Driscoll, Shirk And Appreciating Shepherds

It’s pastor appreciation month, right? So let’s talk about pastors, two in particular: Driscoll and Shirk. In a bit of irony most people reading this blog know the one named Shirk but fewer might know the one named Driscoll. Ironic because Driscoll is what we call a “pastor celebrity” while Shirk is just a regular pastor shepherd. Except one is still a pastor and the other is not.

Pastor Driscoll was (and probably still is to some) an icon to a whole generation of young, restless, and theologically conservative men who were either pastors or were preparing to be one. He was himself young, brash, willing to say the things regular pastors wouldn’t and in ways regular pastors wouldn’t, kind of pastor. This drew a crowd (15,000 attended the weekly services of Mars Hill Church in multiple states) . This piqued the interest of a generation that didn’t want to do church the way their fathers did. He gave theological credibility to being a church culture rebel. Here lies the problem; at heart he was a rebel. This week he resigned due to a lengthy season of turmoil involving investigations and lawsuits over his character in terms of spiritual abuse, plagiarism and questionable business ethics  among other items. I want to be careful and sincere in my very distant and removed critique of Pastor Driscoll but if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck; well, it’s probably a duck. Turns out he was a duck more than a shepherd. Pastor Driscoll can and may still find a shepherds heart, return to feeding and loving a flock, and as Peter was restored, so too can he.

The Apostle Peter was a brash, say things in ways no one else dared, kind of guy too. But all of that was untamed still by Christ and when the heat of ministry got real hot (think of the arrest and trial of Jesus) he leaned on his own bravado and plan. It was a, how shall we say it, “Ministry fail!” Then came a little mentoring moment by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus restored Peter to ministry. What did Peter learn? He tells us in his own words:

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And a few verses later; God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

Hmm. Sounds more like Pastor Shirk than it does Pastor Driscoll. Which, I believe, makes sense why one is still a pastor and the other is not.

Pastor Shirk (in the spirit of full disclosure is my Senior Pastor) models these verses because he has been tamed by Christ. Is he perfect? No, but he has yielded his ministry to the Chief Shepherd. His services draw, umm, 400. But he is an example to those 400. He leads those 400 to green pastures. The church is not about him; it’s about Christ. He is faithful not flashy. I think that is what Jesus taught Peter about being a true spiritual leader.

And perhaps that is what Pastor Driscoll will discover.

So, during pastor appreciation month give appreciation to all those faithful men of God who labor week in and week out to simply and humbly care for souls. They will be hardly be known outside their own community, let alone icons to a generation, but they will bring honor and glory to their Savior.  He will exalt them in due time and give them the crown of glory that will never fade away.  And that will be just fine by them.

Friday Frivolity ~ PeeWee Club Style

A merry heart does good…

Put a bunch of 3 and 4 year-old children on a church platform and well…let the cuteness and hilarity begin.

The Silencing Of The Pulpit?

There is chilling news out of Houston this week where the sermons of pastors are being subpoenaed in search of homosexual or transgender discrimination or any negative content about the mayor.  In an attempt to intimidate and silence the pulpit, the city of Houston under the direction of its’ openly lesbian Mayor has requested pastors to turn over to the city any sermons or communications they have had with their congregation that discuss homosexuality, transgender-ism or even the mention the Mayor. Absolutely chilling.

Here is in a nutshell what this is all about: The city passed a law ostensibly protecting the rights of transgendered to use any bathroom (men’s or women’s) they want to. So, your 12 year-old daughter might share a bathroom with a 50 year-old man who thinks he is a woman and it’s protected by the law. Apparently some pastors thought this to be, um shall we say, debatable on biblical grounds. That, according to the City of Houston is just unacceptable and must be silenced.

A few years ago some of you reading this will remember a little dust-up in our community over a transgender high school teacher. The teacher who is a he, thought he was really a she and under threat of a lawsuit, asked the school district to protect his right to act and dress like a she while teaching. The right, by the way, came from a law that said you cannot discriminate against a person with a mental disability. That detail was only an inconvenience to the whole thing. The district, not wanting to get their pants sued off (pun intended) complied and did their best to just plow through the whole thing trying to minimize any controversy. One problem, it was highly controversial. Our ministry decided to speak to the issue graciously but with conviction. This is where we discovered first hand the intolerance of the so-called tolerant. We were cursed at and about, asked to go away and stay out of other people’s business.

Fast forward 8 years to the news out of Houston where apparently tolerance is a one way street. This is where what took place in Batavia 8 years ago was heading and we knew it then. Few believed us. The new moral majority in America doesn’t attend church. Instead they worship at the temple of laws and intimidation.  The law of heaven is being trampled upon by the law of cursed earth. We humans, after all, know better even if we don’t know if we are a boy or girl.

Friday Frivolity ~ Worship Music Style

A merry heart does good…

I’m thinking the percussionist missed the rehearsal. #notonthesamepage

Until Your Love Runs Out

DSC_4899Sometimes we find ourselves in a dry spiritual land. We know what we should do and what we should be but those are distant ideals and places to us. We go through motions only to find ourselves farther away from nowhere and nowhere closer to God. We’ve lost what we found and were not quite sure how to find it again. The answer my friend is not blowing in the wind (sorry Bob Dylan) but residing within. God is no farther away than a moment of humility. He is no harder to find than through the closed eyes of a simple prayer. The question is not where is God, but where am I.

Here are 5 “I Will’s” (since Lucifer had 5 in Isaiah to run away from God; the believer can have 5 to run to God!) and a simple prayer. Commit to these and see how what once was lost can be found.

I will give You all my heart until Your love runs out.

I will pour out my soul to You until Your mercy is an empty cup.

I will run after You until you breathe Your last breath.

I will lift up my voice to You until Your compassion fails.

I will trust in You alone until Your word is no longer true.

“Lord, that which I cannot see is all I need and that which I cannot hold, is all I have. You alone are my reason and hope. You alone are my God. Nothing and no one compare to You. Forgive me of my wandering affections. Accept my broken spirit as a humble offering. Lift up my bowed disposition. Purge me of my selfish passion. Renew my vigor for Your will and way. Restore my joy and I will chase after You until Your love runs out.  Amen.”

Out Of The Darkness

This Saturday our teens are putting on a major outreach event. Hundreds of teenagers will converge on a piece of property generously loaned out for this event, where they will have a blast and hear the gospel! Here is a video from Pastor Zack Dawson (former member here at Grace and now Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church of Marilla) promoting the event.