Pastor's corner November 18th
This week we are back to the Five Lessons I Have Learned About Being a Rebel. Let’s do a quick review of the first two lessons:
Lesson ONE – rebels who are remembered (for goodness sake), are not just against things as they are, they are diligently giving themselves to things as they should be.
Lesson TWO – the best rebels understand that respecting all people is fundamental in the pursuit of any goal, and under the Christian banner, love might even demand that we honor the “opposing” person over and above the cause.
Now to lesson three. This lesson is about passion and being patient with those who may not be as passionate as the rebel thinks others should be. Once a rebel embraces a cause, you can rest assured he/she will be doggedly determined to see it through till the end. That persistence is usually driven by a deep-seated passion that something must be done about this. For the rebel it is clear. It is also white hot. In a rebel’s mind it is inconceivable that anyone would be unable to see the importance of this getting fixed/changed. As a result, when they run into others who aren’t as passionate about the issue/cause, they can become indignant and rude.
Why does this matter?
It matters because rebels must understand that lasting change require lots of people getting on-board and doing their part – and the harsh reality is that not everyone will feel as deeply about the issue as the rebel does. That doesn’t make these people wrong. That doesn’t make them uncaring. It’s just that the rebel has been given their deep passion (perhaps even by God), because what burns inside gives the rebel perseverance in leading the initiative.
Lesson THREE – a passionate rebel must be persistent in the cause and patient with the people who don’t feel it as deeply as the rebel does. The rebel still needs them. If you’re the rebel - don’t alienate people. Lead them.
Previous Pastor Corner Blogs
I am going to take a one week break from my series on Five Lessons I Have Learned from Being a Rebel to address the potential “elephant in the room” with regard to Chris’ joining us this weekend.
A number of people have asked me how I am doing with all this, and I can say with both confidence and delight, I am doing great. Truly! I love watching God shape the future of Grace Fellowship.
Carol and I knew that our season of ministry would be brief in Pella and we still feel like that was/is God’s plan for us. That said, we have grown to love the mission and the people of the church, which is why we love seeing the Lord’s hand at work.
Candidly, it has been inspiring to be a part of the search process with PST. Vanderbloemen has served us really well. Given their credibility and network, we were able to attract over 100 potential candidates. The team at VBG did all the heavy-lifting on the front end and they presented us with four very qualified candidates. Chris rose to the top of the list, because of his relevant experience and training, relational capacity, philosophic compatibility, personal style and family connections in the area.
I cannot speak for the whole committee, but personally, I think he fits our profile extremely well. I am praying that this will be confirmed for him and us in numerous ways over the weekend. If that is not the way it goes, I am still confident that God has a way forward for us. He cares more deeply about our fruitful future than we do!
Dear friends, know that I will be quite mindful of you in the days ahead.
Lord lead on!
Last week I started my first “series” with Pastor’s Corner, where I’m addressing: Five Lessons I Have Learned About Being a Rebel. Last week I addressed my first observation:
Lesson ONE – rebels remembered for goodness sake are not just against things as they are, they are diligently giving themselves to things as they should be.
My second lesson has to do with a rebel’s disposition toward people. Rebels care deeply about causes and often when a cause is being engaged, lots of people end up paying a hefty price – especially those who stand in opposition to the cause.
Changing things and shaking things up is core to a rebel’s strategy. As a result, rebels are not usually very concerned about collateral damage (even if that includes people). It’s just part of the price (in their minds). Some things are too important to let people’s feelings, preferences, and/or opinions get in the way. If the fight requires that a few people get denigrated and demonized, so be it.
This may be standard fare in the world, but for the Christian, this is simply not an option. Addressing any and every cause must include a strategy that continues to value people – even people on the “other side.” People are not the enemy. People may hold ideas that rebels find reprehensible and downright evil, and yet these very people are still loved by God. In fact, they are God’s treasure.
Therefore, every redeemed rebel makes a clear distinction between the cause and the people involved (on both sides). They understand that sincere people can have different ideas about any number of issues and just because someone sees something differently does not make them evil, incompetent, or prejudice – modern political conversations not-withstanding.
Lesson TWO – the best rebels understand that respecting/valuing all people is fundamental in the pursuit of any goal, and under the Christian banner, love might demand that we honor the “opposing” person over and above the cause.
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…” (Romans 5:8)
For the next few weeks I’m going to try a little experiment. Instead of having a different topic for each weekly installment of “Pastor’s Corner”, I am going to run a series related to a similar theme. To get us started, I want to write about the “Five Lessons I Have Learned About Being a Rebel.”
I have been a rebel for as long as I can remember – in fact, its been even before I can remember, because my mom gave me the nick name, as a toddler, “Denise the Menace” (some of us are probably old enough to remember that cartoon character). As a result, I have spent most of my life on the line between goodness and trouble – pushing that line as much as possible. Even in ministry, if it wasn’t “allowed’ I always wanted to ask “why?” And if the answer wasn’t good enough, I’d probably want to try it. Maybe, even exactly because it was not allowed.
In the 15 months since I have been here, I have come to believe I am among kindred spirits.
However, being a rebel isn’t exactly the easiest way to do life. You often end up being the person asking uncomfortable questions. You are the one who ends up being a bit of a pain in the keaster. You create awkward moments and make a mess of the status quo. And… take pleasure in doing so.
The problem is that if you want to get stuff done, you can’t just be against stuff. You can’t just make people’s lives more difficult. You can’t just cause trouble wherever you go. A rebel who ends up being memorable and doing good, must be about something more than simply being rebellious. Otherwise, at the end of your life, you will sadly realize you have only made yourself (and everyone around you) – miserable.
Lesson ONE – rebels who are remembered for goodness sake are not just against things as they are, they are diligently giving themselves to things as they should be.
Lord, help us to be rebels for a redemptive cause. In fact, may we be known more for what we advocate and endorse than what we resist and fight against. For the sake, and in the name, of Jesus Christ.
This coming Sunday morning Geoff Bond will be speaking to us on: ‘...and I’m Losing Control’. Geoff will draw on his vast experiences as a Social Worker and Leadership Consultant with the Methodist Church in the UK to help us sort out those internal musing that can either work for/against us. You don’t want to miss!
I’d like to use this forum to share a heartfelt and public word of thanks to the three guests who have joined us from the UK for the week.
Each of them are very busy people, both in their work and with their families in the UK. They took vacation time to come here, and we have kept them quite busy along the way. We helped underwrite some of the cost of their flights, but the rest was at their own expense. And every time I heard them teach or watched them interact with one of our young people, I kept asking myself - why would they so willingly and readily come to Pella, IA?
If you were in their shoes, and you had limited resources and limited vacation time, is this a trip you would have made? Nothing against Pella, but if I lived in Europe and had but 1-2 chances to cross the pond, I am not sure Pella would have been on the short list.
So, on the first night here, I asked them again, why did they say ‘yes’ when I invited them? They each talked about the sense of calling they felt to join us and serve us. And I felt so honored and blessed by God - that he would lay it on their hearts to be of service to us and our congregation. How much he must love us that he would send three national church leaders from the UK our way!
Thank-you Lord, and thank-you Geoff, Jo, and Rachel for being obedient to God, even if it made little sense for those looking from the outside in.
At the close of the service this week we will be taking a special offering in support of the ministry that Geoff, Jo and Rachel have done in our community. Please be generous on their behalf.