It was our "Trust God Sunday", an idea I watched my pastor in OKC birth and I brought here to South Bend. Stewardship is my deliberate demonstrative response of my appreciation to God for what He has entrusted me with. What I do with God's gift is a direct reflection of what I think about God! Our weekend started with a great financial seminar for the family where we covered the topics of Investing, Credit, Budgeting and Prospecting for Homes all from a Biblical basis with sound economics and the turn out was wonderful. I appreciate all of the hard work of our women's ministry and the appointed leaders for this project. May God bless and keep you is my prayer.
I was scheduled (me talking) to preach Exodus 20: 1-3 "First Things First, however because God is God, He changed the sermon due to incidents that happened in our church this week that needed to be addressed from the lips of God through the Pastor to the people. I will post that another time but I told the church I would post at least the skeleton of what I intended to preach.
I have been asked many times, Pastor, What is the greatest challenge you face? The answer surprised many as it surprised me when I realized it. It has not been preaching, that's my love, not counseling or administration, as that's my job. It hasn't been raising my girls by myself as they are my passion, nor has it been the ongoing pressures of being a single man/Pastor/preacher of a visible church, (although that one is making me weary).
No the greatest challenge I have faced is keeping God first, maintaining a close, personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. To make sure No "god", person, object, task, duty, obligation, civic duty or church function comes before HIM in my priorities, my plans or my praise.
These small verses have become by biggest challenge. I am becoming good (trial and error, mostly error) at being the "Civic Pastor", the Community Pastor", the Denominational Pastor, the Politically Correct Pastor, The District and Associational Pastor, the "one of the boys Pastor" and before you know it you start losing piece by piece your first love. That's what happened at Ephesus. You become great at doing the work that you forget the Lord of the work.
God's Requirement for us
Gods' Relationship with us.
It's a love issue, a relationship issue, my children don't want any rivals for their daddy's love and my father feels the same way. I made the mistake one day with my oldest daughter that i still hear about. People at the church who love their Pastor will give me pictures of themselves, senior pictures, sports, etc. My daughter went through my wallet one day in the car( I know, another story) and as she did she noticed another child's picture in my wallet. She became upset. I explained that she was a member, she is your friend, I reassured her I love her and she had no reason to be jealous; i even further noted that, her picture was in my wallet as well.
That's when I understood my error, she said, Yes Daddy, and now this photo is the place where mine used to be. I used to be first in your wallet, now I am stuck in the middle between the other things. Whose picture is in your wallet? Whose picture now occupies the place that God used to hold? What "god" have you put on the "desk of your heart" or the wall in the room of your life"?
Whatever captures our attention, our interest, our money, our time, our commitment, our thoughts, our dreams, our goals is First in our life and is our God, and God says I want to be first! Why is that so important or is God just making a big fuss about nothing? I leave this blog with a simple message, a sentence that keeps haunting my mind to keep God first.