Month: January 2015

Owning Depression

I have depression. Which really means that depression has me. It owns me.

Thursday. I wanted to do nothing. A pressure pushed down on my neck and back, bending me over. Breathing became toil. My Bride looked at my expression and knew: Today was a bad day.

I didn’t call up the friendly neighborhood depression salesman and say, “Yeah, Thursday? Could you stop by? I’m a little low on purposeless gloom.” And it’s not even that I forgot to pay the happyman. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t send the check for my monthly supply of glee. Can I make up the difference on next month’s bill?”

Nope. Depression owns me. And Thursday it decided it would be nice to pay a visit to its little slave and maybe hang around for a while. Make sure I didn’t think it was ignoring me.

But I’m a Christian. OK, I’m not supposed to be a grinning idiot at all times. I’m not some megapreacher that always has to look smarmy. I get that. Sadness is a part of being Christian. Jeremiah wrote Lamentations. Martha mourned at the grave of her brother. Christians suffer. It’s part of who we are.

But shouldn’t I have joy, no matter my emotion at the moment? Isn’t that what Paul said? “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again: Rejoice!”

Oh, never mind. It’s depression. We’ll just snuff out that joy. Can’t have that around. (more…)

When she has no ears, I cannot listen for her.

One year ago, a member cut me off from bringing her God’s Word. I fell to pieces. I became depressed to the point of not being able to get out of bed. This member refused to hear what God had to say and insisted on self-destructing. My response was despair.

This last week, a member cut me off from bringing her God’s Word. I shrugged, prayed, and made a plan for attempting to reach her. I have a clear demarcation of when I will disengage on my end if she continues to refuse contact. And emotionally? I’m frustrated, but far from despair.

Things change. (more…)

Go to the Cross

Go to the cross. When stressed, go to the cross. When rejoicing, go to the cross. When despairing, go to the cross. There see your sins. There see your Savior. Go to the cross.

I visited him like I usually do. He’s in tears. He keeps swearing. He doesn’t want to do that anymore. “Why can’t I just control my mouth?”

We dig deeper. Why is he swearing?

“I’m angry a lot.”

Why is that?

“I can’t control my body the way I used to.”

And it eventually comes out… he feels like he’s not a man. He’s scared and ashamed. He feels he’s not acceptable anymore. And his anger covers that shame and fear.

Go to the cross. (more…)

Change of Plans?

What’s better: Learning one-on-one, but isolated, or learning in a group, without the individual attention? What’s the better teaching situation for the pastor?

Typically here, we offer something called a BIC: a Bible Information Class. It’s adult catechism, basically. We go through the basic doctrines of what the Bible teaches in an orderly way. At the end of the sessions, if that person, convinced by the Holy Spirit, says, “Hey! That’s what I believe!” then they are welcomed into church membership. Usually I’ve got a class of five or six people that go through all together. It’s generally pretty awesome; those who go through together get close. It serves well to generate discussion. I love hearing what the participants ask in the sessions and how they all respond to each other. You can see the Holy Spirit growing them week-to-week.

The downside of a setup like that, of course, is that you move at one pace for everyone. Some people love asking questions; others really want to stay focused on the material. And that can cause some frustrations. You also have the issue of schedules; not everyone can show up at, say, seven on a Thursday night. (more…)

Reasons Your Pastor is Crying

You know why I get depressed?

Because a prospect chooses not to come to church.

Because so few members come to worship.

Because students elect to not come to a Bible study geared to them.

Because the sun went down.

Because I am so weak and not God and I can’t make people do what I know is best for them and they insist that God’s Word is pointless or boring or there are a million other things better to do and I’m not the Holy Spirit and I can’t give them Life.

Because you can lead a horse to water… (more…)