Monday, September 20, 2010

radically speaking

I don't think it's a coincidence that our lives starting turning upside down when I decided to do the Radical read-a-long. While I don't necessarily agree with every concept or idea that David Platt has in the book, I  do believe that we can ALL do more.

Let me give a little background on us.....

In 2007, my husband and I walked away from the ministry feeling spent and used-up. What we intended to be "the end", was really just a much-needed respite from the constant concerns associated with being a "pastor's family". In 2008, our wise-beyond-his-years then 12 year old son said, "Dad, why did God send you to seminary just to have  you not be ministering?". A hard question, but one that required an answer. So, we began to pray about God's calling on our lives. We felt that we had MANY, MANY times given up all material possessions, family connections, decent salaries, and concern for the well-being of our children (believing that God would see them through) to do what we felt "called" to do. To do a thankless job where abuse is the norm.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knew how we felt and provided a place for us to come where people would genuinely love on us while we ministered to them. However, again, that meant walking away from decent salaries, health insurance, and close proximity to family. We knew (and still do) that this was the right choice.

So, the past year and a half, while busy and demanding, has been fruitful.

What does this have to do with Radical, you ask? Well, I'm getting to it!

We are past the "honeymoon" phase that every pastor encounters when he starts a new church. Meaning, not everyone still likes him...or us, as the case may be. However, we feel that we were sent here with a mission, and it's our job to fulfill it (actually, Steve's job...I'm just along for the ride!). AND, that mission has come to fruition or the beginning stages, at least.

Our church needs to step outside of itself and begin again to minister to the community. Now, they have done a beautiful job in all of the areas that have been asked of them (sacks of love, feeding the HS band, etc.) but, there's so much more work to be done! AND, Satan's not so happy. Here's the deal: how to lead through this stage in the game where you know the hard part has only begun. We're not on the goal line ready to score a touchdown yet, we are on the 50 with a 3rd down and inches to go. Are we going to let Satan and his demons hold us back? I hope not.

However, living "radically" is not a common thing for everyone.....and can be scary! Giving  up the creature comforts we have come to the jobs we've held in the church for 30 years, or the SS room that's always been yours; or holding onto the pew in front of you that keeps you from RUNNING to the altar when you know God is calling.

Our church is at a crossroads. Steve and I have had the privilege of seeing God in action over the past two weeks..... He is alive and well in our community.

However, to get this back to chapter one of Radical, Platt discusses what  you are willing to give up. Sometimes, giving up doesn't mean necessarily material things, but emotional ones as well. While it's nice to talk about the Christians being persecuted in China (and we do need to pray for them), and go to foreign countries to see orphans starving, it is JUST AS RADICAL for some to give up control when they don't understand how God works.

So, while my take on chapter one is significantly different than those I've read...the ideas presented in it are not lost on me. Nor is the timing of my reading it. I believe, with everything in me, that we are about to experience a GOD-EXPLOSION of some kind in our small community and church. Will we get out of the way and let God be God or will we throw our human ideas into the mix? The answers to those questions and more are to come..........

I pray, Lord Jesus, that we are radical in our efforts to open up our hearts and arms to those around us who are hurting.....emotionally, physically, spiritually....because only then will we see Your Holiness in all of its glory!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing, Patty! I read through every one of the posts, and I can guarantee you that you are NOT ALONE in how you're applying chapter 1 to your own life. It really truly is different for all of us.