Tag: bible (page 4 of 9)

Short & pithy

I’ve found Twitter a great spot for short, pithy statements. I love the challenge of boiling an extended thought down into 140 characters.

And I love the interaction I have there. For me, it’s been a great hub for ministry and ideas.

But one thing I don’t love is that once a tweet is sent, it’s got a shelf life of ~2 hours. After that, it’s buried under a pile of equally awesome pith. Never to be found again.

“Just repeat the good ones so they’re not buried anymore!” said someone who’s not actually on Twitter. That’s a Twitter no-no. That’s what the spam-bots do, right? Creativity and originality is prized. Not repetition.

But I thought I’d bring back some of my favorites. Partly because it’s good for me to remember the context for why I wrote these. Partly because there are many of you I’m not connected with on Twitter. (you can follow me HERE…if I don’t follow you right back, just message me and I will)

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The difficulty of change

Change, change, you are no one’s best friend.

You shake and you shift and make everyone bend.

 

Change, change, you make things so hard.

You stop the mundane like the praetorian guard.

 

Change, change, you make me feel weird.

Things once were comfortable, peaceful and clear.

 

Change, change, you make me want to quit

before your work is done. You’ve made a mess of it.

BUT

 

Change, change, you are good for me.

You stretch me, pull me, push me, grow me.

 

 

Change, change, you force innovation.

Creativity bubbles, ideas are born. They build on creation.

 

 

Change, change, you buck the status quo.

Push us right off our comfortable plateau.

 

 

Change, change, keep doing your thing.

Stretch, encourage, innovate. Bubble up from the spring.

 

 

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

 

Small Groups, My Insecurities, & 9 Ways to Respond to the Quiet Guy

I was in a small group my junior and senior years of high school that was absolutely monumental in my spiritual journey. That group helped me more than years and years of sermons I heard. More than years and years of sitting under a Sunday school teacher. More than years and years of individual study.Even though I didn’t talk much.

You know why I didn’t talk much during group time?

I was afraid.

I was afraid that I’d say something and be wrong.

Afraid I’d misquote a Scripture.

Afraid I’d say something and be disproven.

Afraid I’d say something dumb.

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image credit: Matt Gruber, Creation Swap, edits mine

There were a handful of times when I’d share something, only for someone to immediately respond with, “Well, why would you say this if ______ is true? What about the verse that says, “______.”

I’m sure that the guys saying these things weren’t trying to strike fear in me. Surely they weren’t intentionally trying to undercut every little step of faith I took to kick my fear in the teeth. They couldn’t be backhanding slamming my little serve across the net, like the guy that toys with you in ping pong, only to make you look silly with a flick of his wrist.

But every time I put myself out there, and they gave a quick retort, I retreated into my shell.

It’s a fear of man issue, I know. I’ve worked through it. I’ve dealt with my issues. I’m still dealing with them. I’m more and more comfortable being harshly corrected and chastised in a small group. My skin has toughened, and I’m more and more confident in who God has created me to be, rooting my identity in Christ. But here’s a word of wisdom to every small group leader:

Be careful how you respond to the quiet guy.

It’s easy to break people. Inadvertently, you squelch courage, winning the battle you didn’t even know existed. Winning the battle for the wrong team.

Instead of jumping all over the guy that says something you don’t agree with, let me offer a few responses you could give:

Helpful discussion engagers from a small group leader:

1. Hmm…that’s interesting. Can you explain that a little more?

2. Hmm…that’s interesting. Anybody else have a different take?

3. Thanks a ton for sharing that. We so value your perspective.

4. Good thought. Sounds like you’re pretty passionate about that. Where did you first hear that?

5. Thanks for that. I love the diversity of thought here.

6. Thanks for sharing. Let’s bounce that thought around the group.

7. But the Bible says, “_____,” so you’re wrong… (trust me, even if the person stands in stark contrast with the Bible, this is never, ever the best response right out of the gate)

8. I’ve not heard that angle before. Help me understand where you’re coming from.

9. So, let me try to repeat what you said so we can all be sure to understand your point…

There is a time for correction. A time for pointing out the Truth, and letting people choose to fall into the arms of Truth or run from them. There is a time for brutally honest feedback. But that time isn’t from you, the group leader, the “expert,” right after that person shares. Please don’t stomp out courage. Don’t cut off safety. Don’t snuff out curiosity.

