Jun 27, 2006

An Encouraging Word To Pastors—SAY IT!!!

I hate cats! I am serious…and I make no apologies for it. Cats were once worshipped in Egypt as gods…and they have never forgotten this. And no matter how much you claim that your cat is awesome—the fact remains that if your cat were bigger than you—he would eat you!

I often speak about cats & the fact that I dislike them—and so one night a dude told me that his friend was really offended by the fact that I didn’t like cats and because of that was never going to come back to NewSpring. (No…I am not making this up!)

I am not a Gamecock fan! I am serious—I cannot bring myself to pull for USC under any circumstances. I have had Clemson fans say to me, “Well…I pull for Carolina when they are not playing Clemson because…” It is right there that I tune them out because I know they are NOT true Clemson fans. A true Clemson fan remembers several years ago when USC went 0-11 and we smile every time we think about it.

I often speak about the fact that I do not like USC…and that the Clemson “rivalry” just isn’t a rivalry anymore because we keep beating them like a drum—and so one night after a service I was approached by a dude who told me that he was probably not going to come back to NewSpring because I had offended him by making fun of his favorite football team.

I can’t stand lazy men!!! And so…I often challenge men, especially singles, to get off their rear ends and get a job. One of the saddest things to me is when single dudes are either living in their moms basement and/or with other single dudes, have a part time job delivering pizza, and think they are going to be attractive to a woman who has goals and ambitions.

And so I often challenge the single men to GET A JOB! GET OUT OF DEBT! You know, things that will prepare them for marriage because it is the mans role to provide for the family. Just a few weeks ago on Father’s Day I challenged the single men with this…and after the service a single dude approached one of our pastors and said, “Perry basically just called all single women ‘whores’ because he made it seem like they wanted a mans money!”

(NO—they want to be able to live in something other than the spare room at the parents house and eat things other than Ramen noodles!)

Sorry…what I am saying pastors is this—you WILL be misunderstood…you WILL be misquoted…and you WILL be misrepresented. And those who talk about you the most know you the least! AND—what is REALLY bad is that they often seem like the majority.  You simply CAN’T go a whole Sunday and NOT make someone mad—there are people who show up at your church EVERY week LOOKING for something to rip you apart on—I promise.
If you are a pastor then you TOTALLY understand what I am talking about. You work your rear end off preparing a message—you pray over it, study it, and then deliver it with fire and passion…and then there is that one person who always takes that one comment you made and completely blows it out of proportion.

And so what do many pastors do? They hold back! They don’t say what needs to be said! And not only having to do with cats and football…but there are pastors who refuse to speak about adultery because there are people in their church committing adultery. There are pastors who will not speak of abusing alcohol because there are people (maybe even deacons) abusing alcohol. There are pastors who will not speak about abusing food because—well—THEY are abusing food… :-)

What I am saying to pastors is this—PREACH GOD’s WORD and do not try to analyze every point and illustration to death. You WILL offend people…and there will always be “Monday morning quarterbacks” who can tell you everything wrong about your sermon. AND—I PROMISE—there will always be at least ONE person who takes something that you say & makes it seem like tons of people are mad at you—when that just isn’t the case at all.

I made a commitment when I entered the ministry that I was not going to be fake—that who I am in the grocery store would be who I am when I am on the stage preaching. I can’t stand FAKE preachers who have a FAKE voice and a FAKE smile when they get in front of people…and their only goal is to make everyone happy!

So…when I am on stage—I communicate in ways that people understand. I use strong language (which I am sometimes criticized for). I am Southern…and so I do not try to disguise my accent. And I say EXACTLY what God has put on my heart to say because I work for Him and not the people sitting in the seats.

I was reading the Gospel of Mark this morning and this all came together. Jesus taught some incredible stuff…love your enemy—turn the other cheek—you know, life changing stuff. But at His trial someone stood up and said, “He said He could tear down the temple and then build it up again in three days.” Point—they took something He said…blew it out of context…and eventually they crucified Him.

If they did it to Him they will do it to you!

That is why you MUST preach from conviction and passion! And you MUST say what needs to be said. You HAVE to hit the issues…and hit them in a direct manner…and make sure that people know exactly what you mean! It’s our goal to make things clear.
And one more thing pastors—do NOT get caught up in arguing with these people and trying to make a case for yourself…it will only lead to frustration on your part and give them more ammo! Stay true, stay focused, and say what needs to be said. Jesus did, John the Baptist did, Elijah did, and the list goes on and on…are you on that list?

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