Yesterday I had one of those days. For some reason my mind was not focused; running in different directions. I felt like a little kid with an attention span of a…
…you get my point right?
I did feel focused during the sermon [praise be to God] but everything else was just plain flat.
[look, another squirrel]
Yup, that was pretty much it.
When we, mercifully, got to the benediction my mind wandered again. I walked out from behind the altar, raised my hands to give the benediction I have been giving for over 14 years. I opened my mouth…and nothing. I proceeded to fumble for words for a moment and eventually spit out something that resembled a benediction; trying my best to make it sound that I changed it up on purpose. I think I failed on that as well. Thankfully, no one said anything, but now, if they are reading this, my secret is out.
This morning did not go much better. I dropped my kids off at their “Animal Camp” hosted by their preschool. On my way to work I was talking to my wife, saying “Miss Kristen and the lady who drives the big truck, are leading this week“. My wife laughed at me because I could not remember the name of the other teacher.
[Brenda is her name. I eventually did remember that.]
The only saving grace this morning is that my 9:30 appointment with some perspective new members called to reschedule due to illness. I hate to say this but that is probably a good thing. I probably would have sent them running to another church.
God, I need a brain reboot this morning.
Yup, definitely a reboot.
The Pastor -|—
Some of you who stop by here regularly may (or may not) know that I am a proud daddy. My wife and I adopted our daughter, Mayah, in April 2013 and then adopted our son, Malachi in November 2014. They did not come from our DNA but we love them as if they did; for this was God’s plan for our lives. Some may be tempted to think that we adopted because we were unable to have children biologically ~ Yes and no. We weren’t able to have children in that way; not because of physical reasons (both of us were perfectly able to conceive children), but rather, God intervened, and praise be to God for that. After years of “trying” we finally answered God’s call. Long story short, 10 months after starting the adoption process, Mayah came into our lives. Eighteen months later, Malachi joined the family. God’s plan for our family, after He refined us through the fire of a failed adoption, was for us to parent these two beautiful children.
Why am I writing about this now? Well, today is an often forgotten day for many. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. So much hoopla goes into that day, and rightly so. Our mother’s deserve this kind of attention but today is Birth Mother’s Day. This day is always the day before Mother’s Day with the purpose of remembering those loving mother’s who made a decision many of us can not even fathom. They may not be mothering a particular child today, but they showed an incredible love in deciding that it was in the best interest of their child to be raised by someone else. For whatever reason, these mother’s, instead of aborting their baby, carried them to full term in order that their baby could have a chance at life; a life given by God. These mother’s saw the baby in their womb as a living being who deserved to live, even if they couldn’t support their child. They recognized that their were others who were very able and willing to raise children, even through it was not happening for them biologically. These mother’s are special people who had the forethought and insight to do what they did and thus deserve their day.
Each night, during our prayers, we pray for Mayah and Malachi’s respective birth mommies. We don’t hide the fact that they are adopted. We celebrate this. We talk about their respective stories and we honor their birth mommies. So if you know of a mother who has made this difficult but loving decision, make sure you honor them as Mother’s Day may be a difficult day for them. Thank God for these special people. We certainly do, and not just today, but each and every day.
Happy Birth Mother’s Day 🙂
The (daddy) Pastor -|—
I have discovered a proliferation of door to door sales people here in Washington as compared to rural Minnesota where I lived for 44 years. I’ve had people come by trying to sell me home security services, pest control and lawn services. I listen to their sales pitch but I tell them that I am not going to buy anything now but rather I want to do my own research. I want to get to know their company and what they are selling. I want to trust them before I make an investment. They usually don’t like this response as they want the sale now.
The same mentality is often seen among Christians. One presents the Gospel to someone and then wants to see the fruits of their efforts now. They want to make an instant “sale” and then move on; feeling good that their numbers are going up. This tactic, though, is rarely effective in the long term, especially for the one “buying the product”. One and done evangelism is often more damaging to the one being evangelized. It’s like selling someone a whatchamacallit without an owners manual.
Instead, we need to spend time with people and develop relationships with them. We can’t have a “one and done” mentality. We need to invest in people, provide for any needs, be a guide and help them along the way as they grow in Christ. When you look at the early church in Acts, the apostles spent time in the towns in which they planted churches. They didn’t just preach and go. They weren’t one and done evangelists. They invested in people.
