As I mentioned in my previous post, this last year was quite challenging, especially as it related to my role as the Lead Pastor of theMOVEMENT. I went through some experiences as a pastor and a leader that I would wish upon no one!
But, instead of dwelling on the difficulty of the situations, I think it would be most wise to reflect upon the lessons learned from the situations. Here are three lessons that I learned this past year that I hope to hold on to for many years to come!
1. BE SILENT. GOD IS YOUR DEFENDER.
"The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." Exodus 14:!4
Over the last several months, the above verse has been an absolute lifeline for me! Slowly but surely I am getting it through my thick skull that there are certain battles that I was just not meant to fight. One who is wise discerns which battles those are and allows God to fight them on their behalf...all while keeping their mouths shut.
In certain "battles," when I feel I need to to convince, I need to be silent. When I feel I need to convict, I need to be silent. When I feel I need to clarify, I need to be silent. In these battles, when I feel I need to speak up, I probably need to shut up!
And when the time is right, in the areas that God chooses, He will convince for me. He will convict for me. He will clarify for me. He will ultimately defend me. My job is to keep me and my words out of the way!
2. BE CONFIDENT. THE CHURCH IS RESILIENT.
"Through various seasons and transitions, the church is resilient." Brian Houston
In the midst of the difficulties that I have experienced this past year, I have come to discover that when the Church of Jesus Christ takes a hit, like a punching bag with a weighted bottom, it gets back up again! Every. Single. Time.
For over 2,000 years the "Big C" church has faced difficulties from both outsiders and insiders and for over 2,000 years the Church has advanced through those difficulties! I am just so thankful that theMOVEMENT church in Oakland, CA is no exception!
Resilient through change. Resilient through disappointment. Resilient through loss. Resilient through pain. Resilient through difficulty. The Church of Jesus Christ is resilient, and it is this newly experienced resilience that gives me the confidence to keep moving forward!
3. BE HUMBLE. PRIDE WILL DEBILITATE YOU.
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." Proverbs 11:2
"Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" 1 Peter 5:5
The consequences of unhealthy pride are devastating. This past year, I've seen it in my own life and I have seen it in the lives of others. Pride will keep you from confessing your sin. Pride will deter you from fulfilling your purpose. Pride will discourage you from developing your relationships. Pride will distract you from growing your faith. Pride will prevent you from trusting your God.
Pride has been at the root of all of the most challenging situations I have faced this year. With that in mind, I am desperately in need of the Holy Spirit to bestow upon me a supernatural portion of humility.
Humility to forgive. Humility to reconcile. Humility to extend grace. Humility to confess. Humility to obey. Humility to love. Humility to persevere. In my 34th year of life, humility will be the character trait I will be committed to developing most because I am convinced more than ever of the following truth, God stands on the opposite side of those with pride.