I don’t know if I’m feeling better or worst, or just that I’m more aware of my symptoms.

In December 2016 when I experienced pain in my stomach area, I went to see my doctor. She did blood work and ultrasound on my pancreas and everything was normal. I self-diagnosis that it was some digestion issues.

When I started googling about that, I realize many symptoms that I experience as “normal” were actually indications of LPR or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease. I’ve probably had LPR for a long time and didn’t recognize it. It’s the silent reflux disease.

The most evident symptom is the feeling of lump in my throat that doesn’t go away. It doesn’t hinder my daily activities. It doesn’t obstruct swallowing. So I ignore it and it became “normal” to me. I used to try to gag myself to get it out, and of course it doesn’t work. Now I know it’s really bad to gag yourself. Now I know the constant feeling of a lump in my throat is a LPR symptom.

Another symptom is post nasal drip and sore throat. I thought post nasal drip is the normal effect of allergies or being in a dry climate area. In fact, I thought it was weird that my husband doesn’t have post nasal drip. I thought everyone has it. Now I know: along with the lump in throat feeling, the constant post nasal drip and sore throat are LPR symptoms.

These symptoms were brought to the forefront because since December I’ve had discomfort after eating – bloating, more apparent feeling of a lump in my throat, and indigestion. I’ve tried Prilosec both prescription and OTC. But I’ve never taken a full course because it makes me nauseous. After reading more about LPR, I am pretty convinced I don’t want to take any more meds.

I know, I know, a little information from forums and WebMD is a dangerous thing. Yet I am relieved to find that I’m not alone, that a lot, I mean A LOT of people have symptoms like mine. Now I don’t have to go to my doctor, go through my list of nebulous symptoms and have her think I’m crazy.

But of course, the more stuff I read, the more conflicting info I get. I totally understand that what worked for some people may not work on others or on me. But I can’t help but feel such hope when someone says on a forum, “My symptoms were gone within 3 months of taking this [insert the nonGMO, organic, free-range, superfood supplement].” And of course with one click on Amazon I buy that supplement hoping that my symptoms will too magically disappear. And of course that hasn’t happened.

I should expect it to be a slow progress to recovering. I heard an encouraging note on a podcast – your body is always trying to heal itself. Help it along with good food and the body will respond. That sounds pretty reasonable.

Next, I’ll record the ways I’m trying to be good to my body.

 

12
Apr

I inherited my mom’s very heavy down comforter. It weighs 14 pounds (yes, I weigh it).

I love that blanket. My elder daughter is in line to inherit it from me.

But that blanket is too hot to use, even in the winter, even without the heater on at night. But I love the way the blanket feels because it’s heavy. It feels like I’m being hugged. Maybe it’s a security thing, like I’m protected.

Apparently I’m not the only one who loves a heavy blanket. There is in fact a researched based explanation. “Deep pressure touch stimulation (or DPTS) is a type of therapy that almost anyone can benefit from. Similar to getting a massage, pressure exerted over the body has physical and psychological advantages.” Now there’s an official name for the reason why I love my mom’s heavy blanket!

For his birthday, my husband bought me a weighed blanket (yes, I got a present on his birthday. Awesome husband.) I’ve been using it for the last couple days and I do love it. It’s not fluffy like the down, but it does have that crushing feel that makes me feel secure.

I don’t know if it’s the blanket, or it’s coincidence, or it’s psychological, or the research is right, but I slept better the last couple of days since I got the blanket :)

P.S. I got a 10 lb blanket which is suppose to be suitable for a 90-100 lb person. I could’ve gotten a 12 lb blanket (the heavier the more expensive), but I went on the cheaper and safer side in case I can’t breathe under the weight.

I borrow this book from HL since I’m interested in the evolution of the Asian American church. I’ve read online articles by DJ Chuang and generally like to read his insights.

I skimmed through this book because I don’t really want or need the details. I have many other books I want to read. And since I am generally familiar with Chuang’s material, I didn’t need to read it in detail again.

