Tag Archives: inspiration

Idols hmmmm, really? Tells me to remember who’s really in charge!

I am the pastor of First Saint Johns Church in York, Pa. First Saint Johns (FSJ) was completed in 1875, as you can see from the featured image, the altar, and the rest of the sanctuary are very nice and very reverent.

There are those who I have showed the sanctuary to and felt that there was just “heavens, too much idolatry”. Rather amuses me. I’ve been in a lot of sanctuaries where you might truly wonder what the space is actually used for. By looking at this picture, there should be little doubt what or, better, Who this space is about. It’s all about Jesus and the people who built his sanctuary 140+ years ago knew it.

The altar is especially interesting in that it shows the most important aspects of who and what Jesus is all about. Underneath the flat part, called the mensa, is a lamb, shows that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Next is a crucifix, reminding us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Next is Christ ascending to glory in heaven. The top stained glass window shows Jesus as Lord of all creation, at the right hand of God the Father.

The stained glass windows on the sides have various Christian symbols and at the top is one of the apostles.

People have actually told me how idolatrous this is??? Yet I can go into an old Quaker, Calvinist, etc churches and honestly wonder what’s going on there. I can go into a lot of “community”, “independent”, etc and see no indication that I’m in what purports to be a “Christian” sanctuary. There is a lot of symbology on the altar and on the stained glass at FSJs. A lot of visual reminders of what we believe and Who we hold important. Over the ascending Jesus is the motto “Sola Deo Gloria”, yea wow, “To God only the glory”, yikes that’s a first commandment buster, right?

Why do people really object to this? Why do they prefer to have a “church” that is essentially void of anything that is Christian? I would submit that especially with all the “big-box” non-denominationals, that it’s really more about those in the church preferring to kind of push aside all the Jesus stuff. Yea, they sing about Jesus and kind of preach about Him. But it’s not really about Him, if it was why is there a problem about having a lot of visual reinforcement.

My answer. In the world today it’s all about me, what’s good for me. Well Jesus is good for you, the only and ultimate good. But too many people don’t see it that way. Today’s culture says: I don’t want to be reminded of all that Jesus stuff, if I’m here I’m worshiping what I want, “ooo that gory crucifixion stuff”. Well that’s a whole big subject, and well we just shouldn’t have to do that, just make me happy God. I showed up, I should get the big payoff. Doesn’t work that way folks. It is all about God and not about you. That’s why we have all these reminders to reinforce that in us when we are in true worship, lifting up and praising God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

People who built these great old churches understood that and when I stand in front of the altar here I know exactly what and especially Who it’s all about. It’s why we at First Saint Johns are serious about what we do and why we do it, it’s for Jesus who sacrificed all for us and we will be His for all eternity. So instead of mouthing silly platitudes and not thinking about what is important, let’s all do some serious thinking about what and Who is ultimately important. I have all these beautiful and compelling reminders here, maybe it’s time for you to think about why this is all important.  Sanctuary 140th anniversary

We are always looking for outward sources not to to Holy Spirit within us

We spend way too much time looking for things outside ourselves for inspiration. Sure God puts things around us to inspire us, but it is a mistake to only rely on that inspiration and ignore what the Holy Spirit is trying to impact you with. He is indwelt in you and He is trying to inspire you directly, in a way that uniquely impacts you.

It helps me to wait on His inspiration, I try to put it into prayer that I want Him to move on me and guide me. it seems as though He gives me the inspiration/emotion/drive and then helps me with the words, but never seems to tell me how I should write or what I should write. He’s guiding the writing, but not micro-managing. He’s leaving it to me to fill in the substance, but always with His leading, His Spirit.

Im not trying to get all mystical on people. I think it makes perfect sense that if we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit that He will find many ways to express Himself through us. Not compelling, but in a way that helps us to maintain our relationship, which is a way among many ways.

Leadership skills always need work, refinement and study. Ministers are no exception

I spent twenty years in corporate finance, I spent 29 years in the Coast Guard Reserve, 4 active duty during the War On Terror, four years as a pastor and a modest amount of sports participation. I certainly don’t speak on leadership as an expert. But I certainly do try to keep growing and learning and trusting that God will put me where He wants me and equips me to be the leader I should be.

So maybe when I go back to a good article that I see on leadership, it is to share something that both of us need to continually remind ourselves of and work on. All the areas that I’ve participated in require meaningful leadership. I’ve seen real live examples of good, sometimes great leadership and likewise really poor. While most people don’t think of pastoral ministry as an area of leadership, there’s no doubt in my mind that ministry requires leadership skills. The challenges to ministry require many skills and in an era that sees more challenges and antagonism then ever to Christianity, ministers must be better leaders then ever. The church has done enough damage to itself as the result of weak, vacillating and accomodating ministry, now more than ever pastors need to stand up as leaders for Christ and for those who trust them with ministry.

“Inc Magazine” is a great source of managerial and leadership information and an article by Peter Economy is a great reminder of the skills necessary for successful leadership (http:///www.inc.com/peter-economy/leadership-how-to-get-from-good    Mar 14, 2014). In summary  lots of effort, relentless pursuit of knowledge, constant practice and willingness to accept failure. Having had three different careers, the need for continual study, read, go to seminars and further education are a requirement, it doesn’t take much to fall off the beam.

Vision – Christian ministry should be an obvious area of having a vision, come on, God gave us His revelation in the Bible. If you can’t work from there for vision, you may want to reconsider ministry as a career. Now obviously ministry takes place in different environments, so your vision has to take into account facility, neighborhood, resources, but always has to be to the glory of God and to make disciples of those in your parish.

