Devotion

HURRY, the great enemy of our spiritual life today…

235For the first time in my ministry life, I was granted a sabbatical leave, a time to be refreshed and renewed, and I cannot say enough about how beneficial it was for me and my family to have this time. We are very thankful for it and now feel ready to get back in the saddle.

We took this time for some needed rest, enjoy lots of family time, and re-think our ministry life. It was definitely a time of evaluation but also an opportunity to do one of the things He does best: to mold, reshape, and refine!

Pastor Chris Philbeck cares a big deal for his staff, and before I left he gave me two book to read during my time away. One was Smart Money, Smart Kids, by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruz. This is a great book with incredible instructions and directions that are helping us re-think how we raise our kids to win with money. The second book was Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg.  This book was a fantastic way to start many of my mornings and also led my mind and heart to open to many things that I needed to hear related to my spiritual walk, as well as my ministry life.

As I started reading Ortberg’s book, a few lines caught my attention: “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” This is the absolute truth for many of us (I know it is for me). But as I read this line, one thought came to mind: “How is it even possible to eliminate hurry from our lives today?”

It does not take much thinking to realize that in life, we really do most of our activities in a hurry. Worse yet, we journey through our spiritual life in a hurry and end up missing tons of good things that God is doing around us and for us.

Once you recognize that this is actually happening in your life, you have to take action to change, and change is something we don’t always like to do or talk about.

We often are mistaken by the impression that from time to time, our life seems to be on cruise-control and everything is working great. There is a good chance that your busy schedule and the hurry-to-get-things-done attitude does not allow you see that God may be moving in a different direction. You will miss a great opportunity to experience the presence of God in your life in an amazing way, all because you did not stop to listen to His voice. You were in a hurry.

So I realized that a few things had to change, changes that would start inward, where they really take place, and have a lot more to do with my personal relationship with God.

I am thankful my church cares for its pastors enough to allow them a time to renew and refresh, and I won’t take for granted the opportunity I had to experience a time such as this. Now, it’s time to get back to work.

3 years ago No Comments Views

Making the most out of what God has given to you TODAY!

MPCCconcert2012Oct126-2Working with technology is not easy due to the simple fact that it keeps constantly changing . This makes it hard at times to decide which option is the “perfect” option for me and my ministry. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from working at a church is to make the most out of what God has given to me at that moment. Churches do not have unlimited funds, so from time to time, we will find ourselves doing things but thinking, it could be better if I had…

Since we all can learn from our mistakes, here are few of my own that helped me to grow and develop within my ministry. Maybe you will find yourself in similar situations wherever you are in your ministry today.

1. The COMPARISON Mistake

In the past, sometimes I’d compare my church and my ministry with others. And sometimes after learning how and what they did, I tried to duplicate the same formula in my ministry. It did not work. I did not realize that they were in a different context, had a different budget, their gifts were different, and their needs were different. Or they had a different vision then I had in my church. I learned that all churches have the same Biblical mission, but they each set out to accomplish that mission in different ways. When all we want is to copy what someone else is doing, disregarding our own vision, mission, and values, we open the door to doing things with the wrong motivation. This mistake becomes even bigger when we compare our ministry with much larger churches than ours.

When large churches count on multiple professional staff members for a single ministry and we don’t have that type of resource at hand, we forget that our volunteers can have a huge impact and fulfill the church’s vision. These volunteers may be the resource that God has placed in your hands today, so make the most out of it. I’ve learned that the best way to evaluate success in my programming ministry is by the impact that the ministry has created in the lives of those who God ordained to serve.

2. The SACRIFICING INTEGRITY Mistake

Dealing with people potentially leads to occasional conflict, and it is necessary to not delay any discussion or action that leads to a positive solution. In the past, sometimes I wanted to avoid conflict or the potential loss of a desperately needed volunteer, so I avoided confrontation (based on the Matthew 18 model). But after a while, we ended up facing the same issue with frustration and disappointments, which may lead to revenge and punishment instead of healing and restoration. Sometime there is no shortcuts to restoration, but by responding according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and biblical principles, people tend to respond more positively.

