Dinner Is Prepared!

1dinner-tableImagine you have invited several couples over for dinner. You want to make this a very special dinner that they will find nourishing. You buy several recipe books to help you prepare great tasting foods. You spend several days preparing for this dinner, trying to make sure things are just right. You spend some extra money and time on plates and napkins so that the presentation of the food is enhanced as well. Finally, the day comes and you are so excited about these couples coming and feasting on the dishes you have prepared and worked so hard and long on.

However, they don’t show up. Instead of coming, one couple visited a sick relative. Another couple, decided to go on a trip. One couple had a hard day and simply was too exhausted to come. Another couple had a child playing volleyball and was absent. All the hard work and all the time spent to prepare a dinner just for these couples were wasted because they did not attend. All the food remains on the table because there is nobody to eat it. How disappointed would you be?

Don’t we do the same thing to our Sunday School teacher and preacher when they have studied and prepared all week long to feed us from God’s Word and then we don’t show up to eat? Can you imagine the disappointment of the teacher and preacher to see so many missing? We would not be happy if it happened to us but we have no difficulty in doing it to others.

We need to be mindful that if we do not show up to eat, the cooks may stop cooking.

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church

Our God Identity!

identity-crisisIf you think about it, our identity is always tied to someone or something outside of ourselves. Sometimes we are identified by our parents or grandparents, our children, our occupations, our size and many other things. For example, I am the pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church, the father of Justin and Kelsey, the husband of Denease, and the owner of Molly.

The same is true in the spiritual realm. The identity of a believer is always tied to God. True believers can never get away from the fact that they are His people and He is their God. God sought us and bought us. We are not our own but we are His and in every attempt to identify ourselves we are always identified to God

We are children and He is our Father. We are sheep and He is our Shepherd. We are the body and He is the Head. We are the building and He is the Chief cornerstone. We are the bride and He is the Bridegroom. We are the branches and He is the Vine. We are citizens of the kingdom and He is the King. We are servants and He is the Master. We are followers and He is the one Followed. We are the redeemed and He is the Redeemer. We are saved and He is the Savior.

Do you see the pattern in every identifier I listed? In every case God is supreme, above, and over us. In every example God rules and reigns over us. Our identity is derived from God and it is always a submissive identity to God. We bow to Him, we obey Him, we yield to Him, we worship Him, we praise Him, we follow Him, we thank Him, we serve Him, we feed on Him, and we glorify Him.

Believers, in the finished work of Christ, are always seen in the context of God and always God is to be exalted and glorified in our identities. We are never seen as separate from our God and never seen as greater than our God.

Nine Heartfelt Things Pastors Would Like to Say to Their Church Members!

preaching-cartoon1Thom Rainer surveyed pastors via social media, in person, by phone, and by email to find the nine most common things pastors wanted to tell their congregations if they could with some comments. I wanted to share them with you and add my own thoughts, which will be in bold under each thought.

1-“When you criticize a family member, you hurt me deeply.”
Please understand that neither my spouse nor my children are employed by the church. Do your best to treat them as regular church members, and do not place unreasonable expectations on them.
I don’t hear much of this at Lakeview, so this is not an issue with me. All my family is active in the church and I don’t think they are overly criticized, at least not that I have heard.

2- “I will have bad days, and it will show at times.”
A pastor is supposed to be “on” all the time. But it is difficult. I know there are times I speak out of turn. I know there are times when I’m too tired to listen well. I will try not to show my bad days, but I will slip at times.
Yep, I mess up and make mistakes. I am as human as everyone here, I often feel more human than anyone here. Please forgive me for my failures and pray that God would help me be a better pastor with fewer bad days.

3- “Not all of my sermons will be ‘home runs.’”
I wish they were. But with the number of different messages I have to prepare and preach in a year, I won’t always be the stellar preacher you want me to be. Indeed, I won’t always be the stellar preacher I want to be.
I rarely hit a home run with a sermon, but I want to constantly feed the church with the Word of God. Three sermons a week are challenging with the other pastoral duties but no one wishes the sermons were better than me. There may be few home runs but it’s not because I’m not swinging.

