The Article You Should Have Read Before You Became a Leader (It’s not too late)

Some years ago, I sat across from a pastor of a rather large church. This fellow is gifted and he and his wife have impacted thousands of people. He’s the kind of fellow you could be jealous of, if you’re not careful.

I was surprised as he related some of the difficulties he had when he came to his present church. One of his best friends in the church eventually turned against him and led a group that wanted to bring him down. There was no way he saw that coming.

He was telling this story years later, after God had worked it out and the church was booming. But tears still filled his eyes as he related his pain from that period of his ministry.

I’ll soon be celebrating 48 years of ministry. I’ve noticed a growing ache to help younger ministers navigate some of the stormy waters we’ve already gone through (and seem to go through again and again).

Leading, building people, and staying before God isn’t always easy. Matter of fact, it’s often downright hard, especially emotionally and spiritually. I decided I was going to write a book to help young pastors battling some of these things for the first time.

Unfortunately the book is still on the backburner.

What I did, though, was ask several people I respect because of years of effective, faithful ministry, what advice they would give a young minister starting out. These responses were so good that I didn’t want to let them sleep in a file somewhere when they could be helping young men and women.

Their counsel could be a game-changer in several areas, not only for pastors, but for anyone who leads or ministers to others. Tell me what you think …I’ve reacted to some of them.

  1. Am I called?
  2. What are my calling and my gifts?
  3. Am I willing to stand alone, and be faithful to this calling even if no one else supports me!

Willie Lee Williamson, pastor


“Somehow I would address the volatile nature of the relationships you will develop in the church–how someone can seem 100% with you one day, and how they can change, seemingly overnight, to be against you. Not just from my experience (but) since becoming a presbyter some time ago (I’ve seen that) this is a big deal that many pastors really get blindsided by. “

“Another is about how important it is to build relationships personally with people…despite what I said in the first (counsel).

“The third thing would be about how important it is to facilitate healthy relationships in the church body…..to understand that a healthy church is a church that truly operates in the “one anothers” of the New Testament.
This one has been said…but needs to be said again…church health is the right focus rather than church growth. “

Scott Williams, pastor

(DP—People are sometimes funny, in the unpleasant sense of that term. It’s hard to prepare for something that seems out of character, especially when you thought that person was your friend).


What a great book idea! Some thoughts:

-How to handle the pressure or stress of leading people (who don’t always like what you do or (they) don’t want to be led).

-How to make time to relax/rest when the work seems to never end.

-Dealing with discouragement and the spiritual battle of leading a ministry, especially as the lead pastor.

-Conflict resolution and diffusing tense situations.

-For those of us who want to make everybody happy: counsel on how to change that nagging need for approval.

Joy Krajicek , missionary


Here are some topics that come to mind immediately …

  1. Effective ministry comes from the overflow of your relationship with the Lord.

a. Daily scheduled time with Him increases your effectiveness; prayer, personal Bible study, listening.

b. Discover living by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Ministry revolves around relationships.

a. Learn how to understand where people are, what they value, how they communicate, and what makes them happy.

b. Learn how to communicate your vision, values, and goals to your target audience.

c. Learn how to deal with interpersonal conflict.

d. Learn how to relate to people in small groups.

  1. Be one who is learning constantly and is flexible to adapt as situations and circumstances change.
  2. Keep your “calling” at the core of your ministry. Greatness in ministry is defined by obedience, not results.

Mark Flattery, missionary, President Network 211


People pleasing versus God pleasing–
Urgent vs. important–
Balancing Authority and Responsibility.

Tim Southerland, missionary, area director


How to Maintain Spiritual Passion.

The Greatest Gift of All: Love Your Sheep.

What Not to Delegate?

Donald Exley, missionary/pastor

(DP—We all go through ups and downs as far as passion goes. But, if a leader is going through the motions that seems to multiply itself through the whole Body.)


The Poor You Will Have With You Always: Dealing with those who won’t be helped!

Bill Hennessy,
Vice President of Academics, Trinity Bible College

(DP–It’s so hard to know which frogs to kiss that will become princes and which are just frogs looking for suckers.)


These are three things that I would tell a minister/pastor.

Love ALL of the people.

Pay special attention to the children and youth!

Don’t forget the older members who founded the church!

