Is It Okay to Ask God a Question?

There is a misperception floating around that one is not able to ask God questions.  The thinking goes that true faith means that one blindly trusts God without thinking or questioning.  Almost like a robot who simply obeys without free will.

I’m here to tell you this is false.  God welcomes questions from us with open arms.  He loves them.

So have no fear to ask questions. Go for it.  Rest assured you are not alone.  Others have questions just like you.

Read through the Bible and one will find faithful man after faithful woman asking God questions and waiting for His response.

Here are just a couple of examples: 

David – Psalm 22
David is crying out to God in this psalm during a time of distress in his life.  Through the psalm he knows God is still with him and caring for him.  He doesn’t lose hope.

Habbakkuk – The whole book (Don’t worry it’s only 3 chapters long)
Habakkuk was an Old Testament prophet who sought to understanding God’s purpose in His actions towards His people.  Habakkuk may not fully understand the why but he remains resolute in giving God praise and worship.

Mary – Luke 1: 26-38
Mary is visited by an angel to learn that she is to given birth to the Promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.  She asks her question as to how it will come to be only to be reassured by the angel that it is God’s doing not her own.  Her response, faithful obedience and trust that nothing is impossible with God.

The mere act of having questions demonstrates a willingness by the believer to grow deeper in one’s relationship with God.  The person is processing what God is teaching her.  She internalizes the experience so her trust in God is strengthen by God’s doing. The questions asked are examples of faith development.

Now when I say question God I am not referring to challenging God in order to discredit Him.  I mean asking questions of clarification for the purpose of learning.  To challenge one’s presuppositions and gain a clarifying understanding of God’s love, grace and mercy.  

What areas of your walk with Jesus Christ do you have questions?

Be confident that you can bring them to God and ask away.  You will find He answers them in many and various ways: through the Bible, in conversations with fellow believers, prayer time with Him.  As God is showing you these lessons remain in community with fellow disciples so together you all can best understand what God is teaching all of you.

Remain patient.  God has His own timing in answering questions.  Some He may have you to wait to fully understand.  When He does continue to trust as the Holy Spirit leads you.  The waiting is part of the learning process.

As you go about your day feel free to ask away to God.  Then wait and see how He is answering them.  He just may surprise you.

This Week’s Challenge:

Write down 3 questions you have about faith. Go to the Bible and see how God has answers for them. You can use the search feature on Bible apps to help you find the topic in the Bible. Or try a concordance/index in your paper Bible to help you.  Note what God is teaching you in your devotional time this week. 

What does a Sabbath Really Look Like?

I love the Minnesota State Fair!  It is twelve days of fun, work and funny stories with friends.  We have a lot of fun together each night at work.  We look forward to it every year with great excitement.  By the end of the twelve days we are exhausted and ready to be done until next year. 

Needless to say the last night is rather bittersweet for us. Relief for it being the final night of work.  Sadness that it will be a few months before we are all together again. 

It can be very tiring to work most nights at the Fair late into the night and then get up early the next morning to go to one’s day job.  There are not many hours of sleep for any of us. 

Each year this is a great reminder to me the importance of keeping a sabbath day in my regular rhythm to the week. 

Our bodies require a period of time to rest and recover.  Not only is it physically healthy to have a rest day but God directs us to remember the sabbath.   

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
(Exodus 20:8) 

He directs each of us to keep the sabbath holy by setting aside one day each week to put the work aside and rest. 

Rest does not necessarily mean sleeping in and binge watch the latest popular TV show.  It can be going out for a day hike with a loved one or friend.  Or doing yard work. Or perhaps spending time on your favorite hobby.  The specific activity is not limited to a select few things.  Do what gives you life and renews your spirit.  

It can look different each week. Or be the different day of the week depending on the week’s schedule which is why it is important to schedule your sabbath on the calendar as you would any other event in your life.  

Don’t feel guilty for taking the day for yourself. The world will try to distract you and convince you that you will always need to be working.  Taking a day off is not a ‘sign of weakness’.  Taking a day off is actually a sign of strength and understanding what you need to be healthy.

As you prepare for your sabbath set some expectations or guidelines to help you. 

Before the day arrives decide how you will handle technology. Does the cell phone go on Do Not Disturb for the whole day?  Will you watch television?

Who will you spend time with that day?  Would you prefer to be alone?  Would you rather be with friends?

