Every Pastors Worst Nightmare… well, close anyway!

Yup. Been there, done it. Meant to say one thing, it came out another… and spent the next 5 minutes trying to recover…


A Perfect Game

Because it is so rare for a MLB pitcher to throw a perfect hitter, I thought it was worth a glimpse. After all, there have only been 18 perfect games in MLB history. Ponder the moment and enjoy Mark Buehrle’s accomplishment.

CHICAGO (AP) -The 105th pitch of Mark Buehrle’s day broke in toward Gabe Kapler, who turned on it and connected. Buehrle looked up and knew – his perfect game was in jeopardy.

Just in as a defensive replacement, Chicago White Sox center fielder DeWayne Wise sprinted toward the fence in left-center, a dozen strides. What happened next would be either a moment of baseball magic or the ninth-inning end of Buehrle’s bid for perfection against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wise jumped and extended his right arm above the top of the 8-foot wall. The ball landed in his glove’s webbing but then popped out for a split second as he was caroming off the wall and stumbling on the warning track. Wise grabbed it with his bare left hand, fell to the ground and rolled. He bounced up, proudly displaying the ball for the crowd.

Magic. A home run turned into an out.

His biggest threat behind him, Buehrle coolly closed out the 18th perfect game in major league history, a 5-0 victory Thursday.

The only sad moment in all this is that Obama had to insert himself into the story.

Watch the video, it’s fun.

A Glimpse of Gethsemane

I think I was given a glimpse of what Jesus must have felt like in the Garden of Gethsemane last night. I got to experience the struggle of knowing what it means to really die to my own desires and follow the path He has laid out for me. That is what Jesus went through in the Garden, and what He calls us to do from time to time.

Remember when Jesus struggled in the Garden, the issue was whether or not to go to the cross and die on it for His people, or turn from it and continue to live if there was another way to bring about salvation for His people. He was seeking the Father’s will, but on a human level, was hoping for some other possibility. Remember His words… “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

He was looking for another alternative to the cross, but not at the expense of the Father’s will being carried out. From a human standpoint this is what any of us would do when faced with a path God wants us to travel, but does not make sense to our limited minds and fallen desires. The difference is with Christ, His desires and mind were not fallen and He willingly laid down His life for His sheep.

In hindsight, that is the small glimpse I got of the garden last night as I went before the Session (governing board) of our church to offer my resignation. Only, I was not nearly as composed as Christ. Quite frankly, I was scared. I was filled with fear about what the path that God has given me to travel. To resign from my post as pastor, to give up my desires and dreams of seeing this church turn a corner, to give up on my dreams of being “successful” (whatever THAT means) , to walk away from a job in this economy, was making no sense to me whatsoever at that moment. I was looking for, struggling for, begging for, some form of alternative to resigning. I did not want to say those words, “I’m resigning as pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church.”

I finally had to leave the room just to compose myself… and pray and mourn. I’m not trying to be over dramatic, but that is what happened. I could not bring myself to say those words. When I came back into the room with the rest of the elders, and my lovely bride who accompanied me, somehow I found the courage to do what I knew I had to do. The real turning point came when one of the elders said that we had two options, option A, that I would resign and we would travel down that road, or option B, to stay and slug it out. He laid it out in front of me, and as much as I wanted to scream “B!” I knew it was “A.”

With all the questions still running through my mind, I knew that God wanted me to resign. That was best for my family and the church. I needed to move on as much as they needed me to. It was a hard place to be, but it seems to be God’s will for my life at this point.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that God brought me here to pastor this church for the time that I have been here. I cannot explain that to many of you, but it is true. The same is true about my resignation. I know that it’s the direction God would have me travel. Given the option of staying, made the choice clear. I needed to resign and allow the LORD to take me down whatever path is before us.

While men are faulty and prone to wander, He is faithful. Knowing that, I can press on and do what is best for this congregation and my family. This was very similar to the decision Jesus had before Him in the garden. While the two situations differ in degree, they are similar. God is calling me to walk a path that is will be very difficult, just as His Son did for His children. Christ did what was best for the people of God, and I’m trying to do what is best for this congregation and my family. May He be glorified through it all.

