I am just going to leave this right here…
A Sacristy Prayer
by Martin Luther
You have appointed me as a Pastor in Your Church,
but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task.
If I had lacked Your help,
I could have ruined everything long ago.
Therefore, I call upon You:
I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you;
I shall teach the people.
I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon Your Word.
Use me as Your instrument —
but do not forsake me,
for if ever I should be on my own,
I would easily wreck it all.
This text was translated in 1999 for Project Wittenberg by James Kellerman and has been placed in the public domain by him. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text.
The Pastor -|—
The following is my latest article in the Tacoma News Tribune, published on Saturday, Nov 18…
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:27]
Please indulge me as I go on a little rant. Ever since accusations of sexual misconduct began to surface involving Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, accusations from various other women have surfaced left and right. You can’t login onto social media or turn on the news without hearing about someone else coming forward. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming these women, but rather I am embarrassed for men in general. This is not right and we, men, need to step up and do something. We need to say something and raise the bar for the next generation. There is something definitely missing in people to cause them to think that it is okay to treat people as just sexual objects to satisfy one’s own desires. I am not saying I am a model man; “Look at me and see perfection”, but something needs to change in this culture. Something has to give.
Treating people as something less than what God created them to be is a sin. God created men AND women in His own image; both equally precious in His sight. Men and women are both equally loved and loveable. They are created for a purpose but not for the purpose of being abused or harassed or treated as an object. I imagine God, the Father, being saddened to see His daughters (women) treated like this. For men to treat women like an object is to disobey the creational purpose of God. God created men and women and then brought them together in marriage. Through marriage, God is putting the relationship of Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride) on display. Ephesians 5 says, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
Sexual abuse and harassment of women is so contrary to God’s purpose for men and women. Godly men ought to be angered and offended to see and hear other men acting so immature and irresponsibly. Godly men need to stand up and say, “No more!” Godly men need to be shaken to the core and be determined, more than ever, to be godly examples to our sons and to the rest of this world. Godly men need to teach our daughters what it looks like to be treated with respect. Godly men need to take the reins and write a new narrative for our culture; that harassment and abuse of women is no longer welcomed. Men, let’s be the men God created us to be and glorify God through our example. Let’s take back our godly roles.
Rant done. All praise be to God. Amen.
The (feisty) Pastor -|—
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Think about it for a second (or two), Jesus called a group of unqualified men to follow him and be the beginning of the Church. No small task, so one would think Jesus would look for only the best. But Jesus doesn’t ask for a resume or a list of references. He doesn’t quiz them to check their knowledge of scripture. He doesn’t inquire about any advanced degrees. Jesus simply approaches these men and says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men“. Their only qualification was their un-qualification. JESUS made them qualified to be fishers of men. It wasn’t about oratory skills or knowledge or street smarts or financial savvy. It was only about Jesus. He called, they followed and once Jesus died and rose, the Holy Spirit guided them into all Truth.
And so think about it again. If Jesus can use a group of unqualified men to continue a movement of sorts, don’t you think that Jesus can do something amazing through you. Never think that you are unqualified to follow Jesus or be a leader in the church. If you are called, then you are qualified. Just trust in him and follow.
You called a group of unqualified fishermen
to walk with Jesus
and to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
As Your Spirit led those first disciples
may Your Spirit lead us now in serving You in this world.
May we not bow to the temptation
that we are not good enough
but rather trust in You
that we may give glory to Your holy name.
May we leap out in faith when Jesus calls,
and may we go with the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray,
The Pastor -|—
What is the best mistake you have ever made?
I can’t remember being asked a question like that before yesterday, so when it came it caught me by surprise. I mean…it almost sounds like a contradiction ~ a good mistake? Often times we want to put mistakes in our rear view mirror as quickly as possible and move on. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t dwell on our mistakes. I HAVE been told to learn from them but I have never really looked back and pondered what my “best mistake” was.
When I was asked that question I paused; looked off into the distance as if I would find something out there, and tried to recall some past mistakes. Recalling mistakes was not the hard part, but trying to prioritize the “good ones” was difficult. Maybe I have moved on too fast from mistakes without soaking in what I learned. Maybe I have not connected certain learnings, skills or knowledge with past mistakes. I am not sure what it was. After what I deemed an uncomfortable silence I started talking about a conflict I was involved with, early in my ministry, that involved a break down in communication. I rehashed the situation briefly and began to recall what I did wrong. I learned through that particular situation to be more aware of what various groups in the church are doing and to be more proactive in communicating with leaders in the congregation. I learned that I need to keep my emotions more in check and to exude a non-anxious presence during a conflict. At the time I did not enjoy the situation but I would say that was one of my “best mistakes”.
So…what is your best mistake?
A friend of mine sent me the following text message last night: “Define Leadership”.
I thought about that for a second and send back the following reply: “In a text message?”
It wasn’t too much later when my friend replied with: “and in as few words as possible.”
I could see a glint in his eye and I knew there was something going on. Well…I mentioned to my wife what my friend texted me and she said (with a sly look on her face): “JESUS!” Not a bad answer so I send that text to my friend. Of course he accused me of playing the “Jesus card”, but also admitted it was a good answer.
I eventually called him and we chatted about this for a while…not coming up with an answer but decided to get together with some other guys and discuss this.
So I throw this out to you: Define Leadership
I am curious what you think. Try to keep your responses relatively short (long “books” are hard to respond too). In this day and age, strong leadership is important.
Let’s see if we can write a good definition together.