Archive | October, 2010

The Blind Side

29 Oct

Walking on the Rail Trail is therapy for me … There are surreal moments (like when “You can still rock in America” by Night Ranger comes on and I am walking on an old railroad bed???  Get it??  Think about the video) and there are times when I can just think.  This can be good or bad, depending on my current state of mind.

And, I’ll be honest:  The last two weeks have been very difficult.  I’ve faced things I never thought I’d face.  And I started thinking about the Blind Side.

Not the movie, the concept:  Every quarterback has a blind side.  When he squares to throw the ball, his unprotected back WILL BE EXPOSED for a period of time.  And in life, WE ALL ARE IN THOSE SPOTS AT TIMES.  This is not a pity-party:  I have some of the best friends in the world who I KNOW HAVE MY BACK.  But there are times when circumstances change and you can feel the blind side exposed.  And those times are NOT FUN.

Like I just wrote, I KNOW I have friends who’ve got my back … and I have theirs.  But there are times when all of us are exposed.  There are times when people let  you down.  And you can fret, and you can be disappointed, and you can be angry.  And, honestly, those responses just complicate your situation.

Have you ever stopped to realize that people are FALLIBLE, JUST HUMAN.  They make mistakes and they are imperfect.  THAT IS LIFE.  But if you ever stop long enough to pray about all of this, God might just let you in on a little secret.  He might ask you “why are you depending on PEOPLE to protect your blind side when that is MY JOB??”  (My being said by GOD ALMIGHTY)

If you stop long enough to think and pray about all of this, God DOES have your blind side.  And He will NEVER FAIL YOU.

ANOTHER Fall Festival

28 Oct

It’s 2010.  Ebenezer has yet ANOTHER Fall Festival under her belt.  No big deal, right???

When I think about what it takes to make a fall festival happen, there are so many people to thank that I wouldn’t DARE do it on here.  Our Family Enrichment team takes the lead on this, but there are so many groups involved that it boggles the mind!  Sunday School classes and ministries come together to staff the different games and events!  The church staff works hard to fill in the gaps and glue it all together!  Hundreds of church members donate candy for the entire event and specific baked goodies for the general store AND for some of the indoor events.

All things considered, the Fall Festival at Ebenezer is a snap shot of the church working together to make something really big WORK!!  And, orchestrating the entire thing …. GOD!!  And we thank Him for every good thing that will come out of this night of hard work … the largest one-night outreach event we do!

My Boss

27 Oct

Being the pastor of a Southern Baptist church is no piece of cake … And, being a MIDDLE CHILD while serving in that role only COMPLICATES things!  I work in what is statistically one of the most unstable professions in America.  Statistics report the average tenure of a Southern Baptist minister to be somewhere in the area of 18 MONTHS.  And that is NOT because there is a bishop or higher power reassigning them:  They just get fired!!

However … I ultimately answer to a Boss that is a little higher up the ladder than the 1,300 members of Ebenezer Baptist Church.  I answer to GOD ALMIGHTY, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Sustainer of all that exists.  HE is in control.  HE beckons for His people to STOP FEARING the future and JUST OBEY HIM.  HE has a plan for each of our lives that is so much greater than anything I could conceive, a PERFECT PLAN for MY LIFE and for yours!!

Actually, if Jesus Christ is your Savior, He is YOUR BOSS TOO!!  If we will ALL slow down enough to listen to Him and then OBEY Him life will IMMEDIATELY become much less stressful and more rewarding.

So, come on … Listen to THE BOSS!!!  HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING!!

From a different perspective …

26 Oct

This morning I rode to Raleigh with Dean and Robbie.  The target??  The Church Information Technology Round Table for North and South Carolina.  Very interesting to hear what different churches are doing to enable kingdom growth.  Never overlook the role IT plays in this today!!

Through all of the details, nuts, bolts, ICs and LEDs, this is a MINISTRY and a crucial part of modern ministry in the year 2010.  And it will only grow to play more and more of a role in the church of tomorrow!!  I’m thankful for these guys and what they do to make a difference!!  It’s another of those unseen and seldom-known roles that keeps things clicking!!

If you really slowed down enough to notice, there is so much that goes on behind the scenes to help a church like Ebenezer (and, really, EVERY OTHER CHURCH) do the things we do.  Ed and I are very visible in the pulpit on Sundays … Andi is visible in Children’s Church … Justin is very visible in Youth Ministry … and PAM is highly visible in this unseen world of infrastructure!!  Mary, Lisa, Dusty, Bill, Edwin, Jerry, and Kitty are the hands and feet from the staff that make it happen!!  From the congregational side, MANY OF YOU are the ones that make this happen as well!!

And when I look at all of this from this different perspective, it makes me even more thankful!!!

God and His timing

22 Oct

The sermon writing process for me is … well … different.  It’s hard to define.  I seek God and He leads me in different ways, almost every week.  This Sunday I am preaching a sermon about how our judging is different from God’s. And, as always when I preach about judging, I am now praying we will ALL see this as a chance for God to guide us.  Judging is a difficult topic for any pastor, especially when there might be some out there thinking a sermon is being “aimed” at them.  Let me tell you the unique way this sermon came to be:

Ten days ago I was actually working on LAST Sunday’s sermon and preparing for Wednesday night’s prayer meeting, and I suddenly KNEW exactly what I would be preaching this Sunday.  No events leading to it or anything, it was one of those times of God giving me His plan … His SPECIFIC plan for this coming Sunday.  I emailed the info on this Sermon to Mary and Ed at that moment, and it surprised them so they asked if I’d changed my mind for this past Sunday … No, this is for next week!!

I love it when God does that!!  So I ask you to pray with me as we excitedly await what God will do this week at Ebenezer!!!

Just sayin’

21 Oct

When I look over all that God is doing at Ebenezer, I am just TOTALLY THANKFUL for the ministerial staff at our church.  Ed, Pam, Justin, and Andi work VERY HARD every week.  Some of it is out in the open.  Some of it is completely behind the scenes.  I wish all of you could see what I see!!  This week began with an awesome staff retreat to talk about vision … since that meeting, we’ve had two months’ worth of trouble.  But they’re THE BEST!!  HANDS DOWN!

Update on Dad

19 Oct

In the middle of the minefield I’ve been in lately, I talked to Mom last night.  Not so good news from outpatient rehab:  Dad is not making progress, not meeting his goals.  They cannot justify his continuing in rehab.  He has a few more weeks and will have to stop.  We can see small blessings and results, but he is just not meeting the requirements to continue.  What a downer.

Mom is so close to the situation that it’s hard for her to see these things.  He really is not making vast improvement.  Plus, I KNOW she feels she holds the glimmer of hope as much for her as for him.  Please pray for my dad, Don Wike, and for my mom, Janet Wike, in this rough time.