Father McKenzie

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I’ve been wondering…

Am I Father McKenzie?

I hope not.

I’m built to be a preacher.

Writing and preaching sermons is my favorite part of ministry.

I look at it as a spiritual art form.

I may not always score a bulls-eye with my sermons, but it’s what I do and who I am.

I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop.

And that’s a problem.

You see, apparently, Millennials tend to hate sermons.

So, 20 years from now will this be me?

Father McKenzie, writing the words
Of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.

–The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby”

Gulp.  I hope not.

My anxiety is this:  Am I part of a dying industry?

Are sermons on their way out?

Am I Father McKenzie?

I hope not.

I’m willing to change.  I’m willing to grow in my craft and my calling.  To find new ways to proclaim the old, old story.

I’m willing to listen, to share space, to adjust my words so they might best be heard.

I’m willing to do the hard thing, because I love God, and because my heart longs to make a connection.

But with whom?

Maybe with “all the lonely people”.

No matter the age.

All the lonely people who are searching, who feel disconnected from God and from other humans.

20 years from now, I hope these are the people I am preaching to.

Romans 10:14 says,

 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

I don’t want to be Father McKenzie, wiping his hands as he walks from the grave, where no one was saved.

So I am committed to preaching the Word the best I can,

to children of this new century,

and every Eleanor Rigby.

Have a great week,

Mitch

P.S. Eleanor Rigby on Youtube

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12:12 training

 

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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12

I believe I have failed this verse completely.

First word:  Be.

Yep, I’ve blown that before.  Now, ask me to “do” and maybe I can help you out.  Or to ruminate, or worry, yes I’m your man.

But to “Be” anything is a challenge.  Let alone what I’m suppose to be:

Be Joyful.  Be Patient.  Be Faithful.   Gulp!

These are not simple things to ask for!  To be joyful — well, I’ve managed that from from time to time, but certainly not on command.

To be patient? This is maybe the hardest request out of the whole verse.  It’s just not something I’m any good at.  Not for more than maybe 5 minutes at a time.

Then, to be faithful.  Oh Lord, I wish I were.  I work on this one, I really do, but it’s a challenge for me.

Be joyful, patient, and faithful.

Already it seems impossible, but then add in the conditions, and I’m positively sunk.

Be joyful IN HOPE.  So as I try to muster up a little hope for my life, I need to do that joyfully.  Yikes.

Be patient IN AFFLICTION.  I have trouble being patient at the drive through lane, and you want be to be patient in affliction?

And finally, be faithful IN PRAYER.  You want me to be consistent in my prayer life, reaching out to God as much as I possibly can?

Hmm.

Ok, maybe I can be faithul in prayer.

Which maybe means maybe I can try

to be the rest.

After all, I might not be Romans 12:12 perfect,

but I can be in 12:12 training.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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4 Peacemaking Techniques THAT DON’T WORK.

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There are those rare magical people out there…

They seem to radiate calm, and generate hope, and leave people around them generally better than they found them.

And then there’s the rest of us.  🙂

Most of us would like to be Peacemakers .  In fact, most of us try, with various levels of success.

Problem is, we sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot by trying the wrong things.

And so, without further ado…

Here are four examples of peacemaking techniques that don’t work. 

#1. PEACE BY FORCE

Every parent knows this:  Yelling at your kids for peace and quiet may generate some quiet, but it doesn’t truly create peace.

You can’t make anybody do or feel something they’re not willing to do or feel.

When Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers”, he didn’t mean people who tried to force peace down other people’s throats.

INSTEAD:  Don’t force it,  create it!  Being a peacemaker means creating an environment of peace that emanates from within.

#2. Peace FAKING

Some groups, especially families, learn to tip toe around each other rather than talk.  People learn to push down their emotions rather than dealing with them.

It’s a little like being co-dependent.  People pretend — even alter their behavior — to keep a false sense of harmony.

It doesn’t work! When people push down or fake emotions too long, they will explode.

INSTEAD: There’s a difference between faking peace and seeking it.  Perfect peace may be a rare thing to achieve, but being authentic and intentional will take you far.

#3. Denying Peace

Some people grew up in chaotic environments.  Lots of conflict, maybe abuse and pain.  Others lose their way as they grow older and find themselves living in constant turmoil.

When that happens, it’s easy to think peace is an illusion, never attainable.  Or you might think you don’t deserve it.  And so you throw yourself to the mercy of the storms of life, trying to be at “peace” with the idea of having no peace.

If you feel this way, I need you to know something:  Christ’s love and peace are meant for you as much as any other person on the planet.

INSTEAD:  Believing that you (even you) are worthy of God’s love is a big step.  And maybe not an easy one to take alone.  You might talk to a pastor or a counselor.  You can have peace in your time.  It’s an important goal to work towards.

#4. Peace Through Distance

Your family is in St. Louis.  You moved to Kansas City.  Why?

To get away from the chaos!  Maybe the family you grew up with drove you crazy.  Fighting, conflict, a lack of trust, etc.

So you head to another town, another state.  Somewhere far away where the craziness can’t touch you.   Peace through distance.

This doesn’t work either.  Oh sure, you may not have to see these people, or talk to them every day, but chances are they haunt you.  You hear your dad’s voice in the back of your head telling you you’re irresponsible.  You feel all the emotions of a fight with your sister even though you’re just fighting with yourself.

INSTEAD:  Distance doesn’t bring peace, but you know what does?  Learning to be together but separate.  It’s finding that healthy balance where you retain your own soul, but are willing to engage with others.  You’ll probably never resolve all those issues, but you may learn to find peace on your own terms.

The Real Deal

The apostle Paul says it so well in Romans 12:18:  “If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

In other words, with the grace of God through Christ, you can be in charge of making your own peace.  And when the situation allows it, you can share peace with others.

When he says it like that, it seems so easy.

I don’t know about you, but I want the real deal.  Not some imperfect facsimile of peace.

I want the kind of peace that passeth understanding…

But I’ll admit I’m still trying to understand

exactly what that looks like.  🙂

peacebwithu

Have a good week,

Mitch

P.S. I put out spiritual art every day via http://AdventureChristianity.com.  Subscribe there to receive them in your email, or click the Facebook link and add them to your feed.