3. The DO NOT CRITICIZE ME Mistake

It is hard to respond well to harsh criticism. I’ve learned that at times like that our Christian character is really tested. The way we respond to it may determine who we are and how our walk with God is. After all, a response to any criticism goes beyond the issue in itself and ends up revealing who you really are. In that situation, make it as positive as possible. Listen to what they have to say, then take what is good and what can help your ministry to grow and let everything else go.

Regardless of the size of church you are serving today, God has called you with a purpose, and your job is to seek Him so you can fulfill that call. It may not give you all you have asked for, it make offer many challenges with people and situations, and you may have to endure a lot of criticism at times. But remember that your job is to make the most out of what God has trusted you with TODAY. Tomorrow, conditions may change, and you will be in a place that will require adjusting and adapting, so be ready for it. Changes will come and challenges will rise and the outcome will depend on how you will respond to what God has placed right in front of you. In John Maxwell’s book Today Matters, he says, “To be successful, you can’t just run on the fast track; run on your track” and for you it can be exactly the place where God has called you to be and serve. So seek Him to guide your journey, and you will most certainly experience full potential and fulfillment in your ministry TODAY.

5 years ago 1 Comment Views

Update on Pastor Chris…

As you know, Pastor Chris has been having a problem with his throat, and at the end of each service during this past weekend; we had the opportunity to pray for him. Today, we have some updates and would like to share with you.

Chris went to an Ear Nose and Throat Dr. on Wednesday, December 7th, because his right tonsil was extremely swollen.  The Dr. told him he believed he had a tonsil cancer.  In addition to the swollen tonsil Chris had a swollen lymph node on the right side of his neck just below the jaw.  On Thursday, December 8th, Chris had a needle biopsy of the lymph node.  A biopsy of the tonsil is scheduled for Thursday, December 15th.  Today (12th) the Dr. called and said the biopsy revealed cancer.  He believes the cancer started in the tonsil and spread to the lymph node.  At this point Chris will have the tonsil biopsy on Thursday and is scheduled to meet with a radiation oncologist on Monday, December 19th. Tests will also be performed to determine if the cancer has spread to any other part of his body.

We need to pray for God’s healing power as well as for strength and faith for Chris and Sandy as well as Andrew, Tricia, Kara and Grace.  Chris addressed the staff today and told them that great challenges also provide great opportunities.  His hearts desire is for God to be honored and exalted in everything that happens and for the church to continue to thrive during this time and he looks forward to continuing his ministry here at Mount Pleasant for many years.

We would like to see as many people as possible praying for Chris. Feel free to share this note with your friends and ask them to be praying with you.

If you would like to send Pastor Chris a note of encouragement, here are few ways you can reach him:

Mail:

Praying for You

381 N Bluff Rd.

Greenwood, IN 46142

Email:

[email protected]

Facebook:

Facebook.com/chrisphilbeck

Twitter:

@pastorphilbeck

 

6 years ago No Comments Views

Thanksgiving

As we stop to celebrate another Thanksgiving weekend, I cannot help but think of things to be thankful for, as we all do during this season.

God has blessed me with an unbelievable family. I have the perfect wife Laura who loves more than anything else and the best kids a parent can even ask for, Ethan and Winston.

I have always been thankful for all the things God has had provided to us as a family. I don’t know about you, but I can honestly say that I have the best job in town. I love my job, and with my job comes a bonus: a great church to serve and be part of.  Mount Pleasant Christian Church has been a great place for me and my family, and we like to call our church home!

This year, however, my family had something very special to be thankful for, and it will be the highlight of our lives for a long time. We  spent three weeks in Brazil, and Laura and the boys finally had the chance to meet their Brazilian family for the first time. It is hard to describe the moment when Ethan and Winston met their Brazilian grandparents for the first time, and from that moment the connection between them grew every minute.

Today, six months after our trip, both boys ask about VoVo and Vovo (grandparents in Portuguese) and when we are going back to see them. They remember the beach, the zoo, and the food, of course.

I thank God for all these things and look forward to see what he has in store for us. But for now, let’s stop for a minute and just celebrate!

6 years ago No Comments Views

Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go before the US immigration office for my last interview on my citizenship and naturalization process. I have been in the US for over 10 years now, and it is a true privilege to know that within sixty days, I will be able to say that I am proud to be an American.

7 years ago 1 Comment Views

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