And don’t kick the quiet guy.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21

 

 

3 Questions to Discern God’s Will

Don’t you just wish God would write His plan for you in the sky so that you’d know what He want? Don’t you just wish God would send you a Twitter message that said, “If you want to know my will, click this link: http://____. #NowGetOffTwitterAndGoDoSomething”

Knowing

image credit: CreationSwap

If we’re honest with ourselves, there’s a bit of us always looking for the easy way out. Especially when it comes to the most important decisions. If we could shorten the process, we would. It’s not a matter of trying to be disobedient or experiencing decision paralysis. It’s all about wanting to know God’s will and move forward.

But if that were how God operated, there would be no reason to have faith. We’d just know. There would be no need for trust in the midst of uncertainty, because there’d be only certainty.

God doesn’t always give us 100% clarity before a decision so that we’ll learn to trust Him. So that we’ll seek Him. So that we’ll not simply rely on our own wisdom, but we’d learn to lean in to others.

Have you ever have a decision in front of you and you’re not sure what to do?

Any life-altering, future-shaping decision has to be run through a grid. If you don’t have a framework to use when making decisions, you can find yourself way off in left field.

That’s why I have 3 questions I ask myself that have helped shape decisions I make and directions I go.

I recently had a huge life decision in front of me. Before I ever made the decision to move forward, I spent lots of time praying through these 3 questions. I worked through them with my wife. With people who knew me, knew the details of the potential move, and who understand my strengths and weaknesses.

The 3 Questions

1. Is this from Satan?

I figured out the answer to this one pretty quickly. The potential opportunity wasn’t leading me towards sin. It wasn’t leading me away from my ultimate calling in life. It wasn’t leading me to disobey clear commands in Scripture. Wasn’t leading me away from my wife and son or away from God.

This is the only question with a clear black-and-white answer.

2. Is this from my flesh?

Through this opportunity, are you only looking to make more money or serve your own interests? Are you looking to be more lazy? Are you looking for an easy way out, avoiding something you know you need to do by saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this opportunity? If you stepped in to this, would you be going against what you know God has called you to do in your current situation? If you say no, would you be staying in your position when you know God is prompting you to leave?

This is the point where you have to be painfully introspective and honest with yourself.

3. Is this from God?

If it’s not from Satan and not from your flesh, it may just be from God. Before you make the move, though, ask yourself if this is even something you want to do. Is this a God-given desire? Could it serve others better? Could God use you in a new and fresh way? Could God have been preparing you for this move? Could God be leading you on a new, different, fresh journey?

This is the point where you must bring others’ wisdom in. Don’t try to figure out this answer alone.

With every life decision, work the grid. Don’t work through it by yourself, though! Grab a trusted friend (or two) and ask them to help you out. It’s hard to see your own blind spots.

Question:

Got any big life decisions in front of you?

 

 

If you’re stuck…

Whether you’re a dad, a store manager, a pastor, a small group leader, or a leader of any kind, if you’re stuck right now, my guess is that you’re asking the wrong questions.

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image credit: CreationSwap user Boaz Crawford

If you want to get stuck in a rut with no sight of the sun, just keep asking the same questions over and over again. If you want to move forward, start asking different questions.

Instead of “who needs to be blamed here?” ask, “What can I do about it?”

Instead of “what can I do about it?” ask, “why?”

Instead of “why,” ask “why not?”

Instead of “why not,” ask, “Do I believe God can?” (Matthew 9:28)

Instead of asking whether you believe God can, ask “when?”

Instead of “when,” ask “now”?

Instead of “now,” ask “why am I scared”? (Matthew 8:26)

Instead of asking why you’re scared, ask, “Me?” (Isaiah 6:8)

Instead of “Me”, ask “who else”?

Instead of “who else,” ask “who can I serve?”

Instead of asking who you can serve, ask, “What needs to be tweaked?”

Instead of asking what needs to be tweaked, ask, “What needs to be done away with?

Instead of asking what needs to be done away with, ask “What if we had no resources?”

Instead of asking what you’d do if you had no resources, ask, “Am I being faithful with the little things in front of me?” (Luke 16:10)

Instead of asking if you’re being faithful, ask, “What would happen if we compiled every resource available to pull this off?”

Instead of that, ask, “Is this important enough to put significant financial, emotional, spiritual, and physical resources into?”

If it’s not, then stop what you’re doing. You’re asking the wrong question completely. Here’s where you need to start:

“What should I spend my life doing?”