4- “I am sensitive about my salary.”
There are few people who work in a place where everyone in the organization is the boss. That is the nature of church work. But when you make disparaging comments about my pay and my related work, it cuts me to the core.
I have never heard disparaging comments about my salary but I’m sure things have been said. I never make money an issue, I have never asked for a certain amount, never asked for a raise, and work hard to make sure that I do work appropriate to the salary.

5-“I struggle when the church numbers are down.”
I know I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t derive my worth based on attendance and offerings. But when attendance declines or offerings drop, I question my own leadership at the church
This is a problem for me. I struggle with the lack of importance put on church attendance. When attendance is down, I certainly question myself. When people would rather do something else rather than come to church, I question myself. Can’t help it. I guess if you were pastoring, you would want people to be more faithful as well.

6-“I would love a true friend in the church.”
I’m talking about someone who would let me be myself, someone who wouldn’t mind if I let my hair down. It seems like everyone wants me to put on my pastor face all the time.
I have many friends here at Lakeview that I feel I can be myself with. We joke, laugh, and kid one another. This is not a problem for me at Lakeview. Not everyone will allow me to be myself, but many do. I look forward to church time because many are my friends.

7- “Please don’t criticize me or ask me to do something right before I preach.”
I put many hours into sermon preparation. I have prayed with intensity about the message. Please don’t tell me the worship center is too cold right before I preach.
There is the dreaded, “I need to talk with you” that comes right before I preach. That sometimes, bothers me. It doesn’t happen often enough for it to be a problem but it has occasionally happened. 

8-“I cannot show up at every place all of you would like me to be.”
I jokingly told a pastor friend that I wish I could be omnipresent, and he laughed and agreed. I love you church members, but it is physically impossible to be all the places you expect me to be.
I wish I could be everywhere but I can’t. I try to be at as many places and events as I can. But with the ministry obligations and family, I have limitations. This is one area where I need people to help me.

9-“I hurt deeply when good people don’t defend me.”
Every leader will have his or her critics; and that is certainly the case with pastors. I don’t expect to be immune from criticisms. But what hurts me the most is the silence of “good” members when I am attacked unfairly. Please say a kind word about me in response to the negativity you hear. Don’t let the few critics dominate the conversation.
This is absolutely true. it does hurt when people you have poured your heart into, listen to the critics and say nothing in my defense. There have been times where I have wondered why people did not defend me when people were negative. The silence does hurt. Some tell me negativity was expressed but they don’t say that they defended me, they just listened.

The Church I Long For!

evangelism-stilesI am currently reading the book “Evangelism:How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus” by J. Mack Stiles when I came across a portion that made my heart say a hearty amen. I thought I would share it with you in hopes you will feel the same affirmation in your own heart. May God help this be Lakeview Baptist Church for I too long for a church like this.

I long for a church that understands that it— the local church— is the chosen and best method of evangelism. I long for a church where the Christians are so in love with Jesus that when they go about the regular time of worship, they become an image of the gospel. I long for a church that disarms with love, not entertainment, and lives out countercultural confidence in the power of the gospel. I long for a church where the greatest celebrations happen over those who share their faith, and the heroes are those who risk their reputations to evangelize. I yearn for a culture of evangelism with brothers and sisters whose backs are up to mine in the battle; where I’m taught and I teach about what it means to share our faith; and where I see leaders in the church leading people to Jesus. I want a church where you can point to changed lives, where you can see people stand up and say, “When I came to this church two years ago, I didn’t know God, but now I do!” I long to be a part of a culture of evangelism like that. 

 

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church

The Danger of Spiritual Entertainment

stateofchurchAlso, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.   Ezekiel 33:30-33

What we need in the church today is the development of a culture that understands the danger of entertainment. We need to clarify the truth that a crowd of people is not an indication of ministry success nor God’s movement. Certainly, what was happening in Ezekiel’s day is being repeated in our day.