What does true rest look like for you? Will you get some chores done?  Maybe you want to go out on an adventure. 

Give yourself permission to have your sabbath look different as often or as much as you want it to have. Do not put too high expectations on the day. Whatever it is you do or don’t do be content during the day.  Have the mindset of being and not doing.  Be intentional to remind yourself of who you are and Who’s you are.  

This is a healthy rhythm to life and ministry.  Don’t try to be formulaic with it.  Allow each Sabbath to unfold itself to you as a present.  Enjoy the quiet adventure days as much as the daring adventure days.

Enjoy your sabbath day. Whatever it is you do have fun.  I pray you have a smile on your face and in your heart throughout the day. 

This Week’s Challenge

Schedule of Sabbath on your calendar for the next 3 weeks.  Write it on the calendar and plan the remainder of your week accordingly.

Next, think about what gives you life and inspiration.  Write down what does not.  Set boundaries for your sabbath so that it is the rest-filled, life-giving day as God designed it to be from the beginning.  

Lastly, have fun!

Remaining ReSolved to be Surrendered

 As a follower (aka disciple) of Jesus Christ one surrenders her life to Him. As humans our tendency is to want to be in control not of only ourselves but everything.  We foolishly believe that we know it all. Disciples learn to see how little we actually know and how perfect Jesus Christ is. 

But here’s the tricky part: surrendering is not just a one time event. It is a daily practice. The world does its best to distract and draw us away from Jesus Christ.  Each day is a battle to be surrendered to listen closely to the Holy Spirit, to follow in Christ’s footsteps.  One must be resolved to continue to be surrendered.

The theologian Martin Luther taught how one is to remember her baptism daily so as to be reminded of our new life in Christ.  Look here at what Jesus says Himself in the Gospel of Luke, 

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple
must deny themselves and take up their cross daily
and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Think of it this way, you wash yourself each day as you get ready for the day. You don’t brush your teeth once and then you’re good for a lifetime.  Rather you brush your teeth 2 or 3 times a day. The yucky plaque goes away, even that one piece of popcorn stuck between your teeth. The next day you do it again.

Walking with Jesus Christ is a daily surrender. While the world tries to distract, you remain resolved to be close to Jesus Christ. Stubbornness is required to ignore the world and listening to the quiet voice of Jesus Christ. 

Being resolved is a mindset of determination to remain surrendered to Jesus Christ. Dig one’s heels in and have an outright refusal to the world and a humble yes to Jesus Christ each day.

So the question is, how do you personally remain resolved to be surrendered?  Think of how you go about your day and listen to God’s voice above all others. What is your reminder to turn back to Jesus Christ and not drift away? 

Remember when you first surrendered your life to Jesus Christ.  The joy in anticipation of the new life beginning in Him. Return back to that moment in the difficult times ignoring the world.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the resolve to persevere and continue to surrender.  

This Week’s Challenge
Look to develop a discipline/habit to be resolved to daily surrender to Jesus Christ.  Have a reminder to help you continuously practice this discipline throughout each day.  Watch how you grow closer to Jesus Christ by noting it in your journal.

My Favorite Bible Verse

Ecclesiastes 12:13.  This is my favorite Bible verse.  I love it so much I had it tattooed on my right wrist.  

I know who has a favorite verse from Ecclesiastes that isn’t from Chapter 3?  Right? Me.  That’s who.  I may be in a minority of people who studied the entire book but I live my life by that verse.

It all started when I was first reading “40 Days of Purpose” by Rick Warren.  It is a great resource for any person looking to reevaluate their life and hit the reset button.  I highly recommend it if you have not read it yet.

The structure of the text is broken down by days instead of chapters per se.  At the end of the last day Rick Warren challenges the reader to write his/her life purpose statement.  Think of it as a mission statement for yourself.  

Interestingly enough and in God’s perfect timing I was studying Ecclesiastes at the same time.  Ecclesiastes is a book written by King Solomon, David’s son.  He is considered to be the wisest man in all of human history.  He had it all, wealth, leadership, wisdom, wives (and mistresses).  Ecclesiastes was his treatise for all the wisdom he gained in his life. 

