Tuesday, March 25, 2008

they drip with pride

Last week I attended my 13th straight Penn-Del District Youth Convention. You would think year thirteen would be the same old thing, but this year God gave me some unique perspective. This was the first year I was not there as a youth pastor. Instead, this year I was there as a "vendor" doing promotion and networking for Gettysburg Master's Commission. I got to meet some interesting people. My thoughts are below . . .

I've been out of college for almost 9 years now and all the people I went to school with have chosen their path for this season of life, for the most part. The ones who are still in ministry (and that # is not large) seem to have split into two groups. One group is the people who have been at 4 or 5 places (usually because they got fired or had serious personal conflict) over the years and the other is people who have either been in the same place the whole time or have moved because of new opportunities or promotions from God.

The characteristics of each group are strikingly different and very telling. The group that's bounced around are the ones who will talk at one hundred miles per hour about how cool their current position is and how great all the stuff they're doing is. Usually they will add in how stupid the last couple senior pastors they worked for are. They just drip with pride. Those in the other group rarely talk about ministry, unless you ask. Instead they talk about family or how good God is to them. And they actually ask questions about how you are. Sure, they are excited about what God's doing around them, but they are humble, for the most part. It just rushes me back to that concept that God will block us because of our pride. I guess that's bad enough in itself, but these people I'm talking about are leaders, mostly of young people. Many young people don't know the difference between a person who's excited about their opportunities and one who's an arrogant jerk. I think of the mistrust generated toward the church and toward God through the actions of these “leaders”.

So, which group am I in? I can say I've been in both over the years. I hope and pray I'm in the group with staying power (sans arrogance) now. If I've learned two things over the years, they are (1) that I'm not safe and I cannot trust myself and (2) that God's grace is sufficient for me and my mistakes. Fortunately for those I lead, it's very possible to learn from the mistakes of others. I view leadership now as an even more important assignment from God than I ever have. What a valuable lesson God has taught me again. Thank You, Lord.

Monday, March 17, 2008


No doubt about it, we're having another boy. Four boys. What a blessed family we are. Everything looks perfectly healthy with this little guy. Now we just need to pick out a name.

it's a . . .

I'll let you know later today. Sara and I have an appointment this morning and will, hopefully, find out if we're having a little boy or a little girl. We're feeling pretty excited. God is expanding our influence all the time!

Friday, March 14, 2008

a weekend with my friend

I'm looking forward to spending some time this weekend with my friend Dan. He moved to Philly last year and has had the hardest 8 months I think he could have ever imagined. As far as I can tell, he's coming through his trials wonderfully. He's grown incredibly as a person and is working like crazy to keep from becoming bitter. It must be a difficult road to walk. I'm thankful for the time I have to walk that road with him this weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the goal of wisdom

I had a class in college (the name and topic of it escape me) but the professor used to go on about Solomon's wisdom. Something in that setting built a deep desire for wisdom in me. This sounds good, however I know now that wisdom is not the goal, only a tool. Until recently, I was looking at possessing wisdom as the big accomplishment. I had a fantasy that if I possessed wisdom, life would no longer pose so many challenges. How silly. I believe I possess much more wisdom now than I did a year, 2 years, 5 years ago and, like everything else, as it increases so does my realization of how much more I need. Yes, I have more wisdom now, but God has promoted me to levels where I need much more.

How do reconcile all of this? Well, pride goes out the window . . . again. Having a measure of wisdom, no matter how large, is a tool in my hand to do the work God has called me to do. It all comes from Him and it's all for His purpose. In the end my role is that of a humble servant. Lord, please help me to be a humble servant of yours in word and deed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Ecclesiastes 2 – Interesting passage. He tried everything this world has to offer, but still found it all meaningless. On top of that , Solomon was the richest, wisest man ever, so he had resources I could hardly imagine. It just struck me that he even names wisdom as one of those meaningless endeavors. I've been very focused on wisdom over the last year or so. That's a good thing, but like I preached just last week, the only real thing to rejoice in is that my name is written in the Lamb's book of life.

Wisdom might help me and even help others I am responsible to lead, but it won't save my soul from hell, nor will it be the standard by which I am judged someday. There will still be a day when Jesus separates the "sheep and the goats" based completely on what they (we) did and did not do.

Side note: I cannot speak or write of this concept without Keith Green's "sheep and the goats" playing in my head - great song, but somewhat creepy that it plays automatically in my head :)

So how do I reconcile the meaninglessness of it all? I look at it like this. My quest for wisdom as of late, while a good and worthwhile endeavor (except for how meaningless it is), is not the end game for me. Perhaps I've made the quest for wisdom the goal when all it's there for is to be a tool to get me to the goal. I think I'll write about the goal tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

rain on the window

6am, steady rain on the window, purring cat at my feet and an otherwise silent home . . . maybe not perfection for you, but for me it feels like all I could ask for right now. It seems that in the last year or so my "personal time", "quiet time", "devotional time", whatever you want to call this time I spend in reading, journaling and prayer with God has just become so much more precious than ever before. God is teaching me new truth on a daily basis and I don't think I've ever grown as a Christian, a leader and a person as much as I have in the last year or so. Just in time for another baby. Thank God for all of that.