I love the Easter season. After Easter season is complete, I like to take a time to reflect on how I grew as a Christian over the previous year. The passage below is a reflection on growth, including a reflection on pastoring for three months.
Need to Work On
- Scripture Memory
I’ve spent a lot of time this year working on Latin (memorizing, studying, reading, reflecting, etc.). But because I’ve been assigned nearly six chapters of Latin a week, I’ve spent most of my time memorizing vocabulary for Latin and very little precious time on memorizing Scripture. While the first habit (working hard at my task) is good, the second habit (neglecting memorizing the Word of God) is not good.
While one does not need to memorize the Word of God in order to have a relationship with Jesus, and certainly neglecting memorization won’t keep me from all Christian growth, I must pause and wonder if such a habit is unhealthy. If neglecting the memorization of Scripture is a sign that I’m not studying, reflecting, and allowing God’s Word to work in me, then it is most certainly unhealthy. Thankfully the solution to this issue is quite easy.
Verses to consider: Psalm 1:2, Psalm 119:9, James 1:25
- Making Time to Properly Care for my Wife
With a new pastoral position, PhD work, two children, and a new baby on the way, I’ve found it’s easy to be busy about God’s work, work-in-general, and children, and yet neglect to spend quality time (not behind a screen) with my wife. I’ve tried to become more conscientious of being helpful around the house and yard. However, I also have to ask if just being helpful is the most helpful to my wife. In other words, perhaps what I think is the most helpful may not be the thing she finds most helpful. I need to be able to listen to, enjoy, and be with my wife.
Marriages are not work projects. Work projects seem easy for me to handle. There is a task – get it done. But my wife, like all human beings, is not a project which I can work on and solve. What is better than just being helpful-husband? Being a kind and patient listener. Add to the previous mixture: a husband who is gentle when wronged, silent when needed, and patient in all situations. I am, after all, quite forgiving of my own wrongs, listen to my own counsel, and patient with myself in all situations; therefore, if I am to obey Scripture (let each one of you love his wife as himself – Eph. 5:33), I must extend a greater curtsey to my wife than I do to myself. I must cherish her.
Verses I meditate on: Eph. 5: 28-33, 1 John 4:7-12
- Allowing God to Grow His Church
I have just begun to feel the burden of pastoring a flock of people. While I started thinking pastoral care involved mostly hospital and home visits, I’ve come to realize the greatest pastoral care is care for the soul. I long deeply that my people would grow in the Lord. Yet, in my inadequacies, I know I am not the best teacher they could have. I do things that are upsetting to others. I do not teach as clearly as I would like. And I find a great temptation to blame myself for any lack of spiritual growth in another person. If someone does not delight in our services and wishes to go elsewhere, I find myself taking that personally. Could I have done a better job?
The short answer is yes. I do certainly need to learn from mistakes and I’ve made some already as a pastor. However, I also must allow Christ to be sufficient for me and for my congregation. Not a single one of us can make everyone happy or make everyone like us. After all, I have close friends who find a way to get on my nerves. And heaven forbid that anyone would ever dislike me (how could that ever be the case)! So, our unity, growth, and kindness between each other at SFBC isn’t all on me – rather, we all rely on Christ together. A pastoral friend truly helped me with this issue. He said, I have to uphold 2 Timothy 2:15 (do your best to present yourself to God as one approved), Romans 12:18 (so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all), and 2 Corinthians 12:9 (my grace is sufficient for you) at the same time. So while I work hard, I must allow God’s grace to be sufficient for me, and allow my own weaknesses to show the power of Christ’s work in me. Tough stuff.
Verses to consider: 2 Tim 2:15, 2 Cor. 12:9-10, Romans 12:18.
- Enjoying Summerville
I truly enjoy this community and the people in it. I am truly content to be a part of this town. While the pressing darkness of those who are lost weighs on my heart, and I find myself quite discontent with the present spiritual state of many here, I do love them and want to get to know them. I look forward to no longer being the alien in a foreign land. I look forward to being a naturalized Summervillian.*
The pastors in the SBC association are great and godly men. They have vision and want to work together to redeem the lost. What could be more energizing? I look forward to going to association meetings (crazy, right?), not because they are somehow the most fun I’ve had all week, but because I get a chance to meet with these men and learn from them.
I deeply enjoy the woods of Georgia. I’ve only had a few locations in my life that just felt like home: walking in the woods of Michigan, enjoying the culture and language of Germany, and standing in awe of the splendor of the Georgian hills. I am still in awe of the vast beauty God has given to North Georgia. I look forward to seeing Georgia in every season. If extreme humidity is my summers destiny, then at least I’ll get some ice-tea to sip on the porch.
*The problem with Summervillian is it looks like Summer-villain. Which makes me wonder what occupation villains hold in Chattooga county during autumn months.
Verses I enjoy while hiking: Psalm 19:1-6, Psalm 139:1-18
- Enjoying the Members of SFBC
While my relationship with most of my members is still a tiny seedling, I can already see a great harvest in the future. I truly enjoy getting to know them and having them at our house. Since the sands of time are quickly cascading away from our third pregnancy, and since we’ve had quite a few visits from family members recently, we haven’t had as many people over to our house for dinner and coffee as we would like.
Yet, given the outpouring of love SFBC has shown my family and the constant support and care for our two sons, I am truly looking forward to sharing our third son with them. Our members have expressed such desire to help us with the new baby and I cannot wait to dedicate him along with our church. New cries, new giggles, new life in our church nursery! I am truly blessed to be at this church.
Verses: Philippians 1:3-6, 2 Corinthians 13:11