In my opinion: The church vision should give emphasis to these areas.

Also don’t rely on new programs as much as you do on the Lord’s plan for your church with EVERYONE involved.

Joe Wilmoth (deceased), past district superintendent and pastor


  1. Not everyone will like you or be behind your decisions.
  2. The importance of spending personal time with God for yourself, not sermons.
  3. Clearly identify and write down the important principles that guide your life. For example:
    a. I do not live to serve the AOG, I live to serve the kingdom of God.
    b. No person supersedes the word of God.
    C. You need a strong conviction that Jesus really is the head of the church….

Marty Roman, missionary


“Numbers mean nothing,
they’re not rejecting you.
Prayer, prayer, prayer,”
John C. Scroggin, pastor


The variety of ministries. I would have loved to know that the variety of ministries truly exists and that it is possible to express it nowadays.

Second theme : the Dufours. (DP–The Dufours are a couple who have a super counseling ministry and help pastors and pastors wives). I would have loved to known them before.

The third theme is “priorities”: (God/spouse/family/work/friends)

Maybe one more (2 Timothy 2:2)– Transmission/ empowering and trusting people

Nicolas Panza, French pastor


The principle of pain. In order to grow your ministry you have to grow your pain threshold.

The principle of the ladder. The larger the ladder (ministry) the more important it is, who is holding your ladder.

Of course, the principle of the oxygen mask. Put yours on first. Before you can minister to their (need) you have to be concerned about yourself.

L. Kevin Ward, pastor and former district youth director

David Porter–That first one is excellent. I think that’s always been a weakness with me. I can remain cool on the outside but inside it’s a volcano and the explosion goes inward instead of outward.


The necessity of personal time in Bible study and prayer (not for the ministry). Keeping your love for the lost above gaining the loyalty and admiration of others. #1 – Learning to lean upon and trust in the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

Tracy Wright, pastor


Something that comes to mind, David, is to be careful to guard your emotions from being consumed with other people’s worries and struggles. Care, and love, but don’t obsess over them, and don’t be consumed with how they feel or may feel about you… The main reason I tried several times to quit the ministry, was because of my closeness to people who ended up causing me great emotional pain.

Approval addiction is real.

Timothy K. Wiebe, pastor

(DP—You’re right, Tim. I’ve found myself nearly depressed over other people’s problems. I struggle to take these problems to the Lord and sometimes feel I have to solve them all. I didn’t want to do counseling for a while because I was more depressed afterwards than they were. I think we have to be like a doctor, compassionate, but still keeping a bit of distance. And I think we have to get to the point of having faith that God will do something in them. It usually takes me some time to get there).


I wish I’d known something about budgets and money.
I wish I’d known my unique voice and place in the kingdom (not trying to compete but being yourself, running in your lane, etc).
I wish I’d known how to pastor my wife while pastoring the church.
I wish I would have had the humility to find the right mentors.

I’m glad I went to church planting boot camp
I’m glad I constantly worked on developing a team

Charles Porter missionary

(DP–It’s especially tough when your “unique voice” is not the one sought out and glorified by others. Its tough to stay in an unappreciated place. There’s always the question (and we should ask ourselves), “Is this what God wants for me or should I have faith to do more?”)


For me it would be time management. I hate that term, but it is all I can think of right now.

Meaning:

1) How many hours a week do you work? Most ministers, I think, have no idea. Some, as a result work 70 or 80 hours a week, and others work 30. They don’t keep track and as a result their ministry or their family suffers – usually both. Some who work way too much feel that they are not working enough, and others who don’t work enough feel they are doing just fine.

2) How many days off? Most ministers work six and some even seven days a week. This can cause great harm to the family.

3) When does the workday start? When does it end?

4) Can you ever feel that you are “off the clock”?

5) How about vacations? How much?

6) What is work? Some ministers and missionaries spend a lot of time on family matters — picking up the kids from school, fixing the car, etc. If the car is used for ministry, is that therefore work time when you have to fix it? What about lunch with church members? Is that work or not? When you are at a church service, is that all work? Wouldn’t you be there anyway as a Christian? Tough questions.

Kerby Rials, missionary


Know hermeneutics and exegesis. Learn basic accounting. Learn basic leadership skills.

The one thing: That missions is the basis for the church.

