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Foggy Stops Lifted

I expressed in Foggy Stops that I often find myself in a quandary. I am in the midst of ministry and I find myself wondering if I should stop for ministry. How can I be fair? What should I do?

One of the greatest examples I have of adequately handling this challenge is found in the Bible, Luke 8:40-50. Jesus is in the midst of heading for ministry to Jairus’ daughter who is on her death bed. On the way there he is clearly interrupted by ministry, but does not seem to be interrupted at all.

A woman, who has been bleeding physically for twelve years, touches the fringe of his garment and is physically healed. Ministry work accomplished, right? Wrong! Jesus recognized the opportunity for ministry and stopped for ministry.

In a wonderful act of compassion, Jesus recognized in her religious tradition twelve years of bleeding physically left her also bleeding socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Jesus revealed the real need and welcomed her back into public life again.  He set her free from the chains that bound her for twelve years.

Following this empathetic ministry to her, Jesus moved on to His next opportunity for ministry. This is the premiere example of effective ministry without getting lost in the fog.

As you know from  Foggy Stops I can’t say that I have been there as much as I would like. I sure do want to experience this ministry mix exemplified by Jesus’ fine tuned connection with the Father. I want to handle my stops like Him.

When have you effectively made the transition to ministry on the way to ministry?

What do you think is the key to doing ministry the “Jesus Way”?

Mastering Foggy Stops

I expressed in Foggy Stops that I often find myself in a quandary. I am in the midst of ministry and I find myself wondering if I should stop for ministry. How can I be fair? What should I do?

One of the greatest examples I have of adequately handling this challenge is found in Luke 8:40-50. Jesus is in the midst of heading for ministry to Jairus’ daughter who is on her death bed. On the way there he is clearly interrupted by ministry, but does not seem to be interrupted at all.

A woman, who has been bleeding physically for twelve years, touches the fringe of his garment and is physically healed. Ministry work accomplished, right? Wrong! Jesus recognized the opportunity for ministry and stopped for ministry.

In a wonderful act of compassion, Jesus recognized in her religious tradition twelve years of bleeding physically left her also bleeding socially, emotionally, and spirituall

Mastering Foggy Stops

I expressed in Foggy Stops that I often find myself in a quandary.  I am in the midst of ministry and I find myself wondering if I should stop for ministry.  How can I be fair?  What should I do?

One of the greatest examples I have of adequately handling this challenge is found in Luke 8:40-50.  Jesus is in the midst of heading for ministry to Jairus’ daughter who is on her death bed.  On the way there he is clearly interrupted by ministry, but does not seem to be interrupted at all.

A woman, who has been bleeding physically for twelve years, touches the fringe of his garment and is physically healed.  Ministry work accomplished, right?  Wrong!  Jesus recognized the opportunity for ministry and stopped for ministry.

In a wonderful act of compassion, Jesus recognized in her religious tradition twelve years of bleeding physically left her also bleeding socially, emotionally, and spiritually.  Jesus recognized the need and welcomed her into the public life again free from the chains that bound her for twelve years.

Following this empathetic ministry to her Jesus moved on to His next opportunity for ministry.  This is the premiere example of effective ministry without getting lost in the fog.

As you know from my Foggy Stops post I can’t say that I have been there as much as I would like.  I sure do want to experience this ministry mix exemplified by Jesus’ fine tuned connection with the Father.  I sure do want to be there.

Have you ever effectively made the transition to ministry on the way to ministry?

What do you think is the key to doing ministry the “Jesus Way”?

y. Jesus recognized the need and welcomed her into the public life again free from the chains that bound her for twelve years.

Following this empathetic ministry to her Jesus moved on to His next opportunity for ministry. This is the premiere example of effective ministry without getting lost in the fog.

As you know from my Foggy Stops post I can’t say that I have been there as much as I would like. I sure do want to experience this ministry mix exemplified by Jesus’ fine tuned connection with the Father. I sure do want to be there.

Have you ever effectively made the transition to ministry on the way to ministry?

What do you think is the key to doing ministry the “Jesus Way”?

Foggy Stops

One challenge of being involved with a Christ-centered ministry is navigating ministry opportunities.  Actually this is a challenge of a Christian who wants to make a difference.

In my world there is ministry to the clients who walk in the doors, their family or significant others,  the volunteers who themselves come to serve, my staff, the students to whom I speak, their teachers and parents, the donors who graciously give or can’t give right now, the people with whom I go to church, and then there is my own family.

Everyone is just chocked full of ministry opportunities for the man or woman who wants to make a difference.  Each individual or group presents their own prospect for care, encouragement, support, compassion, exhortation, insights, time, love, confrontation, etcetera, etcetera.

Here is the rub.   In this thick ministry fog it is a challenge to know where to start or stop next.  With all I am doing how can I ever stop for other ministry?

Of course, there is the analysis of these missed opportunities.  Wasn’t I already busy helping in one area already?  How can I help everyone?  Did I miss it?  Am I just callous to the needs of others?  Where is the compassion?  How can I be fair?  Am I supposed to be fair?

Have you ever found yourself in the fog of ministry opportunities wondering how to navigate?

What navigational aids do you use to get you through the fog?