Door to door ministry can be effective, but only if a relationship eventually ensues. Leading people to Christ can be a time consuming thing but it is important work as we are called and commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples…”. Spend time with people and live out your faith. Show them Christ’s love through your words and deeds. Be a “little Jesus” to them. Walk with them and when the opportunity presents itself, tell them about Jesus. Basically, earn the right to be heard.
So all you door to door sales people, don’t expect me to buy what you’re selling until I get to know you. Make an investment in me and earn my trust. Not practical for you, I know, but for you, Christian, it is. It’s what Jesus and the apostles did. Follow him and walk AS Jesus did and don’t be a one and done evangelist.
The Pastor -|—
On May 4, 2006, this blog, The Heart of a Pastor, was born. I didn’t pick this day because it is Star Wars Day. You know what a I mean, right? “May the 4th be with you“. Dorky I know, but even though I like Star Wars, this day was completely arbitrary 11 years ago.
Eleven years ago my wife showed me this thing that the pastor at her former church was doing. I had never heard of a blog before so I explored this “thing”. I liked what I saw so I decided to give this blogging thing a whirl. I started at Type Pad and wrote there for a while. I liked it but I had to pay for it, so when I eventually discovered WordPress, I transferred everything over.
My blogging over the years has been up and down, and this blog has gone through a number of changes. Through it all, though, I have grown with this blog. Even though the readership of this blog may not be all that large, I do enjoy writing; even if only for one person. So if you’re reading this, thank you for stopping by. I hope and pray that God is glorified through my writing. How long will I keep this up? I don’t know. As long as God keeps giving me things to writing, I will write.
So there you have it. The eleven year anniversary of this little blog. My God bless your day and May the 4th be with you.
Sorry, I had to say it 🙂
The Pastor -|—
Doors are closed
Sometimes they are slammed shut.
Sometimes they close ever so slowly.
Whatever the case, a closed door signals
A closed door feels so
A closed door means we can’t see.
A closed door means we’re
Oh God, I don’t like closed doors
closed doors also signal something
we just can’t see it
and therefore we need to live by faith.
grant me the faith to trust in you;
to trust that when a door closes
that you’ll open another one.
Grant me the faith to cling to you.
Grant me the patience to wait for the right door to open.
Doors are opened
“My child, I AM the Faithful Doorkeeper“
The Pastor -|—
The Pastor is on vacation.
I am currently resting with family and friends; relaxing and reflecting on another Lenten and Easter season and the verdict is in:
It was good.
Notice that I did NOT say (with a sense of relief):
It is finished.
The jokes are out there, you see, that pastors are so shot after Easter that they feel like crawling into and curling up in Jesus’ empty tomb for a while.
“Don’t talk to me for a few days.”
I don’t feel that way. I feel energized and content and happy and filled. No, I didn’t take a 46 day vacation between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It’s just that the congregation I serve with, served together and thus I don’t feel drained but filled. I gave it my all but was never disconnected from the True Vine. I am not bragging but just thankful. I led worship and preached twice a week, but also worshiped and listened to what I was saying. Lent was refreshing, not life-draining.
And this is the way it should be. Looking back at a season that focuses on our mortality and sinfulness; worshiping while reflecting on Jesus’ last moments and death on a cross and then seeing an empty tomb and then hearing that proclamation: HE HAS RISEN! How can one not feel energized and thankful and joyful.
It is (indeed) finished and I am (indeed) thankful; thankful that Jesus finished what he came to do. Thankful that I have the hope of the resurrection. Thankful that I have been refreshed and ready for another season.
God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.
You have refreshed me
through this Lenten and Easter season.
You have reminded me
who we are and whose I am.
You have shown me the extent of Your love.
May I cling to this Truth.
May I dwell in Your love.
May I proclaim this Good News.
May I continue to know Jesus better.
You are an awesome God.
In Jesus name I pray,
The (thankful) Pastor -|—
A void is present
without your life now
and we wish that you were still here.
Life is not the same without your big smile
and so we mourn and shed our tears.
Difficult it is,
to accept your death,
we remember your life so sweet.
Sharing our stories of a life well lived;
knowing that we will again meet.
Cancer took your life;
thinking it has won;
and robbing us of your sweet life.
But cancer’s loud and futile vic’try cry
is swallowed up in Jesus Christ.
And so we thank God
who has won the fight,
through shattering Satan’s strong hold.
So thanks be to God who gives us true hope,
that we too may live a life bold.
Until we meet again, Jeannette…
Praise be to God, always and forever!
The Pastor -|—