I have a confession to make. For the past couple of years I have come to realize that I have not been my true self. This past season in pastoral ministry has been very challenging. It has taken a toll physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. The rude awakening came for me this past October.
Our District sponsored a workshop where the speaker was addressing many things included burn-out. He presented a check list of ‘10 signs of burnout’. I checked off all 10. I laughed on the outside, but was dying on the inside.
This may come as a surprise to the ears of some folks around me. We can be good at wearing masks at time. However, there is one who knew all along … well maybe two. My wife, and Holy Spirit. (Those two are often close together it seems)
Feeling and hearing from my wife who challenged me to move past the past, and embrace what God desires to do was not always music to my ears. Yes, I wanted to move on; Yes, I desired to see breakthrough in and through the church … but was it even possible?
What I did not realize was this: It needed to start within me.
This past summer I had approached two men in the church to be my prayer partners. I asked them to pray for me specifically. They agreed gladly.
Next, we began to ask people in the church to specifically pray for the Presence of God to break in. People responded and a weekly prayer group was formed.
Within a couple months, we planned an all night prayer event at the church. People came. I remember asking God before this prayer event a question: Will you make me new again? I knew that I needed His Transforming Presence to come and touch my life. He did!
As a church leader, I have endeavored to do the Transformational Church thing. For the past five years I read the books, went to the conferences, implemented strategy, brought leaders with me, worked on small groups and attempted to address the permeating culture of the church. It was exhausting. I tried to lead from a position of knowing that this needs to be done in order for this local assembly to survive, thrive and grow.
However, with all of my efforts it seemed as though every step forward was greeted with five that went backwards. It was as though the walls were caving in all around me and the only one noticing or caring was me.
But that was part of the problem. The challenging years of criticism, negativity, doubt and conflict had left my spirit wounded. I needed to be made new. Thankfully, Jesus does this very thing; He makes all things new.
Within the Revelation of Jesus, John hears this coming from the Throne of God …
“Look! I am making everything new.” (Revelation 21:5)
Greek experts tell us that the ‘making’ is something that was happening then, is happening now, and will be happening until we are re-united with God in eternity. Jesus is making all things new now! This includes me.
I do not write this for any other means, other than to simply give you a glimpse into my spirit journey over the past five years. Trust me, for a conservative Ottawa Valley boy, being transparent and vulnerable like this generally does not happen.
However, I am committed to taking all things, including myself, into the life changing Presence of Jesus who has promised to make all things new.
As a church family I can say with confidence that we have turned the page. The past is the past. We are on a course that will bring transformation, new life, and new growth to our faith family and community. I acknowledge that many things needed to be done to get us to this place. I am thankful for the journey … I think. However, I am more thankful that I will experience something truly supernatural here.
The course is now set. We are moving forward with the Presence of Almighty God who desires to and will make all things new for those who will allow it. Together, with The Spirit we call to our Lord and Savior to come and do only what He can do.
Raise your voice no matter where you are or what circumstance you are in. He will come. Jesus walks among His Church. He is The Light. His Face will break through any darkness. His voice is more powerful than any other on earth or in the spirit world. His is the Alpha and Omega. He is my beginning and my end. He is also yours.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come! Maranatha.