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!

 

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

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!

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!

Do it anyway.

I am a huge fan of marketing.

customers users color wheel

I earned a degree in Business Management and loved the courses I took in marketing! I remember one of the main commercials that got my attention. I was not a fan of this sport at that time, but no one could deny the effect of what this short commercial series achieved. Here are some of the effects of what this marketing series did achieve. Increased market share of athletic shoes from 18% to 43% and sales from $877M to $9.2B (yes that is B for billion)! People would line up for $150-$200 shoes like they do for the new iPhone today! People wanted to be this person, fly like this person and play like this person! Have you figured out the campaign? Continue reading Do it anyway.

Choices

coffeeWe all have them. Every day, it seems is full of thousands of choices. Drive through has a mirage of choices to choose from. Go through the drive-through of your favorite coffee shop and see how things have changed. It used to be served black, with cream, or sugar or both. Now there are choices to skim, light on the foam, heavy on the foam…  you get it; much more than your usual black with 2 creams and a sugar! Continue reading Choices

Bacon of Job

I struggled to sit down and write this post. As my initial post indicated, I am not one that enjoys this art and I contribute the delay to a case of the “I don’t-wannas” and procrastination brought on by hereditary conditions! Now, I know my Mom will be reading this and hopefully, she will deflect this to my Dad’s side of the hereditary contributions. It is likely she will read it before he will! Continue reading Bacon of Job