The Pain of Separation

letterI started writing this blog as a form of obedience. Since this was the main reason (I am honestly not a fan of writing or reading, I prefer to do), my confession is this: I have been disobedient! It has been a while since I have posted. I cannot give a reason for or against as if obedience is required, God does not schedule when the obedience is to happen, He just expects it to happen! I started this bog followed by the dozen (grammar correct wanted to add an “s” but it’s not dozens yet!) of you to show obedience in how He was going to mold me as I attempt to grow into the life of holiness, He has called me into.

I have recently accepted my first assignment as a lead/senior pastor. This assignment moved me the sunny Florida panhandle to the Southwest corner of Indiana and the small coal-mining town of Washington. Snow ChurchMany ask if there is an adjustment in moving to the small town. I would have to say there is not as much as many had expected for me. I enjoy the small town and the blinking light in front of the church where I serve. Now, there are other stoplights, just the one directly outside is a blinking one! The tough part has come in the separation of my family and myself. There were a couple reasons why we went this route. Some center around our children and their education and my unwillingness to hesitate or delay His call (let’s face it, I have procrastinated long enough!). I do not regret this decision, nor do I think for a second that my wife and I would change our minds given what we know now. There is that cost though. There is a physical pain in the separation. There are times when things are busy and dare, I say, stressful that it may not come into mind. Then there are those times when I am off and it is quiet in the house. There are those times (and recently) that it has been an utter joy to see God’s work. I have witnessed Him break chains of addiction, call seniors into action to learn new skills and have brought new families into the doors of the church that have stepped into leadership roles that are desperately needed. We have witnessed souls accept the call to follow Jesus and baptized someone on the first day of the year! All of this and more from a church that many would have seen as on its way down. What is all that if I cannot experience it with my best friend?

This is when physical pain steps in. There is the technology that allows us to see one another and I can chat with my kids over Facetime and through Alexa devices at a man holding a video cammoment notice. That does not remove the physical desire to have one’s spouse of twenty plus years there. Now that I have depressed all four of you reading this, allow me to segue into my point. I wonder if God feels that same physical pain of separation when we live in sin?

We can say with certainty that Jesus felt the pain and mourned the loss of friends with John the Baptist. So we can say there is pain with God. I wonder if He felt that same pain knowing there is a separation that had to happen immediately following the fall of man when he decided to disobey and partake of the forbidden fruit? Isaiah 61:2-3 states instead of mourning, we should praise in the planting of the Lord. Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted (Matt 5:4). Who comforts the One who supplies the comfort to those in pain? We know that God desires all men to be saved (1Timothy 2:4) even though we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).

I wonder if He feels that same pain, I feel from time to time but on a more consistent basis (let’s face it, there are many more on His mind as there is on mine)? When we think cross carryof that sacrifice He made on the cross, the pain He wanted to bridge just so we could have that mercy we so desperately need yet do not deserve.

This is just a slight observation of someone that is starting to feel the pain He feels as I see someone in the throes of addiction or pain or jealousy or has that heart filled with hatred for past wrongs committed against them. Sin is what separated us from Him. It takes our will to allow him to bridge that divide. We must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him. We have to be willing to constantly die to ourselves and surrender our will to His.

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

As for my pain, I know there is an end as the family will move north to reunite with me. I know that there is a finish line to look forward to. The finish line for God depends on our decision. He will not force us to come to Him. What if we had the opportunity and ability to ease some of His pain. Some of that pain we cause by allowing sin in our lives to separate us from Him. What if we could return the love He has so graciously shown us by surrendering ourselves and our will to Him and His?

What if?

 

 

 

P.S. I have started a YouTube page as well as one for the church. Feel free to check it out here as I upload sermons and devotionals weekly. Stop on by and let me know what you think! Thank you for walking with me!

 

The Year in Reflection

What a year 2019 has been! I was self-employed with a great “gig” as a partner once called it. Selling compounded pharmaceuticals from home was flexible, profitable and allowed me time to devote to ministry and family. Then I became unemployed – got to love Florida and the right to work status! I then became partially employed to very under-employed to perfectly employed. This is the year I started as a vocational pastor. Snow Church Continue reading The Year in Reflection

Pastor Appreciation

I normally create content for this blog specifically but I chose to mirror my social media post here. It bears repeating and may serve as a reminder to thank, hug or shake the hand of the pastors in your life. Where I may only be a month into my first assignment, I have a clearer image and understanding of what goes through the mind of a pastor. The loss felt by a member who chooses to leave to the pain and agony of a community of

photo of black microphone

people I have yet to meet. The hours spent in prayer by each spiritual leader out there cannot be counted as they are like the grains of sand on a beach or as numerous as the stars of the night. Give thanks for those that live their life in a transparent bubble. I once read an article that they feel like everyone’s pastor and no one’s friend. On a side note, check out the sermon page as it is updated constantly as I look to start a “Midweek Minute” and post other sermons there in the near future. I am a rookie at editing so keep that in mind and feel free to leave feedback on the video page! Continue reading Pastor Appreciation

Me, Me, Me!