It seems from the text that Ezekiel was a popular preacher. The people were buzzing about him. They were telling others about him. They were inviting others to come and hear him preach. They themselves were attending the services. They greatly enjoyed his preaching. He must have been a great orator. They might have liked his style of preaching. Ezekiel describes it like a concert. They come to hear the pleasant voice and the preforming instruments. What He is saying is that they were enthusiastic about the entertainment value of the service. They came, they invited others, and they were excited only because they received some entertainment benefit.

Many churches draw crowds by appealing to this desire in humanity. People desire entertainment. They desire to have a good time and to feel happy. Churches provide the entertainment for the crowd because it will attract. They offer magicians, activities, preachers that are more comedians than truth tellers, and sermons that are nothing more than story after story. Youth groups are all about lock-ins, snowboarding, bowling, and any kind of entertainment that will attract young people. The theme seems to be “throw candy at them and they will come.” So we give them plays, movies, dramas, dance, anything to get them to come.

Maybe Ezekiel was a “James” preacher. Maybe he told them straight. Maybe he stepped on toes and he really “gave it to them.” Some folks like that kind of entertaining preaching as well. They come so that they can hear a man tell them what is wrong with everybody else.

Notice that the indictment on all of this is that while the crowd desires entertainment, they have no appetite for instruction. They hear but they do not do. They say how much they enjoy it but their hearts are not in it. They are filled with selfish desires and when the church ceases to provide the scratching for their itch, they are done and gone. They hear the words but they do not do them. Why? Because they came to be entertained not instructed. They came to get, not to give. They have no interest in doing what God commands of them.

They leave happy, entertained, and satisfied but what long-term effect will it have? What life-changing transformation takes place? The answer to both questions is none! Nothing changes. They leave the same spiritual way that they came. They go home, talking about how good it was, they invite others to come, they prepare for the next service, but they fail to obey the Word of God. They are so shallow. They come simply for the spectacle of it all.

As a pastor, I constantly am involved in self-evaluation. What I cannot use to evaluate my preaching is attendance or complements. Not even the absence of trouble in the church is a good evaluator. What determines our effectiveness of ministry is the degree in which hard hearts are transformed by the divine work of God. It is the degree in which the people come to know that Jesus is Lord. It is not in what they say, it is in what they do. Are they doing what He says and not just hearing what He says. How do they respond to God’s Word?

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church

The Duties of Church Members!

Church-membershipChurch membership is not just a formality. It is not just a checking of a box. It is more than just putting your name on a list. It’s much more than what many think. Church members have the duty to imitate and submit to the leadership of the church, to regularly assemble with the church, and to love and serve their fellow members. These duties are the means by which we grow in godliness and help others grow in godliness as well.

Hebrews 13:7, 17 says, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God:whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief:for that is unprofitable for you.”

God has provided leaders in the church who are given the responsibility to look after your spiritual well-being. They are called to lead, guide, and feed the membership of the church. They are commissioned to take care of and do what is best for the spiritual growth of those under them. When we join the church we are committing ourselves to submit to the leadership that God has called to take care of us.

Hebrews 10:24-25 adds, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of our duty to assemble together with our fellow members to provoke them to love and to good works. The primary way to encourage your brothers or sisters to love and do good is to encourage them in person as we assemble together. To join a church means you commit yourself to the duty of showing up when the church assembles. This verse reminds us that our assembling is for the good of others and should not be neglected.

Romans 12:3-18 reminds us that church members have the duty to serve one another. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you:bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Paul says that God has assembled a diverse group of people in the church. Each has a role of service to play in the overall body. Each is important to the rest of the members and for the health of the body as a whole. Church members are not spectators or cheerleaders, they are servants to every other member.

I go through great pains to make sure that our members know these truths before they join. I want to make sure they fully understand what membership consists of. I emphasize their attendance, their submission, their supporting the work financially, and their serving the body of believers. Sadly, many agree and then fail to meet these duties. The result is the entire church suffers because of their negligence.

