Summary: Pastor John teaches about God bringing you out from the battle and into a quiet place where you can here HIM whisper your name
When God Whispers Your Name
CCCAG March 5th, 2017
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:9-14
Preaching/working for years with no affect
One thing I was taught in bible school about the way that a pastor should present him or herself that I never agreed with was this idea that a pastor should never tell his congregation about the personal struggles that they have had.
I’ve always found that advice a bit troublesome as the bible tells me about the failures and struggles of the spiritual greats but conventional wisdom among pastors tells me to hid them.
I’m glad the authors of the bible didn’t believe that, because we’d lose so much depth in seeing that the people of the bible were just that- people.
Just think about David- The bible records his wins, his losses, and his huge mistakes for us to see.
The bible also shows us Jesus, our God Himself, struggling in Gethsemane, or becoming short tempered with his disciples, or violently angry with what went on in the temple courts with the money changers cheating the people.
So why am I as a pastor better than my master?
I’m going to break that rule today and share a very trying and even dark time of my life this morning because I think it could be encouraging to someone here or someone listening to the podcast who is also groping their way through a dark valley without any hint of the light at the end.
In December of 2004, I was working as a paramedic for a company named Medix. I had been working there for most of my paramedic career, and we were told right before Christmas that it was going out of business.
I was devastated- I had worked very hard there trying to build it up and make it work for years, but the owner wouldn’t listen to reason and ran the company into the ground and had no other choice other than to sell it to an even worse ambulance company. I decided to stay on for a bit with the new company and see if we could make it work but by mid-January most of the paramedics were leaving and it was obvious that this new company was going to be even worse. I applied to work at our chief competitor, which was a hard pill to swallow as I had been fighting with them for years to keep the business we had in Walworth county, but they were the only other paramedic job in the area. I started at Paratech in February of 2006 as a rookie paramedic- after being the ALS manager, or operationally 2nd in command (under the owner) at the previous company.
At the same time, things were coming to a head at our first church. We had been there for 13 years, and had served in an undefined pastoral and intermittent interim role for 6 years as they went through a few senior pastors. A new pastor had been called, and a sizable portion of the congregation was not behind him, and were coming to me complaining about it. After a very uncomfortable confrontation with the pastor, and then the board, I took it to prayer, and I felt the LORD leading me to resign from that church in order to allow the new pastor a fresh start without having me in the way. The word the LORD gave me was “You need to decrease so he can increase”.
However, I had no leading of where to go after that. Just was told to leave. No direction, no plan for the future, just obey and leave.
One problem with that…I was ordained through a local church credential, as soon as I left that church I was no longer a credentialed minister.
I had to lay down the title of “pastor”. At that time it felt like I had misunderstood God’s call, or maybe it was just for a season and that season was now over.
So….I’m 36 years old, and I was starting over in my secular career. Not a good place to be or wise career move.
And my ministry career was gone- the thing I had majorly sacrificed for, studied for, gone days without sleep for, used 80% of my vacations for the past several years for
Was poof- up in smoke.
In both jobs if felt like
All that work, all of the hours, all of the studying felt like I wasted 10 years of my life.
Men define themselves largely through their work, and although I had my family and marriage intact and relatively healthy, it still felt like I was in a life raft, adrift in the middle of the Pacific, with no hope of rescue or ever seeing land again.
In the biblical text today, Elijah is in the same situation-