Tuesday night’s opening session was powerful. While most of us expected some kind of high-powered, high-octane message related to Fellowship’s theme of a church of irresistible influence, Tim Lundy, Directional Leader and Teaching Pastor, offered a much more personal, and I think profound approach for the 400+ attendees.
With pastors, staff, and lay leaders present from more than 30 states and 7 countries, Lundy addressed to personal, spiritual life of the leader. Laughing about the fact that most of us probably came for “answers more than we did for questions,” Lundy posed the following four:
- Do you have a personal or a professional relationship with God?
- Are you living the Spirit-filled life? (from Ephesians 5.18-21)
- What do you do with your doubts?
- Do you still have hope?
I think it was Jerry Maguire in which the lead character said, “You had me at ‘hello.'” Well, Lundy had us all silently drinking his every word. His caveat to his presentation was that he was also working through the following questions and shared how a hectic year had caused him to ask himself (and keep asking) these questions.
Do you have a personal or a professional relationship with God?
In dealing with the first question, Tim said that sometimes leaders need to stop and search for God’s face rather than His hands. I/we are so often wanting God to do things for us and our churches and members that we forget that God also wants to be for us. We need to stop and look into God’s face.
“Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80.3)
I think too many ministers, including myself, are so used to being around God’s work, His ways, and His people, that we take God for granted. We seldom practice silence and stillness. However, hearing God is exactly what we need. We don’t need His blessings on our church or its people. We just need God. Period.
Tim commented that there were many times that he would catch himself studying the Bible for a message rather than for personal transformation. That is a sure sign that your relationship with God is leaning toward professionalism.
Are you living the Spirit-filled life?
Tim used two glasses on stage to illustrate what he meant. Into one he dropped a Tums, and into the other he dropped an Alka-Seltzer. He said both glasses were now full of something, but he noted that one had a lot of activity going on it.
Do you have “the fizz?”
Using Ephesians 5.18-21, Tim noted that a Spirit-filled life would be characterized in the following ways:
- Your life is marked by worship.
- You’re a grateful, thankful person.
- Your life is marked by submission to others.
Where there’s unbelief, unconfessed sin, unconfronted fear, and unwillingness to surrender, the Spirit is quenched in your life.
What do you do with your doubts?
Lundy described deep, prolonged doubts as “Asaph moments” and pointed to Psalm 73.1-2.
“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.”
Lundy said that Asaph in the Psalm had nearly lost his way spiritually because he thought his life of faithfulness to God was not as good as those who did not love God. Asaph played the comparison game and lost. As long as his eyes were on others, his spiritual life began to sink. It wasn’t until he began to truly seek God and keep his eyes on Him “in the sanctuary” that Asaph’s doubts began to be swallowed up in perspective.
Too many church leaders keep silent when they’re struggling. However, it’s vitally important to be wise about voicing your doubts. You don’t want to be a stumbling block to others, especially those young in the faith. Lundy urged those who struggle to seek God diligently and to confide in spiritual friends who could be trusted to pray hard and consistently for them.
Do you still have hope?
I wasn’t real clear where Tim went with this one. While many leaders (including myself) have mourned the loss of dreams and hopes, many times those dreams end up being our own dreams rather than God-instilled ones.
However, I deeply appreciated his direction to focus on Jesus as…
“…the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12.3-4)
By keeping our eyes and minds focused upon Jesus Christ, our hope is restored, and we are able to remember that even Christ endured loss in order to press on toward joy.
Great questions… Now I’m wondering… what questions have you been asking yourself lately?