Tag Archives: ministry
If you ponder who is the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi would be a contender for the title. Thanks to Messi, FC Barcelona are the team to beat, the standard-bearers of magic on the pitch, a distinction formerly held by nemesis Real Madrid.
But there would have been no Messi, and Barcelona would have remained always in the shadows of white uniforms of Spain’s capitol city, had it not been for a legend from the past. Johann Cruyff is almost forgotten in the radiance of today’s stars. But it was Cruyff who made the way for Messi.
Wanted at Real Madrid, the Dutch dazzler opted to move to then-underdog Barca. Immediately he won the championship and two Ballons d’Or. Later as coach, he won four consecutive titles and one European Cup. He devised the farm training team for future stars to rise in. It was there that Messi discovered his own greatness.
Today, Cruyff fades into the background as the steamroller Messi continues to smash records. Who is greater? The one who became great or the one who forged the path for him to find destiny.
Maybe your ministry is waning, your influence declining. Fret not. What you have done for God has brought others into their own destiny and greatness.
I get discouraged by my own circumstances.
But when I think about other rising disciples in the church, I rejoice to see God blessing and using them.
Lesson learned: think about others.
Jepthah was run off by his brothers. He was an illegitimate son. When he became a man, he carried out great exploits, vanquishing Israel. But he never healed his hurting heart, and in consequence rejected his daughter. His lack of family love led him to a wrong-headed idea of an unloving God. He made a stupid vow (to sacrifice whatever came first out of his house to greet him when he returned victorious from battle) and instead of repenting and recanting his vow, he stupidly carried it out. He killed his daughter.
The greatest danger of rejection is NOT how lousy we feel. It is that we will do the same to others. As the saying goes, hurting people hurt people.
Supposedly, the church is a refuge for hurting people. Instead, it turns into a lair of cruel critics. I don’t leave the church because there is no where better to go. After all, Christ left His church. Nothing else.
I wish to be different: loving, accepting, patient, comprehending, optimistic with people, seeing the positive and not the negative.
Don’t think I’m touchy-feeling. The naked truth is I have rejected too many people in my time. God, forgive!
I am determined to change. I am determined to praise my children instead of criticizing them. I am decided to see good in everybody, to be patient with problems, to love the unlovable. It is not easy. I must pray every day before the day begins because, if not, bile flows from this wicked mouth of mine.
True change is not a glib meme or a mantra. It takes work and, I believe, divine assistance.
A jigsaw puzzle piece decided he didn’t want to hang out with his brothers. He wanted to go off and discover his destiny elsewhere. Things were too rigid in the jigsaw puzzle. He wanted freedom. He knew that in the world he would make a huge splash and he didn’t need his fellow pieces.
And so, the beautiful picture had a glaring omission. Fellowship was broken, and God’s anointing, which flows where there is unity, was blocked. And the puzzle piece never was beautiful anywhere else.
God designed you for a purpose. You may have other dreams that can draw you away. You are most beautiful where God has placed you. Don’t drop out of church.
All over the blogosphere, and talking to people outside of church, I find people who have been hurt in the very place where they should’ve been helped.
Honestly, we look more like the Pharisees than Jesus, who ate with tax-collectors and stopped stone-throwing at prostitutes. Of course, the Bible points to a moral standard that must be upheld by the church, but many times it’s simply a pastor’s ego, a leader’s power trip, that offends.
If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea – Matt. 18:6 NIV.
I haven’t left the church. I wish and pray to see the church changed.
In the meantime, there are lots of starts and stops. I’ve thrown out the canvas a bunch of times. I’ve produced a long line of inferior works. Some of them have been good. But none of them is critically acclaimed.
Of course, I’m referring to whatever your calling may be, not just art. I myself am no artist. But I’ve compared my work serving the Lord to artistry. Am I satisfied success
with the works I’ve done to glorify Jesus? Not yet. I’ll keep working.