The book is basically what I thought it would be. The insights are centered mostly around Asian American churches in California. I grew up in the generation when Asian Americans churches were emerging so I know most of the back stories of churches he talks about. It’s interesting to see what I experienced put on paper by someone else.

If you don’t know much about Asian American churches, this is a good one to read.

 

My son had been talking about living on a farm and recommended this book. After reading it, I want to live on a farm too!

I don’t have cable TV so I’ve not seen Fixer Upper. I love the book – read it in 3 days while other books are waiting in a stack. God worked in their lives in amazing ways. It encourages me that young couples like this put God and family as top values to live by. It also encourages me to go do something crazy – not sure what yet, but I definitely want to re-do my yard now.

The subtitle is “Leading change in the church”. I could’ve used this book when I was at my previous church. Though the results of failing to make the changes we tried to make would not have changed, it would’ve prepared me better. From what I learned from that experience, I did a better job at making changes at my current church.

There are many good principles as well as practical advice in this book. Some may seem obvious, but it’s good have it laid out on paper. There is more that can be said, but for a small readable book, this covers quite a lot.

A few take-aways:

5% eager for change

20% open to change

30% followers of the most convincing voices

25% resistant to change

20% highly resistant to change

The authors says the numbers are not precise, but the proportions are close.

I thought it was just Chinese churches that are resistant to change, but apparently not so.

I am of the 5% who like changes – “Change is not always better, but better always requires change.”

“How much should leaders communicate the vision and the change needed to fulfill the vision? As a rule of thumb, once leaders are sick and tired of hearing themselves say the same thing over and over again, that is the beginning point of effective communication.” – This I have not done!

“Many churches move from a dynamic Great Commission body to a religious country club…That’s the natural state of most churches in America today…change will not happen without intentional outward movement…” – My senior pastor sees this. He says the way to move together is to have an outward focus.

 

06
Feb

I am talking to a friend about where she plays tennis, I’d like to join her.

“What do you wear to play?” she asks.

“T-shirt and shorts, is that ok?” Why does she want to know what I wear??

Then I hear a vibrate noise and I check my phone – but it’s not my phone, no one is calling me.

My friend leaves, annoyed that I checked my phone while talking to her.

Where is that vibrating coming from?

I check my pager – yeah I know, I have a pager, in my pocket. It’s not buzzing.

I check other devices I have, no buzzing on any of them.

Next thing you know, I’m back home in bed and my husband says, “Check the massage bed control.” Nope, massage bed is not on. Wait, I have a massage bed?

Husband says, “Check your alarm.” Oh, my alarm is going off…I’m suppose to wake up…

Ah…time to wake up! LOL

Interesting how reality gets incorporated into a dream.

This book is under the J section of the library – for Juvenile. My friend used this historical fiction in homeschooling her sons. I read it to consider using the book to teach English in Taiwan.

The historical setting is in the days of Jesus. These are a few short conversations between the main characters and Jesus, and I think they are in line with what Jesus might have said. I wouldn’t say it’s heretical to put those words in Jesus’ mouth for the sake of a fictional story.

The story gave me some insight into the Jews’ experience of oppression under the Romans and the hatred they live with daily. I understand more about the Zealots. It even helped me understand more about the ministry of Jesus.

However, I don’t think I can use the book to teach English in Taiwan. It’s too hard to explain all the context with someone with zero background in Christianity and low level English.

 

 

The subtitle is “Hopeful reflections on the challenges of parenting children with special needs.”

Recently we’ve had a couple more families with autistic children come to our church. I am glad God find us worthy to care for His special children.

I read this book to better understand the families. The authors have two autistic children. Actually, the attitude adjustments in caring for special needs children is not much different than in caring for any children. But these parents have a heighten awareness of their need to examine themselves as parents whereas most other parents can easily add children to their list of other life priorities.

