Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Just Thinking..... About Good News In A Whole Lot Of Bad

Once again, a preface, I'm not looking for a debate. There is enough of that on nearly every other post above and below this one. I just wanted to offer a thought.

While our churches are fretting over cancelling some services, (and trust me I get it. It's a bit stressful and frustrating to put it mildly. I'm sitting here at 2:00 A.M.thinking about it) I think it is possible that we are missing some perspective. I believe we are being presented with an opportunity like we have never experienced before. What if, as the body of Christ, instead of being fretful, angry and anxious we began to leverage these circumstances into a push forward of God's Kingdom that is, as a fellow pastor put it, unprecedented. (By the way Daniel Fox I watched every minute of your Sunday service. It was fantastic!!) You all should check it out right here https://www.riverviewcf.church/live

Anyway, our nation is confused, scared, unsure, angry, divided, lost and you name what else. It is a nation that knows not what to do and so hoards toilet paper to try and feel better. This is not good. I mean really! Come on!! So, what are we, as pastors, leaders and believers supposed to do about it?

What is needed now is a unified voice of a fearless group of believers who can offer salvation, hope, light, life and freedom. Our nation is in need of a voice of peace. We can be that voice!! If we choose to accept the challenge; But what does that fearless voice look like?

Some would say that not having services shows that we, as a church, lack faith and trust in God. Respectfully, I disagree. I do not believe we show courage, leadership and hope by fighting against things that cannot stop the Gospel. The Coronavirus cannot stop the Gospel. Government restrictions cannot stop the Gospel. The temporary inability to gather in a building on a certain day or days cannot stop the Gospel! I contend that we show courage by continuing to innovate, adapt and overcome every barrier in an effort to continue preaching the Gospel until our dying breath. JUST LIKE THE CHURCH IN THE BOOK OF ACTS DID!! THIS IS WHAT COURAGE IS! As pastors, leaders and believers this is what we have been called to! This is why we were born! We were made for this!! Why do we have such a hard time seeing that? Are we really so caught up in the routine of how we do things, we can’t see the opportunity right in front of us? Don’t shoot me. I’m just thinking out loud here.

I imagine that if Paul the Apostle were here, or Peter or any one of the disciples they would be ecstatic to have the resources that we have today to openly and boldly communicate the truth of Jesus Christ. I'm sure they would be live streaming the internet into absolute submission. Why should we not take the opportunities we have and use them to the best of our abilities? Understand, I’m not thrilled with what is happening anymore than anyone else, but instead of wasting time complaining about it, I am going to choose to try to kick it right in the teeth, overcome it and advance the Kingdom of God. Will I or we do it all perfectly? Most likely not, but if God breathes on our effort to persevere, we will succeed. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. No?

I believe with the strongest of conviction that if we seek God, if we trust God, if we are faithful to our calling, He will work out our relationships. He will work out the finances. He will work out everything we are concerned about. He knows what to do. We simply need to be open to let Him do it through us....or we could just sit around wringing our hands and wait until we are told we can go back inside the four walls of our churches and preach to those who show up. (which by the way, does not include a whole lot of people we can reach during this time) I mean, I guess that’s a plan too.

To all of you that are fighting the good fight of faith whether you agree with me or not, I care about you, I am praying for you and I am trusting God to do great things through you.

Be Blessed,

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Just Thinking.....About Coronavirus

Well since everyone on social media fancies themselves to be part of a consortium of medical experts, I figure I can join in too right? With the one caveat that I'm not actually a medical expert at all and you probably aren't either….right? So, here's my take anyway. I would appreciate if you would at least read and consider what I have to say. Thanks!

Is the coranavirus real? Absolutely it is. You have to be an actual certified idiot to call this a complete hoax. (If that offends you, not sorry, I have a bigger point to make) People are dying! Is everyone dying? No, but the fact that everyone doesn’t die isn’t an indicator that it isn’t real.

Is the coranavirus being overhyped? Yep! Our media wants views and clicks. It’s all they care about and so they are going to overhype this thing as much as possible to keep us tuning in. We are being lied to by our media about some things. If you don’t understand that by now, I don’t know what to say. However, that isn’t an indicator that coronavirus isn’t real.

