Categories
Church Leadership

Are you having fun?

Surely he took up our pain 
   and bore our suffering, 
yet we considered him punished by God, 
   stricken by him, and afflicted. 
But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
   he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, 
   and by his wounds we are healed. 
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
   each of us has turned to our own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him 
   the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53 (excerpt)

Here’s a newsflash friends. This is about Jesus and not you. 

There are a lot of miserable ministry people right now. They strongly identify with Jesus as a suffering servant as they languish in a role they hate. They cringe when their boss talks to them. They quietly look for jobs all day at their current job.

Sometimes these suffering servants even have a chip on their shoulder about it. As if their having a job they hate is something we’re supposed to be impressed by? 

True, suffering is part of life. And some of us are called to suffering in life. But I don’t think a ministry job in the United States qualifies.

Advice for people who hate their jobs

Quit. If it isn’t fun anymore, quit. If you find yourself whining about budget or your salary or stuff that needs to be fixed but the leaders won’t fix it, quit. If you have day dreams of the day you get to walk into your bosses office and say, “Take this job and shove it!” Quit now.

Quitting might seem insane. But it just might lead you to something fun.

Don’t let Satan win.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

Categories
Christian Living

I choose hope

Recession? Here's the NASDAQ Index July 2, 2009 -July 2, 2011

Our culture loves despair. We ignore the facts and choose lamentation.

Listen to an hour of the news and you’ll hear how dangerous our country is. (Crime is down significantly over the past 30 years) You’ll hear how horrible the economy is. (The image above shows the NASDAQ Index the past two years.) Public school stink. (In fact, most major metropolitan school systems have seen test scores steadily increase over the past decade.)

Find a slow news and the media just goes back to the wheel of despair news stories that you love. Teen pregnancy, homelessness, violence in schools, date rape, sexting… you know the list. They go back to that wheel of despair because YOU LOVE THAT NEWS! Our culture is sick,  twisted, and upside down.

We love to point to examples of bad news and apply them to our entire culture. Gang violence up 2% in Chicago? People in Arizona will go buy a handgun, just in case it spreads. A school in the district is struggling? Pull financial support, start a private school, all the kids with means will go there.

We’re all going to hell in a handbasket and there’s nothing you can do about it. Armageddon is on the horizon, cope and deal baby!

That’s our culture of despair.

I reject despair for a posture of hope

I refuse to be defined, to think of myself, or to allow myself to be manipulated by an evil system which loves despair. Jesus did not die so I could live a life of despair. He subjected himself, even to death, so that I could live life to full. (John 10:10)

  • My project is faced with impossible odds? I like my odds of winning.
  • Life biggest challenges afoot? I smile at the opportunity.
  • Less than 5% of our neighborhood attends a church? Let’s get to work loving our neighbors.
  • One of my students lives in ruin because of bad decisions? Today can be the next chapter in an amazing story of redemption.
  • 1.5 million people left homeless after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince? Well, let’s feed this 5,000. It’s a start.
  • The church cut the budget, staff let go, initiatives put on ice? Time for some soft innovation.
  • Everything that could have gone wrong today did? Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s learn from this and move forward.

I choose to fear God alone and allow Him to have dominion over what He’s asked me to do. He’s not surprised by my circumstance. He’s never let me down. And He takes great pleasure when I put my faith and trust in Him despite the odds.

The only story Americans like more than despair? A comeback. Your comeback can begin right here and right now. But you have to put on hope. You have to wear it like a jacket. You have to allow hope to define you.

Hope goes beyond and attitude and a forced smile.

It is a posture I choose to carry in all areas.

If you don’t like hope. You won’t like me.

Join me. Reject despair.

Assume a posture of hope.