayer is incredibly important to me. Much more than it ever has been. However, I view prayer much differently than I used to. Not only asking but listening, watching, reading, declaring, asking, all together. This kind of helps me get a grip in the spirit.

    Wow, did that even make sense?

    Sometimes I am discouraged by what I see and sense. Yet the Lord seems to point me back to “Unless the Lord builds the house, he who labors, labors in vain” That’s when I realize I can only affect so much and He will have to do the rest. But I must be sensitive to do that which He shows me to do.

    Posted by Bruce | April 15, 2008, 10:38 pm

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