The Virtual Vicar

pastor burnoutGod has been into multi-site church gatherings from the very beginning. It is nothing new. He has been the only omnipresent entity from the very beginning. It likely never occurred to him that one man was so good that he needed to be present in more than one meeting at a time.

And why would God think otherwise?

He can raise anthems of praise from a pile of rocks. All creation declares the Glory of God.

If need be he can write messages on the walls (Divine graffiti). He can inscribe commandments on stone tablets. He can communicate through speechless jackasses when we don’t have the inclination to hear what he has already tried to say in a thousand other ways. He chooses the weak to shame the strong and the foolish to confound the wise. So it’s really no big deal in terms of personal importance to stand in front of a group of people and declare a message. It can be the greatest message in the world and utterly lifeless if it is our message. It can be the feeblest of attempts on our part and dynamite if it is actually God speaking.

But we think it is our innovation … our creativity, our indispensability and our good intentions that legitimizes the virtual vicar.

“Be Thou my Vision O Lord of my heart …
Thou my best thought by day or by night … “

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with multi-site gatherings … as far as I know. But there is something sad if we worry more about the digital dissemination of one pastor than the manifest Presence of our One and only Omnipresent God.

He is building his Church which cannot possibly gather in one location on planet earth. You’ll be relieved to know that it is on His shoulders not yours or mine.

Beautiful Weekend

This was a typically beautiful weekend on Grand Manan Island.  I am blessed to have nothing to escape from so our visits are not meeting some need or relieving pressure or anxiety.  They are simply an opportunity to get away together and to connect with wonderful friend and family. Last evening we enjoyed some “providential” pizza with Jeff and Marcia Benson.  We spent a few hours sharing spiritual stories.  For us, this was Church at it’s finest.

I also watched David Wilkerson preach a sermon on the true Church of Jesus Christ.  I am including the video in this post.  If you are at a place in your life where you believe that there has to be more than gathering on a Sunday to sing songs, listen to a message and give an offering, then this video will challenge you, I believe.  It is a 48-minute watch and well worth the time.

 

Truthiness

Half Truth

I tease my wife whenever she puts the extension, “ish” on the end of a word.  Most often this refers to colors.  Men speak in a very basic way, of color.  If it is blue, it is blue, not “bluish” or ocean blue or any close or distant cousin.  We are also skeptical of any color that requires more than one word to describe.

Actually, I am so grateful to God for my wife for she brings such depth and richness to my life.  Our home has an ambience which is beyond my ability to create.  Everything in our home has more than a color descriptor.  It bears her heart and soul.

This sermon was preached in January of 2010, just a month before I resigned.  I was sensing such a mighty stirring in my life that I could not be complacent in any area of my life.  I felt that I was unnecessarily clawing and digging to find a spiritual breath of life that would fill the sails of our church as God was filling my own sails.  It seemed that what we all ought to have longed for was a threat to those who were happy with the status quo.  These were absolutely wonderful folks but we were on different pages … no different chapters.

This was one of those messages in which I found myself preaching my way out of the pastoral vocation.

This Week

CLC Church banner fixed-smallerI am preaching this coming Sunday at Community Life Church on Grand Manan Island.  The first time I preached here, I was 16 years old.  It was most likely a Wednesday evening in my Grade 12 year.  God was stirring the hearts of a very large number of teenagers at the time.  I never had any idea of how to put a sermon together … it just seemed to fall to me to be the preacher for a group of 70 or 80 teens who used to meet weekly at some church or sand beach on the island.  There were no “real” preachers involved.  It was a grass roots kind of thing that had a life of its own … actually God was breathing life into the whole thing.  These days shaped my ideas of what it meant to be a follower of Christ.

This was one of two times in my life that I have been caught up in what God was doing.  The other was a period of 5 years in Jamestown NY, serving a beautiful church and a godly senior pastor.  Once again, I didn’t have a sweet clue what to do and that didn’t seem to matter to God.  As I think of it though, we may be poised more for a movement of God when we simply listen to His voice and respond.  When we feel that we know what to do to make things happen, they seem to fall flat or fizz out quickly.  Then we pat ourselves on the back and comment about what a good time or thing it was that we accomplished.  I’ve done that too and truthfully it was never as good as we imagined.

I long to be once more in the midst of a movement of God that is so much of Him that no one could make a “How To” seminar out of it.  If Acts 2 occurred today, you’d be able to purchase a DVD and workbooks within a month so that you could reproduce it in your own church.  There is nothing more hollow that trying to make something out of spiritual memories.  I don’t want to go back to either of these watershed moments in my own life.  There is something ahead in the valleys and on the mountaintops that will make the past look like child’s play.

This Sunday, Lord willing, I will have a chance to stand in the place of a very good pastor and speak to people who are hungry for another fresh wind of the Spirit to blow … a spiritual Nor’easter maybe.  That’s what I am hoping for.

Update on My Work

compass plusCurrently I have several irons in the fire in terms of every day work life.  I am employed half time with Dr. Bill Morrison through HERG, (Health Education Research Group) at UNB.  My primary involvement at the moment is videography.  I am working half time as well with the Marcel LeBrun foundation.  In addition, I am doing some website maintenance with a local company and designing and developing websites, eBooks and online magazines through my own company, iKE Mediology.

I am grateful to Bill for allowing me to develop some marketable skills following my exodus from vocational ministry.  This has been an incredible gift.  The other folks that I reference are also marketplace followers of Christ who live their relationship tangibly 24/7.

I was privileged last evening to participate in a memorial service at RCMP “J” Division HQ, for Cpl. Ron Francis.  I have been the Chaplain Coordinator for “J” Division since 2004.  This is truly a culture of honor.  Kudos to Assistant Commander Roger Brown and team for their stellar leadership.

As well, I continue to work in various ways with organicnazarene.net in church planting.  Things never move as quickly as we would like to see.  In these times, the temptation is to try to force a happening.  I have committed to follow His leadership.  At opportune times, doors of opportunity open and we move forward.  My belief is that He is the church builder.  My life, my gifts and skills only hold value in His hands.

I preach and minister wherever and whenever possible.  If there is anyway that I can be of assistance, contact me through the “Contact Us” page.

Blessings,

Karl & Elaine

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