Ok. So, apparently, not only do I look too young to be some kind of pastor – I also look like a hooligan! (At least at 1:00 in the morning.) Last night, I was leaving the office after having worked on a paper that’s due this weekend. As I walked to my car, I noticed a car with a spotlight driving slowly through a group of storage rentals across the street. It seemed to be a police car, but then it seemed to be coming across the street toward me.
What should I do? Drive away and have them chase me down? Hide and hope they didn’t see me? Just sit and wait?
I decided on another option. I closed my door – I wasn’t quite in yet – and walked around to the front of my car, facing the officer’s car.
Commence yelling “Get back in your car, sir!”
“But I wasn’t in my car – is something wrong.”
“Get back in your car.”
“Are you looking for someone?”
“Get back in your car.”
This was not the right option. I think it set the officer on edge and set the tone for the rest of what happened. I had a million things flying through my head. ‘Keep your hands out and don’t make any sudden moves’ was prominent among them. I got back in my car and waited as the officer came and asked what I was doing here at the church so late, license and registration, etc. When I told her I was a youth pastor here, she called in to see if there were any outstanding warrants for my arrest! Do youth ministry and warrants really go together that concretely?
I offered to take her into the building, where I could give her a visitor packet that has my name on it to verify that I really was a pastor there. She took my up on the offer (I think she thought she was calling my bluff), but she didn’t keep the visitor packet.
Sufficiently convinced that I did indeed work here at the church, (and more importantly to her that there were no warrants she could exercise and arrest me) she told me I could go – but gave me a warning about how this was pretty “unusual”. The whole thing was kind of weird. But at least I know that next time I’m here late, there’s someone else around who will confront anyone suspicious… that and “stay in the car!”
Some of the students and I led services this week. The focus was to “be still and know that I am God” from Psalm 46. Just thought I’d post a little follow up…
“…the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26,27
Often, it’s hard to ‘be still’ before God because we don’t know what to say. The thing is, sometimes we don’t really need to say anything. God knows the things that hurt so bad we can’t explain them. And His own Spirit intercedes for us! Wrap your thoughts around that a bit: the Spirit of God crying out to God on your behalf!
It’s hard to ‘be still’ because it makes us think about our lives more deeply than we usually do… and sometimes we don’t like what we see. But never forget that God is in the business of transformation. If He doesn’t like what you see, He can help you to see what He sees: His child – maybe broken and hurting and wasting away, but His child, nonetheless. And He can transform the broken pieces of your life’s clay into a beautiful work – one that He’s proud of.
Even though it’s hard and uncomfortable and maybe a little awkward, be sure that you make time to ‘be still’ and just know that God is God. I know you’re busy, but I also know that we have the ability to make time for what we really want. Make an appointment to sit and stare at the Creator of the Universe for a while. Place yourself on His wheel as a lump of clay and allow Him to shape everything about you.
I blame my absence from this blog on writing seminary papers, but really that’s just an excuse. Probably the real reason is that I’m feeling insecure enough that I don’t feel like I can safely be as transparent as my writing usually ends up being. (See maybe that’s too transparent!) And if I’m not going to write honestly, maybe I should just keep my fingers off the keyboard… (I did add a books section to the sidebar though that I think is pretty cool – haven’t added all my shelves yet, but some of the highlights.)
Right now I’m working (or should be working) on a paper that’s supposed to answer the question “How can we be increasingly available to the Spirit of God?” I think being available to the Holy Spirit means living a life that is directed by God. Not directed in the sense that He’s out there barking orders at stage hands, but more that He’s moving and I’m following His lead.
Willie always asks the question here, “Is this of me or is this of God?” Am I accomplishing something or is God? I like that question, as maddening as it can be, because it forces me to think about whether Mike is at work or God is at work in whatever the situation is. The key is to work less in my own strength, surrender to the mission He’s working on, and work by His strength alive within me. Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing very well at that…