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Showing posts from 2010

Grace and Love (and some other stuff)

I have to love others who have a history of not loving me.

I have to love others who've rejected me.

One of the first things a professor said to me that hit me really, really hard was this: "You can't be in ministry unless you love people." and then one step further... "If you don't think people can change, just leave right now".

This seems like it should've been a "duh" kind of thing, but for me, it wasn't. When I first felt God calling me to the kind of ministry I am training and studying to be, I just didn't know about the "hugeness" of it all. I honestly hadn't processed everything that ministry meant. I had (to an extent) - in fact, read this post to see what I mean by that.

God made some big changes in my during 2010. A lot of it was through this. Best. Study. Ever. A lot of it was simply the transition time of my life; after several years in one town moving out of state and attending seminary. God did all this work…

The Problem With Being an Adaptor

So last year I took this really long leadership test here: http://www.rightpath.com/ for my Leadership and Administration in the Church class. According to this company, there are 16 different types of leaders, and I (story of my life) am the rarest one: the Adaptor.The Adaptor leader steps into a situation and adaptors to whatever is needed. If the church is failing at Communication, I'll see it and try to fix it. If they need a better Children's ministry program, I'll build it up and get it going again. If I'm sitting in a meeting where everyone is talking, I'll be quiet (even if I have something to say.) If we need a confrontational leader, I'll be the one to do it.Some of the other leadership types are: Director, Motivator. Stylish innovator, the Harmonizer... and many others.When I first took the test, my professor told me he'd never met a true adaptor. There are two parts to the test and usually he could tell from the second part where someone who sco…

Acceptance

So, I'm about 5 months into my new job. And Wednesday night I was overwhelmed by it. Not so much in the details of the job - i.e., the stuff that needs to get done to make a ministry even happen. I've pretty much got that down now. But I was overwhelmed in the "people side" of all.

I had a lot thrown at me last night from different people and I realized something that's been happened to me since I got here - but it was happening in pieces and I didn't put them all together until this morning, as I was talking with the senior pastor. What's happening... is that everyone is trying to get me on "their" side.

Doesn't seem like such a bad thing. But over and over again as people come to me with ideas and stories and thoughts and feelings, I've realized a couple of very important things: the person who did this job before me made a lot of enemies. And that's not me; it's just not in my nature. So it's almost as if they are reactin…

Transformation

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I realized something today.

I'm not even remotely the same person I was two years ago.

Oh, there are some similarities. I still love movies and music, coffee and chocolate. I still play guitar and love the fall colors. I still laugh at the same stupid jokes and like the same kind of jewelry. But the bitterness, hurt and pain once inside me is gone. And I realized it while listening to this song:



So, yeah. Tears.

I was so afraid this transformation, which I kinda felt as it was happening, would not be permenant. That once I left the bubble of seminary I would go back to the way I was. In a way I assumed that would happen. And maybe it's too early to tell, but I find myself, even when under the most incredible stress and amidst a huge frustration that the bitterness doesn't come.

I'm sorry, but that's HUGE.

So I started thinking about when it happened. When had God done this to me? Was it when I left a job that frustrated me, was it the in the act of following God's c…

Being Single in the Church

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During my time in seminary, I found myself growing frustrated at something the church is pretty good at failing at: ministering to those who are single.

I think most people view a ministry to single people means creating a program where singles can gather together. Okay, that's fine I guess. I've never much cared for these kinds of"programs" and while in St. Louis I avoided my church's "singles ministry" like the plague. And then after a while I noticed how many different sermons I'd hear on marriage (this was after about a year and a half at this church). Most of these sermons were structured to talk about the difficulties of marriage and the blessings, too. That's something I simply can't relate to. While it may be interesting information, it's not relevant to me. And after I realized I'd heard 5 sermons in the last year and a half on marriage, I asked myself, "Have I heard any on being single?" No, I hadn't.

I under…

Trust

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"You are going to have to decide if your unrest is the Spirit not giving you peace or your fear of following God into the unknown." - Friar Tuck

I've heard some say that it's much easier to live with a sovereign Lord because no matter your decision it is the Lord's will. "Nothing happens outside the Lord's will," I hear over and over again. And I believe, I guess. But I also must say I believe it's actually harder to live with, because your trust in him is paramount.