May we ask God to help us be what we are Biblically supposed to be as members of God’s church. The church needs every member being a real member.

Possible Reasons For Evening Service Decline!

evening-serviceTim Challies offers his thoughts on possible reasons why evening church services  are in decline.

A diminished view of preaching.
More than anything else, an evening service provides a second opportunity to sit under the preaching of the Word. When preaching goes into decline, and when people demand and expect more of a service than preaching, it stands to reason that the evening service will no longer prove a significant draw. Not only that, but a pastor is far less likely to dedicate himself to preparing a second sermon when preaching has fallen out of favor. Where the pastor’s job description used to have preaching at the very top of the list, today preaching tends to be just one of many important tasks that consume his time and energy.

The growth of amateur and professional sports.
Sports dominate life in North America. Amateur sports have migrated to Sunday (a relatively new development) while professional sports are a Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening staple for many families. I sometimes wonder if Superbowl parties held at churches marked the beginning of the end, proving the ascendency of sport and the decline of church. Either way, unless you determine that you will not allow sports to interfere with church, sports will likely win at some point.

A diminished view of Sunday.
Blue laws have been rescinded, and this is important, I’m sure. But I think we can dig a little deeper. There was a time in both Canada and America where Christian influence pushed a form of Sabbatarianism into the wider culture. Even though few people were convicted by Scripture, there was enough Christian influence to carry the day. As a result, sports, leagues, activities, and other entertainments tended to be held six days per week rather than seven. As Christian influence has waned, many of these activities have pushed their way into Sunday. Just about every league, every activity, every hobby, now has a Sunday component.

A diminished Reformed influence.
While the number of Evangelicals may be increasing, the number of traditionally Reformed Evangelicals (by which I especially mean those forms that hold to a form of Sabbatarianism) has declined. The greater your commitment to a Christian Sabbath, the greater the likelihood that you will advocate an evening service as a means of redeeming the entire day. As Evangelicals have become less convinced about the Sabbath, many have become less convinced about making all of Sunday the Lord’s Day.

An amusement culture.
Our culture is increasingly driven by a desire for entertainment. Evening services are not fun and, therefore, cannot compete with the growing entertainment options. If we measure what we do by entertainment value, an evening service will rarely win.

 

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church

Sunday Evening Church In Decline!

9996877_origI was reading Thom Rainer’s blog post on the decline of the Sunday evening service in American churches. Many churches do not have Sunday evening services or have dropped the service from their schedule. Other churches have a Sunday evening service, of some type, but attendance is very low and in decline.

I believe that the inclusion of a Sunday evening service, or not, is entirely under the authority of the local church in their efforts to do what they feel is best for the spiritual health of the particular congregation. And I also think that the congregation should submit to whatever the church feels is spiritually best for them whether that is have a Sunday evening service or not.

I am amazed though, as I read the comments to the blog, of how comfortable people are with the absence of a Sunday evening service or less church altogether. The excuses range from business, tiredness, family time, small groups, ect. I am afraid the problem is “Whateverism.” I don’t think there is the commitment to the local church and to the body of believers that there should be. I think that many look at the church and think, “Whatever.” Church is not deemed to be important.

In the early church in Acts, the church meet daily. They must have felt a need to gather together, encourage one another, pray, fellowship, and feed on the Word of God on a daily basis. Yet today we think less of that is better. Do we really feel that we are better off or a brother and sister are better off, spiritually, with less?

I often hear the excuses of business and tiredness and other things to attend to. But the very same people are at volleyball, baseball, football, or soccer games several times during the week without one single complaint. In fact, they are not looking for less, they are hoping the team does so well they go to the playoffs for more games. And most of the children have perfect attendance to practice and games while parents sit in the hot sun for hours and complain about giving another hour to church. No mention of those things cutting in to family time or rest time.

I think the reason church services are in decline is that we just do not have a proper Biblical understanding of the New Testament church. We don’t consider our own spiritual needs nor do we consider the spiritual needs of others whom we are to encourage and exhort. We are to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together but we are to be gathering to encourage one another more as we see his return coming.

