Hi Five Oakers, The weekend is coming and there are a few things I want to share with you.
Way back in my early days pastoring Five Oaks I met with two members three weeks apart. The first one gave me three reasons why he was changing churches: we were getting too big, we were building a building and my preaching didn't suit him. The second one told me why he was considering leaving Five Oaks: because we were too small and because the building plans were weren't big enough. Then he said, "The main reason I've stayed is because of your preaching."
That was a great lesson for a new pastor to learn. What was the lesson? Don't shrink your church, stop building and change your preaching style until you've had a second conversation? No. You can't make everyone happy, no matter what you do? Closer (and true), but not quite. The lesson was not to be a people-pleaser. I wish I could say I learned it once and for all, but I can't.
Tying my happiness to how others feel about me or about what I'm doing can be exhausting. We all do it to some degree or another. But not caring at all about what people think isn't much better. So what's the answer? We'll explore that and several other topics Paul addresses in Galatians 1:10-24 as we continue our series in Galatians this weekend.
Jeni Carlson on "The Retreat"
Recently, we received an inquiry from a family who is searching for a place for their special needs child. They needed a place where the child could feel safe, be well cared for, and learn at their ability about the love of God. They also needed a place where they could worship without worry. This family found their current church couldn't help them.
Kay Warren (wife of Rick Warren) on "A Year of Grieving Dangerously"
One year after the suicide of her son, she shares her story of grief, mystery, and hope.
Kevin DeYoung on "Why is this issue different?"
I received an email yesterday afternoon to this effect: Could someone please give a short, simple explanation as to why the issue of homosexuality is not like Christians differing on baptism or the millennium? Many Christians are willing to say homosexuality is wrong, but they’d rather not argue about it. Why not broker an “agree to disagree” compromise? Why can’t we be “together for the gospel” despite our differing views on gay marriage? Why is this issue any different?
One More Thing
The Christian life is a life of joy and of pain and suffering. It's a battle with forces of darkness. Our delivery from the present evil age (Galatians 1:4) is not yet complete. The Scripture attesting to this is so vast and conclusive that it stuns me every time I hear of a pastor or Christian that denies it. And many do.
In this world we struggle not only with disease, illness and death, we also struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The result is that every one of us still sins. So we're never beyond our need for God's grace. Never.
That means you're not alone. Do you fight the urge to gossip? Do you struggle with same-sex attraction, the temptation to be unfaithful, the desire to look at pornography? Do you struggle with debilitating worry or uncontrolled anger? Are there people in this world you hate no matter how much you pray for a heart of forgiveness? You are not alone. I know people who struggle with all of these and who part of our congregation. And they are fighting the good fight by staying in the struggle. They aren't excusing sinful urges, desires and actions, appealing to God's desire that they be happy above all else and then presuming on God's grace by giving up the fight.
You are not alone.
The Christian life is hard. It's a fight. It's joy and pain.
Don't give up.