Archive | September, 2015

Pouring out and pouring in

23 Sep

This past Sunday evening I met with core leaders of Ebenezer Baptist Church.  It was not a top-secret, clandestine meeting of the Rothchild’s of EBC or anything like that.  It was our Sunday evening group.  Sunday evenings have modified at EBC and become more of a small group time where the committed of Ebenezer come out for one more time of study and reflection before we start the week.  And, I like it.

This past week I issued a challenge to them, and I think any serious follower of Christ should take this challenge.  The challenge is this:  WHO ARE YOU POURING INTO?  And WHO IS POURING INTO YOU?

The New Testament models of discipleship, of growing in our relationship with Christ, teach us that we need to surround ourselves with people who will help us grow, and we in turn might help them grow.  This leads us to be honest and open about life, about the issues (both those we have faced AND those we have in front of us), about our successes, about our failures.  Simply, I know there are mistakes I have made in my life.  Where I probably shouldn’t go to the highest mountain and shout them to the universe, if I have a friend who is facing some of the same tough situations, why not be honest about the mistakes I made and help him???

I have a handful of friends that I KNOW I can trust to give me good advice.  To give me perspectives that I might not be able to see as I face problems and issues.  I am thankful for them.  And, in return, sometimes I get to help them.  But they probably help me far more than I return the favor.

It is helpful to see what God is doing in the lives of others… How others deal with His word and how it applies to our lives.  Those different perspectives mean the world to me, and I believe the Holy Spirit works in all of these things to help us grow.  I need others who are in the Word and are willing to help ME in the Word.

SO … Have you found solid followers of Christ to help with this??  WHO ARE YOU POURING INTO??  WHO ARE YOU ALLOWING TO POUR INTO YOU??

WHY DO WE JUDGE SO HARSHLY???

1 Sep

Suicide is a most difficult subject to discuss.  We don’t understand, because we don’t want to … We judge.  We project our beliefs about people, regardless of whether or not we even know them.  We judge.  We make decisions about what we perceive as the sins of others without respect or regard to their families, to their circumstances, or to their realities.  We ignore the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7) where He asked “How can you see the speck of dust in the eye of another while you have a PLANK sticking out of your own eye??”

I’ve been told (and I have no statistical data to back this up) that South Carolina leads the nation in pastors that commit suicide.  I hope this is not true.  And I know we haven’t cornered the market, either …

WHY?  Why do pastors and church leaders commit suicide??  DON’T THEY KNOW??  DON’T THEY BELIEVE??  I’m afraid the answers are not as simple as we wish they would be.  And I am also afraid our prognostications and judgments have a much larger impact on this situation than we’d care to admit.

In the past couple of weeks, some information about a leader at a Christian college has come to light.  I have seen many social media posts asking for prayer for this great school.  And I have seen some folks unmercifully judge this man and hit him with all of the righteous buckshot they could muster.  Some spew venom from the outside of the church, laughing and mocking this man, the school with which he has been associated for decades, and mocking the Kingdom of God.  Make no mistake:  This man is not perfect.  He will answer for his sins.  And I submit to you that 99.9% of us have no idea what the real story is.  It grieves me that I have seen Christian leaders burning him on social media.  I look at this situation and it shows me that NONE OF US are above or immune from sin.  WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES.  Let he who hasn’t made a mistake cast the first stone!!

After hearing of another pastor suicide, I wonder if this hyper-judgmentalism, the one that doesn’t allow a man of God to be human, I wonder if that might be a factor in all of this.  And there are some people who will read this and say “Well, David Wike must be hiding something…”  I won’t hide it:  I AM NOT PERFECT.  Mind you, I had never heard of Ashley Madison until the news broke about the breach, but I am not perfect.  Neither are you.

Maybe if we prayed for each other, tried to restore each other with grace and dignity, instead of burning each other with righteous flame-throwers … Maybe if we took that approach, maybe ONE PASTOR might not take his life … DO you think it would be worth that??

I do.