You have a tweak on a traditional question we should be chewing on?

 

 

6 Social Media Rules Every Pastor Should break

There are lots of social meda “rules” that form over time. Just as with any product or service, usage often determines the unspoken set of ground rules. And if you’re not careful, those “rules” can pigeon-hole you.

And nobody likes a pigeon hole. Well, nobody but pigeons.

image credit: CreationSwap user Paule Patterson, edits mine

Whether you’re a pastor that’s a casual user or a power user, a rookie or a veteran, there are certain rules that you should adhere to. Rules that will help you with engagement…and help you not come across as

1. Completely out of touch with culture.

2. A self-centered self-promoter.

3.  A person that others unfollow when they read your updates.

So here are 6 rules that every pastor should break daily with social media.

6 Rules Pastors Should Break

1. Only quote the Bible

We know that you’re in love with the Bible. We get it. But there’s got to be more to who you are than random quotes from Scripture, right? Didn’t Martin Luther say anything good? CS Lewis? Can’t you come up with anything worth saying that’s at least remotely original? How about reading your Bible and applying it…and making that an update?

2. Keep up your “professional pastor” persona.

You’re not a walking Christian zombie, are you? You don’t only read Christian books, only watch Christian movies, and only eat at Christian restaurants, do you? There has got to be more to you than the Christian subculture. Building relationships with those outside of the faith isn’t going to happen if you’re tweeting YouTube videos out like this one, of Michael W Smith from the late 80s. Gotta love the vest. I think the song should’ve gone, “Nobody knew I could rock a vest like this…”

3. If you’re frustrated, complain. A lot.

Twitter can become a megaphone for you to voice your complaints about a lot of things: culture at large, politics, “other” pastors, or even your own church. Complaining doesn’t become you, though. In fact, Paul urges us

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, especially on Twitter… – James 5:9 (additions mine)

 4. Never update during “work” hours.

Give people an inside peek into who you are and what you do during your normal day. A behind-the-scenes, if you will. Social media can be a great voice for Truth and engagement throughout your week. Don’t have time to update during your work day? Schedule updates when you’ve got a few minutes.

5. Never share personal information.

Bologna. Share who you are. Share what you value. Talk about your family. Talk about your struggles. Share your pain. Your joy. Your victories.

6. Only follow other Christians.

If pastors want to bring hope to the hurting, grace to the downtrodden, and Truth to the places where people engage, we’ve got to track along with those outside of our Christian bubbles. And here’s a freebie for you…nobody judges your theology by who you follow on Twitter and Facebook.

 Question:

Do you interact more on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or on your blog?

 

9 Lies Pastors Believe While they’re Preaching

image credit: CreationSwap user Jordan Wiseman

While I’m preaching, there are myriads of thoughts racing through my head. Some of which include:

Why is that baby crying? Are they crying because I’m too loud? Or because they didn’t like that joke? Or because it’s too dark? Or too bright? Or…oh wait, it’s because they’re probably tired. Good thing they’re not falling asleep during my sermon like the guy behind them.

Why did he just get up to leave? Bathroom break? Am I going that long? Should I call him out right here and now? Nah…or wait. That might be funny. Or offensive. Probably offensive. But probably funny, too.

Why didn’t she turn her cell phone off? Hmm…I wonder who’s calling her? Wait…is she answering that phone? What’s she whispering? I wish she’d speak up so I can hear what she’s saying.

Uh oh…I’m going to go long with this sermon. Should I cut something out? Or make them sweat if I’ll ever be done?

I may be alone in how much my mind can often wander during a given sermon. But somehow, I think I’m not. And I’m willing to bet that most pastors believe these lies while they’re preaching:

9 Lies Pastors Believe While they’re Preaching

1. Man, this sermon is awesome. In fact, all of my sermons are awesome!

Whoa there, Desperado. You’re not as great as you think. Jump on down from your high horse. Some weeks are good and others are, well, not so good. Accept it.

2. The person shaking their head in affirmation is actually listening.

Sometimes they are. But sometimes they’re just trying to keep from falling asleep. Don’t take it personally. And don’t use that moment to slide in your every-other-week “You shouldn’t stay out late on the night before church” points.

