We used to burn so brightly.
There was something beautiful about our passion, our fire. It glowed and flickered, raged, and shown brightly. We were the future, pastors, worship leaders, evangelists. We were the Joshua generation, charged with ushering the church into a promised land in the midst of a dark culture surrounding us. We gave you everything. Time. Resources. Commitment. We believed with the core of our being, and we wanted to change the world.
Then we burned out.
We became hurt and wounded, bitter and jaded. Our fire suffered violence at the hands of the so-called orthodox. We became the flickering wicks, the bruised reeds, and no one was there to protect us from the whispering wind of those who spoke final judgment over us. …
Lectionary Reading for August 30, 2020
Old Testament: Exodus 3.1–15
Psalm: 105.1–6, 23–26, 45
New Testament: Romans 12.9–21
Gospel: Matthew 16.21–28
We don’t want Jesus.
We want someone to make things better, someone we can rely on to come in and save the day. We want someone to help us win, to help us achieve our hopes and dreams. We want someone to come and give us victory over every discomfort, every bad day, every negative thing in our lives.
In short, we want a hero.
That’s not Jesus.
I know I’m not supposed to say things like this, but let’s be real for a moment, Jesus sometimes seems like a letdown. We have a hardship in life, we pray to Jesus to come, be real, fix the problem, yet the problem remains. Jesus doesn’t take away our pains. We still live with our fears. Black people are shot in our streets. A pandemic still interrupts our lives and threatens our well-being. Economic turmoil leaves us unsure of the future for ourselves and our loved ones. Political upheaval and corruption control the direction of our nation. In all this, the savior we want and the savior we get are two vastly different people. …
I have all sorts of issues.
I have problems that I need help working through. Life gets confusing for me, anxiety and depression dog my days, and I have some self-worth issues that I can’t overcome on my own. I need help navigating towards healing and wholeness, towards an integrated, healthy life.
I’m a mess, and I know it. But I don’t want to stay a mess.
So, where do I turn to for help? Who do I talk to? Growing up, I indirectly learned that it was the pastor that I should speak to about this stuff. No one ever told me this directly, but it was always inferred that for any issue, you turned to the pastor. Family problems? Talk to the pastor. Depression and anxiety? Talk to the pastor. Marriage woes? Talk to the pastor. Life seems out of control? …