D-isms

Glen Dawursk, Jr. – www.yuthguy.com -- (As taken from a sermon on August 21, 2002)

 

A young man was walking through a supermarket to pick up a few things when he noticed an old lady following him around. Thinking nothing of it, he ignored her and continued on. Finally he went to the checkout line, but she got in front of him.

"Pardon me," she said, "I'm sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It's just that you look just like my son, who I haven't seen in a long time."

"That's a shame," replied the young man, "is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes," she said, "as I'm leaving, can you say 'Good bye, Mother!' It would make me feel so much better."

"Sure," answered the young man. As the old woman was leaving, he called out, "Good bye, Mother!" As he stepped up to the checkout counter, he saw that his total was $127.50. "How can that be?" he asked, "I only purchased a few things!"

"Your mother said that you would pay for her," said the clerk.

 

Saying Good-bye is always a little strange.  It is always uncomfortable.

In an online survey CNN quizzed almost 5000 people about
”How good they are at leaving?”

11% said "Terrible.  I'm always too glad to get out to keep it together."

Almost 40% said "So, so. I've been better at it in some cases than others."

And more than half said "Excellent.  I always leave them laughing in case
I want to come back." 

 

In the past 3 months, my wife and I made one of the most difficult decisions our family has ever made.  We decided to move from a church and community we love—Trinity Wausau, to Hartland.  We have made more friends in 6 years at Trinity than we have in all our life.  So then why leave?  Because when God calls, like Abraham, we listen and we just go.

 

But now what do I say to my friends?  What lasting words could I impress upon them one last time?  I could talk about memories we've had.  Such as National Youth Gatherings to Atlanta and New Orleans, 4 years of Rainbow Valley, concerts at the fair, our youth house and our awesome Sunday school and VBS staffs.  I could tell stories.  But that did not seem like enough.

 

When I checked scripture, I found that Paul was a man who often had to say "Goodbye."  How did he do it?  In 2 Corinthians 13:11-14 we hear Paul saying,

 

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

All the saints send their greetings.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

 

Listen to my appeal.  Paul wanted his words to remain in their hearts.  He went around sharing his faith, presenting his witness, and instructing the new church – in all, he presented his personal Philosophy of Ministry.

 

Wow, what words have I said over the past 6 years that I would like to have remain in the hearts and thoughts of my leaders? 

So I started to think about what phases have I said often over the past years.  I came up with several.  For instance: "If you like Coke...you must be OK."  Or "That is the story of my life." Or one of my favorite phrases is "It's a no brainer!" 

 

In ministry, scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit will give us the word to say. So when I looked deeper, I found that I indeed have things I wanted my ministry staff and the church as a whole to remember.  Things I feel the Holy Spirit has called me to share in ministry. I call them Mr. D-isms.

 

"Do it well or don't do it."

Don't settle for mediocre, God doesn't.  Ministry should always try to achieve the best for God and we should our best in everything we do.  Bonhafer emphasizes this in his book Life Together when he discusses our roles in the community of Christ.  He implies that we are in “constant” worship of God.  Even prayer, our closest communication with God s done without ceasing…24/7. 

 

The Old Testament tells us about the requirements for a holy sacrifice to God.  We are told that God expects the First or Best offering to him.  In the New testament we are told that we are living sacrifices to Him.  Our lives are our best offering to Him and He desires our "first" offering not our second best.

 

"Always think big - God does!"

God will use whatever we do for His good if it gives glory to Him; but too often we think too small – especially in ministry. 

 

In the book “Built To Last” the author coins a word for how corporations survive significant changes – even in leadership.  He says they survive because their employees are propelled forward by “BHAD.”  Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  Just like business, ministry which has big audacious goals will thrive over a long period of time.

 

Our God is a God who thinks BHAD.  He thinks very big.  He shows His greatness in creation, in salvation, in eternity.  Revelations tells of the grandeur of His second coming.  He could easily have come quietly in the night - but He desires for us to "shout from the mountain tops."

 

"I only tease those who I like, that's why I never tease...."

I believe ministry must be a joy not a job.  It must be fun.  Martin Luther once said, "If there wasn't laughter in Heaven, He didn't want to go there."  Our God has blessed us with humor.  He doesn't want us to approach ministry as a joke, but He does desire us to have fun in ministry.  "The joy of the Lord is our strength."

 

"God doesn't speak to His church with a whisper - he speaks to His church with Pentecost and MTV-style effects.   "We have an MTV- Multi-media God."