Communication – Ministry is teaching me over and over you have to use every means of communication available, you have to repeat your message over and over, even when people are begging you to stop and when your sick of hearing your own voice, you repeat your message again.

Collaboration – I’ve had a few opportunities at collaboration with people who aren’t in my church and in areas that you’d think might exclude the church. Despite what an antagonistic media and other aspects of the culture try to propagandize, business, education, government, sports almost anything you can think of benefits from leadership in ministry. Too often those in the church are easily intimidated and chased away from the arena. Pastors have constitutional rights too and there is nothing to exclude them from any aspect of society and with a scarcity of talent and resources anyone who tries to exclude them should themselves be removed from authority. The stakes are too high, while there is a lot of phoniness and lack of preparation by people who just hang out a shingle claiming to be a pastor, there are many, yea like me, who have extensive training and experience and it would border on negligence to exclude anyone with that background from other areas of society.

Decisiveness – There has to be a high level of decisiveness in ministry as much as any areas of leadership. While all leaders have serious barriers to overcome, those in the ministry have to endure a lot of challenges in probably a lot more respects. The public sector is probably the worst offender. While it is the “public” sector there is an element that seems to feel that their area in the “public” sector is their private domain. That has to be challenged by leaders in the corporate areas, religious areas and other parts of society. Religious leaders have to learn to confront those who loosely throw around nonsense that they don’t even understand. Too many seem to think that they only have to know slogans and cliches, and little substance. These people have to be decisively confronted and overcome. They do not own their office, if they do not function in that office for the public good and the church is as much the public as any group or individual, those people have to be removed and frankly prosecuted, they are undermining public administration, education and public safety.

Integrity – Ministers are held to a higher standard of integrity than anyone. Sure there are those who fail, but by far, I would compare ministers to ANYONE in ANY walk of life, by far. The world will continue to treat Ministers as mascots and with lightly veiled contempt, we have to push back, with integrity and often function under difficult circumstances with dignity and integrity.

Inspiration – Napoleon said “A leader is a dealer in hope.” The one thing that the world lacks most of all is hope. Oh the church has had its failures and has been less than inspiring in the last few generations, with many notable exceptions, but ministers have to start to assert the truth in Jesus Christ. The only hope of anyone, anywhere is in Christ. We’ve seen massive, almost cataclysmic failures in government, corporations, education, science, medicine, none are immune to failure and many of these sectors edge closer to a time that they need to either radically redo how they do business or be overturned and rebuilt. Christian ministry should provide inspiration, not just in terms of the Resurrection, but in terms of Christ being the only hope for the world in the here and now. More and more man tries to compose fraudulent codes of conduct and ethics, all of which they try to exclude themselves from or justify why they are special exceptions. Christian ministry has one mission, to faithfully proclaim the hope, promise and Lordship of Jesus Christ, that can take many forms, but the only thing that truly inspires is in Christ and we must be the faithful proclaimers of same.

Random thoughts, quick comments

Player with brain tumor fulfills basketball dream

I wish sometimes that I could be more gracious about some things, more “understanding”, yea I get it, people have different opinions. Why is it that simply because one random person has a “different” opinion and it all of a sudden becomes valid? Just watching NBC news. A commentator makes the observation in terms of “assisted suicide”, that Dr Jack Kevorkian scared people, but now they have a spokesman who is young, attractive, articulate and as of today dead. Brittany Maynard had brain cancer and chose to commit suicide and she chose to do it in the public spotlight to raise the discussion on “assisted suicide”. It’s as if it’s OK, it’s an act to be applauded, one thing’s for sure Ms Maynard is no longer the spokesperson. How does someone put someone on a pedestal has affirmed quitting, death doesn’t accomplish a thing, except to make a martyr. How do you make a martyr out of someone who chose death rather than have it imposed on them? Ms Maynard was used by a group of people with a death agenda, who are still otherwise alive and planning the next step of their agenda.

Lauren Hill has a brain tumor. Lauren is a freshman at Ohio State University and just played her first NCAA basketball game. God bless her, she’s still out there trying, she’s still living. She’s young, attractive, probably articulate, but yea, she’s not getting the kind of press from the culture of death that Ms Maynard got. I readily found the information on Ms Maynard, took a lot more work on Ms Hill. Ya some people will try to shut me up by saying that you don’t know. I have to say one thing, I hope I will be as tough as a nineteen year old woman. I have given it some thought and I feel very strongly that while I had time to live there is so much that could be done. Death was never God’s will, we were not made to die, we were made to live. It’s only through our sin and selfishness that we bring on death. Why compound the sin and waste what time God has given men? While we live we have the opportunity to live for God and our fellow man, to do good works and reach those who the Holy Spirit moves us to reach. Death is never the answer, only in life can we make a difference. Ms Hill will be an inspiration for many playing basketball. Ms Maynard will be an inspiration being dead?

Pastor Jim Driskell

October 18, 2014

Couple of milestones, first I neglected to observe my 3,000th view, I know for a lot of “real” bloggers, you get that in a month. Took me a year, but I really appreciate the support of those who check out my blogs.

Second, my first reader from the Russian Federation, that is sooooo cool, it’s great to see you, it would be great to hear from you. God bless and please let me know what you think, which of course goes for anyone who checks out my blogs. Good, bad or indifferent, I really do appreciate the time some folks take to read and comment and it really does help me.

God bless and I hope we can be great blog buddies.

Ciao bella Italia. I just had a reader from Italy. I never really thought about it, but since I started doing this blog, I’ve had…

View original post 96 more words