I found a little Mead Composition notebook in my office. It’s a bit under a year old. I don’t know what I was thinking or doing when writing in the book. It’s not a journal and it’s not my sermon ideas. I honestly think I was writing down ideas for a book. And apparently, I had a lot to write. And also apparent, I have a bad memory, since this is about a year old…
Anyway, as I go through this book for future sermon ideas, I figured I would elaborate on the ideas in this notebook on my blog.
I had this shirt when I was in high school. It had the Christian fish facing one way, and a bunch of other fishes facing the opposite direction and big ‘cool’ letters it said “Go Against the Flow.”
I actually kinda liked the shirt, but I never wore it in public, unless I was playing football or basketball, because I was embarrassed to wear anything Christian, or anything that would out me as a Christian. I remember being a Christian was embarrassing enough as a teen, but also to be a pastor’s kid? Eeesh.
The shirt was basically saying Romans 12, that we shouldn’t really conform to the worldly standards and that we should not be of this world. (On a side note, I don’t think I really like all those NOTW bumper stickers [Not of this World]. It makes us and Jesus sound like aliens. On second that, Alien Jesus is kinda cool… )
The shirt was telling anyone who would read it to be counter cultural.
I guess that’s a good message to try to live by.
However, being in California for a year, listening to pastors talk about their ministry, hearing struggles of my friends and viewing the struggles of my own, I realized something. This “Go Against the Flow” slogan is supposed to be applied to our secular world, I’m assuming. But more and more, I think we also apply this slogan in our spiritual lives, even if we don’t intend to.
One evening, I was having a conversation with my dad as he was about to head out to the East Coast to be a keynote speaker at a seminar for other Korean pastors. He said that his message was this: Ministry is very easy.
Ministry, easy? Not only that, but he added “very.” I began to wonder what the reception of his thesis would be in a room full of Korean pastors of immigrant churches.
But he continued on.
Ministry is easy, but it’s us that make it very complicated and very difficult. We complicate things. We overthink things. We underthink things. We make it difficult and complicated.
I kind of got what my dad meant, because I do it all the time. Instead of following God’s will, I choose the other path that makes more sense to me. Instead of going with the flow of God’s love, grace, mercy and will, I often spend time digging another irrigation route because it seems easier that way. Instead focusing on doing God’s will, I find myself, often, focusing on how to please certain persons. Instead of going to Nineveh, I find myself on the boat to Tarshish. I often make my own will and my own way and sit and pray that God will bless my decisions, instead of praying for ‘thy will be done.’
Then I find myself lamenting and asking God why things are so difficult and why I am struggling so much.
Within these past few months, I have really been discovering the meaning of seeking God’s kingdom first when it comes to ministry. I am learning once I do that, everything else will fall into place. The hardest part is, of course, trusting in God and trusting that God’s got all of this.
I am learning to let myself go, and going with the flow when it comes to God.