Archive for January, 2008

Everybody, Get Drunk!

Jan 30th, 2008 Posted in Faith, Men's Ministry | no comment »

I know that there are many Wisconsonians reading this blog today and saying, “YES. Finally an article title I can get excited about”! I want to keep that excitement and channel it.. bear with me.

There was a big football game over at Lambeau field a couple weeks back. Some of you may have seen it on TV? “NFC Championship Game” or something like that… the outcome wasn’t reasonable, but anyhow, at this game it was wind chill down to -15, -20 or so. I watched the game, and I saw people in the stands taking off their coats, their shirts, and their t-shirts and dancing around half-naked in that weather? What on earth makes a person able to do that!? Read the rest of this entry »

Ridiculous Commitment

Jan 18th, 2008 Posted in Faith, Men's Ministry | no comment »

I have been studying the book of Nehemiah lately in the effort to glean some good information about leading in ministry, leading people in a “cause”. Today’s study led me to Nehemiah 4:21 where it is recorded that “they worked from sunup to sundown, and half the men were always on guard”. How in the world did Nehemiah have the audacity to ask people to put in that kind of time, doing that kind of work, day after day for over eight weeks? I think there are – at least – two key points to draw out from Nehemiah’s specific example:

First, the work mattered, it was necessary. Once they began to stand up and rebuild the walls, they ran into opposition. They had to finish the walls because those walls would protect them against the people they had angered. When our ministry begins to be effective, we see the same thing from the Evil One, do we not? They began the work because Nehemiah was led by God to do so, and they finished because they knew the work was critical; it mattered.

Second, the people knew who Nehemiah was, and what he could be doing. This Jew was the cup-bearer to the king. Now that may not sound like much to you and me, but this was the most trusted person in the king’s retinue. The queen wasn’t trusted like this man, and neither were his closest advisors. This man – quite literally – held the king’s life in his hands. He was present at every secret meeting, at every public meeting, was always at the side of the king. He knew the king more intimately than the king’s wife or mother. From this, Nehemiah came to do the Lord’s work for Israel. His people knew this, and respected his commitment and sacrifice.

So, for those of us in ministry (incidentally that is to be every Christian), this example gives us a pretty clear mirror, doesn’t it?  Are we too tied to this world? Do we focus on Kingdom work or on the difficulties in the here and now? Do we put in a reasonable effort, or do we have a ridiculous commitment to the Lord’s work?

In every ministry, the ultimate goal is to plant the seed of the Gospel in people’s lives. Do we understand the stakes? Folks, it does not get more important than giving people the key to eternal life and then participating with them in it. Let us all get up each morning realizing – in a tangible way – that we are but visitors here and that our reward is with our God in the hereafter. Let us share the Gospel with others so that we may – together with them – praise our Lord together someday in heaven.

I want you to do a short imagination exercise with me. Imagine that we have just arrived in heaven with Christ and we are, for the first time, standing on the Sea of Glass and raising our voices to praise the God who saved us. In this place of angels, our Lord, and His unending light, you can look to your right and to your left, to the front and to the back; and you can recognize tens, hundreds, maybe thousands of people in whom your ministry planted the seed of the Gospel which the Holy Spirit then nurtured to maturity. They are here because you knew the Lord’s work was necessary, and because you set the things of this earth aside to minister to them. With that awesome image in mind, let us make a ridiculous commitment to our efforts here, on an earth that is a mere shadow of what is to come.

Happy New Year!

Jan 1st, 2008 Posted in Faith, Family | no comment »

Chistian SymbolFrom my family to yours, I wish you a Happy New Year. Justina and I lay together last evening – later than we normally do – and prayed together for the Lord to be with us in the coming year, that He would bless us as a couple, as parents, a family, that we would walk with Him in the family of God, and to bless the ministries in which we’re involved. I pray the same for each of you reading this blog.

“Family”.. interesting word, yes? A group of people brought together by necessity and design, but not chosen by each person. That is, we choose our friends, but not our family; yet, the bonds we have with family run deeper than many others. Even if we don’t have a close relationship with family, the hurt that we feel from that is deeper than most other hurts. Read the rest of this entry »