Bob Lafon, missionary


David I am assuming from your question, you are addressing a person who is considering accepting the position of Pastor to a congregation.

Topic 1. Do diligent research in the community, to find out who are the real decision-makers in the congregation. They are often not even board members, but they wield the power of influence, and they are the ones who determine the direction the new Pastor will be allowed to take once he is installed in office.

Topic 2. How will the Board and the congregation view the new young Pastor? Is he the executive leader, or is he an employee, or is he a self-employed minister? The relationship must be crystal clear (preferably in writing) in the minutes of the meeting before accepting appointment. Later is too late!

Topic 3. To what extent do the Board Members participate in “Ministry” in the congregation? Who is locking up the facility? Who opens the facility? Who is responsible for the organization of Janitorial duties? How many of the Board are active in biblical teaching, hospitality, and events organization? These things need to be spelled out, or the new pastor will find unrealistic expectations expected of him, beyond prayer, sermon preparation, and new believer/members training.

Jim Cole-Rous (Jim is in his eighties and a sort of retired … everything! He’s had a varied and fruitful ministry for many years)

(DP—Wisdom Jim. Sometimes we only find out these things after we’ve been there a while. Then we have to learn to work in a situation we didn’t expect).


1). Missions giving is tangible evidence of kingdom building.
2). Why isn’t anyone else pastoring that church? Why did the last pastor leave?
3). People respond to presented need, but they follow vision casting/results.

Aaron Koepp, missionary


Here are some proposals for chapter titles. Can you think of others?

The Book You Should Have Read Before You Became a Pastor
(How To Flourish As A Pastor or Leader in God’s Church)

Dealing with difficult people and those who oppose you.

–Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
(Michael Hyatt’s friend)
–Young pastor who likes confrontation. Gunslinger mentality. You’re going to meet someone faster than you. Servant of God must not quarrel. Jesus’ way of dealing with them.
–Sometimes these folks aren’t, “Of the devil.” They may be a gift of God.

Vision—Building people, seeing the way forward, worshipping the King.

Monday morning quitters

Finding out who you are and become that person
Few of us, especially pastors, get to do exactly what we’re fitted for. In baseball, relief pitchers come in for one inning, fire a few pitches and win or lose the game They get paid big bucks for that. A small church pastor often finds himself pitching 12 innings, running the bases, hitting, coaching and cleaning up the locker room until he can recruit and train some help.

Getting and training good help—the secret of multiplication. Finding gifts that complement yours. Finding John Marks and Timothies. An effective program of preparation—knowledge mixed with hands-on experience.

        Working with other people, especially those who have leadership personalities.

Relationships with the opposite sex

Growing intentionally
Books, people, seminars

Image: kianabosman/unsplash

The Little Sister Who Wouldn’t Quit

Mathieu Thomann

Turning the page, starting from scratch, building on a new, stronger and healthier foundation, that’s what I experienced in 2003. At that time, I was breaking with my family, school and the institutions of my country.

One of my sisters, Rachel, encouraged me to get out of it, to leave the delinquency and drug addiction, which had been my daily life for several years.

Her solution? Call on Jesus. I clearly did not want this. I proudly defined myself as without God, faith or law. I saw neither the utility nor the need of them. While respecting people who “have faith”—the culture and education of my home, Reunion Island demanded as much–for me Christians, and believers in general were people who needed a crutch to make it in life. “They were weak.”

During the month of October 2003, Rachel announced with a big smile that she and my mother had signed me up for a week-end gathering of young Christians, called “Hope & Life” at Saint-Pierre (Reunion Island).

Not Happy!

I was upset … But I had to accept because my mother, divorced and with the care of 6 children, worked two jobs to support us and I had to respect this financial effort on her part. I still made it a point to make them understand that I was not motivated to participate in this event.

Far from being dismayed, my little sister even managed to convince me to participate in a public meeting held outdoors on the eve of the youth rally.

That night, under the influence of drugs, I did not quite understand what had been said but I was irresistibly attracted by this appeal to the crowd: “To all those who wish to start from scratch , to be free of drugs and alcohol, Jesus can do something for you. Come forward so that we can pray for you and with you.”

That’s what I did after much hesitation, not wanting to be recognized by my fellow street people. Someone prayed for me. A miracle took place! For the first time in years, I went home without going to the night club and using drugs and alcohol.

