Teach Me to Live – Lesson 2

I’ve spent several years of my professional life defending myself. For many years I’ve had the pleasure of serving the church as my occupation and passion, but until moving here to Casper to lead our church, I’ve always felt the need to defend my pastoral position. Much of my activity in pastoral leadership has been about showing that I’m worthwhile, and my position is important to the church. A number of those years, I have felt the need to defend my ideas and skills, which was taxing on my identity and the desire to continue serving.

November 1, 2019

I start my new position as lead pastor of Casper Alliance Church

The odd thing, I didn’t somehow wake up in November smarter, more skilled, or even more pastoral, but I did wake up on November 1st with the lack of need to defend myself. Up till that point, I had always been a “secondary pastor” not a “real” pastor. The sad thing is, I’ve heard that phrase multiple times in my life, “someday you will be a real pastor Jason.” “Eventually you will switch chairs, and your voice will matter.” Wow, that hurts, and it’s sad, but I’ve spent too much energy fighting that feeling of not good enough because of my position. It is shocking what a simple position change does to the way you feel about yourself.

THE REAL QUESTIONS – What do I need to prove? Who do I need to prove it to?

The proof of my love of Christ, my love for others, and my willingness to follow Jesus publically were never in question. The things which Jesus tells us in John 15 were never at the core of my struggle. I was looking for validation and fruit in all the wrong places. I was focused on man as the source of significance. Some of this is due to the way I’m wired and how God has created me. I’m a goal-oriented, focused leader, and I tend to find value in accolade. Those can be incredible strengths for me professionally, but if they get out of whack, I find myself getting into a rat race of human affirmation. When Jesus says in John 15:8, “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” He is asking me to abide in Him and allow the fruit to speak of who the Father is. My instinct is to take all the fruit I think I’m producing and put it into a beautiful fruit basket display for all to see. The glory comes to me in that situation, not the Father. It is so easy how good things in our lives can be altered to become a selfish ambition.

How are you proving that you are a disciple? Is your fruit for a man or the Lord?

Jesus, Teach me to Live.


Read more...

Teach Me to Live – Lesson 1

I am pretty sure the Lord is working on me in a particular area, and I’m reminded each lesson how bad of a learner I really am. Remember, when I teach through a series, it always starts with me. What is God teaching me? Where am I learning or needing to learn? In 6 months of leading our church, it hasn’t failed yet, the very thing I’m trying to teach us a congregation I am learning privately.

A couple of weeks back, I shared a recurring dream that I was having. The dream typically followed the same pattern, me standing in the front of a beautifully ornate cathedral, the room filled will everyone I know plus some, and I’m always faced away from the people with the inability to lead or speak in their direction. In my dream, I would feel neutered and useless. As I was sharing that dream, it dawned on me that I was becoming consumed with leading and the accolades that come with the success of my leadership. I was interpreting the dream right in front of all who were there on that Sunday morning. The bottom line was regardless of my skill, talent, and desire, I still need help. I need help from the Lord to not make it about me and what I am doing. I need to be dependent on the Spirit of God to fill me and guide my leadership. Move forward to last week, the church hit an all-time high in plays on our podcast. My oh my was I hyped. People are hearing what I’m saying, and that is good. I felt super proud! Like before I felt a sense of accomplishment. We are doing it! We are going somewhere. All this prep and hard work are going pay off. I/we will get noticed, and we will grow.

Let’s move forward one more week. On Sunday we discovered that something went goofy with the soundboard and the teaching didn’t get fully recorded. This is no one’s fault, there really isn’t an explanation for it. This is why I say the Lord is working on me in a very specific area. I was immediately reminded that it’s not about me. During the teaching time, I had a small “out of body” experience where I thought to myself, this is good, people are going to like this when they hear it on the podcast. What on earth. I was focused on the attention received elsewhere rather than concentrating on the people right in front of me that God has graciously allowed me to lead. The people who needed to hear what was said were there to listen to it. I’m a slow learner. Jesus, Teach me to Live.

If I’m going to preach dependency on God’s Spirit, then I should be dependent as well. This is my confession that is very easy for me to slip into working in my own strengths and skill. My instincts and abilities are to promote and grow our organization. If I’m not dependent on Jesus, it will grow for all the wrong reasons. It can’t be about me. It is all about Jesus. I want to see people come to Jesus through Casper Alliance’s ministry. I want to see Jesus change the lives of all of us, plus whoever joins our community.

Jesus, Teach me to Live.


Read more...

Say I Love You

Do you remember the first time you told someone that you love them?  I’ll never forget the moment I told my wife that I loved her. My oh my was I nervous.  

 

 

Up till that point, our relationship was focused on fun, being flirtatious, our attention was on where we were going to have dinner or what movie we would see that evening.  The moment the phrase, I love you came out of my mouth our relationship changed. It changed for the better and I convinced that beautiful girl to marry me.

 

Words over the years have lost meaning and some would say that is true of the word love.  The generations have altered the meaning of what it means to love. Love became a feeling. Love has turned into an emotion.  Love became something about pleasure.

 

In the Gospel of John – Jesus says to his disciples – if you love me you will obey me.  Love wasn’t about emotion or feeling, and it definitely wasn’t about pleasure. When Jesus said if you love me you will obey me, he made love about a purpose.  

 

Like my relationship with my wife, when I told her that I love her, our relationship immediately had a purpose.  

Jesus loves you and He is asking us to take a step towards purpose with Him.  

 

Today try to say out loud that you Love Jesus. Just like this – Jesus, I love you.

via GIPHY


Read more...