It was one of the most literally "freeing" series I had ever heard preached on. God set so many people free those weeks. The church had this great visual of a garbage dumpster and lots of luggage tossed in with words taped to them like, "fear, hopelessness, anxiety, shame, addiction", etc.
I blogged about this in an earlier post. God set me free from stuff too. What an awesome thing to lay down heavy bags I didn't even know I was carrying around! Have you ever been on a walk carrying a backpack?
You can pick up that backpack and carry it quite easily for awhile. It does become burdensome after a bit, although you can readjust the fit and it's like the bag becomes part of you. You learn to carry the load, albeit uncomfortably. But when you reach your destination!
Wow! You set down your pack that seems so much heavier than when you first picked it up and your arms and shoulders raise up high...aaahhhh....FREEDOM!!!
Shortly after this series, our Pastor announced that he was leaving the church as head pastor, leaving MAINE altogether and moving to TEXAS!!!
Wow! EVERYONE was shocked! What?! Why? Why now?! It seems that any answer given just still leaves people dumbfounded. Pastor Brian said, "It's all about family."
"Family?" Really? Yes, you have a wonderful family and you DO have family in Texas. We get that. But what does this REALLY mean when you say that you are "all about family" Pastor Brian?
Did something happen?! Was there an offence unforgivable? Why would the head pastor of a wonderful church step down and move all the way to hot, dry, dusty Texas?! It seems there were so many things left "undone"! His wife is the children's Pastor. Our children were the losers here too, not just the adults.
When someone hears the call of God to a new direction, do you sit around and ask yourself, "did I really hear from God?" and NOT move? I think not. While our pastor in his quiet demeanor has not fully revealed his heart about the move so that everyone can understand, wait a minute...just a second...he DID reveal his heart and reason for leaving, "family". Isn't that enough of a reason? To me it is...to most it is NOT. It's a nice gesture but so many don't understand the true understanding and calling for a man to his 'family".
Years ago, there was a young missionary to Europe who had planted a church. It was doing okay but the missionary revealed that he only had ONE family in the church. He preached about the new "relationship with Jesus" sermons that are popping up all over, "it's all about your relationship".
When asked if he preached about the Biblical principles of what GOD designed a family for well, he didn't have the answers. He felt he couldn't preach on those topics for fear that people would leave the church. The author of the article then answered him,
"I can think of only one solution to a problem in the church: the pastor should preach the Biblical solution to it. “May be you should start preaching and teaching on the family. Thus you will encourage the men to marry, and have families and children, and become responsible adults.”
“I do,” he said. “I preach and teach on the family all the time. I teach on the relationships between husbands and wives, between parents and children, I preach on what a wonderful gift the family is, I preach on how God blesses families.”
“Hmmm,” I said, “the relationships stuff will attract and encourage mostly women. But what about what attracts the men? Do you preach and teach purpose, what the family is created for? Do you teach the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, have many children and through them take over the culture? Do you teach and preach on the educational function and purpose of the family; teaching the children in the Lord? Do you teach them the purpose of the family as God’s institution for economic decisions and action? Do you teach them on the fathers as protectors and conquerors? Do you teach them on the function of the family as a welfare agency, the only institution ordained by God to take care of the poor and the needy?
In our conversation, it turned out he didn’t teach those things. He was a little uncomfortable to talk about the issue of having children given the fact that Europe was overpopulated anyway and given the lower incomes of most people, having many children would place a heavy burden on the young parents. Talking about having children, he said, was not a popular topic in Europe. The economic function of the family: he wasn’t sure about that one because he was never taught that in the seminary; and besides, it is part of the “general equity” stuff, not of the Gospel, and he wasn’t supposed to preach anything but the Gospel. Concerning the education, they had great public schools in Europe so that that burden could be taken off the backs of the parents so that they could focus on the spiritual things of the Gospel; besides, the only viable alternative was homeschooling, and he was concerned whether homeschooled children could later find jobs in the European economy. He couldn’t take on the responsibility of giving advice to parents which later may prove impractical. “Protectors and conquerors” wasn’t clear to him, after all we are not trying to impose a Christian dictatorship, we are only concerned about the salvation of these souls, and Europe had very low crime rate anyway. And welfare? Same thing: Europe has a wonderful social system, no need to worry about the poor, the government is doing a perfectly good job there." You can read the rest of the article here, "Relationship vs. Purpose,"
While we don't have a clear picture of what God is doing within the walls of our local body of believers, my husband and I do stand with our pastor as he takes his family to Texas. May he and his family be blessed as they make time for their "family" and may God bring new hands, eyes, ears, and fresh wisdom and BOLD TRUTHS to our little corner of Sebago Lake, Maine to revive the people and win over FAMILIES for Jesus.
We've got precious little time left here on earth, here, people. Who will stand up for families? Who will abandon the constraints of society and all its strongholds and breakthrough to what God desires for our country? We have an important vote coming up in November. A vote that is packaged as desirable and "good" for our society. It seems that inherent within all humans is a simple desire and devotion to be loved and be called into "family". But the enemy is clever, we do know this, but are swift to forget, we are, after all, only humans. Temptation is defined as "the fact or state of being tempted, especially to evil."
We are so beyond temptation now. This is 2012. Temptation has a new face, stemmed from our wonderful American "deeply felt national values of fairness, generosity, and tolerance". Temptation is now an art and science of taking and packaging all that is evil and making it look "good".
So what shall we do with a building the head pastor has left to pursue his own family? Revolt? Leave? Spread gossip from our own fears and worries? Of course not! We ask God to show us what's next! How, Father, can we play a part in pursuing Jesus and stronger relationships, build His Kingdom here on earth, finding PURPOSE and meaning and CONQUERING in what our pastor has decided to passionately pursue....FAMILY?!!!