October is a great month. The weather is often beautiful, with lots of sunshine, changing and falling leaves, etc. And there are fall festivals galore. And, of course, it concludes with one of the strangest (and usually fun) events of the fall season: Halloween! (Oh, and there is Bosses' Day and Pastors Appreciation Month, too. :-)
We who serve the Lord in ministry in his Church are as human as everyone else. That is we sometimes wonder if we're really doing something important for him, or are we just spinning our wheels? As many reading this blog will know, I'm frequently saying that the Church must "Keep the MAIN thing the MAIN thing." The main thing, of course, has to do with our loving God with all of our heart, soul and mind, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. The implications of that kind of love means that we want to let others know of God's love for them.
The first and best way to do that is to show our "neighbors" what that means. When I attended Bible college & seminary an old adage was passed down that in essence said, "Ministry would be wonderful if it weren't for all the people you have to deal with." It has been said that most ministers "resign" from their churches on Monday mornings, repent on Tuesdays and get fired up for the opportunity to preach and teach again on Wednesday. While I'm pretty sure we all have an idea about what that means, I wonder if we can appreciate its meaning in any way close to what the Lord himself might think about it.
You see, the Lord knows ALL of us even better than we know ourselves. Some people are "difficult" in one way or another--or maybe in several ways. :-) In fact, isn't it true that most--dare I say, ALL--of us can be "difficult" at times--even for the Lord! Yet he loves us all! That doesn't mean he wants us to remain in our sins, or that he doesn't want us to grow and mature as Christians. Quite the contrary, he does offer us forgiveness for our sins and we are urged to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). Yet, some seem to have more trouble than others getting beyond their difficult stages of development. Some are perennial 2-year olds when it comes to attitudes or actions.
Many men and women enter ministry with the idealistic view that everything will be wonderful and all of their problems will vanish because they are "serving the Lord." Then reality hits. Even Christian people often fail to act like Christian people. And, sadly, many of those men and women depart ministry--some for awhile, others forever, still others remain actively involved in a church, even if they harbor some resentment for how they were "treated" in ministry. Some drop out of church altogether, blaming it on the problems of "ministry"--usually meaning the people in it (some of them in leadership or on ministry staffs). My heart aches for those people.
Yet, Dee and I believed the Lord called us to serve him in the local church. I didn't grow up in the church and had little time in it when I transferred to Cincinnati Christian University. But I couldn't avoid what I began know as the Lord's touch on my life to serve him in the Church--using what I was learning to help "grow the church" after the New Testament model. And I left academia believing the Church was where God wanted me, instead. While there have been times when I've second-guessed that decision, I know he has provided the resources we have needed in order not become overwrought with worry or indecision, or overwhelmed by those "problem people" that every church must deal with.
Many of those resources have come in the form of... PEOPLE! God's answers to so many of our prayers over the years came in the form of people. We have been blessed by the people the Lord sent our way, and we have strived to help those people either come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, or helped them discover that they can serve him in HIS CHURCH--many as ministers, elders, and other servant-leaders.
We have been blessed to serve him here for over 22 years! He has motivated me to stay right here, through thick and thin. And look at what he has done and continues to do through Northwest Christian Church. I pray for more of those PEOPLE and for workers to handle the "harvest" opportunities he continues to present to us!
I can't close without telling you about one couple that has understood the Lord's call on their lives to serve the Lord in his Church. The NWCC family will almost unanimously agree that Art and Joyce Hammond are special people--able servant-leaders because they have remained AVAILABLE servants of Jesus Christ. What some don't know is that Dee and I knew them when they weren't even going to church. Thirty years ago Art, Joyce and their 4 kids walked into the small church we had been called to in Boca Raton, Florida. I baptized 3 of their 4 kids in their swimming pool within a few months, and, you could say, the rest is history. I believe the Lord led them there, but they had to listen--and obey.
While Art is "retired" from the eldership (a 26 year ministry for him!), they have in no way retired from serving the Lord in his church! What a blessing they continue to be to NWCC and to Dee and me!
How is that going for you? Are you listening and obeying the Word of the Lord? I pray that you will do what you must to WORSHIP, CONNECT and SERVE the LORD!
Hope 2 C U SONday or sooner!
Ron PROB'LY MOBLEY
(That’s my first nickname in ministry, going back to student days in Cincinnati)