Grace For You, For Me, For Us

In my church, there are three pastors, including me. After the first service, the first pastor came to me and said, “I was really off today in the sermon, it just didn’t work.” And I let him know that we all have off-days, that I found his sermon really quite good, and there’s always next week. He seemed to cheer up. He remembered that this was not about himself anyway.

After my first service, I felt like my own sermon was way off. I had points that went nowhere, I started strong but finished weak, and a few people fell asleep. I beat myself up for a while over all the fumbles.

But it was strange that only an hour earlier, I was encouraging someone for the exact same reasons: and I forgot to encourage myself. I forgot to have grace for me. I forgot that we all have off-days, and hey: we always have next week. God is working, always. And it was never about me anyway.

— J


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8 thoughts on “Grace For You, For Me, For Us

  1. Very encouraging Bro. So true. I taught VBS this week and I kicked myself after each night because I would miss something (oh, I didn’t handle that well, Oh, I forgot to let that little girl pray. Oh….and so on.). Then the last day a bunch of the kids wanted to get saved. They hugged me and some gave me cards. They said they were coming back next year. And I was just dumbfounded cause I knew I had not done a thing. I had fumbled all week. Still, I was available. God uses cracked pots if they’re available. Sometimes that’s all there is that’s available! To think…had I given in to my anxiety….if my stomach troubles and illnesses had kept me from teaching…yeah, God would’ve found someone else but then I would’ve missed that blessing. It’s not about us at all but God let’s us experience the blessing of His work, if we’re willing.

    You are willing and that’s important. Very few can pastor…that’s a tough calling. People may have fell asleep but maybe one person heard just one word that they needed. Maybe just being around people that love God, encouraged them. Maybe God used you to give them that opportunity for fellowship. Sometimes just having a person that is there, makes all the difference. I found that out this week. I wasn’t a great teacher at all but I was the one who was there. The kids gave me grace and love because of that. I’m awestruck by it still. God gave grace through them. He reminded me that I actually like children besides my own. I had forgotten…seriously. I respect you for putting yourself out there. It’s draining, it’s scary, it’s hard work, and it’s amazing.

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    1. Thank you Amber. I often forget that I myself am not the one who changes or impacts, and that no one really remembers me anyway. If they walk away saying my name, I did something wrong. What matters is meeting the presence of God — not that word where I stuttered, that point I failed, those details I overlooked. Of course, I want to do my best and bring my A-game. But you’re right that the church is a holistic in which many moving parts all come together to make a difference.

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  2. I found that sermons I felt didn’t go right weren’t for me. Most sermons were for me as much as anyone else, but occasionally the sermon was just for someone else. So it felt flat, uninteresting. So often after one of those one person spoke to me with something other than “Good sermon, Pastor” and it floored me. It was always shocking to think God used my voice to get a divine message to someone.
    Peace

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    1. That’s happened dozens of times. The ones that I think have gone well are sometimes the most forgotten and least useful. The “throwaway sermon” is often the one that God nails to the heart.

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  3. Our worship leader recently wrote an article about his thoughts about worship. I know this is somewhat different, yet it’s the same. He shared how he used to dream of being on stage (when he was a teenager), leading ‘the church’ in song and prayer – and watching a packed room of people respond by raising their voices and hands. Then, he admitted, that now he hopes that he hasn’t mislead people into thinking that THAT’S what you must do in order to worship…or hear God’s voice. He mentioned that sometimes ‘worship’ happens when you’re sitting there in silence – allowing time for the Holy Spirit to whisper to your heart.

    You never know what people are thinking or what God is doing – through you. I guess the important thing is that you are willing to allow God to speak through you. We know He never fails.

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    1. I was there too: the rockstar phase. I think most Christians have to purge those first self-glorifying urges out of their system, and it takes time and awareness and mentorship before we actually settle into pointing to God. On the other end of the spectrum, many Christian leaders also beat themselves up when things don’t go well, which is a sort of self-loathing guilt-trip that takes time to purge too. Experience and prayerful evaluation make the wise Christian. 🙂

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