I actually sent a RT (retweet) Monday night of this Teddy Roosevelt quote that Perry Noble shared Monday on his blog that was still resonating in my heart this morning so I thought that I would share it with a larger group of you:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt
Before I was a pastor I was a musician in a band that wrote and played our own music for the purpose of getting a record deal. Whenever we would produce a new recording we would send it to various magazines and outlets for the purpose of review. Good reviews meant more gigs in new places, more music sales and the possibility of bringing new fans to those shows. During that time I learned something: many critics aren't even musicians. These people who were going to listen to and give their opinion on our music to others were not even making music of their own. Rather, they sat around and talked about other people's music, forming people's opinions on that music even though they had no experience of creating music of their own.
That whole premise reminds me that it's pretty easy to sit back and point out how you would do something – it's quite another thing to lay it all on the line and do it. For me, one of the hardest things in the world is to consistently shut out the noise long enough to hear what you believe God to be saying to you through his word and prayer. In the end only you will stand before Him to answer to what you've done and accomplished – I pray that He won't disappointedly ask me why I didn't do what He was instructing me to do (no matter how crazy it seemed to others AND to me). Right now, I pray the same thing for you.
Most of us probably fall into 1 of 2 categories: critic or criticized. Put me on the the side of those creating and doing something; we'll leave the analysis of how well we're doing to those who would rather talk than do.
On a down day last month I found myself struggling to get into the scriptures. My daily reading happened to be Psalm 55, and it was right on time. Maybe it's just what you need today as well:
- "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would fell far away and stay in the desert… shelter from the tempest and storm." (v.6-8). I bet many relate to this thought, "Lord, let me flee and just start over… then rest from all of this would be mine".
- "Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech… destructive forces are at work in the city, threats and lies never leave its streets" (v.9-11) There have been times through my years in ministry that I have felt like this – not often, but they've been there. I have sometimes felt like destructive forces were lining up against me yet I am often reminded by the Lord that the battle is spiritual. With this in mind I have tried to have the presence of Jesus in my response, "Lord, do with them what would bring about Your will". I have often felt this to be the right response.
- "If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it…but it is you…my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship" (v.12-14) The fact that someone David loved had brought this pain made the pain that much worse. I have found that when the people you love hurt you, that pain hurts the worst.
- "My companion attacks his friends…his speech is smooth as butter yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords." (v.20-21). Smooth talk doesn't change hearts. This man was changing other people's hearts with the wrong intentions filling his.
On the day that I read this, the last part lifted my Spirit and helped me leave my prayer time with a heart redirected towards God instead of others: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall… but as for me, I trust in you." (v.22-23)
Yes, God, I trust in you. I hope that you feel better as I did.
For the past 6 years on summer Wednesday nites we have looked for ways to touch people in our community – we call it "Summer of Service". Every church in Lumberton knows that they should be involved serving the community but knowing and doing are 2 different things.
It is very easy to find ourselves talking a lot about reaching out those who are outside the walls of our churches - summer of service is our corporate "action-point", it's the place where hyde park puts feet to our talk. This summer marks our 6th summer of serving Lumberton.
The odd thing about Summer of Service is that many hyde park people have thought in the past that they weren't qualified to do the projects we were participating in, so let me make this clear: ANYBODY CAN BE PART OF THE PROJECTS WE WILL DO – NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY. Each week we will tackle a new and different project (not to mention easy, anybody can do these projects) that puts us out among our friends in Lumberton.
Tonite's project will be what I call "Community Drink Share". We will meet on campus at 6:30pm and will leave to go to a busy intersection to pass out drinks, invites and tracts. This project is definitely one of my favorites as it allows us to touch the greatest number of people in the shortest period of time (which I believe is the goal of this kind of outreach).
Come on out – pass a can and watch God change a life.
So everyone is at camp. For the record, i LOVE camp! Immersed in a week of worship, study, food and fun at a location that is not your home with a group of fun people who you normally love hanging with… throw in an amazing camp speaker who gets to speak into your lives for a number of days which gives a relationship primed for life-change. I'm really praying that God do an amazing work in so many lives that I have been blessed to have linked with mine!
Yesterday at 4, Keyna and I dropped off Matt P at Camp Grace for the week. Last night at 9:30 we dropped Madie P off as they prepared to head to Student Life Camp for the week.
Brandon is the one taking Madison, so he's gone. Donnie (Paschall) is taking his students to "Go Tell" camp in Toccoa, Ga. Joey (Autry) is taking his students up to Fruitland Bible for "Deep Impact" Camp.
So I guess that leaves Keyna and I… whatever will we do?