News – Some ministers leaving well-known congregations to start from scratch

 Source

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The real joy both ministers expressed about Church Planting  is

  • a unity among members and the focus on the mission of God at the church plants.
  • Everybody is on board
  • Everybody believes pretty much the same thing: Our mission is to reach the lost.
  • Jenkins said there isn’t a single soul at the Spring Meadows church in Spring Hill who is there and does not wish to be.
  • There are no rules set in stone, no traditions that impede growth or creativity.
  • They wanted to do something different.
  • It’s called the Great Commission. They have found it easier to evangelize away from traditional structure.
  • It is a vision from the Bible and theological,
  • It’s not about how long you spend on earth It’s not about how much doctrine you know. It’s about your practicing love.
  • Evangelism is … one of the greatest acts of love that we can do
  • This is what Paul and Timothy and Silas did.

Mary-Mary

Mary Mary

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“ Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you ”

Ok, I have a new understanding of Moses’ forty year wondering. I often thought, why did he just not walk in a straight line for forty years, surely if he did he would have walked straight out of the Desert and right into Gods will. He did not, nether did I.

It was not for my lack of trying but it was from my lack of listening, I did not listen to or heed Gods voice. Like Moses though, I did finally pay attention, I did learn lessons, I did grow and mature. And finally at the end of my forty year wandering, it is finally coming to fruition, I finally am walking in the straight line, it will be a short time before I walk out of the Desert and into His land,

Rather than looking back to see the wasted years, the years of travel for the job, the years of distraction for personal advancement, the years of selfish indulgence, the years of missing yet another parent teacher conference, the years of missing the Scout meeting, you know what I mean. I look forward to what He is going to do. God has gratefully healed my memory for past missteps and He is pouring His Grace upon Grace in my life.

God is so at work in my life: sometimes this is as clear as glass; sometimes it is not clear at all. But knowing He is at work and I am not walking in circles but in a straight line makes it all worth the walk. Looking back at all the detours I have taken remind me of God’s grace at work in my life. The reasons in bold below.

Deuteronomy 8,2- 3 Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD”.

Oh, now the Mary Mary point to this post, Lyrics from “I just can’t give up now”

 

 

“There will be mountains

That I will have to climb

 

And there will be battles

 

That I will have to fight

 

But victory or defeat

 

It’s up to me to decide

 

But how can I expect to win

 

If I never try

 

 

I just can’t give up now

 

Come too far from where I started from

 

Nobody told me the road would be easy

 

And I don’t believe he brought me this far to leave me

 

 

Never said there wouldn’t be trials

 

Never said I wouldn’t fall

 

Never said that everything would go the way I want it to go

 

But when my back is against the wall

 

And I feel all hope is gone

 

I’ll just lift my head up to the sky

 

And say help me to be strong

Friends and Suffering

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My eldest son reminded me tonight; I am almost a half-century-old, thanks for that!! What a Pal. He and our youngest son are in the bedroom playing Nintendo and as I am listening to them enjoy life; it made me reflect on how fortunate I am. I have learned so many things through the 49 years I have been on this earth. The list is too long to recount but the top of the list, at least tonight is how important friends are, I do not know why that popped into my head tonight but it did. The other thing is pain, I know that is an odd combo but both took up residence in my head tonight. 

Most of us have had a significant amount of pain in our life. It is just a part of life. For some it is the physical pain of illness or injury, then there is emotional pain like when a loved one is sick or suffering and that can be worse than any physical pain we have encountered.. 

How about the torturous mental anguish of betrayal by a trusted friend, spouse or family member this too can seem unbearable. The loss of love can bring us to the edge of despair. Remember the stories from our youth about the nails in Jesus’ hands; it was not the nails but the love for you and I that held him there. It was God’s love for US that empowered Jesus to suffer unimaginable horror for us. 

Jesus experienced all types of pain. He was physically assaulted and tortured. He sees his mother weeping at the foot of the cross. He is rejected and turned on by his closest friends. He is humiliated. He even feels the pain of separated from the love of God. Jesus endures every type of suffering imaginable, for you and I. 

When I get a headache, I tend to do two things. I complain or I beg for relief, all I want it to do is go away. Jesus did none of these things. He accepted suffering without complaint and he never begs for it to go away. 

As I reflect tonight on the life of Christ and then think about my own minor suffering, that “suffering” seems so trivial compared to what Jesus endured I know our pain is real, I know the loss we just endured is real, I understand that pain can be part of life and it really hurts. But when I pray for God’s mercy to overpower me and I look to the cross, I can hear a voice in my soul saying it will all be fine. 

The good news is that the Gospel is the end of the pain and it is the beginning of our new life.

