Soul Sanctuary is a very interesting place, every week there are new people who come out. Weekly we gather to worship and we are growing, so how does the word get out? We are not in the phone book, so how do people find out about us? It is all word of mouth or from an internet search! So people come from far and wide to be a part of a gathering. Some call Soul their home and they will bleed for it. Others are wounded and are looking for a place where they can meet GOD and begin the healing process. Some are just simply committed to the people/freinds that they meet. Some are giving GOD and/or the church one last chance. For some, the church is in the area and they like what is going on. Some are looking for a place to sit, but when they realize that there may be some expectations of committment, they're gone. Some are people just checking out the latest fad and "coolest" thing....they are gone as quickly as they came in....then there are those who have a very different agenda, they are legalists. The following is a portion of an email that was sent me....allow me to share it with you....
Here is what a legalist is looking for when they walk into a church:
1. A legalist is looking for a group of people who are stern, sour, and straight-laced; who see religion as a set of rules to be kept.
2. A legalist is looking for something to criticize that doesn’t fit thier list of dos and don’ts.
3. A legalist is looking at outward appearances. They care a great deal about how you are dressed, and why you wouldn’t come to church in your very best; a coat and tie, or a nice dress. After all, this is "God’s house."
4. A legalist is looking to see what version of the Bible you use. If it’s not the King James, it better be the New King James, and if not the New King James, the New American Standard. And if not the New American Standard, they consider that you’re just wrong.
5. A legalist is looking for a place that will let them be on the inside, preferably in leadership. Because there’s a lot that could be straightened out in your church, and they know exactly what needs to be done.
6. A legalist is looking for the pastor who dares to be strong in his or her leadership. Anyone who dares to take initiative and be creative, they are going to have a problem with, and they are going to let them know it.
7. A legalist is listening to not just what the pastor says, but what he/she didn’t say.
8. A legalist is looking for a place that doesn’t trust the people in it to make up their own mind. Let’s be honest. People can’t be trusted. They need to be told what to believe and then held accountable if they don’t believe it and practice it perfectly.
9. A legalist wants the pastors email address because they want to tell him/her the points of the message that are absolutely wrong and how they are leading people to hell.
10. A legalist doesn’t like it when people smile and laugh at church. This is serious business.
11. A legalist sees the Bible as something to beat people over the head with, not to set them free.
12. A legalist wants you to take them seriously. BUT, if you do, they will rob you of your joy and they will run as many people off as possible. And they will make sure you get a new pastor because the one you have now is not acceptable!
A legalist...ummmmm...GOD still loves them...why is it so hard for others to love them?
This last Sunday was a time of Q and A and I have to admit that, doing something like that is much harder for me than preaching! It is one thing standing in front of people and walking through scripture and it is another standing before people and letting them heart your heart and passion. So after a weekend of intensity, there are times I need to be reminded why I do what I do. Like everyone else, I am bombarded with many different mailing lists, however, today, one reached out and grabbed me and I thought that I would share it with you. A fellow pastor named David Foster is the author (Edited a little bit my moi), but it rang true with me, so here it is…
So here are the reasons why I love being a pastor:
1. It’s my calling. It’s what God called me to do. I know deep down in my bones this is what I was made for. If you don’t have a calling, you may never understand why we often say we can’t walk away from the ministry. That would be to live in open defiance to God. And that’s not something we can do.
2. I love the gospel. It’s changed my life. I’ve lived it many decades and it’s still as powerful, still as sweet as it ever has been. Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so still moves me ever more as I get deeper into it.
3. I love people. I love being around people who come together with the same purpose, same heart, organized around a great mission to accomplish something really great for God and good for people.
4. I’m a leader. I was born that way. I’ve also been working hard to be made that way. I love leading people, influencing people to become more together than we ever could become separately. I have been called a lion! Interesting...not sure if that was an insult or a compliment.
But, I see it as a compliment as the first word picture that jumped into my mind was from a scene from Narnia where you see Edmund and Aslan having a conversation. There was power undercontrol and gentleness working together.
5. I love pastors. I love being around them. The majority are loving, good, committed people; smart, fully-engaged, learners, leaders who love God and want to make a difference in the world.
6. I love what happens when a person is converted as a follower of Jesus Christ. I love seeing life change. I love seeing marriages being put back together. I love seeing people be set free from addictions and sinful habits that are destroying their lives, into a lifestyle of love, freedom, and joy.
7. I love being part of something that redeems culture in the world in which I live. I love being a part of a movement that knows no geographic or cultural barrier; that like water, finds its way into every crease and crevice of humanity.
8. I love being a pastor in leadership and ministry because it forces me to engage the Scripture in a way that transforms my life. I’ve never had a problem in the false dichotomy between reading and studying the Scripture for my own personal improvement, or reading and studying to teach. I can’t divide the two. I have to teach out of the overflow of what’s going on in my life as I engage the full scope of Scripture.
9. I love the Bible: not the pages, not the ink, not the leather; but the words, the ideas, the concepts that teach me that I serve a great God.
10. I do this because I believe that the gospel is the only hope of the world, that when church is done right, it is absolutely amazing.
11. I continue to do this because I accept the fact that the church of Jesus Christ can at one moment be an amazing and healthy, loving, growing environment, and in another can be a very toxic, destructive place. How could we expect anything different when we get broken people coming together confessing the reality of their own sin and brokenness? There are bound to be sharp edges among us.
12. I do this because I believe in advancing the good. The best way I can do that is promoting the redemptive mission of the gospel.
13. I do this because it is the best way I can spend my life. I’ve got to do something. I might as well be doing something that matters for eternity.
14. I love pushing myself to greater understanding and innovative ways of redeeming culture.
15. I love being around people who don’t get it, who struggle, who have questions, but are hungry and are open. I love presenting the gospel to them knowing it’s not my job to convert them.
16. I am in this work because I’m a seeker of truth. I love the truth. I embrace both mystery and certainty all at the same time. I do believe that Jesus is the answer, but not all the answers are available to me right now in the state I’m in.
17. I do this because I love being a part of a worldwide movement that has indeed changed the world and it continues to change it. It is not bound by lines on a map, or by race, creed, or color.
These are some of the reasons I do what I do. How about you? What motivates you?