Today I am trying to see my way around the pile of issues swirling around both my desk and my head. Five families I love going through various health/hospital related quandaries, this Sunday's message, the financial "crisis" of our situation at present, the upcoming election, Darfur, Iraq, my children's education, the price of oil, needs in our health clinic, needs in our worship ministry, a complaint from a member about skateboarders (I like skateboarders!), a staff member leaving for the mission field in Japan, the needs of the Montessori school which shares our building, the WalMart land deal, training new staff. It's enough to drive a pastor crazy.
(I probably shouldn't say that. Half of you think I'm crazy already!) I think of Paul's words in 2 Cor 11:28-29 (NASB95)
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
Of course Paul's external things were things like beatings and shipwrecks, and imprisonments and starvations and cold. My external things are hardly worth mentioning, but I think any church planting pastor has some inkling about "the daily pressure of concern for all the churches." How is CrossTown doing? How is Mountain Ridge (in Redmond, WA) doing? How are Mike and Leslie doing in Sunnyvale, CA? How is Three Rivers (in Joliet) doing? How is our church plant in Indonesia doing? What is happening in Kenji Kitano's church in Hiroshima, Japan? Is Crossroads church down in Florida making headway in their church planting vision?
Are our missionaries in Belgium and China, and the Philippines and those middle eastern countries that remain nameless, are they doing okay? Are they safe? Are they being bold? How has the dollar's devaluation effecting their ministries? Do we need to find a way to increase their support to compensate for the fact that their dollar buys 30% less than when they left to serve on their mission field? How can we do that? How can we NOT do that?
"O God, you know the answers to every one of these questions. Give us wisdom to know what we can, should and must do. Help us to trust you with the things we are unable to do. Help all of these new churches to remain faithful to you. Help them to bring honor and glory to Christ. Keep them centered on Him with their eyes fixed on Him and trusting that He will, by the power of His Spirit, use them to change lives. And Lord Help us to not grow weary in the work of prayer. Help us to be faithful to pray for them and for the advance of your Kingdom. And Lord, help me to see around all the piles of life, that You are still sovereign and that You can accomplish Your will with or without me. In Jesus name, Amen."