Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Ministry Taken Away

I hate it! I can't stand it! I'm nearly going crazy here!
For 12 years I've been pastoring! That's what I am - a pastor. It's my gifts, my heart, my passion, my identity, my life has been wrapped around serving the church. And I love doing it! I'd do it all my life. It's my calling in life.

Now I'm on a medical leave. "Stop pastoring," they said. (Yes, it can be a verb too.)

You can't just turn that off. A pastor's heart is not like a tap. It keeps running. I keep thinking about the people. People I'm praying for daily. People who need Jesus. People who face problems. Parents who cry out for their children to know Christ. Spouses who cry out for their spouses to know Christ. Youth who need to see beyond themselves. You keep thinking about the church. Outreach opportunities. Passion for God that isn't ignited in the midst of vacation planning. And so many places where a little enthusiasm for Christ would bring a smile to someone's face. The church needs to be rallied. The community needs to be called forth. The battle cry raised! Leaders brought together. The momentum gathered. And where am I? At home applying for medical leave benefits. Aaargh!

And then God meets me this morning. And watches me in my self-pity for a while. (I wonder if He ponders how hard He's going to need to slap me to get my attention.) And He stops me dead in my tracks.

In Numbers 11 there's this story about the Isreality community grumbling in the desert. No meat. They haven't eaten anything but manna and they're sick of it. The people have had enough and they come out of their tents and grumble LOUDLY. All of them. Can you imagine it? As a leader Moses listens to the entire community grumble against him. How incredibly disheartening that must have been for him as a leader. Your entire community hates your leadership. Hates it. They all think you stink as a leader. They don't just question your leadership. They reject it.

Moses hears this and he gives up. Who wouldn't. "O, I give up!" "What am I supposed to do? I can't supply their every need? I can't meet their expectations. I just give up. Take my life now." I'd give up too.

But God doesn't.

God says bring me the leaders. And God gathers the leaders. And when he gathers them. He annoints them with His Spirit. Wow! Not just elects them. Not just appoints them. But annoints them! And with a full measure of the Spirit! In the Old Testament for crying out loud!

And then God makes a promise to feed the entire community meat. What? In the desert? Yes. Meat for a month. Meat till you can't eat meat anymore. Meat till it comes out your nostrils. (I thought that was pretty funny :-)

How can that be? Great verse. I memorized it:
Numbers 11:23
The Lord answered Moses, "Is the Lord's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."

God is doing that right now for my church. As I write, God is gathering the leaders. I believe He's not just electing them and appointing them. I believe He's annointing them. With His Spirit. And He's engaging them to lead our church community beautifully, powerfully, correctly.

The very next chapter in Numbers is a huge rebuke to speaking negatively about God-appointed leaders.

Quite a slap, Huh?
Sure caught my attention! Spun my head around a couple of times this morning. Pity party over. I've got some praying to do. For our church leaders. They need my prayers and my support. God bless 'em!


At June 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Keep journalling my friend. Not only can you get out your thoughts and feelings.....God has provided you with a new form of pastoring through your blog.


At June 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can feel how much you hate the whole idea of medical leave and time away from leading us--but I hope God will show you just a glimse of the new role you are growing into. You may not be standing at the front on the stage--but my friend you are pastoring many of us through your writings. You are causing us to reflect, to change what we do with out lives. Please don't underestimate the ablity and power your words have to reach deep into the lives of your people at Living Hope. I eagerly awake to see what you will teach me each day. Think about it---you are teaching me everyday--not just on Sundays. In some ways I'm feeling fed more now--because of the frequency of the teaching. So rest easy that God is using you in a very powerful way. Please remember that your writings are also a healing tool for you --please don't stop talking about what you and your family are going through. We are all here with you so when the battle continues to rage and you can no longer keep your arms raised to gain the victory--we can come along side in love and hold them up for you.....

I know you well enough to see how hard it is for you to be still and rest--but again today I encouage you to let God teach you this new lesson---find Him in the stillness of moments spent with your children and Janet. God Bless you and keep you in His loving hands.

At June 25, 2005, Anonymous Bill Blackmon said...

Dear Dwayne; Please know that in the absence of meaningful words that you will be foremost in our prayers and specifically each Sunday as our little lake church convenes. May you find great comfort in the Spirit's presence.
Bill Blackmon

At June 25, 2005, Anonymous Joanne S. said...

