Thursday, March 20, 2014


I awakened today to an unexplained sense of uneasiness.  Where did it come from?  Why did it assault me in the early uncomplicated hours of the morning?  Why did it leave me feeling nauseous and almost, for a moment, panicky?

It is several hours later and a sense of calm has come over me.  I have been reflective in between counseling appointments and have made several observations about my morning demeanor.

1.  I am uneasy because I am worried.  I am worried about things over which I have zero control.  How foolish is that?

2.  I am uneasy because I have two close friends in critical physical condition and
 I am fearful for them.  Both are believers and both are at peace with God.  What is this "third party" fearfulness?

3.  I am uneasy because I am stuck with how to deal with some issues of personal discipline that are haunting me.  Why did I eat so many late night snacks...again?  What about my blood sugar numbers do I need to remember when I am careless?

4.  I am uneasy because I don't like some emotional hurts I am still harboring.  It pains me to see me unable--unwilling--to release hurt and disappointment to the Lord when generally I have done this more easily.  What's the point in not releasing these?  How am I helped by continuing to rehearse them?

5.  I am uneasy because my car is all of a sudden costing me a significant amount of money. More today after already spending big bucks this week.  I have the money, so why am I groaning after eight years of owning this car and never before having to spend any money except for basic maintenance?

I can figure this all out in my head, but my flesh clamors for my emotional engagement in these areas, no matter how counter-productive it may be.

I bowed my head this morning and prayed.  "God, you know my needs, you know me.  You know my heart is to trust you even when my flesh lags behind.  I give my uneasiness to you and ask for your peace this moment.  Thank you, Lord."

I am ready for another counseling appointment.  They may have issues of uneasiness to process as well.  I know the answer...

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Missions and me

We attended our first missionary conference at our new church home this last week.  The emphasis was on understanding the Islamic faith and identifying effective ways for sharing our faith.  We enjoyed the opportunities we had to listen to stories from faithful missionaries to Muslims around the world.

For the first time in a long time I was not the pastor in charge of promoting the conference; I was a participant, a layman, a listener.  It was a new place for me to be in many ways.  The challenge as a pastor was to try to figure out how the message of missions could be translated to lay people in such a  way that they would be more than spectators.  I never felt that we accomplished that as well as I would have liked.

What I remembered today was this--a burden for the lost is something God places in our hearts.  John tells us that as believers it is impossible to see our brother in need and NOT respond...IF the love of  Christ dwells within us.  See I John 3:16,17.  Although the context  is physical needs, it is impossible to not make the connection to spiritual needs.  

Missions conferences can help us visualize the plight of people around the world in a dramatic way--but only a life indwelt by the Holy Spirit can respond with Christ-like love for the plight of those who desperately need Him.

Such love motivates action.  My question from the conference--"What am I doing to fulfill God's commission to help carry the gospel to the world?"

I am thinking about it; what about you?