Archive | December, 2016

The Still, Small Voice

14 Dec

Last night Diana and I were making stuff for her Christmas party!!  (When you are on Whole 30, YOU HELP COOK candy and stuff because you can sneak undocumented chocolate …)  Her mixer has been on the blink for a while and I ordered the new gear to fix it.  So we began the evening working on the mixer.

I’d watched the video on how to fix the mixer and overlooked one small, key component:  There were two times in this rebuild that I would need a snap-ring wrench.  And I cannot find mine …  So after fighting it for about a half-hour, I was off to Lowe’s and hoping they had one!!  I was in a hurry:  Candy was waiting and I wasn’t about to disappoint.  Honestly, I was frustrated because we’d already made one store run and I had overlooked the need.  So I really was in a hurry.

I pulled up to the intersection of David McLeod and Holly Circle in front of McLeod Health and Fitness.  A shortcut for me.  I was impatiently waiting for my light to turn green so I could speed across and get into Lowe’s … You know, in case I had to run across to Harbor Freight before they closed.

Here, I should add that ever since Hurricane Matthew, most of Florence has forgotten the meaning of a traffic light.  And people are stressed about Christmas.  It’s kind of like New Orleans was in the early 90’s:  When the light turns green, you count at least two seconds before going through the intersection or you WILL HAVE A WRECK.  Period.  Count on it.

But I was in a hurry.  My light turned green and I looked across and all I saw was a panel truck.  And he was stopped.  I started to floor it … but a small voice said “Wait.”  And for some reason I did.

A half second later, a beat-up pickup truck appeared on the other side of the panel truck.  He had to be clipping over 40 mph as he ran through his RED light, which had been red for a second or two at this point.  He never even slowed down.  And I said out loud, “HUH??”

Who was the still small voice??  I’d like to think it was one of those moments when the Holy Spirit actually said something to me AND I ACTUALLY LISTENED.  Honestly, I sat there for another second or two because it immediately occurred to me that I almost left this world.  In a hurry.  It caused me to slow down and realize that wrench wasn’t a life-or-death thing.  I also remembered joking with someone earlier in the day that “y’all wouldn’t know what to do without ME!!”

Life is no joke.  Listen to the still small voices.  And, for goodness sake, OBEY THE TRAFFIC SIGNALS.  Please???

We are Called

11 Dec

I was recently talking to a friend and the topic of advice came up.  What would I say to a young minister just starting out?

That one is easy … WE ARE CALLED.  Remember there are always people hanging on your every word.  NOT to sound self-absorbed or self-important:  It’s not a “let’s hype the importance of ourselves” kind of thing.  But, whether you know it or not, whether you realize it or not, there is always someone in your world that is watching.  That is listening.  That wants to know if Christ is real and could base their judgement on whether or not He is real on YOU.

Some say “That is an unfair idea!!”  I agree.  I have never met a minister who was/is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  We are all human and if someone watches me long enough, I KNOW I will disappoint them.  But I am called.  It takes a great deal of discipline to remember the things I say and do, the things I post on social media, certainly the things I say from the pulpit of Ebenezer are constantly being weighed against the Word of God.  And, again, I know there are times I fail.

Still, others in the crowd would remind any minister “YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE SIGNING UP FOR!!”  I’ve had people say that to me over the years:  When I’ve had to leave my family on vacation to deal with pastoral care.  When I’ve had to leave my parents, dealing with illness, so I could go and deal with a problem.  To those who believe any young minister “knows what he/she is signing up for” the answer is THAT IS NOT TRUE!!   I only wish I’d been adequately prepared for that which I would face.  But I am called.  And to my call, to my Savior I will remain faithful.

When I turn back to the thought of the day, I am drawn to Hebrews 10:24 …  “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  Let us be mindful that our words either draw people towards the Kingdom of God or drive them away.  Let us realize that our words either build up others (and therefore build the Kingdom) or they tear them down.  We live in a world where it is so easy to immediately let the universe know what we are thinking (per social media).  It has always been true that we shouldn’t always say everything that comes across our minds.  If that were true, there would be no need for spiritual discipline.  We are imperfect … Fallible …  Flawed …  Our thoughts are so often not God-centered, but self-centered.  Even the thoughts of the best of us.

And here is the irony of it all:  The world NOT ONLY looks toward the lives of ministers to see if God is real … IF Christ is your Savior, THEY ARE LOOKING AT YOU, TOO.  No matter who you are.  No matter what you do.  They are looking …Silently.  And they want to see if He is real.

What do they see in you?