Learn from me

What shall we call this ministry?

A teaching ministry … a healing ministry … an outreach ministry … just ministry? Maybe a mission ministry … a home ministry … a pastoral ministry … a discipling ministry? Is calling it “ministry” enough … will people know what we mean – will we know what we mean?

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

How about we do away with all this “ministry stuff”. Seems to me any category focuses on one at the expense of another. And then it takes committees to distinguish which is which. And that takes chairpersons and members. And that means minutes and committee meetings. And that means diaries and paperwork. And that means funding and expenses. And that means priorities …

And then – when the infighting kicks off – the niches and clichés kick in. And then we struggle to retain the fire of faith. We become tepid – less oxygenated – less alive together than we are apart. And then the questions: is this place of healing really a “place of healing”? Is this place really a place where “all are welcome”? Is the building “welcoming enough”? And we conclude – obviously – that we need revival, and a committee to organise it, and yet another mission and ministry to fan the flames.

Hello …

This “place” is not a building, establishment, institution or anything “not of us”. This place IS us! Each of us. That is “church” – you, me, and God. Anywhere and everywhere.

Maybe it is just me – you know that old “there was no room at the inn” phrase we love to quote? I think our modern version is much more subtle: “there is no room in the diary” – now that is far more effective – far more “us”.

So how about we commit rather than committee?

Each of us to each of us – without waiting to be told to by the minister, the pastor, the committee, the … without anything that excuses “us” from not. Not with the polished smiles, nor the polite small talk. That is socialising, that is hiding, that is impressing, that is choosing who “to be nice to” (and who not) … how about loving God Soft Hands Jesus as He Loves us?

The damaged others. Sinful others. Hurting others. Smelly others. Obnoxious others. Labelled others. All dressed up and smart and dying inside while they sit and pray with us others. All in control and looking inspiring and falling off a cliff inside while we smile and share polite small talk others. The my life is falling apart and I can’t hold it together and please will someone reach out and touch me others. They walk amongst us – because we are us – but there is no room in the diary.

How about we learn from God Soft Hands Jesus?

He loves us as we are, where we are, and always for what we are – intimately – tenderly – respectfully. Learn from me: His Light of Love – His Yoke of Love. Ours as well – if we each allow.

He was and is speaking to me. To you. To each of us. Is that not enough?

Or is that why we need another ministry and another committee … because it saves us from having to just love each other?


22 thoughts on “Learn from me

  1. Paul… This is quite radical thinking. Are you espousing the Christ-follower going “outside” the cozy temple to minister? I don’t know what GSHJ sauce you drank… This could change everything. Love instead of programs? Go to them instead of trying to lure them in?
    😉 (Good stuff, my friend)

  2. Paul, this is why and how I do what I do and you do. To be the people God wants us to be, to others who were created in His image that most would never consider speaking to. Yesterday in front of Madison Square Gardens I prayed with many people. A couple were homeless and on drugs, one dying with stage 4 cancer with no hope. The words of Jesus bring hope now and forever. It was a joy to see God work in their hearts and leave with a smile. We are a church. His church United in love for all to see. Great post my “full English” brother. 🙂

    • Levi, you have made my day! Thank you ((hugs))
      Having listened to some of how you personally do what you do – your words are so much more than “words”. They ARE you. And the more we all speak them – to each other – as much as “them” over there – the more we may all find …
      “The words of Jesus bring hope now and forever”
      Let us join and unite so that all may know!

      (“full English” brother … I like that a lot!! 🙂 )

  3. When Congress comes across something that they need to be seen supporting, that they really want no part of, it is sent to an obscure committee to die… while the members demand action (in public). When a president or governor needs to be seen supporting something they really want no part of, they send it to a “Blue Ribbon Commission” for further study… and to die a quiet death. Such is the power of an institution to do nothing.
    Many people don’t know this, but there is a type of committee in Congress that can really get fast action, called “The Committee of the Whole.” When Congress actually wants to get something done and done quickly, they declare the entire house to be the committee handling the bill. They read it, discuss it and pass it in one sitting: BAM! Action.
    The Body of Christ is not a human institution, and pretending to be one, we have grown lukewarm. What would happen, I wonder, if we all began to realize who we are in Christ, and started being “Committee of the Whole” and put things back as they ought to be? Might the entire world see Christ moving in the midst of His church again?

