Ministry Isn’t In the Number

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I used to think all the time that the greater the number, the greater the importance. However lately the humility of God has shown me otherwise.  Whether it’s a person’s pocketbook, the attendance at a sporting event or even the attendance at a church; the larger the number was the more accepted someone seems to be.

I remember very vividly in my first youth ministry back in 2000, I prep this awesome, singled out, very well publicized,  evening service where I just knew that I could change the face of the souls in that church! All the plans were in place, all the volunteers news their roles, all we had to do is wait for the people. When the time came all that was there besides us that we’re working….was one person.

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It was difficult to erase the disappointment from my face. My wife at the time tried to encourage me, but I would have none of it. I was mad. Mad at not the church members, not the volunteers, not even my wife, but at God.  Why would God place such a conviction on my heart for this special of a service, and only one person show?  This affected me for the next two weeks, I just couldn’t seem to let it go.

Here’s the saddest part of all though; that ONE person who showed…. Re dedicated his life to Jesus Christ. And I was too busy worrying about the fact that only he showed up to not see the life change that he made.  I sometimes wonder still today, how his faith walk is doing.  Why do we get so caught up in how many people are there to witness an event or a moment in our lives that we feel define us as individuals?

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How many of the single digit people have we swept under the “who gives a crap” rug because they didn’t meet your goals?  As a pastor and a child of God,  I hear by claim that numbers don’t matter to me anymore!!

The quality of relationships are best served under intimate conditions where the soul is served; not just the sugar coating.

This was the scene in Columbus Library last night (6/16/14):

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Anticipated at least 20….had only 6, two of which were under 7.  Yet each person there and my family shared Jesus like in haven’t been able to in awhile.  The eldest couple,  was a surprising pleasure to say the least.   They and I talked our hearts.   We shared what a few of my poems stemmed in them as to how I wrote them.  It was truly AGAIN….God at work.

It wasn’t able the numbers to Him, it never has been; yet the quality of love shared amongst His children is the intimacy He desires from us towards Him daily. Not how many sales,  not how many converts…BUT how well you lived those He brought to you for Him.

Will be praying for you all as we continue this journey together.

P.S.
Numbers on the boxes for McDonald’s pies are meant to be a guide for when a pie needs to be disguarded.  I got this pie the morning of 6/17…. 🙂 Remember that and I love you all! 😉

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In a Club?

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Remember that first time you walked into the glass doors and saw the first smiling face approach you?  Do you remember that first feeling you got?  Was it excitement?   Was it anxiousness?  Was it even a bit of relief?  Chances are it might have been a mixture of all the above.  BUT….could it have been FEAR?

Why would you find fear in this place?   This is a place of solice, a place of refuge…a place of healing….right?  You walk into a room galavanting with people,  vintage lights, happy music and an overall welcoming spirit.  It feels like a place you’ve always needed to be, but have never felt welcomed.  But today,  you finally made it!

Welcome to the Club….

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It’s a familiar scene you’ve had before and a similar feeling too….but oddly, your eyes have never envisioned it here.  Even though during the course of the service you don’t see people dancing and smiling; you do feel the same sense of shyness and attention seeking needs.  The seats are not fancy and the lights don’t switch colors, yet the moods still feel complacent and distracted.

Looking around you notice everyone around you seems separated into their own “cliqs” and chatting it up am get themselves.  Others are like you sitting alone or off from their groups looking also around as if to wonder where they belong.  No focus seems to be up front where the “DJ” Pastor stands or the band members are tuning up their vocals.   Just seemingly, on themselves.

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You ask yourself, when did the church become a club?  When was it okay for God’s children to come into His house and care more for themselves than Him?  Don’t get me wrong, not all of His houses are this way….just most of them.  We tend to forget when our defenses arise when statements like this are made that we are a house FULL of sinners and even though we’re saved by His grace, we still are sinners.

We still think like, act like and sound like the flesh that covers our bones which will return to the earth someday.  Our hearts are and will continue to be the problem.  The gap between Jesus and His people.  The void that is needing fixed.   Notice I didn’t say, “A void needing FILLED”?  Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we accepted His death and resurrection;  yet we continue to keep it more dormant in our hearts than the main active muscle.

Instead, we allow our focus to be on the temporary problems of others than the heart healing we need to have by real confession and deliverance.   By focusing on the church being a social club more than a hospital for sinners; Jesus might be gathered there with us,  but He’s not apart of our conversations.

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“Did you hear the one about…?”  “Have you noticed how close so-and-so has been to such-and-such?”  “Can you believe what who-and-who is wearing today?  My goodness what a slutty look!”  Ever found yourself saying anything if the like to someone in or around a church setting or function? Now remember before you answer that God already knows if your lying or exaggerating. 🙂

Gossip….it’s what makes the church more of a club than a place of healing.  Why is that?  Well, for starters, you can see the simplicity of why one does it as mentioned before:  it takes away from their own problems and allows others to invest their time and emotions into the garbage of someone else’s sin in life.  For others,  it’s an ego boost to feel accepted or important enough to be in the center of what’s the “hottest topics” being discussed.   The “it factor” complex,  if someone else is at focus other others lips, than that leaves me out.  Oh contrar-mon-fare!  You interject yourself to the eventual center of the talk by being the initiator of the talk’s growth!

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Scripture tells us so plainly the damaging effects of this kind of sin:

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.                       – Romans 1:29-32

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.          -Romans 2:1

With such emphasis on how bad gossiping is for the Kingdom of Heaven,  WHY are we continually tempted to do it?  The damage of trust, the destroying of relationships, the intentional smacking of Jesus to the face!  Figuratively,  obviously not litterally.  We are to encourage one another for the betterment and fulfillment of God’s calling on our lives!  How can we achieve that through gossiping things we don’t know the real truth about?  That we are judging others through our own sinful eyes!

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.   Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.                   –

Ephesians 4:22-25

Speaking truthful to one another.   We can only do that when we decide to love them enough to fix ourselves from the sin we hold tight to.  In doing so, we can then accept others through the eyes of grace, than eyes of judgment and lies.

Who are you going to give your attention to for eternity?  The tickling of others tantalizations, or the still small voice of truth?

It’s time to leave the club scene and check into your heavenly rehab…..

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