i’m going to go ahead and state the obvious. if you’re not interested in thinking about the spiritual realities of our life together, it’s ok to move on. you could check out the espn site or maybe some youtubes of the VMA’s. my sleep will not be hindered.
here it is: the most important thing in my life is to help people experience the life that jesus died to give us…and to experience it everyday. everything else is a collective second place. a very distant second place.
it is what i devote myself to as a husband and a dad. it’s what i do everyday as a neighbor and friend and a part of the community. it’s how i define my role as a minister and counselor and teacher and discipler.
i love sports and music and cool television shows and home improvement projects. i love eating out with friends and talking about social issues and jeep rides in the country.
i’m a normal guy…nothing special. god didn’t give me anything that he hasn’t given freely to everyone else. i don’t have more of his “spirit” than anybody else. my understanding of the bible has come from simply studying it. my love of people and patience and contentment come from the exact same source available to anyone who chooses to humbly walk with god.
i’m absolutely weary of people thinking that because i’m a “pastor”, god did something to me or somehow made things more clear to me…that my calling to serve god is heroic or my life ambitions have come from a special spiritual hotline.
i’m naturally an introvert. i’m spontaneous and horribly undisciplined. i’ve had a closet attention deficit problem most of my adult life. i’m uncomfortably self-conscious. i hate being up in front. in my twenties, i was deathly afraid of public speaking, let alone preaching. i lead singing in worship settings for years, but i’m totally intimidated by my below average singing voice. kids used to make fun of the way i sang…and my nervousness secretly overwhelms me to this day when i have to lead singing.
prayer is usually difficult for me and bible study is most often a grind, because of attention issues. at heart, i think i’m really more self-centered than others-oriented. i am often controlled by fears and doubts and questions that plague my spiritual journey.
so what made the difference? is there anything at all that separates me from you? yeah. maybe. so don’t miss this.
again…here it is: when i was a young man, i had people who inspired me. i had people who lived their lives close to mine and challenged me to follow their lead. i had people who modeled lives of spiritual discipline and passion for the things of god. i had people who spoke truth to me. they challenged me to swallow my fears and refuse to listen to the lies that came from the darkness of media or thoughtless critics.
i had people who told me they believed in me and that they would be there for me, no matter what. i had people who refused to let me give anything less than my best to god. they would call out my sin and they would celebrate my faithfulness.
here is now the greatest sadness in my life: over the past 25 years, there are fewer and fewer men and women who invest deeply in the lives of kids and young adults…to show them the way…to teach them the riches of god’s words and the joy of serving him.
my childhood and youth was filled with faithful bible school teachers and good-hearted young couples and spiritually mature adults who saw it as their responsibility to pass on faith and godly values and a holy life purpose to the next generation.
my college and young adult years were heavily influenced by dedicated youth leaders who showed me how to live out my beliefs in a difficult and complicated world. and they left me no room but to follow in their footsteps and do the same for young people who would follow in mine.
this is how the “christian life” works. this is god’s only plan for passing on truth and raising up the church and leadership in any future generation.
and there are simply fewer and fewer people who are willing to accept that mantle of responsibility. there are lots of people who have no problem accepting god’s goodness for themselves and their own children…yet the void of servants and disciplers and teachers and leaders of kids and spiritual mentors continues to deepen.
apparently, there are three or four less hours in the week than there were a few years ago.
anybody else have a better explanation?