Monday, April 23, 2012

Wolf Patrol

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears."
 Acts 20:28-31 NIV

"They are going to think I am so rude!" The thought flashed through my mind as soon as the man left the building. My heartrate slowed to normal, as my wife gently caressed my arm. The whole incident lasted only a minute, we were enjoying a Sunday night time of fellowship with the married couples of the church, when I heard the front door open. In an instant, in walked a man in a trenchcoat. I recognized him immediately and remembered the discernment the Holy Spirit gave me about him a few years back.

"You don't have an evening service?" the man asked. When I explained that we used our Sunday nights for specialized ministry, he left in a huff. I never rose out of my chair.

After a brief moment, I stated something to the group of couples that was to the effect of, "You might be thinking that was rude, but I know who that man is." One man immediately responded, "We trust your judgement."

I believe that all of us and especially pastors, need the Holy Spirit's gift of discernment. In an effort to be inviting, friendly and welcoming to everyone, there is bound to be a wolf that is trying to slip in among the sheep at some point.

We need discernment to identify these predators and we also need the same gift to evaluate our own thoughts, our own actions and our own motives. As a pastor I am charged to love and care for the people God has placed in my charge. I pray daily that God would help me to remain pure in thought, speech, actions and motives. I also pray for discernment in order to protect the church from wolves.

When a shepherd spots a wolf, he acts and rightly so. I would rather appear rude by not welcoming an individual that I have been warned by the Holy Spirit about, than to risk the spiritual lives of so many people that both God and I love.

Pastors, watch out for wolves.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What A Ride

I was thinking back over the last few months today and am totally amazed at what God has been doing in mine and my family's lives. If someone would have told me 6 months ago that I would be where I am today, doing what I am doing and loving it as much as I am, I probably would not have believed them.

There is just so much to be thankful for.

1. I am blessed with a wonderful wife - who I love more than ever.
2. I have great kids who are serving the Lord, making wise decisions and are giving me reasons to be proud of them.
3. I am privileged to pastor a great church, full of friendly, loving people who are ready to impact the community and world.
4. God is opening new doors, that only he can open and is giving us favor with the community.
5. Lives are being changed as people are making decision for Christ regularly.

God is good.