It's hard for me to accept that the Lord's will was for this to happen or for this to happen. Any good reformer will say that it's our sin nature that causes it. So God is responsible for only the good stuff and not the really heinous stuff?

I know where I could be headed with this isn't good. But I do feel, at time, the neccecisity of pointing out the other side of the theological tension here.To ignore it is to ignore one of the greatest gifts God gave us: our minds. …

A New Birth

My blog silence has been rather inexcusable of late. Though I have had some major life changes and am still in the process of settling in and feeling normal again, I also have a healthy perspective that things may never feel normal again.

That said, I think it's simply because I got out of the regular habit of journaling in seminary because I didn't have the time. It is now time to re-discipline myself, and I just haven't done it yet.

I have, however, been thinking a lot about re-birth. In the last two weeks I've been unpacking thing that were in storage for the last two years, placing objects with wonderful memories attached to them around my new home. I've painted many walls, shopped for new furniture, towels, yard supplies, lamps, and curtains. And occasionally I sit down on my sofa and look around at mostly old, familiar things. Things that were gifts, things that once belonged to family members, things I purchased on trips to see family and friends. They are thi…

Starting Over

I was driving through town the other day, running a few errands. That always take a bit longer when you are getting to know a new city. And this city is kinds of a strange one... it's very spread out with lots of small locally owned places. So a quick glance at signs doesn't necessarily tell me much.

Once again, I am finding myself starting over. Didn't I JUST do this? Having to find new things of nearly everything, like a hairdresser, a mechanic, a bank, a mary kay lady. Blech.(At least I don't have to go church shopping. *Ba-dum-bum*)

"...and he also gave them provisions for their journey. - Gen. 45:21"

I never tire of reminding myself that 'God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply'. The mode I feel I am in right now, though, is "survival". I often feel as though I am moving from deadline to deadline, program to program, event to event, and am unable to work on the theory of building a good support system, of train…

A Sweet Moment

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This afternoon I had the privilege of being part of a sweet and wonderful pastoral moment.

My new pastor and I were at lunch and were able to stop by a congregation member's new business on the way back to out church. This new business officially opens on Monday, and my pastor wanted to see how things were coming along. Ken (the owner) graciously gave us a tour of his new office (he's an eye doctor). Several of his family members were there setting up displays for eyeglasses and things were still in progress.

After talking with Ken about this new endeavor he's undertaking, my pastor asked him if we could prayer together over the building, the business, his family and this new adventure. The three of us stood in the front of the waiting room and prayed together for the Spirit to work and for God's blessing over it all.

These are the kind of pastoral moments I often miss. I'm not naturally wired to think this way, really, and wouldn't have thought to pray with Ken.…

An Unexamined Life

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Now that I am no longer a student, I find myself in this odd time of transition. Where I can't find anything I need (because it's all packed in boxes or suitcases), where I'm not really sure what to do with my time because there isn't something else really pressing due next week, and where I am seeing people new and differently.
I now live in the desert. It hasn't quite hit me yet, and probably won't until I settle into my new home, which won't be until August. I, once again, have made a major life change just as I did almost two years ago. I left all that is familiar to follow a call I did not completely understand but one I was sure of, and everything changed for me. Here I am in, in the same situation, but far less scared than I was back then. When I think back as to why, it all comes down to one simple thing: assurance.
The Lord always provided for me when I lived in St. Louis. I was going to school (an expensive one) full-time. I had 3 part-time jobs, a …

Trust

A friend of mine recently got married, and she said something very intriguing to me when she described the feelings she had on her wedding day. She said, "There was this part of me that wasn't ready to let go of my parents, because I never quite had the relationship with my dad that I wanted. I wasn't fully ready to "let go", because I didn't feel the safety of his love. Does that make sense? It does to me, because I know it is backed by research. Children who are secure in their parents love are more likely to feel the safety to spread their wings and leave the nest, because they know their parents will always be right there, cheering them on. "I had to stop and ponder what that looks like in our relationship with our heavenly father.As I've come to understand the mistrust I have in people, I've wondered if there is a connection between how I see them (as untrustworthy) and how I see God. How do you really know if you trust God? I feel as thoug…

Belonging to God - Part 2

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So I'm leaving tomorrow morning on a flight to Phoenix. I'm packing, thinking about the questions I need to ask while I'm there, wondering what this leg of this crazy journey will bring...