Don’t fret. Keep on in the right direction. Your last work will be your best and will make everybody forget the rest.
Making a masterpiece takes time.
First, an post-menopausal woman gets pregnant, even though her old husband doubts angel Gabriel’s announcement. Then an old prophet comes up to see the baby Jesus. Another elderly lady, a prayer warrior constantly in the temple, also coos over Jesus in Luke’s gospel.
The old guys ushered in the Age of Aquarius — I mean, of the marvelous Age of Grace. The old guys heralded it, waited for it, saw its dawning. God used the old guys.
They weren’t dumped in a retirement home. They weren’t mocked for old people habits. Maybe they talked incessantly of the “good old days.” Maybe the complained about new-fangled devices. Maybe they had their senior moments.
Regardless, God used them. And He wants to use you.
It’s fabulous that new generation of leaders rise in the church. But let’s not marginalize the older generation.
Oh, I forgot (!). In the interest of self-disclosure, I’m 47. And I don’t want to be excluded from whatever God is doing.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.
No, I’m not talking about divorce. I’m talking about salvation, or starting a new career, or starting your discipleship over completely.
It can be hard to humble yourself (myself) and take the role of inexperienced. Well, there’s nothing wrong with starting over.
I had been watering a bush in our school for a year. For reasons I ignore, it basically died. They pruned it down to the stem. Now it is sprouting. We had to start over.
As I looked at the plant, I wondered if there was a lesson for me.
In every thing by prayer and supplication … let your requests be made known unto God. — Phil 4:6 The synonym for prayer, translated here “supplication” and elsewhere “petition,” is strange for its redundancy.
In Greek it is δέησις (deēsis), which means a need so urgent you turn to begging. You have no other hope. It evokes the utter powerlessness of being prostrated before a potentate who holds your life in his hands. Pleading, nothing more.
So many times, my prayers cover things I can also cover. These are things I need to get done, I can done. I just want God to help me do them efficiently.
Then there are needs about which I am exasperatingly powerless. About those needs, I tend to get frustrated, get mad, sulk. In fact, if I’m brutally honest about myself, I complain more than I pray.
That seems to me to be what Paul is addressing. Yes, pray, but also plead (supplicate, make petition) to a God who alone can help you. You can trust God for the needs that are completely out of your control.
In the beginning, this blog was very narrowly focused on a niche: encouraging pastors and leaders to pray for finances for their ministry. But as I interacted with the blogging community, I was drawn into reaching out with non-thematically related posts.
I believe I will be returning to the Mustard Seed Budget theme. I believe I will start pioneering a church again. So praying for finances to cover costs will start to figure large in my life again.
Everyone loves Psalm 23. But I was struck just now how it basically starts with finances: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. God will take economic care of his people.
Since returning four years ago from the mission field (where I was almost 16 years), my wife and I have done a lot to try to re-establish ourselves in the States. The transition has not been easy. We started with no money. Thank God for a nearby church that gave us food right when we had none.
Isn’t it interesting that this famous Psalm, which many recite for consolation, starts with finances? That shows how important is God’s care of us!
Actually, the Psalm also ends with a promise of financial blessing: Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all my days. The verb pursue is used everywhere else in the Old Testament to refer to an army in pursuit of a retreating enemy. David is saying that he WON’T be pursued by soldiers, debt, problems. He WILL be pursued by goodness and mercy.
At 11 years of age, a former student told his little brother and sister to not move while he hung himself in front of them. The tykes obeyed.
What angst or demon would a boy to such unthinkable horrors as rival the Holocaust? I cannot comprehend. It tears me up inside. What could we have done to avoid this?
We don’t win every battle. We lose some badly. Amid the exultings of success stories lurk the blackest stains of those who chose not to listen to the word of God, who opted for worldliness instead of godliness.
I’m sorry, but I can’t get excited about a celeb’s fashion faux paux. When you have lived ravages, it’s impossible to dwell on the frivolous.