The next day, the miracle continued: I was fasting!

Powerful Challenge

That morning, with more than 300 young people present, Greg Beggs, an American missionary invited for the occasion, told us about what motivated the Apostle Paul to follow Jesus. Following his intervention, a time of prayer was proposed to us. Convicted, I realized that Jesus was present, I realized that he really existed.

There, in my place, I realized that there was a gap between the life and eternity that God proposed to me and my present life. For the first time in years, I spoke to Jesus. I asked him to forgive my indifference to him, my life as a drug addict, my selfishness … I asked him to come and break my hardened heart, to save, to change the course of my life.

He did it. I was relieved, relieved of an inner burden. Several weeks after this spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ, my mother pointed out to me that I hadn’t been under the influence of drugs for a long time. In the same period, being in full rediscovery of the Bible, I read a passage that says that he who is in Christ is a new creation, old things are past, everything is new.
This is exactly what was happening in my daily life.

Being instantly released from drugs, alcohol and delinquency can seem incredible, miraculous, even powerful. I was “immersed” by the presence of God until I spoke a language I did not know, and this only 5 minutes after my conversion. We can say to ourselves: “Wow, powerful!” But in reality, my testimony, my deliverance, “being filled with the Spirit” are only the tip of the iceberg.

Many People Helped

My conversion is actually the result of the consecration and obedience of many disciples who were the links of a chain to lead me to become a follower of Jesus. My conversion is the fruit of the courage of a 17-year-old girl who was not afraid to tell me about Jesus while I was making fun of her.

My return to Jesus is also due to the consecration of disciples who each Wednesday took the time to tell me about Jesus when I was still a child. Their love, those moments spent with them, the Holy Spirit, the day of my conversion reminded me of them.

My conversion is also the result of years of prayer of my grandmother, my mother and many other disciples who gathered faithfully every Saturday morning from 6:00 to 7:00 to pray for lost, drug-addicted young people.

This encounter with Christ was also made possible by a Christian who, with others, testified to a man, Henri Picavet, by offering him a Bible. Henri became a pastor and was among those who encouraged a certain Aimé Cizeron to go announce the full Gospel on the Island of Reunion.

A church was born, it developed, and 40 years later, I was able to participate in one of the meetings there. This meeting gave me the opportunity for a divine meeting during which Jesus saved me and delivered me.

After three years of training at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels and six years of pastoral training working in Strasbourg, France, today I serve God with my family in the CEP Auxerre church. It was in this local church that I met Eli Martichon, one of the disciples who testified to Mr Picavet. I am still benefiting from his faith and his courage to speak of Jesus!

That’s why I love the Church that Jesus is building. Although still imperfect, it is through the disciples who compose it that God has offered me a new beginning in Jesus Christ.

Dominated By Dread Or Propelled By Desire?

“What the wicked dread will overtake them;

what the righteous desire will be granted.” (Proverbs 10:24, NIV)

“The nightmares of the wicked come true;

what the good people desire, they get.” (Proverbs 10:24, The Message)

I still remember how excited I would get on July 3 when I knew that the next day we would visit Aunt Ruth  and everyone would go to the river for playing with cousins, swimming, fishing and FOOD. Everyone should have the privilege, at least once in life, to sample Aunt Ruth’s campfire cooking.

In those days, my mother often struggled with depression and anger and one Fourth of July, she threatened to make us, kids stay home instead of going with daddy to Aunt Ruth’s. When you want to do something so bad, it’s like a knife in your 12-year old belly when you think you can’t do it.

Mama finally relented, and “a good time was had by all.”

Desire and dread are powerful forces that can pull us forward joyfully or cause our feet to drag in apprehension.

Job’s Fear

Job had a life that most dream of : beautiful family, riches, respect and position in the community, but something poisoned his enjoyment of his blessings.  In Job 3:25, we get a glimpse into Job’s mind. He had some mental suffering. “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”(NIV)   

He had a wonderful life,  partially soured by his dread that something might steal it away.

Dread tries to root out desire and hunker down in its place. Yes, it would be nice to have that or it would be wonderful if that happened. But, what if … and you never know … and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I might lose it all. What if I have a major illness or someone I love dies, or I don’t have enough money.

