Bad News/Good News for a Pastor

Good News: You baptised seven people today in the river.
Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.

Good News: The women’s group voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad News: The vote passed by 31-30.

Good News: The pastor-parish relations committee accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They were so inspired by it that they asked the bishop to send a new minister capable of filling the position.

Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking.
Bad News: They are going to blacktop the front lawn of the parsonage.

Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.

Good News: Your biggest critic just left your community.
Bad News: He has been appointed as your conference bishop.

Good News: The youth of the church came to your house for a visit.
Bad News: It was in the middle of the night and they were armed with toilet paper and shaving cream.

Good News: The Church Council has agreed to send you to the Holy Land for study.
Bad News: They are waiting for war to break out before sending you.

 

 

Daily Revelation

Some rambling that’s on my mind the last few days…

Oftentimes, I’m checking out facebook or on the phone or am involved in social interaction within groups, and I notice a common theme. For that matter, I participate in the theme myself. It goes something like this:

“I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS STRUGGLE/DAY/TIME OF MY LIFE/CHALLENGE/TEMPTATION/TRIAL/INSERT OTHER WORDS HERE.”

Reminds me of some funny “You might be a Southern Baptist” lists I’ve read lately:

#23 – You might be a southern baptist if you’re still giddy over your last spiritual victory, which was years ago.

 

Growing up, I’d hear people talking about church services as if they were a spiritual gas station.

“Thank goodness for Wednesday’s mid-week church service, otherwise, I’d never make it to Sunday!”

Since when did Church become a fueling station, by which and only by which a Christian can barely make it through his struggles and trials until the next church service?

Another related question…

Why do Christians think that corporate worship can in anyway substitute for a daily walk with God? Somewhere, there’s an unwritten rule that our spirituality is directly proportional to our church attendance and involvement.

Can I just state that there are churches filled with people dressed like a saint and acting like…yeah, something else?

And can I also state that there are people who may not be attending church every time the door is open, because they are being a pastor to their family, community, workplace, or are resting so that they might be one of those from Monday to Saturday?

Let me chase that rabbit for a moment:

Church isn’t bad. It’s good! It is an awesome thing to spend time in the fellowship with other believers. I’m not trying to make a point contrary to that. The church is the “Bride of Christ.” It is a great thing. Many of us know the famous Hebrews passage:

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25

While we are not able to determine whether an individual is a sheep or a wolf in a sheep’s clothing on our own, we know that God does protect the sheep. He gives discernment to the leadership to guard the sheep from the wolves. And he has given several “litmus tests” as well. Christians should produce fruit. Christians should love other Christians. Might I make the small leap and say, Christians should love going to church! You show me a grumpy grouchy person who can’t stand people and doesn’t like to attend church who claims to be a Christian, and I’ll show you my best impression of a reserved skeptic!

Is not that we have to come to church, it’s that we get to!

Back to the original topic now:

As wonderful as corporate worship services are, they are no substitute for an individual relationship with God. God does speak to us (future blog topic)! And he desires a daily walk with us – He has desired such a walk since the first human, and still seeks those who would walk with Him today.

I was blessed to be able to share Lamentations 3 this morning with our staff. Talk about a person who had it rough. It makes what most of us go through on a daily basis seem a little petty.

Lamentations 3:1-33

1 I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.

2 He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;

3 indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.

4 He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones.

5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.

6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains.

8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.

9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.

10 Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding,

11 he dragged me from the path and mangled me and left me without help.

12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He pierced my heart with arrows from his quiver.

14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.

15 He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall.

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.

17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.

18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.

20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,  for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him.

29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope.

30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.

32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.

33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

 

I find myself being hypocritical when I get to the point when I wonder why God doesn’t speak to me, and yet I am not engaged in interaction with Him.

What do I expect?

So it may be that God desires something special with each of us, and not just when we enter the doors of a church building. And that a lifestyle of worship isn’t a lifestyle that is only engaged when around other believers. And in fact, if we only engage God in action a few times a month, then it’s no wonder that we can’t figure out why we have no passion, no revelation, no newness in our walk with Him, and no sense of “God is present.”