It really does not take much to get us to ditch a church service. Legal papers to sign, oh well, sorry church. Family comes in town, oh well, sorry church. someone needs help, oh well, sorry church. A little more work to do, oh well, sorry church. There is just no commitment to the church or those in the church. We even make idols out of mothers as we miss church because we are so tired from honoring our mothers. Some churches that normally have Sunday evening services canceled their evening service because of Mother’s Day.

We can come up with a thousand reasons for the decline in Sunday evening worship services but the main reason is that most just see no reason for it and have no desire to go. They do not feel it necessary for their own good nor the good of their brother and sister in church. They look at church and say, “whatever.” Church is not important!

The problem, as I see it, is that we are so busy serving ourselves that we have little time and little strength to serve anyone else. However, serving others is exactly what we are to be doing with our lives. And where better to serve others than in the local church. Our culture is eventually going to squeeze church out all together. And those who do not understand church will comply with the wishes of culture. People will do exactly what they want to do but I just can’t see myself, honestly saying, that I need less of church—less preaching, less Bible, less fellowship, less singing, less serving. I am too leaky to need less. In fact, I feel I need more. But that’s just me.

 

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church

4 Ways To Find God’s Grace In Our Failures!

FailureHere is a helpful article from Joe Horn on failures.

If you haven’t figured it out yet let me encourage you to see something that will greatly help you. Not all of your ideas are good. Some of them are bad. And God will often let you flail and fail out there for very good purposes. And when you fail do not lose the opportunity to find grace in the midst of it.

I believe this is especially important for pastors to understand. It’s one of the most important lessons I have learned in 16 years of pastoral ministry: failure is to be expected and learned from. I have misspoke, misstepped, and missed the mark in more ways than I can explain here. And failing hurts. Most of us of are afraid of it. Leaders in particular are afraid of failure since it’s always a bit more of a public spectacle.

I’m not talking about moral failure that disqualifies someone from the ministry, but ministerial failure. It may sometimes involve sin, but more often it’s poor judgment or simply the bad execution of an idea. And while we must always take ownership for our failures, we don’t have to be defeated by them. In fact, I have found that there is much grace to be found in failure if I will seek the Lord through it.

Four Ways to Find God’s Grace in Our Failures

Our failures remind us that we are not the Savior
When we fail it is a painful and helpful reminder that we are not God. This should be an obvious truth to us all, but in leading we sometimes begin to think that we can do it all. It is tempting to believe that only we can do “it,” whatever it is. But our failure can be a means by which we are reminded that we not only need God to go before us and give us success, but also that we need saving even from our best efforts in ministry. We are weak and frail, yet called to serve and lead others. Failure helps us to see this tension and return to and rely on the grace of God for all we need in life and ministry.

Our failures teach us humility
Humility is not a natural character train in us. We are born proud sinners who boast in ourselves and our plans. Humility, on the other hand, is something that God must develop in us. It is grown by the grace of God, and often cultivated through failure. For even when we fail God is at work. We might not have accomplished what we wanted to, or even what God has called us to, but he uses such circumstances to make us more dependent on him, less dependent on ourselves. He helps us to see our smallness in contrast to his greatness and in this the grace of God shines brightly. He loves us anyway. He will use us in spite of ourselves. Here humility grows.

Our failures encourage us to be learners
This is very important for leaders–to remain teachable. When looking for leaders and future church planters in our church humility and teachability are indispensable. Success can breed pride. It’s doesn’t have to, but it often does. Failure, though, reminds us we have much to learn. It orients us to seek wisdom and help from God and those he has placed around us.

Our failures are used by God to show a better way
Whenever I am asked about what I have learned in church planting and pastoral ministry I always explain that at least 50% of what I know I learned through making mistakes. I have often done things wrong before I’ve done things right. But this is the grace of failure. We can see very clearly, painfully clearly, that there are things to avoid, fight against, prepare for, and die over. And there are other things worth letting go. Failure always shows us there is a better way.
We will fail. A lot. But God will use all of it for his glory and our good if we are willing to find his grace in our failure.

