Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reflections from Worship

Never in a million years would I want people to think that I don’t enjoy my job.  Essentially, I get paid to study God’s word and to teach His people of His love and goodness.  Every day I get to work in an office where I’m encouraged to read the Bible, talk with people, and pray to my God.

However, one thing that you must understand is the burdens that are carried by those who are called to full time vocational ministry.  Think for a moment of all the burdens you carry in your life.  Finances and relationships, jobs and families.  Your pastors carry similar burdens.  It is unfortunate, but our vocation does not make us immune from our problems. 

In addition to our individual burdens, as your pastor I carry yours as well.  I lay awake at night praying for your marriages and your finances.  For your children and your parents.  It is a job I enjoy; one that I love.  I wouldn’t trade it for any other job on this earth.  But it takes its toll, and from time to time I need to find time to refuel myself.

This last week was incredibly draining.  VBS, as wonderful as it is, takes so much energy out of me.  It saps me and drains me.  This year was no different.  I came home most days spent and exhausted.  My family suffers the most from this, and as is often the case, the took the brunt of my fatigue.

Saturday night found Jodi and I sitting in a car discussing how empty I felt.  Talking about expectations and rest.  I needed to experience God in an amazing way.  I needed to be reloaded so I could continue His most important work. 

And then Sunday happened.

I entered into a worship service where I was supposed to again pour out from my tank into that of the congregation.  I don’t know what I expected, but my prayer before the service was simple.  I needed God to show up.  I couldn’t do it on my own.  I simply had nothing left.

As Jason walked into the baptistry to begin “dunking” followers of Jesus I was reminded of how amazing God was.  In 2007 FBC Hayden baptized 7 new believers.  In the last two weeks we baptized 7 and we have at least that many waiting in the wings for baptism.  Already this year we have baptized as many as we baptized all of last year.  Certainly God is doing something in our midsts… how amazing to see that.  It was refresing to sit in my seat and rejoice with my family of faith the decisions that had been made. 

During the baptism I heard Jonathan Slatton speak of his grandfather.  What an example of a godly man in his life.  I’m so proud that there are still real men in our world who will unashamedly share with their children and grandchildren that being a man is not about beers and women, but about following God with reckless abandon.

As we sang songs about heaven, my focus shifted from my present fatigue towards a future home where every wrong will be made right and every pain will be relieved.  I was reminded that one day my body will no longer be ravaged by this horrible disease that cripples it.  There will no longer be the need for IV medicines, Picc lines or chest tubes.  My lungs will again fill with air and my scars will be gone.

Oh how I long for that day! I couldn’t stop crying.  God was filling me up.  He was healing my soul.  He was giving me what I needed!

Even now on a plane headed toward Maryland, I am continuing to worship my God with the likes of Chris Tomlin and David Crowder, Hillsongs and Toby Mac.

Thank you Lord for filling me up today.  Thank you for the boost of energy.

I will not be moved!  I’ll say of the Lord you are my shield, my strength, my comfort, deliverer, my shelter, strong tower, my very present help in time of need.

A mighty fortress is our God, a bullwark never failing.  Our helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.  Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also, the body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still, and He must win the battle.

Praise God on high!  Every wrong will be made right!  How we long for the day, when every wounded soul will be made whole.  So let’s worship Him with a mighty voice, like we’re already with Him in Paradise!  Praise God on High!  Praise God!

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