Here we stand so help us God!

Posted: December 11, 2017 in Uncategorized
Falling_Off_the_Slippery_Slope-2
I came across this great article by my friend Mark Powell about the flow on effect of changing the definition of marriage.
The Yes campaigners said it was simply about marriage and nothing more. The Yes campaigners kept saying it has nothing to do with the Safe Schools Programs and their questionable gender theories. They kept saying that religious freedom would be protected. Now that marriage has been redefined and set in law the truth is out and the slippery slope has begun and we are sliding down it without any brakes.
Given that SSM is not how things have been created by God the consequences to marriage, to family and society will soon show its sad face. How do we respond? My own reflections for what they are worth.
a. With confidence in God because He is still in control and his purposes have never ever been thwarted.
b. With graciousness and love in dealing with those who will attack us and try to bully us into silence and submission.
c. With open arms to embrace the refugees of this new crazy gender mixed up world.
d. With great humility because we are sinners like everyone else.
e. With great great courage because this is the time when we need to take more seriously the words of our Lord Jesus.
29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no-one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mr 10:29-31).
Like Luther, who was called to recant his views on salvation, scripture etc on pain of death, responded with these now famous words  “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen..”,  I think a time will come very quickly when  we will need to do likewise. When this happens we need to be prepared to give an account of what we believe and why and to be ready to accept the consequences come what may. This may cost us our jobs, as has happened in other parts of the world, but if this the cost of following Christ then it is a cost we will have to bear.
Anyway some reflections for what they are worth.
Advertisements

8376_aFeeling like a ministry failure is something that hits everyone one of us sooner or later. While we are told, again and again not to compare ourselves with others, we all know it’s much easier said than done. Moreover, it doesn’t help when everyone around us is jumping on the treadmill of comparing us to others and making it known. They turn on the Youtube and listen to the great preachers or hear about the inspiring church planting stories and then tell you how wonderful and awesome these guys are. It’s strange however that they’ve never said anything like this to you about your sermon or your leadership. If anything the only word we often hear is “You need to be more practical and more relevant!”. Or else “Why is your ministry shrinking?”

These questions are not bad in themselves and some of us do need to undertake a serious audit on our ministry.

But that being said, the reality is that many of us will never ever become a Master Chef preacher or church leader. God has certainly produced some stellar figures. But in the main, most of us are your simple run-of-the-mill, average, ordinary, forgettable ‘ho-hum’ preacher and church leader. We’re doing an “OK” job but it’s not stellar. No matter what we do, try as we may, we will never become the talk of the town.

However recognising this will not stop the comparisons that go on relentlessly and with this comes the constant struggle against despair and feeling like a miserable failure.

But I wonder if we have an unrealistic standard of how to measure a successful ministry? Indeed it seems that God has a much lower measure of success and much easier pleased than we are. Consider the  parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:1-7. The most astonishing thing is Jesus’ concluding words to this parable.

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. vs. 7

Jesus tells us that when ONLY ONE, just ONE, sinner repents there is a great party in heaven.

Hmm? We often despair when our numbers are low or when our sermons are not setting the town on fire. Yet jesus tells us that if only one person (Not necessarily hundreds) repents  there is cause for great great great rejoicing.

Many of us will never be in the league of Spurgeon. Keller or Piper or whoever else is out but if I read this passage rightly then if only ONE person is blessed then that is a great success story. Ok maybe the rest fell asleep during the message but if there was just ONLY one person who was hit by what you said then that is a cause for great great rejoicing

it’s a funny thing how God is so so easily pleased. I wonder if we have set too high a bar for ourselves.

 

I hear a lot of people complaining about their churches and a lot of people complaining about my church. To be realistic and honest a lot of these complaints have some element of truth about them. Yes, there are a lot of things we could do so much better. But despite all this there is one thing I can say about my church – every Sunday, without failure, I’ve met at least one person who was helped to know Jesus more. Today I had the opportunity to help one person know how to read the bible better. My daughter had the great privilege of leading a person to Christ.  That’s two people. Two people may not seem like a lot but as far as the angels are concerned if only one person repents it’s a good excuse for a party. And if it is good enough for the angels then shouldn’t that be good enough for us to celebrate?