Throughout the text he examines life and what is the point of it all.  He states how there is a time for everything (Chapter 3 and a Beatles song).  He goes through life and what he’s learn and what does it really mean in the end.  At the conclusion he summarizes it all with chapter 12, especially in verse 13:  

“Now all has been heard;

here is the conclusion of the matter:

Fear God and keep his commandments,

for this is the duty of all mankind”

See when I first read this verse was immediately after reading the last chapter of “Purpose Driven Life”.  Rick just gave the directive to write your own purpose statement and I had no clue what to put down. In some ways once I read verse 13 I thought copped out of the homework assignment thinking I was set with using God’s words for my life purpose statement. But as the verse sat with me I realized the verse was perfect for me. 

After all is said and done the only thing we truly need to do with our lives to love God with all our hearts and do what He tells us to do.  Nothing more complicated then that.  We are created to be in relationship with God and serve Him with our whole lives. 

Each day I strive to love God with my whole heart and be obedient to the calling on my heart.  Some days are easier then others. But still as a whole this is the purpose of my life.  As I contemplate new job or ministry opportunities or general life decisions I run them through Ecc. 12:13.  Am I loving God with my whole heart with this decision?  How I am remaining obedient to Him with this decision?

It serves an anchor point for my life.  If I start to wander I look at my right wrist and return to my anchor point.  If I question life I glance at the ink and find all the answers I am looking for at that moment.  Ecc. 12:13 is my favorite verse because it helps me remain resolved in my faith and my relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s why it’s tattooed on my wrist so I will never forget it.

So what is your favorite Bible verse?  

What verse helps you remain resolved in your journey with Jesus Christ?

It’s okay if you don’t have one right now.  As you are reading the Bible note any verse that jumps out at you causing you to say, “That’s how I’m to live my life!”  Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you to your favorite verse.  Be open to what God is teaching you.  See what gifts He has to share with you each day.

Hey if you need a place to start try your birthday.  Take the number for your birth month (January = 1, February = 2 etc.) and birth date (1st = verse 1, 2nd = verse 2).  So if your birthday is April 6th you look at the 4th chapter 6th verse and see what that verse has to say.  Don’t be overwhelmed.  Some books of the Bible only have 1 or 2 chapters in it.  So if you are born in November you will have far less books to check then if you were born in February.

My prayer for you is that you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ you discover His purpose for you and you remain resolved in that purpose.  One day your favorite verse may just become your own life purpose statement.

This Week’s Challenge Begin searching for your favorite verse of the Bible.  Once you find one, either starting now or you already have one, journal why you love this verse and what the Holy Spirit is teaching you through it.  Pray to live your life as this verse teaches so that others may see you and give glory to your Father in Heaven.

Want to Go On a Treasure Hunt?

This past spring I finally went on my dream vacation.  I visited ireland with my best friend!  For 10 years I wanted to go to the Emerald Island and explore.  To sit in pubs, meeting new people and experiencing the culture was a dream to me.  I Could. Not. Wait.

The original plan was to go after Seminary graduation.  Well, graduation came and went.  Due to many different circumstances the trip did not get planned and put on hold.  

This spring we made the decision to just go.  We booked the non-refundable tickets and the excitement started to build.  Let me tell you it was well worth wait.

One day we explored the village of Howth, along the coast east of Dublin.  The weather was perfect.  We hiked the Cliff Walk and saw some great views along the way.  I was in heaven!

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A scenic overlook at Howth, Ireland

Isn’t that view incredible?  I wouldn’t mind living there one day.

For lunch we found a quaint eatery in town.  The restaurant featured fresh seafood in a relaxed environment.  While waiting for our food to arrive I looked up at one of the walls and saw this sign.

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Some great advice from a sign in a quaint restaurant in Ireland.

 

Isn’t it great?

I don’t know about you but there are definitely days that I need to hear these words.  So much so it is the background on my watch.  It’s a nice daily reminder on those not so great days.

Days like the one I spent in Howth are not only good days but INCREDIBLE days.  However, some days are not so great.  To survive the day can be considered a success.  Am I right, or am I right?  Regardless of what the day brings there is always something good in it. 

Our God is a loving God Who loves us unconditionally.  He journeys with us each day, on the perfect days and not the so great days.  He knows and feels our joys and pains.  The best part He shows us how He loves us every day.  It is like a little treasure hunt every day!

When we wake up in the morning we get to go out on our adventure searching for the joy He has planned for us.  Some days it is a sign of His great love.  Other days we are reminded how He provides for our daily needs.  Still other days He gives us a glimpse of how He works through us to reach out to others.

