IT… welcome.  Perhaps our Church history students can answer the question of historical expectations.  Brian, I look forward to your (and Bethany’s) return to full-time ministry as well.  But please do not do so to prove anything.  You know that I would love to hear fantastic stories of you and Bethany preaching, leading missions trips and, more importantly, caring for one another.

I wonder if many people think that God expects too much from them.  It was shocking to hear that when Martin Luther King was killed at the age of 39, the coroner said that he had the heart of a 72 year old man.  But did Dr. King do only the things that God intended him to take part in?  Or did he do more?

We know that men and women in ministry carry a great burden.  Each of us are called to pick up our cross daily.  It would be difficult to carry a cross in a non-stressful way.  But I have seen an unnecessary rush in people that Jesus did not demonstrate; a rush to be all things to all people.  Insert “marathon running” sermon illustration here.  This does not mean to always take the easier path or the less-stressful ministry opportunity.  But there seems to be a pace that is somehow discerned through the Spirit.

Would the worship leader please come to the piano… there is a tremendous peace about my family’s pace right now.  We could easily be in Huntington for another 10-15 years.  If you were in my shoes you would be married to a wonderful woman and mother, you would have The Three Most Beautiful Children that God has ever created, a 4th Beautiful Child on the way, the coolest (and porous) house in Huntington County and opportunities at a Christian University that are more exciting than I could have imagined.

Every head bowed and every eye closed…



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10 responses to “

  1. Well I’m not a Church History buff but I know a little about the history of missiology. Women generally last longer and have more success on the mission field for a few reasons. One of these reasons is that men don’t take care of them self (broad but accurate generalization). They tend to forget to do things like eat and sleep because of their infatuation with what they are doing. Men with wives last longer than single men. Anyway, if you read much about the “great century” in missions the stories are loaded with examples. Congratulations on the fourth child, Jesse. Thats amazing.

  2. I hear what you’re saying about balance, the need for and general lack of, in ministry. And I do believe that there are a lot of historical pressures and present expectations to do great things for God. Especially in the AG. I mean, those stories of the first couple of decades… come on, how unrealistic to think of doing those things now. The whole way missions was approached and the call of God, they didn;t know any better so they just jumped in. Learned the language of the people the hard way. Preached wherever people wouldn’t throw rocks at them, and sometimes even preached where people would. I think it comes down to the idea that when you are so powerfully gripped by the passion to do what you can for God while you can, that it just pushes us beyond balance. I’ll probably get thrashed for this, but it’s been lurking under my skin for a while and this is as good a place as any to unload it. Is balance something to be striving for in ministry? I mean, I read the Gospels and I just don’t see Jesus on a month study sabbatical. I see him taking time out to be with His Father, but over three years there is no record of Jesus taking a vacation, and it seems he was away from His family for most of His ministry. I know he took 30 years before he started the long trek to Golgotha, but it doesn’t seem like the word balance was in his ministry vocabulary, or perhaps its just that those details weren’t important enough to add to the canon.
    However, I digress. I think a major issue with our present context of ministry is that we approach it like business. Ministry is so not business. Ministry is a life dedicated to God and shepherding his people (of which my family are part). This goes beyond the idea that full time ministry isn’t just punching a clock or keeping office hours, but that ministry is all consuming. The Levites were an example of this. The normal rules didn’t apply to them. They were set apart for the Lord’s purposes, it affected their whole lives, every relationship, every decision. It was this more than anything that separated them from the other 11 tribes. I don’t know. If I die at 30 years old having done the work and borne the stress of a 70 year old man, and I lived well, and my family was loved, and I was a person of integrity, then I don’t think there is any shame in that.
    Micah 6:8 is clear: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Is there a bare minimum there? It seems pretty open ended in the application.
    Do ministers take on too much? Absolutely! Do ministers burn out? Absolutely! But I think it is less of an “are they doing more than what God intends of them” and more of a “are they doing the right things to begin with” type of question. I am an equipper of the saints, not an end all and be all of church ministry. Ok, I’m done… As I think this over I’ll probably change my mind on some of it, so don’t hold me to it all! I love your questions Jesse.

  3.  I think everyone who has commented has good points and I can’t help but think maybe parts of this “message” where intended for me.  I have been impatiently waiting on God to give me a clue as to what to when I grow up, and I put the cart ahead of the horse and passengers.   God reeled me in and reminded me to wait on Him.  I talk about the situation a bit more on my xanga page, but I don’t want to fill up too much of your space.  Anyway- Good Word!! God is Good-All the Time!!

  4. Joey, interesting reminder of gender differences.  My identity and self-worth is closely connected to my work.  Aaron, I’m glad that you’re in here and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
    Brain, good thoughts.  I don’t know if we should be striving for balance but it sure does preach well.  Seeking balance was not a major theme of the Gospels or Paul but doing everything with a mindfulness of God was.  We don’t find Jesus taking a month off to study the Torah but, as you eluded to, he did retreat from the crowds often.  Regarding having a pace of ministry, I just don’t want you (or any other minister) to take on more that God expects from you.  This is where discernment comes in handy.
    But I probably do not take on as much as God DOES expect from me.  I’m not much of a risk-taker.

  5. Jessie, it is such a blessing and encouragment to see you and hopie, and your family, and hear how God has blessed and used you and your family! 

  6. I have found it so easy, in my excitement for the “things” God has placed in my heart, to rush a head of Him in an attempt to bring those things into fruition… In my rushing, I’ve placed expectations on myself that I now know didn’t belong there… I have created a few situations that I now need to deal with… Learning to step back and breath and WALK with God… to lay down in the green pasture instead of trying to sprint up the next big hill… has been a challenge… I am a risk taker… I will go anywhere and do just about anything… The mundane, the everyday, the ho-hum tends to bore me (could be the ADHD again)… At 31, I’m taking a deep, DEEP breath… exhaling slowly and learning what it truly means to be IN LOVE with God and not just to love Him… It is that state of being “in love” that enables me to find beauty where I once saw the mundane…

  7. Anonymous

    can you tell my husband’s a pastor??? he always leaves a book on your site. maybe you two are kindred spirits??

  8. Brian and I get along well.  I don’t share his kindredness of Red Sux baseball though.

  9. Well we don’t share common tv shows…that’s ok…but I can’t see gambling my savings away and being addicted to nicotine really a better thing Jesse….Come on I would love to see you do a show like that

  10. I think survivor is stupid too *L*   SHush I think he was making a point about the nicotine thing *LOL*

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