A swift kick…

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for pastor Mark.  Have you ever had those times in your life when God kept getting your attention, and you just kept hanging your head?  Yeah, it’s been like that…

Today I was out mowing the lawn.  Now, before you begin to wonder if I’m the pastor of a church where I’m everything from the janitor to the groundskeeper, let me put your mind at ease.  I’m not.  The lawn is normally my son’s job, but he’s working at camp this summer.  I decided that it would be easier for me to mow than to have someone else do it, simply because I live next door and I know the church schedule.  I want the yard to look nice before special events, and will make a greater effort to get out before or after rain if something is coming up.

I found out something that Andrew already knew, but that I didn’t care about before.  The yard is a monster.  There is more of it than first appears, and there is a ton of weed eating that has to be done because of the numerous fences around the property.  There have been a couple of times that I’ve been out mowing when it has been 85 degrees just because it had to be done.  That’s not fun when you are out there for 3 hours.

So, today I was out mowing in the cool night air, and being very thankful that Andrew would be home next week!  And then I saw Wesley.

Wesley is a member of our congregation.  He has Cerebral Palsy.  His mind is great, but his body is handicapped, and it takes him some time to get out what he wants to say.  He goes around the neighborhood in a motorized wheelchair.   I hadn’t seen him all summer because he was ministering at a summer camp.  I saw him earlier in the day and spoke to him, but I wasn’t mowing the lawn then.  I was now.  And that’s when God rapped me on the soul…

I had just been whining about the lawn mowing earlier in the day.  I was looking forward to not having to do it again.  But I could.

Wesley doesn’t whine and complain.  I’ve heard his testimony.  He’s learned more spiritually in his young life dealing with his handicap than most of us do in a lifetime.  But I wonder…

I’ll bet Wesley wouldn’t complain if he could mow the lawn.

What makes a pastor, a pastor?

I’m used to people who are members of Bellerose calling me their pastor.  It’s also normal for regular attenders to call me their pastor.  It’s not even that unusual to have someone who has attended the church once, or been to a special event where I’ve preached to call me their pastor.  Occasionally someone in the neighborhood who passes by, or drops in for food or assistance will call me their pastor.  But I had a new experience happen to me yesterday.

I was bowling with a church member and some of his friends.  We all know each other and we’ve enjoyed bowling and other activities together over the years.  One of the individuals there who has never been to my church, and who is of a different faith, called me his pastor!

This individual knows that I am a Christian minister.  We’ve talked more about moral issues than we have religious issues, but I know that he understands what I believe.  We’ve had fun together, and he seems to be comfortable with me.  Over time we’ve developed a relationship, and I hope that one day it will bear fruit.

But why did he call me his pastor?  Probably because I’m the only pastor he knows!  But I’m thankful that he feels comfortable calling me that, and hope that one day, when he has concerns or questions, trials or tribulation, that he’ll think, “I know this guy….”

Let’s all seek to build relationships with those around us, so that we’ll be there when they need someone to turn to.

Why do you want to go to heaven?

Sunday’s sermon (9/2) is now online.  Some of you may recognize the title of this note from a section of my sermon.  I thought that I should share some additional material from “God is the Gospel” with you…

“Can we really say that our people are being prepared for heaven where Christ himself, not his gifts, will be the supreme pleasure? … My point in this book is that all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully.  Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven — none of these is good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyement of him…The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God.  It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God.  If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been coverted by the gospel.”

Some strong words, and I even left out some of the more biting comments.  But in all fairness, why do we want to go to heaven?  To escape hell?  To see our loved ones who have died?  Not that these are bad things, but they should not be the focus of our attention.  Our focus should be on the God who loved us enough to die on a cross so that we could know him.  Our relationship with him is paramount, and should be the focus of our lives.