While the Israelites, God’s chosen people, were wondering in the Wilderness before going into the Promised Land God provided them with manna (literally means “What is this?” It was like coriander that they ground up and baked into cakes). They picked up what they needed for the day (twice as much the day before the Sabbath) knowing full well God will bring more the next day.  It was a daily blessing from God to them.

Go read Exodus 16:1-5 to see it for yourself.  You’ll see without fail every day there was manna on the ground with the morning dew to provide nourishment for all of God’s children. 

So be resolved to go about your day today to find your own manna from Heaven.  How is God taking care of you?  What is the good in your day?

It’s pretty fun to go on a new treasure hunt each day.  I love not knowing just how God is leaving manna in my life and then discovering it at some point during the day.  Happy hunting!!!

This Week’s Challenge:  At the end of each day, write down in your journal how your day went.  Was it a great day?  A not so great day?  

Next write down the good in the day.  How did God show His love?  How did He work through you to show love to someone else?

Give God all the glory and praise.  Thank Him for His loving grace and mercy. 

Learning to See from a Whole New Perspective

Take a look at the doodle.  What do you see? . . . .  

Learning to change your perspective

What do you see in this doodle?

Now look at it again. Focus on a different aspect of it.  

What do you see?  Is it different from your first glance of the doodle?

I began doodling crazy patterns like this one WAY back in high school.  Being bored in class can lead to some interesting discoveries of hidden talent within yourself.  In order to stay awake in class day in and day out I would doodle.  Twenty plus years later I am still doodling and still discovering new patterns. (Disclaimer: Now it is not out of boredom but as a way to brainstorm and stay focused in meetings.)

The biggest takeaway from all of these doodles (I have a notebook that I keep all of them in) is how you can look at a pattern from one angle and see certain aspects of it.  Then you look at the very same pattern from a different angle and completely new aspects begin to pop out.  Crazy!

These lessons also apply to discipleship.  When one becomes a ReSolved disciple of Jesus Christ the world and the people around him begin to look completely different.  They have not changed at all.  But his perspective, or the lenses he sees them through, has changed. 

No longer do the quick judgments come and go without a thought but they may still come and one is aware of the judging and does his best to repent and do better next time. Instead of keeping to one’s self there is more of a willingness to go meet someone across the room and start a conversation.  Seeing a need in the community and the joy to be used by God to meet the need.

You begin to focus on different things because you are beginning to see the world as God sees the world. 

The chorus from “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath beautifully illustrate this change:

Give me your eyes for just one second

Give me your eyes so I can see,

Everything that I keep missing,

Give your love for humanity.

Give me your arms for the broken-hearted

The ones that are far beyond my reach.

Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.

Give me Your eyes so I can see.

Changing one’s perspective can be scary.  You don’t always know what to expect.  You are out of your comfort zone, unaware of what is coming next. But isn’t that the exciting part?  That’s where the adventure lies. This is where faith truly begins.  

ReSolved disciples are daily being transformed, changed from the inside out, by the Holy Spirit. Their perspective on themselves, their community and the world changes.  We are given a glimpse to seeing the world as how God sees it.  It is not a lot but boy does it change our entire perspective!

The ‘doodles’ we have seen in our lives previously are now seen from a different perspective.  Our hearts become broken for people or situations that may not have impacted us previously.  We become passionate for new things.  We are forever changed and therefore have a permanent new outlook on life and people. 

So as you go about your day today note how the world looks different to you.  Pray to see the world as God sees it.  Be ready to be amazed.  The new perspective just may change you in ways you never thought possible.  But have no fear God is with you always.  Just follow in His footsteps and take in the new views.   

This Week’s Challenge:  What is one area that God has changed your perspective since becoming a ReSolved disciple?  Journal how you used to perceive that thing/person and specifically how God has changed your perspective. Now what will you do being aware of this transformation?

4 Simple Ingredients An Infinite Number of Possibilities

Water, Hops, Barley, and unknowingly at the time, Yeast.  Four simple ingredients. Over five centuries ago German law makers set the ingredients for all the beer made in their country.  Their original intention was to regulate the demand on barley so a pricing war did not develop between the bakeries and the breweries.  This short-term decision has had a lasting effect on the craft beer industry ever since.  Each beer made has these four ingredients in it.  While over time other ingredients have been added these four remain the base ingredients for beer.