It galls to hear atheists revile Christians as a great evil. I assure you: It was not a Christian that drove that kid to twisted thoughts, emotions and actions. It was something sinister. It was something we Christians fight against.
Can you be moved to act? Christianity needs Christians who are not side-tracked by selfish desires, who take up the weight of prayer, who take the Good News of hope to the streets.
We lost one. Near you, there’s one who’s on the verge of being lost. Only you are within reach to help, if you will let yourself be moved.
I’ve known churches that dive kamikaze when the pastor leaves, so naturally I was anxious. But it’s been four years since I sought refuge in the United States from criminal threat. And the church my wife and I started 20 years ago is thriving. So too the school.
It feels like I died. (At just about anybody’s funeral, all the good things are remembered. When somebody dies, you see what his impact was.)
“I don’t know who he is, but I’m going to go give him a hug,” one schoolkid said. The kids thronged me. My eyes misted… Even those who never knew me appreciate the years of toil to establish a work of God.
People are still getting saved. The school continues to be a safe harbor. The disciples continue to labor to extend God’s kingdom.
For the first time in my life, I can see a legacy. And I ask myself: What will my legacy be in the United States?
Is it tithing? evangelism? discipleship? church planting? ministry? Take it on, and ride the storm. Don’t seek the comfy life of never challenging the devil. I’d rather die on the warfront than in a retirement home bed.
Dare for more in your Christian walk. Risk for Christ.
Who you truly are is your most heroic moment in life. You wouldn’t have achieved that great moment if you had not the character inside. That’s who Jesus wants you to become more and more. He wants you to repeat the command performance.
How many times have grown distraught because we have believed we “are” who we are when alone? The trouble with this idea, perpetuated in Christian books, firstly is that it’s not in the Bible. The Bible teaches we are weak and should keep ourselves surrounded by people who are going to encourage and nurture the better self inside. What army leaves a soldier alone and abandoned and then blames him if he loses the war?
Too much condemnation has been piled on by authors who think they’re clever by quoting this cliché. Please stop now.
Be freed into joy and realize that your best moment in life is who you are. Your high point augurs good things for your future. Believe in God because He believes in you.
Though my heart goes out to the multitudes who have been hurt by “toxic” churches, I am not among those abandoning the church. If Christ instituted, going AWOL cannot be part of the solution, regardless of damage done. You may need to change church, not leave it entirely.
I belong to the group seeking reform for the church. When I see reform, I wish to reform myself. I, a sinner, need to change. I am part of the church. As I change and become truly more Christ-like, the church will better reflect His love.
So many of my posts challenge unbelievers in their unbelief that I am even fearful to publish this challenge to the church to self-examination, self-surgery, self-healing. (I didn’t hardly even dare to make visible the stinging criticism in the picture. Only if you look closely can you make it out.)
Jesus said: As you judge, you will be judged. Let us therefore use mercy one with another. Love those who are hard to love in the church. Don’t come down to their insecurity. If they rattle off criticisms, don’t you do it.
Ha! The last three years have been the humility lab class for me. I went from being general pastor of four churches and principal and founder of a school to… nothing. Criminals forced us to flee the mission field and return to the home church.
At the home church, I longed to serve and I yearned to make a difference, to help stoke the fires of revival. But so many missteps of mine only stoked the fires of resentment. I was asked to give up ministry and look for a secular job. Ouch!
It seemed like every ministry position was already filled by someone who was more qualified than myself. I tried Sunday school. I tried teaching in the regular school. I tried publicity. I thought my experience could be a boon for the church.
After floundering for a couple years, I finally found a ministry where I was heartily welcomed, where I didn’t step on any toes, where I could satisfy my hearts longing to simply be useful. I don’t want to be important but to do important work.
It was not my first choice of ministry. It was cleaning.
I kept secretly admiring the main cleaning guy, who unpaid got up early and stayed up late assuring that schoolkids and church members alike could enjoy spotless environs. Zach Scribner had a vision for cleaning and saving the church money. I had zero vision for cleaning.
