I fill a number of different roles in my life. So do you. For the most part my roles are complementary and not contradictory. But sometimes they fight. And when they do, something has to give.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. It’s my primary identify. It means that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. By God’s grace I have turned from my sin and called out to Jesus for salvation. And believe it or not, God has heard my cry, forgiven me, welcomed me into His family, sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in me and given me eternal life. Amazing, right?
I am also a husband. Monday was my thirteenth anniversary. Just getting warmed up, I know. But still, it’s been a great thirteen years. I married way over my head. My wife is one of my heroes whom I strive to be more like. I have been made “one flesh” through the covenant of marriage with no other person except my wife. She is the most important person in the world to me. Hands down.
I am also a father. I have three daughters and son. They are not mine. They are God’s. But He has entrusted them to my care. In large measure they will get their first glimpses of what God is like through me and the way I interact with them. Either I will be giving them an accurate (though imperfect) picture or I will be deceiving them about what God is really like. If my kids grow up with a dad who has no time for them, who doesn’t know how to tangibly express steadfast love for them and who can’t implement discipline with grace, then they will be inclined to project those things onto God. And that’s the last thing I want.
I am also a friend. Friendship is one of the greatest gifts that can ever be experienced in this life. But in our culture (I don’t know about other cultures) we take it far too lightly. In order to be experience the blessing of friendship, we need to make time for it. We need to pursue one another and get to know one another and bear with one another. In order to consider someone a true friend, you need to log enough hours with that person so that you start to discover what they’re really like. You know, the bad bits as well as the good ones. And then you need to love them all the way, not contingent upon the bad bits changing but regardless of those things. And then maybe, after lots of time, effort, joys and hardships you’ll both look back and decide that not only was it worth it, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. I have a few friends like that (I went jogging with one this morning in the snow). But I could do better at being a friend.
And also, I am a pastor. It’s hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. Pastoring is not all about preaching (sadly, I used to think it was) it’s about people (duh). God, in His sovereignty, has placed me on an incredible team of elders, each of whom I admire immensely. I love serving with those guys. And He has allowed me the privilege of serving a local congregation that is made up of individuals and families who love Him. It’s a delight to serve at a church like this! I can’t believe I get paid to do this. We’ve grown numerically over the past couple of years and now I’m at the point where it’s getting tough for me to have a real relationship with all the wonderful people that make up our local church body. So either I need to farm that out to other people or I need to stop doing some other things so that I can pursue relationships with the people of this church. That’s not a difficult choice. Which brings me to my point.
I am a writer. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a hack. But still, I love to write. So far I’ve written one book of non-fiction (my dissertation), one novel (never published and never will be), about 350 sermons (give or take) and about 164 posts for this blog (but who’s counting). I will not stop writing sermons (hopefully to the day I die!) and I’ll probably always dabble with fiction. But the blog is optional. Not only is it optional, it’s starting to eat into some of the time that I should be spending as a pastor pursuing real relationships with real people and not just writing posts at them.
So…here’s a New Year’s resolution already fulfilled: less time blogging and more time pastoring real people.
So long blog. I’m a pastor. Maybe I’ll get back to you when I have more free time (ha!) but until then you shall lie dormant. Or, at the very least, you shall lie mostly fallow unless I have a really great idea that I’m just bursting to get out and can’t contain myself from writing a post (don’t want to be too dogmatic about these rules, right?).
If you are part of CrossWay Community Church of Milwaukee–I love you! I love serving as one of your pastors. Expect a call and maybe an invite for lunch or coffee.
If you’re my wife–I REALLY love you A LOT! Happy anniversary! You are the one. I’d die before I’d break my covenant with you (which, come to think of it, is exactly what we both promised in our vows).
If you’re one of my children–go clean your room! No, just kidding. I love being your Daddy more than just about anything else in the world. You make me so proud. It’s hard for me not to cry when I think of you (the good tears, Lois, not the bad ones). I will try my best, with God’s help, to be the kind of Dad He wants me to be. I will try to give you a good and accurate picture of what He’s like. And sometimes, I will fail. Ultimately you’re going to have to learn to look to Him and trust Him for all things. He won’t fail. Ever.
If you’re one of my friends–thank you. More that you know and probably more than I show, I thank God for you. My life is richer because of you. And I desire to grow as a friend in the years to come. Thanks for your patience.
Soli Deo Gloria
January 2, 2014