If you’re filled with dread you’ve lost something vital. Your desire is too weak.

Desire From God

The man who doesn’t desire isn’t as close to God as he should be. When you move close to His heart, you start to feel what He wants and you desire the same things.

I read a story about a barber who said that he sometimes knew what his client was thinking as he touched his hair. This was fiction (though you might think about this the next time your get your hair cut). It was like the clients thought rose up through his hair.

When you move close to God’s heart, He communicates what He feels and what He wants and you want that. Desire causes you to move, to go forward, to hope. Desire flavors monotone days with a taste of what’s coming. That taste pulls us fonwardward toward what we desire. There is a heavenly, “Come and get it!” in our heart.

One of the definition of dread is: “to feel extreme reluctance to meet or face…dread the future, dread telling him the truth, dread the thought of speaking in public.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary online)

Dread is wasted pain. If the thing you’re afraid of happens, you’ve already been living it. Did dread make you more apt to face it? And if it doesn’t happen, it already hurt you because you’ve been going over and over it in your mind! Every time you feel a bit of the pain that might happen if the thing you fear does happen.

You’ve already suffered whatever it was you were dreading several times over. Selah!

Seeing Catastrophe

Instead of rehearsing the possibility that something good is going to happen, dread rehearses what might go wrong.

Merriam Webster notes that some of the words that opposites of dread are: “anticipation, excitement, hope, hopefulness confidence, optimism, and sanguinity.”

But what if the bad stuff happens? Being let down is terrible. Yes, but it’s no worse than the misery of dreading constantly.

I went to the dentist the other day. The dentist said it was just a little procedure so I didn’t worry about it. It wasn’t pleasant and I was a bit irritated afterwards, but I lived. I’m glad I didn’t know what awaited me or I would have spent the  month before the appointment dreading it, which would have been as bad as the procedure.

Well, almost.

Treatment for dread (because it is a dread disease):

  1. Think through the voyage from where you are to where you desire to be. Look at the possibilities and gather facts to make a good choice. We’re not Alice in Wonderland, full of positive thoughts, happily tiptoeing into a minefield. Know what you want and think through the way there. Wisdom considers the pitfall and traps. But, at some point we have to quit figuring and start trusting or dreadful fear will eat us alive.
  2. Then, stop thinking about all the things that might go wrong. Begin to rehearse the joy that you will have when you get there. The voyage to the destination is often as exciting as arriving.
  3. Trust the Lord. Learn to know how He really is and you’ll trust Him even more. Get into His Word. Let your words, your songs, and your actions prove that you believe that person (you) who delights himself in the Lord will have the desires of his heart. (Psalm 37:4)
  4. Call on the Lord and he will give those things or people who try to destroy you something to dread, themselves.

“Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;

they never call on God.

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,

where there was nothing to dread.

God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;

you put them to shame, for God despised them.”

Ps. 53:4, 5), NIV

Homework:

–>What is something you’ve been dreading lately?

–>How will you respond? Think about it. Now …

–>Think how it will be if things go as you hope. Praise God for a good outcome. Trust Him for the outcome and sing! Read His promises and say, “That’s for me.” Repeat those promises to yourself again and again.

Hmmm …

Someone noted that men often die shortly after retirement. We must have something that pulls us forward. We work towards something we want, and that thought gives us joy. That joy diffuses life into our being. We call that hope, or at least that’s the Biblical sense of hope.

People pout, I don’t have a reason to live. » Well, get one! If you don’t have a reason, plug into someone else’s and make theirs yours, too.

Are Your Enemies Tough Enough ?

It’s no fun having enemies but who said life was about having fun? Often our enemies make us into giants.

Winston Churchill looked across the channel at the ugly colossus created by Adoph Hitler. Nazi armies had overrun Europe’s best and were pointing their vaunted airforce at England, where the scraggly remains of the army that had opposed them had fled across the English Channel.

Churchill could have led his nation in surrender but the man we didn’t really know until then, grew before the eyes and ears of the people of his time. In early June he thundered before the House of Commons:

“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

A bit later he challenged his people: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”

Dare I suggest that Hitler made Churchill into the Churchill we know?

Growing Through Conflict

The bigger the enemy, the more we’re forced to grow. David never became David until Goliath (and a few lions and bears) caused him stretch into a great king. Gideon was just an unhappy farmer until hordes of Midianites raiders triggered his rise to greatness in God.