What if two things can be simultaneously true? I know that seems an impossibility in the toxic culture in which we find ourselves. Everyone thinks they are right and there is no other view. However, it is possible for this virus to be overhyped and at the same time a legitimate risk. Crazy I know, and yet, true!

I keep hearing and seeing those who justify downplaying this virus by saying something like, “Well, the regular flu kills 400 bazillion people every year and no one makes a big deal about that.” Hey guess what, the regular flu IS A BIG DEAL! How is the fact that many people die from the flu a justification for not taking seriously a lot of people dying from another sickness of some kind? There is an absolute absence of logic in this argument.

Also, how about this? The Coronavirus is all Donald Trump’s fault! He is not trying to stop it. He wants it to spread. He’s an idiot and must be impeached immediately and Nancy Pelosi must be installed as the president, also immediately or every person in the world will die. Or maybe you are of a different persuasion. Maybe the coranavirus is actually completely overhyped and is nothing more than a democrat attempt to take Donald Trump out of office. We must immediately kill all democrat politician’s and constituents in order to save the world…… What if it’s just a virus that is a threat to many people. What if the coronavirus can’t recognize its victims by political party? I know this is a radical concept but hey whatever.

PLEASE don’t leave me yet, my big point is coming… but first….

A couple more thoughts. If the Coronavirus isn’t actually real, then why did DONALD J TRUMP cancel the flights from Europe? To get himself kicked out of office? If it is well known that it is a hoax, why do that? It hurts the economy that he certainly doesn’t want to hurt in an election season. This is having a massively negative impact on the economy. Why do that for a hoax? Why would the NBA suspend its season? Political reasons?? This is a multi, multimillion-dollar organization coming into its most lucrative part of the season. Cancel for political reasons? I don’t think so. Have you heard of a little thing called South By Southwest? A huge music, media and whatever else festival that is a really big deal. Millions of dollars’ worth of activity taking place. Let’s cancel for political reasons? Even the WWE is going to potentially cancel Wrestlemania, by far the biggest event and biggest money maker on their schedule. I know many may not grasp what a big deal this is but I believe they are expecting about 90,000 people this year. 90,000 people’s worth of tickets, t-shirts, merchandise and everything else. If you have the slightest amount of knowledge about the owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon you can absolutely be assured he’s not going to do anything to stop his money flow. I could go on with many other examples but maybe you get my point. All of this for something that’s known to be fake? Overhyped? Maybe. Fake? No!

Which brings me to my main point. One of the big talking points about this virus is that most people won’t die. It’s just a little flu or maybe they won’t even know they are sick. Honestly, I’m probably in this category. I’m personally not worried that much about it for myself. (Even if I got the virus and died, I’m not stressed. I know where I am going! Can I get a witness?)  HOWEVER!!! This virus IS deadly for certain groups. Groups like my parents who are older. My mom who has many health issues and doesn’t need to get a virus because of some shmuck who was too cool, woke and informed to take it seriously. There are people like my daughter in law who have serious lung issues. The last thing she needs is a virus that affects her lungs in any way! I have family, friends, church acquaintances of all ages and health circumstances. They don’t need the coronavirus, the flu or any other list of things that can be deadly for them even if it is not for you.

So, here is my question. What if, instead of being so selfish and viewing things from our own personal medical expertise, political persuasion or our own health circumstances, WE THINK ABOUT OTHERS?

Maybe you could think about my family. Maybe you could think about my friends and acquaintances who probably would not fair well if they were to get this virus? What if you thought about the people in your life who are at risk? Is it really that big of a deal to play it safe? To be a little more diligent about hygiene? To listen to actual health experts? But but but but what if they aren’t telling me the whole truth? What if? You need to wash your hands anyway! You need to clean the house. We need to clean our workplaces, churches and everything else. It’s the right thing to do anyway!! Good grief!! What have you lost by doing these things? Nothing!!

Is it possible for us to exercise wisdom and caution for others while at the same time exercising wisdom and caution as things continue to get hyped beyond wisdom?

Some of what’s happening is frustrating. It’s inconvenient. It’s also temporary. Couldn’t we just try to our best to protect the people around us and leave it at that without complaining and whining? Couldn’t we just….oh I don’t know…. Love our neighbor as ourselves? Being vigilant and paying a little more attention to detail isn’t that big of a deal for me. How about you?

