Elijah begged for death. He threw a tantrum. He pouted. He quit. He ran away. He had depression. Don’t believe me? Read I Kings 19. He was a broken man, shattered on the sin of others after thinking he had finally found glory on earth. After thinking he had finally won… only to be shown that his life was in even more danger than before.
And that depression-laced man… that man who longed for death, that broken, sad man… that is the man that God chose to take right to heaven without ever dying. (II Kings 2)
But when I leave, I want to go out like Elijah: with a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire.
I have seen death. Perhaps more than anyone not in a medical field, pastors are best acquainted with death. (more…)
I debated whether or not to go to worship. I mean, I’m visiting a college campus, and not for my own good. I brought a teen member of my congregation to tour my churches “college of ministry” to see if she might want to be a teacher. I personally think she’d excel as a teacher, especially in a mission setting. These two days “away” from ministry will be well worth it for her. However, it means I’m just sort of hanging around campus. I’m getting some work done on my laptop, but most of my work this week will end up being face-to-face.
So, it was time for chapel. All right. Let’s go.
And as I sit down, I see that it’s one of my favorite professors, Prof. Lange, giving the chapel. Excellent.
The hymn begins. And… oh my. (more…)
Lutheran pastors have a penchant for making their confirmation students memorize “pointless” Bible verses. The kids complain, maybe the parents complain, but they retain a certain configuration of words just long enough to vomit them forth on command from the preacher.
Maybe this configuration of words is familiar to you: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” That’s Genesis 3:15, and at least in my circles it’s regarded as a pretty important verse. I read it out loud in front of the congregation pretty much every Christmas Eve, in fact, and refer to it regularly in sermons.
This week we covered the fall into sin from Genesis 3 in my Bible Information Class, which is confirmation review or a membership class, depending on who you are when you take it. This particular day only two women were there. Both were raised Lutheran; one has been at this church most of her life, and the other hasn’t been to church in decades.
And as we walked through, we paused at this verse. (more…)
I’m done. I’m sick and tired of fighting.
It’s not a mental thing. It’s not conscious thought. It’s not even emotion in the way I normally experience emotions. In some ways it’s like a color lens put over a camera. Except the camera isn’t how I see things or even how I process things; it’s a lens over my heart. And that lens is futility.
I know better. I see God doing amazing things. He has accomplished so much in the hearts of his people, ruling in his kingdom of grace.
It doesn’t matter what I know. The lens doesn’t cover my intellect.
The week has been fine. Better than fine. A breath of fresh air after a month of hectic, frantic activity: Several big evangelism events. A preaching symposium. A funeral. A rally. A few people in the hospital. Visits from friends. And this week, finally, some rest.
Yes, a few days were busy. Tuesday in particular I was with people all day long. I lose energy with people, even people I love. I need alone time. That’s not the cry of some pathetic child looking for attention; I recharge in solitude. So at the end of that day, when I was down, when the lens of futility revealed that nothing mattered, I knew I simply needed time alone.
But the lens has remained, and I see everything through the lens of futility. (more…)