So the next time we feel like a ministry failure here are a few tips

  1. Look for what you could have done better and try and do it better next time
  2. But don’t forget to ALSO look for the ONE Person, just ONE person who was blessed (And there will ALWAYS be at least ONE person), focus on that one person and give thanks and praise to God for that ONE person and have a party.

Just some reflections.

letter_writing

Hey Bob (the name is fictional to protect the innocent)

It was good catching up with you the other day over coffee and to talk about your future plans for ministry and in particular whether you should take up the offer presented to you.  I’ve been doing some more thinking about our convo so I thought I’d offer some more thoughts on the matter.

As you well know I have dedicated my whole ministry life to the recruiting, training and mobilising of people into all sorts of gospel ministries in Australia and overseas so I guess I can speak with some degree of confidence and expertise on the issue.

So here a few things that comes to mind.

I think you are right to ask whether you’ll be able to work with the leadership team. A good ministry is only as good as your ability to work in the team. Irrespective of how good the ministry may be, if you can’t work in the team, it will not work. When it becomes too much for you you will either bow out graciously, or as I have seen happen to many people bow out very bitter and angry. Unfortunately many good ministers have dropped out simply because of their inability to work with and in their team. So I think you are asking the right question here.

That being said whether you “can” work in a team is different to whether you “like” the team. We may not necessarily like the team we are in but this doesn’t mean we can’t work in it. The question to consider here is whether you will be able to do what you need to do irrespective of what the team is like. There are good teams but realistically there are also many bad teams (however we define ‘bad’). But even in the bad teams there are still a lot of things that can still be done. It may never be in the way you first imagined it but things can still happen.

The key lies in your ability to manage people’s expectations and to navigate through the complex, indeed political issues of church life and ministry. On this point unfortunately many ministry training programs seem seriously deficient in this area. Many of our future leaders are trained to know how to read the bible with someone else, evangelise, preach, disciple people etc etc, but most of our ministry training institutions are neglectful, or at best shallow in training our future leaders in how to navigate through the politics of church life.

Now I know the mention of politics sounds a loud warning bell but keep reading.

It needs to be said that politics is not necessarily a bad thing. One Christian leader wisely said to me: “Politics is nothing more than the skill of managing people.” This skill in managing people is sadly lacking in much ministry training programs today. So in whatever team ministry you work in the challenge will lie in your ability to manage others. More specifically it lies in your ability to manage those above you in authority as well as your ability to manage your fellow colleagues and those who are under you.

To the matter of the church that you are considering there are certainly problems in the leadership team and how things are done. Blind Freddy can see this. But that being said I’ve spent some time doing consulting work with them and from my observations and conversations the leadership is not malicious or evil. Indeed I would be so bold as to say that everyone of them, without exception, has a genuine heart that loves Jesus, to see people read the bible and pray, to reach many more people for Jesus and to glorify God. None of them have a desire to build their own kingdom. In short the team you are considering working with are good and godly men and women.

But this does not mean it will be an easy team to work in. Even Barnabas and Paul had a major falling out over whether to take Mark or not. Where the problem lies it seems to me is a mismatch of skill sets and confusion of roles and responsibilities. We have the classic example of people not playing to their strengths and people confused about what they are meant to do etc. When this happens it can and often does create all sorts of problems and conflicts between good people who have the same goal but have different approaches to getting there. This seems to be the case in this church.

Therefore the challenge before you is knowing how to navigate through all this messiness. But if we stop and think about it for a moment I think we would soon realise that church life and ministry is always always messy. Very messy indeed. What I see in this church in particular is what I see in far too many churches around Australia and the world. I’m not excusing the situation. I’m simply saying that this is often the environment many christian leaders work in. Therefore this requires great patience and graciousness (Because everyone has the right heart), wisdom (Because everyone has different ways of doing things and so we have to navigate through how to achieve our goals in this), creativity (Because we have to think differently) and perseverance (because it takes time to get things right)

But the messiness of church and ministry should not surprise us. We are dealing with people. Worse still we are dealing with sinful people. We often jokingly say “Never work with kids and animals”. If we understand our doctrine of sin well enough I’d say “Never work with people because they can create hell!”People are messed so we should not be surprised to see messed up churches.

