Beti loved adventure and loved to invite others to join in them. Her latest thrill was skydiving. “You should come with me,” she told Sam. “You’re crazy,” he replied,” “There is no way I’m jumping out of a plane. Why do you like stunts like that, anyway?” “Because they give me joy.” “And what if your parachute doesn’t open?” “Then I’ll be with Jesus.” On Sunday, Beti’s parachute didn’t open and she went to be with Jesus.
I had to beef up my leadership skills and learn how to lead something larger than 30 folks in a living room. So I started reading books for church planters, but they all seemed to be doing ministry in large, urban contexts. Before long, I learned rural ministry comes with three major challenges.
My friend Daniel Im’s first book officially released on September 1. Check it out!
But if we are not careful we can create a kind of second class system by elevating those whose vocations seem more praiseworthy—white collars or creative such as artists, engineers, lawyers, and CEOs—over and above the blue collar, “dirty jobs” professions that so employ so many of our people. It’s easy to fall into this trap only because white collar professions and creative endeavors seem more visible and are more easily held up as examples of gospel innovation in the marketplace. But I also wonder if we’ve not subconsciously imbibed the disdain our culture has for so-called blue collar professions.
Crises of faith occur where the rubber of our faith — what we believe should be our experience if we trust God — meets the road of an experience that contradicts (or appears to contradict) our belief. Often this happens when some evil befalls us, leaving us disoriented and confused, feeling angry and disillusioned with God, who doesn’t appear to be following through on his promises.
The purpose of this article is not to argue whether Saturday or Sunday constitutes a Sabbath in the New Testament era, but to consider the concept of rest. The Sabbath was instituted as a sign of the covenant between God and Israel (Exodus 31:15b-16) and was to be a day of complete rest, recalling the seventh day of creation (Exodus 20:8).
Often, though, pastors and other church leaders have a difficult time with the idea of rest despite the fact many of them work hours exceeding a standard workweek and though God created a day especially for the purpose.
A favorite from the archives:
See, one of the funniest things we pray about is evangelism. Most of us pray for opportunities to share our faith… but we also secretly hope God won’t give us those opportunities. I know because I’ve been there. But God is going to answer—and he is going to give you opportunities to share the gospel. Why? because this is something that is a basic of the Christian faith. We go and tell. We’re to be out in the world, making the most of every opportunity to share the good news.