There are a wide variety of beer styles but they each have these four ingredients in them.  Water may vary based on its origin.  The Hops differ according to the flavor profile the brewer wants to achieving.  The Barley changes as the color and malt base is considered.  As a craft beer enthusiast it is quite exciting to see what the imaginations of the brewers craft from them.

The Missional Life Habits (MLH) are similar.  They remain the same for each ReSolved disciple but they play out differently based on the individual disciple and their particular context.

Each ReSolved disciple lives out each MLH in her life as God has called and gifted her. They shape her life and interactions with others. They become natural and begin to influence each aspect of her life.

Each disciple strives to Be Present, Listen to Learn, Serve, Share.  These 4 Missional Life Habits are simple but yet so comprehensive.  They infiltrate our whole beings and help transform us.  As each one of us is created differently we employ the MLH differently.

Just as each craft brewer finds a unique combination of water, hops, barley and yeast producing a new beer, a ReSolved disciple finds her own unique way to live out the MLHs.  Not only for herself but also within her own context. 

The possibilities are endless.  There are as many as there are disciples out living out the MLHs.  As we grow in our faiths and ministries the practical application of the MLHs in our journeys will change.  One will see herself perhaps naturally applying one more then the other 3 but still they all remain.  Helping us reach out to those in our lives with the Gospel and showing how we all have been resolved by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

So the question for you is how can you best live out the MLHs in your life? In your context?

What ways can you be truly present with the people God has surrounded you with?

How are you listening to others to learn about them as a child of God?

In what small ways do you serve someone meeting their true needs?

When are you sharing the Gospel in word and deed with those who have not heard yet for themselves?

The Missional Life Habits are intentionally simple so that they become natural to each of us as we live out the ReSolved disciple’s life.  They can be adapted to fit our own giftings and contexts.  As you go about your daily life look for those moments the Holy Spirit is leading you to put into practice each or all of the MLHs.  Pray for the words to share.  Seek the moments to listen to learn.  Step through the doorway to serve and then share.  

Be not afraid, fellow disciple.  Have courage.  Take comfort in knowing the Holy Spirit is with you always providing the words and opportunities to live questionable lives in the world.

This Week’s Challenge:  Focus on one of the Missional Life Habits this week to look for opportunities to practice and grow in it.  

        • Do you find yourself talking a lot in conversations?  Perhaps focus on Listen to Learn.  
        • Have you found yourself distracted by your devices?  Challenge yourself to put it away and truly Be Present with those you are with.
        • Is there a friend/neighbor in need?  How can you serve them this week?
        • Who has not heard the reason why you love Jesus?  Pray for the opportunity to share it with them.

A Hubcap of Joy

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It’s like it’s Christmas morning! All she wanted as a new hubcap for her car. And look! She got one!!!

Who knew a hubcap could bring so much joy to a person?  I certainly didn’t until last week.

A friend of mine recently bought herself a “new to you” car and absolutely loves it!  She beams each time she talks about her car.  It represents for her a fun, new chapter in her life. 

One day while visiting she was sad to share that someone had stolen a hubcap from her car.  Not all of them.  Just one.  It was so strange and sad.

Well, as her friends we couldn’t just sit by and let her drive around with only 3 hubcaps.  Something had to be done.

Up goes the Amazon app on my phone.  We were resolved to find our friend a new hubcap.  Through the power of algorithms (I have no idea how they work.  But they do control the world.) we found a new hubcap for our friend’s beloved car.  Scheduled for delivery in 8-10 business days.

Just like that.  With a click of a couple of buttons on a phone joy was restored to my friend’s heart.

A simple act of buying a hubcap brought joy to a friend’s face and reminded me the power of community.

Looking out for friends and taking care of each other doesn’t involved grand gestures all the time.  Most of the time is a simple act of listening with one’s ears and heart and meeting a person’s true needs.  It is understanding the person and showing that you do care.

Living the ReSolved disciple life means one listens to learn.  The disciple listens twice as much as he speaks.  He listens with his heart as well as his ears.  It taking the time to truly understand another person.  

During His ministry, Jesus listened to what people were actually asking from Him.  He could heal a person, cure their disease or provide food in a miraculous manner but He always took the time to meet their true needs.  He met them where they were at and truly heard them as they may have never have been before by another person.  

