Years ago a volunteer in one of the ministries I was leading loudly blasted out the statement, “You don’t love people.” I didn’t know what to say in response to this allegation. It was easy for me to simply write this person off as “needy” or “misguided” about what role I needed to play. While I disagreed with the truth of this tirade about my lack of loving others, later that night I asked Jesus to show me what it looked like to love others better.
Over the years I am convinced that the Holy Spirit continues to teach me what it looks like to love. As I have grown in my responsibilities and become more and more challenged pastoring larger groups of people the Lord has helped me think differently about the ways that I am able to show love and live it out.
When I went through our Focused Living seminar years ago and pondered on the significance of different people, events and circumstances that the Lord has been using to shape me, it was in the most painful circumstances that I grew the most.
It was C.S. Lewis who said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
This heated exchange with one of my volunteers became a “pink sticky note” on the timeline of my life. On my Focused Living poster board - pink connotes a painful event that was a part of my story. In God’s goodness to me, it wasn’t more than a year or two later that Gaylord sat down with me for a cup of coffee and shared this new revelation about “the command of Jesus” that is found in John 13:34. It hit me right between the eyes and became another significant event that has shaped and changed me forever. This revelation later became Gaylord’s book, Love Revolution, and helped me form a lens with which to measure the ministries I lead, the interactions I have and how I live my life based on understanding a fresh the importance of loving one another.
When I look at the poster board of my life today – it’s just as true and revealing as the day that I took Focused Living and put it together some 15 years ago. I have added many more sticky notes since that day because God keeps shaping me through ongoing relationships and experiences, and it gives more weight to some of those early days and what God was pouring into my heart then.
We are offering Focused Living at the end of April, on Friday evening April 28th and Saturday during the day of April 29th. If you haven’t experienced this workshop where you put your sticky note timeline together – I suggest you sign up and join us. God wants to give you clarity on the next season of your life by teaching you through looking at the people, events and circumstances that have happened up to this time. I am always amazed at the clarity that emerges as people share bits and pieces of their stories with those sitting at the table with them at the workshop.
You can sign up online at http://www.ncchico.org/focused-living-workshop/.
Andrew Burchett, Lead Pastor