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Category: book

“And then comes Monday.”

“Then comes Monday.”

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A while back, I read Jared C. Wilson’s The Pastor’s Justification,” which was an excellent read, and I think that it would be edifying to more than just a pastor or lay leader, but to involved members and attendees of the local church.

The following excerpt from The Pastor’s Justification has been stuck on my mind for months now, and this is so true for any type of ministry, from preaching to teaching Sunday School, from law enforcement to child welfare work, and everything in between. It’s not always going to be Mondays that come, it might be any day of the week. However, we must be ready for that time of shepherding or ministry when it comes, when we are exhausted, when we might not really want any part of it.

“Then comes Monday. Many pastors take Mondays off because of the Sunday hangover. I do not. It is my worst day, so I refuse to give it to my family. Instead I work through it. It is a slog. Monday morning is when the e-mail inbox and telephone mailbox are thickest. Monday morning is when people still have questions or concerns or criticisms about Sunday. (They are starting their week full, remember? They came to church for the pick-me-up, and most of them got it.) Like everybody else, pastors are taking stock of what all must be accomplished in the week ahead. But Sunday was not a day of filling up for pastors, but pouring out.
On Monday mornings I enter my office at about 8: 00 a.m. and find that, like Sisyphus, the stone I spent the previous week pushing up the hill lay at the bottom again, ready for another go. Monday morning I must pastor. But what kind of must?
I am faced with this challenge: will I shepherd under compulsion, or willingly, as God would have me?
My first instinct is to make my shepherding contingent on my energy level. But really, my ability to exercise oversight willingly flows from my vision. No, not a vision for an “awesomely bold” church— at least, not at first— but of my God and for the flock of God that is among me.
How we see God on Monday morning will affect whether we oversee his church willingly or under compulsion. And how we view the people in our church will affect whether we oversee them willingly or under compulsion.
Our omnipresent Savior is waiting for me in the office on Monday morning. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” he says (Matt. 11: 28). I am plum tuckered on Monday morning. I face ample temptation to wallow. But Jesus promises rest. I may be a shell of a pastor at this time each week, but God is no less God. His might is no less mighty. His gospel is no less power. His reach is no less infinite. His grace is no less everlasting. His lovingkindness is no less enduring.”
(Wilson, Jared C. (2013-07-31). The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry (pp. 33-34). Crossway. Kindle Edition.)

This has been greatly convicting to me, in my spirit, because I have been there, not pastorally, but in other areas of life and ministry. I have faced this very temptation to take that next day off. And, I must admit, that I have succumbed to that temptation from time to time. My prayer for myself and everyone is that we face our “Mondays” with the strength that God will provide for us and not hide from them in our own weakness.

 

 

 

The Insanity of God

“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” –2 Timothy 3:12

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken is a must read for all believers. Riveting and convicting, it is a must read.

The Insanity of God A Story of Faith Resurrected is an amazing tail of a a journey, ney, a pilgrimage of one family around the globe who, with the goal to learn more about persecution, instead found Jesus and who He really IS and that is IS alive and working very boldly in the 21st century.

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” –John 15:18-20

After finishing this book several minutes ago, I have come to a major realization: I have been praying for missionaries, both friends and those I’ve never met, in the totally wrong way. I cannot dare ask for the end of persecution of believers, but that believers around the world remain faithful to Jesus, deciding that He is worth it, worth everything. That they remain strong and steadfast with joy in their hearts(James 1:2-5, ESV). Along with this, I feel woefully inept and inadequate for what I do. I fully recognize the scenes of desperation and anguish and despair that Nik Ripken describes in The Insanity of God, however, I don’t see it around me, I see it in the youth that my wife and I serve. And God, through Nik’s eyes, has made me realize that I feel totally inadequate for the calling God has on my life.

Reading this account of just a small portion of what Nik Ripken has experienced has made me begin to reassess my prayer life and commit to praying for faithfulness and strength through persecution for my brothers and sisters around the world. That they are free in Christ before they could ever be free through any other means(governments or family or whatever).

Part of my conviction about this is my frustration of dealing with some of the youth we may or may not receive in our home(we really don’t have much choice, those decisions are made by people who don’t really interact with the kids. Boy am I thankful that God is ultimately behind all the decision making!). I get frustrated, when in all reality, I should be thankful for another youth to love on, talk with, listen to their stories with, and proclaim to and share with the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. That is where I need to ask God for forgiveness and for the help and strength and guidance and discernment to redirect my efforts. I need to stop worrying about awkwardness and rejection, moving towards the resurrection power of Jesus. God said, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,”(Ezekiel 11:19, ESV)That is my prayer for all those I have cared for, am caring for, and will ever care for. And for everyone out there whom hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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