Life, Stress & God
February 2, 2013
I took on a new, even higher profile, role this last week at the company I work for. It is a good opportunity, but one fraught with pitfalls. Thus, the first full week in the role has been a stressful one and has really opened my eyes to just how much I have taken on.
My saving grace has been my savior’s grace. I have leaned on Him heavily this week trusting that the provision I saw in this change is truly divine.
It is so easy to get caught up in the stress of a job, a family situation or even our ministry that we forget; daily the Spirit is within, Jesus walks along beside and God provides air support from above.
As such, I have been reviewing my day before I retire to see if I can glimpse the wisdom the spirit provides, the times when Jesus gently corrects my path and when God manages the many interactions before and around me that I have little to no visibility to.
How often I also see in this time of reflection the many times where I allow the stress or fear of the situation at hand to derail my focus on His presence. In these times I begin to slip down the muddy slope of my fears and allow myself to become wrapped up in my thoughts of inadequacy or what if’s. When I draw my attention back to His presence, I feel those fears begin to slip away and His presence takes the place of those things that seek to overwhelm me.
Seeking that continual touch of His presence is often times so difficult. We get wrapped up in the moment or the fears of what might happen. It is at that moment that I try to draw myself back to scripture and remember;
Luke 12:25 “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to hisspan of life?”
So true. And do we not realize that for every moment we worry and allow that worry to eat at our life we are even possibly going so far as to reduce the allotted moments of our lives. How many have succumbed to either mental or physical ills brought on by rampant worry. I see this potential in my life; I have reaped the rewards of stress and fear in the form of stomach problems in my past that required constant medication to compensate.
God delivered me from that period and taught me how to cope with some of this, at least enough to keep my stomach calm. Yet, it is so easy to allow old fears to seep back into my life. For the evil one to plant that seed of doubt and see how I water it and tend it so that it grows into Jacks bean stalk reaching to heaven.
“Oh what a wretched man I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”
Pease and comfort. A release from the stress and fear of life. Is this not what we all seek in Christ loving embrace? Allowing Him to assuage our fears and soothe our stress filled minds.
Lord, my prayer is that you touch each one who reads this and the many we come in contact with, with Your soothing touch at this time.
Finding God in all Things
I am reading a book by one of my favorite spiritual authors, James Martin, SJ. He says that if one wanted to sum up St. Ignatius Loyola’s teachings, it would be “Finding God in all things”.
In our calling to Chaplaincy, this concept is very much in line with our ministry. We are called to provide Christ love in all situations and at all times. Unlike many in Ministry who are called to a specific endeavor, we are called to be present with others; to provide succor in people’s time of need and support throughout life’s daily happenings.
As we roll into a new year, this is one of the focuses I want to have for the remainder of my life. I do not want to make hollow resolutions about things that are of little value. I want to do something lasting that allows me to extend my ministry to all facets of my life.
At one point in James’ book he writes, “You can’t put part of your life in a box, stick it on a shelf, and pretend it’s not there. You have to open the box up and trust that God will help you look at what’s inside”.
The concept here is that God wants to be involved in every area of our lives. He wants to be a part of the tiniest measure of that which makes us who we are, who He made us to be. In doing so, we then find that in every aspect of our lives, when the box is open and god is actively working with what is within, that we truly fulfill His desire for relationship with us.
How can we hope to provide a ministry of presence when God is not continually present with us? As such I believe Paul admonition to “Pray without ceasing” is truly meant as “do nothing without Christ.” Our action is our prayer and in the doing of it with Christ at its center we are, in fact, doing so in prayer.
Consider what elements of your life you have in a box. What is needed to trust Christ with that is in side and allow Him to work through the contents to draw us closer to Him?
Chaplaincy is prayer in action.
October 2, 2012
If you are looking at this web site you may be considering the next level of your ministry. At least that is what we hope you are here for. You may be thinking that you have need for a level of understanding and training that provides you with a better foundation for your service. If so, you came to the right place.
But, there is a disclaimer with that; it’s going to make your ministry even harder. It’s going to require more from you. It’s not a web site certificate you can place an order for.
It’s a commitment. It’s stepping up to the plate and swinging, not just putting on the uniform and looking good on the bench. It’s a decision to join the ranks of the one tenth of one percent that accept being held to a higher standard and accept what that means.
It means you have made a commitment and not just a decision.
