Sunday Summary 4.24.2011 (Easter Edition)
This past Sunday was probably my personal favorite Easter Service in the last 5 years. Am I saying this because of the souls saved, huge number of visitors or the great music? No. Yes, all those things took place, but to be transparent with you, I felt more relaxed and like the Lord was pleased following the service than in recent years.
Only a pastor can understand the “pressure to perform” on an Easter Sunday. What I mean by that, is because of the very nature of the day and the emphasis we all put on those who might be attending, there’s a fleshly temptation to feel like there is a certain level we must attain in order for the day to be successful. (In other words, many saved, many visitors, no glitches, everything on a “high note” so to speak.) As a result of this, there have been Easter services where when one of the things mentioned didn’t happen, I ended the day feeling like I missed it or messed something up, therefore allowing the devil and the flesh to gain another victory. Going in to Easter, therefore, has always been somewhat “hesitant” for me as a pastor, as far as my part (the preaching and invitation) is concerned. This year I went into Easter with the same approach I try to take every Sunday…pray, study, pray, preach, and leave the workings of the Holy Spirit to Him. One might say, that seems easy enough, why change it on “bigger” Sundays? We shouldn’t, it just happens (at least to me.)
Any sports player wants to “perform” their best in front of the home crowd, or in front of the bigger crowds. The more people there are to watch them, the more pressure they put on themselves to raise their level of performance. I know this, and as far as sports are concerned, I’m the same way. But here’s the difference…for the most part, I can control what I do on the field or the court. My performance on the field is determined by my level of practice and then actual performance during the game. To be honest, I love that kind of pressure… Give me the ball with .o8 seconds left on the clock, I’ll take the shot! Penalty kick in last minute of play?…sure, give me a chance to block it! Down by a run with bases loaded, two out and in the bottom of the ninth, yep, I want to be at the plate! That kind of pressure is welcomed and enjoyed, personally speaking. You see, those circumstances and opportunities I can somewhat control…I can deal with those kinds of “missed shots to win it” opportunities, but when it comes to the souls of men, I have no control. Not that I want it either…now, yes, I must be prepared, my delivery needs to be adequate, etc, but as far as “saving people”, that is not something I can manipulate, although many try on a regular basis. That is one of the dangers when we feel like we “have to perform to a certain level.” So, I can pray, prepare and preach to the best of my ability (and should) but that doesn’t guarantee the “results” my human mind sometimes expects.
I share all that to show how the Lord worked in my heart this year. To many, especially other pastors and preachers, this may sound elementary and somewhat “telling” on my part. That’s okay, because at the risk of those thoughts towards me, I want to help those young preachers in my life, that I work with, that I might be training, and others who have been/are in my shoes. One day I might “grow up” and these types of things never bother me, but to be honest with you, I hope I never “outgrow” the fear of letting myself mess up what He wants to do. I do want to continue to learn to do my best and let Him take care of the workings of men.
I share these things also, so that the people God has given me the privilege to pastor, as well as other folks in other churches, can know how to better pray for their pastor, especially on “bigger Sundays.”
To wrap up this rather long
summary report, I want to praise the Lord for giving me great liberty on Sunday. I want to praise Him for the guests and members we were able to minister to. I want to thank Him for the meaningful Lord’s Supper in the PM service. I want to praise Him for the impact of the music ministry, the special force of greeters and ushers, the reinforced nursery and junior church crews, the Pastor’s Prayer Team, and especially thank Him for our church members who invited someone to be with them. Church, it is a high honor to pastor the great church of Victory Baptist, and I love you…thanks for praying.