- Realize rough times are the signature of the kingdom. Yet, they are merely a part of the overall fabric. The real icon of Christianity is the empty grave, but we don't know how to wear empty graves around our necks nor do we know how to attach empty graves to church steeples. The rough is only the road. The glory is the assumed destination.
- Determine to see the hand of God in all settings. Our God is at work. He'll show up in the oddest places at the oddest times. Jesus' delay in going to Lazarus is pregnant with "God will deliver" expectation. We have the privilege of such anticipation in our work. God let me sit in my own misery for a long time as I tried to organize and fix one event after another crisis. I learned this truth: I can't fix squat. If it is to be it is up to Him....Rom. 9:16.
- Do your work believing in the good people. A mistake I made in my early years is I gave too much attention to the naysayers when there were so many believers vying for my participation. They hungered for good news while I fed them a steady diet of wormy debate. I decided to preach, teach, and reach to those who indicated they just might want to know about the Living, Breathing God. I was robbing the church by continually addressing the critics from the pulpit. When I quit preaching brotherhood issues and began sharing the hope found in Christ, many peeled away. Some of those I desperately loved. But, the more I preached believing in believers it seemed God was doing His thing with those who struggled in doubt and even they began to take on the Spirit of Jesus.
- Trust Him more than you trust yourself. I began as very little and, to my surprise, discovered that the way to grow up in Christ is to grow down. As was true for John the Baptist, it is true of us: we must decrease that He might increase. My ministry remains embarrassing that so much of me continues to run to the front of the line. Yet, I will not give up. Jesus is the thriller. I am not. Jesus is the giver and the hoper and the promiser.....we are not.
Several wise and aged believers read this blog, I feel certain. Would you make yourself vulnerable, perhaps, by sharing your insights as to what you discovered in trying to get ministry to live....and what eventually helped you turn a corner?