Beyond

Recently, I was asked to help build engagement around an existing Facebook page.

If you don’t know, one of the first stats to look at when it comes to evaluating a Facebook page is the number of page LIKEs.  The page I was asked to contribute to had approximately 345–a very modest number.  My first goal was to reach 400 by the end of the weekend.

It didn’t happen.  In fact, the page barely got to 400 LIKEs tonight, just over 3 weeks after I began my work with the page.

Today, before we hit the 400 milestone, I went to share some pictures of a recent event and noticed the page was at 396.  My thought was to figure out how to get 4 more to be at 400.

Facebook had a message for me. This isn’t verbatim, but it essentially read: Great job with the page; you’re almost to 500 LIKEs.

Did you see that?

Facebook helped me look beyond where I thought I needed to be.

We need that from people sometimes, don’t we?  It’s easy to get comfortable with what’s right in front of us.  Don’t be afraid, though, to have people willing and able to keep you thinking of what is beyond.  What is next?  You can’t always see it, but other people can.

Stay blessed…john

Watching

It can be one of those difficult things about our faith in God.

A psalmist declares,

“Oh Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.”
Psalm 5:3

Did you catch it?  Most of us understand the need to pray, and that we should pray to God.  A lot of us even do it in the morning to get it over with (snark).  But it’s the last part that haunts us….”and watch.”

Watching is 1 of 3 things: waiting, watching or some combination of both.

We don’t like to wait.  Just ask anyone who has taken your order that you’ve been rude to because it took longer than 2 minutes to get.  With God, you have to learn to wait.  When you pray, wait.  As you lead, wait.  In your wondering, wait.  Rihanna said to “work, work, work, work, work.”  I’m telling you to wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.  Dancing is not optional.

But watching can also be just that. Watching.  Watching how God is working.  Watching what God is doing.  Watching a change take place in you or around you.  Watching the glory of God unfold as you finally begin to pay attention.

Watching. Even as you wait.

Yes, watching can be one of the difficult things about our faith in God, but it doesn’t have to be.

Later, the psalmist would say,

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice…”

Psalm 5:11

You may have to watch (and wait), but you’re watching God.  So, let your watching be rejoicing.

Stay blessed…john

No recording

We don’t always get knocks on the door during church finance meetings, but when we do I’m quick to answer.  I figure I’ll leave all the finance fun to everyone else.

Last night was one of those nights.  I answered the knock and the woman at the door said she lived behind our church.  Last night someone brazenly walked up to their back porch and stole their generator.  She and her husband, who stood at the foot of the steps, were glad to notice our church has security cameras.

Long story short, unfortunately, our cameras hadn’t been recording.

 

Yes, we looked like a place to find help, but it was superficial.

I’m hopeful our churches are filled with people who pray for others as much as they say they do.  You know what I mean.  Someone posts a situation they’re facing or something they’re going through.  Almost immediately someone else responds with, “Praying.”

At our church, we give people a time to voice their prayers during our time of worship, and tell the rest of the church to continue to pray for them.  Have you ever told someone, “I’ll pray for you”?

Lord, in your mercy, please help us be praying as much as we say we do.

If not, we’re an empty promise to people who have trusted us with the concerns of their life. We’re all security camera and no recording.  We say we’ll something, but never get around to doing it.  I wonder if the Bible has anything to say about that.

Stay blessed…john

Am I doing my job?

I try not to oversimplify complicated situations.  It’s typically a disingenuous and lazy thing to do.

So, to clarify, this post is a bit of an oversimplification of my perspective on church ministry.  But it happens to work for me this time.  Forgive my inconsistency.

AJ-Post-PetersonChurch

 

Understand that tweet , and you understand part of what makes this pastor (me) tick.  You could easily push back on the simplicity of his tweet–pleasing an entire congregation can actually be extremely difficult–but that would be missing the point.

I’ve endured countless eye rolls, under-the-breath comments and complaints.  Maybe they’re signs I’m doing some of my job correctly.

Stay blessed…john

 

I want to write a devotional

When I first began to take my faith seriously, I used The UpperRoom a lot.  I would read the day’s devotional, and I had older copies that I would read through constantly.  The devotional helped me think about everyday life as being holy, and to look out for the sacred around me.

After a while, I had a goal–not quite a dream or an aspiration or a longing.

The goal was to write an UpperRoom devotional.  If it was good enough I might even get my picture printed in the month’s edition.

I wanted to because I noticed that my faith was deepening and God was teaching me things I was able to share with others.

Well, I never got a devotional published; I never submitted any, which is wrong because I had a nice bio pic.  No, those devotionals turned into Sunday school illustrations, youth talks, sermon points and testimonies.  Then I started blogging.  Then I became a pastor.

See?  God has the ability to take what you want to do and use it for what you need to be doing.

If it’s God’s goal or God’s dream, keep at it.  You’ll find direction as you keep seeking God’s will.

Stay blessed…john