If God were to quickly destroy all our enemies and all the obstacles in front of us, it wouldn’t take us long to become pitiful. The Church has done well when the enemy tried to destroy it and we haven’t always done so well when we were powerful and praised. A weak opposition grows no battle muscles.

So, how do we get enemies?

Where To Find Enemies

First let’s say it: the fellow who desires enemies probably has psychological problems. No one in his right mind tries to make enemies.

But, as you launch into God’s will, enemies will step into your path. Hide in your corner, seek popularity with the world, and don’t rock the boat and you may reduce the number of those hostile to you. Unfortunately, you’ll become a pitiful shadow of what God meant you to be. These enemies cause us to grow, cause us to get stronger, cause us to be what we never dreamed we could be. They even help us to see our weaknesses so we can eliminate them.

Honestly, though, if you’re a Christian passionately engaged in serving the Lord, you already have enemies.

“God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. (Eph. 6:10-12. The Message)

Take up these weapons (described in the rest of chapter six), and grow bigger than your enemies in the power of the Lord.

How big are your enemies? Are you growing to meet them?

Hot Flashes From Heaven!

Send me a sign of your favor.
Then those who hate me will be put to shame,
for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.
Psalm 86:17 (NLT)

The sprinter blasted off the starting line and nearly 40 seconds later she finished 100 meters. She won but her time was just a bit off from her world record of a couple of years before.

That seems unremarkable until you realize that the runner is Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins of New Orleans. She took up running at age 100 and recently competed in the 50 and 100 meters dashes at the National Senior games in New Mexico. She’s 103 now.

103!

In an interview with the New York Times she gives standard advice on how to live life—“… stay in shape, just keep active. Keep your weight down and exercise. Have a lot of passions, things that you are interested in. Keep interested in a lot of things to keep you busy and keep your mind busy.”

But then she gives some advice that nearly knocked me off my chair, ““…And look for magic moments. That is something that I have done in my life — think of the things that are magic moments that happen to you, like sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music and people’s lovely comments to you. All of those are magic moments and they are free for all. Be sure to keep your eye open for them.”

Magic moments! Heavenly Hot Flashes

My oldest son Steve posted a picture of a bird on Facebook. (see above). He remarked, “This little guy landed on my window as I drove up to work this morning and stayed there while I parked.”

I knew that Steve was going through a tough moment and I really sensed that this little bird was a “messenger pigeon” from the Lord. I felt like God was saying, “I’ve got this.” His mom had a similar reaction and Steve told me that was his first reaction, too.

Magic moments. Hot flashes of wonder that God sends to remind us that He is there. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection, they were “filled with wonder.” When the lame man at the Beautiful gate of the Temple walked, leaped and praised God after his healing, the people were “filled with wonder.”

“C’mon David. No big deal. Young birds sometimes act weird.”

I know. But, I’ve lived many decades and visited four different continents and I’ve never seen anything like that.

I wonder, though, how many “hot flashes of wonder” God sends, but we’re so preoccupied that we miss them. We want thunder that shakes us, lightning that wakes us. Something BIG! Bodacious.

Maybe this 103 year old sprinter has something to teach us about living a rich life that goes way beyond the number of years she’s been granted.

Flashes: “…sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music and people’s lovely comments to you…”

How much richer would we be if we looked for God in common things? I love the BIG blessings. But, 99.9% of life is neither good nor bad. It just is, and how we live it determines if we know God’s joy and peace.

What would life look like if we could say, “Thanks, Lord. Way to go,” for a beautiful sunset or a baby’s smile, instead of waiting for powerful miracles before we say, “Thank you,”?

Maybe Paul’s advice to some Christian friends applies to us too, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Phil. 4, the Message)

And look for the hot flashes. There are many more of them than you dreamed.


Hmmm…

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”
― Blaise Pascal

Smile, pardner!

My wife has begun to use almond milk with her cereal. Almond milk! That brings up the big question, “How do you milk an almond?” It’s supposed to be healthy but not as healthy as dragon milk or porcupine milk.

Where do you get draggin’ milk, you ask? From a short-legged cow!

How do you milk a porcupine? you wonder. Very carefully!


Photo by Steve Porter