As we have tried over the years to make sense of what happened on September 1, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C., one thing is obvious: Life is uncertain and very brief.
The Psalmist agonized over the brevity of life, comparing each day to a handbreadth and man's life to a breath (Ps. 39:5). He concluded that his only secure hope was trust in the Lord. He was right!
Many of the people you serve are probably facing the uncertainty of a new year. The events of the past may have left them wondering if the bad guy often wins. The Psalmist, too, wondered about this. But he wrote, "I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more . . . Observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace" (Psalm 37:35-37). Our security then is that if we are a people of peace, God will provide for our future.
Jesus admonished us more than once, "Do not worry about your life." "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:25,27,34).
I have been so impressed by men and women like you who have stared evil in the eye without blinking and led your people with a sincere faith, affirming the assuring words of Jesus to not worry. The Psalmist knew that there would be desperate times — the earth itself might give way, waters would roar, mountains might quake — he even referenced the uproar of nations. But his conclusion was that even if all these things happen, the Lord Almighty is with us. God is our fortress! (Psalm 46) He is the rock you stand on. He is the source of your courage and boldness. He's why you can say, "Do not worry!"
The reality of a new year lies ahead of us. Let it be one of promise, and expectancy, of renewal and rebuilding, of healing and forgiving. Let it be a new day of passion for your call and the people you pastor. You serve a God of inexhaustible resources, which sets the stage for a marvelous new beginning. Happy New Year, my colleagues!
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.