That being said if we think church life is messy then we need to remember that we live in a broken and fallen world where everything is messed up. So if we can’t handle the messiness of church and ministry the sad reality is that we’ll never ever reach a messy and messed up world.

Just as an illustration, think about some of the doctors in the world. There are those who want to work in the clean, modern, well equipped hospitals of the world. On the other hand there are those who have to, or choose to work in third world countries in very run down hospitals that are poorly staffed, poorly paid, poorly managed etc. The funny thing is that both are necessary but more importantly both are saving lives. Ok some can do it better than others. But you have to work with what you got and many third world hospitals can only dream of better training and more funding and more resources but they don’t any of this stuff and will probably never ever get any of it as well. It will only ever be a dream. They simply have to manage with what they have got and do the best they can to save people, even if it is not as slick as our Slick but very expensive hospitals.

In a similar way, there are many churches around the world that are very slick. They have slick programs and slick offices and the latest and super duper audio systems etc. They have a very clear vision statement and a clearly worked out strategy. They are slick and it would be nice to work in that environment. On the other hand you have thousands upon thousands of smaller churches which are far from slick. They are pretty run down, poorly managed, and staff are under paid. They look tired and things are not well thought through. Realistically speaking no one would want to go there.  However, the Funny thing is that both are still saving lives. Sure they can do a better job but at least they are trying. At the end of the day they’ve got to work with what they got and for that we praise and thank God for them.

So on the matter of whether you should take up the job or not, be realistic and pray about it.

Anyway Bob these are some extra thoughts from our conversation the other day. All the best to your decision and your future and do let me know how it goes.

Let’s catch up again when you are free. I’m always a phone call away

Take care

Yours in Christ

Ying

strategic-thinkingIn his farewell speech to the Ephesian church elders (Acts 20:29-31) Paul warned them to be alert and watchful for false teachers who might sneak and try and lead people away from the truth. He calls them savage wolves. Wow! Pretty strong words! But sadly the church hasn’t taken this exhortation seriously enough.

However if false teaching was the scourge of the early church, as it is throughout her history, it seems today the big word floating in ministry circles is the word “strategy”. Strategy has  become the new gospel by which we measure what is false and what is true.

This emphasis on strategic thinking no doubt flows from the church growth movement and in many ways it has served us well. Yet judging from the way some people treat those who do not think ‘strategically’, it seems that not to do so has become something like being a false prophet.

I can hear it being yelled out today:  “Watch out against those who lead their churches astray away from good strategic ministry practices. Watch out against those who lack vision and have no idea where they want to see their church long term! Watch out against the leaders who busy people with pointless activities and bore their leaders in wasteful committee meetings. Watch out for these savage wolves! GUARD, GUARD, GUARD yourselves against poor thinking. They hinder the growth of people, endanger the health of the church and stop the spread of the gospel because they are no strategic, not focused etc. Savage Wolves!!!!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for strategy. I have no hesitation to say it is one of God’s great gifts. I love it and we need to keep working hard to hone this important skill. But there is always the very real danger that a good thing from God can become a demigod in opposition to God and when this happen it becomes a dangerous things for his people.  Think about the number of churches that have imploded because of vicious fighting over  how things should be done and how to grow the church.

The tragedy in all this is that often these fights are between good people who all share the same desire to glorify God, to grow his church and to bring the gospel to the nations. Yet, because this we have unconsciously elevated this thing we can “strategy” to godlike status it has become the cause of tension, fighting, arguing, personal attacks etc etc.

