Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



The first frame of my favorite cartoon strip depicts a pastor praying on his knees in a church's sanctuary.

The second frame shows his secretary on the telephone.

The third frame betrays why so many churches not to mention countries are so messed up as the secretary hovers over the pastor with phone to her ear while he's still praying and says, "Oh, it's O.K. He can talk to you right now about the ushers for next month. He's not doing anything important."


I'm reminded of an early Sunday morning in the sanctuary of Winston-Salem's First Presbyterian Church (NC) so many years ago as the delivery guy for the local florist showed up while an associate pastor and I were praying.

Without any reference to Reformed architecture or sensitivity to James 5:16-18, he asked, "I was told these are for the communion table. How do you want them arranged?"

Turning to Stimp, I asked, "Do you remember the rubrics for that from floral arranging class in seminary?"



Continuing with fact over fiction, I was interviewed for a job a long time ago that was totally wrong for me.

I kinda knew it; but a pastor about my age right now back then really knew it.

He challenged, "You have a reputation as a man of prayer; so I suggest you pray on this for a season and then get back to us."

I didn't.

I took the job.

It turned out to be the worst ecclesiastical experience of my life.

Confessionally, I was known for being a man of prayer; but I really wasn't.

Oh, I could preach, lecture, and write about it quite passionately and persuasively with Biblical/confessional/constitutional precision.

But as far as actually doing it...


All of that came to mind late last night and a few hours after midnight as I struggled with not meeting my own exaggerated expectations as well as the unrealistic ones of...

Coupling that with other concerns that used to be addressed at ordination - "You have promised to make it your particular duty so to provide for him in material things that he may be free to give his whole time to the Church and to the Presbytery without distraction or unnecessary anxiety" (The Book of Common Worship, 1946) - I have been at the borders of burn out or depression or...

Then He spoke through the Psalmist: "I am at rest in God alone...He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken...Rest in God alone."

Jesus spoke, "Tarry with Me."

So I did.

And His promise came alive in me because He is: "God inhabits the praises of His people."

I think that's what Max Lucado was trying to say in writing, "Drink deeply, linger awhile...When you turn to Him for help, He runs to you to help...Before you face the day, face the Father. Before you step out of bed, step into His presence" (Mocha with Max, 2005).


We often spend so much time telling others how to turn trickles into rivers that we don't have enough time left over to tap into Him for ourselves; and if that sounds selfish, keep in mind that taking care of your own relationship with Him precedes any ability/facility/efficacy for enabling others to tap into Him.

Again, Max: "If you don't know how to stop, the result can be painful...Ever feel as if you need to get away? So did Jesus...'Early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus woke and left the house. He went to a lonely place, where He prayed.'"



Individually as well as corporately, it's a 2 Chronicles 7:14 thing.

That's a strained segue for these strong words from a prophet in South Carolina: "The business of America is not business...Our coins don't declare, 'In Investment We Trust.' Our pledge of allegiance does not declare us 'one nation under the Stock Market'...From the beginning, the American enterprise has been a spiritual one."

He admits, "I'll not deny that there were very definite economic and imperial interests that played a part in the exploration and colonization of the Western Hemisphere. But doing the will of God, the God of the Bible, to the glory of God always figured largely in the plans and purposes of the early colonists."

He warns, "Though many are suffering from unemployment and financial ruin, straightening out the economy should not be the country's top priority. For when the CEO of this land can proclaim with some satisfaction that America is no longer a Christian land, it is evident that we suffer from a bankruptcy of faith far more serious than the loss of even billions of dollars. America is in danger of losing its soul, if, in fact, it is not already lost."

Referring to 2 Chronicles 7:14 with gusto, he concludes, "And don't come back with the separation of church and state argument. I am not suggesting we elect pastors to office...[Thank God! Look at what they've done to His Church! Or to quote Woody Allen's artist in Hannah and Her Sisters, "If Jesus were to come back and see what's being done in His name, He'd never stop throwing up!"]...But if we don't start putting believers into positions of government, all we will be able to say about America after a bit more than 200 years is that it is going out of business."

Even the 12 year old Jesus understood that.


I had to get back to God to get back to...

Created by One, it's/He's the only answer for what's ailing us.





If you're like me and everybody else, you're being driven to your knees.

Good start.



Blessings and Love!

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