Friday, January 12, 2018

Pastor, What Do You Do For Fun?

   I was talking to a pastor friend this week and he mentioned how many pastors he knew who by the time they retired had nothing to do because all they did was pastor their entire ministry.  So now I want to ask Pastors young and old alike what do we do that’s fun?     

                I’m in my 50’s and have been a pastor since I was 27 years old. I have officially pastored as long as I’ve been married for 28 years. Before I started pastoring I had a bunch of different things I enjoyed. Let me list them briefly. I loved hiking, snow skiing, racquetball, swimming, baseball, softball, golf, camping and dirt bikes. Dirt bikes graduated into street bikes and camping graduated to mission trips.  I collected baseball cards as a kid and loved to ride dirt bikes and go four wheeling. I fished a lot as a kid through my teen years and found deep sea fishing to be a fun treat.  Bowling was another fun sport I did on occasion and even rolling skating some as well. 
                                Then I got married and became a pastor and had 5 kids and life shifted from being a youth pastor to a senior pastor. As time marched on I gave up the dirt bike for a street bike, went to less baseball games and started playing softball in church leagues.  In the last 28 years I have fished far less. In the last 8 years I think I have fished 4 times, sold my motorcycle twice in 8 year. I have not gone skiing at all in 20 years and bowled twice in a decade and don’t collect anything other than junk as my wife says. She's right the garage is full.

                      I know as we all get older some of my interest can change, but I honesty I still love baseball, swimming, hiking and some of the above things mentioned that I don't do because i've gotten too busy. But as I’ve aged and my kids have aged I have discovered how I have decreasingly done less of the things I enjoy. I would say much of that has been due to keeping up with the demands of church and family. But now I am realizing the things we like give us energy for the things we are called to as well.  

                                Recently I sent out an email to a large group of pastors about who wants to attend a professional basketball game for a night of fun. I got two responses back from the youngest of 40 pastors. Their responses ranged from I can’t that week, but I’d love too.  The older guys have not responded at all. I realize some pastors can’t afford it and some are busy and others probably do not like basketball, but I would venture to say the majority just have such full schedules that it just sounded exhausting to make the effort to go do another thing.  

                So what do we do for fun? How often do we do things for fun and is doing fun stuff for ourselves that important anymore?  Sometime fun things require we react spontaneously. About 5 years ago a man from my church walked into my office and said, " pastor I got an extra spot on a western Caribbean cruise if you can figure it out within 24 hours". That day I had a luncheon with a Catholic Priest who I had befriended in our community. Over Lunch I told him how I had an offer to do something I had always wanted to do, but never had the time and money.  He said what is stopping you from going? That was a great question and the more I thought about it the more fun it was to entertain the idea. After lunch I went home and asked my wife what she thought if I could pull it off. She encouraged me to take one of my week vacations and just do it.  I wrestled that day with guilt and joy. In the end I found someone to preach for me and cover my tracks for 7 days and I went and enjoyed the best fun 7 day cruise ever and to date the only cruise ever.  Pastors we need to have fun and sometimes we need to plan it in advance and other times fun will arise out of nowhere and we either jump on it and enjoy it or miss the adventure.  

                I have lived in my community for 8 years now. Before I moved here I use to play racquetball about 6 times a year. I have only played once in the last 8 years and the priest whipped but good.  I realize as we get older we can’t always do what we use to do physically or as well as we once did it, but maybe it’s because we give up our fun stuff for being so busy that we “think’ we don’t have the energy to do it anymore. 

                Pastor I encourage you to look at your past and your present and keep doing the fun things that thrill you, energize you and motivate you.  If you are too busy to do something you enjoy at least once a month then you are too busy with too many things.  Let’s not make the fun things we enjoy become a faded memory, but a recent activity.  Please don’t forget to enjoy life along the journey. Make 2018 a fun year of enjoying those things you use to do and long to do again. A happy pastor who enjoys the journey has more to give when the schedule gets demanding.  Go have some Fun!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Intentional Evangelism ?

  Intentional Evangelism ?

