From the Pastors Heart
July is a great month, it means if Denise, Owen and I are still here that you are stuck with us for a while longer. June is always a time that our nerves are on edge waiting to see what the Bishop is going to do that could change our lives, but July 1st ends that challenge for us and I imagine for the church as well. 2019 has already had its challenges and not just the chance of being moved. As you know we have had an empty nest for many years but now we have another child in our home. Owen is a great young man and we enjoy his presence, but learning how to work our schedules around track and other school activities has been like stepping back in time. This experience has made my mind feel younger again, but my body is not in agreement with my mind. One thing we know in this transition is that God is in charge and everything will be good for all three of us. As most of you can attest change always seems difficult, but I have taken some time to ask why it is so.
I have come up with the answer to my question and realize that it applies to every aspect of our lives and I imagine your lives as well. Change is difficult because it means we have to rearrange how we do things. Before we just came and went as we pleased, but now we can no longer do that. A good parent organizes their life to help their children learn all the good we can give them and they become our priority. Dealing with my own selfish ambitions was and is quite a chore. In our lives everything had its place and living it was simple because it was comfortable that way, but now we don’t know what’s coming next. Now we have to find room for all of Owen’s stuff and his life as well, and as a young man that can be messy; not to mention the stage of life he is in right now.
As I thought about all of this I realized that these feeling and struggles are not just confined to our home life, but flows over into our church life as well. You will know what I’m talking about if you have ever heard those famous words, “We’ve never done it that way before.” But as Christians our lives are changing every day, and if they are not then something is wrong and you may need to go back to the beginning and remember the promise you made to God when you were saved. We promised that Jesus would not just be our Savior but our Lord as well and our Lord is calling us to constant change and to new adventures. This experience is not just found with those in the pews but for those in the pulpit from time to time as well. Jesus came to comfort the uncomfortable and to bring discomfort to the comfortable. As a church, who we are and what or how we do things is in a constant flux, and continuing the ministry of Jesus Christ is to be our only concern; not how we used to do things. Ministries that worked in the past may not work today or ministries we are involved in now may have run their course tomorrow. The only thing that remains steadfast in this life is the Word of God. He may give you strengths for one thing today but call you to experience something new next week, and starting something new in our lives is once again uncomfortable.
If I could convince you of two very important concepts in this letter it would be that walking with God is exhilarating and never boring. And secondly, the constant changes and new challenges remind us that we are still alive; not just as individuals but as a church as well, and I chose life. I chose life for myself, for my family, and for Emmanuel United Methodist Church. The difficulty is that it is when pastors begin to make changes that people stop liking them unless they understand that change is the exact reason new pastors are assigned.
They are assigned to take a church from where they are to where God wants them to be. Emmanuel seems to be a congregation that wants to be in the will of God, wherever that might be. My challenge today is that we all begin to see where our own lives need to change for us to grow closer to God and follow His direction in our lives. But don’t be surprised if He asks you to get rid of things you cherish and replace it with something new, but don’t be surprised to find out that when you are faithful the excitement of the new will outweigh the loss of the old. Be blessed and stay in love with God!