Posted by: tucsonjefe | December 28, 2008

Closed for Inventory

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Building People of Substance for Works of Power


Here we are again in that strange week between Christmas and New Year. It is still “the holidays,” but the Big One is behind us.  I never know whether to keep the decorations up or not. When do we turn off  the tree lights?  The church is always a little out of whack because so many are out of town. The office is open, then its closed, then its open again. for that reason I try not to start a new series on this Sunday.  It is just a disjointed block of time. When I turn on the TV or the radio I am assaulted with countless “best of ‘08” lists.  They seem to think I should be remembering and/or lamenting a bunch of news stories, most of which I was only marginally aware of when they happened. Or maybe I should spend time remembering the greatest sporting events of the year. That is awfully important. Then, of course, we have the entertainment retrospectives: best movies and songs, cutest celebrity babies, and most repugnant glitterati conduct. The week really is a great time to do a little retrospective, not of the history of the culture, but of where I am as compared to where I would like to be.


Many years ago I began the practice of taking some time away during this period to do a little extra praying, fasting, and reading: no phone, no appointments. I like to do five things:


  1. I pull out the record of when God has spoken to me about my ministry; not the everyday business, but the visions and commissions He has given me, personally. I have the biggies written down.  I recall my salvation experience, the call, the commission for ministry. I like to re-read them and meditate on them as I revisit the scriptures that were associated with those life-altering moments.  Am I doing what God called me to do or have I gotten sidetracked with daily life?
  2. I re-read the Pastoral Epistles. (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) Therein the Holy Ghost has given wonderful insight to preachers. I make sure to read them every year.  Every year God renews me and corrects me, and inspires me. 
  3. I pull out my notes from this same little mini-retreat from the last 2 years. I evaluate where I am in the process of doing what He put in my heart.  I put the unfinished projects on the list for the New Year, along with any new ideas as to how they might be accomplished.  
  4. I spend a little time looking at myself. Am I a better man today than I was a year ago?  If not, why not?  Inventories are very dispassionate affairs, a simple accounting of what is in stock and what needs to be replenished. I try not to allow any self-flagellation, just evaluation.  It is time to adjust and repair. 
  5. With pen and notebook (or, more recently PDA and laptop) nearby, I just pray and read my Bible.  I ask God to bring to my mind things that need attention in the New Year for our church and ministry: New ideas, better methods, adjustments, deletions, and additions.  I want to please God and He wants me to know how to do it.

Scripture Reading: O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.  (Psalms 63:1-8 NKJV

Somebody Said: Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.    — George Santayana, Life of Reason


I would encourage you to take a little time to remember who you are and what you are here for.  If you have gotten a little sidetracked, then this is a great week to adjust and repair.




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