We believe our training is good. We know our process is a long one (it’s not seminary, by any means, but it will take time and commitment). But what we hope to build is a very small group of people who are both committed to a form of ministry and a singularity of purpose that creates a standard that is a cut above. No, you will not be better than anyone else. But you will be better prepared for your ministry and you will be accepting a higher standard.
We are not called to a ministry of comfort. If that were the case, we could just stay in our conditioned spaces (churches) and do our thing. No, we are called to hit the highway and weather both the natural and proverbial storms of life without the protection of wood, brick or steel around us. We are called into a community that can, at best be rough, and at times be brutal (and that is just dealing with the Christians).
This is preparation for battle and we can guarantee that if you accept this higher standard, you will have to fight for it. The attacks will come in many forms and will test your metal. But the hardest steel is formed in the hottest furnaces.
Are you ready to be one of the one tenth of one percent who will accept this call?
Just know that God will sustain and support you. God is merciful and called all of us to some aspect of His service. God loves you and has a plan for your life and your ministry.
Pray. Seek His will and take a leap of faith into action!
September 19, 2012
They say “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well, our hopes are this is not the case with the new Biker Chaplain web site you see here.
We had heard from some of you that our old web site was a bit confusing and somewhat hard to navigate, which we wanted to improve upon. We also wanted to be able to more readily add new content to the site without a lot of fuss or muss. Thus, Biker Chaplain (part deux) was born.
While our primary focus upon providing the Christian Biker community with quality training has not changed, our desire to give you more valuable input has. With this new format the front page will (ultimately) incorporate more and more of a blog style. Allowing us to deploy new content and provide more regular updates on things we have going on, concepts we want to convey and things God puts on our hearts.
We “preach” about how Chaplaincy is about presence, and we wanted to make our presence more personal.
So, there it is. Welcome to the new site. Please let us know what you think.
As I write this Sidecar, Doc and Hawk are off at the Texas Baptist Chaplains Conference. For the second year I am unable to go due to work obligations. This is somewhat of a blow, as I really enjoy the conference and it gives me a chance to focus on my ministry.
We are continually impressed with the caliber of Chaplains we meet at this conference. It is great to have the opportunity, especially as lay Chaplains, to meet up with guys who are professional Chaplains. We learn so much each year and are so lifted by the great fellowship and the speakers who are at this event.
Our ministry can often leave us feeling lonely and isolated, especially as Chaplains who tend to run solo. Having Sidecar handy and being able to work ministry events together is such a blessing. Some of our representatives have commented on how alone they feel at times. We know what a burden this can be and how important regular contact with brothers who can lift you up is.
Our “Ministry of Presence” should not mean that we are alone. While Christ is always with us, it is imperative that we gain connections with those close enough so that they can both hold us accountable and be there to work through any issues that are bigger than we are.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
August 1st, 2012
Yea, I know, I am not going to win this one. In fact, I doubt he is even sparring, so I suspect I am just fighting myself in all actuality. But it really feels like I am.
I get frustrated with God at times and I am not afraid to tell him so. I am frustrated with Him right now.
We are put here to do our ministry thing, reach the world and all, and things just seem to get tougher and tougher. I know we are not promised anything other than taking up our own crosses to bear, but I am not Christ, I do not have the strength or piety to do this battle at times.
I get frustrated when things should be easier and they are not. Both for myself and my family, my friends, my ministry partners, those who should be getting a break – even a little one. I know too that we say that God does not give us burdens we cannot bear, and that our cross is given to us so that we can relate to others. I get that. Does not mean I like it. I don’t know that I have found scripturally that we have to like it.
Job, and I am in no way relating myself to a man of such faithful strength, railed at God. He did not sin by cursing God or doing anything that would have been considered by God anything other than rightful frustration. Job was an example. One that God recompensed many times over. How long this took, how many days, months, years that Job went through his anguish we are not told. Regardless, it was too long.
I also think biblically about the poor guy who righted the Ark of the Covenant when it began to fall and was struck dead for touching it. I mean come on! How many of us would not have done the same given the significance of the artifact! And the poor sap gets the lightning bolt for it!
Look, I do not mean to sound sacrilegious. If God is who I think He is, the loving deity the New Testament portrays, then He can take my railing, my questioning. I may get a lashing of sorts, since I doubt that I am going to hear directly from Him. Maybe I already have, through Job;
Job 38:2 (New International Version)
2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
After this God goes on to basically ask Job where he was when he was setting the foundations of the world and goes on for another 133 passages on His credentials to do as He sees fit.
Job ends with;
16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years.
I suspect my angst is misplaced and “without knowledge”. It makes it no less painful or cumbersome in this life.