Please Don’t Make My Funeral All About Me!

In RemembranceFunerals seem to be where bad theology and human glorification are so often manifest. Here is a fantastic article from Nancy Guthrie for us to consider.

 

I just got home from another funeral. Seems we’ve gone to more than our share lately. And once again, as I left the church, I pled with those closest to me, “Please don’t make my funeral all about me.”

We were an hour and fifteen minutes in to today’s funeral before anyone read from the scriptures, and further in until there was a prayer. Resurrection wasn’t mentioned until the benediction. There were too many funny stories to tell about the deceased, too many recollections, too many good things to say about the things she accomplished to speak of what Christ has accomplished on her behalf.

But then this wasn’t a funeral. It was a “Celebration of Life.” In fact there was really little mention of death or of the ugly way sickness slowly robbed our friend of everything. Christ and his saving benefits could not be made much of because death and its cruelties were largely ignored.

When we sit a funeral, I suppose few of us can resist allowing our thoughts to wander to thinking about who might show up when we are the one in the casket. We can’t help but think about who will speak and what will be said. Of course when that day comes, especially if it comes unexpectedly, we’re not here to express what we hope our funeral will say about who we were, or, more importantly, whose we were.

So I have decided to write it down. When I die, you won’t have to wonder what I would have wanted. You’ll know. You’ll know that nothing would make me happier than for my funeral to be all about Christ instead of all about me. Please make it all about his righteous life and not my feeble efforts at good works. Make it about his coming to defeat death and not my courage (or lack thereof) in the face of death. Make it about his emergence from the grave with the keys to death and the grave, which changes everything about putting my body into a grave.

Sure, my name will come up. You can express gratitude that God chose me and drew me to himself. You can thank him for transforming me from a spiritually dead little girl into a spiritually alive and therefore indestructible co-heir with Christ. You can praise God for his mercy that is wide enough and his anger that is slow enough and his love that is steadfast enough for a repeat offender like me to be drawn into his good graces. You can honor God for being true to his promise to cause all things to work together for my good and thank him for allowing me to see some of that good in my lifetime. You can thank him for his Word that is living enough and active enough to pierce deep inside me, dividing joint and marrow, exposing my shallow beliefs and hidden motives, going to work in me to renew me and give me the mind of Christ.

You can shout at my funeral if you want to. Shout praise to the God who raised Christ from the dead, providing a preview of what will happen to my body because I am joined to Christ. You can mock the defeated desires of the Devil by shouting that neither life nor death can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

You can cry at my funeral if you want to. But don’t think for a minute that my death is tragic. No matter how it happens, no matter when; it simply can’t be a tragedy. Leaving this world with all of its sin-sickness to enter into the beauty and perfection and peace of the presence of Christ is something to anticipate, not avoid. Death, for me, will not be the second-best option to a longer life here. To be with Christ will not be a minor improvement on this life, but “far better” (Phil. 1:23). You can cry, but I hope your tears are, at least in part, tears of joy that I have entered into the joy of my Master.

While someone might sentimentally suggest that I am looking down on all that is happening or listening in to what is being said, don’t believe it. My faith will have become sight, and my eyes will be fixed on my beautiful Savior. I will have found my place among “the spirits of the righteous made perfect” (Heb. 12:23), and my spirit will not linger here.

What you must not do at my funeral is make it all about me. What I want most is that “Christ will be honored in [my] body, whether in life or in death” (Phil.1:20). Those gathered that day have no need for a sanitized, idealized rendition of who I was or what I accomplished. On that day, in fact on every day until that day, “he must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

I am not afraid to look the king of terrors in the face,
For I know I shall be drawn, not driven, out of the world.
Until then let me continually glow and burn out for thee,
And when the last great change shall come, let me awake in thy likeness.
— The Valley of Vision

By lakeviewbc Posted in Death