Monthly Archives: April 2009

Humbled by God’s Provision

So, I’m the pastor of a pretty small church in Western Maryland.  We generally have 30-40 people on a Sunday morning.  We have people from every walk of life and the church takes great care of me and my family.  I wouldn’t trade this group of people for anything.

So, I’ve been looking to take a vacation this summer.  I’ve always wanted to take my wife and little girl on a vacation.  But my wife and I do not have much money so, we are looking to stretch the dollars as far as possible.  I found a potential bungalow on the beach in North Carolina–not very expensive and for an entire week!  So…upon further investigation, I find out that the only available week is the last week of June–the same week as The Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.  Bummer!

Today, my wife and I took a care package to a family in our church.  They are a simple family and they do not have much–in the way of money or possessions.  Also, there are some health issues in this family and some disability.  Our church provides a monthly care package of food and the church is happy to do so.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks:  This family will probably never take a vacation.  They will probably never know what it is like to escape their situation–even for a few days.

I feel like an idiot.

Like so much of the world, I am lamenting what I don’t have and feel I deserve rather than thanking God for what He has given me–nothing of which I deserve.

No, I am an idiot.

I’m reminded of the saying: I was once upset that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.

May God forgive my preoccupation with myself and may He forgive my cold, cold heart.

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Of Pronouns and Pastors

I once heard a story about a Minister of Music’s “run in” with a Pastor: The Minister of Music was trying to explain to the members of the music ministry that music wasn’t to be done with him, the church, or the pastor in mind. Rather, music was to be done with God in mind. God was our “audience” and the church was His, not our own.

For his exhortations, the Minister of Music was called into the Pastor’s office only to be told by the Pastor: Never forget, this is my church.

Needless to say this kind of sentiment sends cold chills down my back. Where did we get the notion that it is our church?

Pastors have an inherent problem with power.  Most people look at the pastor as “the boss” and they seem, at times, to put their faith in him.  So, even though the pastor is the recipient of many accolades, as unwarranted as many of them may be, he is not to be the object of anyone’s faith!  Sadly, many pastors forget that the people of any particular church are under our care, not our ownership.

Well-meaning pastors have taken to referring to the church they pastor as “my church.”  As with most things, the heart-intent of the pronoun my determines the true meaning and it determines the intent of the pastor’s heart.

IF you say “my church” and are truly referring to the church to which you belong, your heart may be in the right place (although it is not guaranteed).

IF you say “my church” and are truly referring to the church for which you will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment, your heart may be in the right place (but, again, no guarantees).

However, IF you say “my church” and are referring, even unintentionally, to the church which you own, you might be in deep trouble.

We must all try to protect ourselves and our pastors against this false and condemning mistake.  And if you see that I’ve forgotten to practice what I am preaching here, please remind me!  May God grant us His grace to keep this in its proper perspective.

The simple truth of the matter is this: Pastor’s do not “own” churches and, unfortunately, way too many pastors act like they do.  Pastor’s are simply shepherds of the Master’s flock.  We are stewards of the Master’s property.  And, unless you stretched out your arms on a Roman cross and spilled your blood (which you can’t even qualify to do), you simply cannot call it “my” church.

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