The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mission Possible

A CRYPTIC MESSAGE FOLLOWED BY A PUFF ON BLUE SMOKE. That is how one of my childhood television shows, Mission Impossible, would begin each week. What followed was an hour of bits and pieces that sometimes seemed unconnected and sometimes seemed to fail, only to bring about the desired end by the time the show was over. Mission Impossible¸ always turned out to be mission possible.
As those who call Jesus Christ Lord, we too have been given a mission to accomplish. A mission whose end is the spreading of the good news about Jesus Christ to the whole world all for the glory of God. God’s glory proclaimed and experienced through the Gospel is the mission to which we have been called.
Let’s face it, sometimes we feel that this is more like mission impossible than mission possible. The goal seems to large for us; the process to daunting and yet it is to this mission we have been called. But just like those behind the tape recorded and blue smoke, God has not left us without the people and skills and power needed to accomplish His mission.
Much like the television show, each person in the church, the Body of Christ, has a part to play. Sometimes our parts may seem unrelated to the goal, sometimes we may even feel that we are not moving forward is seeing the mission accomplished, and yet when all is said and done, I believe we shall see the mission completed to the glory of God.
Surely there will be twists and turns along the way, and even an unforeseen set-back from time to time, but as we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, as we rest in His direction and His empowering, I know we shall see the Gospel of Jesus Christ spread and the glory of God seen. It is good for us to remember that in all this it is not about us, but about Him. We must be those willingly give ourselves to His plan and design, trusting not in our own world-view and wisdom, but in His.
In all this I am reminded of the writing of the Apostle Paul, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:6-11)

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reimagining the Church

OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO, I “officially” left the hallowed halls of professional youth ministry and entered into that rarified position of “senior pastor.” Though I have kept my fingers and toes inside that specialized area of ministry from time to time, for all intent and purposes I have passed that responsibility on to those with more energy than I. Much has changed since I first entered into that ministry, and in the words of the old Oldsmobile commercial, “It’s not your father’s youth ministry anymore!”

It has been said that the youth our the future of the church, and if that is true, I believe we have much to be excited about. The church of the 21st century is not, and must not be, the church of the past. We live in a world that is changing before the ink dries on the newspaper announcing the change, that is if you actually can find a traditional newspaper to read. As in a related point, people ask me why we don’t have a newspaper ad, or a larger ad in the Yellow Pages? Truth is less and less people use either of them to “find” a church. The way we live is changing and how we live out the reality of being the Body of Christ is changing as well.

Now, I realize that there are good and bad changes. I realize that we must guard the truth about who Jesus Christ is, and what it means to be His follower. I also realize that for us “older ones” some of these changes, and those changes looming around the corner, are nothing but scary to us, but that does not mean it is time for us to hunker down and rebuild the walls, no it is time for us to move forward even more steadily upon the knees of prayer.

It is time for us to join our hearts in prayer for those who are the church, and will continue to be the church in the days ahead. It is time for us to join our hearts and hands in praying for, and encouraging, our youth. We, who have journeyed this path longest, must pray for and with our youth so that the Apostle Paul’s admonition will be true for them, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (2 Timothy 4:12)