Friday, July 29, 2005

Reproducing Disciples

I can't tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. 2 John 4

I was sitting in my office today, talking to a man who just got back from a mission trip to Indonesia. He nad his wife were missionaries there for a while, and they returned for a month to help tsunami relief.

For me, missionaries have always been heroes, so much so that I picture them coming back to America and feeling let down at our lack of fervor. But not today.

You see this man works with youth, and while he was gone, two of the people he had asked to fill in began to really learn to love our youth. So much so that they want to continue teaching them at another, additional time each week.

he was telling me about the welcome home party the youth had given him and his wife, and about these two women steppingup, and then it was if a light went off in his brain when he realized - "Hey! They are growing!"

Yes they are. And that's why we do what we do.



Friday, July 22, 2005

We're All Learning

How does God do it?

I'm sitting here this afternoon on a pretty quiet Friday, and in the sanctuary, separated from my office by a wall, but with a heating and A/C return box running the length of it that lets me hear events in there as if they are... next door. My wife is busy teaching piano to a series of little children. They are playing very simple melodies. Some are doing better than others - they change every 30 minutes. But their halting way of playing doesn't.

Each is supposed to have practiced daily, preparing for their lesson. Piano is one of the subjects you learn where each lesson builds on the last, so mastery of one needs to be accomplished before the next.

I'm guessing practice was sporadic this past week.

But they are trying, and Bunny is encouraging.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

On the other side of the wall where I sit, having been given God's Word to show me how to live, His Holy Spirit to guide me into truth, and a congregation and friends for encouragement and accountability...

I sometimes live as haltingly unsure a life as the music I'm hearing.

Is that it? No this. mmm.. Maybe this way.

How does God stand it? Well, just to remind you, it's not about our performance. It's about His love.

If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Romans 8:31 NLT

Just keep loving Him with all your heart, soul, and mind. He's heard every wrong "note" you've ever made. But He loves you - and that will never change.


David Wilson

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Comings and Goings

Well, as I sit here tonight, fresh from another brush with a Hurricane - in this case Dennis - life is as good as Florida can be without electricity or air conditioning. I'm thinking there was a reason why no one lived here pre- A/C.

But if you are going to live near the ocean, you should expect to see nights like this.

In the two days of preparation leading up to today's event, I walked down to the bay and saw the ships resting at anchor. Many were placed there Friday and Saturday, hoping to take advantage of the relative shelter of the bayous. There were two boats though, that had been there.

The first sits in about ten feet of water, with the mast and jib the only testimony that a boat lies there. There for the last ten months, I'm fairly sure it may never sail again without heroic measures by someone whose dream is to see it underway.

The second lies at anchor - just as it has every day, every night since September. Though it made it safely through Ivan, and now through Dennis, the only thing it has done that a boat needs to do is float.

As the day begins tomorrow, many boat owners will come and check to see how their boats fared. They'll weigh anchor and set sail for tommorrow's adventure and yes, possibly for another day's storms.

Given that storms come to us all, can I ask you a question?

Where's your life taking you?

Maybe you feel defeated - sunk, and cannot see yourself any other way.

Maybe you are tied down to grief, to heartache, to past deeds and misdeeds. So afraid of the future you won't "raise your anchor."

My friend, storms will come - but so will sunshine and balmy breezes. You were made to live in freedom from defeat, from fear, from your past - you were made to set sail and glorify God with a life lived for Him.

Do this. Take Jesus at His word.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
28"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. 29Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Just as a sailboat was meant to slice through the waves - but only can when freed from its moorings - you can only live the life you were created for when you are letting Jesus live through you. Leave that past and embrace a future with Jesus.



Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What's Wrong?

There's too much news available today for us to absorb. Hearing about atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, or Iraq, or horrible incidents right here in America can make you want to turn off the TV, close your browser and stop delivery of your paper. But as Christ-followers, this is the time we were placed within to make a difference. So we watch society grow richer and poorer at the same time. Today I read of something that moved me to speak to you.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, apparently called the parents of a 15 year-old New Yorker killed for his iPod, tennis shoes and cell phone. Jobs offered his condolences and offered to help in any way he could. That's a wonderful gesture, and Jobs should be commended for reaching out in that way.

After the conversation the father of the boy talked to the New York Times...
"We live in a world which is changing rapidly...We have the technology that can give us the iPod and everything else, but it's not all these things. We have to work on the minds and the hearts.

We're failing these kids. We're not loving them the way we're supposed to."

Jesus spoke directly to what really matters many years ago when He said:

What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Matthew 16:26 (The Message)

Friends, love isn't giving stuff, making wishes come true, or placating the greed that lies within us.

Love is giving yourself. Love is living the life upfront and personal, showing your kids the joys and the heartbreaks that life is, while pointing them in the direction of the One Who is Life.

What's wrong? We've lost our way.

If you're realizing that just now, there's real hope available for you. Start reading the account of how Jesus spent His life here on earth in the book His close friend John wrote. See if you can spot why people wanted to spend their lives with Jesus instead of gathering money or possessions. Write me, and I'll send you a separate email with a chapter a day of that book from the Message, a contemporary version of the Bible that speaks to people today.

And pray that God will show you what's wrong.


David Wilson

A Glimpse of New Hope is my attempt to share the hope I have found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Should you no longer wish to receive it, or find that you have received it in error, please write me at and I will immediately remove you. Past "Glimpses" are archived at Thanks and God bless, David Wilson

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Thrill Is Gone

The thrill is gone
It's gone away from me
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away from me
Although, I'll still live on
But so lonely I'll be - B.B. King

One of the major causes of pastoral failure is burnout. Having worked in the secular world for years before becoming a pastor, I really wasn't prepared for the onslaught that burnout is.

For example, this is the week before Vacation Bible School, one of my favorite weeks of the year. Being able to relax and enjoy helping kids learn about Jesus, and even helping some begin their journey of faith with Him is usually a thrill. Physically tiring - but emotionally rewarding.

The danger in vocational ministry it seems to me is not in the special event periods like VBS, but in the everyday, week in and week out routine. People placed in your care, people you are accountable to God for - are needing to find God's will, or His peace, or strength and you are the bridge for many until their own faith has "legs" to stand on.

So within the routine, you take their hurts to the Father in prayer, and you reach out to them. This all happens while you are preparing multiple messages, working on the next leap forward for the church, examining future small group materials, missions opportunities, publicity campaigns and on and on.

And while in the secular job, you can drop your briefcase inside the front door, here your heart won't let you.

Then there's your wife and family that you so often give the leftovers of your good humor to.

Right now, the thrill is gone.

Well, there's always that promising blues guitarist career to fall back on.

So what do we do about it? (my son Sean's favorite question as a toddler)

1. Stay close to God at the exclusion of all others. You can't give away what you don't have.
2. When you feel it coming, take a break. Maybe it's a day, maybe it's a week, but usually there's a way to spend some time doing something totally unrelated to church.
3. Grow replacement appendages. :) Make it part of your mission to grow strong pastoral help in deacons or family ministry teams.

So I'll be practicing what I preach this week and taking some time. You should too.