Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Ministry Christmas…

Merry Christmas

Here I go, breaking one of my own rules…never write a blog on a Monday…but as I sit here thinking about this time of year, I just really wanted to take a moment to wish all the pastors around the world a Merry Christmas.

You see, I know…

  • You spend all year working six, full days a week seeing those in your churches through some of their biggest issues and problems in their lives.
  • You have many sleepless nights throughout the year, praying for some of those people interceding on their behalf, for their future.
  • You are expected to spend every waking hour making everyone else feel loved and appreciated whilst feeling completely unloved and unappreciated yourself.
  • You put many, many hours each week into preparing yourself to stand in front of a room full of people (many of which don’t even like you and are eager to analyse, criticise and judge your efforts) and deliver an encouraging, yet challenging word from God’s word.
  • You spend hours just on working out how to package and present that word in such a way that people will be able to hear it and apply it.
  • You and your family often pay a huge relational price when people don’t receive you or your teaching well.
  • You often spend your day off wishing you had said this, and hadn’t said that, and wondering how that is going to affect Mrs. so and so.
  • You spend hours every year listening to people tell you how to do your job better (even though you never once told them how to do theirs!).
  • You cop the odd spray, when people feel the need to let you know that you aren’t living up to their pastoral expectations and they don’t feel loved, appreciated or cared for.
  • You often go unpaid only to have people accuse you of mishandling church finances or obviously earning too much because of your nice car or “holidays” you go on all year.
  • You spend your whole year (24/7) living in a great big fish bowl (or maybe behind a drum screen!) where everyone can see everything you do and often feel free to sit around with others and discuss it accordingly.
  • You are expected to be an agent of God’s absolute grace…all day every day…distributing it freely to everyone who needs it…though rarely receiving any such grace in return.
  • You and your family probably can’t afford to have the kind of Christmas everyone around you is, because the finances are always worse during November – February.
  • You are calling as many people as you can to let them know you appreciate all they have done this year…though you won’t get many similar calls yourself.
  • You are told that your blessing will be in Heaven one day…and that is supposed to cause you to tolerate everything that people throw at you all year and all you go without because of your role.
  • That this list could go on for hours and still not cover all that is required of you…and that you feel like all of these points are real for you at some point in the year, even if they’re not.

Well I just want you to know…

That I read some of your blogs, tweets, books, webpages and listen to some of your on-line preaching and podcasts and I give to some of your online giving webpages and I appreciate what you have done to make such things available to others like me.  I appreciate every one of the above points (even though not all may be relevant to all) and I very much appreciate that most of you live sacrificial lives all day every day, thinking of everyone but yourselves and that you pay a huge relational and financial price for the life you lead.  I appreciate all that you go without to do your best to make others’ lives better (even when they reject you, despise you and leave you).  I appreciate the time you spend focussing on the needs of others above your own.  I appreciate the hours in your study of prayer and preparation and the hours of stressful presentation you do every single week for the benefit of others.

I appreciate the price you are paying and I hope that this Christmas for you, is the best it can be.  I hope you get some time with your own, real family and that they love on you and spoil you and that you get to enjoy some refreshing time with people who actually genuinely love you.  I hope you get to share the love of Jesus with some who share the love of Jesus with and for you!

Thank you, for everything you do!

Now maybe I’ll go back to not blogging on a Monday.


mobile-phoneWe live in a time today, when communication has to be the easiest it has ever been.  And yet, our communication is often not the best it has ever been.  Seriously, we have communication devices in our pockets right now that have more power than the computers used to land a spacecraft on the moon and they are hooked up to a global network of communication towers that can beam our calls, texts and emails around the world in milliseconds.  Our computers and tablets are hooked up to a global network that can share our images, videos, emails and other forms of communication with pretty much anyone almost anywhere in the world.  Yet how much communicating are we involved in?  Do our friends know they are our friends?  Do our families feel connected?

Global communication today is so simple and we have devices at hand all day every day that can actively facilitate this for us, but are we taking advantage of them and using them wisely to stay in real relationship with those in our lives?  Most often at best, we seem to use this technology to maintain the illusion of relationship with those no longer in our lives.  We have chosen to no longer have these people in our lives, but use things like Facebook to ensure we are up to date with their latest information and to pretend our relationship is real.  We can live in isolation as far as any kind of accountability or responsibility goes, but feel like we have an amazing, global network of “friends“.  This involves no real relationship and certainly no facility for anyone to actually speak into our lives in a confrontational manner to assist us in becoming all we can be.  We can hide all our real needs behind our keyboard and portray whatever kind of persona we wish.  No one out there in tech-land has any idea of what is really going on in our lives and cannot connect with us in any kind of real or meaningful way.

We call this community and pretend we have thousands of friends, but there is absolutely no depth or real connectedness.  This is not the kind of community that Jesus taught in the Scriptures and it is not the kind of community we were designed to live in.  Maybe it’s time we picked up our mobile communication device and actually placed a personal call to a real friend or family member and actually had a real conversation…that connects at a heart level…is honest, revealing and real.  Maybe it’s time to stop listening to all the talk online and get involved in some real, personal conversations where we can’t hide behind a keyboard or screen and actually open our hearts with one another…time to get honest and deal with our hurts and offences and actually learn to forgive one another and redevelop some positive relationships with real life people.

It really has become too easy to just ignore a text or email and not even bother to reply.  People take the time to send a text to invite us to join them in some real, personal relationship and because the setting or time doesn’t suit us, we don’t even bother to take a few seconds to reply.  Strangely, these are often the first people to complain that no one bothers to maintain relationship with them too!  It’s too easy to sit in our homes waiting for the world to stop by our little patch of cyberspace and not venture out into the real world to really connect.

We have so much in our hands and readily available to us today…all the tools to succeed are there, ready to be used…maybe we just need to adjust our hearts, to be prepared for real, personal relationships again?  It is risky, we may get hurt, but we will grow and flourish and even have opportunities to connect with some amazing people in life changing ways.  Go on, I dare you…be real with some one today!


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