At Least I’m Consistent

Several people were laughing with me, at me last night at our church’s youth group.  I’m competitive, a little aggressive, love to have fun, and love the people around me.  Apparently, those things bring out something that surprises people a bit.

I’m loud!

Not just a little loud, but really loud.  I laugh loud.  I scream loud.  I encourage loud.  I groan loud.

If they really knew me it would not shock them.

When I go to a baseball game, I cheer.  When I coached my sons teams, I cheered.  I yelled at the referees (sorry about that one).  I shouted encouragement to players on both teams.

At the factory where I work, I’m loud too.  I say hello loud.  I shout down the aisle.  I laugh and joke at full volume.  I sing praises and lift my hands unashamed.

When I’m at church, I worship at the top of my voice.  I cheer for the pastor and the good things he says.  I applaud and whistle and jump and dance.

Do I deserve some glory for this?  Do I deserve a medal or some special recognition?  I don’t think so and it wouldn’t matter.  I will probably be loud on the day I die.

See, I get depressed sometimes.  I feel sad and alone.  I fail and do the dumbest things, sometimes.  I know that many people feel the same way and those around them don’t even recognize it.  Pastors need to know when they said something good.  My family needs to know when I’m proud of them.  And if I look a little foolish, I’m okay with that.

So, why am telling you this?

This week, this Sunday, today, can I encourage you to be a little louder.  Let people know you are glad to see them.  Let your pastor know he’s preaching the word.  Bless your family.  Love a little more.  Worship with all your heart our great King, our Savior.

That way, if you’re louder, I won’t seem so bad.

That Wasn’t What I Meant

A church from Pennsylvania replied with a request for more information and seemed genuinely interested in me as a prospect for their worship leader position.  I had been sending out applications for a couple of years already and had probably submitted somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty of the little gems.  Each time I thought God would lead them to notice me, to see the heart that I was bringing to ministry.  I felt I had no need to brag on myself musically and believed further that my passion for Jesus was the greater issue to stand on.  I was ignored.  By the few that did respond, I had been informed that, at the age of 37, I was too old.  Churches wanted younger pastors.  I thought that was just silly, paranoia on the part of older, jaded people that already held positions in churches.  I could not understand why they wanted to discourage me from ministry.  Wasn’t it their calling, their passion?

Then the response came from the church in Pennsylvania.  What did I think of ministry in the church?  How did I respond to authority?  What were my views on biblical truths?  I answered each question honestly and from my heart.  But I misstepped.  I informed the pastor that I believed in standing for the truth and that should a person in authority say something untrue I would consider it my duty to stand against that.  My words were taken as an underling who would fight with this pastor on any disagreement.  Not what I said or intended but that is how they were taken.  They were no longer interested.  I explained that I considered myself under their authority and considered it also my duty to submit to what God had placed over me.  Nope, still not interested.

I was angry.  I was hurting.  It was so unfair.  What was wrong with me?

Fast forward a few years.  I am working in a church as a volunteer and apply for the open Youth Pastor position.  Three candidates are being interviewed and I am one of them.  After the interviews are conducted I am informed that the position is being offered to one of the other candidates and that if he did not accept, and the other person wasn’t interested either, that they would still not hire me, considering me not good enough for the position.  I told them that though I knew my struggles and, in my insecurity, saw how they would be crazy to hire me, I also knew that with Jesus living through me they would be crazy not to hire me.  The pastor came to me to rebuke me for not accepting their decision and let me know how disappointed he was that I let my emotions so confuse my judgement.  Many were hurt by their decision including their chosen candidate, the youth, the pastor who lead in the decision and the church as a whole.

I was devastated.  Why did no one want me?  Why were they willing to make a bad decision rather than risk anything on me?  Why didn’t God intervene?

Hah!  Satan does not have the final word.  Defeat is always his plan but I am no longer his child.  Joseph said it so well, “You meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”

What a story!  What an adventure!