Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frustrations in MInistry

My greatest frustration these days in ministry is something different from any other frustration that I have had over the years. Ministry is a tough thing sometimes. It’s hard to see any real accomplishments sometimes. You plant seeds and someone else harvests. Or, you pour yourself into someone or someones only to see little result. All who do ministry do so in faith that God will bring about his will in it all. And, in spite of the frustrations it is entirely worth it to be a servant of Jesus Christ.

Nowadays, my frustration is different. Bethel is a wonderful church that is set right in the middle of town and the surrounding area is becoming more and more urbanized. The church is located in a strategic place. It’s easy to find; it sits on a hill and proclaims the Gospel just by the presence of its huge buildings. A friend’s daughter calls Bethel “church on sterroids”. My frustration these days comes from the human traffic that comes here every day looking for help.

We have a Fellowship of Suffering and every once in a while some persons give us monies to be used to help people. So, we do as much as we can, judging if the need is legitimate.

My friend Michael was by here again today. I met Michael several years ago. We were working around the church on Saturday when Michael showed up. He’s a big ole guy. He asked to talk to me. We sat in my office and I listened as he cried. We prayed and I did a little bit to help. Michael takes care of his special needs wife. So far as I can tell he works as much as he can find work, but sometimes he gets behind and he’ll call and come by. I helped him a little today and prayed for him.

My frustration is that we can help everybody. There’s not enough money in the world to help everybody. My associate and I help people until we’re out of money. People keep coming by with needs but we have to tell them that we’re out for now.

I got a call today from a young woman who lives in Pacolet. She has three small children and works at Huddle House for $2.82 an hour. Her husband left her and won’t pay child support. Courts threaten him; he just goes his way. My heart breaks for a family like this.

I know in my head that I can’t do everything for everybody. We can’t even do a little for everybody. We do what we can. We do the best that we can.

Well, I’m grateful to people who give to the Fellowship of Suffering so that we can help some. It is a real blessing to be able to assist people in need.

With the economy being so bad right now, it’s not likely to get better for a while. God has put us right here, right now, to be a blessing to the world around us. My prayer is that we are doing all we can to do God’s will here.

I am so proud to be a part of a great church. I am so glad that when people can’t find hope anywhere else they can always find hope at church and in the followers of Jesus Christ. I’ll get over my frustration; I can’t get over being a follower of Jesus.

Dave Nichols

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Everything Changes

I have been away from this blog for a few weeks. Like anything else, one sometimes needs a break from writing if you’re doing it regularly. I hope to be back at it for now. My mind is on September 11 which will be next Sunday. There will be prayer meetings and commemorations, etc. Bethel will hold a prayer time 4-6pm on September 11. It will be a time to pray for our city, state, nation and world leaders.

I remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11. I was sitting in front of the television putting on my shoes to go to the office when the first plane hit. Cameras showed it sticking in the side of the World Trade Center, smoke billowing from it. Mary said: “What an accident…” I said: “Do you think that’s an accident.” I just had the feeling that something was not right about a huge plane like that hitting a building accidentally.

None of us could have conceived of such an attack before. Then, to watch over and over on replay the falling of the twin towers. For days and weeks, we were glued to the television as we watched the results of the attack. Debris, dirt, bodies flying through the air, and reporters were on screen. We could see it with our eyes but we didn’t want to believe it was real. An Israeli woman was heard to say: “Not in Disneyland…” This couldn’t happen in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Many stories followed about the heroic efforts of first responders and others who saved lives and gave themselves to whatever was needed. President Bush’s face changed. Remember he was reading to a kindergarten class of children when an aide whispered in his ear. You could see his face visibly change. That was ten years ago.

So much has been said about what we learned from it and how it changed things for us. And, it seems that since that day things have been hurtling out of control. We have been involved in a war, several wars, and we have seen the American economy/world economy tumbling down.

It’s hard to say really what the impact of September 11 is. It’s one of those events that will keep us thinking for a long time.

One of the big changes that we have seen is in our thinking about security. We are still living in probably the safest and most secure country in the world. But, September 11 made us think. No place in this world is totally safe and secure. We are doing, I believe, all that we can to keep our citizens safe from another such attack. But, even security people know that nothing can keep us 100% secure.

So, as people of faith, we ask: “Where is our security?” Money? Towers of pride? The Past? We know as people of faith that our only true security is in God. Everybody dies someday. And, although we are living longer, one day we will all lie down in death. Security comes to all who have faith in God in Jesus Christ. Ultimately we know that living or dead we belong to God. Scripture is forever telling us to be ready. You do not know the day or the hour; so, be ready. Put your faith and trust in the only One who is truly God.

As Christians, we know that times change. We know that sometimes evil wins; but we know that God rules. And, in God’s good time, all evil will be uprooted. If you’re on the right side, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Be thankful for each day that God gives you and do your best to love and live out the faith that God has given us freely in Jesus Christ.

Dave Nichols

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