But I wanted to help where I could make an impact. Zach never got a day to rest in — until now. He is overjoyed to finally get a day off. And that makes me happy.
Chatting, a brother said, “Working your way up in an organization always works.” And that’s when it hit me: I haven’t worked my way up, I’ve worked my way down. Serendipitously, I fell into Mark 10:44: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. Aim not to be chief but to serve.
Kneeling before a toilet bowl, I reflected that I was doing it for my God. I thought of many who would despise such labor, some of whom also kneel before a toilet bowl, not to clean, but to throw up… for their god, alcohol.
In any other organization, expect to work your way up. In the church, look to work your way down.
My brother made fun of us when he visited our mission church in Guatemala. Too many padlocks, he moaned.
But one extra little padlock saved us from getting completely robbed.
The thieves sawed through an iron bar to enter at the window probably at 2 a.m. They served themselves leftover coffee and ate breads. They were in no hurry. Guatemalan police are overrun with crime and work fewer shifts at night. No neighbors would interfer; they could get shot for that.
They took our keyboard and a few other things. But one small padlock on the outside of the door kept them from walking off with our school’s computers. I
guess they ran out of time because the $1 Chinese padlock was no formidable security. What they took had to fit out the upstairs window.
Sometimes, it’s the itty bitty things that save you. That little prayer — unaccompanied by fasting, with no fancy language — will make the difference. Don’t skip it thinking it’s a mere nothing. However short it may be, however unadorned, speak it to God with sincerity. That small “cheapo” prayer may be the single factor preventing the thief (the devil) from running off with everything.
Better than throwing salt on his wounds, better than mocking him, better than washing your hands of him, better than saying “He had it coming,” express confidence to the person who’s floundering. It will lift him out of his funk.
Sir Alex Ferguson believed in Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United forward had gone 9 months without a goal. Pundits were sharpening their knives: wash-out, has-been, flash-in-the-pan. Coach Ferguson, who’s had an extraordinary knack for winning teams, kept believing in Rooney until the mercurial players found his winning ways again — with a overhead backwards kick that left the world gaping and shut up critics.
Believe in someone.
You may “win” the rat race, but you’re still only a rat. You may get to the top of the crab pile, but you’re still only a crab. If you help someone out, you’ve made a friend for life. And that is worth more than pounding your chest and shouting the tired I’m-the-best rant.
It’s what Jesus did. While everybody hated the odious, turncoat tax-collector Zacheus, Jesus dressed him with dignity, sharing a cappuccino with him. While accusers had stones in hand ready to hurl at the adulterous woman, Jesus defended her and didn’t accuse her. He touched the leper, ate with prostitutes, hung out with drunkards. Jesus was really into the business of accepting people.
Give and don’t stop giving. And though you may be the most unloved person on the planet, if you give love freely, you will find 10,000 people at your funeral wanting to honor your memory.
- How to pray?
- Prayers of the Bible
Pastor Steven Fernandez had just broken the hinge on his car door. He was driving home with it roped up, and the cable for the clutch snapped, leaving him stalled in traffic — late at night, on the dangerous streets of Guatemala City. With some natives helping, he managed to get the Fiat home only to find a screw in one of his tires. Sigh!
Pastor Steven took over the Guatemalan work after I left the country. Unaccustomed to such Third World ailments common on the mission field, he is grappling with things he never experienced in America. Alas, poverty.
I remember passing through these kinds of nightmares. Roofs drip like a waterfall during thunderstorms. Water doesn’t come out of the faucet for weeks at a time. Power outages mean you keep candles handy (I preached through a power outage once holding a candle close to my notes!) Ah! The adventures of being a missionary! All this reminiscing is making me yearn to go back!
Amid hand-wringing and nostalgia, one thing is clear: All pastors need our prayers. As church-goers, we forget that pastors are even more in Satan’s gunsights than us. It’s typical for pastors to face hardships of finances, of family and of car breakdowns. We need to sustain them with prayer!