Solution?

Spend time with God. Dust off the Bible. Read it. Pray whether you feel like it or not. When we discipline ourselves to engage God on a personal, intimate level, we might just be shocked!

Our relationship with God is based on an individual interaction, Spirit-led understanding, and personal application of the Gospel message. A corporate action cannot substitute.

Still don’t know where to start? We’re all in different places in our lives. Message me, I’d be glad to talk and pray with you.

-Pastor Harvey

 

What’s your denomination?

 

I get alot of questions and comments about denominations. No, I’m not talking about these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m talking more about something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that is a small chart (so it won’t take up the whole blog), but it covers just the major denominations among churches, and just the major denominations in America at that.

What is a denomination?

From Wikipedia (and we know they are always right, ha!) – A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.

From Harveypedia – A denomination is a group of believers that form a sect based off of an interpretation in scripture, administration, practice, or any number of things that would otherwise result in this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, by the way. That still happens, anyways.

 

So, what gives? You *normally* don’t see this sort of militaristic action taken inside of America when different religious groups get up in arms, but mind you, there is plenty of denominational warfare.

Just think of the people who claim to be Christian in America. Here’s some more pictures of some of those groups:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what do the people behind these representations have in common?

Not much. But I’m going to make the following assumptions (very dangerous, I know, but face it, you’re not referring to my blog to write your doctoral thesis):

1. They believe that their belief system is correct.

2. They are willing to defend their belief system, even sacrifice for it.

3. These are all images I found of people who label themselves as Christians.

 

I’m not going to even begin to make the dangerous trip of saying which qualify and which don’t qualify as legitimate Christians. It’s a slippery slope, and I just happen to not be God. I too have very specific, very opinionated beliefs. None of those images represent the specific beliefs I adhere to.

By the way, there are some major, foundational beliefs that represent the core tenets of Christianity. That’s a future blog posting. But yes, there does exist “dealbreaker” doctrines – to deny their validity is to deny Christianity by definition.

Back to the topic…

So many people are attending non-denominational churches in an effort to avoid the division that a denominational tag seemingly accompanies. Which is pretty ironic, considering how a. they are classified just like denominational churches are – by their beliefs (pentecostal, reformed, legalistic, etc), and b. they lack the good things that a denominational structure brings, and yes, there are good things!

Just off the top of my head, here are some great things that a denominational structure brings:

1. Organization

2. A set of unified beliefs

3. The “pooling” of resources, so that churches can have a larger, worldwide impact

4. Publishing companies that correspond with the denominational beliefs, such as “Lifeway” in my case (southern baptists).

5. Many more – this blog is being done without the benefit of days of research and reading.

 

So, can we see any clarity at all with umpteen denominations carrying out their goals, missions, beliefs, and agendas in America and all over the world?

How do believers figure out which is the right denomination?

Is there a “most right” denomination?

What separates the denominations from what I would call the “cults,” that is, organizations set up as denominations, but so far off track that they have indeed rejected the fundamental beliefs that Christians embrace, or they have embraced beliefs that would discredit them as Christians?

Umm, yeah. So I can write some great questions, can’t I!

Here are some very short answers. Books and books have been written about this, so don’t expect me to magically solve this for the whole world. That’ll take me at least three blog posts.

 

So, can we see any clarity at all with umpteen denominations carrying out their goals, missions, beliefs, and agendas in America and all over the world?

God is bigger than the division. Does it irk me to no end that the “Christians” with the most media exposure are the ones who are uttering nonsense that couldn’t be further away from the REAL truth of the Gospel? You bet your bippie.

Do I shudder knowing that the same denomination adjective in my church is also present in a very publicized nutcase factory in Kansas that has nothing better to do than protest funerals of the fallen military? And they apparently honest-to-God believe they are carrying out the mandate of God by spreading hate? Why yes, I do shudder.

