Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I've written a lot about, uh, everything.
Opinions are like...
Yet I hope you've guessed I'm just trying to encourage people to think as religion(s) and government(s) increasingly insist on doing that for us to take away our freedom(s) and chain us to their Babylonian altars.
Or something like that.
Anyway, aside from Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry which kinda lists thoughts that have guided me through nearly four decades of undershepherding ministry - still available if you ask and provide an address - I've been thinking about some other thoughts that saved me during my bleak week (go to the last KD for more on that).
My home pastor who is home with Jesus charged at my ordination on 5/8/77, "Be slow. Be steady. Be solid."
I haven't always done that.
But when I have, I haven't hurt others along with myself.
John was about a month from retirement when I met him shortly after being installed at Parkesburg, Pennsylvania's First Presbyterian Church.
He said, "If I can give one bit of advice to you as you begin your pastoral ministry, never defend yourself. It's better to trust those around you to do it for you. Of course, they won't; which means you'll know pretty soon why I'm so happy about retiring!"
He was the first to introduce me to Psalm 62.
There were two Presbyterian churches in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania - the alive and growing one and, uh, the one that called me.
James, the pastor of the alive and growing one who helped start Presbyterian Charismatic Communion which really ticked off clergy who weren't visibly psyched for Jesus and serving churches like mine, took me out to lunch not long after I arrived and I asked, "Why is your church growing and mine isn't?"
He answered, "Nothing can happen through you that has not first happened to you."
It's like I heard over the radio from some roll and spit in the aisles church out of Newark, New Jersey while going back and forth to Madison to finish off a worthless advanced degree, "The only Gospel that some folks will ever hear or see is the Gospel according to you; and you can't give away what you ain't got for yourself."
Explains a lot about the decline of mainline Christianity in America.
Charlie was my age now when I met him about 35 years ago in my first clergy covenant group.
I'll never forget when he cried, "I can't take it anymore. I'm trying as hard as I can and I'm not getting anywhere with anyone about anything. My church is a mess. My family is a mess because I take it out on them. I can't eat. I can't sleep. And as I walked up the steps to my bedroom last night, I yelled, 'Take me now, Jesus, because I'm still hoping my life is better to you than it obviously is to anyone else.'"
Come to think of it, John was in that group.
That's when I heard about Psalm 62.
I've come through the last week a lot stronger than I entered into it.
My call has been reconfirmed.
I've got more resolve.
I expect Him to...
But it wasn't/isn't and won't be because of anything in Fifteen Secrets for Life and Ministry - Buy it anyway! - or any of the saving thoughts that I've picked up along the way like in the aforementioned.
There's only One real, permanent, and eternal saving thought/truth.
Jesus: "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will take care of you."
Billy and I played another nine today.
I played really well; and thought, "Maybe there's hope for..."
As we packed up the clubs, Billy said, "Better not forget what you did today that made you better."
Thank you, Billy, for reminding me to thank Jesus.
Blessings and Love!