It was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times.
Some people are just naturally mean spirited.
The above title (if not the actual book) has always fascinated me. How could you look back at a year (or several years) and declare it was both the best year and the worst year?
That was hard to do for me as a church planter until this year.
The good stuff?
Easy, thatâ€™s a no-brainer. Over 700 coming to faith in Christ Jesus and 350 or so professing Him through baptismâ€¦who canâ€™t see God all over that?!
And it ainâ€™t over yet!
But what about that split personality sounding, schizophrenic, Sybil-like, flipside mumbo-jumbo I was referring to in the title of todayâ€™s post?
Oh, that. Well, in many ways this has been one of the worst years for me as a pastor as well. No one likes admitting this stuff, I mean, how could a year with such blessing from God have anything bad accompany it?
I donâ€™t know that Iâ€™ll ever be able to answer that this side of eternity. Because, the truth is, most of the, lets call it, â€˜misbehaviorâ€™ (although thatâ€™s putting it way too mildly), came from people flying the banner of, â€œChristian.â€ My good friend and one of our teaching pastors, Clayton King wrote a great post on his blog about this. Seriously, you ought to read it. Youâ€™ll find the post Iâ€™m referring to here. In fact, go on over thereâ€¦Iâ€™ll wait.
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That should give you a feel for how we â€œChristiansâ€ can often treat each other. What made this year especially tough for me personally was that there was no reason for itâ€”quite the opposite, it has been a year to celebrate. What so many churchâ€™s pray for the entire life of the church. Yet, unbelievably, there were those who chose instead, to launch sniper attacks, lob a a spiritual grenade or two on their way out the door, or just smile when you seeâ€™m while chattering like an old set of clankin dentures while your back is turned.
Why? I mean they were only a handful, but boy did they try to recruit. Notre dame could really use these folks to rebuild their football program if that negative energy could only be re-channeled.
Alas, Iâ€™ve seen no sign of that.
Now watch this, donâ€™t let this post get you down, or even think that I am down because, youâ€™d miss the point of the post AND the series. Besides, Iâ€™m not down, Iâ€™m pumped!!! Here is what the Lord showed me regarding this seeming inconsistency in people. Take a look at what Jesus says here,
Do you remember what I told you? â€˜A slave is not greater than the master.â€™ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.John 15:20
Bad news? I donâ€™t get to opt out of hard times and unfair treatment.
Good news? It will refine me as a pastor and EXPLODE our church to places only God can take it. How do I know? God brought His pruning shears to Southbrook and itâ€™s a good thing. Every other time Heâ€™s done this it was followed by something AWESOME from Him! I read about it here.
You should do the same and then hold on to your britches. This weekend all that IGNITING will result in something huge!