3. Everyone likes me.

Not the guy who stands out in the hallway every week. He doesn’t. Never has. And until you preach a message aimed at engaging him, he probably never will. OR…you could just try to have a normal conversation with him in the hallway. Either way…

4. “Amen!” guy is so zoned in to what I’m saying. It’s like we were cut from the same cloth.

I heard an “Amen!” guy at a church I once attended that “Amen”-ed every single point. He didn’t know when to stop. So he didn’t. I think I even heard him “Amen!”-ing in the parking lot.

5. I can do it all. If only I could clone me…

Stop it. Stop it right there. You’re doing one thing in this moment. You’re preaching. If you’re also slated to do the music for the day, every visitor follow-up throughout the week, and every prayer preceding the pot-lucks, it’s time to share some responsibility. You’re not good at everything. And if you think you are, then that might be one of the reasons your church isn’t growing as quickly as it could. (whoops…did I take that one too far? Sorry…)

6. They’re actually taking notes!

I saw some of our handouts from this Sunday. Doodling. A couple of notes. Then they left it under their seat after the service. Don’t kid yourself.

7. If I say this point with more force, you’re more likely to remember it.

Just keep trying. Use a megaphone if you want. Or, better yet, start yelling from the top of the sermon to the bottom. It’s all important, right? Then do your vocal warm-ups and let ’em rip. And watch ’em grab the ear plugs on their way in, too.

8. If I go long, people will love me for it.

Nope. If you go long, people will wonder how long you can actually go. And they’ll also be lamenting the fact that the Methodists are going to beat them to lunch today.

9. If I go short, people will judge me and wonder what I did all week.

Nope. If you go short, they’ll be the ones beating the Methodists to the buffet. And you’ll be their favorite preacher.

Why share this? Why smack pastors in the face a bit?

Because we’re humans, too. We’re prone to thinking too much of ourselves, taking ourselves too seriously, thinking everyone cares about intricate theology as much as we do, and prone to spiraling downwards into self-glorification.

The more we can pursue humility, making less of ourselves and our gifts and our talents and our insights and our winsomeness…and make more of the God who gives us life and breath and everything, the better off we are. And the better off our congregations are, too.

Time to quit believing the lies. Time to preach faithfully the message God’s given us. Time to remind ourselves who the King really is.

 

 

 

The difference between pride & confidence

The decision I made to move into full-time vocational ministry was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. It took me nearly a year of praying, fasting, reading, and seeking counsel.

But when I made the decision, there was no swaying me. Not a chance you were going to convince me I was headed the wrong direction. I was sure that the direction my compass was pointing was the right one. I made the decision resolutely and began planning my life around it.

image credit: creation swap user Nathan Michael, edits mine

I wondered, though…was this a healthy confidence? Built on the back of the Truth of Scripture, the counsel of others, and God’s hand leading me throughout the previous 12 months? Or was it simply me trying to mask my self-centered, “I’m-right-and-you’re-not” pride?

The line that distinguishes pride and confidence is often indistinguishable.

From the outside, looking in, it’s like trying to find a fishing line in mid-air. You know it’s there, but unless you find yourself tangled up in it, it’s a line that’s not visible to the naked eye. A line that, if you don’t stand in the right spot, you’ll find yourself hooked by.

To see the fishing line, you need a piece of contrasting material. Hold up a black t-shirt to the line, and it instantly stands out. Take the t-shirt away, and the line seems to go with it.

It’s incredibly easy to slide from confidence into pride. To slide from a healthy view of self to an unhealthy perspective of your gifts and abilities. In fact, if you’re not careful, you won’t even realize you’ve made the transition. It takes intentionally holding up a contrasting material for you to see this invisible line.

Know this: if the line disappears, you’re in trouble. If you can’t tell when you’re moving into pride, your leadership will be damaged. You’ll make poor decisions. You’ll destroy relationships. And you’ll leave a pathway of destruction that will take years to rebuild.

Looking at pride and confidence contrasting each other can be the mirror we use to tell this important distinction.

5 truths about pride

The prideful person

never says they’re wrong.

doesn’t accept input, but goes at everything alone. They makes decisions in a vacuum.

bristles when taking advice/correction.

doesn’t take others into account.

craves public and/or private recognition for the works they’ve done.

