The Whispers & Roars of a Pastor

“A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.”

~ Proverbs 19:12

Pastors, as leaders our words, our expressions, and the tones with which we communicate, they are felt by those whom we serve with extra sensitivity.

A rebuke softly spoken is still felt and heard as “the roar of a lion,” and a compliment spoken in passing is experienced like a beautiful morning sunrise that is filled with the aroma of the dew on the grass.

As leaders, we must wield our words with absolute caution, as they are our scalpels for surgery, and not axes for the beheadings of the people around us.

Our passion may fuel our emotions to the point of wanting to “with righteous indignation” drop a 500 pound smart-bomb on a person or group, but the above Proverb reminds us of the power we as leaders have to kill… or to refresh.

Pastor, what is a 10% output to you is felt as a 90% force for good or evil by the people with whom we communicate.

Let us walk gently [among the people whom we serve] unto life and godliness.

See you at the altar of Pastoral character development.

Maturing Faith, Goodness of God, and Tribulation

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

~ John 16:33

A maturing, genuine faith is one that begins to see the goodness of God in the midst of very difficult trials (“tribulations”) in life.  Yes, Jesus said that He has given us His peace, but His peace is not based upon our circumstances.  In fact, He wants us to learn that His peace goes beyond our circumstances… He said that He has already overcome them.

So why do we go through tough times?  It is simple, actually.  It is to test the genuineness of our faith, and to mature our faith from a seedling to a full grown tree of life in Christ. (See James 1 for further study).

The word “tribulation” in this passage translates as “compressing a material that is free and unshackled or unfettered.  In Christ we have been set free, yet in our freedom we will encounter seasons (and sometimes a life-long season) of compressing experiences.  But, don’t be dismayed.  These things will not destroy you or your faith.  Just don’t give up, my friend.

So you think your trials are bigger than others?  You think you are being Divinely paid-back for your sins?  No, you are being blessed.  Yes, BLESSED!  Your faith is being challenged and built and nurtured to a greater degree than many others.  Your tribulations experienced in this world are tribulations of this world, but Christ in His incredible love and wisdom is using this world’s tribulations (which He has already demonstrated His victory over) to build you into a conquering, faith-filled, God-loving, warrior-child of God.

Jesus teaches us that we should pick up our cross and follow Him.  I encourage you to be courageous and to fall in love with your cross, not for the pain it brings, but for the maturity it is bringing into your life. (See my article on Picking up Your Cross here).

See you at the altar of prayer in the Presence of Christ, my friend, and my fellow “tribulation-er”.

Happy New Year… er… Valentines Day

The transition from the year 2012 to 2013 is a blur in my memory. Perhaps this is a taste of what some NFL football players experience when they have their bell rung, when an opponent tackles (or should I say, “hits”) them helmet-to-helmet leaving behind a concussion and a blank spot in their memory banks.

In my case, however, I wasn’t tackled per se. Instead I was “hit” pretty hard with a season of extreme pain and fatigue from the health condition that I battle chronically, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (FM/CFS). My wife, Teresa, and I jokingly call it being “hit by a Mack truck.” And when it’s really bad we refer to the truck hitting me and then going around the block and doing another hit and run.

When I go through these particularly rough seasons the extreme symptoms usually last several days, but this last round of “hit and runs” continued from mid-December through the first week of February.

Being bed-ridden/couch-ridden about 90% of the time during those 8-9 weeks meant that I missed out on almost all of the seasonal activities.

The first and the biggest celebration missed was our 25th Wedding Anniversary! We still have not been able to properly celebrate with a fancy dinner downtown Portland, not only due to my dilemma, but my wife also ended up at the Emergency Room at 4:30 on a Sunday morning with extreme pain. About 8 hours later she was in surgery to remove her gallbladder. By 7:30 that same evening we both returned home.

Anyway, my intent for writing this journal entry is not to give a chronological depiction of these 8-9 weeks. I did though need to throw that in about my lovely wife.

I love to write, but my writing has been at a zero level of production. My creativity is active, my study of the Scripture is active, my heart is full of messages… but writing is near to impossible when I am in both extreme pain and fatigue.

This new year of 2013 has brought with it some great excitement. Though I was not looking for one, the Lord has revealed to me a theme and a journey that He will lead me in as this year progresses. While I will not articulate it here (and maybe not ever, but we will see) I am overwhelmed by His love!

Naturally, when The Lord leads us in a journey, we will complete the journey with Him only if we follow Him every step of the way, every day of the year. I am enjoying the journey so much because it is a journey which I can travel with Him even while I am bed-ridden and couch-ridden. My body may be sick, and my memory is fuzzy about a lot of things, but… I don’t seem to be fuzzy about His leading and His teaching through the Holy Spirit and His Word, the Scriptures. I am writing down short notations as I go through each day, but thankfully my memory regarding His theme and journey for my life through this year of 2013 is functioning very well.

Now if only I could remember to do those very small projects on the Honey-Do List that only take 5 minutes to complete, once a day; things that are doable in my current physical condition, but apparently aren’t being accomplished due to my memory challenge of these past 8-9 weeks.

Now, where was I… ?

Oh yeah, anyway, I pray that your new year will be a fantastic journey with your Heavenly Father, Jehovah Abba (lit. “Daddy-God”); with your Savior, Jesus Christ; and with your Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

See you at the altar of prayer.