It's a really weird thing to be terrified of what will happen next and still trust that God knows what he is doing (I'll be writing more on this trust later... I've realized what a big issue this is for me right now). This uncertainty grips my heart and seizes nearly every waking moment of my life right now. It's all consuming, unforgettable and just plain hard. When I start to articulate my feelings to those I love so dearly, I realize that whatever happens, happens. If I don't have a job after I graduate, the world will not stop turning. (A friend sent me an email on Tuesday saying just that, reminding me that I told her that when she was going through something similar. Oh, how we easily forget.)

So much of what I am feeling right now plays into my story. The story I…

Belonging to God - Part 1

I may have a major decision to make in the next two weeks. Or I may not. Bleh.

In my "old" age, I've learned I don't like change very much. I don't like seasons of unrest or uncertainty. These seasons make me feel anxious, worried, and well... downright awful.I struggle to really trust the Lord in these times, when I don't know what he's up to, what the world is up to and what I'm supposed to do.

I'd like to be able to say that I am 100% trusting in him. As my Creator, I am sure he knows what's best for me. I am sure he loves me. But sometimes, when it comes down to the brass tacks, I just freak out. I struggle with trying to figure out what decision will honor him, to do what he wants and I struggle to actually make the stupid decision because I am so worried I will not be in his will. I wrestle with the tension of what my responsibility is and how his sovereignty plays itself out in my life. Yet I realized something very interesting on my lon…

A Word from the Lord

It's my last semester of seminary, so that means job hunting. Yuck.

But I found a job description excited me. So I called the church and talked to the senior pastor. He went to seminary with friends of mine from college. His wife is from Nebraska. He said he would take a look at my profile and resume, so I sent it to him.

Two weeks ago I had a phone interview with him and the search committee. It was intense, but good. Last week I got an email from the senior pastor telling me that they loved my answers, and wanted to talk with me further. He asked me where i was at, what I was feeling, and what the Spirit was telling me. I replied, telling him I enjoyed our conversation as well and that I would love to talk further.

I didn't hear anything for almost a week. Good thing a friend of mine was in town for a visit, or I might have gone mad.

Then, this last Wednesday the pastor called me and said, "We all really liked you, and want to fly you out to meet us."

Yikes.

I set off f…

Capstone

This is my last semester of seminary. And probably my most challenging and busy.

I'm working 25 a week for the church, and am the TA grader for the head of the education department (which is about 5 more hours a week). I have 10 hours of classes (and not terrible easy classes, either) AND I have to do my capstone.

Capstone is this school's choice for finishing up your master's degree. Some school have you do a thesis paper, which focuses on a single subject encompassing for field of study. CTS has us do a capstone, which involves assembling a portfolio of the last year a half of assignments and re-visiting them. Sometimes that means re-doing the project, sometimes it means reflecting on the assinment in light of experiences since then, or using Wiggin's Facets of Understanding, and perhaps using Bloom's Taxonomy to see the value of an assignment. There are various ways this can work.

Then I write a paper on what my philosophy of education is, and give a presentation d…

I Celebrate 2009

And with this Christmas wish is missed the point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say
To let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me,
In the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

For the last few years, the song "I Celebrate the Day" by Reliant K has haunted me each Christmas. The first verse (lyrics above) broke my heart, because each year I saw myself in those lyrics. Each year I felt as though I was standing in the same place as last year, with no growth in my walk with Christ, no growth in emotional maturity... just no growth period.

I had to write a 10 page final paper for one of my education classes this semester; an analysis on my family genogram and reflecting on how this will affect me as a leader in ministry. Not an easy task, obviously, but as I did all the analysis and reflection I realized something very important: this …