39 years… now entering my 40th year.
I love it when people ask “How does it feel to be a year older?” My answer… I’m only a day older than I was yesterday. I know that sounds like a jerky response, but if there is one thing I have learned in 39 years, it’s that life is made up of moments and days more than years and decades. So on this birthDAY, here are a few things I have learned in moments and days over the past year. Things that I want to apply today and tomorrow and each day this year.
As a Husband: Listening IS leading. It is far manlier and far more faithful to listen to my wife than it is to always have an opinion. She is wiser than I give her credit for and wiser than she gives herself credit for. If I want to lead her in moments and days (and hopefully years and decades) then I must listen better.
As a Father: My kids don’t need a hero… they have Christ. They need me to be PRESENT… more concerned with TODAY than their future. More willing to laugh than to “teach a lesson.” More willing to “shnuggle” watching a Disney show or a stupid Youtube video than figuring out the next “best” thing in ministry or productivity. God provides for my family… and He has provided me to be His representative of grace and love to them.
As a Pastor: 3 things
1.The Holy Spirit changes people… and changed people change programs and ministries. This takes a lot more time than constantly tweaking ministries to make them “work better” and be “more attractive” but the fruit of the Spirit’s work will last longer and produce more fruit than my efforts to change programs without seeing change in people. This can get messy, but it’s worth it. The greatest successes in ministry are found in discipleship relationships, watching people you have invested in follow Christ, start God-honoring families, and serve faithfully. That will always be a greater measure of success than any program or progressive, cutting edge ministry. I am thankful for God’s work in changing lives at Old Powhatan Baptist Church.
2. Faithfulness is more important than giftedness and talent. This is true in me and in others. How easy it is to look at talented people like shiny new toys and forget the faithful people who have served and bled and cried and triumphed with you. Buzz Lightyear is great… but he needs to learn to play well with Woody because Woody is faithful. I am thankful for the faithful saints who long to see real change at OPBC, in Powhatan, and beyond. Thank you for sticking it out faithfully. It will be worth it.
3. Mediocrity is an idol that needs to be crushed. “Good enough” is not good enough. As God faithfully transforms faithful people, excellence will come out. Every resource and every person will seek to leverage ALL of life for the Kingdom of God. And we won’t settle for trench warfare against the enemy any longer… we will advance. We will prepare, we will pray, we will change, we will advance. My prayer is that the coming days, weeks, months, years, and decades will be full of moments of advance against the real enemy… for we are more than conquerors through Christ.
(12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
(13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.