Yesterday was Memorial Day and my family and I did the usual activities: slept in, coffee and breakfast, beach, frozen yogurt run, dinner, watch baseball. Along the way we talked a little about the sacrifice of men and women who have died for our freedoms. As I went to bed last night, I realized that yesterday may have been a holiday, but today, June 1, 2010 is an anniversary.
Twenty years ago today, I started working full-time at Redlands Bible Church in Redlands, CA. I was a 21 year-old youth pastor who had no idea what he was doing, but was too dumb to know it. Now, twenty years later, I still at times have no idea what I am doing, but at least I know it. So, I thought that this week would be dedicated to sharing twenty lessons I have learned over twenty years. They may or may not help you, but there is something healthy about looking back at how God has shaped your life.
• Submit to God or you will surrender to the enemy. The most powerful moments in the life of a servant of Christ come in submission to his plan and his purpose.
• Serve your family first. People will come and go in church life, but your family is there forever. Unless you put ministry and status ahead of them. (Seen it happen far too often!!)
• Honor your wife by always speaking well of her in public. How you speak of your wife reflects the reality of your relationship.
• Honor your children by being at their events. There may be emergencies that require immediate attention, but they are few and far between. But your kids remember your presence over your position.
• Give up. Your traditions, your past, your expertise. God will show you new realities and new challenges. Hold on to right doctrine, but lose the baggage as quickly as possible.
• Determine what God has called you to do and zero in on the target. God has equipped us all differently. As much as I would love to speak like Andy Stanley, think like Mark Driscoll, have the passion of Louie Giglio, I am not them. I have to be who God created me to be and nothing else.
• Beware the Pharisee. They will try to tear you apart. And if you are not diligent, you will become one of them.
• Grace does not mean ignoring sin. Jesus never allowed someone he forgave to continue in their sin and claim to follow him. Why should we diminish the grace of the cross?
• Risk rejection. People will hurt you in ministry. They will lie, gossip, and leave. But you cannot live an isolated, safe life and have intimacy at the same time. The reward is worth the risk because some will walk the road with you.
• If you think you are too big to do the work of a servant, you have become arrogant. Jesus washed his disciples feet. Nuf said!!
Tomorrow we will hit a few more lessons learned.