Sunday, December 6, 2009

an embarrassed "lord"

I came home tonight from my weekly Sunday night youth group and found myself feeling quite embarrassed by my "youth talk" tonight. Embarrassment is definitely the word to express what I was feeling. Embarrassment is really the sinful version of being humbled. Persistent embarrassment comes from taking a situation that revealed a weakness, flaw, or shortcoming and making it about self. Being humbled comes from taking a situation that revealed a weakness, flaw, or shortcoming and making it more about one's need for Christ.

I felt particularly embarrassed because a fellow young preacher this morning at my church preached one of the best sermons I have heard in a long time. This brothers giftings were obvious, his maturity shown bright, and he communicated the Gospel with brilliant clarity while speaking challenging words which convicted even my critical heart. In one fell swoop my confidence level was thrown back to the dangerously low levels that plagued me while in seminary. The presence of one man's gifts being used by God for the proclamation of the Gospel became such a threat to this insecure man. Then came my failure at youth group. My embarrassment at my "performance" now coupled with my deep sense of inadequacy in comparison to the giftings of my brother led to an evening full of self-pity and even doubt of pastoral calling.

The depth of my self-absorbed melancholy this evening revealed the heart of pride and selfishness that seems to so often fuel my "ministry." I spent an evening bowing at the feet of the idol called personal glorification, instead of bowing at the feet of King Jesus (for whom I claim to serve with my preaching and teaching).

While it is no surprise, nor a new realization, that self-glorification is at times the great cause for which I "minister" I am struck by the newly revealed way in which I view whether I am having "ministry success." If I am publicly more accomplished or get to experience a sense of ministerial superiority over those with whom I serve then I can consider myself confirmed in my ministry calling and feel assured that "fruit" will follow in the wake of my work. This is clearly not the Biblical way of viewing ministerial success.

It seems that the Bible points to someone else's glorification as the way of viewing ministerial success. When the saints of Scripture prayed the height of reasoning behind their petition to the Lord was most often the glory of the name of the Lord.

So I am left with the question, whose glory matters more to me? Mine or the Lord's.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Explanation and an Introduction

As one with far too much to do and yet always far too much introspection going on inside my wee head I have decided to add to my perpetual sense of guilt by including the pressure of feeling the need to add to a blog from time to time.

I have entitled my blog "Pilgrim Processional" a title for which I am quite proud because it does well at communicating the basic gist of this blog while giving the blog an err of deep introspective spirituality that all truly narcissistic blogs should have. My blog, as are many blogs, will be a place for me to verbally vomit on the world around me with musings from my introspective wanderings. While I do see this blog as serving the purpose of me getting my swirling thoughts down in somewhat coherent sentences, I do hope that the main thrust of this blog will be to communicate the day in and day, or week in and week out (depending on how often I blog), challenges and experiences of living as a Pilgrim follower of Jesus Christ living in the full reality of the already and the not yet.

The reality is that I am indeed a Pilgrim, in much the same vain of Christian from Bunyan's famous book "Pilgrim's Progress", moving with painful slowness and seemingly endless backtracking and sidetracking toward the home of my King and LORD Jesus Christ. I am indeed in the midst of a life long processional that will, because of the effectual work of Christ's atonement on my behalf, most assuredly lead to my heavenly home where I will see my Savior face to face and live eternally enraptured by His beauty and the thundering, sweet, and precious noise of the saints from all of history worshipping this King.

While the destination for which this Pilgrim Processes is perfect and pure, the path of this pilgrim's processional is not. This process will not always be pretty and most likely it will often be quite messy, but in the end it will be beautiful.