 

6 truths about confidence

The confident person

measures their choices and actions with wisdom.

weighs input from others, and moves towards the Truth.

doesn’t proceed through selfish ambitions. (Philippians 2:3-4)

realizes they can’t do it alone.

knows who they are, and who they aren’t. They’re “confident” where God has gifted them.

works to build others up. (Ephesians 4:12-13)

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom

or the strong boast of their strength

or the rich boast of their riches,

but let the one who boasts boast about this:

that they have the understanding to know me,

that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight,”

declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 9:23-24

Question:

Have you seen a difference between pride and confidence? Have you seen these distinctions play out? Have you ever slid from healthy confidence to pride?

 

 

10 Lessons Leaders can learn from a 3 year old

Jesus said

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  – Matthew 19:14

You can learn a lot from a 3 year old if you’re willing. I’ve been stretched by the way my son lives his life…stretched to think differently about the way I live and the way I lead.

image credit: Creation Swap user: http://creationswap.com/jonathanmalm

Maybe you will be, too. 

10 Lessons from a 3 year old

1. Run fast and break things.

I think this is my 3-year-old’s life mantra right now. And he’s really good at it.

Leader: Playing it safe isn’t what we’re called to do. Faith takes risks, trusting God to work. Trusting that God is sovereign. And if we break something, it gives us the chance to figure out what doesn’t work, so we can truly find the best way to lead people in the best, most efficient way possible.

2. Have fun.

Everywhere my son goes, he’s having a good time. And he can make the best out of a boring situation. It’s amazing how fun he can make a department store. 

Leader: If you’re not having fun, those you lead probably aren’t, either. And laughter is evidence that we serve a good God. (Psalm 126:2) If you want to show people that our God is good, have a little fun. In the process, if your team has fun together, you’ll go further together.

3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

My son laughs at himself all of the time. He’s one of the funniest people he knows. 🙂

Leader: you have a tendency to be super serious. And super boring. When you take yourself too seriously, you set yourself up for disappointment, and inadvertently set yourself on a pedestal that’s begging to be brought down by the next bad idea.

4. Work so hard you have to rest.

By the time his head hits the pillow, most nights, he’s already asleep.

Leader: may we never be found lazy. The people we’re called to serve are too valuable for that. We should run so hard and give of ourselves so fully that we long for the Sabbath each week.

5. Don’t be afraid of new things.

My son tries new things every day. Whether that’s a new food, picking up a new bug, climbing a new playground, or meeting a new friend, my son knows very little fear.

Leader: We ultimately serve the most creative Being in the universe. And He’s sovereign over all things. So why should we ever be afraid of trying something new? If you break something, refer back to #1, above. It’s better to try something new and fail, than keep doing things that are weakly accomplishing our mission and vision.

6. Trust people who know and love you best.

My son has a huge trust of us, and of people he knows best. He’ll go anywhere, and do anything for, those who know and love him.

Leader: if we don’t have a circle of friends who know us, want what’s best for us, encourage and correct us…then we don’t have people we can really trust. It’s easy to keep people at arm’s length, and not allow yourself to be vulnerable. This is a dangerous place to be as a leader.

7. Don’t think. Do.

Rarely does my son evaluate the full range of possibilities before he does something. Which means he takes a lot more risks, ends up with a lot more bruises, and has a lot more fun.

Leader: there are times to evaluate and to perform risk assessments. But there are times when, if you do that, the change that needs to be made will pass you by. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

8. Make the big ask.

My son asks me to stay home from work. Often. And sometimes I do. 🙂

Leader: Need your leadership team to have your back on a new crazy idea? Make the big ask. Need to hire a new staff member, and only want the best? Make the big ask. Need a lot of money for your next project? Make the big ask.

9. Don’t wait for a title. Just lead.

My son doesn’t wait until someone declares him the “leader.” He just leads, and invites others to follow.

Leader: Wherever you find yourself in the organization, whether you’re the lead person or one of the staff members, don’t rely on your title to lead. Just lead, and invite others to follow. Leaders lead.

10. Be constantly curious.

3 year olds ask a lot of questions. And learn about a thousand new things every day.

Leader: learn to be a good question-asker. Ask, “Why not?” and, “What’s next?” constantly. Be willing to search outside of your box to find answers to your questions. Learn from other professions. Push the envelope. Your mission and vision are worth the cost.

Question:

Do you now, or have you ever, spend much time around a 3 year old?

 

Don’t waste your pain

What does it look like to live a good story? Am I living a good story? Why does it matter? I’m blogging as a part of a series today for Prodigal Magazine on what it looks like to live a good story. You can catch the rest of the writers HERE.