Don’t complain about some ill-spoken word from your pastor (he’s human too!). Pray for him. Pray for revival, for his family, for his checkbook, for his car. Remember what the Bible says: And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. – Matt. 10:42 NIV.
If giving a cup of water nets reward, how much more so if you
give him a cappuccino pray for him!
No sooner had we remodeled our home in Guatemala than we fled to America. A run-in with criminals forced us to leave. The trauma of the robbery at gunpoint took the foreground; the irony of our “lost investment” sat in the background.
The stylized ceiling and modernized kitchen seemed like a good investment. We had lived in Guatemala for 15 years and did not foresee leaving our beloved missionary life. The threat of kidnapping changed that abruptly. The money already spent proved pointless.
Our stay in Guatemala was NOT permanent. It was temporary. So too our life here on Earth is short. Moses called his son Gershom, which means foreigner, because he felt like he didn’t belong in Midian. Peter says we’re only sojourners here on the globe. Our true home is Heaven.
Was that what God was telling me? Whatever you do for eternity — even if it’s only five minutes of prayer today because that’s the best you can do — stands forever. We are here only briefly, so if all your effort is focused for this earth, try to enjoy these fleeting moments as much as possible. My recommendation: Work for eternity.
Out of frustration, we called it burro-cracy. (Get it? A variation on bureaucracy.)
The burro is not a flattering term in Spanish. When we would try to get paperwork done, they would tell us one thing was wrong. We would go to a lawyer or notary and fix it. Then we would wait in line again, usually an hour. Next they would tell us something else was wrong. This process repeated itself for days and weeks until finally months later through lots of diligence, we would finally get approved.
AARGH! WHY COULDN’T YOU JUST TELL ME AAAAAAAALLLLLLLL PROBLEMS THE FIRST TIME?????????
Thank God, prayer’s not like that. It’s easy. You don’t have to get a bunch of papers signed, notarized, stamped, authorized, officialized. You don’t have to walk for kilometers on your knees. You don’t have to…
All you have to do is talk, and you’re instantly in contact with the Almighty. Every attempt at prayer — no matter how clumsy, no matter how imperfect you are — brings the will of God. I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing – 1 Tim. 2:8 NIV. They may be filthy, but when the hands go up, they become holy.
He who loves much, gives much. Christianity has always spread by love. There have been times when people who call themselves Christians have taken up arms in the name of the Savior, but that is NOT Christianity. They lied.
Christianity advances by love, not by military conquest. Love conquers all. It is our martyrs who laid down their lives with no resistance who have made Christianity explode around the globe. It is our prayer warriors, who sacrifice hours of playing time to pray, who have stoked revival fire. Care enough, love enough, to pray today.
Rightly, billiescauldron points out this glaring flaw in my last post, Remote Warfare. I was demonstrating similarities between pray-ers and pilots who remotely fly drones to hit targets from far away. You can pray for Iran and blow up the devil. But the analogy breaks down over the basis of Christianity: love. Thanks, Billie!
You are saved because of God’s love. He sent His Son. As a Christian, you must strive to conform to His image. Love others enough to take time to pray for them.
When you pray for finances in your ministry, let love be the principal basis for prayer. If your ministry grows, more people will be established in Christ.
It’s so real that medical texts have a term for it: psychosomatic disease. The person feels every symptom, but there is no sign of infection. Call it mind tricks.
He believes it and has it, though no trace of logical cause can be found.
The patient first believes he is sick. It worsens when he begins to speak about it. Then he acts sick. The doctor gives him a placebo, a sugar pill, and tells him he’ll be well so that he can experience a reversal of symptoms through his belief.
What works to sicken, also works to make well: believe, speak, act. This is not hocus pocus. It is science. It is also Bible. Death and life are in the power of the tongue — Prov. 18:21 KJV. Apparently, it is such a powerful dynamic that it works without the intervention of God.
