I’m a couple months short of hitting the birthday some have named Eighty. Oh, my goodness. That’s a huge number. As one who was often the youngest in the room or the youngest to do a lot of things, reaching this age comes as a mild surprise. It happened so quickly–and effortlessly. All I did to achieve it was to keep on breathing. (I’ve gotten rather good at that, and hope to keep it up for a while longer.)
April of 2021 will mark sixty years since God called me into the ministry. So, you’d think I would have learned a few things by now. I sure hope so.
Here are some of the lessons the Lord has been trying to teach me over these decades…
- If you do not like change, you’re going to have trouble following Jesus.
- Whatever you do to the church, Jesus takes personally.
- Scripturally, love is something we do. An action, not an emotion.
- To love Jesus is to obey Him. End of discussion. (See John 14 and 15)
- To love Jesus is to love His people. If you don’t, you don’t.
- Joy is the flag flown from the castle of your heart to show the King is in residence.
- Every church needs a little conflict.
- The best test of your faith is your prayer life.
- Unity in the church is directly connected to its success in evangelism. John 17:21,23
- Jesus is more willing to give than we are to receive, more willing to bless than we want to be blessed.
- Only the strong can humble themselves and serve. The weak just cannot bring themselves to bow down.
- Pastors are not sent to make the congregation happy but holy and healthy and to make Jesus happy.
- Never ask God for anything in prayer if you are not willing to wait for the answer.
- Christians expecting life to be easy may want to stop and read their Bibles.
- God seems to have a low threshold for boredom as He never makes the same thing identical and is always creating new things.
- No one can eat your food for you, make love for you, or believe for you. Some things you have to do for yourself or it will not get done.
- Without faith it is impossible to please God. That’s Hebrews 11:6.
- When God gets ready to do a big thing, He loves to start small.
- God does the best things with the most ordinary people.
- Anyone who thinks because a technique worked well once that God will be using it again and again may want to read His dealings with Israel.
- Since He has all the time in the world, God doesn’t mind taking it.
- Other than what the name implies (“servant”), nowhere does Scripture say what deacons are to do.
- We do not know how to pray as we should. I don’t, you don’t, no one does. That’s Romans 8:26 and it must be all right.
- Anyone who plans to “start tithing just as soon as we get all the bills paid and a little ahead” is attempting something never before done and trying to please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6 says it won’t happen.
- No matter how faithful and diligent you are, you have no idea what God will do with you.
- No decision of a church is more important than its choice of a leader.
- God makes the pastors the overseers of the church. That’s Acts 20:28.
- The ministry is no place for wimps.
- Poor preaching is God’s judgment on a prayerless congregation.
- It’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus.
- If you cannot submit and follow, you cannot lead.
- If you do not enjoy serving God and loving God’s people, He will not make you go to Heaven. That would be cruel of Him.
- To change the future, bless a child. Those wanting to change the past should stop that foolishness and make the most of the time they have remaining.
- It matters little to the Lord whether He saves by the few or by the many. That’s I Samuel 14:6. It was spoken by young Jonathan but it’s still gospel.
- We will each stand before the Lord and account for how we have treated His children. If that doesn’t strike terror into your heart, you’re not paying attention.
- Ever since Calvary, death for believers has not been that big a deal.
- No one can proclaim “Jesus is Lord” and “I am clever” at the same time.
- If everything has to be perfect before we are grateful, we will never give thanks to anyone for anything.
- The best test of your servant spirit is how you act when someone treats you like one.
- The authority on my religion is my wife. A frightening thought.
As other “lessons” come to mind, I’ll jot them down and then make a decision whether to amend this list and lengthen it, or to create a new page.
It’s actually a good exercise. I recommend you try it.