Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
October is "pastor appreciation month", and I trust that your church took part in this as ours did. Before I begin, please know that I have the honor of serving the greatest church in the entire world. There is no arguing this point. So don't even try.
Yesterday was awesome. I knew that there were rumblings, but I had no idea what was up among our leaders and our people. As I was about to take the stage to share the message, Bruce jumped ahead of me and began to share some things about worship and our church. Bruce is the newest members of our leadership team and brings lots of character, much wisdom and little bit of fun. If you know him, you know what I mean.
Our church is different. We get the opportunity to ministry to many people who might not be welcome in other churches and some who have been hurt by churches in their past. Hearing what Bruce had to say about worship was so good, yet he stepped in another direction as he called me to the stage to sit on a stool next to him and listen to some people share about me. That is one of the most uncomfortable places for me. I like to put the spotlight on others and not myself.
These testimonies were full of laughs, tears, heart, strength and so much that I just can't download it all here. I am so grateful for these precious people who I get to share life with. The one thing that some of our people said and that others have said is that I love people like few others can. Not sure how all that stacks, but I do desire to be grace and give 2nd chances as well as to offer hope to as many people as I can.
When the testimonies ended, our church family gave me a gift. They are giving me the opportunity to take part in the Richard Petty Driving School. That means I get to drive a real race around a NASCAR tack. This might be a bit more than these people and me will be able to handle. I can't wait. You'll know when it will take place.
Last night I went to the wall where our folks had taped notes for me. See the picture above. I took these 70 plus notes home and after the kids went to bed I read them. More tears. More laughs. Lots and lots of honor. God has so blessed me to be able to serve, and I am grateful for their outpouring of kindness.
So, let me close today's devotion by sharing with you a little of my heart for doing what I do. Just a little download …
· Love people where they are and as they are
· Try not to judge and offer lots of grace
· Pray with people every chance you get
· Treat people the way you want to be treated
· Be authentic and transparent
· Use your own story of how God has worked in your life
· Quote Scripture that speaks to the situation
· Listen more than you speak (that's a tough one for me)
· Give people hope, not false hope, but real hope on Jesus can give
· Honor others and be positive
That's just a little bit of what I want to do as I encounter other people. Jesus lifted people. We should do that. Jesus didn't require people to change just to be around him. We should do that. Others are helped, encouraged and challenged when we are real, sharing our pain and life as well as the experiences we have been through.
May God use me and you to help others see what real grace is all about. I'm grateful for the people of The Community Fellowship who blessed me this weekend. God has more in store for us not because of who I am or even because of what I do. God has more in store for us because we are going to lift Him up.
Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth— a stranger, not your own lips.