As a result, people were transformed.  They became resolved to tell everyone what Jesus did for them. They couldn’t wait to go and tell everyone!  (Check out the Woman at the Well in John 4)

Here’s a question for you.  Who is someone you can listen to with your heart and ears?  Maybe the barista who makes your coffee in the morning?  A co-worker?  A neighbor?  The server at your favorite restaurant?  The person sitting next you during your commute to work?

I challenge you to be resolved to listen to their words and what is behind them.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what their ‘hubcap of joy’ is and how you can help get it for them.  

Each person’s ‘hubcap’ will look differently.  Each context is unique.  But each is guided by God Himself so listen and learn.  Remain resolved to serve and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ where ever you are.

It just might be as easy as opening up an app on your phone and clicking a couple of buttons to bring joy to a friend’s face.

This Week’s Challenge: Listen to learn how you can meet someone’s felt needs this week.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you someone this week who you can serve and bring a smile of pure joy on their face and in their heart.

 

I Am a Brewery Pastor

Hearing the call to ministry was a little bit different for me. It was clear God had equipped me to be a pastor but the location was not going to be a traditional congregation with all the comforts of pastoral leadership.

Nope.  Not for me.  God had something different planned for me.

Not only was He telling this conservative girl to be a pastor when she grew up without ever meeting a woman pastor but He had a ministry in mind for me that was out of the box.  So far out of the box you couldn’t even see that there was a box to begin with.  

Yup.  That was the dream God had for me.  To do something radically different for Him.

It all started as I was wrestling with the how of becoming a pastor.  While I was researching seminaries (Graduate schools for people called to be ministry leaders) I was hanging out at a local craft beer bar.  

Each Sunday after church I would go for lunch and relax a little bit after long week. Over time I made friends with people there. We shared life together on those bar stools.  

Slowly but surely the Holy Spirit worked on my heart to ask the question, “What about them?”  

See, my friends supported me through life just as I was supporting them.  They came on the random Sundays I was preaching (maybe once a year). They would not go to church on an average Sunday.  They each had their own reasons. Some did not fell welcomed or comfortable at a traditional church.  I became convicted to pray about how they would hear the Gospel and grow to become disciples of Jesus Christ. 

God presented me an opportunity on a metaphorical ‘silver platter’ in the form of a group project.  We were tasked to partner with a classmate and develop a plan of how we would start a new church.  My classmate and I chose to plan a new bar ministry.  It wasn’t just lead a worship service in a bar but to have full Christian community with those who frequent a bar and build relationships together.  From there the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be shared.

Over time the plan went from a class project to become my life’s passion.  I was resolved to leave it all behind to go serve and share all those I met with the Gospel.  I left my position at the church, became ordained and went out to be a brewery pastor.

It has been an amazing experience!!

The relationships built at the rail are incredible!  The conversations shared with others are authentic.  Over time they lead to life transformation.  I am humbled each day that God has placed me in this ministry to live the resolved disciple life amongst those who have not heard yet.  

I am a missionary sent by the Holy Spirit into bars and taprooms.  It is difficult at times to not be influenced by the world to remain a light in the darkness.  To be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  But with a wonderful community of fellow disciples I know I am supported and encouraged to remain strong in my faith.  

ReSolved Ministry is the ministry God has called me to lead and share with others.  I invite others to join me in this incredible ministry.  Together we go out to build community and share the Gospel with others.  I blog stories from the ministry or encouragement of how to practically live the resolved disciple’s life.  

It is exciting to think about the day across the country and the world to see Bible & Brews groups in bars and taprooms centered on the Bible and authentic community.  To be able to partner with local congregations to initially form and support these groups is thrilling.  Nothing is impossible with God leading the way.

I am a brewery pastor. I get to lead God’s ministry in a different setting and see transformation on a regular basis.  I look forward to the day we get to meet in person and share stories together of what God is doing in and through us.  For now we have this space to share and learn from one another.

This Week’s Challenge: Share with a fellow resolved disciple a story of how God transformed you.  How did this transformation impact how you share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others?

Pop-Pop’s Quiet Servant Leadership

My Pop-Pop was a man of few words.  I don’t remember him speaking at great lengths for any reason.  Giving a speech in front of people would have been one of the last things I would have ever imagined him doing.  He was rather a man that quietly went about his business regardless of anyone noticing it or not.

I can remember as a child seeing him sitting at the dining room table on a Saturday night queuing up the cassette tapes for Sunday’s worship service.  Then on Sunday morning he would quietly sit in the back of the sanctuary playing those very tapes at just the right time in the worship so we all could give our worship and praise to God.

