Friday, August 26, 2011

Through the Fire.....

I love it when a person captures the perfect words, and puts them to music, and the combination is so exceptional...This song is just one of those instances, but the words, well... just read on 

Through the Gerald Crabb

 So many times I've questioned certain circumstances
Or things I could not understand
Many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
And my frustration gets so out of hand
Its then I am reminded I've never been forsaken
I've never had to stand the test alone
As I look at all the victories
The spirit rises up in me
And its through the fire my weakness is made strong

He never promised that the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered our victories without fighting
But He said help would always come in time
Just remember when your standing in the valley of decision
And the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again

I know within myself that I would surely perish
But if I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flames again, again

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not Broken..just slightly Bent!

Lately there has been a lot of questions, from quite a few folks I have been associated with, from the church I " have attended", for the last four and a half years. "Have attended", meaning, I no longer attend, would be correct. The reasons I no longer attend or play music in the "worship band " , is not important for this writing, it will be a subject for another day.

But these folks, that ask these questions ,or email or phone, or stop me in the store. These are the ones I do not see on a weekly basis anymore, are saying to me, "I feel so terrible with  what has gone on at the church, you must be crushed", or " are you okay" or " what will you do?", plus  a few more inquisitive cliches' . 

Well...I'm not "broke" or broken up" or "crushed", but  I am "Slightly Bent"!  I am bent with frustration, that I allowed the very same order of events take place, that took me away from the previous church I attended for 47 years, the church I grew up in, was baptized in and married in , and played thousands of notes there. A church my parents were founding members 55 years ago, and still attend to this day. The church there allowed a group of men, (the Church Board), dictate the path for which the church would follow. Without consulting the church ie. the congregation.

Church Boards or Leadership Committees...for the most part are people who "think", they have the congregations best interest at hand. How do they know all this stuff, how do they have all the answers, without asking the church body or the congregation's opinion on issues that should involve the input from many.

No I do not understand, people who think they have "divine" interpretation of God's word, when it comes down to the livelihood of  pastors, and the road taken by a boatload of volunteers, all dedicated to the same vision. 
No I do not understand people who just want to follow  and stay the course, because, "well, this is our church" or " I helped build this building" or " where else would  we go?" It's just a building people...
No I do not understand all this, and frankly it bothers me that "some of those folks" that ask me these very questions aren't upset or "slightly bent" also.

To answer the questions...NO...I am Not Broken, I am Not Crushed... I am fine...I am free from the ridicule and condemnation,,,and so are my sisters and brothers that I traveled with. So NO I am not broken...but those of you that stay behind just might be... and I am only "slightly bent" because you folks are willing to allow all that has transpired, .. to will never get the truth...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The American Church's Dirtiest Little Secret adapted from David Foster