And finally, keep this in mind. It’s all about arguments, political debate and opinion until someone YOU know gets it and doesn’t recover. It’s at that point everything gets very real. How about if we just do what we should do anyway to try and make sure that doesn’t happen?

Be Blessed, Tom

Monday, March 25, 2019

Just Thinking...... About Loving like I have been loved.

For the follower of Christ, showing love to those who do not believe like you or are "sinners" does not take away from your faith. It does not compromise truth or negatively affect your relationship with God. In fact, it makes you more like Jesus. It makes you obedient to Christ's new command to love others as He has loved you. Jesus really said that. It's in the book!

You may actually find that an intentional effort to behave in a loving way opens more doors to speak real truth than our current version of faith which is more concerned about sharing "truth" than in seeing the love of God come alive in those who do not believe. We cannot be satisfied with proclaiming "truth" that never leads anyone to the knowledge of Christ's love. This is not the kind of truth that Jesus proclaimed. It is religious pablum.

It is the love and kindness of God that leads others to repentance. That's actually in the Bible too....... New Testament even. You can look it up. :)

Let God use YOU to reflect that love and kindness to those who don't look like you, act like you or believe like you. You may be shocked at the result because a God-inspired love will be backed up by The Holy Spirit. Consequently, the same Holy Spirit will bring the fruit of changed lives. Simply because you chose to be good to someone who many may not consider to be worthy of your goodness. However, never forget that God was good to you before you were ever worthy of his goodness. In fact, we are still not worthy of his goodness. He extends it to us anyway. A thought worthy of consideration.

There is a caveat to this though in that many who subscribe to the philosophy that forcing "truth" on sinners is more important than changed lives will not like your commitment to love. However, you are not obligated to please those folks. The only responsibility we have is to please God and show the love of Christ to the world. If you are good with God, you are good, period. No need to concern yourself with anything or anybody else. May the love of God reflected in our lives not only change the lives of the unbelievers but the believers as well. God Bless you today and I hope you have a Great day. #TRCLove #LoveIsGreater

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Just Thinking...... About Living

So I will try to keep this from being a book but I want to share for a minute about my efforts to get myself in shape. Like you really care, am I right?? Anyway, I’ve been posting a lot of pictures on social media of my daily runs and I’ve received some really encouraging feedback. So thanks for that! But I want to let you know why I’m doing what I’m doing. This may ramble a little bit because there are several seemingly unrelated things I want to share that brought me to a crossroads. So hang in there I’ll get to the point. I Promise. It may also seem kind of over dramatic, but the end result is good, so no worries.  

It all kind of started back in July. My family was camping and I noticed something was up with my right ear. It felt like it was plugged and there was a weird buzzing sound. The best I can explain is it sounds like a refrigerator running in my ear all the time. Along with the feeling and the sound I noticed that I couldn’t quite hear like normal and when I would begin to lead worship at church, it felt like something was hitting me in the side of my head. Not really a pain, but an unexplainable pressure. If you understand my love for music both playing and listening you can guess how frustrating that is. 

So I made an appointment to talk to my doctor and, after checking some things, he could not determine what the problem was. After three appointments he referred me to an ear doctor. After several more appointments, the hearing doctor could also not figure out the problem, but could tell something was up because, after taking a hearing test, they found I had a decent amount of hearing loss in my right ear. 

In the midst of this, Ann went in for her surgery and if you follow our story at all, you know how that has turned out. So, while being worried about her, my doctor referred me for an MRI. I put it off for several weeks because I was at the hospital with Ann and honestly didn’t care about much else. 

However, my doctor wanted to check to make sure there wasn’t any kind of growth or tumor that was messing with my ear. He assured me that he didn't believe this was the case but wanted to act in an abundance of caution. So off to the MRI machine I went. Not a big fan of that to be honest with you.

Fast forward! When I came in to the appointment to find out the results of the MRI, the hearing doctor confirmed there was nothing noticeable causing my ear problems. So… no answers. The plan for my ear is to continue to keep track of what’s going on and check back after a period of time to see if there are any changes. Kind of a bummer but, as they say, it is what it is.

