I simply adore my God! The way he speaks to me in a multitude of different ways. Sometimes, the message is so blatant that it’s as though he’s next to me with a bullhorn screaming, “HELLO!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?” Yes, yes dear Lord I hear you!
Last week I was facilitating a session of the Orientation to Ministry event involving our Bishop and several Deacons, Elders and Local Pastors in our conference. This was huge for me because I was “in charge” of putting this thing together. I was a nervous wreck because the audience was full of folks who were heading to their very first appointments. What I said and how I led the other facilitators was key to what they took with them to their first appointments in the local church. I wanted this to be wonderful for each and every one of them.
When I closed our time together last week, I led a time of devotion using Paul’s letter to the Philippians – a passage that has come to mean so much to me in my own ministry:
(Chapter 3) 12 It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. 13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. 15 So all of us who are spiritually mature should think this way, and if anyone thinks differently, God will reveal it to him or her. 16 Only let’s live in a way that is consistent with whatever level we have reached.
I shared this passage because it reminds me daily of the need for personal growth both spiritually and professionally. We are in “pursuit” of perfection, which means we never stop running toward that goal. If we stop, we drift further away from it. I’ve experienced that first-hand as I became so complacent in my previous appointment. I was literally going through the motion of ministry instead of growing in ministry. Now, I am intentional about growing as I read books, attend conferences, build relationships with others, and bathe it all in prayer. It was important to me that this message reached the ears of these first appointment pastors because after the excitement of that new appointment wears off, they will be faced with the opportunity to put off the pursuit and embrace complacency. My prayer is that they hear Paul’s words and remember to keep up the race and revel in it!
And, as it usually goes, I’ve been pondering this concept ever since leaving the session last week. So, today, I open my email and get a great blog post from Craig Jutila about this very thing. So, yes God, I hear you!