How much more so with God’s intervention! Believe in your heart for your answer. Speak it in prayer. Act on your faith. To me, it makes no sense that the same skeptics who snigger at the positive confession quantify and scientifically classify the negative confession. Or do we only affirm the bad? A Christian affirms the good.
Faith can heal you. Faith can bring needed finances. Faith can answer prayer. If they tongue has the power to make a person psychosomatically sick, then it also has the power to heal.
You wouldn’t for a minute allow yourself to think the world is flat. You wouldn’t for a minute allow yourself to think the moon is made of cheese. You wouldn’t for a minute allow yourself to think Santa Claus is real.
So why do you allow yourself to think what doesn’t line up with the Word of God? What’ true is true. You wouldn’t believe what’s false, even if your finances don’t currently show God’s provision. Or if your body’s symptoms don’t testify to healing.
But the carnal mind is pernicious. It seizes on negativity. If we think disappointment, we could take it to the next level and confess disappointment. Then we become prophets of our own doom. Death and life are in the power of the tongue — Prov. 18:21 KJV. That’s why it so important to confess good, not bad, over your life.
So the next time, unbelief raises its hoary head and starts its rant, make fun of yourself. The Word of God is true and not my “reality.” It is my reality that needs to come in line with Eternal Truth, not the other way around. Prayer is positive confession, but it is also more than that because it gets God involved!
Pain brings change.
I am so resistant to change that I leave God no other option but to let me go through difficult circumstances to bring me where He wants me. I’m screaming bloody murder the whole way. Then, when I find myself in His blessing, I smile and say, “Oh, this is where You were bringing me!” The pain dissipates; pleasure fills my heart.
It’s okay to be down now. Maybe you’ve lost everything… your house, your family, your ministry. Don’t drink to
forget. Keep slogging through the Dark Valley. On the other side, you will come out into Wonderland. Life goes by cycles; you can’t always be on top of the world; you won’t always be on the bottom.
Believe in yourself. Believe in God. After the war comes rebuilding and prosperity. As one blogger says: Become better, not bitter. Current circumstances could drown you, or you could learn to swim. Tread water long enough in the Noah-like flood, and you’ll win a gold medal at the Olympics.
Incrementally improve. When the blessing hits, it will come suddenly, but it will have been through incremental improvements.
Being busy is good. But mere activity could be just spinning your wheels in gravel. With production, you have something to show for your work.
But production is still inferior to “reproduction.” As Christians, we are ultimately called to reproduce Christians, not just “produce” things like manuals and seminars. Reproduction is the highest rung.
That’s why you shouldn’t just sprinkle prayer on top of your ministry like sugar. You should make it a main ingredient, like flour.
Remember, the disciples fished all night without catching anything. Then Jesus sent them out once more, and when they threw the nets, they were so full they were ripping!
Maybe Samson wasn’t muscle-bound at all. To the contrary, the Bible states that it was the power God that came upon him and enabled him to perform Herculean feats. But after Samson violated the last remaining distinctive (having his hair cut off), God’s Spirit left him and he became a wimp.
What distinguishes you as a Christian and sets you apart from a person who doesn’t know God? I hope prayer does.
Most of the “signs” of a believer in the Bible are inwardly, not outwardly. (Even circumcision was a a
very private sign!) The believer knew it and no one else. Carrying a Bible and wearing a Sunday hat don’t make you a Christian.
Only you know how much you are praying. Jesus prayed. His disciples prayed. They have left us this legacy. A significant portion of our day is to be dedicated to prayer. I shoot for at least an hour. A friend of mine gets three. (Praise God for her!)
The praying Christian triumphs over insurmountable odds. One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. — Josh. 23:10 NIV. Joshua recounts the extraordinary victories God wrought to the wandering Israelites as they settled into the Promised Land.