I know it has been a while, but in all fairness, I have been a little busy. I have recently accepted the call to lead a congregation in the small town of Washington Indiana. IMG_2348These people are a great group of folks that are easy to love and they have a heart for their community. Now that is out of the way, I have a few thoughts to share as I have been preparing the latest sermon. I honestly wrote this last week but did not want to publish until the sermon titled “Never Alone, the Sequel” was given.  Now, back to the previously scheduled post! That said, my intended audience is the fellow believer – male and female. The Word calls us “brethren.” This is not intended for the non-believer as I believe those of faith have a higher standard. We are supposed to hold each other accountable – society thinks that would be “judgmental.” To fellow believers, its accountability. Continue reading Me, Me, Me!

How about a survey?

“Hello, my name is Darrell and I am calling with BR Interviewing…” It is this phrase I uttered thousands of times in the last two and a half months. I had placed my life on hold for the possibility of God placing me in a lead pastoral role. Seems, He was not ready to move me just yet. With most of my savings fading away, I looked for a temporary job

desk office workspace coworking

until He decided to place me. I found one working at the local convention center, but the hours were scarce. Then I was hired by a company that makes outbound calls. It is not sales but that does not make the job itself any easier. You push a button, the computer dials a number and you wait to either hear someone yell, listen and hang up, listen or a voicemail pick up. There are a variety of surveys they do here, and I will not go into specifics, but needless to say, it is not a job one dreams of when they are a child! There are a couple of life lessons I have learned while I was there. Continue reading How about a survey?

No Pain No Gain!

As a guy who loves to eat hates to exercise this saying makes absolutely no sense to me! In my honest opinion, whoever said this originally needs a serious mental evaluation! I mean who wants to be put into pain? Anyone? So, I started to investigate where this little tidbit of crazy talk came from. A simple google search shows Jane Fonda made it popular in one of her workout videos in 1982. If one were to dig deeper, you may find out that Benjamin Franklin coined that phrase almost 300 years ago! I have heard it applied in business as well. Ever hear the phrase “it takes money to make money?” How about “feel the burn” that was later changed for a political slogan? Again, I think these are all crazy talk, don’t you?

Or are they?

Continue reading No Pain No Gain!

Unspoken Request

child prayThere is a post going around social media that tells of a child praying the alphabet. When an adult asked why this child just prayed her ABC’s, she replied: “I didn’t know the words to say so I figured God would put the letters in the right order.” I will pause here while everyone’s heart melts just a tad! Around Easter, I wrote of that difficult prayer. What about the one we cannot frame into words?

This got me thinking about that “unspoken” request we often hear in church. It has become more popular or it may just be my take on what stands out to me. I used to be against such thoughts. I mean, the Word tells us to present our requests to God (1 John 5:14-15) and to be specific in doing so (Philippians 4:6-7). James 5:16 tells us to do so to one another. That we are to confess our sins so that we may be healed. I mean, “real” Christians would confess their sins to one another, right? Continue reading Unspoken Request

Keep it on the tracks!

Every VBS we have done at our church involves the part of searching for God Sightings. I like this focus so much it is something we do on a weekly basis in Children Church. I believe it is a great habit to look and see where God is at work around us. With me, I have found that He will often point something out so He can have a chat. For example, take these simple train tracks. Continue reading Keep it on the tracks!

Patiently Anxious

I sit here and look at the two words in the title. I, among others, love a good dose of irony. When I asked for some feedback, my wife asked me “don’t you mean impatiently anxious?” That would make more sense though! Not with me! I am patient on the outside but on a scale of 1 to 10, I am hovering around a 37 on the anxiety scale! I have not been tested and I doubt there is a medical problem. So why all the anxiety (I think we can all agree that patience is a good thing so we should look at the other half of those two words!)?

businessman office mobile phone financeI am a pastor in search of a church. One of the reasons I love the Church of the Nazarene is the process one must go through in order to become a pastor. Not anyone is allowed to shepherd a flock, and that is a great thing for His Church. Just as the eleven disciples approached the replacement of Judas with discernment and prayer (Acts 1:16-26), we as Nazarenes do the same.

But hurry up already!!!

Continue reading Patiently Anxious