Now that it's roughly a couple months later, and I have licked my wounds. I am brought to the scripture in the
New Living Translation. It's Proverbs 24:16 "The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked".
The way it's worded here to me removes the option of living a spirit-filled life and giving into failures. It's impossible. Which means through our failures, we MUST not only GET UP, but GET STRONGER.
So I am getting back up. As a practical exercise I began writing what I learned through this whole thing, as to not allow this to "overthrow" me.
-I learned it's wiser to stop something if it's not health, even if it works on paper
-I learned that the God inside me, is MUCH bigger then the i ever proclaimed him to be.
-I listened everytime my wife reminded me where I am weak, HE is strong.
-I realized that the a strong spirit is only really able to achieve full strength, once it is broken.
-Concentrated focus and prayer take you through the questions more then you know.
-A love for a community you know nothing about is impossible to develop unless you infuse yourself in that community.
-A love for a community should be the FIRST place you start, not a building.
-People will buy tickets to watch you fail
-I realized concentrated focus makes people uncomfortable
-I learned "unless the Lord builds it, the builders labor in vain" in more ways then one.
-I saw relationships develop around mission
-I saw the good and bad sides of character
-I truly realized you can plan all you want, but when you realease to God's leading, your plans are NEVER AS GOOD.
-I watched the greatest person around children I've ever met, step up and become a inspiration to me for her sheer dedication.
-I saw a couple leave comfortability, to serve the community they live in
-I learned the church has a 2 sided people. One of beauty, one of contradictions
-I learned sacrifice will take everything out of you
-I learned to not fear what others deem as failure, and to learn from my failures
-To mention that, I learned not to be afraid to say I failed. I failed! But I am definitely getting back up
-I learned people hurt when you fail
-I learned that's big
You haven't seen more scandalous drama at a chicken coop since Gus was peddling the blue stuff at Los Pollos Hermanos (only breaking bad fans will get that reference). So Chick-fil-A picked a fight! But with who? Only logical foe is free speech, right? The past 72 hours have been exhausting (keep in mind, I am NOT super-political. I usually stay out of political rantings). But for the past 3 days I've been more annoyed at the radicals who hate, disappointed by the leaders of the church who remained silent (cause they normally love talking), and just plain tired of hearing from the "RELEVANT" christian voice. Because what do they really stand for anyway? I have read thoughts and articles that have made me want to puke (probably because what I was reading was regurgitated trash anyway. 1 article by Matthew Paul Turner said "5 ways the church failed" in the ChIck-Fil-A. (YAWN) I'm sure he's a nice enough guy with a great heart, but this whole "Jesus is love and would be fine with us the way we are" is really played out.
What I know is this. It's America, we are allowed our freedom. Speech is granted to ALL, and Christians are included. We are Christians, and indeed we are called to love. Love all, no matter who they are (judge not).
I also know this. I drove my 3 kids to a Chick-fil-A in Jersey yesterday to teach them these things and more.
I wanted to teach my kids a lesson. When we ended up (in Jersey) I began to tell them what a great country we have. That people can freely speaktheir minds, live their lives, and have their faith. I taught them that the standard for their lives should always be the Bible first, and they should never apologize for that. EVER.
I taught them that Jesus told us to love, and not just love those who agree with us, or believe what we believe. But true love...no strings attached. I told them that all people should be treated with dignity and respect. I taught them they should stand strong behind truth when asked and never water it down due to criticism, pressure, or persecution.
I taught them all this over a chicken sandwich....or 2...
I just got back from one of those staff retreats that make you feel you can really do something with the team that's around you. For some (including me who is not a big "meetings" guy, but is growing into that role) it can be grueling. 11 hours of hashing, rehashing, coming full circle back to the original....hash! It can be absolutely exhausting. Especially if your in a room where you feel almost everyone thinks different then you do. See when your talking business, you WANT that. Different types of thinking. Churches are on a kick of "saying" they want that, but in all reallity they all look, dress, act, think, plan, vision very similar. I have been a product and employee of such a system. I have worked at larger churches then "Beth" (Bethlehem Assembly of God, Valley Stream NY) , but very much surrounded by alot of "myselfs" <---(jimmy word)
"Beth" is the girlfriend I never thought I'd end up falling in love with (get over it, God described Israel as a she/her and the affecionate love for her) . I mean I knew I'd love aspects of her, but in the end wondered how long this relationship could/would last. Then 2 things began to happen a couple years ago.
1. I began to see who I was NOT, and who they were, and recognized MY need to become more of THEM.
2. I realized who THEY were NOT, and saw the connection oh how God wanted to use ME to influence THEM.
(to do this, you must be intentional PRIDE KILLERS)
THEY, and ME is becoming US (Forgive my improper use of the inglesh langwage)
Which means at 34 years old, and having been in ministry for almost 15 years that I'm finally understanding the principle behind 1 Cor: 12:4-7, 11-13 "Diversity in Gifts".
In a retreat with many different gifts, make ups, personalities and preferences I realized several key points.
1. God WILL (or may want to) call you to a place different then you, and outside of your personal preference. (this seems to be a dying thought amongst emerging leaders)Pastors, resist the urge to hire YOURSELF, or a yes man. I really love and respect my pastor who well knows our differencs, and celebrates them.
2. There is power in the commingling of those who are (Progressive, modern, traditional, Post-modern, Hipster and whatever ridiculous category we can put on a demographic).
Again 1 Cor 12:4-7.
3. THIS type of thinking, and intentional gatherings (even staffings) is a true remedy for transforming and reaching communities with the relevant gospel.