Post on GUTS - Ministry, Lessons, & Repentance

Girls Using Their Strengths was gracious enough to post something I wrote about their March theme #theoneinministry.  Let me share my words with you, in case you missed it on their lovely site.

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Ministry, Lessons, & Repentance

Sometimes in ministry, your lessons all line up. I love when that happens. I have lots of lesson going on in my life. Lessons for my personal Bible study, lessons for children’s Bible club, lessons for my son’s home schooling, and lessons for my high school girls Sunday school class. Usually they don’t coordinate at all. I’m all over the Bible for all different classes.

So when a few of them complement each other, I am always in awe of God’s timing. But when the words “rebuke”, “anger” and “chastise” were the thread holding the lessons together, I wasn’t sure if it was so neat anymore. I told myself to stay moldable and listen to what God might be showing me.

I figured you ladies would love to join in my gentle reminder of the discipline side of God. Trouble loves company. Right?

This morning in Sunday school I was teaching my girls about Moses, and as I read these words out loud, they kind of stung, “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses” (Exodus 4:14). Moses is having a conversation with God. God is asking Moses to go and lead His people out of Egypt. Moses is full of insecurities. God answers question after question, and Moses finally tells God, “send someone else.” This is when God becomes angry.

After Sunday school, I go downstairs to church. Our church likes to show those snippet videos at each service. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes serious. Today it was a video about Peter being rebuked by Jesus.

I pulled out my Bible in the dark sanctuary while the video was still playing. I wanted to read this story clearly from the pages of my copy of God’s Word. My spirit was telling me that God was showing me something.

The story goes like this. Jesus begins teaching the disciples about how He is going to die and be risen three days later, and Peter gets mad. He takes Jesus aside and gives him a hard time.

Jesus does something unexpected and frankly harsh. He says this to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan, because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s!” (Mark 8:33)

I’ve been spanked by my parents. I’ve been yelled at too. I was even sat on by my 5th grade teacher because I was talking in class. But I cannot imagine the sting of being called Satan by my friend Jesus.

Most of us spend our adult life reminding ourselves and each other that our earthly father is an inadequate representation of our Heavenly Father. We do so much of this that we forget that God isn’t the “cool parent” allowing whatev’s either.

This is what my Bible study in Hebrews this week brought up.

“And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” Hebrews 12:5-7 ESV

Sometimes we will even think of God as being the disciplining Father, but here is an example of Jesus chastising Peter. We sometimes undeservingly give Jesus a hippy, laid back personality. I blame it on the badly produced Jesus movies and musicals of the 60’s and 70’s. Over 40 years later, we are still trying to convince people that Jesus is not the guy you met at Lollapalooza, but instead He is God. Jesus said this in John 14:7, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.” ESV

So what was God trying to show me? Besides the correlation of loving discipline from God to Moses and Jesus to Peter, God was also chastising me.

This morning in church service, I quieted my heart and listened to the Spirit that dwells in me, and he reminded me of something I need to repent of.

I’ll share this sin with you here. I have been reading a lot of books about ministry. A book I was reading this weekend described a type of ministry I have devoted my life to with a word in quotations. I was offended. Offended by quotations. I got mad at the author. I complained to my husband.

I was rebuked for being offended when it was something written in a general way in a book that has been in print for years. What good does it do to be offended by something that wasn’t personally written to me? Even if it was, isn’t only God who can take offense to criticism of His ministry? 

It isn’t my ministry. It is His. Me being offended leads to bitterness. God needs my heart soft to do ministry. You cannot be tenderhearted and bitter at the same time.

I repented. 

And I thanked God for His discipline because surely it was loving. I know God loved Moses and Peter. He clearly loves me.