You ever have those moments where you feel like saying, "okay God, I get your point...loud and clear"? I've felt like that a little bit lately.
A theme that keeps arising for me lately is the idea that I, as the pastor of our church, need to be constantly working on being spiritually health if I am going to expect any of you to be spiritually healthy. While this message is certainly not new in my life -- I remember a seminary professor, Dan Allender, once saying "we can only take people as far as we have gone ourselves" -- but this theme keeps popping up everywhere, recently, and I'm trying my best to pay attention.
Our Sunday night small group is currently studying Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book 'Life Together,' and in our reading for this week, with regard to scripture meditation, Bonhoeffer said this: "We do not ask what this text has to say to other people. For the preacher this means that he will not ask how he is going to preach or teach on this text, but what it is saying quite directly to him." Yikes. That cuts right to the heart of this issue.
As a pastor, I need to make sure that I am actively listening to, and engaging with, what God is saying to me and how God is challenging and teaching me...long before I ever try to preach that message to all of you. One of the speakers at the Leadership Tune-Up conference I went to recently, Mark Wilkes, reminded us that essentially God is saying to us, "I'm going to have to do something IN you before I can do something THROUGH you."
So, I'm committing to the process of allowing God to FILL me, SPEAK TO me, and CHANGE me so that God can actually USE me. And, since we are all pastors -- a kingdom of priests -- I'm inviting you into this same process. May we always be seeking for God to stretch us, grow us, fill us, move us, and transform us...so that God can finally use us to further God's Kingdom. May our simple, collective prayer as a church start to be:
"God, will you do something in me."