I have a confession to make.
There’s this pastor whom I don’t like!
I don’t know him personally, and what I know of him through his preaching, website, and articles is that he is viewed by many as a great preacher and leader.
It could be envy or jealousy on my part, for he leads a “megachurch”, which I don’t. But through the years, I have admired and respected other well-known pastors like him- Craig Groeshel, Andy Stanley, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, just to name a few. So I don’t think it’s that.
As far as I know, our doctrines are generally the same, as well as our approach to ministry. So it’s not that either.
Let’s just say this person rubs me the wrong way. I don’t like his preaching style, or his constant use of personal illustrations, many of which he is the hero, or his “perfect” church and ministry. I don’t “hate” him for sure, it’s just that I don’t “like” him
Anyway, this post is not about him as I hope it’s also not about me.
It’s about God who loves us all!
Aren’t you glad for that? I promise you that there’s never a person you meet whom God is not head over heels in love with, including those who don’t share our same taste, fashion, tradition, and beliefs. And that includes others we call our enemies.
I’m glad God loves that preacher for all his eccentricities and idiosyncrasies, just as he loves me for my sins and failure.
I never pretended to be Mr. Friendly or Mr. Hospitality. As a matter, the people who are closest to me are generally agreed I am quite a snob. And that’s me on my best day. I won’t even go into what I’m like on my worst days.
Some people think I’m bashful that borders on arrogance. I perfectly understand that. Some days, I even agree with that.
I’m just eternally grateful that God loves me, even on my worse days and moods. And that though Christ has called and challenged me to love my neighbors, the truth of the matter is this-the world will not crumble if I don’t.
I’m thankful that the church I pastor, the students I teach, the disciples I’m entrusted with, their faith journey does not start nor end with me. I take standards seriously, but just knowing it is Jesus who saves and sustains, and not I, frees me from the weight of the world.
I’m writing this in the midst of reports in the evangelical world of high profile pastor’s sons and pastors themselves committing suicide.
My heart goes out to the families of those affected by this, and it is not my place to give a judgment on them. My role is to pray and comfort, not point fingers nor condemn.
But at the same time, it does not take a rocket scientist to observe that something’s wrong.
What message are we preaching? Who is our ultimate standard and model?
In the midst of the pressures of ministry, we need to ask ourselves – who is pressuring me to perform? Whose definition of success do I adhere to? Who am I really trying to please?
It’s time to put our masks down and confess we are all on the same page – each one struggling with their sins and temptations.
Mentors and leaders aren’t perfect. It’s just that they’ve been “hospitalized” earlier, and thus are more familiar with the process of healing, for them to guide and counsel us.
There are no heroes here-except Jesus Christ alone, who identified with our sin and struggle by volunteering to be baptized on water, and loving us enough to simply leave us there, he later died on the Cross to redeem, forgive, and change us from the inside out.
Yet none of us are perfect. Not here, not now.
Forgiven, yes; Wholeness, no, or at least not yet.
We inspire people by our humility, not by our successes.
I will do my best to love this fellow preacher, but in the meantime, I simply thank God He loves those whom I don’t!
And He loves me even when others don’t!