Wednesday, June 21, 2006

35th Wedding Anniversary + Trip

I am in the midst of Preaching a series on 'Desperate Households.' It has been great and well received. One sermon was for couples entitled 'My lover, My friend.' It was from Song of Solomon 5:16:

His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. NIV

I have planning this trip to St. Thomas for over a year now and it was a surprise to Debi. Booked the airlines, the fabulous condo (which she still knows nothing about), the red convertible, day excursions via boat around the other islands, moonlight cruise with dinner.... Why? Debi is my Best Friend!

Outside of knowing God intimately, marriage is the highest level of relationship created by God- higher than even mother/child, and all others- so friendship ought to reach it's very zenith in the context of the marriage relationship.

What develops that best friend relationship in marriage? From Song of Solomon:

His mouth is sweetness- speaking kindness to one another and not allowing trash talking in the marriage.

He is altogether lovely- giving extravagant praise privately and publicly.

This is my lover- being faithful and intimate only with your spouse- and maintaining and sustaining a great sex life.

This is my friend- understanding the gift that God has given you and allowing no other to be what He intended your spouse to be.

I know of people who have violated these principles and although they may remain married they are not best friends but just roommates. They would rather spend the most enjoyable moments of their lives in the company of someone else than with their spouse!

Debi, thanks for being my best friend and being proactive in our marriage over the years. Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary!

You are my island girl, the woman of my dreams!

ps- I will not be blogging while in St. Thomas- other things to do- ;>)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reflections on the Call to Pastor- part 4

Debi and I will be celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary this year with a trip to St. Thomas on June 24th (more on that in an upcoming post).

Longevity to a call.

Of course I am referring to our 'call' to marriage, or am I? I heard the following story:

Suleyman Guresci, of Izmir, Turkey divorced his wife of 21 years after a bitter six-year court battle. In an effort to find the ideal woman, Guresci turned to a computer dating service—the kind that evaluates your written profile and suggests matches for you.

Ironically, from a list of 2000 prospective brides, the computer selected his former wife, who (unbeknownst to Guresci) had signed up for the same service. Guresci's response? He decided to remarry his wife just nine months after their divorce. He said, "I did not know that my ex-wife had been the ideal counterpart for a marriage. I decided to give it another try by being more tolerant toward her."

The principle Guresci learned also applies to a number of other areas: your church, your ministry, your job, and so on. C. Peter Wagner points out that one common characteristic of effective pastors is a commitment to stay: They're not looking for greener pastures.

Have I longed for greener pastures? Yes! When? When things were tough; people disgruntled with me, my preaching, my leadership, direction of the church, lack of spiritual gifts (as if it was my fault, forgetting that they are the Holy Spirit's to do what He pleases when He pleases for His purposes), etc.

But, the 'call,' to stay!

I learned like Guresci learned about his marriage, your ideal situation might be the one you're in right now.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sign of the Times!?!


Inevitable Intersection on the Road of Life...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Reflections on the Call to Pastor- part 3

I enjoy what I do- I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him and His people day after day! To be a Pastor, this is it!

It is interesting to me that God spent more time describing the qualifications for a Pastor than He did with all the other five fold ministry gifts. The qualifications for a Pastor listed in I Timothy chapter 3 are more than about moral issues. You will find that these qualifications describe a man who is able to see the various challenges of life, who knows how to live life and serve Christ while keeping things in balance, avoiding the pitfalls of life, so that he and God's sheep can finish this life having run their race, having finished their course, and having kept the faith.

Here's what these qualifications mean to me:

-blameless (no legitimate accusations against him),
-husband of one wife (knows how to build long-term stable
-vigilant (on the ball, not easily bamboozled),
-sober (lives in the real world, faces facts straight-on),
-of good behavior (conducts himself appropriately in all situations),
-given to hospitality (loves blessing and fellowshipping with others),
-apt to teach (not always preach),
-not given to wine (sees the dangers of things that intoxicate and partakes of them moderately, within Scriptural bounds, or not at all),
-no striker (not a bully),
-not greedy of filthy lucre (isn't running a shake-down operation);
-but patient (people make a lot of mistakes, and take a long time to learn from them),
-not a brawler (doesn't walk all over others to get what he wants),
-not covetous (isn't trying to pocket everything the sheep have);
-one that rules well his own house (his first church),
-not a novice (must have wisdom and maturity),
-having a good report of them which are without (respected by all).

I think it speaks volumes that God did not entrust the governing of the local church to healing evangelists, gifted prophets, teachers of doctrine, or missions-minded apostles. All these individuals are needed, and all that they contribute are of great value, but God appointed the Pastor to govern along with similarly called elders. Why?

Because the Pastor's strength is balance and stability.

The congregation needs occasional doses of the fire of an evangelist. But if they have a steady diet of fire at every single spiritual meal, they'll burn up.

Christians need the inspiration of the prophet, speaking under a sudden inspiration of the Spirit. But if all they have is prophecy, prophecy, prophecy, without the solid grounding of the teaching of God's Word, the group will eventually get off into error.

The sheep need to be taught sound doctrine. But if all they hear is doctrine, doctrine, doctrine, they will eventually evolve into Phariseeical experts on the jots and tittles of the law, but useless and destitute, as Christ said, of the weightier matters of judgement, mercy, and faith.

God created the evangelist to fire us up for souls, the prophet to inspire us of heavenly things, the teacher to ground us in sound doctrine, and the Apostle to focus our ultimate aim on reaching foreign lands.

And God set the pastor and elders over the congregation to oversee these ministries, keep the portions of these spiritual feedings balanced out so that the congregation does not go off the deep end.

I am convinced that God knew what He was doing when He created the five-fold ministry system. I think He has invested much more anointing and purpose in the Pastor's office than we have comprehended up to this time!

What do you think!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Thought I was Coffee Crazy...

This man desperately needs his morning cup of coffee...