This is the last of the series of posts I have done talking about the three things that have most affected my life and ministry as a result of being part of Infuse. Those three posts.
1. Three things I learned from Infuse: Introduction
2. Three things I learned from Infuse: Ask good questions
3. Three things I learned from Infuse: Staff Level Volunteers
4. Three things I learned from Infuse: Thankfulness
The greatest thing I have learned from Infuse is the discipline of thankfulness. In life and ministry few things will destroy you like a lack of gratitude. Life is tough. Working in ministry can be thankless. The result is that we are tempted to see only the things that are frustrating and everything we see and do is based on that frustration. A lack of gratefulness taints all we do.
Francis Shaeffer says it better than I ever could:
The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is the lack of a thankful heart.
Tim Keller says:
Worry is not believing God will get it right Bitterness is thinking God got it wrong.
Loved this commentary from my bible reading today:
Jesus identifies with us in our pain and loss. He comes to us in our weakness and brokenness. Through he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus wept when he saw the tears of Mary and her companions. This is Jesus being truly human. As God incarnate, Jesus shows us what he, as God, created man to be – a whole-hearted lover of God and a compassionate lover of fellow image-bearers – summarized in the two great commandments (Matt. 22:34-40)
But as the incarnate God, Jesus’ tears in front of Lazarus’s tomb are of a different order. This is Jesus feeling the weight of the fall – the violation and disintegration of the way things were meant to be. His holy tears are those of the Creator grieving over the forfeiture of beauty through the intrusion of sin and death. Once again, in the incarnate Lord, we see the heart of the Lamb who would offer his life to overcome our sin and death.
Such a powerful description of Christ’s tears. His holy tears are those of the Creator grieving over the forfeiture of beauty through the intrusion of sin and death.
One of the traps the enemy uses to marginalize leaders is envy. If I only had a bigger building. If I only had more staff. If I only had a bigger budget. The reality is that no matter how we don’t like to admit it none of us are immune from these thoughts. I know that I have struggled with each of these at different points in ministry. I remember having a conversation with a kids pastor who had less kids than we had and had 3 staff members to help. I left the call with this overwhelming feeling of frustration and discouragement. I remember actually breaking out a calculator adding up how many kids we had and what my staff to kids ratio should be.
It was on an Infuse call I asked Jim Wideman at what point is it reasonable to get help. Our church had grown and our kids ministry nearly tripled in a few months. Jim said I could use some help that having at least an assistant seemed reasonable but help never came like I expected it.
There has been a lot of buzz around the internet about the removing of Mars Hill and its founding pastor Mark Driscoll from the church network he helped to create Acts 29. There are ideas, theories flying and everyone it seems is picking a side and digging in for virtual battle.
I won’t go into the details of the situation because that is covered in detail by other posts. Basically the Acts 29 Board felt sufficient cause for concern for Mark Driscoll, his church and the Acts29 that they have chosen to remove Mark and his church from any affiliation with the Acts 29 network.
This is a pretty significant step. You don’t typically see this type of action in many churches or church organizations particularly by an organization towards its co-founder. Mark Driscoll is a very polarizing person he says things strongly and clearly. I don’t know Mark but I do know that isn’t necessary a bad thing. We need leaders, particularly as orthodox viewpoints of theology are under assault from every side, to stand up and speak boldly. I do know a couple of people who have worked for him and none of them have ever said anything disparaging concerning his behavior.
One of the greatest things I got out of Infuse was a good ole fashion verbal butt woopen from Bro Jim. I went to a “Spend-a-week” Conference with Bro Jim and I didn’t even say Hi to him. I never asked a question and I never waited to speak to anyone. I always felt I would be bothering him or other speakers at a conference. I have learned that isn’t true at all and honestly it’s changed everything.
CS Lewis says “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
I decided that I was going to get over myself and grow. Here is where we have add a disclaimer we have to know why we want to grow. If you are talking to Reggie Joiner because you want to impress him. Do you need affirmation Reggie that you can and should only find in Christ or do you want to learn from Reggie because you want to be a more capable servant.