Tuesday, April 24, 2018


The longer I experience ministry the more I note how similar we all are.  Talents vary.  Missions are surely versatile.  Personalities are indeed different.  Yet, one thing is a plague to each.  It's a Devil tactic.  Fear.  I was a student in the Fear 101 course for far too long.  I learned how to negotiate threatening circumstances and avoid all potential interactions among those other than the closest of friends. 

My goal was to protect myself from looking badly.  I had two self-satisfying mottos.  "Try Not To Mess It Up."  My second motto was similar, "If It Needs To Be Done, Someone Else Can Do It Better".  I lived, as a minister, under the umbrella of these two doctrines.

Outgoing?  Oh, I really was....toward those within my relaxed friendship borders.  But beyond was not even a question in my mind.  I.  Wasn't.  Going.  There.

Going into all of the world doesn't necessarily mean we go on a mission trip to Alabama or to Nigeria.  It means we are on call to see others, reach to others, engage with others day by day.  To be frank....I just couldn't do it.  I carried a Bible in my hand and the denial in my heart.

Of course, now I am able.  But it took years of overcoming hesitancy.  Where I now marvel is how convincing I was to myself and to others regarding my excusivity.  I could explain my cowardice away in a heartbeat because I couldn't do one main thing...engage with strangers. 

Truthfully, however, I had no legitimate excuse.  I didn't know that such a trip could be learned.  I didn't want to know it. 

So I cheer you on to have the confidence to see strangers; even colleagues of whom you fear interaction.  Relax.  Know this.  Everyone is alike.  We all have our fears, our torments, our insecurities.  I know of not one--not one--exception.  We can learn--that's the good news--to reach out, reach toward, without one exception.

The call to go into all of the world, I felt, was always for others.  I liked the idea.  My intention was to be a contributor toward it.  But I didn't believe that God could do for me what I saw Him doing for others.  Yet, He will, He can, and He does....for every one of us.  I don't blame you for holding back or holding out.  But I encourage you to want to learn how to develop His personality within yours that such a tandem might go all over the place...into all of the world.

Afraid?  Oh yeah, I lived there for decades as the preacher.  Guilty?  Oh, certainly.  Resentful of hearing such messages?  You know it.  Able to learn to do it?  I'm still the student.  Progress is in motion.  How about you?

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