Painful Privilege

Ministry is a painful privilege. On the one hand, God said to Isaiah no one is going listen to you, but I'm sending you anyway. To Paul, he said I'm going to show him how much he must suffer for my namesake.

Serving people that are sinful and hard-hearted, challenging, or dying is a very painful thing for the pastor or Christian because he welcomes those experiences and he doesn't run from them. Instead he runs toward them. He loves God and he loves people so he cannot avoid the pain. He must welcome it. And it hurts to share other people's pain. But on the other hand, it is a great privilege because the Christian or the pastor or minister is in a place to bring God's answer of relief. Even if the relief is on the horizon in heaven, he brings a message of hope and peace from heaven to the person. It is a privilege to be there with them in their happiest and darkest moments. Because of the word of God, he has the privilege to drink deeply from life itself.

Freedom in the Unknown

A young college student went through a crisis in his faith. He felt like it was hard to believe everything he'd learned. "What proof can I find?" he asked. 

After much searching, he found that even in all of the sciences, there are things that people choose to believe is true so that they can operate and function. The choice to believe that the miracles really happened, even though he can’t figure out logically how they did, was great freedom for him.

A Leap of Faith

Jesus told the man, in Mark, chapter 9, that his son was possessed by demons and the demons were throwing him into fire and then drowning him. Jesus told the man, “All things are possible for those who believe.” And the man said, I do believe, help me with my unbelief.

I think that story shows us how Christ asks us to take a leap of faith. It's a leap of faith in believing in him as a person. We are giving him an opportunity to subjectively bless our lives with miracles and with peace and power. We are opening ourselves up to to love and forgiveness and getting over our past and probably 10 other things!


So often, we look at our lives and wonder if they really make that big of a difference. Judging by the lack of impact in the visible world outside of our home. But actually, the legacy we leave behind long after we are gone lies in the children that will live beyond us. They take the character traits and faith and the truth that we share with them to places that we could never imagine. This legacy continues with their children and grandchildren and all of the children after them. 

Walking by Faith

Today, in the bible study time with the kids at a camp at church, a little bright green-eyed boy interrupted me while I was presenting the fall into sin and the promise of a savior. He was very innocent and he wasn’t trying to challenge me, but he said, “Hey, wait a minute, how do we know all of this is true?”

It really got me to thinking. How do I properly answer that? So, I said, “That’s a very good question!” and bought myself 30 seconds.

There are a few rather objective reasons and a few subjective reasons. I explained that the bible has prophecies that were written long before Jesus came and they came true during Jesus’ life and no other book of faith has that. And then I told him that the bible and it’s message of love has changed many lives from hate to love. I have not found, in my lifetime, anything else that works like the bible to change lives to give me hope and peace when I face the biggest challenges in life that I have.

If something is miraculous, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. There are miracles. Just because I cannot understand how they happened doesn’t mean that they didn’t happen.

You Choose Your Attitude

I went downtown with my connect group Saturday morning and we helped another connect group feed the hungry. We went down there thinking that we were going to do something to change their lives, but actually the people that I met that came to eat the breakfast, they changed my life.

One of them is named Ronny Scales. We were giving away backpacks and he was asking for one. We were trying to get one over to him and with a miscommunication we gave all of the backpacks away right before Ronny was able to get one. When we told him that we would find a way to get him another one that we had back home, down to Austin to give it to him he was very gracious and he trusted us. He said, “Well, maybe somebody else here needed it more than I did.” His gracious spirit of letting go and understanding and being kind to us really made me happy. Even though he’s in a homeless situation and doesn’t have something to carry his few things in because all of his stuff got stolen recently. That kind of character mixed into a very desperate situation isn't typical.

Today I delivered the backpack to The Arch, which is a very scary place, but Ronny was there with a big smile. He had told the people at the front, those people at that church don’t lie. I know that that guy is coming to bring me a backpack and I did. We hugged and he took my phone number and the church address and said he wants to come to a bible study.

Two Cents

Remember that witnessing is telling about the person and work of Jesus Christ not about your Lutheran Church or the things you stand for. That is all secondary. Imagine Jesus in the room and you're talking about church and he wants you to talk about him. He wants you to get people to quit thinking about all of the details and just think about Jesus and his word of promise. I am a church leader and a very well-known representative of my church and I'm very proud of my church, but that's not worth two cents when needing to save a soul or encourage someone in their faith.

Delicate China

She’s the only woman working at M.E. Gene Johnson garage. She works as the business manager in a little office. She came down into that man’s world while I was waiting. She had her beautiful china coffee cup in her hand. Everything else is styrofoam and disposable and rough and tumble. She brings a woman's touch. I asked about her cup and she said that she’s so glad that she hasn’t broken it yet. At Christmas, she plans to change to a holiday mug.

This shows a big difference between men and women. Even God talks about it in 1 Peter 3:7. He tells men to dwell with their wives with understanding as with a weaker vessel. A woman is a delicate china coffee cup and men often make a huge mistake when he treats her like a styrofoam cup. God watches this and it breaks his heart and he will not bless a man in his marriage if he treats the fine china like styrofoam.

Thankfully, God loves the man and tells him that he will guide him with love and grace to learn how to treat this beautiful delicate person that he’s put in his life.

Husbands, how are you treating your wives like delicate china? How could you be better? Wives, what is something your husband does that eximplifies God's wishes in 1 Peter 3:7?

Witnessing and Rejection

Something that impedes us from witnessing is worry about what people think. We must remember that what they think is always in flux. So, what they think today is not necessarily what they will think tomorrow and everyone can change their thinking. That's why God submitted the world to the gospel to change hearts. Don't worry about what they think! 

You can change the way they think and give them something new to think about. Specifically, people with hard hearts need a hard word to break the heart and make them really think. We will have to sacrifice short term rejection, but in the long term, we might gain a friend for eternal life. 

Have you ever stepped out in faith despite the possibility of rejection? How did it go?