The drum of Scripture continually beats a theme that, unless consciously and carefully observed, will go largely unnoticed. Some portions of the inspired Word speak to this theme louder than others. Others require a vigilant reading between-the-lines interpretation to decipher what the Lord’s telling us. I am, of course, referring to the theme of God’s upside-down economy.
The irony is not lost on me with what I’m going to announce today. Go back twelve months to January 2017 and you'll find an eerily similar piece I wrote about a season of “transitions and change” that Natalie and I were expecting. A new chapter was supposedly opening up for us.
She caught our eye in 2007 on a short-lived network comedy. Then, she broke through with an independent drama in 2010 that earned her national acclaim and attention. She flew into the stratosphere and became the mega-star we know and love with a summer blockbuster in 2012, the success of which she’s likely still riding the coattails. If you didn’t already catch it, I’m referring to Jennifer Lawrence.
I can’t tell you the last time I watched the news — CNN, Fox, MSNBC, or otherwise. The reason for this is twofold. Mostly because my time’s spent on other things or with more important people. But the primary reason is because I don’t have room for the dreadful topics that make up the bulk of the headlines.
A few nights ago, I opened Twitter and saw an intriguing comment from one of my connections. He was replying to a tweet shared by Desiring God linking to an article by Greg Morse, entitled, “How to Train Your Dragons: Killing Pet Sins Before They Kill You.” At first I wasn’t concerned, but then I saw a quote that was lifted from the piece.
Midweek Bible clubs have begun at my church for kids and teens, from K-5 to 12th grade. Needless to say, Wednesday’s at my church are chaotic — people going here, there, and everywhere, corralling kids of all ages to the right places, disciplining those who are too hopped on sugar, keeping their minds busy through stories and lessons and games, and hoping in the midst of all of this that the Word of God, His gospel, is able to shine forth and sink into these kids’ lives. And for the most part, I think we’re succeeding.
To be honest, this post is probably a bit overdue. But in another way, as I reflect on the messages and purpose of the Normal Pastor Conference, time has instilled a greater realization of the delightful and inspiring words of all involved. Held at Grace Church in Orlando, Florida, the conference was slated to be two days of preaching to discouraged, even disillusioned pastors who need building up in the “normal ministry” of God.
A few days ago, I was poking around, exploring my options to bulk-delete old tweets. Mistakenly, I authorized a web service which then proceeded to automatically start deleting every tweet from my account! At first, I was completely miffed — at both myself and the service.
There’s a quote I read recently and I can’t get it out of my mind. So, I hope to get it stuck in yours too. It comes from Zack Eswine’s superb book, The Imperfect Pastor. And it’s not so much an inspiring or earth-shattering sentence that’s easily tweetable. Rather, it’s a short series of soul-pricking questions that rattle my heart with reverberations that register on the Richter scale.
Upon moving to south Florida in the spring of 2013, I wasn’t really looking to get involved in pastoral ministry right away. I had just graduated from Bible college with a Youth Ministries degree, but because of the transition between states, my only goals at the time were to find a job, find a house, and get settled with my wife in our new town. This was a big shift for me.