When we look at scripture we see that our God spoke to His church with a wind which rushed so loudly that thousand were drawn to a room filled with Galileans.  There, they witnessed the MTV special effect of flames resting on their heads and men speaking in languages from across the world.  And the people were amazed.  In the Old Testament, when Moses went up to the mountain for 40 days, God put on another MTV special effects display.  Fire and smoke and thunder and lightning flashed from the mountain.  And the people were amazed.  27 times in the Gospels, the writers tell us the people were amazed.  When we are humbled before the Lord, and...

After He has your attention (We are amazed), then He speaks to our hearts with a whisper."  Ministry should still include the epic moments.  "Worship should be a 'surround sound' experience.  It should move you."

 

 

When we look at Him in Godly fear and honor and praise, then He speaks to our hearts with His Holy Spirit.  Then He has fellowship and communion with us. 

 

 "God says it, I believe it, that settles it."

 

This is the key belief of the Lutheran Christian Confessions.

 

There is a story which circulates around Princeton University about Aaron Burr.  He was the third VP of the United States but is better known for his killing of Alexander Hamilton in a duel.  Well, as a student at Princeton a traveling revival came though town and many of the students had become excited about their religion and sought to engage Burr.  He instead decided to lock himself in his room until he could decide what he was going to do about this “relationship with God” thing.  Hours passed.  Then in the middle of the night, he swung open his window shudders and as they crashed against the outside dorm walls, he yelled “Goodbye God.” 

 

I am not talking about atheist or agnostics even though they too have said Good bye – rather, I am talking about leaders IN the church.  Many of our peers in ministry have said Good bye to God.  Too often we try to explain everything.  Our world would have us to believe that everything is logical and explainable. 

 

Faith is not a part of the New Age thinking.  Satan would have you to believe that only things that are explainable are acceptable to live by.  But, God says and does things that are not explainable.  Bread and Body?  Wine and Blood?  Baptism water?  Faith itself?  They are all unexplainable.  The word Sacrament itself is a derivative for the Latin word, Mystery.  So I say, if God says it, believe it.  Period. If God says He can make the world with a few words.  Can He?  Then why do we try to explain away His power through the hypothesis of Evolution?  If God says it, I believe it and that settles it.  While I believe we need to “think outside the box” in our approach – after all, I think that is were God is, we need to stay consistent in our truth if our ministry’s are to survive.

 

"Many of us are just a foot away from really experiencing Jesus."  (Head to Heart) "We need to get our 'head knowledge' to become 'heart knowledge.'"

 

As we teach confirmation, we try very hard to put "head knowledge" about the doctrines of the Christian faith into our youth.  We do the same with our teachings at Bibles studies, Life With God, or through sermons on Sunday.  But all this is just information.  All of this "head knowledge" itself does not save our soul.  Salvation is based upon our "heart knowledge."  The Kennedy program of evangelism says that we are 13 inches away from going to heaven.  Even the Devil knows the Bible by memory, but that does not save Him for He has not received faith in His heart.  Faith is based upon fact, but salvation is the emotional receiving of Jesus into our lives.  It is a relationship not simply a religion.

 

"Satan works hardest on the Christians, because the non-Christians are already his."

"Praise God when we are tested.  God must have a lot of confidence in us 'cause He says He will never give us more than we can handle.  Our synod is going through significant testing right now.  This campus is going through testing now.  But I believe testing is a way in which God teaches us to grow.  It is His way of giving us advanced education.

 

"We need to be 'Jesus with skin-on' to others."

 

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer, and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park, staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him a Twinkie. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. His smile was so awesome that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Once again, He smiled at him. The boy was delighted.

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, yet they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave. Before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man and gave him a hug. The old man gave the boy the biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own home a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face.

She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? He's got the most awesome smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face, and he asked, "Father, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied, "I ate Twinkies in the park with God." But before his son responded, He added, "You know, he's a lot younger than I expected."

 

Ministry is getting down to the level of the person we are relating to and learning their story.  It is doing ministry not just talking about it.  St. Francis Assisi once said, “Share the Gospel, and when necessary, use words.”  Too often we forget how Jesus did ministry.  He met a woman, a Samaritan at the well.  He went to eat with tax collectors.  He touched lepers. 

 

Well, that is a few of my D’isms – Words which reflect my philosophy of ministry.

 

And as I enter into my next call and begin teaching, working and ministering in another congregation I can only pray the prayer again that Paul said in 2 Corinthians,

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.