Thinking strategically about ministry is important. Resources are limited and so we need to think wisely about how to invest our time, money and personnel in to the areas that will give us “the biggest bang for our buck”. I wish more churches would think more carefully about this. But once our planning and strategising becomes the source of fighting and putting each other down or worse still, the cause of church splits then something has seriously gone wrong. Have we made something good into a god. Has strategy become our new gospel so much so that if anyone preaches another gospel other than the one strategic plan that we preach let them them be cursed?

When this happens then maybe it’s time to take a step back, put down our plans and bend our knees to worship the true and living God and to pray to HIM that HE will grow His people, that HE will grow His church and HE will spread the gospel throughout the world.

Just some reflections. What do you think?

failure-e1369855103499Paul tells us that a new believer should not be appointed as a leader lest he becomes arrogant and fall under the same judgement as the devil (1 Tim 3:6). While he talks about the new believer this is not something seasoned leaders should ever take for granted and drop their guard against. Tragically many seasons leaders have destroyed their ministry due to arrogance.

Like most people we are often called to pray for our leaders.  Unfortunately many of us, while giving lip service to this, do not appreciate how easy it is for leaders to cave in to arrogance.

In my observation, there are two dangerous positions all leaders have to battle with.

Firstly is the problem of failure. We often know how difficult it is to handle failure in our ministry. We know that our self esteem is to be found in the Lord Jesus yet when we face failure upon failure it is hard, extremely hard not to be envious or to compare ourselves with others who are much more gifted and more successful than we are. The temptation not to compare is gargantuan. I know for myself I suffered 5 yrs of deep depression. To everyone around me I was the same usual jovial self but to a handful of very close friends I was deeply depressed,  There were times when I was almost on the verge of quitting ministry altogether. My problem? Comparing myself to everyone else.

Every leader invariably faces failure but given the world’s obsession with success and how we play up and worship the successful people of this world it is hard, extremely hard not to be buy into this lie and become depressed at our failures. What makes it even harder still is how the church, who should know better, have also bought into this lie and joined in this chorus of singing the praises of successful leaders and ministries.

I often wonder why it is we give so much recognition and applause to our public figures, eg preachers, leaders etc,  who no doubt are a great blessing to the church, yet we fail to give due glorious recognition to the back room boys such as the AV, the cleaners etc without whom much of what happens at churches etc would not happen at all. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 12:24 that God has organised the church that greater honour is given to the lesser parts and yet all this seems like lip service in many of our churches.

Failure is certainly a major struggle for many leaders, whoever they maybe, and we need to meditate hard on what Jesus said in Luke 10:20

(ESV) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

If failure is hard enough, what is often not appreciated is how much success is an equally dangerous position to be in for many leaders. While we all want to see people grow in the Lord Jesus and to see many more people come to be saved, the danger of pride and developing an overinflated view of our own self importance as a result of our ‘successful’ ministry is always lingering on the edge, battering against the walls of our godliness.

Good and godly intentions can be so easily corrupted by our own sinfulness and become a mask for self promotion. Jesus certainly criticised the pharisees for using their ‘righteousness’ to earn the praises of men rather than of God”. Matthew 6:1-18. Good and godly practices becomes an instrument to blow our own trumpet masked very so skilfully by the seemingly humble words where try to put ourselves down and lift God up but in reality it is the opposite way around.

How can we know whether the success in our ministry is truly all about God and not about us? Listen to how we respond when people do not congratulate us or worse still forget us for what we have done. When we feel nothing we can be assured we are truly in it for God, but when we feel the pangs of discontentment because “they did not acknowledge what I did” then we can be assured it is all about us and not about God.

Being successful and being a failure are two very dangerous positions to be in for any leader. Is it any wonder that the bible holds up humility as one of the highest virtues to be cultivated in every Christian leader. When a leader is marked by genuine and deep Christ like leader then he neither despairs in his failure nor delights in his success but rejoices in the fact that his name is written in the book of life  because of what Jesus did for him on the cross.

(ESV) 17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

Pray for your leaders. The pathway called humility is a very narrow road that weaves it’s way through two very dangerous positions – failure and success.

