Monday, November 27, 2006

Thoughts on Getting Going

This week our church collected 314 pounds to "Match the Pastor's Weight" for our local food bank. Now I have never weighed that much so I am thankful that everyone exceeded our fun goal. Many hungry people will be fed because of your faithfulness. Thanks for helping. As I thought about that goal and about my real struggle with weight loss, I also realized that I seem to be at a standstill on losing weight. I work out regularly and eat good foods in moderation, yet I cannot seem to get beyond that first loss of 20 pounds. It's frustrating.

If I am to lose more weight, I need to do something different, yet it is so hard to get going on more exercise or eating less.

Then I thought that sometimes life throws some pretty bad curves in our path that keeps us from getting going in other areas. Financial difficulty, marriage problems, sudden ill health issues and many more often leave us wondering what do I need to do to just get going and make things better.

Of course, if we don't deal properly with these big issues of our lives, then they become worse. I have talked with many people during my ministry who just can't seem to get going on making their life better and they have suffered for so long that they now are in a real serious state of depression. When I began in the ministry, depression was thought of as a mental disorder that only needed a kick in the pants to get you going out of it. Wow, was that way off base. I pray that if you are suffering from some amount of depression over your life issues that you don't beat yourself up with those old bad words about this serious situation.

I am certain that many of us have periods when we are down and can pull ourselves out of that feeling, but that is not depression. Now, keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor,but it seems to me that depression is a serious challenge to many of us that needs some intervention. If you are just down a bit, then a brisk walk in the sunlight or a nap when you are tired may help. But if you suffer from long bouts of downess, then you may need some help. So here is what I would suggest if you just can't seem to get going:
1. Go to your family doctor for a complete physical. Some bouts of depression have phsyical causes and can be corrected.
2. Take charge of your life and go take a walk, drink more water and eat better today.
3. On Sunday morning, get up and go to church. It is amazing how many people think that staying in bed will make them better. But the contrary is a truer statement - going to church and being with people who will love you and help you will indeed make things better.
I would love to discuss your feelings and your faith so why not come by this Sunday morning and let's get to know one another. Take care of yourself, you are the best you that there is. Allen

Friday, November 03, 2006

Grace and Disgrace

I just saw the news that the leader of the Evangelical Association Dr. Ted Haggard has resigned in disgrace over publicly admitting to "some indiscretions." He had been accused of buying and using amphetamines and securing sex from a male prostitute. Obviously, there will be an investigation by his congregation and others. Rev. Jimmy Swaggart admitted to some immoral behavior a few years ago and his church basically disintegrated within a week. Jim and Tammy Faye Baker left in disgrace from the PTL network and he served some time in a penitentiary following a very public trial.

I mention these for a couple of reasons. Obviously it is news when a religious leader admits to conduct that is sinful and disgraceful. And yes, the actions make him or her seem to be a hypocrite. Makes you want to throw up when someone who is a moral leader - a role model - acts just like many others. It doesn't have to be a minister because we have all been mortified by the actions of other of our heroes too.

But here is my point: what the church is all about is forgiveness and grace. I don't know any of these men personally but what I do know is that they are human beings just like me and just like you. As a minister, we all struggle with various sins and yet we stand, week after week, in the pulpit and offer God's forgiveness and grace to others who struggle with sin. Can we not also offer forgiveness and grace to national religious leaders and ministers who sin?

I suppose that the problem has to do with our judging each other. Ministers often are held to a higher standard than other persons and probably should be. But that doesn't mean that they should not also receive God's grace and forgiveness as well as ours. We preach and teach about little David slaying Goliath with a stone and hold him up as a great example to our children,yet King David committed adultery and murder.

I suppose I am rambling and I don't mean to do that. What I do want to say is that God offers forgiveness to these national leaders. I hope we can. Would you like to talk about this? Come by on Sunday and let's visit. Allen