I was in a ministry meeting this morning and there was a Licensed Professional Counselor invited to talk about Counseling and Consultation Services for Northern Michigan University and the time was very eye-opening and shocking.
The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way is when the counselor stated that we as ministers need to help the students realize that they are competent to get through any problem. It was in the context of co-dependency on a certain person. The counselor made it sound like there is nothing that can help an individual more than being aware of their own strengths. And that goes against everything that I have ever learned as a child of God.
In my understanding, our competency is found in Christ alone. If it is found in anything else it has a self-glorification effect involved. "I know what I need more than God does" This is just the kind of behavior that Christ got upset about! I mean look at all of the pharisees who thought they knew everything and they were the only competent Jews. Christ told them what for!
In a respectful manner, I do see a valid point that the counselor was bringing up. There are people in the world who need to feel a sense of ownership of their own problems. However, it is my hope that people will attribute that ownership to the grace of God.
God has rescued us from every evil grasp and He gives us the power to defend ourselves through His Word. The competency is found by the Spirit and the Word of God. This competency is being competent in the only thing that matters. God has given us all things and to Him be the glory, for ever and ever.
As some of you may know, I have spent the past couple days experiencing my very first pastoral conference. And I have a few comments that are not offensive but constructive.
The first of which is what a fantastic opportunity to reunite with all of the pastors in the district! To have fellowship with that many men is truly awe-inspiring. Made me even more sure of a call to seminary. When you have 200 men singing the doxology in various parts it is just incredible. And enjoying a social hour while meeting and catching up with pastors of the district is a great way for pastors to realize that they are not alone at their congregations.
Secondly, the worship is fantastic. I cannot imagine being a pastor full time and never really having a chance to relax and worship the Lord without worrying about organizing a service and making sure all the ducks are in a row for everyone else. So what a unique opportunity to gather under one church roof and praise the Lord in one form. And receive the sacrament together as brothers in Christ rather than the divisions of various congregations and different ways that pastors lead worship in their congregations.
Last and certainly not least, is the opportunity to hear from a speaker. Most often people get stuck in their own pattern of thinking of things and it is very nice to have another viewpoint able to share things in a way you never have thought them before.
Overall, I had a great experience with the North Wisconsin District Pastoral Conference. There are a lot of great men in the church and I had the wonderful privilege to have fellowship with them.
Looking at the choosing of the 12 disciples and Jesus ministry really makes me think. You would think that an all powerful God that created it all would be able to influence the entire world to believe just by proclamation! But God doesn't do that does he?
Jesus calls disciples to carry the message not because He can't carry it on His own. But because Jesus wants us to realize that it is more than just the message. It's about the messenger combined with the message.
Deciphering my call to be a Pastor is a difficult journey because I want God to simply place me where I can be the most effective fisher of men. Being a Pastor makes it difficult for me to be a fisher of men. Mainly because people expect it and are put off by it. But then I realize that just because I am a Pastor doesn't mean I should be put off by not being effective as a fisher of men, but rather remain trust in God and the Holy Spirit to use even me as a fisher of men.
I can simply provide the message of God's love and of Christ's suffering and death and resurrection, teach about the Bible and just leave it at that. But will that make you believe? The Word is already there, the Bible is already written and taught, it doesn't need to be retaught exactly as it is written. For this very reason, Christ called disciples who's lives will impact the message in others. The lives and stories of the disciples will work in conjunction with the Word of God to make them fishers of men.
Therefore, we cannot simply preach the Bible, but we need to use our lives and our stories to be a fisher of men. Therefore, you have the message to provide to everyone you build relationships with and you have the life that lines up directly with the life of another to be the perfect messenger with the perfect message.
So don't shoot the messenger! Because the message they may provide may be the very thing you need to hear.
Today I waltzed into church with a gallon of water. Many made odd looks but none really questioned. Well, I'm sure you all would have questioned it if you saw me because I had my suit coat on and my backpack slung over one shoulder and this water jug. I was not a normal person this morning.
I didn't get the chance to explain except to one who I admire. A sir John Fegan. I explained to him that I was attempting to start a new diet. I am attempting to start a small portion diet. That is my creative name for it and I am sure it is already invented somewhere on the internet. But my goal is to eat 5-6 smaller portioned meals during the day while consuming at least 1 gallon if not 2 gallons of water per day.
This is in effort to cut some lbs and also maintain a healthy physique. There are heart issues in my family history as well as diabetes and I don't want to become susceptible to those things!
Today I had the wonderful opportunity of helping a family in need of affordable housing with Habitat For Humanity. We got onsite at 8:30am and things were slow starting. Everyone there was sort of just waking up and disoriented. We worked on two houses, one had the entire outer shell done and the other had the foundation set with the floor trusses in place. We worked on the floor boards on the main level of the one house.
I got to use a nail gun! It was terrifying after the first shot, but then I got used to it and was breezing through the floorboards. We had a set of people laying glue down on the trusses and a set of people lining up the boards and two people nailing them in place. It was pretty intense!
The past several days have been jam packed with things that are both fun and rewarding and tiring at the same time. On Thursday, I went out fishing on Big Shag lake and caught about 17 bluegill fish :) Then on Friday (my day off), I woke up early and went out to fish for some salmon. I went without expecting to catch anything but then within the first 10 minutes I had a salmon on the line. Then after that one came in, another hit the hook and I had a second one within 20 minutes. The second one was bigger than the first and ended up being a female full of eggs :)