It happened this past Sunday.
I stood there while everyone stared at me.
We were at the end of the worship service, and it was time for me to do our Announcements.
The only one to be highlighted was our 7 Week Wednesday Bible Study but I’d blanked out.
My mind, my heart, and obviously all the rest of me, was still back on a song we’d just sung. Where Ann, our Music Director, finds these is a mystery to me but I’m thankful she does.
The chorus goes like this —
There’s a new name written down in glory,
And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine!
And the white robed angels sing the story,
“A sinner has come home.”
For there’s a new name written down in glory,
And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine!
With my sins forgiven I am bound for Heaven,
Never more to roam.
Never mind the age of the song. Written by Austin Miles, it’s only 2 years older than my mom and she’ll be 104 next Friday.
Never mind the non-Wesleyan theology of the song’s last line, Never more to roam. I’m living proof of the truth of another song’s line, Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Been there, done that.
What got me was the truth of “A sinner has come home.” Again, I’m living proof of the truth.
And that’s the best kind of proof.
So there I stood, undone by an old song that was new to me.
Pastor Jessica and Cara D. picked up the ball I’d dropped with my silence and zipped us along until I had regained enough composure for the Benediction: Go forth now in the name, power, peace and protection of the God who really does love you. Amen.
And, hey, from one saved sinner to another: Welcome Home.
NOTE: if today’s title makes no sense to you, scroll down and see what I wrote here July 7th, “Your Top 3 Favorites”
My current top three such songs are
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
And Can It Be?
Have you shared yours yet?
I’d love to know yours.
See you back here tomorrow.
5. An Effort to Create Financial Margin
As I’ve said every time now, I believe this five “secrets of stress-resistant pastors” can help any follower of Christ Jesus. These are from a book written by David and Lisa Frisbie, Managing Stress in Ministry.
And let’s remember that as we love to say in the United Methodist Church, “every Christian has a ministry.”
The authors go into great detail about what in another context has been called Financial Peace, and thank you Dave Ramsey for that phrase. It was my delight to spend a week with him and his staff a couple of years ago in a Financial Coach Training Seminar, and I loved every minute of it. More about that some other time, or just ask me next time we see each other.
As they write, Lisa and David intersect with many financial gurus with a simple line from Gerard Reed, who said, “There are only two ways to become wealthy: have more or want less.”
“Well, yeah, duh,” shouts that uncommon thing called Common Sense.
And over there in the corner, looking up from what he’s writing, that old guy nods and says, “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” (Philippians 4:11) Yup, that’s St. Paul.
But Lisa and David go in a different direction when they write of a successful bi-vocational pastors. “Having financial margin gave them the freedom to minister without currying favor, attempting to please people, or bending the truth of the gospel to fit ears that resisted hearing it.”
They conclude, “Financial margin, like other types of margin in your life, does not create itself.”
— Quick review: Have more or want less…which is it for you?
And what are you doing about that?
This is the fourth of five “secrets of stress resistant pastors” that I believe will benefit any follower of Christ Jesus.
This list is from Managing Stress in Ministry by David & Lisa Frisbie. —
4. A Core Focus on the Family
“Stress resistant [parents] raise healthy kids in loving homes…by loving them, believing in them, and granting them generous measures of quality time.
“They’re raising well-adjusted, others-focused teens with big hearts for God and his kingdom.
“As we got to know the parents of these teens, we saw quality marriages, a high investment in family time, a heart for God and a passion for knowing him and the virtue of serving others while maintaining good personal boundaries.”
— What jumps out at you the most in these brief excerpts today?
And how might you apply that as needed today?
This is the third of five “secrets of stress resistant pastors” that I believe will benefit any follower of Christ Jesus.
This list is from Managing Stress in Ministry by David & Lisa Frisbie.
I want to get two disclaimers on the table: I certainly don’t think everyone needs to be married to be what these two authors call “stress resistant,” and this Core Quality will not make some people happy.
With those two things said (i.e., 1. you can be single and be “stress resistant” and 2. this is gonna upset somebodies in some churches), here we go —
3. A Core Priority for a Quality Marriage
“My husband has a mistress,” a pastor’s wife confided to the two authors.
“And it’s not another woman.
“It’s the church.”
“Those who serve in ministry are often indeed ‘on call’ for emergency and crisis situations,” write the authors. “It may seem that the crisis network is fairly limited: one person, the pastor, handles almost everything.
“This mind-set that every emergency requires the pastor’s attention and that every need is the pastor’s responsibility should be addressed by another book in another time. For now, it’s enough to note that building the marriage relationship is more important than attending yet another meeting, or leading the work day or mission trip.
“Churches who fail to understand the wisdom of this perspective may not deserve having a pastor to care for them.
“As with whiny children, their manipulative and unhelpful selfishness might best be ignored.
“A church that wants to have first place in their pastor’s heart may be fundamentally unsound and spiritually unsafe and should perhaps be left to its own devices and beliefs.
“There is no reason to sacrifice a pastor’s marriage on the altar of misguided priorities.”
— And there we are.
So: what say ye?
And is your perspective that of a spouse of a pastor, or are you a church member, or are you a pastor?
And thank you for being brave enough to even say anything about this. For real.
Be still, and know that I am God.
— Psalm 46:10
Where this weekend will you take time to do that?
Or are we so afraid of silence and lack of constant entertainment that we’ve programmed that out of what we call used to call A Service of Divine Worship?
Wherever you go to church this weekend, may you find time to do what this Psalm says…to stop the chatter, both externally and internally…to simply quiet your heart and mind and life…and remember that God is God and we are not.