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pastorway

And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, February 23, 2007

When Our Routine Isn't

Do you have a routine? A schedule? A set way and a specific order to do things? Some people are organized and will go crazy if they do not have a routine. Others make a routine of having no routine. My routine may look chaotic to those who would watch me going about my routine, but it is my routine and in my mind there is some semblance of order and organization.

Then again, I have to admit I am a perfectionist. So if my routine gets thrown off it takes a while to get back into the swing of things. Those of you out there that read my blog on a regular basis may have noticed that my routine isn’t so much a routine any more.

I know that as a perfectionist I tend to set unattainable goals for myself. But don’t you see – therein lies the fun! Because if I actually do what I plan to do then I have reached an otherwise impossible goal. There is a down side though. Just ask any perfectionist. If I miss a goal I get discouraged and then stop trying.

When Paul wrote, inspired by the Spirit, that we are to press on and keep going and fight the good fight and finish the course – those are hard things for a perfectionist to do once we have been de-routinized. But they are commands. So even when we do not FEEL like keeping on and pressing forward we have to remember that we have been equipped to stand fast. And there is a distinction there that I am learning.

When I press on and then miss a goal, as I said, I tend to shut down. It takes twice the effort and even more motivation to get going again. But I have been reminded recently from Ephesians 6 that we have been equipped to stand firm. (See Eph 6:11, 13-14). Notice, when suited with spiritual armour, we may not always be advancing. We may not always be winning. We may not always be what we are meant to be! The Bible tells us that we are more than conquerors. Not that we are just conquerors, but more than, the word is “hyper” conquerors.

But what happens when a routine isn’t? Well, if we are not pressing on and moving forward then we must at least stand firm. We have been equipped and are expected to do so. To stand. If we are not gaining ground, at least we are not losing any either. And here is where the battle is really hard. Here is the difficulty. When we are winning, when we are fighting and pressing on it is as if that momentum in battle propels us and keeps us going. Each step motivates the next and we keep marching onward and upward. But when we stop, trip, fall, or just take a huge hit from the Enemy, it is often so easy to retreat rather than to stand our ground.

There is no ground more difficult to hold than the ground upon which we are standing still.

What is the key then to standing our ground? I believe we see from Ephesians 6 that the key is prayer. And effective use of the Sword of the Spirit. Speaking with God and hearing from Him through the Word must not be underestimated. Of course, to make the point, the Lord has arranged it so that the last 3 sermons I have heard have been about prayer!

So what is my point? Well, my routine was interrupted at the start of the year. Through circumstances at my secular work and at church my time and energy were being spent somewhere other then here. And more than being physically tired I was and am mentally tired. You have been there I am sure. A “reduction in force” at work meant more work for fewer workers, and then when our church disbanded I went from preaching weekly – and studying to preach weekly – to not preaching consistently. It was like coming to a stop by hitting a wall. And what I learned the hard way was that writing daily is easy for me when I am studying and focused on a text or topic every week. Take that away and suddenly the rudder has fallen off the ship so to speak.

Well for my own good, and hopefully for yours, I must get back on this horse. (like all the metaphors?) I have to study and I have to write, even if I, for the moment, do not preach regularly. So next week, Lord willing, with proper motivation and a routine reset, I should have daily devotionals posted. Pray for me, would you, as I jump back in and press forward? And pray for me as we continue to wait on the Lord and look for our next “assignment” where I hope to be preaching again on a regular basis – which is never routine!

I have to tell you before I finish that I have a new appreciation and sympathy for people who are looking for a church home. Visiting. Searching. Wondering at times if it would have been better to just sleep in! (gasp) Wondering if the drive really is worth it.

Yes it is! The search is worth it. The drive is worth it. Because after all, this is about God and not about us, and any personal inconvenience that we allow to prevent us from assembling with the saints for worship is really an inconvenience that we set up as more worthy of our time than God. And what on this earth is more worthy than Him?

There – that should reset the routine.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:1-2

1 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

Phillip,

I pray you had a good Lord's Day today, and that you will come back to see us soon!

2:14 AM  

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