The past two weeks I’ve been in the pew.
For the first time in a decade, my wife and I (along with the children) have been able to sit together as a family without me having the responsibly of regular pastoral duties on a Sunday morning. Even though it’s technically been a month, the first two Sunday’s I had the opportunity to speak at two different churches. So, I was in the pulpit for the first two Sunday’s and the pew (or chair) the past two.
Moving from the pulpit to the pew has been an unexpected but welcoming change. It’s been nice to sit under the teaching of God’s Word. To see how the passage has impacted the speaker personally and then to receive the outflow. Yesterday, at the church we’ve attended the past two weeks, I couldn’t help but thank God for being the recipient of a faithful week of preparation from His speaker.
I don’t know how long I’ll sit in the pew but while I’m there I am confident this is God’s Good Plan for this season.
What a difference a month makes. Going into the final Sunday of October we entered November with much uncertainty. Nevertheless we were thankful.
Entering December (the Advent season) we are hopeful. For 10 years we served, loved, and made many sacrifices (often putting the congregations we served over our own needs/desires.)
A book I picked up years ago, initially I purchased it it to pass along should it apply to someone else. The book is titled, Surving a Layoff: A week by week guide to putting your life back together.” In it I had highlighted a thought, again expecting whoever would read might be encouraged. At the time I didn’t know the reader would be me.
The author wrote, “Day 1 after losing your job is the day you truly start working through the grieving process. Take time to grieve, just as you would over the loss of a family member. Losing a job can be just as devastatingly, if not more personally devastating, as losing a loved one. Many of us think of ourselves in terms of our jobs and all of a sudden we feel as if we have lost our identity.”
This month as we’ve entered the grieving process and much uncertainty has been a productive time. In this time God has put us around people who have cared for us, comforted us, provided for us, and has built into us. God has opened a door of employment and it appears that he is beginning to work out a housing plan.
One of the things I am learning is that my identity is not in what I’ve done over the past 10 years but in who I am in Christ. Walking through Ephesians 1 has been most helpful over the past few weeks.
So, as the title suggests in the book Give Yourself Some Time, we are doing just that. Time to gather our bearings, time to heal, time to grow.
In 2009 I began this little “blog” at the recommendation of a friend to record some of my thoughts as it relates to my walk with Christ through words. Over time I managed to write, share, go silent…write, share, go silent…repeat.
Until recently, I hadn’t realized just how long since I’ve visited this space. After reading my about page, I have some housekeeping to do. At first I thought, “does anyone even blog anymore. Is this even still a thing.” I figured I would go through and see if some of those I followed in the past are still actively posting. Then, I quickly decided I would wait. Doing so might deter me from sticking around, should I find that their blog property has also seen neglect. Another thought crossed my mind, “would anyone even read what I have to write.” I decided to throw that thought out because dwelling on it too much might also deter me.
A lot has changed since my last post and the publication of my about page. In time, that will be updated and some thoughts will be recorded. The goal is still the same as when I began in 2009 (almost 13 years ago).
To motivate, mobilize, and mentor others to live life in a passionate pursuit of God.
As I close this post I am ending one season and entering another. For nearly 11 years I have had the opportunity to serve as a Pastor. I served the St George Church of God (2011-2013), North Aiken Church of God (2013-2018) and Summerville Church of God (2018-2021). On October 31 of this year, 2021, I stepped out of the pulpit of the Summerville Church of God no longer holding the title Pastor within a local congregation. This means a lot of changes for my family and I, for the time being, as I wait for what’s next. In waiting I am certain that God is working all things for His Glory and Our Good.
Erik Raymond: I can think of five different but equally interesting conversations over the last couple of years where I’ve discussed expository preaching. They were interesting because those I talked with had such different understanding of what exposition is. This is one of the byproducts stemming from the rise in the popularity of exposition; people […]
via What is expository preaching? — Already Not Yet
What is the difference between exegesis and exposition? Haddon Robinson put it this way, “Exposition is drawing from your exegesis to give your people what they need to understand the passage.” This implies that the preacher will have a lot more material after the exegesis than they are able to present in the sermon. Here […]
via Exegesis and Exposition — Biblical Preaching
There is danger in asking, “what does this passage mean to you” when reading the Scriptures.
