Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Secret Pain of Pastors, "Why did I ever agree to do this!"

This is a very interesting article on the true difficulties of being a pastor. In essence it gives a detailed look at how stressful a pastor's life can be based on all the things he or she must deal with as a pastor on a daily basis. I invite you to take a look and then respond by giving your pastor a word of encouragement whether you think they deserve it or not or whether you like them or not.

Readings 26-29 The Book of Judges: The cycle of Sin and redemption

The book of Judges is a microcosm of the overarching theme of the Bible. God calls his people to relationship and for a while the people accept and follow him. Then the people fall away from God through pride and selfishness. Without being in relationship with God their lives begin to suffer. God is no longer able to protect them from themselves and outside forces. Then in their oppression the people repent of their pride and selfishness and return to a relationship with God. Now God can provide for them and he does so. God redeems his people and once again they are in right relationship. Soon the people begin to fall away again in their pride and selfishness. It is a cycle that never ends and to which the law of Moses has no power to stop.
I am hoping you not only see this pattern in the Bible, but in our own lives. I do not know about you, but I live a life of extreme comfort. I may not be flush with cash, but I live in a nice home, have food on the table, two cars and opportunities to enjoy myself. I am doing extremely well. Yet it is in this comfort and ease that we become most susceptible to selfishness, pride and arrogance. We are susceptible to rejecting the need for a protector and provider. So I reject him. I may not think that I reject him, but by relying on my own strength and failing to go to God in thanksgiving for all he has given me and my family I say, ‘Look what I have been able to do.” I turn to myself and thus reject God. This grieves God as he longs to be my foundation and provider but can not do so as long as I limit him and even reject him.
But God is so amazing that even though he can say, ‘I told you so.’ when my selfishness and pride cause my life to come crashing down, He judges not except to hold me in his arms and say, ‘how I have missed you.”
So as we read the book of Judges, may we know that this book is for each us in that God does not desire our lives to end in sin, civil war and exile as it did with the nation of Israel. God desires to be our ‘Judge’, our protector, our redeemer, our king. Let us think of those places in our lives in which we need to turn over to God and the areas of our lives in which we need to thank God for the redeeming gift of Jesus Christ and follow him in good times and bad as our Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 25: Reading the Bible every day is impossible! Nothing is impossible with God; ask Joshua!

We are one quarter of the way through our Essential 100 and I was wondering something. Have you actually read twenty five daily bible readings? Are you where you need to be to finish the E100 bible challenge on time? Here is the truth, reading the bible, even for five minutes a day is not as easy as Fr. Rob said it would be. How do I know? I have missed a few days. Ok so I have missed six days. Of course when I do miss I make it up the next day or over the next few days.

The truth is about this time we begin to get slack with our reading and even wonder if it is worth the effort. If you have made it to the twenty fifth reading you will find that it is the point in the story of Israel in which after their forty years in the Desert they have crossed the Jordon to claim the homeland that god has promised. Big problem though; there are already people living in the land. These people are numerous, have armies and cities with big giant walls. How in the world are the Israelites ever going to establish themselves in this land it is seemingly impossible. The first obstacle is Jericho, the city with massive walls. God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to take the city. One problem though. With their technology there was no way to take it. The walls were too thick.

                Yet Joshua was obedient and moved as the Lord commanded. When he did so God came again and showed that what is impossible with man is possible with God. He had Joshua do some parading around the city which in itself was silly and could do nothing to actually penetrate the city. Yet God told Joshua what to do and what the outcome would be. So Joshua commanded his army to march around the city in faithfulness to God’s command and what happened? God brought down the walls of Jericho, the Israelite army rushed in and took the city.

                So if God has called you to participate in the E100 challenge, trust in him to accomplish this task and be obedient in doing so. This is not only true with our reading, but in every part of your Christian life. Throughout the Bible was God’s continued call upon Christians is not to a good and happy life, but to obedience. By being obedient God’s people become Holy. By becoming Holy, we are reside in the divine will of God. This is where we have always been meant to be.

                So take off your shoes my friends, be obedient to his call to holiness for you are standing on the Holy Ground of God’s word.