These are some insights that I relate to:

“There are days, even now, when it’s tempting to blow my own trumpet, whether by looking for recognition in the wrong places or by belittling the parenting trials that people around the face. In a room full of women bemoaning the fact that their children won’t try broccoli, it can be tempting to throw in a conversation bomb like “Yes, but does anyone have any strategies on stopping smearing?” The truth is, as a parent, you wield a certain amount of power to make people feel bad about their own challenges or to make them live in awe and admiration of yours… But the life sacrifices are ultimately for an audience of One.” (p 40)

“I love my kids most not by loving them the most but by first loving God. As soon as I take my eyes off him and my attitude falters and I begin to believe that I alone must push for them and control their destinies, the unbearable weight of playing God soon becomes apparent.” (p 43)

“in God’s global mission, the role of extraordinary people doing exceptional things is probably as far smaller than we imagine – and the role of ordinary people doing everyday things is certainly far greater than we imagine…Carl Trueman was right: “My special destiny as a believer is to be part of the church; and it is the church that is the big player in God’s wider plan, not me.”” (p 48)

“if I go into our conservatory and I can’t see Xindel, our giant-sized golden retriever, I can be virtually certain that he isn’t there. He’s so large that if he was there I would be able to see him. But if I go into a conservatory and I can’t see an amoeba, that doesn’t really tell me much… In the same way, the fact that I don’t know why suffering exists doesn’t really tell me much about whether there’s a reason for it. If God knows everything, and I don’t, the chances are that the reason for suffering might be more like an amoeba than a retriever.” (p79″)

At the end of the book there are recommended resources. Since I plan to give this book to one of the families with autistic children, I am going to put here the ones I want to check out later -

EllenStumbo.com

The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic

Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope edited by Tony Karalee Reinke (a compilation from various women)

 

 

Last Sunday, I wanted to go to evening service at Grace Community Church, an hour away from my house. It would kill 3 birds with one stone – take my daughter back to school, watch the baptism of her friend, and enjoy a time of worship since I was not able to attend the service at my church.

As it turned out, we were half an hour late, because it started at 6:00pm and we thought it was at 6:30pm!

I missed the singing that I was looking forward to. I missed the baptism that I was looking forward to.

I only made it in time for the offering and the sermon.

I was frustrated! “I didn’t drive an hour to listen to a sermon that I could hear online!” “I wanted to enjoy the music led by an awesome band and professional worship leader!” “I missed the whole worship!”

As I sat there grumbling, God asked me, “Why do you attend worship service? Why do you want to witness the baptism? What is it to you?”

The answer should be what every good Sunday School student knows – Jesus.

But my attitude showed that Jesus was not the heart of my worship. I was treating worship as a church service – there is a big difference between the two.

I was there that night expecting to sit and be happy, to be emotionally moved, to “feel God’s presence”. I want to see the baptism because it’s fun. That’s a church service to meet my needs. Is that worship?

I treated worship service like an event, similar to going to a concert. I wanted to get there on time so I don’t miss the previews. I drove an hour and I wanted to get my money’s worth. Is that worship?

God could’ve easily prompted one of us to check the time on the website so we wouldn’t be late. But he allowed us to be late so I can face my wrong attitude.

I don’t want to attend church service anymore. I want to worship. I want to honor God. He deserves and demands more than a church service.

02
Nov

There were many highlights from our Taiwan trip, here are just a few thoughts, not in any particular order:

First day we landed at 6am, typhoon Megi hit at around noon. So much for the vision trip to Hualien Mennonite hospital – all trains were cancelled!

We stored up with instant food from 7-11 conveniently next to our hotel in Taipei and holed up there all day. The highlight was watching the street from our 4th story window of trees bending low and occasional people getting on and off the bus. Yes, people were still out there. Stacy and I wanted to get the full experience, so we ventured out of the front door to get a feel of the wind and rain. Unlike what you see in the movies, it wasn’t strong enough to push us backwards. But then we were pretty protected between tall buildings.

