PASTOR

I spent a chunk of Saturday taking down a wallpaper border in my living room.  It took longer and a little more elbow grease than I thought/wanted it to.  Truth is, though I am all for helping others out and encouraging others to do the same, I would tell someone to seriously consider the “running away” option when asked to take down wallpaper. 

Anyways…while I was standing on my short work ladder scoring, spraying my homemade concoction of fabric softener and water for glue removal and then scraping, I thought about a phrase I’ve heard quite a bit over the course of the last couple of months.  That phrase is, “God will not give me more than I can handle.”  This phrase is usually brought up when a person is dealing with an overwhelming situation, or a problem brought about by no fault of their own. 

I am writing today to declare that phrase completely incorrect.  (I think most people who use this phrase are misremember what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear.)   The truth is, God will very often give you way more than you can handle.  Let me give you some examples.  Noah built an ark (granted, some of you have been on cruise ships bigger than the ark, but they weren’t built by one guy with maybe the help of his three sons and everyone in town ribbing them for building it).  Moses took an entire nation of people and moved them from one country to another.  David took out a giant.  Daniel spent a night in a den of hungry lions.  The horrific beatings early Christians took to establish the Church (John, the guy who wrote Revelation, was dipped in boiling oil, came out unscathed so the Roman authorities sent him to a penal colony…yeah, they really showed him).

There are quite a few examples of people doing things they really couldn’t do on their own…including you.  But that is the whole point of putting our faith in God.  He will allow, or even create things (i.e. Noah and the ark) to happen in your life that seem absolutely insurmountable so you will turn to Him and allow Him to work through you; in turn strengthening your faith in Him as you accomplish insurmountable tasks.

Remember, whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.  So, whenever a tough situation befalls you and doesn’t kill you, consider it a welcome sign to God’s weight room and get lifting you puny believa (say it like Arnold Schwarzenegger and you’ll chuckle).  By the way, the Spotter at the weight room is available 24/7.

FATHER

Yesterday was Father’s Day.  Stevie spoke a great message at service and the kids (really, Stevie) got me some cool gifts.  I now have a trophy to let everyone know that I rule as “Daddy-o of the patio” and a very nice leather and silver name plate for the desk.  We had a nice dinner at a mexican restaurant…I was kind to the family by skipping the refried beans and then a nice afternoon nap.  Really what I like to do on Father’s Day is to take some time for reflection and self-review.  What can I fix in myself to make me a better dad?  The topic of choice, attention.

I have four kids…my oldest, Z, just lost his first tooth, Rubikube is potty training and Dawg just started crawling.  So many things to pay attention to and celebrate.  Wait…what?  I missed a kid?  Correct, I missed Lil.  And this is what I’ve been thinking about not just yesterday, but the last few days.  I can get so caught up in what the other kids are doing that I could miss spreading the attention to one of them, and that could be disastrous.  Maybe not disastrous, but could affect her.  So what do I do?  Make a conscious effort to spend time with Lil.  She may not be doing something that I’ll be giving her a “high-five” for like losing a tooth, peeing on the potty or crawling across the room, but I can set her in my lap, have her read me a book and give her a big hug at the end of the reading and it will make her day.

There may be quite a bit of attention I have to spread to four different kids, but if I want to be the best dad I can be, I’m going to do it!  Oh, and it’s really not that hard…I love being with my kids.

PASTOR, HUSBAND

Is the honeymoon period coming to an end?  So many look at “the honeymoon has ended” phrase rather negatively.  Supposedly all the good stuff is done.  I think that’s kind of sad.  I like to look at it more as, “Though the honeymoon may be ending, it’s now time to lay the building blocks of a relationship that will last 10, 20…50 years or more.”  All married couples remember their honeymoon, but there is so much more to the relationship.  The couple is not going to be able to spend the rest of their married lives going to work, coming home, eating dinner together, curl up on the couch, watch a romantic movie, whisper sweet nothings to each other, off to bed…and then wake up in the morning to do it all over again.  At some point, someone’s not going to want to watch that romantic movie.  At some point, someone’s going to check the checking account and get upset that someone may have bought one too many latte’s that week.  At some point, someone’s going to pull their hair out trying to pay a bill that they might not have the money for.  At some point, someone’s going to have something negative to say about their mother-in-law…yikes (I love my mother-in-law…seriously, I do.)  At some point, someone’s going to say something out of anger or frustration and the inevitable argument, most likely fight, is going to break out.  (If you’re newly married and reading this, trust me and gobs of other married couples…it’s going to happen.)  The honeymoon is over, and it’s usually through some negative action that the phrase is brought about.

That’s kind of what’s happening with me now in my new position here as pastor of St. James.  I’ve been able to start doing the things I’ve dreamed of for some time now…sharing my vision to the congregation, preaching with passion on Sunday morning, teaching deep truths from the Word of God, praying with those in need, providing spiritual counsel, talking to the air conditioning repair man concerning the problem from Sunday of it being 90 degrees outside and an uncomfortable 84 degrees in the sanctuary…wait, what was that last one?  Okay, that wasn’t part of my pastoral dream…however, it’s part of being a pastor.

That argument between the couple mentioned above probably wasn’t a part of the dream of marriage, but it is a part of the marriage.  When negative things happen, the couple needs to work through it, learn from it and build their marriage.  The A/C breaking down is a negative part signaling the beginning of the end of the honeymoon period of my pastorate.  However, I’m about to dive into the school of budgeting and fund-raising to figure out effective ways to raise the $8,000-$10,000 dollar price tag to replace the system…I’ve already learned the workings of the A/C unit, not sure exactly how I can build my pastorate on that knowledge, but you never know. (As a side not, yes, I know the future holds much more difficult situations in the church.)

Anyway you look at it, though (in both situations mentioned) it’s an opportunity to see the Lord do great things and put more trust in Him.  The honeymoon may be ending, but the building blocks of even greater things are being put into place!

Intro

Hello blogging universe!  If you’re reading this, you must be interested in something I have to say, so I’ll try to make it worth your while.  You’ll notice my tagline of being a husband, father, pastor and Packer fan.  This will actually help your reading enjoyment.  Before each post I’ll put in bold print the word husband, father, pastor or Packer fan.  Here is what you can expect in that blog for each heading:

HUSBAND- stuff about marriage, whether it be practical advice and/or fun stories

FATHER– stuff about family, again, whether it be practical advice and/or fun stories

PASTOR– stuff about theology, the Bible and/or fun stories

PACKER FAN– stuff about sports  and other leisure time activities.  It will mostly deal with Green Bay Packer stuff although I’m also a fan of the Michigan Wolverines, Chicago Cubs and a fair weather Chicago Bulls fan…yeah, I said it.  I was probably more of a Jordan fan than a Bulls fan growing up because after he left the game, I stopped paying attention…although Derrick Rose has caused my “fairweatheredness” to bubble up again.

The blog may cover a couple of different subjects, but I’ll let you know by putting to headers for you.  For instance, say I get some spiritual inspiration from doing something with one of my kids.  I would write FATHER, PASTOR at the beginning of the blog.   

If one of those subjects doesn’t interest you, just ignore the entry and enjoy the rest of the blog.

Thanks for taking a peek, and come back weekly as that is how often I hope to post. 

God Bless!