A Walk to Remember…

Certain “walks” in life are impossible to forget – walking your child to school on the first day; a walk down an aisle for a wedding; a walk to a new job.

I had such a walk last night.  It was a walk through our church building during the hustle and bustle of our first Wednesday night for the fall.  I realized the significance of this night as I walked past the nursery and heard our Puggle’s leaders enthusiastically sharing a Bible verse with our little ones.  It dawned on me at that pause before the door that this was happening all throughout our building.   The thing people had prayed for even before we started the church were happening.  People from our sponsoring church had prayed for a year before our first service for God to start a new work in this part of town. We at Grace Fellowship had prayed for the Lord to do a work; and on this night prayers were being answered.

From that stop by the nursery I walked to the registration table where our leaders were still trying to catch up from all the new sign-ups (Praise the Lord!)  While standing there visiting with the leaders, I poked my head in the adult class where “The Story” was being taught.  Pastor Jake was teaching from Genesis about “the fall.”  There were brand new people in the class as well as many regular GF friends.

Next was a walk to the fellowship hall for AWANA game time.  Kids were running, laughing, pulling ropes, and tossing bean bags.  Who says ministry can’t be fun!  The leaders were doing a great job and my heart was further gladdened.

On the way up the stairs I stopped by the Financial Peace University class.  There were a dozen people crammed in my office watching the FPU videos and learning how to be better stewards of the money God has given them.  Harold Herr was leading them.

Next stop was the youth room.  It was full of 20+, highly energetic teenagers.  Shane and Monique were getting the year started off and going to introduce a study of “The Life of Christ.”  Oh…and there were some furious air hockey and ping pong games going on (I’m going to get in one of those soon)!

The walk also included a stop by the Cubbies, T&T, and Spark’s rooms where similar activities and learning were going on.  In each place leaders were leading; learners were learning; there was a mixture of fun, fellowship, and absorbing the Word of God.

Of course, the walk originally began in the kitchen where a crew of four or five led by Peggy Myers fixing food for the GF “Dollar Value Meal” – which tasted great.  The stroll to the eating area showed tables full of people getting ready for the night of ministry.

It is a rare privilege to be a part of something new God is doing to spread the message of His Son to a new area.  I am so thankful to know of and be a part of a group of people so committed to following Him and doing his will.

To Christ be the credit and glory!

 

tnt

 

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Blog Moved to new Site

I’ve moved my blog to a new domain… http://www.shawnbarr.com.  Check it out for the new content.

Thanks for stopping by!

Shawn

It is a Prayer

A Lukewarm coffee sits beside my computer in the bagel shop.

Cars pass by the window, driven by people I only glimpse.

A smell of burnt toast wafts through the air.

A running man passes the shop window.

There’s a quick bang of a pan or two behind me in the kitchen.

A customer in nursing attire stirs creamer into her coffee at the counter. She has a black headband.

The coffee equipment is making an electrical, rattling noise.

An elderly couple graze over their food. They have careful hair; she with thick make up, and him with a shirt buttoned to his neck.

The workers are bantering at the end of their shift.

I have a message and a mandate of which to tell them.  Where do I begin?

It is a prayer.

Hmmm…I wonder if they know?

piperyancey2

John Piper and Philip Yancey. They must have a common great, great, great relative somewhere.

Pastors – great article as you evaluate your ministry.

Pastors, Great article about evaluating our ministries.  At this time of year we all think about the last year and look to the future.  Sometimes it can be discouraging.  Mike Glenn, Senior Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church has a good perspective for us.

http://thomrainer.com/2012/12/22/showing-up/#.UNiEB2_LSSo

Confessions of a Normal Pastor

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Okay…here it goes:

  • I post pictures of bugs on my FaceBook page.
  • I’ve memorized every word in Tom Cruise’s movie, “The Last Samurai”
  • I take a sleeping pill at around 9:00pm most nights (yes, it is over-the-counter)
  • I work at really weird hours sometimes.
  • I tend to procrastinate and be unorganized.
  • I can skin a muskrat.
  • I sometimes go to Wal-mart in sweat pants, flip-flops, and unshaven (and always see someone I know even when trying to avoid it!)
  • I like to kayak.
  • I love Long John Silver’s fish.
  • I once took a 4ft lighted Santa to a pastor friend’s house on Christmas morning at 5am and left it on his porch (just to kind of freak him out).
  • I read books other than the Bible, “My Utmost For His Highest,” and Grudem’s “Systematic Theology.”
  • I once mowed the lawn in my underwear.
  • I like BlueGrass music, and the Newsboys, and “Crown Him With Many Crowns.”
  • I think Cream of Wheat may be one of the best foods in the world.
  • I like squirrel gravy.

Oh also,

I invited 8 people to church in the last two days, I’ve given out a dozen Gospel tracts this week, my latest book purchase was, “Ancient Greek Papyri, Volume II”, I’ve spent about 6 hours so far this week studying the Bible for the upcoming Sunday message, I wept over the shootings last Friday, I talk to my accountability partner every day,  I prayed over everyone in our congregation this week, I love to talk about the Bible, my wife says my mind never turns off about “pastoring” and church stuff, I drive around our neighborhoods praying for people and dreaming about the best ways to reach them for Jesus.

Here’s the deal. Most pastors are normal people (well, if you can call those things listed above normal).  The majority are not Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur, Max Lucado, or Bill Hybels – and neither am I.  And by the way, those guys would all say they are pretty normal also.

We have families, quirks, bad habits, temptations, experience joy and sadness, hobbies, etc.  Most of us are as normal as Folgers coffee.  We want to be good examples, exemplary pastors, students of the Word too; but we’re pretty much just normal people that God called to preach, teach, and lead in the local church.

So I’m normal; however, I have a huge passion to live for Jesus, reach other people for Him, see them grow in Christ, and see them eventually learn to repeat the same thing.  I bleed for those things. I pray for those things. I love to see people encounter Jesus and learn new things about following him.

I want the world to get saved!  I live everyday believing that someone I encounter (or that you encounter) could and might come to faith through a personal witness for Christ.  Yes, I believe you or I could walk across the street, share Jesus with someone, and they could get saved over a cup of coffee – now.

I dream about those conversations and love the work God has called me to.  I love pastoring.  I love reading and studying the Bible. But then, I also like to go crappie fishing once-in-awhile, attend a HS wrestling match, and eat a bowl of homemade ice cream.

I would love to talk with you about Deutero Isaiah, the issues around open theism, and the documentary hypothesis; but I would really rather discuss how to reach your neighbor for the Lord.  After those discussions, I would also love to hear from you the best place to find morel mushrooms (I would REALLY like to talk to you about that!).

I want any church I pastor to know that I’m a normal person.  I’m approachable.  I’ll give them good counsel from the Word and I’ll pray for them and I’ll get them plugged into ministry.  But I’ll also eat a grilled hamburger,  throw a Frisbee, or laugh at the movie “Elf” with you.

So what’s the point?  God uses normal people like me, you, and pretty much everyone else for Kingdom work.  He wants to use you.  He wants to use me.  Let’s not wait until we think we’ve got it all figured out.  Walk across the street and have that cup of coffee today.

Oh yeah, and that “mowing-the-lawn-in-my-underwear” deal – there’s a good explanation for that.  Really.

Pastors – in a rut or dry spell? Here’s some help.

http://pastors.com/4-questions-for-preachers-in-a-dry-spell/

Pastor Friends…helpful article on getting out of that “rut” or “dry-spell”.