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Archive for February, 2015

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 209

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment
  1. “As for the person who hears my words, but does not keep them, I do not judge him” (John 8:47).

What does this mean? Isn’t Jesus the One to whom all judgment has been given? The next verse will reveal that this statement is a matter of focus. Jesus will tell us that He came to save, not to judge. Yes, the day will come when judgment is His focus, but His mission then, and our mission now, is to save. Think of all that has been lost by religious people choosing to judge rather than save. Many have used their faith as a license to judge the acts of others. For Jesus, such action is off mission and actually counterproductive to the work that the Father had given Him–and us–to do.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 208

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment
  1. “When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me” (John 12:45).

Is that true of us? These are the words of Jesus as He insisted on His clear connection with the Father, but the same statement can be directed at us. Do people see Jesus when they see us? This is the real issue for a student. The disciple walks in the way of the One he is following. In so doing, his life reflects his Teacher in such a way that people recognize the connection between them. Jesus’ connection with the Father was rejected by many because they didn’t want to see. May our connection to Jesus not be rejected for any other reason than that.

Categories: Leadership Journeys

A Pastor’s Battle with Insecurity – Part 13

February 23, 2015 Leave a comment

For nearly three months, we have been exploring the moments in ministry life when a pastor can be overcome by his own insecurities. I hope by now any resistance to such reality has been conquered by the awareness that every single one of us battle moments of emotional weakness. While God does equip us supernaturally by His Spirit, we remain subject to our humanity too.

For a few weeks, we considered what such insecurities often look like in the life of a pastor. Then we discussed those moments when insecurities are most likely to rise up within us. Finally, we considered a three-step process for managing such moments and a few general thoughts for guarding ourselves against such self-sabotage.

Before we conclude this series, let’s take a look at four scriptural ideas that can begin to help you build a new foundation for your thoughts about yourself. These concepts can sow some better seeds from which you can find a new harvest of healthy thinking, and lessen the likelihood that personal insecurity will bring future damage to your ministry efforts and decision making.

KEYS TO PERSONAL SECURITY – 1

IDENTITY

You must tie your self-worth to your identity in Christ, not people and performance.

The Creator of the Universe has a few ideas about you. He knows you better than anyone else—your strengths, weaknesses, successes and failures—and has given you a value that’s not tied to any of them. That’s right! Your value, in His eyes, is based solely on the fact that you are His possession. No performance necessary!!

I’ve often thought of this truth through the metaphor of a painting. Imagine finding one under your basement stairs. How would you determine the value of your new treasure? Would you have the paint quality evaluated, trying to learn if the painter had used high quality pigments or those you can get from a kindergartner’s paint set? Probably not. Paint quality isn’t a bad thing to consider, but it’s hardly where a painting’s true value os found.

Would you consider the cost of the frame? Surely someone wouldn’t put an expensive painting in a cheap frame, but even this isn’t your best approach to deciding a painting’s value.

No, even those of us who aren’t art experts know that the way to determine a painting’s value is to look for the artist’s signature. If your painting is signed by your Uncle Bob, you might guess that it’s the product of the art classes he took in the late 70s. The piece of art would then be a nice family memory, but probably not something others would pay big bucks to own. So call Aunt Mabel and tell her what you found—you’ll probably make her day.

But if the painting’s signature seems to read Rembrandt, Van Gogh, or one of the other names you sort of remember from that Art Appreciation class you took in college, well, now you’ve got something! The value of your painting is completely revealed in the identity of its Creator.

And the same is true in your life. Your value isn’t tied to your performance. You are eternally loved because of who you are, and I’m guessing the artist is reasonably proud of His work. As some toothless character once said, “God don’t make no junk!” He really doesn’t.

