|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The influence of a mentor”
Our Bible verse for today: “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “A “thin place” moment”
By the time I became a pastor I was already a retired naval officer with multiple college degrees, including a seminary education. But I was new to the field of being a pastor and lacked experience leading a church. Fortunately, at my first church, the Lord had a very wise mentor waiting for me. His name was Dick DeGrow and he was himself a retired pastor. Dick was also a soft-spoken, mild-mannered, humble man who was very wise in the ways of the Lord.
There was also another man waiting for me when I got there who was not humble, wise, or spiritually mature. And unfortunately, long before I arrived at that church, this man had been placed in an important and influential ministry position. He was relatively young for the position, and his nature was such that he was head-strong, outspoken, aggressive and assertive, and something of a bull in a China shop – he tended to thrash around making lots of noise and breaking things. He was a problem for me from the start.
Dick quickly became my “go-to” guy for counsel and advice regarding all sorts of issues, including dealing with my bull in the China shop. We would often sit in my office discussing issues and praying together.
Finally, the situation with the bull became intolerable and was going to have to be dealt with, but it was clearly going to be messy and had the potential to damage the church. It was the first major conflict I was going to have to deal with as a pastor and I was a little uncertain of how to go about it. My natural inclination was to let my inner military officer come out and just go to battle stations all over this guy. But then we would have had two bulls butting heads. What I really needed was a good dose of Dick’s calm, patient, and steady demeanor.
As we sat in my office and talked about it, Dick got quiet and thoughtful for a moment and then he said, “Pastor, not only do we need to pray about this, but we need to get on our knees and pray about it” (usually we prayed sitting in our chairs).”
As we knelt together fervently praying for wisdom and guidance, I sensed the presence of the Lord in that room in a more powerful way than I ever had before. I actually had goose bumps on my skin. From that time of prayer, I went to meet with the bull. The situation did end up being a bit dramatic and it did cause some ripples in the church, but nothing like it could have. The bull ended up leaving the church, but his wife and children stayed, and everyone else quickly shrugged it off and just got on with church life.
Yesterday I told you about the Celtic concept of “thin place moments” when for just an instant, the veil separating the physical realm from the spiritual world is parted and you get a glimpse or a sense of interaction with the other world. That’s what happened to me during that prayer session with my friend and mentor Dick DeGrow in my office that day – and I still vividly remember it more than twenty-five years later.
A good spiritual mentor can be helpful like that, and we usually find them in church. That’s another great reason to obey Hebrews 10:24-25 and not neglect the gathering together of your church family.
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