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This is alarming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-MTIojmjn0E The pastor is shocked.  This is out of character for the youth pastor.  The pastor has worked for the church for 20 years, and thus far, the church is standing behind him. Very disturbing.  Maybe there’s part of the story missing here. What does the church mean they are ‘standing behind him’? When things like this happen in churches, I think this needs to happen: 1.  Immediate dismissal, especially if (as in this story), the person admits to the offense 2.  Effective communication with the church family.  Essentially:  we didn’t know about this; and when we did find out, we acted immediately to insure that this will not happen again. 3.  Restoration process begins.  If the staff member is open, the church must work to get this person help, counseling, etc. But at first report… this is not what is happening here. I would not let my 16 year old daughter within a mile of this church. Would you? More here. Todd  
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Leadership
 

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the McFarland family that a lot of talking takes place in our home.  I used to try to simply push all the blame off on my wife and our girls, but the reality is that I “talk” for a living, so I too must take some responsibility.  One of the most common phrases uttered in our house is, “You have 2 ears and only 1 mouth, so talk less and listen more.”  While I am usually the one saying these words, I have had them directed at me numerous times.

Recently, I have begun to feel that while that phrase is adequate, it is far from complete.  Sure, everyone  from kids to parents to politicians to church leaders needs to do a better job of listening more, but it can’t stop there.  I wonder if a piece of that saying has been lost in translation?  I wonder if we are missing out on something more than just being quiet and listening?  I wonder if there is more out there for us to grasp?

What if the original phrase read like this:

You have 1 mouth, 2 ears, 4 appendages and a Big Heart.  Therefore, you should talk less, listen more, serve frequently and love greatly.

Wow, that’s kinda long and a lot harder to remember.  Plus, it isn’t exactly easy to accomplish.  Maybe that is why we just dropped the second half; that’s more efficient, right?

While it may be more efficient, it is also less effective.  Oh, and a tad bit selfish.

You see, talking less and listening more will make you a much better person, but if we stop there, it’s pretty selfish.  When we realize that we have been given hands and feet so that we can go and serve others, we go beyond just us; we realize that others can benefit from what we have learned.  However, if we simply talk less, listen more, and serve others without a deeper purpose, we are really just again, being selfish.  Sure, serving others out of our surplus is nice, but it always makes us feel good. Is everything really about us?

That is where are heart comes in to play.

You see, we are all spiritual beings; that is the way God created us.  Inside each of us is a soul that will live on for eternity.  A soul that is broken and is searching desperately for a way to be restored.  The only answer for restoration is trusting in Jesus Christ.  Jesus fixes everything, from the inside out.

So, the most important part of that whole phrase is the part about the “big heart.”  Why is it big?  Because it has been completely restored by Jesus Christ and is full of enough Grace to share with the world.

We should talk less, listen more, serve frequently and love greatly.

That means we have to get up and move.  That means we must come to terms with the fact that our goal in life isn’t to simply get everything we want.  That means we have to think of others.  That means that we must first, Trust Jesus to restore us and second, share the restoration we experienced with everyone so they can have the opportunity to experience it as well.

But that all sounds really hard, time consuming and kind of messy.  Couldn’t we find a way to be more efficient?  Maybe we didn’t lose anything in translation after all; maybe we just hid the hard stuff so we could forget about it and make things easier.

Yeah, that sounds much better.  We just need to be quiet and listen more.  That’s what the church is for anyway, right?

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” ~ James 1:22

 

 

Josh McFarland

 

Josh is a happily married father or 2 beautiful girls.  His writings are sporadic, his thoughts are random, and occasionally the two collide.  He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Hillsboro, OH.

 

You can find Josh on twitter, facebook, blogspot and usually drinking coffee:

www.twitter.com/joshmcfarland

www.facebook.com/joshmcfarland

www.jmacrev.blogspot.com

 
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Current Events
Ted Haggard thinks you’re an idiot and a hypocrite. At least that’s what he thinks of most of the church. In fact, Ted feels that while the church says they offer forgiveness, they rarely if ever give it.  But other kinds of businesses do give forgiveness and restoration freely… all the time. As Ted says, everyone else was restored and forgiven, just not him. He mentions how Tiger Woods was restored.  Tiger is a golfer.  If Tiger’s sin had been extreme hypocrisy involving golf, say using illegal equipment or betting on or fixing outcomes, Tiger would not be playing today. He mentions Martha Stewart.  If Martha had been caught doing something related to her core business of making pretty things out of feces and bows, she would also not have a TV show today. He mentions David Letterman.  David Letterman’s profession is being funny.  That he had an affair is a side issue. (And most of these examples, Ted, happened AFTER your indiscretions… I think you may have some time-warp issues as well). All of these individuals were forgiven and restored to their previous careers and glory.  His question?  Why can’t I?  Why can’t the church forgive and restore like CBS or the golf community? Then he pulls the trump card.  Jimmy Swaggart.  “The church STILL hates him”. Maybe so.  But Jimmy and Ted share something that Letterman, Stewart and Tiger woods don’t.  They were PASTORS… men of God… who got caught in an indiscretion that was directly tied to their line of work. Kind of like the police officer who gets caught selling drugs, or the teacher caught having sex with a student. Ted ‘s life was about morality, speaking against homosexuals, and leading a national organization of family values. Jimmy preached against all the things he was caught doing… twice! And both men thwarted the accountability that they had set up for themselves so that they could be restored quickly and with as little consequence as possible. Ted is clearly angry. Very angry.  And I’m afraid Ted will die an angry man. Forgiveness, at least for me, is freely given.  That does not mean that we forget and move on like nothing happened.  Ted knows that there are consequences for sin.  He’s preached that for years. Might I suggest that one of the consequences to being an influential pastor that is found out to be leading a double life might be a loss of trust and credibility?  And a slow… very slow… restoration process. You’re forgiven, Ted… you just have a trust and credibility problem. You’re sin caused you to be a laughing-stock. You’re sin caused people to look at your church (and our churches) as a joke. You’re sin ruined your reputation and robbed you of your trust and credibility in the Christian community. I’ve not heard ONE person say they’re not willing to forgive you. But please don’t call us idiots and hypocrites.  It might make you feel better.  But it doesn’t make it true. What do YOU think?
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