Because they carefully depended upon God, they achieved the impossible. Prayer is careful dependence on God. Prayerlessness is reckless and baseless self-confidence. It’s no
wonder we fall on our face when he neglect prayer.
You will overcome 1:1000 odds — if you pray. Don’t fret about mounting bills as you try to establish God’s promise for your calling, don’t panic and surrender, don’t bail out. If you remain steadfast, God will deliver you. Trust and wait confidently in the Lord. While you wait for the miracle, keep praying and believing.
I was reminded how lonely and hard is pioneering a church. You leave the loving mother church and go with your family to a new city and pass out flyers and knock on doors to invite people to a small building, usually a park room that’s cold and smells bad.
You do this for years and eventually rent a
storefront. You work night and day. You have to support your family with a job, but your real job is pastoring, and you neglect your own family to take care of your the fledgling spiritual family. Forget about your own entertainment. There’s none of that.
What you long for — and what you least get — is
some support. People come into the church wanting to be served, not wanting to serve — at least at first. Well, I joined a Saturday outreach in Apple Valley, the high desert city practically founded by cowboy Will Rogers about 100 miles out of L.A.
We knocked on doors inviting people to an
evening concert and revival services. One lady pulled up with a caravan of three cars loaded with family. She gave her heart to the Lord that night.
We live in the age in which everyone wants to be the still-undiscovered internet sensation who swoops onto independent fame and riches as soon as our self-importance is
It’s better to support a cause greater than yourself. It’s better to help. When we bless and serve others, God takes care of us.
The prayer warrior is a support man. The troops on the battle front desperately need the support of the military’s infrastructure. There is nothing less important about being support crew.
They played their hearts out — and at the final whistle Lighthouse Christian Academy had executed the most improbable upset in the league, defeating touch-perfect New Roads 3-2 in varsity soccer.
With girls, freshmen, and inexperienced players on the team, LCA Saints are
understandably bottom-dwelling fish. But somehow this season, they believed in themselves, winning four and tying one. Friday’s game was the crown jewel of the season. New Roads left the field in despair.
These kids who played with unaccustomed verve teach us a lesson in life.
No matter how many failures, no matter what the man-to-man analysis, you can prevail with spunk and belief.
When you go to prayer today, when you minister, expect the victory. Whatever your shortcomings, whatever your handicaps, remember God grants triumph. Faith is key. Last year, we lost every single game.
For the full story, read http://www.thelighthousechristianacademy.com/saints-embarrass-in-big-upset/
My pastor, Rob Scribner, tried out for professional football to prove he couldn’t do it.
He just liked it. But he thought he wasn’t good enough. Because of hard work, he wound up on the team, playing for the then-LA Rams from 1973 to 1976. A lot of other guys didn’t even try out because they thought they wouldn’t make it.
Fear of failure is a major problem. Whatever you long to do but are afraid of doing, that is what you should do.
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison
The explosion of “fantasy” — sports, Second Life, etc. — is illustrative. People want more but are afraid to live it.
Christian, when you overcome fear, you become dangerous to the devil.
Two months ago I konked my knee playing street soccer with my varsity team. At the time, it didn’t seem abnormal, not too bad on pain. I even kept playing. Later, however, it had a clicking that worried me. I consulted a doctor, and he feared a torn piece of cartilage was lodged in there. After two months, it wasn’t much better.
Then I got prayed for. The boys in my Sunday School class — called “Tweeners” — had just heard about faith and were pumped to pray. I am back to playing soccer! Jesus healed me! (Being able to play soccer is about as important for me as a U.S. president attending his own inauguration!)
The Bible says that kids have special words — of praise — unadulterated because of their
sincerity and innocence. And I say it’s good to be in God’s service, not matter how small or insignificant. Today I scored a goal in beach soccer against my son’s team! Ha! And at the end, we won! Ha!
As soon as the pros hear about this, I expect they’ll be heading to their local, Bible-believing church to cut their injury time.
