Monday, February 23, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
One of Dave Ramsey's principals in the Financial Peace University is to attack debt. The idea is to modify your spending habits and concentrate your focus on paying down debt. He suggests getting in attack mode, have yard sales, sell your stuff or pick up another job or two to pay off as much as possible. So I've been thinking about that approach for "attacking" our debt. There is a new Myers store opening up here in town. I thought, "Hey, maybe I could nab a third shift job stocking shelves." I have been thinking about getting my resume together and what that would look like. I worked at Marsh supermarket a million years ago. I started off as a carry out, worked my way into the produce department and from there into the dairy department. I ended my career at Marsh as being the only male cashier at that time. It was a fun place to work. I bring all that up to say this. We don't have carry outs any longer at the grocery stores. It's just one more step away from customer service. We have "baggers" (you know guys that stick too many groceries in those plastic sacks). There is no longer a need for the skill of bagging a nice square paper bag. So not to overload it causing the sides to rip out. Start with the heavy stuff on bottom and end with bread/eggs on top...skilled bagging. I think in this age of economic depression someone could make a killin' with a business that offered top of the line customer service.
Here is a thought; what if in the church we thought of others before we thought of ourselves? Would we be more attractive if we offered a little Christian customer service? What would that look like? I've got some ideas...do you?
Grannys off in New York planning her wedding. I think she went up and got her marriage license. It has been a good practice session for the kids for when she moves away. It's kinda quite around house and they have adjusted well???
Jess got her drivers permit and we've been out driving. Hard to believe that time of life has snuck up on us.
We just finish revamping Wesley's room. It looks really cool. I'm sure you'll be seeing a post on that process soon. Here's a head up, we painted one wall camo. It looks amazing.
Anna is amazing and beautiful as ever. She is doing great in school.
Joesph has found Wesley's old pile of Pokemon videos and has been glued to them. It has been a fun trip down memory lane for me. I've brushed up again on my Pokemon lingo. It even makes me want to bust out the old Pokemon yellow and play some Gameboy.
In board meeting we talked about adding a second service that would start this summer. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out. Maybe I'll get more opportunities to preach? If you haven't heard we have a newer church van, Jaye has been blessed not having to drive around "big brown" on Wednesday nights. We have a big paintball trip planned for Presidents Day. I'm sure you'll hear more about that too soon.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Along time ago Jaye’s first youth pastor at Eastview Wesleyan in Gas City was a guy named Mark Wilson. He is now a pastor in Wisconsin in a growing church. I’ve met Mark a few times and have gotten to know him better through his blog. I read an interesting blog entry the other day about church fractures. Check it out here. I am always amazed and sometimes heartbroken by the way “church” people act. As I read this entry and the comments that followed I was saddened. I was so moved that I went to my office and grabbed a book off my shelf. It will be a reread for me. A book called Well-Intentioned Dragons, Ministering to Problem People in the Church by Marshall Shelley. The back of the book says this,
Every church has them-sincere, well-meaning Christians who leave ulcers, strained relationships, and hard feelings in their wake. They don’t intend to be difficult; they don’t consciously plot destruction or breed discontent among the members. But they often do undermine the ministry of the church and make pastors question their calling.
The dragons Mark mentions are those folks determined to protest their pastors from the “use of new music and new methods to reach a new generation.” Yep, the old hymns vs chorus fight. I don’t want so much to debate the issue of what type of music a church should offer. I’d rather talk about the effect that kind of stuff has on a pastor. I don’t know if lay people understand what a pastor does. Way back, when I worked at the “stone quarry”, I would clock in, work, clock out and go home. That was it, for 10-12 hours my job was to keep the plant running. If I did that, it was a good day. Once I clocked out, I didn’t care if that place exploded, caught fire, was sucked into a black hole or destroyed by a ray gun from outer space. But for those 10 hours they had my undivided attention. It doesn’t work that way in the church. A pastor is always working. Really, always. He is on call, all the time. He is thinking about the next sermon to preach, the next lesson to teach, the new Sunday School class to start, the people that haven’t been at church in two weeks, the rising cost of heating the building, how to better reach the lost, how to inspire the regulars to do something besides warm a pew, what they are going to do for Good Friday, Easter, Christmas, spring kick off, summer, fall, winter….how to get more people to invite their friends/loved ones….the list is endless. Really it is, because just as soon as Easter is here, planned for and enjoyed, next Sunday is just one week away, followed by the next one, and the next one. Now the business world says, “Yep, that’s life. Better time management skills will take care of all that.” True, but do they factor in the burden for the lost? The pain shared with a family that has lost a loved one? How about the joy that comes with a new baby? See, the pastor deals with the people. Most are a blessing but some are “Dragons.” Why does it hurt the pastor so much when they get that person that starts the conversation off with, “I believe in what you’re doing BUT….” I think that it’s because they give and give so much that when in a normal day, to a normal person, a little jab from a “brother” wouldn't hurt. It hurts the pastor because they don’t have much in the tank.
There is a great deal of sacrifice that comes with pastoring. Time away from: their family, their interests and their lives. I also believe that there is a great deal of joy that comes too. I just want to put this out there. If you’re getting ready to make that call to say, “I believe in what you’re doing BUT...” hold off doing it because there are 16 more people lined up ahead of you wanting to do the same thing. My advice, pray about and do your part to further the cause of Christ. Please don’t be a well intended dragon.