Those of us who are suffering today must pray that Christ marks for us “that” new beginning. Let us rejoice that our wounds and our pain today are nothing compared to that future blessing, so wondrous that we cannot even imagine yet

Uncle Tone.

Scandalous-Father Rush and Ms French

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The example of the Claddagh Church and Father Rush can be a model within Church planting that we should pursue today. The bond that the this Church has built with this small Irish community lasted centuries.

The Priest, Fr. Rush became a vital part of his community, he did not keep himself closed up in his church building, he reached out to real needs of the fishermen of Galway Bay. What he did was to open the church doors to the fishermen, they needed a place to construct and mend the sails of the fishing boats and he had the largest building in town.
His Church was one of the first truly multi-purpose buildings in the church planting movement in Ireland.

Not only did he open the church building for maintenance of sails and nets, he saw another real need and opened a navigation and fishing school, the first of its kind in Ireland, to quote his own words, ‘the benefit of the fishermen’s children of the ancient Village of Claddagh. Not to build his own kingdom on earth.

What jumps out at me is he saw their needs and found a way to involve the church in an outreach, he did not set up stumbling blocks, membership requirements or other man made barriers, he just found a need and helped.

He built lasting friendships, as an entry into the Church’s financial books note, “a gift was made by a local woman, Madam French to the church and she did not ear mark it for a specific purpose”, so Fr Rush in his desire to reach his community passed the blessing received onto the fishermen in the form of ten quarts of strong water.

  • He saw a need and filled it
  • He did not hinder the community
  • He built friendships outside the church doors
  • He shared his blessings

Hit the road (running) Jack

hit-the-road-jack.jpgPastors need to be aware of our strengths our limitations our motives, and our values in order to make the appropriate decisions on how to lead our flock. We primarily become aware of how we should lead a congregation through experience learned over time.

The experience I have learned throughout my career in the workforce will undoubtedly serve me well in my Pastoral roll if I take the time to reflect on Who it is I am serving.

As I have accumulated work experience over the last thirty-three years I have had an opportunity to make many choices and weigh those choices against both moral and practical sounding boards. Through that, I have begun to clarify what is good and what is important to me.

During my middle years (20-40) in the work force I have only had a vague sense of my talents, motivations, and values. All too often, selecting jobs and career moves that simply did not fit my family’s best interest or me very well and blurred how I saw my calling.

Because my “ strengths, limitations, motives, and values” were not clearly defined and I was not following the calling of my heart, I found myself seduced by the money, glamour, prestige and lust of the “job”

I found myself defining a “good” opportunity as one that offered more money or cars or “stuff” Wow, hindsight is so clear.

I found myself choosing jobs that were not for me. And because of this I did not fully appreciate my strengths and weaknesses, and I got myself into situations where I was simply not where I was supposed to be, I think it was a way to keep me distracted from a deeper calling I felt I had. But I simply had no time for that, I kept pressing on, more ,,,,, more,,,,, more.

So, looking back at those many years in my career I can glean some important insight through careful and systematic prayer and reflection. In particular, I look back at the persistent errors I made and experiences I had, that say something about who I am and how I fit into His Kingdom, keying into His strengths and my limitations refocusing on my inabilities and honing my core values with His enabling power to call me from the wilderness.

So, while trying to decide how to move in a leadership role, we Pastors should ponder what Ignatius of Loyola had to say.

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve:
to give, and not to count the cost,
to fight, and not to heed the wounds,
to toil, and not to seek for rest,
to labor, and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.

— Ignatius of Loyola

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head,

People will begin to seek Christ and they will be more eager to work with us; if we as leaders show that we have conviction and proper balance. Remember, build a network of relationships and watch it grow. Take the time and be willing to sponsor and mentor younger men, do not make it an exclusive club, let those who want to serve, serve! Try taking risks on their behalf and promoting them into stretching their Faith. Do not be so self-serving that we protect the sacred “job” we hold. Remember it is Christ’s Kingdom we need to promote, not our self interest.. If we develop their expertise and use our relationships to further His Kingdom we will be in an even better position to contribute to the overall objective, Go ye therefore into all the world………

So the cycle of success becomes prolific; our credibility will continue to flourish. If we as leaders will just open the doors of our hearts and get our egos out of the way.

Uncle Tone

Can you take a moment and send one up for us

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Jann and I have a  meeting with Stadia coming up on 12-03-06, I will-leave it unspoken for now  but I am sure those of you who have gone through the initial meeting and assessment will know very well the anxiety I am going through. I would hope a prayer for peace and direction would go a long way in my perception of the direction I should take

As always

Yours

Uncle Tone