Marie Colantoni Pechet from adventuresinspiritualliving points out a common failing: prayer is our last resort. We try everything else, and when nothing works, then and only then we finally turn to God. It shouldn’t be that way. We ought to seek God first.
Instead of being a last resort, God should a five-star resort. Hahahaha! Why not? Being with God is better than a sumptuous buffet! His rest is better than the king-size bed! The panorama of the Bible is prettier than any Caribbean view. Etc.
But we allow so many distractions to pull
us away. The good-old-do-it-yourself spirit of America is strongly ingrained. And often we simply don’t believe until we have no other option: the doctor gives us six months, the bank forecloses, I go 10 years of virtually stagnant ministry until I finally get it. AHA! I should have started with what I ended (prayer).
Having lived 16 years in the Third World, I decry poverty mentality that blames “destiny” and takes no action to improve oneself. Thank God I learned the Protestant work ethic from childhood: through study, hard work, creativity, one can achieve any dream. Third Worlders see themselves as powerless to get ahead; as a result, they just goof off and be lazy.
BUT, I have witnessed the short comings of a strong work ethic. Too often, too much hard work is not rewarded with results: it’s a lot of spinning wheels. I labored intensely as a missionary, and the church did NOT grow. After more than a decade of killing myself believing in the do-it-yourself mentality and seeing an essentially stagnant church, I tried prayer.
Things exploded. When man moves, it’s never as good as when God moves. I am NOT denouncing work. I am just tempering it. There’s a balance. If you’re tired of tiring yourself out without seeing results, try entering more God into the equation. He may be waiting for you.
If it’s going to be, it is up to
I was completely unprepared for my 9th grade class to so roundly criticize Willy Loman from Arthur Miller‘s Death of a Salesman. He’s meant to represent the average American male in futile pursuit of the hoax called the American Dream.
The students admitted no merit to the man. He was unfaithful, a failed businessman, a liar, prideful, insane, a sufferer of delusions of grandeur. He deserved no sympathy in his stupid and tragic end. Never mind that he was hard-working, sacrificial, concerned about his family, the class ganged up on me when I spoke of his redeeming qualities!
When I was a pastor, I was neither as good nor as bad as people said. Some praised me excessively; others criticized me too much. The truth was and is that I am a mixture of both good and bad, saint and sinner, hypocrite and sincere, neither black nor white — just gray — like the rest of humanity.
The saddest thing is NOT perfectionism, puritanism, or Phariseeism. The depressing thing is that hyper-critics eventually wind up in their own crosshairs. Eventually you stub your own toe, and then Satan echoes back to you every harsh word you uttered over others’ failures. When this happens, you fall away from Christ: since there was no grace for others, there’s no grace for you.
Wisely, Jesus said: Judge not lest you be judged. If you have mercy on others, you’ll get mercy yourself. Prayer is NOT for exulting your superiority; it is a time of empathy and compassion for others.
When I was kid, I felt sorry for myself intensely. When bigger kids pushed me around and my mom wouldn’t go out and make it right, I gloated on my woes. Self-pity has been an evil that has plagued me even up to the present.
The good thing is that she has a twin called Compassion. As with many “evils,” you can flip them and make them good. When I took aptitude tests in high school, I scored low or average on everything — but they didn’t even measure the deep well of gifting God had given me. Compassion and empathy have driven years of successful ministry. Feeling others’ pain keeps me in prayer.
Self-aggrandizement is a wicked
motivation to get in ministry. The only true calling is serving others. Consider the contrast: Jesus reflects on the hungry multitudes, “I have compassion on them.” The disciples reflect harsh realities, “And where are we gonna get the money to feed them???” (Matt 15 32 – 39).
Are you more like Christ or his disciples? The case is all the worse if you realize the disciples HAD the money to buy enough food (Luke 8:3) — they just were selfish! Compassionlessness is ugly.
So if you suffer from self-pity, don’t despair. Just turn your eyes outward, and you’ll become a marvelously effective servant of God/ of humanity!