By Faith… Abraham. By Faith… Timothy

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

That is a very comforting verse here of late. I know that God is not telling me to move on so that He can build an entire nation through me, but I know He is leading me in a direction where I do not know where I am going.

Tomorrow night, I will be resigning as pastor. I felt like the LORD was leading me to do so. I’ve been here for four years and it is time to move on. So I’m stepping out in faith, just as Abraham did. I don’t know where I will find a job or another church. I don’t know how I will acquire the money I need to pay the bills. I don’t know what is next for me and my family. But I do know that God is behind all of it, and He does know. He is the One in whom I must trust. It’s not the church, or those in the church, but in Christ alone.

He has told us in His word, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and that is a promise I am trusting in to get me through this valley. That doesn’t mean that the valley this path will take me through will be easy, or fun. But I’m confident that it will be worth it in the end for He is leading me there. He is guiding my footsteps and my path. Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… He has set a path before me that seems to my mind to be completely illogical.

After all, who voluntarily steps down from a job in this economy? Not too many would counsel such a decision. But then again, not too many would trust in Him either. So I do as He is leading and trust that He will get us through it all. He is the author and finisher of my salvation, and protector of my soul. If He takes care of the birds of the air, certainly He will take care of me and my family. My trust truly is in Him, and Him alone.

“The LORD is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”

Spurgeon Quote

Charles Spurgeon writes: “There is a great difference between presumption and full assurance. Full assurance is reasonable: it is based on solid ground. Presumption takes for granted, and with brazen face pronounces that to be its own to which it has no right whatever. Beware, I pray you, of presuming that you are saved. If with your heart you do trust in Jesus, then are you saved; but if you merely say, ‘I trust in Jesus,’ it does not save you. If your heart be renewed, if you shall hate the things that you did once love, and love the things that you did once hate; if you have really repented; if there be a thorough change of mind in you; if you be born again, then have you reason to rejoice: but if there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then your saying, ‘I am saved,’ is but your own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver you.

“Our prayer ought to be ‘Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed,’ with real faith, with real salvation, with the trust in Jesus that is the essential of faith; not with the conceit that begets credulity. God preserve us from imaginary blessings!’”[1]

[1] Charles Spurgeon, from his sermon, The Prayer of Jabez.

Textured Photography

Just for fun… This has been textured because it wasn’t all that in focus to begin with. Do you think it works? See the original at the bottom of the page.

BTW, I was discussing my sermon for Sunday with Fred the Intern, talking about the unshakeable Kingdom that Christians inherit, and how our world is being shaken to pieces right now. He thought I should call the sermon: Shaken… AND stirred!

For those who are not in the know, that sort of a reference to Bond, James Bond.

Politically Incorrect: TOO MUCH JACKO!

I love the story out of New York this weekend. U.S. Congressman Peter King came out and said what a lot of us are thinking: “Let’s knock out the psychobabble,” King said in the video taped outside an American Legion Hall on New York’s Long Island. “He was a pervert, a child molester; he was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? I just think we’re too politically correct.”

His point is that the wall-to-wall coverage of the plastic man is too much and it’s time to move on to something of importance. Jackson is dead. If he means that much to you, that you have to watch every tidbit on the guy, then you really need to get a life. He was a wretched little man. Yes, a great entertainer, but so what! He’s dead. Move on. He wasn’t a member of your family, or your friend, or your neighbor. And in reality, you wouldn’t want him in your neighborhood. King is right. “He was a pervert.” Why would you idolize that kind of man?

See the story here, and the video here.

In Honor of Fred, The Intern!

Fred really liked this guy for some reason. So I thought I would honor Fred, the Intern, with this humor.

On a serious note: I really don’t believe Michael Jackson is in heaven right now. Last I heard, it seems he wanted to become a Muslim. Does not sound like the faith that leads to eternal life. You can dispute this if you would like to. But keep it nice if you do, and try to show from Scripture any reason to believe this would not be the case.