Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Why I'm Staying in Belvidere, Illinois
"Contrary to what professing Christians like to think, many of God's people
are not willing to walk in perfect agreement with Him, and this may
explain why so many believers do not have the power of the
Spirit, the peace of the Spirit, and many of the other
qualities, gifts, and benefits which
the Spirit of God brings."
Rome hasn't called me...yet.
Actually, if it weren't for the silly clothes, pathological thing with Mary, transubstantiation, and celibacy, I think I'd fit in; having studied there and always coveted their fidelities to Biblical Christology and ethics as well as education not divorced from, uh, Biblical Christology and ethics.
God knows they've been a lot truer to Him than...
Of course, my mommy always thought I'd eventually be the president of the most renowned/notorious seminary in our franchise; and considering who's been installed since...
If it weren't for squandering the appropriate stepping stones through my own stupidity and sins, ya never know; especially considering who's been installed since...
How do you know if...?
There's something on that below this KD.
I am who I am and I am where I am supposed to be in Belvidere, Illinois.
While I miss some dear friends in those squandered stepping stones on my way from the high steeples and ivy-covered towers to Boone County, I've never felt better in my life or ministry.
Deep into my 8th year, every day hasn't been a hot fudge sundae.
I haven't had a raise in four years which translates as annual deductions and I'll never be reimbursed for unused days off, study leave, or vacation.
Historical hatreds/dysfunctions/feuds have been transferred to...
Dang, I inherited a...
Tough interim period.
Control needs on steroids.
Bllllllluuuuuuurrrrrrred theology, polity, and...just about everything.
Great staff and remnant and immediately installed predecessor-pastor; buuuuuuut...
Enough...or people who should feel guilty will feel...
Uh, they're gone.
Pruned, we've started to grow in/through/for Him in unprecedented ways in every way and...
The great staff and faithful remnant that I inherited have stayed.
My predecessor's legacy of returning Jesus, the Bible, and prayer to the forefront of First's life and ministry provided a solid rock foundation to build upon for the future.
Even total cooperation, encouragement, affirmation, advocacy, and applause for all of our musical ministries; and as anybody will tell ya who's ever endured those worship wars...
It's fun as well as faithful!
I praise the Lord for the privilege to be one of the undershepherds on the corner of Lincoln and Main...for now.
Unless God writes it in the sky (see below) or Rome changes the rules...
I stay because I am who I am and I am where I am supposed to be in Belvidere, Illinois.
Sure, I miss being closer to my parents and sister and pizza; and it can be very lonely for a Jets, Giants, and Yankees fan in Chicagoland and Packerville.
Oh, the sacrifices that I'm making for...
Seriously, again, I've never felt more at home than I am right now.
I even like our presbytery!
Don't share that last confession with...
So I'm staying for three reasons: (1) call; (2) commitment to my favorite Special Olympian Billy's sister, dad, and mom about staying together for good as his friend/brother and eventual guardian; and (3) choice.
Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey?
If you've ever had problems with plastic like I had before meeting him, you gotta get to know him.
Google his Financial Peace University and look for a Ramsey course near you!
Led by a very special woman in our family of faith, I took the course and it changed my attitudes about and management of money from reckless to responsible.
Yet, I'll never forget the first Q&A after the first several videos; as someone asked/commented and most nodded with the same curiosity, "Doesn't he have another shirt besides that blue one? He wears it for every lesson!"
It brings to mind how Mother Teresa responded to the Protestant who shared my concern about the Mary thing for RCs: "We would not have Jesus if it weren't for Mary...One day you will come to love her like Jesus loved her."
It's not about what we wear or how much we have or where we are or what went on before or what's even happening now...as long as we are who we are where we are supposed to be...for the love of Christ.
"Is not life more than...?"
Blessings and Love!
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Finding the Right Job)
George Carlin joked, “Most people don’t know what they’re doing, and a lot of them are really good at it.”
When it comes to finding the right job, it’s no joke.
Unless we’re “called” to it, any job can be a bummer; conversely, if “called” to it, any job can enhance personal esteem and satisfaction while overcoming the inconveniences and disappointments attached to any job/occupation/vocation.
When we’re doing what He has designed us to do, He is honored, people are helped, and we feel whole, happy, and secure.
While this is a brief, incomplete, and indicative not exhaustive guide to finding/discovering the right job, I’ve found four signposts on the path to finding/discovering what He has designed us to do: feelings, facts, friends, and faith.
Feelings, facts, friends, and faith combine to confirm call; conversely, if conflicts or contradictions emerge in feelings, facts, friends, and faith, it may not be the right job.
How do you feel about it?
Do you feel the job honors Him, helps people, and inspires personal wholeness, happiness, and security?
Naturally, feelings can be misleading – prompted by auto-suggestion or emotional, intellectual, and spiritual indigestion; so, again, remember, it’s important to consider feelings along with facts, friends, and faith.
Can you do it?
Whether you can do something by His design/gifting is more crucial than or prerequisite to wanting to do something by preference; simply, “It’s not really a matter of whether you want to do it. Can you do it?”
Even if you can do it, should you do it?
Remember, it’s important to consider facts along with feelings, friends, and faith.
What do your friends say about it?
Do they confirm or contradict your sense of call?
Remember, it’s important to consider friends along with feelings, facts, and faith.
Where is God in it?
Is God leading you to it?
Will it honor Him and help people?
When a friend told Fred Rogers – yes, Mister Rogers – that he was considering moving from one church to another, Fred wrote to him, “By now I wonder if there has been a decision about your move. Please know that I’ve been thinking about you all. All that matters is your motives. God will lead the way. You know that.”
A faith-filled call will be consistent with Christianity’s confession and conduct as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture.
Take many moments to read meditatively Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4.
If feelings, facts, friends, and faith are in agreement, go for it!
Finally, a word from Basil Pennington: “The fundamental Christian vocation lies in intimacy with Christ-God…God does not really care what way we choose, so long as we do choose a way to grow in His love and choose it for love of Him…We should always and in all things seek to do God’s will, to please Him.”
Are you still looking for a different way to do church?
Are you tired of the SOSO RELIGION?
Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?
Are you searching for something/Someone real,
honest, timely, and true to…?
Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.
And so much…