The 3rd day when the all clear signal was given, the streets were packed with people – the typical sight of the Asia we know and love. Our hotel was across from the Main Train Station, so we were able to walk to food and shops. The underground network of trains and shops was amazing. We didn’t have to go above ground for anything if we didn’t want to (much like Tokyo).

Talked to Linda, a 38-year-old single missionary from Australia. She’s been in Taiwan for 6 years. I asked if she struggled with coming back to Taiwan after her home assignment 4 years ago. She said, “Of course, every day!” But she obeyed God and is happy that she did come back to Taiwan. Yes, missionaries struggle too.

Passing out flyers to invite students to our English conversation group, I had one more flyer to give out. I asked God to lead me to someone. Then I spotted a girl sitting by herself. Her name is Chia. She said she would come, but I wasn’t confident that she’d actually come. But she did come and stayed for quite a while. Then I saw her a week later at the Rachel Liang concert crusade. After I came home, I got a text from the 1-year missionaries that she’s been back to the cafe and they’ve been meeting up with her. Praying for her salvation!

Dora is a local church member who volunteers at National United University. She came to Christ as a college student. Due to her own struggle overcoming depression, she has a heart for students to know Christ. She has 2 young children, her daughter is only a few months old. A church members takes care of her children while she comes to the campus once a week to meet with students that she has befriended.

We happened to talked to one of the students at the cafe that Dora meets with. She accepted Christ when our team member shared with her. She texted Dora that she was excited that it’s the 4th time she’s met Christians! Dora was a sower and we get to be reapers!

After giving my first message and altar call on the night of the first crusade, I felt a bit discouraged because right after the altar call, the MC started a raffle drawing, the entire mood was changed and it seemed the gospel didn’t make much difference. As I talked in the back with the interpreter, he said, “It’s never a bad thing when the gospel goes out.” We prayed together and once again affirmed that it’s not our efforts, but God who works to change lives.

Prayer walking helped me to develop my heart to see the world as God sees. I should do more prayer walking here, not just on mission trips.

I decided I like Chinese food now. I used to say I’m ok with Chinese food, but now I’ll say I like it. But only the Chinese food in Taiwan!

We met several couples on campus where the girl is a Christian and the guy is not. Being that it’s rare to be a Christian, it is probably pretty hard to find a Christian guy. Pray that those who become Christians will be able to find Christian spouses.

 

 

18
Oct

That was fast!

It’s always that way, isn’t it? The anticipation is slow, and then before you know it, it’s over. I knew this would happen so I tried to take one day at a time and savor each moment. Even then, it was too fast to take it all in!

None of us were ready to come home! That’s a good sign that we were enjoying the ministry. In fact, I was not missing home at all, not even In N Out (that was our first meal on American soil).

In summary – God gave us plenty of grace and answered prayers – nothing bad happened, it was all good. Here are my reflections:

  • I felt useful. This is important to me because I don’t want to go all the way there and not make a difference. I don’t want to waste time with doing only one thing a day. So in fact, we did multiple things a day i.e. evangelism, lead Bible Study, English corner – in one day.
  • I am strong enough. This is important to me because I think I’m physically weak. I am afraid I am not a good traveler, that I would get sick or can’t keep up. I don’t want to be a hinderance if someone has to take care of me. But God answered  and gave me strength as needed. I am also afraid that my physical weakness will keep me from going on mission trips again. But God affirmed that I can go again – either short or longer term. We taught the kids Isaiah 40:31; it was the verse for me, with the tune that will be stuck in my head forever!
  • God has prepared everyone with a life story and experiences that will be used by him to bless others. Each member was able to use their skills and gifts in different ways. While 4 of us do not speak Chinese, we contributed in different ways. We took different parts and gave different ideas. We also have different weaknesses where we had to be patient with each other. I am still learning that.
  • I had fun. There was joy, laughter, and rest at appropriate times. This is important to me because ministry should be joyful even when it’s hard. And it was. Admittedly half the team is my family, so that definitely made it much more fun for me. I’ve always wanted to go on a mission trip with my family. The downside is that I may have treated everyone like they were family, with my filters down. This is both good and not good. Formal courtesies that you normally don’t use with family were put aside. So the other team members who are not used to me like that may have been offended. I don’t know, I am just guessing, so I watched myself to not be “too comfortable”.
  • We did not go as experts. As team leader and church staff, and I was introduced as “Pastor Katy”, at first I felt I had to be a “professional”.  But as I said above, God prepares us with life experiences to share, not knowledge to teach. We did prepare Bible studies, etc. but since we really didn’t know what to expect and who we would be speaking to, we depended on God to give us wisdom along the way. And he gets the glory.
  • I think we did well. In the various ministry opportunities from panel discussions to Bible Study to games to sharing the Gospel to total strangers to giving an altar call to hundreds, we did not embarrass God. We had good things to share that blessed the audience. We were a shining light through our good works so people can glorify God in heaven.

I am praying for God to show us what’s next. God willing, I want to go again.

 

24
Sep
stored in: Taiwan

Leaving tomorrow night for Taiwan!

I’ve been wanting to do this for about the last 10 years and now the time has come.

What I’ve learned so far:

God indeed is sufficient if I look for him. My tendency is to look for answers anywhere but God. When I ask him to help, he can be found.

I have a lot of biases that I need to overcome. Expectations of people and circumstances need to be relaxed

I need to lighten and laugh more overall. I’ve gotten too serious lately.

That’s it for now! Godspeed!

A week away from leaving for Taiwan! I am feeling much better – I asked many people to pray for me and the team, and I know God is answering.

I feel I have more grasp of the lessons and teachings that I am prepping for.

Psalm 77 has been an encouragement to me recently.

The psalmist cries out to God and God doesn’t seem to be answering. No matter how hard he tries and how long he cries, God seems afar off. Have you ever felt that way? I have.

Then instead of dwelling on his current circumstances, the psalmist turns his thoughts to the past. When he recalls the miracles that God did in the history of Israel, he affirms that God is indeed an awesome and mighty God.

We don’t need God to do a miracle everyday for us to trust him. We can think of what he’s done in the past, and know that he is the same God. His love hasn’t changed. His power hasn’t changed.

I can trust God even if I don’t see him today, because I remember the miracles he’s done for me in the past. The miracle of sending Jesus to die and raise again to save me from judgement is enough.

To quote Nabeel Qureshi when he was diagnosed with advance stage stomach cancer -

“In the past few days my spirits have soared and sank as I pursue the Lord’s will and consider what the future might look like, but never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed,” he wrote. “I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God.”
16
Sep
stored in: Taiwan

In Taiwan I will be giving 2 evangelistic messages, in addition to some other teaching opportunities and talking to people. Those 2 messages are by far the most challenging and stressing me out.

But this week, God answered all my concerns. I am not feeling the anxiety that I felt the last few weeks. I have made great strides in my preparations and have most of my message done.

Pastor H reminded me that God has prepared me for this, He prepared me with my life story. So share my testimony and my life. That’s what I am going to do. I am not coming as a pastor to preach. My life intersecting with Jesus and the Good News is what God gave me.

Thank you God for giving me this opportunity above and beyond what I could’ve imagined. I put my confidence in you alone to speak through me, leaving the results to you.

14
Sep
stored in: Taiwan

I said I am the Team Leader of this Taiwan STM. Technically I’m not. I’m the Mission Mentor. Semantics matter.

I’m reviewing my training book today:

“Your primary responsibility is not just to “lead a team” but to mentor those on it (and potentially those who are not) through missions discipleship.”

“Mentoring is a relational experience in which one person empowers or helps another by sharing God-given resources. You will empower your mentees by focusing on two key mentoring concepts: investing and influencing.”