    • “The Committee of the Whole”
      By gum, Don – now that is a thought!

      “The Body of Christ is not a human institution, and pretending to be one, we have grown lukewarm. What would happen, I wonder, if we all began to realize who we are in Christ, and started being “Committee of the Whole” and put things back as they ought to be? Might the entire world see Christ moving in the midst of His church again?”

      Hands up. I now get an official and repeated tingle deep in my bones when I read, hear and speak words like this. I feel moved to another naming: The Bone Tingler!

      “God Soft Hands Jesus, The Bone Tingler”

      “The Committee of the Whole” – it has a “oneness” to it – an “I am of I Am”

      WOW! Thank you so much Don – you have also made my day 🙂

    • “Ok- a new song just came to mind” – you and He are so different than Him and me – yet no different at all! That IS church!!

      “Come be the fire inside of me
      Until You and I are One”

      I so love your music links – playing this one on repeat at the moment! My day is being doused in such wonderful moments! Thank you ((hugs))

      • I love reading and participating in bloggy church 🙂 That song became a prayer of mine about a year ago… as a ministry leader, I ask myself all the time if what I’m doing is for me or for Him… is it my ministry- or is it ALL His. Committees and programs and this and that can so easily take our eyes off of Jesus. I have prayed that song over and over. For my heart to be His. For the ministry in which I lead to be all His. Glad you enjoyed the song 🙂

  4. Hello Paul. I have a sign in my home that says SIMPLIFY. It’s become trendy now to have this sign. When I made it I meant it! I now almost want to take it down. People want to say SIMPLIFY but they don’t want to actually do it. Why is that? Is it to avoid being honest with ourselves? To keep creating steps to get to what we SAY we want but really only want the steps? I think people don’t want to look in the mirror. They only want the fancy mirror! Oh. And I’m pretty sure the Apostles were not called the Committee of Jesus or The Lords Cabinet. We need to just be. To just love. In His name. Without a committee to ratify that love!!!

    • Katie – what a fab comment! Thank you!
      I haven’t heard of this one, yet have come to accept that until a few years ago (maybe even less) I would have loved a sign like that. I have come to accept that a lot of things I “got” about our Lord (sometimes months or even days ago!) seem odd today. And when I think about that, I find it impossible to look at others and wonder why they don’t “get it”.

      Because the one word missing in all of this is “yet” (and I am sure there are loads who see my current “got it”s as “yesterday’s news”).

      So – oddly – the more I get it, the less I find myself wanting others to “get it” at my pace (if there is a pace) – and am happy that He and them figure out what works for each and Him – one at a time.

      And despite these words – it remains one my more frequent “I forgot get it”s – and if you come across a sign for that one – please let me know!

  5. I love these posts of yours where you just lay it all out there and cut through the “stuff!” That we can simply “be, do and love” without planning, programming or any other organized device that mandates someone’s approval. “Commit rather than committee!?” Priceless! 🙂

    • Lilka – thank you! And what I love is to cut through my “stuff” more and more. To get closer and closer to my God and your God and our God. I have an amazing amount of stuff! I am proud of that! Really am! Because none of it is/was wasted, none of it is/was sin – yet all of it necessary to get Him and me to where Him and me are today. And realise today and tomorrow that less and less “stuff” is necessary to get where He seems to wish – and I now willingly go – tomorrow and the day after.

      • What a great way of looking at that. Most times I would think my “stuff” was holding me back, but you are correct. My “stuff” has pushed me closer to God and eventually set me on the right path.

        You just gave me a “moment” to realize that. Thank you! 🙂

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