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When I was in graduate school, my wife and I joined a small group. Small groups are supposed to be a place of safety, and trust, and growth and encouragement. A place where you form relationships that help you make sense out of life, pursue Jesus together, and enjoy friendship. That’s the bill we were sold, and we bought it. Every Sunday night, we’d trek across town, 35 minutes south, reading our small group study on the way to group (don’t judge us), praying we weren’t the first to be called on to answer a question. Praying we weren’t asked to sign a sheet of paper that said, “I read all of this week’s lesson…before I got in the car to come over here.”

For a season, everything was great. My wife and I were both in seminary, so getting ourselves out of the academic classroom was refreshing for us. As we focused on applying the Scriptures to our lives, we found the Bible coming alive once again.

When things go sideways

But then we had to miss group for 3 weeks in a row. We had to be out of town for various (and might I add, legitimate) reasons, and couldn’t make it to group. The moment I got back in town, our group leader called me, and said, “Ben, I noticed you and Laura have been absent from group for a while now…” and he just kind of let it hang out there, hoping that I would pour out my heart in confession. But I didn’t. I just made things more awkward, letting the silence hang, creating a thick air of tension. My main reason for the silence was because I had no idea what he was driving towards. He pointed out that Laura and I had been absent for a few weeks, questioning our commitment to the group and our integrity as individuals. He said that because of our spotty attendance, there were people in the group who didn’t trust us anymore.

“Because we missed 3 weeks?” I said.

“Yep.” he confidently returned.

He began to unpack his thoughts, calling my integrity into question because, “I just think you’re holding stuff back from the group, Ben…because when we share prayer requests, you don’t cry.”

I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrated I was…we thought we were committed to the group! “Ok…I get it. This is a joke, right? Joke’s on me! I almost fell for it,” I said.  But as I dug a little deeper, I found that there was a family in the group gossiping about us. They’d pull the leader to the side and plant little thoughts into our leader’s head, calling Laura and me into question. And as far as my lack of crying goes…I’m just not a cryer. Not that there’s anything wrong with guys crying…I make fun of those guys, but there’s nothing wrong with it. (that’s a joke…if you’re offended by that, then cry about it and I’ll make fun of you. :)) I’m not trying to be uber-tough, it’s just not my personality. But it was the personality of some of the guys in the group, and so, because nobody talked with me about this, space was created for people to think I was masking some deep pain. I wasn’t.

Over time, the leader began to believe the lies. Something that was absolutely benign, that could’ve been handled with one conversation, grew to a point where my wife and I were ready to be done with community. We were soon to move anyway, so we were just ready to check out of small groups altogether. Forever.

So we did. We walked away from this great gift God has given his people.

Until I got a call 2 years later from Grace Community Church to be their small groups pastor. Suddenly, this gift was placed back in my lap, and I had to wrestle through the risk of stepping back in, making myself vulnerable once again. I had to figure out whether I believed that biblical community was a gift…or a weapon. I had to discern if God was calling me to help others experience this weapon-gift or not.

4.5 years later, I can tell you with great certainty that I’ve found an area of life and ministry that I’ll give the rest of my life to promote. “Community” is a value that I hold in high regard. It was through frustration, though, that I found it. Had I not experienced the dark side of community, I wouldn’t value healthy, authentic, biblical community like I do.

Isn’t it funny how God works?

Isn’t it funny how God uses pain and frustration to shape who you’re becoming? How He uses an event or a relationship or a season of life to shake us to our core, and cause us to question so many things. And through that, mold us into who He created us to be.

I’m quick to pray the prayer, “God, please remove this suffering…I don’t like it.” But I have found that prayer, in my life, to be a reflection of an immature side of my faith. Instead, I’ve learned to pray, “God, through this suffering, give me eyes to see what you’re up to.” I wish I could say that my knee-jerk reaction to anything difficult in life is this prayer. Alas, I’m a work in progress.

It’s not wrong to ask God to remove pain. But through pain, don’t miss what God’s teaching you. Don’t miss the bigger picture that He’s up to, and how He’s ready and willing to use your pain to help others. (2 Corinthians 1:3-11)

Don’t waste your pain. Let God use it.

Question:

What pain, that you’re experiencing right now, might God be using to shape you into who He created you to be?

What pain, that you’re experiencing right now, might God use to change someone else’s view of life, difficulties, and Jesus?

 

 
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