This is a few days past, but recently we celebrated our 1 year anniversary at Broadmoor. It has been a great year of learning and growing both as a Christian and as a Pastor. I truly have felt a wide array of emotions through this year, and am thankful to God for every last one.
A couple things have really stuck out to me during this year of service. One is that no amount of seminary training can prepare you for dealing with real life situations of spiritual warfare. The theoretical aspects and principles are useful, but on your first Wednesday when a purse is stolen from one of your students and I had to deal with the Memphis Police Dept, parsing Greek does very little good. There have been other times that I wished I could have taken an elective on youth culture, because it has changed so much since I was 18 and dealing with vastly different issues than students deal with now. Many things I have learned on the fly or still do not truly understand.
A second thing I have learned is that sometimes Satan can use people within the Church to discourage, divide, and attack the ministry. I never knew the depth and viciousness of spiritual warfare until I began truly striving to serve the Lord in ministry and standing to teach the Word of God faithfully on a regular basis. Then, the floodgates opened and I was forced to deal with many different issues. Praise the Lord for having to go through them though, I count any struggle and stress for Christ to be a blessing to endure, and I pray the Lord finds me faithful to Him.
I talked about this with my sister-in-law the other day, that I have never been so tired, so stressed, so down, and with so much on my shoulders as I have now. It made me think back to all those times I heard people talk about ministry not being like work if its truly where you are meant to be and all that jazz, and it was then I realized I had been lied to for so long. Between that and a message on living dangerously from Southern Seminary, I have come to the conclusion that being in the center of God's will often times will result in harder times and more difficult circumstances than any other time. The weight I carry for our students and their spiritual development and for the church as a whole weighs me down constantly, and I feel like I get less rest and less encouragement. But those who came before me in the Bible are the ones I look to, for they endured far greater hardship than anything I could imagine for the sake of following God with their lives.
It is so awesome to know that while my comfort level has gone down as fast as my stress level has gone up, that I am exactly where the Lord would have me, and it is during this I must rely on Him more. Standing to teach the Word faithfully and serve faithfully has opened up assaults on me, my health and sanity, and I praise the Lord for being found worthy to endure such hardship. This is the year of living dangerously, and I say bring it!