Does it bother me that the cesspool of American spirituality is so shallow that many actually believe that the publicized nonsense of Westboro and other cults is representative of what I as a southern baptist pastor stand for?

Do I believe that God is bigger than all of this, and that there is not one human or a trillion humans together who can ever divert his perfect plan for humanity, carried out through His Son and continuing today as the avenue for broken humanity to have relationship with perfect divinity? Emphatically, yes.

To quote some silliness i was spouting earlier, the Bible doesn’t say “in the end times, people will ride unicorns up rainbows all day long and everyone will be perfectly happy as the world experiences increasing warm fuzzy feelings because people just love each other.”

Nope, divisions with Christianity were predicted in the Bible.

One spot is 2 Peter, 2nd chapter:

1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping…

So yes, we have divisions within divisions within divisions.

The thing is, God is bigger, supreme, sovereign, near, loving, just, faithful, and is worthy of each of us living a thousand lives and dedicating each moment to learning more about Him.

A perfect God uses imperfect people who organize into groups full of weaknesses and flaws to accomplish His perfect will. One of those most awesome things about God is that He uses us! Our brokenness, our heartbreak, our failures, our misunderstandings, our lack of capacity to fathom just about anything – and God does something through us we could never do on our own. We are here on a mission which, in my humble opinion, does not include hitting someone on the head with a stick. In fact, it involves caring for people, ministering to the hurting, caring for the less fortunate, and otherwise doing what He wants us to do, not what we get in our heads that we should be doing on our own.

1 Timothy 1:17

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Concerning the other question – I’m going to save them for future writings.

 

I hope I haven’t come across as terribly blasphemous. That’s the thing about division. I’m sure I’m blasphemous to someone out there!

-Pastor Harvey

My thoughts about a Pastoral Search Committee

I actually wrote this article last year, but I’ve never really shared it with anyone before, so here you are!

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I have one of those faint childhood memories. Well, actually I have a lot of them, but some stick out more than others. I remember mom crying; or maybe she was at that stage that comes right before crying and she was trying not to go into a full-blown cry. And she said something like this- “Your dad doesn’t know yet, but he’s going to be heartbroken.” Now my mom rarely remembers my childhood memories; so this is just my perception of what happened. Of course, I’m never wrong, but that’s another issue…

Dad is a pastor. He is no longer actively pastoring a church, but like truly called pastors, he’ll be a pastor until his dying day. He still preaches quite often. He is a primary part of my earthly legacy. I look to him as an example of what a pastor should be and now that I’m in my adulthood, I emulate him more than any other person on earth.

He and my mother and my younger siblings had traveled up to coastal North Carolina and he had gone through the process of interviewing at a church for the position of pastor. I didn’t go; I was a teenager and I was working or in school or something like that. I just remember talking to my parents on the phone while they were up there and I remember them having a favorable impression on how the process was going.

It must’ve been mom who picked up the phone and received the official rejection notice. It may have been a letter, but regardless, she knew before my father did and she was broken–hearted in anticipation of the inevitable feeling of rejection he was about to experience. Fortunately, I was blessed to have spiritually mature parents, and an incident like this would in no way shake their faith or resolve in serving the Lord. Still, it didn’t make the moment much easier, I’m sure.

It turns out that dad was one of three pastors who had consecutively interviewed at this church, and the “voting” process the church had was apparently to select out of these three which should be the pastor. I don’t think he knew this going into the situation. Dad didn’t come in first place, and thus was not called as the pastor of this church. I never witnessed first-hand his reaction. I do remember mom telling me it was the youngest candidate – the one who led worship on a guitar, who received the call.

I grew up as one of those fabled “pk’s” (preacher’s kids). You know, those kids who were scrutinized by parents and parishioners alike (or least, I imagined I was). At an early age, I showed some promise musically, and to make a long story short, I ended up at an early age knowing I would be a music minister/worship pastor someday. Now, I am indeed that. This article, however, is not about my merits or history. Rather, I’d like to touch on personal recent experience that might help other worship pastors. This experience very closely resembles what my father went through in the mid 80s.