Most people didn’t even notice what he did but I knew.  Each week I knew how he served whether anyone else saw it or not.

That was Pop-Pop.  He was a man of very few words.  He went about serving those he loved, doing the very best he could without fanfare or recognition.  

One of my fondest memories is waking up at Grammy & Pop-Pop’s with him nudging me awake so I could get breakfast while it was still warm & he could finish resetting the beds.  Then later in the day he would drive my brother, me & Grammy for whatever shopping or fun we all had planned together.  Whatever it is was we did he was there taking care of us the best he knew, or could, do for us.

Pop-Pop was not perfect.  He had his own struggles.  But no matter what they were I knew he loved me and his whole family.  He did not run away.  He did not give up.  He strove each day to do and give his very best for his family. 

I learned a lot from him without really ever knowing it in the moment.  As a kid I simply watched him and noticed what he did for us.

When he fought against cancer I saw the love and commitment Grammy and him had for each other.  They never gave up.  They fought together against cancer.  They loved each other through it all.  They served each other every step of the way.

I was privileged to witness first hand their love for each other the final weeks of his life.  Grammy and I walked the mile plus to the hospital every morning to visit him and be with him until the nurses kicked us out.  Then we would walk that same mile back to the apartment to simply sleep and repeat it again the next day.  

He fought so hard against the cancer.  He beat it twice for it only to come back again.  But despite the diagnosis he fought and took care of his family.  He loved us and served us to the very end.

I will never forget that morning we got the call from the hospital.  Vividly in my dream an angel told me to not answer the phone no matter what.  Tia Alice would tell me later that day how Pop-Pop commented to her the day he died he would be going home soon.  Home, as we realized a mere 24 hours later, meant home to Jesus Christ.  He fought so valiantly against cancer and just like that he was gone.

As quietly as he served those he loved he returned home to his Savior in Heaven.

I was only 11 when he was called home to Heaven.  It was only over the years that I truly have come to understand his quiet leadership.  Now, I strive to be like him each day.

I learned from his example to not give up.  To take each day as a fresh start and to strive to do better.  He was a living example to me of God’s abundant grace and our human striving to give back to God as best we can.

There was not a huge parade when he passed away.  But those he loved and who loved him felt the loss.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t remember him sitting at the kitchen table reading a library book while eating lunch.  Each time I serve at church as a sound tech I remember him playing those tapes at church when I was kid and think I am carrying on his ministry in a new generation.

What I learned the most from him is that a leader is not necessarily the person up front with the microphone with the loudest voice or personality.

A leader is also the quiet individual in the dark corner of the worship center ensuring everything is set and ready to go when needed.  Empowering everyone else in the room to be able to give his/her own best to our Father in Heaven Who loves us no matter what. 

Quiet leadership is easily forgotten because it does not draw attention to itself naturally.  It sees a needs and fills it simply because it needs to be done.  No fanfare is needed. Pop-Pop taught me that.  

Serve as God calls and equips you to serve.  If people notice, cool.  If they don’t, that’s okay too.  We serve God and at the end of the day that is all that matters.  

Pop-Pop may have been a man of few words but he spoke volumes through his life.  I am who I am today because of him. I know it is okay to be quiet, serve people and give God the praise and glory.

Pop-Pop is one my heroes in life, faith and ministry.  His name won’t be recorded in any history books but I will never forget all that he did for me.  He was the greatest teacher I ever had in servant leadership.  He first taught me how to be a quiet leader.  

Now I strive each day in my own ministry to be like Jesus as he was.  I will make mistakes.  I will struggle.  But as Pop-Pop taught me, I begin each day anew loving family and friends and giving my best back to God as I possibly can. 

My prayer for you today is that you see yourself as a servant leader.  Do not be discouraged by the world that you must be a certain way to be a leader.  Simply follow Pop-Pop’s example and get up in the morning resolved to give your best that day to love God and others the best you can.  Fanfare is not necessary.  Give as you have received.  That’s all Pop-Pop did.

Now, I keep one of his favorite trolleys in my bedroom.  Each day I see it and remember how he loved and I strive to loved as he did, imperfect but fully.  At the end of the day that is all any of us can do.  Love one another imperfectly but fully knowing that the God of Grace loves each of us fully and perfectly.

This Week’s Challenge — Quietly serve one person this week and be an example of God’s love in a quiet leadership way.