There is much value in “digging deeper” into a Biblical text. Too often, we tend to skim the surface of Scripture and insert ourselves into the narrative. I’ve been guilty of saying (and have heard others say), “what does this passage mean to you/me.” There is danger is asking that question when reading the Word of God.
While there may be a number of applications to draw out from a Biblical Text, there is only one meaning.
A more accurate question would be, “what does this text mean.” While there may be a number of applications to draw out from a Biblical Text, there is only one meaning. Asking the latter forces us to dig until we know for certain what God meant when He inspired the Biblical writers to write as they were moved on by the Holy Spirit.
There’s good news, the Bible (God’s Word) is sufficient.
There are many excuses for a lack of diligent study. I believe, for the most part, many individuals skim the surface is not because they lack reverence for the Word but they are ignorant (uneducated) in how to study a text. Therefore, we never really dig into what God meant because we don’t know how to look into what we read. There’s good news, the Bible (God’s Word) is sufficient. You don’t have to be a Biblical Scholar to understand and know what it means. You simply need the right tools and you need to know how to use those tools. The very words we read have meaning. Therefore, it’s important to have a basic understanding how to study those words.
It is my prayer that as a student of Scripture, the attached link will help you in your pursuit to study the very Words of God. How To Do A Word Study (via Olive Tree Blog.)
Let’s change the name of the church! I ask, why?
The following statement is one I left on a post in an online forum. The original poster asked how to get people on board with a name change. Further how do go about getting them tied into the vision and mission of the name change. Below was my reponse.
A name change without a DNA change will not help.
- For example, if changing the name is “the secret sauce” for growth, you’ll still be stuck.
- If the DNA…(values, vision, mission) necessitates a change of name, go for it.
- Though I have never personally led a church through a name change, I was on staff at a church who changed their name. After the pastor left (that initiated the name change) the church name eventually went back to the original name under the new pastor. Why did that happen?
- The answer I believe is due to the reason why the name was changed to being with. The name change wasn’t organic. The values, vision, and mission of the church didn’t necessitate the change. The DNA of the church didn’t change. Same church….different name.
Write the vision, make it plain.
- Allow people to get tied to the vision first. Once that happens begin tying a new identity (name) with the new DNA (values, vision, and mission).
- It could be a tag line at first. For example. Say the tag line from your values, mission, and vision was the following. A place for people looking for life and significance.
- As people live out, or reproduce the values, vision, and mission, it may be, that you find out the vision and mission necessitates for you to identify as Infuse Church.
- The name changed because the identity changed.
Allow the name change to be from the values, vision, and mission. Let it be organic.
Just to be honest, my advice may not be worth the time it took to write it out. I admit, I’m limited in my experience with the question, but, maybe it’s helpful.
Share this: Some helpful tips if your thinking of changing the name of the church.
- A name change without a DNA change will not help.
- Write the vision, make it plain.
- Allow the name change to be from the values, vision, and mission. Let it be organic.
Read more here… https://georgetallmageonline.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/name-change/
The following picture was shared online. There is profound truth. Take a moment and meditate on the message. If we want growth we need to part ways with comfort.
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. (Acts 1:10-11 ESV)
As devoted followers of Christ, our goal isn’t to simply gaze. We are to put dirt between our toes and go.
An individual from NACOG came up to the church to pray this past Friday. The building wasn’t unlocked so they decided to just walk around the facilities and pray. North Aiken isn’t a large facility, to give you an idea, the church only owns 0.36 acres. It’s fairly small. While praying, this individual began pulling up weeds in the areas where we have plants and mulch, between the church and sidewalk.
I took notice on Sunday that the flower beds looked great and began asking around in order to find out who took the time to serve in that daunting task. This individual let me know that she did it as she was praying. She went on further to say the following.
“Pulling the weeds out of the flower beds made me feel like I was washing the feet of the church.”