I don’t do movie reviews very often, but when a movie either particularly shines or stinks I feel compelled to voice my opinion. Eat, Pray, Love is one such movie. And though when it came out in 2010 it received all kinds of rave reviews, it is my opinion that it falls into the stink category. Maybe the reviewers on IMDb have it right when 42, 745 users give it an average 5.4 stars out of 10. Then again, maybe that’s generous. This movie suffers from a fatal flaw, and to demonstrate what that is, allow me to summarize the movie in one sentence.
Have you ever had to wait on God? I’ll be honest. It sucks. There’s something just a little frustrating about knowing what God wants you to do and being stuck waiting on Him to make it happen.
History is full of innovators…people who saw beyond what box surrounded them and stepped out to dream of something new. It’s surprisingly easy to be an innovator, really. All you have to do is take something that’s familiar, look at it from a new angle, and then change it into something amazing.
Rather, I should say the theory of being an innovator is surprisingly simple. It’s actually making it happen that’s the hard part.
But should that stop us from trying? Absolutely not. We should be constant innovators of our lives. We should evaluate who we are and what we’re becoming, and find ways to innovate ourselves and our circumstances.
With the shadow of Hurricane Katrina looming in everyone’s minds in the city of New Orleans, Tropical Storm (Hurricane) Isaac is causing a lot of uncertainty around here. As I write this on Sunday night, the latest computer models give it a wide cone of uncertainty, from Pensacola to Morgan City. Each time they update the models, it seems to move a little bit further west.
New Orleans is caught in the middle of the cone. But where will the storm land? Will it actually go up the middle? Or will it veer west or east? No one is certain. And so we wait and we guess how to plan in case of evacuation orders.
It would certainly be nice if we knew exactly what to expect and exactly what was going to happen with this storm. It would be nice to have some certainty about this.
Six months ago I would have rolled my eyes. A year ago I would have snickered. Two years ago I would have laughed in your face. But I am reasonably certain God wants my next step in following him to be as a pastor of a church.
This has really been a labored point of prayer for some time now. My wife and I have been discussing it frequently. There has been some resistance to the idea and I think I figured out what it is.
You see, I grew up in rural south Mississippi. Pastors have an “image” there. Churches have a very distinct “personality” for the most part. Neither of these have I ever felt drawn to. I’ve discovered after being out of the region for nearly three years, that these churches are almost twenty years behind the curve when compared to the rest of the country. Many of them hold more tightly to tradition and the legacy teachings of their parents and grandparents than they do the actual teachings of the Bible. Many pastors fall into the “image” of the mild-mannered, suit wearing, always smiling, hand shaking, caricature of a real human being.
I am NOT and will NEVER be anything like that. And I think that’s why my wife and I have been resistant to the idea.
Don’t get me wrong. Not all churches and pastors in south Mississippi are like that. But most of the ones I grew up in were, and still many of the small country churches remain that way.
But here is what I’m called to do. And I take this straight from my new ministry resume:
I am passionate about teaching God’s Word. It is the sole reason I went to Seminary to further my education. I don’t care where I teach the Word, but I know that I am called to do so with every opportunity that presents itself. I believe the Bible is the ultimate standard for everything. I also believe that too many of our churches have fallen away from the Bible, preferring instead to pursue the traditions and beliefs inherited by them from others. Churches need a fundamental return to the Bible, and Christians need a better understanding of what the Bible means to their faith and why they believe what they claim to believe.
Pastoring a church is not about leading people, growing numbers, or “acting” the way pastors are expected to act. The pastor of a church should always seek to build disciples who go out and reach people. With Christ as our focus, the Bible as our guide, and discipleship as our objective, all of the other things will be added by default. We must return to the true beliefs of Christianity, teach the Bible voraciously, and create disciples to do the same. That is the job of a pastor.
So that’s where I am. That’s what I think God would have me do now. Teach the Bible and create disciples. Ultimately we are all called to do that, but we are not all in the same place in that journey. This is the next step for me. I’ve put my resume out there. Now it’s up to God to make it happen if this is what he truly wants.
But I can promise you this. Me as a pastor will not look like any pastor you’ve known. It will be me. Doing what I’ve always done. Just on a larger scale. Please pray for me as I seek to more closely follow God.