I feel relieved that I am not expected to lead the team to perform in some way. I would much rather be relational.

Here are some things that the book lists as investing and influencing:

  • identify skills, develop giftedness in others
  • affirm skills and develop confidence in others
  • see potential others – vision casting
  • tolerate mistakes or brashness
  • understand that development takes time
  • give encouraging and timely advice
  • serve as a bridge to important resources
  • model leadership
  • take others with them in life
  • release others into ministry

“Your investment can be as simple as encouraging your mentees in their pursuit of God by talking through questions and struggles, sharing in joys and praying together. If a mentee grows in their relationship with God, they are much more likely to discover God’s greater purpose for their lives. Mentoring is simply caring about someone’s life: his heart, his beliefs, his passions, his hopes, his fears and ultimately his knowledge of Jesus Christ. You are interceding on his behalf and listening to his heart.”

Based on this, I haven’t been a very good Mission Mentor. I’ve only been a Team Leader. I’ve been focusing on all the stuff we have to prepare for. Last year for Thailand STM we didn’t have to prepare anything, so it was more natural that our meetings were more relational. In retrospect, we should’ve started meeting sooner so we can have more time to share life instead of just going through details. Now we are only 1.5 weeks away from departure. I am going to talk about this at our next and final official meeting so we can be on the same page about expectations as quoted above.

12
Sep
stored in: Taiwan

(Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4 in case you are interested)

I never used to worry. But as I get older, I am more prone to anxiety now.

The thought of going to Taiwan is giving me anxiety. I want to go, I’m excited about going, I just want to get there now. I hate the anticipation. It’s like the night before Disneyland when I was little, so excited I couldn’t sleep. But now that excitement is coupled with responsibility. I have to be ready to “perform.” We are taking care of children, so I have to be ready with crafts and lessons. I will be giving an evangelistic message at a crusade, and I feel so inadequate.

I would like to feel a little more “ready” so I can be more “in control”. You can tell that control has been a theme for me. I want make sure everything “goes well”, and being the team leader of this trip makes me feel that it’s up to me that things go well. Of course the fallacy there is that we are never in control of life. And the outcome is not up to me. In fact, no one expects that of me except me. I am not looking at life with the right lens. God is in control. The logical thing to do there is to hang on to him.

God, I need you with me to help me in my preparations so I can be ready. I need you with me all the time, to be with me every step of the way. Help me to let go of wanting to be control and let you take control. I am leaning on you.

06
Sep
stored in: Taiwan

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 in case you are interested)

God reminded me again that He provides for all we need.

Our Taiwan short term mission team do not have musicians – no song leader, no guitar player who can lead in worship.

One of our assignments for 4 days is to run the program for children at a missionary’s retreat. We need worship and singing!

Today, God provided with teens who will be there to lead the children with singing. And not only that, they are willing to lead games and do skits. That takes a load off of us!

This provision, though seemingly small, gives me much comfort as I’ve been anxious about this trip. It reminds me that God is in control. He has all the resources beyond what I can imagine. He calls the Body of Christ internationally to work together.

I need to pray and trust that all will be well. I am not in control and I don’t need to be. He is in control. This is a continuing lesson is my life, in the life of every Christian. We think we can take care of things. But Jesus says “blessed are the poor in spirit”. If I come to God empty, He will fill me. If I come full of myself, He cannot show me what He can do.

Thank you, God for taking charge and showing me your glory.

I received this book in my package to prepare for my upcoming short term mission trip.

I finished this book within a week; I couldn’t put it down. I would’ve finished it faster but Henri Nouwen’s books require a lot reflection and soul searching. This book is so good I am reading it again.

“In the Name of Jesus” is Nouwen’s reflections on the type of Christian leadership that is needed in the 21st century. It hit on things that I am struggling with.