  How often do most Christians witness to the power and grace of Jesus Christ in their lives? I believe the safe answer is not often enough.  Witnessing is not easy on a regular basis. We get busy and caught up in the daily grind of life and probably forgot to witness more then we ought to. 
Last week just before Pentecost I realized it was my 36th anniversary of when I accepted Christ into my life. So I decided to record a quick 3 minute video summary of what Jesus did for me 36 years ago. It was easy to share because its my story.  Only God knows what He will do with that 3 minute testimony as it sits on the internet and people find it, watch it and hopefully someone is encouraged to seek Jesus because of it.  But the video was intentional. A week later I looked at it and it has been shared over 15 times on other peoples Facebook page and viewed over 1300 times.  Those 1300 plus views equals 65 hours of video testimony being seen. That is equal to me telling my story of 3 minutes for 3 days straight. Now this is really mind blowing.  Here is the link if you want to see that video
  I realize not everyone feels comfortable in front of a camera and this is not everyone’s first choice on how to witness. This week I meet some urban missionaries from the United States. Before I left them they handed me their written testimony within 3 paragraphs. I thought this is such a great low tech way to share your testimony as well when out in the market place. We use to call them tracts, but I like the idea of making up your own story with a way to  connect back.  Imagine being in the drive thru line and handing the cashier the money for your order and a piece of paper like mine below. Again this is INTENTIONAL EVANGELISM.  If we do not intentional witness who will?  We are commissioned by Jesus to Go  and Witness by the Power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” I hope these ideas inspire you to create your own  ways of witnessing even when you are busy.  By all means that we might save some..

Friday, May 5, 2017

A Mom Much loved!

       It's May 5th 2017. I just flew up to New England a few days ago to be a part of a ceremony where my mom was being recognized as the oldest citizen in Boxborough, MA. The Award goes back to 1909 when the Editor of the Boston Post created a movement that continues today. In that day he had 700 Canes made worth approx $1000 each made of gold and ebony.  Today this tradition continues in New England in over 400 towns.   The pictures below were taken by a friend of the family named Peggy.  It was a simple and fun formal presentation at the City Hall.  I do not see my mom much and that is a frustration for me personally, but I am so glad I could make this event yesterday.  I live 1500 miles away and even talking on the phone now has become difficult for her. So the in person visits now are so cherished.  
           It's not Mothers Day yet, but I write this post to honor my mom and hopefully she will read this on Mother's Day when I am back in Florida.  To have ones mom into your 50's may not be unusual for many, but for me it is since my mom has lived longer then many women to the age of almost 98. She turns 98 on June 15th and will be featured in the local parade on June 17th as the oldest person in Boxborough. They want her to attend as many local community functions as possible throughout the year. I believe that alone will keep her focused on her new civic duty. She's not real thrilled about being the oldest in town and I get what she means by that, but nonetheless she is a beautiful woman at her age.  She still has clarity of thought, amazing retrieval of memory from decades past and a fun sense of humor. She can eat big meals and loves her cup of tea. She still gets out and walks and loves flowers and lobster.  She is a New England tradition for me and many others and has out lived all her relatives who are older then she.  I do not know know many years she might still have, but then none of us know our own either.   What a joy it has been to visit with her. She plays games, reads and loves her cat Bunny. Bunny is a Maine coon cat that she has had for 18 years. She use to attend church regularly, but rarely does she get up before noon now, but she doe still go, but not as often. When she could attend she hears very little unless you are next to her and even then its a struggle for her. I love my mom and her love of life. Before I left today she said she was going to charter a private plane and take all her family to Hawaii for her 100th birthday. That story is 2 years away so we shall see. Love ya mom.  


Monday, February 27, 2017

7 Last Words & Journey to the Cross

Seven Words from the Cross

1. Week One:  Friday March 3rd 12 noon DeLandCOTN 
Forgiveness- Luke 23:32-38
2. Week Two: Friday March 10th 12 noon: TBA
Salvation – Luke 23:39-43
3. Week Three:  Friday March 17th 12 noon: TBA 
Relationship – John 19:23-27
4. Week Four: Friday March 24th 12 noon: TBA
Distress - John 19:28-29 
5. Week Five: Friday March 31st 12 noon: TBA
Abandonment – Matthew 27:45-47
6. Week Six: Friday April 7th 12 noon: TBA 
Reunion – Luke 23: 44-49
7. Week Seven: Friday April 14th noon Deland COTN
         Triumph – John 19:28-30 

Each week we would encourage you to fast and pray at least one meal leading up to this study/ reflection time or make this Friday season that fast of a meal in seeking the Lord. We also encourage you to invite someone who does not have a faith community that they attend. Spend the next seven week or the next 40 Days from March 1st through April 9th in a special season of prayer and fasting seeking to hear a fresh revelation from our Savior while praying for those who do not walk by faith with him yet. Each week we will notify you as to the next week Location of the service. We will start and end the seven weeks in the church building with communion. If you know of a public location you would like to recommend please let the pastor know.