Recently, I served at a church in Ohio for about 6 years. Wonderful church, wonderful people. Up until about two months before we left, I honestly thought I would be there for my lifetime. It was one of those churches that I would’ve been blessed to have had that happen. God had other plans.

About 4 years into my tenure as worship pastor there, I began to experience a personal and spiritual change regarding my future. Sometimes, a person is blessed to serve the same people for decades. Other times, the words of the Kenny Rogers song are right on – “The winds of change are always blowing.”  In Ohio, my family was comfortable and happy. However, we felt strongly led to look into different ministries in other churches, and we felt like we were being obedient to God as we tentatively looked into the world of open church positions.

I’m deathly scared of being at a new church (ironically enough, I’ve been on staff in my position for less than 2 years now, but I’ll get to that in a moment). When I’m a new staff member, I don’t know names, I don’t know life stories, and I haven’t shared many memorable moments with the people I serve. The people don’t know me, and an intimate trust hasn’t been created between us yet. I haven’t laughed or cried with many of them yet. Ministry seems much more effective to me when I truly know the people I am serving. I do feel called to serve local churches and communities, and being new is sometimes a hindrance to effectiveness in this calling.

Going back to the time 2 years before we ended up leaving Ohio – After praying and spending much time in prayer and thought, we sent out resumes to three or four churches. We only heard back from one, and this one church called us almost immediately. They were friendly, upbeat, and were truly in love with Jesus Christ. We were praying for God to keep the right doors open and to shut the rest of them, and God seemingly answered this prayer.

Before too long of a time had passed, I and my family, at the invitation of this church, drove the four or five hours down the interstate and had two or three days with this church, including a Wednesday. We met with committees, staff, and music groups. It was a blessed time. I poured my heart out to them, and they to me. From my perspective, it seemed as if God was moving and preparing the way. We were excited, but we were also terrified. My pastor at the time was notified, and suddenly we didn’t feel as safe or secure in our present church. Things were in a great state of upheaval as we had stepped out onto the ledge of faith, ready to jump into whatever God has for us.

It was near the end of the trip that something was “slipped” during the interview process. They were going completely through the process with multiple candidates simultaneously. I confirmed this shortly thereafter in a phone call in which the gentleman said something like this (paraphrased according to my memory):

“When we had you down here, we thought it’d be you. Then we talked to the next candidate and we thought’d it’d be him. Then we talked to the third guy, and we thought it’d be him. I keep switching favorites. We’re really having to wait on God so he can show us the right person to pursue.”

What???

One of the questions I remember being asked during the interview process was “Are you currently considering other churches right now? And in our minds and hearts as well as to the committee, we pledged not to do just that, thinking it would be unfair to that church if we were keeping ‘options open.’ We felt like we would not be trusting God fully and completely if we tried to provide His plan with a ‘backup plan.’

I was crushed to learn that I was in effective competition with 2 other men, assumedly pursuing God’s will with the same heart as I. To this day, my major regret was that I did not back out of consideration then and there. From the incident with my father, I believe that the multiple candidate process is a scheme of man, not God. I remember how much my heart sank as I began entertaining thoughts that it wasn’t about who was God’s man for them, rather, it was about “which one of those guys” did they think was the right fit. My heart sunk even more as I knew I found this out after I had already jeapordized my position in the church I was serving by serving notification of my actions. I had made the fatal mistake of not asking specifically if the church was pursuing other candidates. I had erroneously assumed since they asked me that question about other churches, they would view the process with the same guidelines as I would.

How can a church truly follow God’s will if they have established emergency procedures and contingency plans in the form of multiple candidates? How can a church celebrate with joy the man God has brought them if in doing so, they cause unintended and possibly drastic consequences for the ‘unchosen few,’ and their spouses and children? This church knew that by considering this position, we were possibly burning bridges. I had told them this and had asked them to earnestly pray for me in this regards.

I’m reminded of the story in the Bible as Samuel considered which of Jesse’s sons to name as Saul’s successor and the future King of Israel.

