>> October 29, 2010
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.
Heidi Rogers Melton
3 kids, ages 16, 13, & 7
You may be out there today hurting at a level so deep, many do not understand. Maybe you have gone through a tragic loss, were betrayed by the one closest to you or are experiencing the worst financial situation you have faced to date.
I want you to know you are not alone.
While others may not know what you are going through, God does. While others may not feel the heartache you are experiencing, the Lord knows. Life has a tendency to throw serious curve balls; completely unexpected. I want to encourage you today that whatever you are going through, God is going to pull greatness out.
Look past your pain and focus on the Word of God. Even if you feel you have been run over by a truck and all you can utter is "one word", close your eyes and utter the name of "Jesus."
I'm reminded of the hymn, I need thee... Lord, I need thee, every hour I need thee... it's Him that can heal your heart, your mind, your emotions and hold you like none other.
When you're "in ministry" there is not always the opportunity to talk to someone about what's going on. I encourage you today, through your pain, put some worship music on and talk to Him - the author and finisher of our faith, the Balm of Gilead. There is purpose in your pain, look for it, don't waste it.
3 grown children, 3 grandchildren
In case you've never heard of it, Catalyst is a multi-denominational Christian leadership conference held in Atlanta every October. This year, more than 13,000 leaders and pastors from all denominations gathered together to worship, learn, and fellowship.
This year was the first time I've gotten to go, and I think more of us should be there next year! I'll be honest, I only made it to the first day (this pregnancy has got me too tired and sick all the time to marathon through both days). But I believe that I heard what God brought me there to hear.
Andy Stanley, from North Point Church, gave the opening lecture. He wasted no time getting down to business and challenging our addictions to appetite. All kinds of appetite. Not just gluttony, or sex, or fame. He nailed the deeper ones, too. The insidious ones that disguise themselves as "spiritual desires". Stuff like, longing for more responsibility, wanting to be envied, lusting for more visibility.
You know the times when we say things like "God, I could serve you so much better if my church were just BIGGER!!!! And wealthier. And...."
He brought us back to the story of Isaac and Esau. When Esau was so overwhelmed by his hunger, so focused on his stomach, that he voluntarily traded his entire birthright for a bowl of stew. Because appetite makes you focus on one thing until everything else goes blurry, even when that thing isn't good for you. You HAVE to have it.
It got me really thinking. Made me want to pray Paul's prayer of contentment (Philippians 4:10-12) - no matter where I am, no matter what my circumstances. God, make me content!
If your leadership decisions are dictated by your appetites, sooner or later you WILL trade your future for a bowl of stew.
I'm writing with emotion after a conversation with my husband, so please bear with me. A lady in our town prayed for a bible-believing pastor to come, for about 20 years.
Not long after we moved here (my husband's first pastorate after seminary), she heard of him and realized her praying had worked. Here he was: God's gift to her. She is a very dedicated Christian and very spiritual, I have no doubt. But she has tried some things that make me feel enraged.
My husband happened to mention in passing that we own some of the Harry Potter books and movies. It does not bother us. I do not believe that by reading well-written FICTION that I am going to start holding seances instead of bible studies. She believes that having it in our house is holding him back spiritually and blessings are not coming because of it.
She proposed to give us a large amount of money for student loans IF we agreed to several of her terms: including getting rid of anything Harry Potter, reading a book on Spiritual Housekeeping, and more. After counseling with other pastors and mentors, we declined her offer. They advised that if she wants to give money as a gift without strings that would be fine, but not with a list of conditions.
The issue has now come up again. This morning she told my husband that she cannot continue to worship under him unless he gets rid of the Harry Potter. He keeps thinking to the verse in Corinthians (forgive the paraphrasing) about when a weaker brother struggles with something, we should give up that something as well. I always thought that this teaching meant "if you go out to dinner with a good friend who's an alcoholic, don't order a drink". Not "if a parishioner thinks the color on the walls is detrimental to our spirituality, change it"!
I'm quite upset about this. I truly feel that she is acting in an un-Christ like manner. I don't think my husband is a worse Christian or a worse pastor because of a novel that sits on our shelf. I'm worried about where this could lead.
Does this mean we remove all things magical, like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Do I get rid of every book written by a non-Christian author? Do I refuse to let my best friend of over 20 years in our house because she is recently divorced? What happens if we choose to homeschool our soon instead of sending him to the "blue ribbon public school" in town?
I feel that if we decide to get rid of certain things, like Harry Potter, it should be our choice of what's best for our family and our house, not because someone has a different opinion. I hate the boundary this lady has crossed into our personal life and I hate the rift this is driving between me and my husband. We have a very good marriage and I certainly don't want something like this to change that.
Thank you, dear Abigail, for your listening ear.
Clara Lou Johns
2 grown sons, both also pastors
|Pastor & Clara Lou Johns|
1. Jesus was full of the Spirit2. Jesus was led by the Spirit3. Jesus walked in the power of the Spirit4. Jesus always spent time alone with God5. Jesus majored on 3 things: preaching, teaching and healing6. Jesus was a people person7. Jesus was a Man and Minister of compassion8. Jesus ministered with authority9. Jesus spoke with gracious words10. Jesus had favor with God and man
Michigan (originally South Africa)
2 grown kids, 4 grandkids
My ministry is praying for others and giving encouragement to those in need and also helping people in need - widows, young mothers, elderly, children - whoever God puts in my path! Just being a disciple!