Although the doctor didn’t find anything related to my ear on the MRI, he did find something pretty unexpected that kind of knocked me for a loop. He showed me the picture and pointed to a small dark spot and asked me if I had high blood pressure. I confirmed that I did, but that I was on medication to control it. He said “That’s good because somewhere along the way you had a ‘mini’ stroke. He asked if I knew when it happened and I said I had no idea. His advice was to make sure that I stay on my medication and pay attention to my blood pressure so that something more catastrophic wouldn’t happen. Wow!! Really!?!?

For just a moment let me put a bookmark right there and switch gears. As I mentioned, at this particular time I had been spending a lot of time at the hospital and at the doctor with my situation and with Ann’s as well. I must have walked around the hospital 100 times and I saw so many people who were sick, young and old. 

I realize that what I’m about to say is going to seem indelicate and actually pretty rude, but please understand I’m not saying it because of others, but because of ME. Did I say this wasn’t about others but ME? ME ME ME ME! Not others ME!! O.K. here it goes. Many of the people I saw were overweight. Some a little and some a lot. I remember thinking; I wonder if they wouldn’t be here if they would take a little bit better care of themselves. I know that’s horrible, I get it, I have asked God to forgive me for my judgmental attitude, but I have to be honest about it because it was part of my personal wake up call. Why? 

The “why” is because while I was thinking these things, I myself was weighing in at a fit and trim 302 pounds. That’s right! Mr. “They should lose some weight” was in the same position as the ones I was thinking about. And guess what? Now I was facing MY OWN medical complications because of MY OWN choices and although I have skated through life thinking I’m fine because I’m young and strong, my recent encounter with an MRI told me that I wasn’t all that invincible. After all, nearly my entire family has a history of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. What made me think I was any different? Cue the “Lord please forgive me for being so stupid, and oh while you’re at it please forgive me for looking at someone else’s speck while my view is obscured by this log.” 

Bookmark #2 Trust me I’m getting there. 

To add one more layer to this story, during this same period of time I had several conversations with different people about my ear. I remember multiple times of there being a joke something to the effect of “that’s just what happens when you get old.” Ha Ha. Yep, when you get older, you should just resign yourself to a decrepit life of being overweight, losing bodily functions and fading away into history. I mean, that’s how it goes right?


I began to think to myself, maybe it doesn’t have to go that way at all. Maybe, I thought, my situation isn’t so much about getting older as it is about me being lazy and not taking care of myself. Not so much the ear thing, but just in general. Thanks for hanging in there with me, I’m about to get to the point. 

It was in this season of thinking and pondering that I had an epiphany!! I’m 48 years old! What if, just what if, instead of facing 50 with a sad sack attitude about getting older, I punch 50 right in the face. What if, when I turn 50 years old, I am in the best shape of my life? What if, not just physically, but physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally, I’m hitting on all cylinders when I hit the big Five O? Some of you might say 50!! Are you kidding me, I wish I could go back to 50. Others might say good grief 50 is practically dead. I can’t believe you’re that old! However, it’s not about being young or old, it’s about ATTITUDE! I made a decision that when I hit 50 years old which will be on May 13, 2020, I will, by God’s grace be in the best shape of my life in every area. 

So why the #FitBy50 thing? 50 is roughly a year and a half away for me. I know in the next year and a half there will be some ups and some downs. To be honest I haven’t really lost any weight for about 4 weeks now. Exercising? Check! Eating right? Check……….for the most part. Very frustrating!! However, #FitBy50 is a goal that reminds me that I don’t have to do it all today. It reminds me that if I have a bad day or two along the way all hope is not lost. #FitBy50 reminds me that I have a goal in front of me and I need to keep my eye on that ball and not on what’s happening just today. #FitBy50 is attainable. It is not unrealistic. It is a lifestyle not a momentary diet or a week of working out really hard and then quitting when I didn’t lose 100 pounds….. in that week. 

Did I say 100 pounds? Actually from my epic starting weight of 302 pounds, I actually need to lose 124 pounds to get to my goal weight. So far, so good. As of today, I have lost 63 pounds. Pretty good. I’m excited, but I’m not finished. My goal is not for today! My goal is to be #FitBy50

So, you may ask what does this have to do with you posting your exercise pictures all over social media? Are you trying to be inspirational? Well, maybe? I would not be opposed to being someone who inspires others to make a change in their lives too. So, yeah… maybe?

