So those who follow this blog know that my father who was a pastor passed away a year and a half ago. He was ordained as a pastor when I was three years old and he started right into full time pastoring by the time I was four. He was a full time pastor for 37 years and still pastoring before he passed. He ministered to a total of 4 small churches during this time. For some unknown reason I had about 2-3 weeks that I have missed him more than I have since he passed recently. During this time I attended a conference our church had and purchased books from our speaker. One of his books was “The Coffee Shop that Changed a Church” by Steve Parr. As I began reading this book the tears started flowing as the story developed and the characters of the narrative evolved. One of my first thoughts was “my dad could have written this book” there were so many similar experiences that he and our family had through the years. Another thought was “I have a deeper understanding of a pastor’s life and heart than I even realized”. The book left me with an even greater determination to pray for my pastors as well as all TRUE Bible preaching, Jesus following men of God throughout the world.
One sentence tucked away in the middle of this book caught my attention. I should have had my pen in hand to mark it, but it was a narrative and I am always anxious to see what happens next. There is no time for pens and no time for sleep when I am reading a good book!!! In other words this may not be a direct quote because I can not find the tiny hidden sentence. It referred to the fact that many children of pastors are turned off of the faith because they see Christians treat their dad bad. This smacked me in the face and had me praying prayers of gratitude that God did not give up on me. I went through a stage where I was sick of trying to be perfect and please everyone else. It wasn’t really direct rebellion toward God or my parents. It was more of the fact that people would actually try to get rid of my dad because of choices his children made or could make. As a kid my dad and mom tried to keep the drama from me, but I still caught bits and pieces and would even hear comments made directly to my dad. I would see the strain and stress in his eyes. I would see him work 60 hours plus a week, come home from vacation to be with people in need, get called out in the middle of the night. I saw him give and give and I would hear people say things like “we pay your salary”, “we pay for your house”, “we pay your power bill”. As I child I could see my father working very very hard for his sparse salary. I always thought “Isn’t what we give actually God’s to begin with?” I saw my father and mother give at least ten percent plus right back.
As I look back on my life I have many regrets, but those regrets led to much needed consequences to guide me back into God’s will. My choices gave me a deeper understanding of sin and a deeper gratitude for the grace Jesus gave to me from that cross. Being a preacher’s kid gave me the perspective that the church is full of sinners needing God’s grace as well as the whole world. The temptations of pride and attacks from Satan are very real and a marvelous tool Satan uses to get people focused on how Christians act instead of focusing on Jesus. I wonder how many millions have been turned off of the faith because of priests, pastors, and parishioners sin? We compare ourselves to the hypocrisy of others to find excuse to not believe or behave how we “think” we want. The greatest lesson in life I have learned through growing up as a preacher’s kid is that no one is perfect other than Jesus. No one is “Holier than thou”. It is about a personal relationship with Jesus. The deeper my relationship the more I hunger to read God’s word more, pray more, to worship corporately in church, and hear the Word of God preached. It is enjoyable to just be a regular church member as an adult, but I still see Satan attack. There are times my own pride will tempt me and steal what God is trying to do in my own life. There are times I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak up firmly, but with love when I see pride tempting church members to focus on “self” instead of Christ.
It is all about Jesus. I am a sinner saved by Grace who happened to be raised by a preacher. My dad couldn’t save me, my church couldn’t save my soul, only the blood of Jesus saved my soul!! If all Christians and churches focused on what we should, Jesus, think of how this world would change.
2 Corinthians 5:21″God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”