Archive for the ‘Sacrifice’ Category

Overflow Leadership   Leave a comment

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

I grew up at the end of the age of full-service service stations. My Dad and his brother co-owned one and I could not wait to be old enough to work there. When I turned 13, I was finally given my opportunity. With training on the cash register and gas pumps, checking tires and oil levels, I was placed in charge of the gas customers. There was one rule I had to live by in front of all others–when the bell rang to indicate a vehicle had pulled in to get gas I was never to walk to provide their services.

Principle: Whenever you serve others, RUN!

That principle guided much of my work life for several years, especially whenever customer service was involved. Anyone who had a need was served as quickly as possible because they were the most highly valued person on earth at that moment. While that is a wonderful principle for service, the methodology needs some tweaking for those serving in ministry.

Much of the service of a ministerial leader is built upon the spiritual health of the leader. The better their connection with the Divine, the more authentic the service they provide. This is true for more than professional clergy; it applies to all those who serve others in God’s name and is easily applied to all who serve in caring capacities.

The key to offering relevant service is in how we serve, not necessarily how fast. Pastors can tell you that if they “run” every time someone in their congregation needs some form of pastoral care, they will burn out sooner than later. Yes, there are times when running is appropriate, but to do so as a regular practice often comes from an unhealthy sense of duty, as if you are being graded by your speed. When this occurs, it’s as if you are serving God because of a debt.

You do not owe God anything.

The best way to serve one another is not to see how quickly you can react, but how authentically you can respond. If leaders are to be true vessels for the Lord, then we must do what it takes to ensure we are being filled. Cars don’t get far on empty tanks (or batteries, tipping the cap to electric tech here). Leaders do not serve effectively when drained.

Lead from your strong connection with God. Do everything it takes to tap into the strength God gives you because of how you relate with God. Your connection is uniquely yours, so do whatever practices work best for you, be it meditation, prayer, Scripture/Lectio, silence, etc. Whatever it is that best fills you with the Presence, allow God’s love to flow through you. This is done with great joy because you know that what you are sharing is God’s gift of love for everyone in your path.

The best service you can offer to others comes from overflow and not obligation.

God’s Call and Lessons Learned   1 comment

January 26, 1996. Twenty years ago today I experienced an epiphany. I felt the hand and heard the voice of God. Some do not believe such things are possible and I’m fine with that. What I know is my own experience. I was being shaped and molded proceeding that moment, and remarkable events have defined my life and ministry since. I could write volumes of the things I have experienced in times gone by, but this is a blog, not a novel. For this anniversary I want to summarize some lessons learned in this fantastic adventure. Perhaps they will serve as helpful hints to others called by God.

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Anniversary   Leave a comment

15 years.  Incredible.  15 years ago today I began an adventure in full-time ministry.  The things I have learned since March 1, 1999 could fill volumes in a library and 800GB of memory.  Perhaps it is best if I just point out the bigger lessons…

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Good Friday 2010   Leave a comment

I don’t want to overrun you with clichés, so pardon any that pop up anyway.  As I think of and prepare for Easter and the great celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, here are some thoughts that occupy my mind on this day…

  • My sins played a major roll in the need for Jesus to go to the cross.  Maybe Good Friday should be approached more as a day of mourning even now as it was back then.  Think about it, crucifixion was the most humiliating, brutal punishment the Romans could dish out.  This was not a glamorous event, but one of true terror, agony, suffering, and pain.  In a spiritual sense, this was the price required to pay for my sins.
  • Maybe mourning on this day is more proper, but let it also be said that we are all thankful that this was not the end of the story.  In His death, our redemption was secured if we simply believe in Him.  But had there not been a resurrection, then this would simply be a story of real tragedy and broken promises.  Since God’s word promised that the Messiah would rise again, we can rest assured of yet another of God’s promises kept.  Had this one been broken, then none of the rest would have mattered as much.  God does not break his promises!
  • So if I am mourning for my sin that caused the crucifixion, then I can also be assured in my heart that no matter what this Friday is doing to me spiritually, Sunday is on the way!  Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ but also His resurrection, I really can know that my Redeemer lives and that everything He said ‘will be’ is reality.  This means that my sins have been cleansed because I believe in Him.  It also means that as things continue to creep into my world causing sin, stress, and strife, I can still turn to my Living Lord and find forgiveness, rest, and peace.
  • Today, as I should every day, I regret with remorse the sins of my life.  But just as Jesus did with the grave, I will not stay in that situation!  My Savior arose and lives today and offers forgiveness and freedom for all who trust in Him.
  • I can’t wait to celebrate the resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ!

Season of Commitment – Sermon Summary   1 comment

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

The Season of Lent is a season of commitment.  It is a time to devote ourselves to spiritual disciplines in order to draw nearer to our Lord.  There are many such spiritual disciplines including prayer & meditation, Bible study, etc., but today I want to focus on the act of worship known as giving.

Why give to the church? Read the rest of this entry »