However, that’s not really the reason. The real reason is……………. I’m lazy! There I said it. It’s out in the open. I have confessed my mess. 

I have a history with weight loss. It may be frustrating for some to hear this, but I don’t really have a hard time losing weight. I don’t have a metabolism problem. I’m not big boned. My problem is that I eat too much and I’m too lazy to exercise consistently. However, when I get my mind set and focused I can do it. I can lose weight. I’ve done it! Over and over and over…………..and over.

My problem is not that I can’t lose weight. My problem is that I reach a certain level and I lose focus. I get lazy and I fall back into my old unhealthy patterns. 

I have been exercising now for about six months, but I haven’t really said much about it. Why? Because I haven’t wanted people to know what I’m doing because my history says that I will work hard, lose weight, get in shape and then get lazy, quit and gain it all back. And in the end I’ll be worse off than before I started. If others don’t know then they won’t know when I crash and burn again. After all, that is my pattern and that is my past.

However, I have made a decision that my past is my past. I have made a decision that my future is now what I’m fighting for. I have a calling on my life to teach the word and make disciples of all nations. I am a husband and a father. I need to be around for my wife and my kids. I am an EXTREMELY proud PAPA!! I can’t imagine not being around to see my grand kids grow up and pursue God’s calling on their lives. I can’t miss that!! So, I’m making a change!!! This has to be it. My time for messing around is over!! I’ve been playing with fire for too long. Yee hawwww!!! Sounds Great!!!

But I’m lazy!

So I need accountability. I need to let others know what I’m doing. Instead of hiding and banking on failure, I need to put it out there and say this is what I’m doing. BY 50 YEARS OLD I AM GOING TO BE IN THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!! PHYSICALLY, SPIRITUALLY, MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY!! #FitBy50. There I said that too. I put it out there. Now I’m accountable to it. 

So if you’re reading this I’m giving you permission. If you don’t see me posting about my journey for awhile please feel free to call me out. If you’re part of my church family, YOU ARE MY FAMILY!! If you see me falling off call me out!! I’m good with it! I need it! Maybe you would say “I don’t even know you” Doesn’t matter. I need the accountability to not only reach the goal but to stay there. I need encouragement, but I don’t just need encouragement. Sometimes, I need someone to remind me that there are real life consequences if I don’t stay focused. Sounds harsh? It is my personality. I don’t need it sugar coated. Hit me with it! 

Maybe you are in my spot and you know you need to make a change. Maybe it’s weight, maybe not. Maybe you’re addicted. Maybe you’re not getting where you need to get in life. If you need someone to encourage you or kick you in the backside I’m here. I know making big changes is not easy, but it is doable. Let me know. I’ll pray for you. I’ll talk with you. I’ll help in whatever meager way I can. 

So there it is….I guess it did turn into a book. But I just needed to get that off my chest for what it’s worth. Thanks for taking the time. Be Blessed #FitBy50

 Oh, By The Way... If you don't follow me on social media, I would love to invite you to do just that. You can find me at:

Facebook: facebook.com/pastortomosborne
Twitter: @TRC3
Instagram: TRCTOM 

Be Blessed, Tom

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Just Thinking..... About Love And Hate

Our country has become accustomed to a certain level of hate. It is accepted. It is expected. It is regrettable. It is spreading like a disease.

Hate is tricky, however, because we are conditioned to recognize hate only in those with whom we disagree. We, quite conveniently fail to see it in ourselves. And the disease of hate continues to spread.

From a self perspective, hate is not hate. It is “righteous indignation!” We are right, they are wrong. Consequently, angry, divisive and arrogant attitudes and interactions are justified in order to win the fight! And the disease of hate continues to spread.

The highest success of our day is to “Own” someone we hate. Humiliate them! Make them look like a fool! Destroy their reputation and character at all costs! Then, like mighty kings and queens we too can rule the world! And the disease of hate continues to spread.

As one side amps up the hate level, the other side must also amp up to keep pace. You hit me, I’ll hit you back. You bring a knife, I’ll bring a gun. You bring a gun, I’ll bring a bomb. It’s the way of the world. And the disease of hate continues to spread.

The problem is, as the hateful rhetoric and actions amp up, no one’s thoughts are changed and problems are never solved. 