1 Samuel 16:4-9 (NIV):

                Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”  Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.  When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.”  Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.”  Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.”

I believe this passage can provide valuable insights regarding the pastoral interview process. We can see that Samuel did not eye all of Jesse’s sons simultaneously. He went through multiple candidates, one at a time. He did not use his own eye to judge the strongest, the fittest, the wisest, or the tallest. The Lord specifically told Samuel that “man looks at the outward appearance.” God looks at the heart. Later on, we know that David is brought in, selected by God, and that this calling from God is recognized by Samuel, who then anoints David.

Back to my original story – I do feel that after that point, God gave us a grace beyond our own. We began to feel like the reason for us going through the interview process was for reasons other than a job change. It was as if he poured out his love and peace on us, so that when I finally received the polite but short rejection phone call, I was able to receive it knowing that God had worked His will out. He had not abandoned me or my family. He was keeping us right where He needed me to be, with the people we needed to be around. Through His grace, we were able to continue serving the people we were called to serve in an effective manner.

Well over a year later, we felt led to contact another church, and God moved mightily and swiftly. One of my first questions to them regarded if they were considering multiple candidates or not. They had indeed considered several candidates, but were only doing so one at a time. I am blessed to be serving at that church now.

Do I believe that God worked in the previous church? I do. I know that God’s will works out through both the perfections and imperfections of man, churches, politics and processes. God used many unlikely sources to accomplish His good and perfect will throughout the scriptures – evil nations, donkeys, floating axeheads, blankets full of animals, large hungry fish, harp music, weeping prophets – they all can be found as part of the wondrous book we call the Bible which guides, directs, encourages, convicts, and so much more. Though I have no idea personally, I do believe the right person was called to that church and that God made that happen. I also believe that there was a purpose in the trial, and I know our faith grew as a result. I and my family learned through the experience – we were drawn closer to God, and we pulled together for our reliance on each other through times of stress and turmoil.

I would definitely advise any pastor to add the multiple candidate question to his list of early inquiries for churches he may be considering. I would also encourage both churches and individuals alike now to do that which I still am working on daily – trust Him completely and fully. We will fail each other, but He will never fail us. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the moment, in the process of life and consider our own needs without thinking of the possible effects upon others.  Philippians 2:3 tells us that we should consider others better than ourselves. Shouldn’t this extend to how we consider the needs of others?

If God is truly in control, then we need to let Him truly be in control. After all, His solutions and His ways are much better than ours!

Psalm 20:7 – Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Lack of sleep for one is Comedy Central for another…

It has been one of *those* days.

And I don’t say so in a really negative manner. Actually, nothing bad has happened specifically. I have just suffered from a massive lack of sleep and a resulting lack of motivation. Maybe a hint of an oncoming mid-life crisis – yes, I’m closer to 40 than 30 now.

I literally could’ve stayed in bed the entire day, if I would’ve gone by how I feel. I’m doing my best to not go by that, but I wont tell you where I’m writing this from. ‘Scuse me while I fluff up my pillow…

Before you jump to conclusions, yes I did get up this morning, help get kids to school, acknowledge most people, had some great fellowships with church folks, had some good one-on-one with other church folks, get some work done, events scheduled, rehearsals planned, study time, good time with pastor, etc. etc. –

So call this post’s purpose as being one of “learn more about me so you can pray for me the next time you see my eyes glazed over.”

It is true . In the long journey of learning more about God, life, family, and myself, I’ve come to conclusions which I shall now put in pictoral form for you.

 

Me after a good 9 hours of sleep (yes, sue me, I do better with 9 than 8):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me with 6 – 7 hours:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How other people see me when I’ve only had *this* much sleep (this = current amount, 4 or less hours):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I feel like on the inside with that same amount of sleep:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the above amount of sleep makes any task seem like – even maintaining attention span when talking to someone:

 

 

 

 

 

I was going to write about something that literally made by blood rise about 24 degrees last night, but I’ll save that for an upcoming day.

