Yesterday was a tough one. Come to think about it, the last couple of weeks have been tough. It feels like I have been experiencing James 1:2-4, facing trials of many kinds.
Over the course of these last 2 month, I believe that God has been sifting me; as a husband, as a father, as a pastor, and as a man. And it hasn't been easy. There has been loss, disappointment, pain, frustration, and discouragement. I have struggled with my calling, again, as I fight to balance life as a part time pastor, part time employee, part time father, and part time husband. At times the strain and stress of it all has been almost unbearable.
But God is FAITHFUL!
Let me say that again, GOD IS FAITHFUL!!
In the midst of life's trials God has been patiently and gently chipping away at my pride, my wants, my sinfulness, and my ambitions. And what I am beginning to see is the man He is creating me to be. As a pastor, God has been working on me; revealing weaknesses and teaching me to find strength and confidence in Him.
Since February, I have been teaching through a series created to help prepare our church to be workers. In Matthew chapter 9, verses 35-38, Jesus makes the comment to his disciples that the harvest is ready, but there is a lack of workers to go out into the harvest field. Two things struck me as I studied these verses. 1. The Harvest was ready. And when the harvest is ready, all that needs to happen is for the harvesters to go and harvest. 2. There is a great need for laborers to be sent to go and work the harvest fields.
As the pastor of a two year old church, these verses offer a hope and a promise of supernatural growth and life-change. So for the last 9 weeks, I have looked into God's Word in search of an answer to this great question. "What does it really look like to BE the Church?"
As one who grew up in the church and having served over 20 years in church leadership, I thought I knew what the church was to be. I have sat through dozens of lectures and classes, read stacks of books (some of them multiple times), attended conferences, spoke at length with wise and gifted teachers, speakers, and thinkers; all of this shaping what I believed the church should be. But all of this adds up to be only a fraction of God has called the church to be. In fact, what I am seeing in his word is so much more.
The church isn't so much a WHAT, as it is a WHO. And it's not so much about a WHEN but HOW!
Simple. Like something I should already know. And perhaps I did. But in a time when going to church is more like a trip to Starbucks, followed by a concert and a visit with a great motivational speaker that makes you feel great about yourself, what seems simple is too often clouded by what the other guys are doing in the mega church down the street. I look and see what they are doing and I want to do the same. After all, if what they are doing works and puts people in the chairs, who wouldn't want to do what their doing.
But while modern day comforts might put people in the chairs, is it really working to change the hearts of the people? I'm not condemning what the other guys are doing, I'm simply asking God, "Is that what you want from your church? Or did you have something else in mind?"
As we wrap up this series, Harvest Church is becoming so much more then the what and when. We are finally discovering the who and how. I am finally beginning to see what will cause the growth that we have been praying for, and it's awesome! God has been clearly defining the ministry that lies ahead of us. And while their might still be coffee, there is something far more powerful than caffeine waiting to help us start our day.
All I can say is, the Harvest is coming, and I know where I can find some workers!
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