Too often, I rush through life, failing to acknowledge the Artisan in anything. My mind becomes conformed to the pattern of our rushed culture. We look right past the Sistine Chapel to scroll for hours through social media. The world is trying to conform us to its image, cynical and unimpressed. Our senses are deadened. Our ears are deafened. We rush past God’s beautiful creation and we rob ourselves of joy and we rob Him of the glory. God wants to awaken us to see Him in His creation, and make our hearts leap for joy, glorifying Him in everything.
Life and ministry are sometimes very difficult. The internal and external pressure and stress sometimes leaves us feeling depleted and discouraged. When we feel this way for an extended amount of time, we all feel the God-given need to retreat. We are like an athlete in the NCAA tournament who has played a great game and needs to get his body and mind ready for the next game two days later. We are like a NASCAR driver who needs to come in for fuel to be able to finish the race. God made us all dependent beings and has made us with the need to retreat and hide out. The question we must answer is where are we hiding? Where do we run when we are running on E?
Do you want to stay faithful to your calling for the rest of your life? Do you want to stay faithful to your wife until death do you part? Do you want to stay faithful to Jesus until He takes you home?
Over the past few years, many Christian leaders who I look up to have “fallen away.” Some have burned out and others have had a complete moral failure. With these leaders heavy on my heart, I have been searching the Scriptures trying to learn how to prevent this in my own life and the lives of my friends who are in ministry.
This one thing has been behind EVERY spiritual leader who has ever been disqualified. This one thing is behind EVERY moral failure in a person’s life. This one thing is behind EVERY broken marriage. This one thing will either ruin or fuel our lives, marriages, and ministries. This one thing is: the Secret Places of our lives and hearts.
Who are you when nobody's watching?
I literally got arrested coming back from my honeymoon…
Kathleen and I got married on January 7th. The wedding was incredible. The honeymoon in Punta Cana was even better... until we got back into the US and had to go through customs. Kathleen and I were flagged and put in a room with less than 10 other people (not a good sign). The room eventually cleared, and it was just us (really not a good sign)...
It's more important than systems, strategies, and staffing. It’s more important than learning, growing, and disciplines. It’s more important than your team, your kids, and even your marriage. If we get this, we will enjoy ministry more, be exponentially more effective, reach many more people, and have a greater possibility of finishing well. If we don’t get this, we will fall into joyless duty, spin our wheels in meaningless hard toil, and have a greater possibility of quitting early.
What is the dream that you have for your life? What is the vision God has given you for your life? What is your dream for your church or ministry?
If those dreams don't give you butterflies and make you feel fairly uncomfortable, they're probably making God yawn. Better yet, they are probably insulting to Him.
We all go through seasons in ministry where we just aren't "feeling it." We wake up… we go through the motions… we do the meetings… we preach the sermons… we lead the family… but on the inside we are in a deep valley. We often feel unqualified to be in ministry and we feel like we're the only one in the world that is feeling this way. What are we supposed to do with these seasons?
The more that we make ministry our greatest treasure, and the more we duplicate that in the people we lead, the more our churches will become COLD, SHALLOW, and FAKE, and they will plateau or decline.
Ministry is meant to be an overflow of JOY in GOD; it's not meant to take His place as our treasure.