So if you want to build your sense of self-worth on a sure foundation, start scanning the Scriptures to listen to your Artist’s words about His own work. You’ll quickly find that though He knows your inadequacies, He is more excited by your possibilities. He loves you, and in the end, His opinion alone will matter.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 207

February 18, 2015 Leave a comment
  1. At the same time many, even among the leaders, believed in Him (John 12:42).

John knew. Maybe years later, after Nicodemus had come out of his spiritual closet, John knew even more. But, John clearly knew that there were some among the religious leaders who believed in Jesus. So, when you hold such a minority opinion, what do you do? Do you stand silently while the majority takes tragic action toward Jesus? Do you slide to the back of the room as the schemes are discussed? Or do you argue Jesus’ case among your peers? This is the challenge of the minority opinion. In matter as critical as their current plans for Jesus, it’s easy to imagine that such questions became quite stressful and difficult to navigate. And, more importantly, how do we steer through our own similar moments?

Notes from the Journe with the Disciples – 206

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment
  1. Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him (John 12:37).

What at first seems surprising really isn’t. We often want to think that miracles will induce faith, but many won’t believe even if they see. Why? Because their hearts are not open. When one’s posture is to reject, no amount of conflicting information will change the mind. We place what we see inside the framework of what we believe. We reinterpret the obvious to match our preconceptions. In other words, we see what we think. Only those who are willing to believe, who are actually looking for a Savior, will find One in the miracle before them. All others will find a reason not to believe their eyes.

A Pastor’s Battle with Insecurity – Part 12

February 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Over the past three months, we have been considering emotional insecurities and what they look like when experienced by a pastor. With all the expectations placed on a minister’s life, people often forget that pastors have the same emotional needs as everyone else. Unfortunately, letting those needs get the best of us at inopportune times can be damaging to relationships and even the ministry effort itself.

Here are a few thoughts that may help you manage your insecurities a bit better:

TIPS & TRUTHS…

  1. Never put your emotional health in the hands of someone else.

The Bible tells us that Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to any man because He knew what was in a man. This sure seems difficult for us because we do need people. But, as we will soon see, the only safe place for a pastor to invest his emotional needs is in his own relationship with God.

  1. The truth is a requirement for spiritual and emotional health.

Nothing can take the place of being honest about your own feelings. Pretending that your insecurities aren’t real does little to free you from their impact.

  1. Most of our unhappiness and insecurity is the result of lies we believe.

The good news is that much of what your insecurities are telling you isn’t true! We’ll explore this reality soon.

  1. Recognize that you will believe what you want to believe.

If you choose to believe something—even if it is false—you will live as though it were true. This is where many of us find our deepest struggle.

  1. The truth can be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.

For some reason, human nature can lead us to prefer the lie to the truth, especially if that lie is reinforced by how we have long felt about ourselves.

  1. A secret to healthy living is negotiating and balancing life’s hardships.

We have to have an effective plan for dealing with our setbacks. If we don’t, they will be able to unleash their most destructive capacities on us.

  1. Remember that hurting people naturally hurt people; intimidated people intimidate.

Many of the sources that enhance our insecurities are likely covering up a batch of their own. Once we’re free of our own destructive thoughts, we can begin seeing others’ insecurities more clearly.

  1. We can only pass on what we possess ourselves.

We need to conquer the destructive elements of our insecurities. Unfortunately, they can be contagious—sneaking into the lives of our children as well.

Notes from the JOurney with the Disciples – 205

February 12, 2015 Leave a comment
  1. “Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you” (John 12:35).

Jesus’ cryptic words pose a challenge for even the best Bible scholar. This response to the crowd’s question seems out of place. But Jesus’ point seems to be that they will have access to Him for only a little while longer. They must choose to heed His words–to walk in the Light–for their days of potential understanding are few. But while Jesus’ days on earth are limited at this point, so are theirs. This is the day of their potential salvation and they cannot afford to let it pass by. Neither can we. If we will not believe when the invitation is before us, darkness is looming. We must hear God when He is speaking for His voice will not continue to our hearts forever.