Now pardon me while I try to figure out how to get to the couch and spend time with some precious kiddos.  -Pastor Harvey

Really, this time, no really, no, seriously, really…

Well, the reason I started blogging is that I think as a pastor, communication is vital. It’s a way to communicate my heart, my concerns, and to even *gasp* impact people’s life, maybe even for the positive.

And the reason I stopped is like millions and millions of bloggers out there, I can’t or don’t wish to discipline myself to make this a continual thing. Google “people quitting blogs” (or any other variations of that phrasing) and you’ll see that more people quit blogs than start them (yes, I’m being sarcastic, no I don’t charge for the sarcasm).

Well, anyways, I do feel ready to try again. And here’s why.

I am a worship pastor. That is my job title, my calling, my life – whatever the title can pertain to, I am, or try to be. It and all it entails defines my career choice, my calling, my surrender to God, my family, my finances, etc.

In the last few months, I’ve really felt a personal conviction about how calling one’s self a *worship pastor* is in all actuality a contradiction in terms when compared to the duties it comes with in an average (insert denomination) church. After all, a person is a worship pastor, then how come job security can be gained or lost based on a few hours on Sunday morning within a specific building?

Doesn’t worship happen outside of those hours? In fact, doesn’t most worship happen outside of those hours? And most worship happens outside of that building?

Shouldn’t I be called a “worship-between-10:30am-and-no-later-than-12:10-PM, 6-7pm-on-Sundays-at-FBC-MaryEsther-and-other-services-sometimes-too-pastor?”

Let me state my own beliefs clearly.  If our sole interaction with God (or even the majority of it) is limited to a time slot on a day, then something is drastically wrong. Christianity isn’t a “side dish.” It isn’t something that accompanies life. It IS life. A simple acknowledgement of the existence of God will gain us no standing with God, no passage to God, and no security with God. The country singer may sing “I tip my hat to the guy upstairs,” but if he doesn’t have an intimate relationship with God as the Bible outlines, then all he has is a tipped hat. As Brother Joe loves to quote, “sitting in a church won’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage will make you a car.”

His mercies are new every morning. As Pastor Byron so accurately mentioned last night, it is concerning when people are living on spiritual insight or experiences that are old to the point of being a distant memory.

Lamentations 3:22-23 –

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

So, if I am truly a worship pastor, that means my title, and therefore my responsibility has to do with impacting/discipling/encouraging people in their worship. What then, is worship?

My favorite definition of worship comes from Mike Harland’s “7 words of worship:” “Worship is our response to God’s revelation of who He is and what He has done.”

If we truly seek to know God, who He is, and what He has done, then our worship will as a result be genuine. We will be overwhelmed by Him. And worship will go outside of a time slot, building, setting, music style, dress style, etc. It will happen in our homes and our schools. In our workplaces, cars, gyms, and grocery stores. In our vacations and our normal schedules. During the good and the bad times.

Too many Christians view worship as something that happens a specific way (music starts, I stand, I sing, I’m done). Worship is more. It is a lifestyle lived in response to God’s revelations. It is obedience to Him, faith in Him, and reliance upon Him. It is these things and more. It is a big subject! And it should infiltrate every aspect of our life.

So, a worship pastor, if living up to the title, should live to affect positively the lives of those he contacts.

And as I’ve been under this personal conviction, I know that I can’t go to everyone’s house every day and give out report cards every 9 weeks. But  I can make every effort to communicate, disciple, engage, and love those whom God has put in my path. So, congratulations. You’re reading this!

As such, I’ve finally reached a point where blog-writing is shaping up to be more than a typical “on again, off again” hobby to me. It is a tool in which I can engage people where they are, maybe even serving up some encouragement and wisdom, as the Lord gives grace. If not, there’s always the bad jokes I am so well known for. I’ve prayed about this and studied, because I don’t want to start something up just to stop again. I’ll damage myself, damage my reputation, and maybe damage people who I am discipling.

So, after prayer and thought, I’ve decided I’d like to give this a go, and maybe this time, with God’s help, it’ll be more than a hobby.

-Pastor Harvey