Just some reflections

argument-essay-2

It is obvious that we are in the midst of a massive cultural shift that is dividing nations,  communities and relationships all around the world. Same Sex marriage,  along with all the other related issue ie Gender Theory, Transgenderism, Bathroom Bills, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association, surrogacy etc etc are the big issues on the table. How do Christians engage in this debate?

If we can learn anything from history we know that movements swing from one extreme to another extreme. It is a luxury to find ourselves in the middle of the swing and when we do so it only last but a moment.

Of course, in the way it engages with society and on social issues,  the church itself has gone from one extreme to another. On the one hand there was the rise of the monastic movement and its theology of total disengagement and withdrawal from the world. Swinging through to the opposite extreme was the rise of Liberation Theology and its theology of equating the gospel of salvation with political revolution. Of course there is always an element of truth in both extremes. For those who come from a very prosperous well-to-do upbringing there is something to be said for the monastic movement that taught the need to resist the hedonistic and consumeristic obsession of our western civilisations. On the other hand, for those in the impoverished corrupt third world countries it is hard to ignore the impact that corrupt governments have on the well being on our fellow humans.

That being said I’m pretty sure all of us would agree with the words of the Irish Statesman Edmund Burke ( 1729 – 1797).

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

Of course what to do is the question and that is the problem. What do you do? It is not an easy question to answer and this is evidenced by the fact that Christians have different opinions about how to respond to what is going on around us.

Having said this, it is often conveniently forgotten that the very fact that we can have this debate and discuss these issues in the public sphere in the first place is, to a large degree, because of the impact of the gospel on society. So the irony is that by shooting down the Christian faith (which seems to be the particular focus of the Marriage Equality group et al) is ultimately to cut at the root of the tree which has borne the freedom that we enjoy in the west.

But back to the question – How do we debate out this issue?

Here I think it’s worth reflecting on Paul’s words from 2 Tim 2: 23-25 about HOW to engage in the debate

[23] Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. [24] And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. [25] Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, [26] and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

A. Avoid getting into arguments. When people don’t listen or twist what we say it is very easy to start yelling back. We need to avoid this.

B. Be kind, gentle and not resentful. Again when we are being demonised and our words are twisted to say something we did not mean or when we are unjustly accused etc then it is easy and very tempting to shoot back in anger. Paul reminds us that we need to always be gentle and kind and to love our enemies as Jesus taught us (Matthew 5:43-48).

C. We need to teach. In other words we are not to argue our point. But neither are we to be silent. Instead we are to teach those who oppose us. What is the difference between teaching and arguing? An argument it is not about listening but about winning. It is about aiming for a quick win. It is about forcing them into submission. In teaching it is about informing their minds in order to instruct and change their hearts. In an argument I want to win the debate regardless of losing the person. In teaching I want to win, obviously, but by also winning the person. Learning takes time. Arguing is always instant. We are called to educate and to teach by presenting our position in a kind gentle manner and this takes time.

D. We need to teach the truth. Paul reminds us that love does not rejoice in wrong doing but always rejoices in the truth. (1 Cor 13:6) In other words keeping silent is not an option particularly if we truly truly care and love those around us especially those engaged in wrong doing. Truth is always healing and tranforming.

But of course when Paul talks about the truth it is not just about how to think about a particular social issue. It must also include the truth of the gospel. A full and biblical understanding of anything can never be complete until it is shaped by the world view of the gospel.

E. We must be patient: It’s worth noting that God is the one who will change people’s hearts and minds. What this mean s is that we need be patient. God has his timing and that maybe a long time before we see any fruit (if any at all).

F. But lastly we must also be very very prayerful because the problem is much deeper than different ideologies. There is a deep spiritual problem that defies logic. People are held captive by the evil one and it is only God, through the message of his gospel,  who will be able to grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth of the gospel and of the saving work of the Lord Jesus who is able to give all people a new life, which can never ever be fully, ultimately or eternally satisfied in marriage, let alone same sex marriage.

