0Immortalized in cinematic history, this classic Academy Award winning ballad was written in 1939 and sung by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Judy Garland). It’s a beautiful song in its own right, but it’s also a song that we as Pastors and Church Members seem to sing quite frequently.

 

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then oh why can’t I?

I was speaking with one of my former students a few days ago and he was experiencing a challenging time with his Senior Pastor. Hey, we’ve all been there. I have the greatest Pastor on the planet and yet there are times when we do not see eye to eye. My former student was asking if he could put me down as a reference for a few other church openings he had stumbled upon.

IMMEDIATE RED FLAG

From my many years in ministry I have learned that you only make decisions AFTER the crux of frustration has subsided. His situation is not uncommon. When confronted with a challenging moment he began seeing a better place “somewhere over the rainbow”. It’s not that he was being called to these other places. It’s not that he was given release to leave. It’s that he was frustrated, hit a wall, and wanted to escape.

Sometimes we as Pastors, and church members, need to understand and truly take to heart the words of Jesus. After a long discourse of the challenges the disciples would face following Jesus’ departure (kicked out of synagogues, killed unjustly, grief, etc.), Jesus offers some comforting and powerful words.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

At no point did Jesus excuse the disciples. At no point did he give them permission to flee, run, turn away, escape, or denounce their faith because of troubles. Instead, he did something much greater, much deeper, much more liberating. He told them that suffering doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong. It simply means they’re doing something right in a very wrong world.

  • You may have peace.
  • In this world you will have trouble.
  • Be encouraged.
  • I overcome the world
  • You may have peace.

It’s not always going to be easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. We often see bluer skies “somewhere over the rainbow”, but skies are never permanently blue. Clouds come, clouds go, but steadfastness helps us to dance in the rain, bask in the sun, and love life where we are as long as we live IN CHRIST, not IN THE WORLD.

So, to the Pastor or Church Member that may be reading this I leave you with the same question I asked my former student. It’s really the only question we need to ask when entertaining life transitions.

“Has God called you to be where you currently are?”  

  • If yes, get in His presence and allow Him to minister to your spirit.

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask, in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.” – John 16:22-24

  • If no, pray for His guidance so that you stay in line with His will.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:27-28

This is an interesting one. Only once can I remember being accused of being prideful and it was relatively recent. It caused me to research the difference. Before I go into the difference, I want to make one declaration. Never blindly believe about yourself what others say about you. Examine yourself. If they’re right, then you know where you can grow. If they’re wrong, their offense becomes their problem to overcome and that has to be trusted into God’s care. Their offense may last a long time and even distort their view of you. The enemy works that way – but that’s a different blog.

I’ll list some differences between pride and confidence below, but the most important thing to understand is that a confident person is confident in what they know, but they also realize they don’t know it all. A confident person will still desire to grow. The prideful person will think they’ve arrived. Realizing that I KNOW KNOW KNOW that I don’t know it all and that I’m consistently thirsty for growth, understanding and knowledge become my litmus test.

The second way to know if you’re confident and not prideful is if you desire to see OTHERS succeed. The prideful person will want to receive all recognition and all glory and will try to suppress the growth of others. The confident person seeks to lift others up and exalt them. This is my second litmus test. Do I want others to grow and succeed even beyond me? YES!!!!

Here are some additional comparisons:

Pride stops learning – Confidence craves knowledge
Pride blames others – Confidence can say “I’m sorry”
Pride focuses on self – Confidence focuses on others

Confidence says “I can do it” – Pride says “Only I can do it”
Confidence knows their weakness – Pride has none

Experience creates confidence. The confident have a history of successes to draw from. Here are a few more differences I found from benreed.net

1. Pride Never Says They’re Wrong
2. Pride Doesn’t accept input
3. Pride Doesn’t accept correction
4. Pride doesn’t take others into account
5. Pride craves recognition for what they’ve done

1. Confident person measures their choices and actions with wisdom
2. Confident person weighs input from others and moves forward
3. Confident person doesn’t proceed through selfish ambitions
4. Confident person realizes they can’t do it alone
5. Confident person knows who they are and who they aren’t
6. Confident person works to build others up.

So, this was a bit of insight into myself that I gained through criticism, but the result allowed me to be sure even when the other person didn’t see it that way. I can walk in God’s declaration of who I am, CONFIDENTLY, all the while guarding my heart against prideful actions.

Every article I read about pride and confidence assured me of one thing – it’s a terribly thin line between the two.

As much as I would love to do EVERYTHING and do it really well, one conclusion I came to over the last few months is that I’m not creative. At all. I’m a left-brain guy – I think in terms of processes and I need structure. For instance, I had to spend a few days in with other faculty members and professors this week planning out Goals and Outcomes for Applied Theology courses. I loved it! It was systematic, it was structured, and for a lot of people it would have been death, but I had a blast!

Here is the thing, I LOOOOVVVEEE creative people! It blows me away to see them and how their brain operates. I’ve just learned that I need to surround myself with people that can help me be creative. I can see the end goal, the end result, the final project. But I can’t fill in the gaps – I need people around me to do that. For example, I knew we needed to renovate our bathrooms at the church and I new the steps we had to go through to finish it. I also had a general idea of how I wanted the bathrooms to look (i.e. floor colors, sink colors). But I needed people like Linda Seagears and Rich and Yalexa to creatively make my general idea a reality.

I also see it in Pneuma Ministry College. I see the end result, and I see what I want our students to know and to learn. I can mark out the process and structure but being able to creatively put together programs that fulfill that vision is difficult for me. I love creativity, but I have come to learn over the last 3 months that I’m not creative.

So, for all of my right brained creative friends out there, I LOVE YOU!  You make me better.

UPDATE!!

We took a personality test and one thing I discovered is that I AM CREATIVE, but I’m not artistic. I can creatively think up structures and systems, but I’m not artistically creative. For instance, someone can come up with some great ideas and I can develop the structure to support the ideas.