What people expect of church leaders is what they expect of leaders of a company. People look to successful leaders in the world and want their pastors to be like them. That is totally understandable. I was like that too as a typical congregant. We don’t know any better. Nouwen says, “The world in which we live – a world of efficiency and control – has no models to offer to those who want to be shepherds in the way Jesus was a shepherd.” (p 62)

Some takeaways for me:

People’s greatest need is not a competent leader. I expect myself to be a “professional” and do things with “excellence”. But according to Nouwen, “while efficiency and control are the great aspirations of our society, the loneliness, isolation, lack of friendship and intimacy, broken relationships, boredom, feelings of emptiness and depression, and a deep sense of uselessness fill the hearts of millions of people in our success-oriented world…the leaders of the future will be those who dare to claim their irrelevance in the contemporary world as a divine vocation that allows them to enter into a deep solidarity with the anguish underlying all the glitters of success, and to bring the light of Jesus there.” (p 33,35)

What I need to be is a Christian leader who truly know the heart of God as it has become flesh in Jesus. Knowing God’s heart means consistently and radically reveal that God is love. And  every time fear or isolation begins to invade the human soul, this is not something that comes from God. My job is to show them God’s love. “This sounds very simple and maybe even try to, and people know that they are loved without any conditions or limits.” (p 38)

Nouwen reflected my feelings when he said Christian leaders today think that we have to do things on our own. While we know that we can’t do it all, “most of us still feel that, ideally, we should have been able to do it all and do it successfully.” (p 56) “What discipline is required for the future leader to overcome the temptation of individual heroism? I would like to propose the discipline of confession and forgiveness… Willing to confess their own brokenness and asked for forgiveness from those to whom they minister.”(p 64) I am pretty sure our church do not expect our leaders to do that.

This book reminds me that I need to fight against my self-imposed expectations to be a leader modeled by the world. Instead I need to focus on Jesus and how He wants me to lead in a way that meets people’s real needs.

I just read this that expresses more on this topic. Very helpful to me.

 

 

I couldn’t keep to my resolution that I would read one book at a time. I love to read books but I’m a slow and impatient reader, so I read several books at one time in order to get a taste of each book.

I made an effort to read through “Am I Called?” because it’s a small book, and it would be bad not to even finish a small book. The reason I read this book is to help others discern their calling into the pastorate. The author said it’s written for men since he believes only men can be pastors. I am not offended by this view because it’s a perfectly legitimate view from Scripture. However, I do believe women can be “called” by God as well. Anyway, that’s not the topic of this book, and it didn’t keep me from agreeing with the rest of the content of the book.

I learned a lot about what a pastor is supposed to do! We generally think of a pastor as a person with a particular skill set, as well as having good character, etc. However it is much more than that. It has much less to do with skills then with aligning yourself with God’s purpose for you.

I like the quote by Mark Dever in the book: (p.150)

I generally know, when someone goes into the ministry because they like to work only with Christians and to do church things, that this person probably isn’t called. The person who is usually best is the person who is quite good in a non-Christian work environment but who is willing, for the sake of the kingdom, to be called back “behind the lines” as it were, to spend his life supplying those who are on the front lines of ministry.

I do recommend this book for anyone to read but particularly for those who would like to know more about the pastoral ministry.

In the office devotion time this week, WT shared from Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

This is exactly how I think as I prepare for TW STM. We prepare lessons, messages, testimonies, games. We have a theme, we have a skit with that theme. The only thing we don’t have are songs because no one on our team is musically inclined.

We go prepared, but at the same time, we are unprepared. We don’t know who we will be meeting and talking to, and we don’t know how people will respond.

I am looking to God to accomplish immeasurably more than we ask or even imagine could happen. If not for his power on it, we are merely performing a few good deeds, making little difference in people’s lives.

I am also looking to God to grow our team on the inside. We go as selfish people, impatient and critical – that’s me. He can change us more than we can ask or imagine, so that we will be more like Jesus, to the praise of his glory.

(Start with Part 1)