Just some reflections.

fb73d66c1ca7c67d1304bb06a8cceaedEnjoying our ministry seems to be a key deciding criteria as to whether we should stay or move onto something else that is more enjoyable. After all Paul’s tells us to rejoice in the Lord always. And if I can’t rejoice in the Lord always in my current post then why not find something I enjoy doing? If the ministry is getting me down and making me depressed, causing loss of sleep, head aches, stress etc, then it makes sense to move on.

But should this be the case? Maybe the question is not whether I enjoy the ministry but whether I’m convinced about the ministry, whether I like it or not. If enjoying what we do was the key deciding factor then is it any wonder that people are constantly moving around from one ministry to another. Finding something we enjoy is a very allusive things so it’s not surprising that find a ministry we will enjoy is equally as allusive.

But consider this. We often talk about the blessing of having children but if you talk to any parent most of them will tell you it’s  hard work, particularly if the baby is hard to feed, refuses to sleep and is crying all the time. Sure there are moments of joy but parenting is not walk in the park. It’s darn hard work. So why do they do it?  It’s because they love their children and see it as supremely important regardless of the heartache and the sleepless nights.

It’s the same with caring for our sick loved ones. I’m currently spending a lot of time having to care for my ageing mother. It’s hard work having to juggle time to care for mum, take her for shopping,vacuuming her house etc while trying to keep on type of my ministry. I can say it’s not easy. However I do it because I love her and see it as an honour to repay her for all the care she has given throughout my life. And for that reason I’ll put up with a lot regardless. But it needs to be said that I don’t particularly enjoy it, but I love mum too much not to do it.

It’s also the same with those who have a spouse dying from some incurable disease. It’s hard watching their love ones slowly whither away. Many times it can bring a person to tears and cause them many sleepless nights. Again, if you ask them whether they  enjoy doing what they are doing I’m pretty sure they don’t. But if you ask them why they are doing it, without a doubt they’ll say it’s because they love their spouse.

I think we need to rethink this philosophy of having to enjoy our ministry as the reason for doing our ministry. If anyone was qualified to speak on this it was Paul.

23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant
(2 Corinthians 11:23-29 ESV)

It’s hard to imagine Paul saying that he enjoyed all his beatings and cold nights . Yet it does need to be said that Paul was a truly joyful person. But his joy was not ultimately found in what he did but in Christ himself.

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this:that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

In other words what compelled Paul to do what he did and to endure what he suffered, was not because the ministry was so exciting and enjoyable but because he was constrained by the love of Christ. It is because of Christ that he was prepared to endure all manner of hardship regardless. He summarises it nicely for us in Philippians 1:21

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain
(Philippians 1:21 ESV)

We need to stop looking for our joy in our ministry. Instead it needs to be found in what Christ has done for us in and through his death and resurrection. Failing this we may find ourselves moving around from ministry to ministry, constantly on the look out for the allusive enjoyment that we long for.  Instead our joy needs to be fixed and focused on the Lord Jesus for when it is placed on him it then we will find a strength to keep us going through the dark days and the sunny days.

Jesus’ words to his disciples  when they came back from their missionary tour is something we all need to be reminded of. Having cast out demons and healed the sick the disciples were ecstatic to say the least. But Jesus tells them their joy was misplaced.

17 The seventy- two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven
(Luke 10:17-20 ESV)

That being said, if we do enjoy our ministry that’s great. Enjoy it and give thanks to the Lord for it. But don’t count on it being like this always. Paul reminded us that everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12). He also reminded us that we are in the last days when people will not put up with sound doctrine but instead gather around them teachers who will teach them what they want to hear (2 Tim 4:3). The fact of the matter is that for many of us ministry will not be a bed or roses but of thorns, filled with pain, heartache, stress, sleepless nights, fatigue and a whole host of many other things. Why should we do it? Because we are convinced of it’s importance and we are constrained by the Love of Christ.

So let’s stop talking about whether we enjoy the ministry or not. Instead let’s talk about why it is so important and about the Love of Christ that compels us to keep doing what we need to keep doing.

Just some reflections.