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- Advisory Board Meeting ~ April 24th at 6:30 PM
- Church Work Day ~ April 28th at 9:00 AM
- World Missions Offering ~ April 29th
- Senior Adult Retreat ~ May 14-16 at the Camden Hotel in Branson, MO
- Graduation Celebration for Alex Schmedding ~ Saturday, May 26th from 2:00-5:00 PM (5806 NW Plantation Circle, Lee’s Summit)
For the latest news and prayer requests about our international Free Will Baptist missionaries, click here.
Missionary Spotlight: Doug & Miriam Bishop
Bible Reading Challenge: Ephesians 5:15-33
Bible Memory Challenge: Ephesians 5:15–16 (ESV)—15Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
I admitted to something yesterday, being discouraged from time-to-time, that many people don’t like to admit. I don’t like to admit it. I like being seen as strong, knowledgeable, and being a leader. Yet the reality of being human means I am also subject to the occasional bout of discouragement. How about you, are you ever discouraged? Most people have to admit that they do, occasionally, fight the demon of discouragement. Why do we get discouraged, and how should we go about fighting against it?
The ”why” of discouragement is as widely varied as the number of unique people on the planet. We all have triggers that differ as our personalities differ. However, there are some common elements in all of us when we face discouragement. As I have studied discouragement, this is what I have found; for most people, discouragement comes when circumstances don’t seem to be working as they desire. They don’t see anything changing, and they don’t see things working out the way they think they ought to be working out. Discouragement contains a kernel of hopelessness. Not only are things not going the way we want, we don’t see any way to change the outcome. Discouragement is based on perceived outcomes, and it is based on a perception that our desired outcome is the best outcome.
So, how do we fight against that basic understanding of discouragement? It is pretty obvious—we simply need to change our perception of the outcome. More importantly, we need to change what outcome we are looking for. If I focus on my desired outcomes I will naturally become discouraged as circumstances beyond my control shape the outcome. This is especially true when my desired outcome relies upon the response of other people. As a pastor, most of what I do is intended to prompt a response from those I interact with. It is intended to point people to Jesus. My problem is that when I don’t perceive any movement in that direction I am assuming that I am seeing all that is happening. I am assuming that the perception of little to no motion in the direction I am pointing is a true perception. I have to remind myself that my perception is often flawed and is always incomplete. I also have to remind myself that the outcome is not truly in my control, it is in God’s hands.
I shared with the church, yesterday, that I had been discouraged. I do not apologize for that, I am human. I have to deal with discouragement just like everyone else. The Bible memory challenge verse for this week is especially important. We must all walk as someone who is wise, making the best use of our time. We have to look, carefully, at how we are walking in this world. We have to analyze whether what we are doing is truly of eternal value, and if it isn’t then perhaps we should seek something else that is. However, if what we have put our hands to has eternal value, then we should work at it with all that we have. We should give our very best to that which has eternal value. I know that God has called me to preach the Gospel, and has directed my path to Central Church. In all my time here, while I have at times questioned my effectiveness, I have never questioned those things. Even in the midst of my discouragement, even when faced with a job opportunity that seemed to be tailor-made for me, I came back to the conclusion that my desired outcomes weren’t the defining qualities upon which to base a decision. God’s calling means far more to me than a little discouragement can overcome.
So, thank you, Central Family, for being understanding and supportive. Thank you for being forgiving and accepting. Thank you for allowing me to lead this flock, and thank you for working for the Kingdom of God! I look forward to more in the future, more of what God has planned! I look forward to Central Church living up to the God’s desire for us to be the church!