Those who agree with us will cheer our hate. Those who disagree will search for another way to win the next round of the hate war. And the disease of hate continues to spread.

In this environment, true Christ-inspired love is revolutionary. No one knows what to do with it. It is not what we are accustomed to seeing, experiencing or engaging with. It cannot be tamed by hateful rhetoric, threat or action. It is unstoppable. It is undefeatable. It is eternal.

Christ inspired love is patient and kind. It is not envious; it is not arrogant or proud. The Christ kind of love is not rude, self seeking or looking for a fight. It does not assume evil in others or rejoice over sin. It seeks the truth. Christ like love is the ride or die kind of love. It believes the best about others hopes the best for others and is willing to go to any length to believe in, hold onto, demonstrate and spread the message of Christ’s love to others. Why? Because Christ's love is the only way to salvation. It is healing for our nation and it is the only lasting path out of the hate.

Christ-like love is unlike anything else we see in culture, politics, entertainment, sports or any other aspect of society. Perhaps it is time for us to reject the divisive message of the politicians, entertainers, sports figures and cultural messengers and look to a higher source of truth and love. The disease of hate does not have to continue to spread. Why not me? Why not you? Why not now?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Just Thinking..... About Taking A Stand

Just Thinking...I suppose it should be clear at this point that the days of burying our heads and "standing" for a version of Christianity that will keep everyone happy are gone. JESUS HIMSELF SAID that following him means that you will risk losing your reputation, your career, your good name and even much more. If you're a Christian, are you ready for that? That time is coming. Some might say it's already here.

 Too often the only thing people, even in the church, can remember Jesus saying is, "judge not lest you be judged." We have been happy to sit by and let others who have a complete lack of understanding of that verse, use it beat us into a corner where, in all reality, we have to ask permission to follow Christ. Is that the Christianity that has been passed down to us from Jesus and His disciples? I don't think so! 

The Christianity of scripture is such that we are to live our lives to the best of our abilities to love God, love people and speak the truth about both. Our desire is NEVER to offend, but it will happen. The Gospel is offensive! Jesus is THE ONLY way to Heaven. What His Words says is true and cannot be changed. Sin will not go unpunished, but there is a way out through Jesus alone! There is no way that message will not offend. The church must come to grips with that or we can no longer call ourselves the church. Social club? Maybe. Church? NO!

 At times you may be surprised that the ones who are standing against you are the very ones who claim to be your brothers and sisters. You will be lied about, misrepresented and painted as judgmental, hateful, intolerant and those are the nice words. When it comes down to it, we must make a choice between trying to be the all around good guy or girl who everyone likes, but who makes no real difference in the world or be someone who is willing to lovingly and firmly speak the truth without consideration of the consequence. Jesus NEVER called us to work hard to get people to like us. He called us to love everyone enough to tell the truth. He called us to be a faithful voice for Him as it is revealed in scripture. He has called us to be willing to risk it all for HIM and Him alone. Paul said, "If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." That's the Christianity of the Bible.

Casual Christianity is over. It's been over for awhile but we have, at times, had our heads so buried in our own little world's we haven't noticed. Or maybe we haven't cared. It has been so long since the church in America has truly been persecuted to the point of loss, that we feel like something is wrong if everyone doesn't love us. This feels heavy on my heart to say that but I truly believe it is reality. It could be, however, that a little shot of persecution is what the church actually needs to cause us to stand up for something, or should I say someone, instead of constantly being pushed backwards by those who will hate God no matter what we do. Somewhere between the faithful remnant of God and those who hate God is a world that desperately needs to know the truth of the Gospel! Will we give it to them? Or will we just continue to post happy quotes, and say happy things that don't offend but most certainly will not help anyone to find salvation through the Gospel of Jesus? 
Anyway, I was just thinking...