Entitlement Entanglement

A crowd of more than 10,000 people in tin and cardboard shanties cover the side of a hill.  One lone water spigot provides semi-fresh water for those people.  I can remember days without a shower and being excited just to get a bucket of water for a bath.

Hundreds of people standing in line for the chance at a pair of used eye glasses.  Panic ensues as the waiting people recognize the long line and the supply of glasses make it unlikely they will get a pair.

The above represent memories from trips to third world countries. In the midst of extreme lack I can remember seeing the extreme gratitude and contentment of the people.  They were even willing to share out of their lack.  In the midst of their impoverished existence they were grateful.

Can I just go ahead and admit that I am often challenged to be grateful for what I have because I want more?  If I am real honest I would even admit that I have spent masses of time entangled in the thought that I am entitled to have more than I have and as a result I am not content.  I expect more.

As a not for profit organization leader attempting to raise thousands of dollars every week, I often find myself in the crosshairs of being so caught up in the need for more that I don’t make the time to be grateful.  After all I am seeking to fulfill the mission of God and I need money to see that happen.  Said another way, because I am doing the work of the Lord I am entitled to more.

I might even get some support from my friends that would quote Jesus, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. “  (John 10:10 ESV)  Somehow I have been thinking that entitlement is not what Jesus meant.  Another question to ponder is do I define life abundantly or is that the Lord’s role?

I know I can sure enough spend a great more time expressing gratitude for the great grace of our Lord.

What do you think?   Do you find yourself entangled in entitlement?

Forever Forgotten Forbearance?

Quick to anger, easy to upset, minor molehills multiplied into massive madness mountains, able to flare up with the tiniest indiscretion, and ready to pounce like a speeding bullet.  It’s an offense.  It’s a blown out of proportion argument.  It’s a knock down drag.  No, it is forever forgotten forbearance.

My wife and I were discussing an argument witnessed recently.  Now granted we weren’t in the argument, so we weren’t privileged with all details or history, but we were both shaking our heads to see the war that seemingly came out of what seemed like nothing.  It just did not seem like it warranted the battle.

My dear Natalie then commented, “As super mentor and Godly woman, Jean Berry, warned me, we no longer have forbearance towards each other.”  You know Jean and Natalie are right.   I can’t remember the last time I heard someone encourage another person to forbear.   Like me you might be thinking what does it really mean?

Meriam Webster gives us the following:  to control oneself when provoked : be patient;  a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due.  I looked in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and found that the word associated with forbear can be translated patient, bearing up, bearing, and toleration.  Forbearance definitely has the King James Version ring to it, but it is not for the weak in knees.

I give you the English Standard Version of Colossians 3:13, “bearing (forbearing) with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

It is about overlooking, dismissing, enduring, bearing, and forgiving what would normally be an offense of some sort.   I think we can all agree now this just does not come natural to the normal human being.   The reality is I want others to forbear my deal, but not so much me forbear their deal.

It is not the stuff of mere mortals.  However, it must be achievable or there would not be a biblical admonition to walk out forbearance.  The ability to forbear what is naturally offensive is the mark of a surrendered life.  It is the Christian life that Paul describes in Romans 12:9-21.

“…Outdo one another in showing honor.”  “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.”  “Live in harmony with one another.” “…live peaceably with all.”

Forbearance sounds pretty tough, but can you imagine the impact forbearing people could make on a culture.  In the words of Barney Fife, “This would be big.  I mean big.”

I am game to give it a fighting chance, but do I know I need some help…self sacrificing supernatural help.   Let’s put forbearance back on the map.

Questions:  When was the last time you forbear the actions of another person?

What do you think it would take for you to forbear the next offense towards you?

Successful Success

Merriam Webster defines success as:

1: obsolete : outcome, result 2 a : degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence   3 : one that succeeds

For the most part the North American standard of success is often defined like this:  big house, second big house in the mountains or maybe two,  two luxury cars no make that three, big boat, corporate ladder climbing, six figure income, impressive investment portfolio,  steaks on the giant grill, and nice new fashion threads on your back and bottom.  Am I against such?  No, but people will actually give their life for such.   In losing my life for the above have I actually experienced successful success?

I have been calling on donors to support an upcoming fundraising banquet.  I was enjoying catching up with one donor and he asked me about a recent short term mission trip.  We talked about the people I met along the Amazon River.

He said to me, “I bet their idea of success is not like our idea of success.  How many of them have a big house, car, or a 401K.”  I laughed.  He continued, “I bet they enjoy their success a great deal more than we do.”  This time I did not laugh, but I commented, “Their success in many ways is much more successful and simple.”

Not that I am knocking enjoying any luxurious associations with success, but you can have it all and never experience successful success.  I think it has something to do with having the character to do what is right even when it is difficult.  In other words, material wealth makes for an unsatisfying meal if it is gained in manner that carries no honor, cost you your soul, or your family.

Success can be measured in intimate, caring, and mutually desirable family relationship.  Saying I love you to your teenage son or daughter and getting their mutual admiration, now that is success.  Humbly acknowledging you did something wrong to a family member or friend, demonstrates often uncommon but great success.  Making the ballgame, dance, or time for your expecting child is there any greater success?

Maybe Albert Einstein had it right.  “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

Questions:

Do you think successful success has an identity problem?

What are some measures of successful success for you?

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