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Friday Focus: Serving against the Ropes.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 ESV)

Have you ever watched the Rocky series? It depicts the story of a common man who stumbles upon an uncommon opportunity. He was never really a professional fighter, he was a brawler who attempted the sport. However, as the movie continues he lands an exhibition bout against the world champion Apollo Creed. You see, to the world it was just an exhibition (an event solely for entertainment), to Rocky it was a chance to fight for the title and a new life. Rocky was not training for entertainment he was training to win.
If we parallel this to our relationship with Jesus. How would you train? Would you map and plan out your strategy? Or would you go with what seems fun and easy?
against the Ropes

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 ESV)

As a minister sometimes you can feel alone in ministry. These feelings are perfectly normal. Think about this : You are a human trying you’re best to be the hands and feet of God, yeah there’s a little pressure there, I’m sure he states in His word that he will help us with our burdens if we give them to Him. It’s ok, to sit down and rest with The Lord. You need that. God wants that.

Think about that friend, God wants to shoulder our burdens. In ministry, at work, or at home. God wants to share the load. I bring this out because you are not alone . He will be with you until the end of the age Realize this in your calling whether you are a pastor or one who serves your pastor The Lord is with you in your service to the body. He will help you by the Holy Spirit if you allow him to lead in your ministry.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, (Hebrews 12:11, 12 ESV)

Pastor take joy in the fact that The Lord is with you to encourage you when you need to take another call. Rejoice In the knowledge of being taught by the master Shepherd, he puts the extra in extraordinary. When we serve the men and women of God we will be drained and in these times we cam draw on The Lord in worship. Do you worship The Lord with a song? I think you should, it is through our submission to Him that he strengthens us….
Now that we are spiritually settled we cam move to the practical. Three things stop us from continuing in our ministry.

1. Lack of empathy, we become desensitized toward others feelings and hurts. This puts us on the ropes due in part we have lost our compassion, and with passion lost no action will take place.
2. Lack of knowledge. Our training or lack there of could keep us benched for many reasons. We refuse to develop as a leader and as a result, immaturity can set in like an infection to which bitterness, strife, and backbiting may result. Its bad news and not ever to be toyed with. So get to school or ask of some one who is affluent in that particular area. You’ll gain a friend.
3. Lack of motivation, here is where mundane activities coupled with technical knowledge give birth to complacency. Do you remember the state you were in when You asked Jesus to be The Lord and Savior of your life? I know i was a mess. But he came in my life willingly. it hasn’t been easy since I started following after Him. Jesus has renewed who I am and I thankful for it. Do you remember when he held you? Now, take it to others, run friend, run to be the light where your impacting.

and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:13 ESV)

Ministers, armor bearers, when you are against the ropes remember what The Lord whispered to you in the quiet place. Remember to do it all for the glory of God. You are healed to heal others.

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Adultery, When WORK becomes the other……….

Most of us have watched a scene at one time or another similar to the one that I will describe:

“Ted” is on the phone and informs his wife that he will be working late, and later is found to have been in the throws of passion with another whom is not his bride.

When I saw that scene in a Spanish tele-novela, it caused me to think about two things; First, how I have placed work and things above my bride, and the second was to not allow Mom pick what to watch on TV. I know that as a man striving to have a strong fellowship with Jesus I should know that my wife is my priority. However, I slowly allowed work to consume the time that my wife deserves. It happens very innocently, first it is for the benefit of the project, and then it evolves into passion; not for profit but for satisfaction or perhaps attention.

It is easy for our work to do this- ANY OCCUPATION or even…..A HOBBY.

I work in a great organization that requires extensive traveling, and the availability to work long hours if necessary to produce and maintain aircraft to fit the mission at hand. I enjoy what I do. I enjoy the satisfaction of fixing complex discrepancies, teaching newly assigned mechanics, and managing their training in hopes of their eventual progression to my position, i.e. my replacement. Not to mention meeting department deadlines, maintenance planning, project schedules and being affluent with the latest technical changes in our business. I enjoy what I do (no sarcasm)! If I am not careful, it can cost me.

So now what? I missed our __(insert date) anniversary! I had come to the realization that my wife was not the priority mission. Well let me share with you what I did.

“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16. Confess; your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” -James 5:15-16. KJV

It took a while to see that putting in those late hours at work was helping the team at work reach our goals. Those long hours however were not helping me accomplish my goal as a Godly husband and father.

Men, we have an awesome responsibility when we are given a bride. She then becomes the number one mission (Colossians 3:19; Eph 5:25-29). Even when we face defeat we must pick ourselves up and go forward. This is the “press” that the Apostle Paul was speaking of.

I was thankful that I was shown how I was wrong! Yet, I knew I had to ask God to forgive me for neglecting His daughter- His beautiful creation. I got so caught up in doing (providing) for my wife that I forgot that “being” with my wife is what helped our relationship. It was a slight confusion that wrapped me up for a few years, and in my profession very often leads to divorce.

BUT GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I knew that what I had done was not against only the Lord but also HIS daughter. So I asked my wife to forgive me, she knew it was coming. It didn’t matter though; I wanted to make it better for her. I purposed to assess my time. I did not take my focus from my duties at work, I just put the focus in the right perspective, and built depth in my shop. I did this by allowing some of the younger guys take the lead on projects while I performed oversight. Do you know what happened? The work got done. It was hard at first, but it raised our level of workmanship and supercharged our shop’s identity.

Are you familiar with the old saying; “I can’t fix it if I don’t know it’s broke?” Confession is like that. It opens up our own admission not only for the sin that we confess, but for healing to begin. It gives the Lord the “green-light” to work on our behalf and work on us as we move through towards restoration. None of this can happen if we don’t first confess to Jesus that we do need his help. Of course he sees what you are going through and wants to help, but you have to ask him into the situation, you’ll be glad you did.

Renewed my mind- “ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”-Romans 12:2 KJV.

The old” me” would work VOLUNTARILY for hours after quitting time, so I had to adopt a new way to work. I had to find a new way to balance being a Godly husband and great mechanic without either area loosing my attention. Simply, I had to renew my mind with the word of God. Did I have late nights at work? Yes, but it was only for involuntary circumstances. The days of staying late were few and far between. However, the urge to stay lingers. Production numbers nose dive, big inspections come up. We must renew our mind daily and put our God given priorities in their appropriate place.

This may take some delegation, or it may even require you to assess your position within the structure even if you are the CEO. Your decisions will reveal your desires regardless of your justification. So take a lunch break away from work with the Mrs. once a week. Let her know about how much you care for her. Have you ever told her what you thought about when you asked her to marry you, or (if you can remember) your first date? I hear chicks dig that (Wink).

The bottom line is that your wife or husband loves you and appreciates your hard work ethic, but it’s disappointing to them when they don’t feel they’re top priority in your existence. It’s your duty to ensure they feel number one in your life.

So check in with your bride, and ask? “Do you feel that I appreciate you, how can I make you feel like you are still the one?” DON’T TALK; JUST LISTEN………… AND DON’T JUSTIFY, PLEASE DON’T MAKE EXCUSES. Merely say ok and walk away if you have to. Recover and use the Intel you gathered and work it!

I have been on both sides of marriage when it’s awesome and when it’s over.

Take a chance, make her feel loved. It will bless you.

You may think that what I’ve shared with you was over the top or excessive. That’s fine by me to have your own opinion. This is how it worked for me. If you have a different method I pray it works out. If not, don’t stop trying. I have learned that having a spouse is having a treasure that is more precious than life itself –scripture records that Jesus loved her (the church) so much that he died for it.

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