Monday, May 21, 2018

Just Thinking....About The Next Generation

Just Thinking.... I have seen a fair share of Facebook posts lately from "more mature" older generation pastors and believers who seem to have nothing better to do than put down the younger generation of pastors, worship leaders and leaders in general. Their song lyrics aren't good enough. They don't preach the right way. They don't preach the "Real Gospel." They don’t dress right. They don’t look right! Blah, Blah, Blah. Generally speaking, I try to scroll right on by and ignore it. However, it is really beginning to get on my last nerve...so to speak.
Are all of these criticisms true in some cases? Of course they are. They are true just like the criticisms of the hyper holiness, suit wearing, judgmental, preachers who don’t actually love people, but simply want to beat them with the Bible are true in some cases. They are true just like the preacher who is preaching repentance on Sunday and sleeping with his secretary on Monday are true in some cases. HOWEVER, most older generation pastors and leaders are loving, caring, go to the ends of the earth for their people kind of folks. Is it fair to paint the entire older generation with a broad brush of hate and immorality because there are some? Absolutely not! I am exceedingly thankful for the pastors I had growing up. Some have gone on to be with The Lord. Some are still pressing forward preaching the Gospel. All of them have had an amazing influence on my life. Were they perfect? NO! Did they always say and do the right thing. NO! However, they loved God and taught me to do the same. They SHOWED me the way to go.
When I started preaching I was HORRIBLE! (Some may think I still am :) ) I still have a cassette tape (Remember those?) of my first sermon. I don’t know how anyone could have sat through that. I wouldn’t want to sit through it. My pastor could have torn it apart and destroyed my passion to do anything for the Kingdom. He did not. I am thankful. Instead, I was encouraged and taught. Every once in a while my pastor would say, hey you kind of missed that one. Or he would encourage me to see something I didn’t realize before. In short, he helped me instead of tearing me down. I have had several imperfect and yet amazing pastors in my life. They have helped me to learn, to progress and to continue growing.
What’s my point? It is DANGEROUS and I believe on the border line of sinful to create straw men caricatures of uncaring, unprincipled, ignorant young leaders who don’t love God like we did “in the good ole days” when our doctrines and actions were absolute perfection. (Strangely, I’ve been in the church for forty years and I don’t remember the good ole days in that way.) Those ignorant caricatures are then used to paint a broad brush picture of an entire generation of leaders and believers. It Is WRONG and it needs to STOP!
Instead of using our voice to tear down and criticize, how about using our voices to help mentor and teach? I realize it’s easier to sit “in the balcony” and criticize from the sidelines like the two old guys from the Muppets. Nonetheless, it is not helpful or productive for the Kingdom. Come to think of it, I think the Bible actually says something about the older generation teaching the younger. (Hmm, maybe we should check on that.) Anyway, how about encouraging their passion and teaching them how to better express it? If it’s not right teach them. If it’s just not your “cup of tea” leave them alone and let them run for the Kingdom. Pray, encourage, mentor, these are the things that matter. Not criticism and belittling.
The world we live in now is not the same world we lived in forty years ago. We MUST stop trying to push the next generation into ministering the same way we did forty years ago. The message doesn’t change, the methods do! We have to stop trying to create “mini-me” preachers who would have torn it up in the sixties, seventies and eighties. We aren’t living in the sixties, seventies and eighties anymore.
What the next generation needs from the older generation (and like it or not I am part of it now) is guidance. Not criticism! Not picking apart each word looking for reason to let them know they aren’t quite as good. (By the way, why the need to criticize so much? Could it be that the critic is really only trying to make themselves look better by tearing others down?)
Personally, I know several young leaders who love God, love worship, LOVE the Word of God and want nothing more than to be vessels used to preach the gospel. They don’t seem to fit into that whole straw man camp of ignorant heretics and apostates. Those I know personally are just a small sampling of young leaders all over the country and even the world who want to make Jesus famous. They are not perfect, but they are being used by God.
It’s time to help, not tear down. Show the way like somebody showed YOU the way! Sometimes it’s inconvenient. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Sometimes it is all of those things, but ALL the time it is worth it.
If you consider yourself to be part of the “old guard” of the church, the younger generation NEEDS your help, your knowledge, and your experience. Don’t deprive them of that. Go out of your way to give it away.
Finally, Thank you to Deloy Pooler, Larry Odam, Paul Walker, Harold Westcott, Ron Moore, Larry Comer, Dave Scanlon, Tony Arnett and all of the other pastors and teachers that didn't give up on me. Thank you for encouraging me when I was right and calling me out when I was wrong. I owe you all a debt of gratitude. I am who I am because of your influence. I only pray that God would help me to lead others in the same way. Imperfectly but sincerely.