     The church’s dirtiest little secret is not the scandal of flock-fleecing pastors jetting around at their church’s expense.  Nor is it the outrageous salaries or even the oft expected and oft over-enjoyed sex scandal and subsequent fall from grace of a once revered leader.
No, the real scandal of the American church is something much deeper, and more pernicious than any of those tragic, isolated events. And I do mean isolated, because they are a very small percentage of what really goes on day in and day out, week in and week out in the hundreds of thousands of Christian churches all across this country.
The real dirty little secret in the American church is that we regularly, relentlessly, and without mercy beat-up, chew-up and spit-out our leaders.
You’d have to be blind, deaf, and stupid not to notice the long line of once effective and admired leaders limping toward the exits.  It was Peter Drucker who once said the four hardest jobs in America — not necessarily in this order — are President of the United States, a university president, a hospital CEO and a pastor.  Amen, but for those called to it, we at least don’t expect to be shot in the back by our own team.
Why isn’t anyone talking about this?  Maybe it’s because those who talk about church leadership, no matter whether they’re founding pastors or high-ranking staff members, have one thing in common: we’re all employees of our churches–leading without real power.  Pastors have the responsibility to lead their church to growth with none of the power to actually do so.
Churches, in our society are designated “non-profits.”  The “ownership” of these organizations is held in trust by the men and women who fill leadership positions whether elders, deacons, or board members.   So the naked truth is that pastors and staff don’t carry the ultimate decision or have enough legitimate power to affect much change.
We are so obsessed with the abuses of the few, that we have cut off our leaders at the knees.  As a result, the American church is being crippled by mean, petty, power-hungry bullies whose abuse of power is the great scandal  no one wants to address.
What does this abuse look like?  Here are the 5 most lethal ways we kill off leaders we don’t like:
  1. We starve them. Because of the abuses of a few, we think that paying our pastors and staff members a livable wage, a fair wage, will somehow corrupt them.  So without money to cover the bare necessities, some have to divide their time between the sacred calling, and keeping their family fed and clothed.  How tragic that while some abuse money, the vast majority simply don’t have enough.
  2. We have outrageously unreasonable expectations of our leaders. We expect them to work seven days a week, to be on call all the time, to have all the answers, and to be able to fix all our problems.  And while these expectations can be understandable, they are totally, outrageously unreasonable, and just more evidence that we don’t listen to the teaching of Scriptures or take them seriously.
  3. We strip them of power. Again, we are so afraid power will corrupt them, we strip them of it while holding them accountable for the success of the church.  As a result, our leaders have very little real power to make the strategic changes essential for the church’s future.
  4. We let pretend leaders bully them. Call them elders, deacons, or whatever, too many “lay-leaders” come to their positions puffed up with pride and an overestimation of their own spirituality.  Rather than leading along side their pastors in creative collaboration, too many, too often exercise their power by crushing the heart and spirit of the very people they are supposed to be helping and empowering.  As a result, a shocking large percentage of the American church is in the hands of spirit-crushing bullies, who love keeping the preacher humble and in line!
  5. We leave them in financial peril.  How many times have I answered an email or phone call and how many times have I sat across from a young pastor who thought everything was going well and within a seven-day period, they’ve lost everything?  Their salary, their reputation, and their future all at risk because of the capricious desire of a small group of people who feel called to protect the status quo.  Only in the American church can a pastor  be fired with nothing but a lie or salacious innuendo.  And a fired leader has no safety-net, no appeal, and no future in the ministry.
Whether you agree with my assessment or not, the results are all around us.  Pastors and staff are leaving the ministry at record rates.  They are tired, debt-ridden, disrespected, burnt-out, and in many cases, bitter.
If we really want to do something to turn the American church around, if we really want to see our churches flourish, we’re going to have to find a way to love, respect, honor, promote, protect, and care for our leaders.  Here are 5 ways you can start where you are;
  1. Let’s pay them a livable wage. Let’s stop being afraid of the abuses of a few and realize that with their dedication and training our leaders deserve a livable wage.  By that I mean, livable where you live.  Can they buy their own home, put down roots, send their children to school, take vacations, plan for retirement, and have a reasonable shot at living debt-free?
  2. Encourage them.  When was the last time you actually took your pastor, associate pastor, or other church staff member and just encouraged them?  Sent them a note or card, sent them a gift card to a local restaurant, took them out for dinner and paid for it?  Some constant, consistent act of encouragement lets them know that their work is not in vain.
  3. Give them time off for vacation, for training, for restoration. Why is it that in the American church the unspoken expectation is that you are always going to be there,  or when you step away for training, rest, recreation that’s a luxury that you really don’t need?
  4. Stop the complaints you hear about them at their source. If you entertain gossip, you are a gossip whether you originated it or not.  If you’re going to  help protect your leader, make sure they know you have their back.
  5. Give them a safety net. By that I mean just let them know that if something happens, we’re not just going to throw them away, kick them to the curb, and leave them penniless and destitute.  Yes, leadership transitions do need to happen, but the vast majority are not for failure, moral or otherwise.  Let’s let our leaders lead knowing that they won’t be out in the cold for one bad decision, or at the whim of some crazy elder, or board-member.
The church’s dirty little secret has to grieve the heart of God.  For how do we say we’re churches who love Jesus, respect God, and believe His Word, and treat His leaders so badly? If we want to set the example to the world around us of what Christians ought to look like, can we really do that and continue to fire, malign, and starve out God’s called leaders?
I, for one, am thankful for those who have loved me, taken care of me, supported me, and carried me; those who have come to my aid and watched my back.  Because I’ve gotten the love and support I’ve needed, I’ve been able to not only sustain my ministry for 38 years, I can say that I am more excited and have more vision for the future than ever before.
Love your leaders!  Those who serve you and lead you are worthy of double honor!  Think about it, if your church’s leaders are growing up in Christ and flourishing in their faith, won’t your church do the same?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Time to move on....

For my brothers and sisters: It's time to let go...
" But when those who would bind men in the chains of legalist slavery shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, rejoice and be exceeding glad. For that brand you wear is no mere scar but stands as a badge of honor that you have been counted among those happy few who could no longer be content to stand by and do nothing when faced with evil men and spiritual seducers. Do no hide the marks you bear, but let them rather shine forth with a holy light. Faithful. Just. Loving. Righteous. Soul Saver." author unknown

"Woe to you Pharisees and hypocrites"....Jesus

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It has been quite sometime since I have written on this page...I am getting the urge to post again...stay tuned for more grand comments from the should be interesting to say the least....

Friday, May 8, 2009

Today Lord...

Lord, today I ask for your is days like today where I feel worthless and in need of Your comforting love...I am seeking what Your will for my life is...what is it You would have me do...I am desperate for that knowledge...I so desire to be in Your will and grace...ease the pain of those who are concerned for me...I don't want them to carry my burdens so hard...that just causes me more pain...I know that there are those praying for me and I am so grateful...keep me in Your care when I feel like this and always know I am thankful..."I know You love me"....forgive me when I seem ungrateful for what You have done in my life...thank You for being my friend...its days like this I feel alone...thank You for all the blessings I seem to overlook...thank You for my family and friends and my pastors...I ask again for Your guidance...I love You Lord...Amen

Friday, May 1, 2009

To Quick to Judge....

There is an old saying, I don't know where I heard it, but in the guitar business and life, I have used it many many times..."believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see"...often we judge words and content way to quickly, there can be so many ways to interpret spoken or written words, sometimes we twist and turn them so they align with the mood we are in or the way we want to use them for our own self gratification...

This has all surfaced lately because I know of a situation where a friend of mine was quick to judge some content they read in an email, and was sure of it's meaning and was sure there could be no other explanation..." believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see" the least until you know the whole situation... then maybe you should still keep it to yourself....remember,sometimes situations or conversations don't always appear the way they seem...maybe we shouldn't be so quick to draw a conclusion... it may cause pain and heartache that could be all unnecessary...and take away someones joy...there lies the tragedy....