Dear Dwayne & Janet,
I should be washing my kitchen floor but I felt I just needed to do this first. We've been thinking of you & praying for your family ever since we heard the news. It brings back alot of memories for us - 7 years ago at the beginning of summer holidays, just like now, we were told our 4-year-old had leukemia. You're right when you say "How do we deal with that? How do we tell people? How do we tell the kids?" We talked about it at the supper table the other night. We asked the kids alot of "do you remember..." questions. Amy remembered that when Allan came to pick her & Justin up from friends,(she was 8 then, Justin only 1 so he didn't know what was going on), he told her how sick Tony was, and she remembered the first thing that she said was "Is he going to die?" Allan remembered how scared she was. You're right - it's hard and it's crappy to try to explain this to kids. Especially when it's hard to make sense of it as adults! Tony just remembered that he got alot of needles right away and that he got to watch alot of TV! Amazing how different perspectives you get! Allan & I were also terrified, and questioned, and cried, and wondered how we were going to get through this. But look at now - Anthony is almost 12, he ran track this winter at school and loves basketball. He only has check-ups once a year now. This weekend he and Justin are at Camp Circle 'o Friends - a Thurs-Sun camp weekend for cancer kids and their siblings. It's been a long journey, but it's been successful through the love and prayers of friends, family and our church family at WP. Don't think that you're not pastoring anymore - DB always says that everyone is a pastor. You will have other opportunities and areas to pastor in - like here on your blog, or at the doctors office, or at the hospital - wherever you may be. Allan & I strive to do that as well when we meet other families with cancer kids. This school year Tony really struggled with reading, as he had missed so much school during K-Gr.2 during his chemo years. I fought with the school, resource teacher and people from head office to get him some 1-on-1 help. Their idea was to send him to a child psychiatrist, because he probably had unresolved stress issues from chemo. Load of crap (sorry! can I say that?!), but I said I'd look into it. I needed to have a dr. referral, so went to talk to his oncologist. I've never seen that man angry, but that day he was. Short, angry little East Indian man - it was quite scary! His comment was, "You are the most balanced family to ever come through this place!" At that moment, I knew that, through God's help all those years, that we had made a difference at the peds cancer clinic. There was something "different" about us, and that was God. He was and still is in control. We didn't know what was going to happen, but God was using us to show a bit of Him to others. I believe He will do the same with you. So don't think that you're not pastoring anymore - you are, just in a different way. We will continue to pray for you & your family, and pray that the tests results on Monday will be "something else". Sorry for the novel! If you want to get together to talk just give us a call. Praying for all of you -
Allan, Jo & kids

At June 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too feel that I am being pastored by you daily. I look forward to what you have to say and how God has spoken to you each day. Today, I feel directly spoken to in regard to the appointing/annointing of our leaders(as you say,hand slapped!). You ARE still speaking to us and leading us,only daily and so much more intensely and personally. It is most definetly not in a circumstance that we like, but there is no question that God is doing great things through you,whether you are in the church building or not. You are blessed even in this time of uncertainty and fear. Trust in God and He will do far more than you would ever dare imagine.

At June 25, 2005, Anonymous beverly fritzke said...

hmmm...dear entitled your journal entry today "A Ministry Taken Away" yet when i read the comments from others and find myself yearning for closeness with God after reading your thoughts, I wonder if someday you may use the title "An Unexpected, Expanded Ministry".
Love to you and yours today. I remember His great faithfulness with you.

At June 26, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beverly's got it right... your (or shall we say God's ministry to people like me, through this blog) ministry is expanding beyond what you ever could have imagined...
Keep writing... I'll keep reading...and growing... and I'll stop my complaining too...
bless you!

At July 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dwayne, our hearts were saddened when we got the news. Having gone through this insidious dease with our daughter,we can relate and understand the why's of your heart. God has blessed you with a very special gift, both as a pastor behind the pulpit, and now as a pastor in writing. What a healing ministry this is to so many who read your journey, but to yourself as well as your share your heart cry.We lift you and your family up before the Lord,trusting Him for a miracle. Jack & Olga

At February 20, 2006, Anonymous Brittany Bechard said...

Hey, Dwayne i can also feel your need to preach the gospel and it hink thats i absolutly amazing. what i got out of your blog today was i need and want to have to need to preach to people as do you. i want to feel the need to tell people about God and the bible. i have reason to believe that alot of christians today dont havt that. i want you to know that i also think God has opened up a door for you to preach through your blogs a lot of my classmates i think and hope are getting alot of good things about of your wesite. so thank you i know we all need it, and thanks for challenging me:D

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