Have you ever heard it said, "Church would be great if it weren't for the people"?
I know, right . . . . who would ever say such a thing?
OK. I'm guilty of maybe saying something similar to this a time or two. Certainly in jest.
I've also said, much to the chagrin of my wife, that "I really don't like people much . . . ".
I know . . . what kind of pastor would say that? Am I even a Christian???
Twenty two years ago this month my family came to south Florida to interview for a pastoral position. The visit was great.
We met some of the sweetest people who loved God and loved people.
The church was very family-friendly and our kids (just Jordan, Heidi, and Ben at the time) seemed open to moving south. Except Heidi maybe . . . her comment to a nice lady who babysat for us while Brenda and I interviewed was (and I quote): "You can't tell me what to do . . . we're not moving here."
I'm glad to say that Heidi has outgrown those opinionated outbursts over these 22 years. (or has she???)
Don't Be Tossed To and Fro
As a parent, my role and responsibilities have varied over the years of raising our four children who are now adults (for the most part).
As a teenager, I had the privilege of going to Winona Lake, Indiana and sitting in a large tent with a sawdust floor that dated back to the early 1900's. In this particular tent, some of the greatest preachers of their time had preached the word of God, calling people to repentance. Men like Billy Sunday would "preach up a storm" and people from miles away would come to listen. It was part of the "sawdust trail". Wow!!! People coming from miles away to hear preaching. That's a preacher's dream.
There are times that I would hope NOT!
The disciple of Christ certainly has challenges to face as they follow in His footsteps and pursue holiness. I believe a big challenge for the disciple of Christ involves something that no one else is even aware of. It's a secret. It's "nobody's business".
Proverbs 11:30 tell us that "he who wins souls is wise".
With that verse in mind, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. With that verse in mind, my wisdom is running a lot on the empty side.
Why? Because I'm not really a great soul winner. Honestly, I'm pretty pathetic.
At times, I see my life as a funnel. The top of the funnel is where I put things in. Things like books I read, people I talk with, experiences I have, podcasts I listen to . . . and the bottom of the funnel is how those things affect my life as they flow out of my mouth, my thoughts, my behavior. I am a constant stream of what I choose to put into my life as those things funnel out through me.
As a result, I have to be very aware of what I put into my funnel. I have to constantly ask, "Who or what is affecting me?"
Recently I had opportunity to do some "sittin' by the dock of the bay, wastin' time" and, as I did, I thought. And thought. And thought some more . . .
That's one of the great things about getting away for vacation. It's an opportunity to clear my mind and just think.
As our children made their entrance into this world, we often heard, "Oh, he/she looks just like his/her mom" or sometimes the dreaded, "just like their dad". Personally, I never thought a baby resembled anything other than maybe an alien, but that's just me.
As a pastor for more than 30 years, I would say one of my favorite roles is that of Shepherd. From a biblical context, the pastor - as Shepherd - leads the flock, feeds the flock, protects the flock, warns the flock, and yes, sometimes breaks a leg or two to keep the “not so smart" sheep from plunging over the cliffs of life. I love being a shepherd to the flock at West Pines. Akin to the role of shepherd would be the role of coach. A coach takes a team of individuals, with individual strengths and weaknesses, and forms them into one cohesive group that, when functioning in unity, is much more effective than the individual parts. Shepherds and coaches have the challenge of getting the most out of the flock and team.
MAD MOMS LEAVE A LEGACY
This Sunday is Mother's Day . . . a special day set aside to honor some of the most impactful people in our lives. I'm going to be doing something different this Mother's Day. I'm going to honor my mom - Wilhelmina Faith Burkhoudt Sorber. Mom Sorber passed away this past December 2016, so this is my first Mother's Day without her and it made me do some thinking. Thinking about how mom was a M.A.D. mom (Making A Difference). Thinking about the legacy she left behind with her six children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
This Sunday, I will be continuing our series here at West Pines on "As I Grow... We Grow". The topic is about our growing as a servant. My big idea is:
If you want to be like Jesus (his disciple), serve others. Now. A lot!
For the follower of Jesus the Biblical teaching on serving others is clear. If you want to be like Jesus, serve others. Now. A lot!!! Jesus was the ultimate example of a servant as He washed His Disciples' feet (John 13:1-17). Jesus teacher His disciples to serve other and in doing so we're serving Him (Matthew 25:40).