Do I Offend You?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve discovered in being a pastor is how easily I can offend people. Often this is over things that I am trying very hard to not offend people in, yet no matter what, I can’t seem to get it just right. I either pick a song they don’t like, they find out I have my ears pierced, or that I have tattoos, or that I often make jokes at my own expense, or that I play guitar. It seems there is no limit to the things people will find to get offended at. Despite what may seem like an attempt to offend people, I really try hard to not offend them except in one case-when they are offended because I am presenting the Gospel.

I read a very interesting blog today on Spurgeon versus the “Pretty-Boy Preachers” of today. So many pastors are too scared to offend anyone so they work hard to appear like everyone’s best friend. Spurgeon, however, was not worried about being anyone’s friend.

Spurgeon feared no man. Constrained only by the bounds of God’s Word, Spurgeon said what he liked,when he liked, how he liked. The problem with Spurgeon was not that men misunderstood his meaning. The problem was that men understood him completely. Spurgeon’s style was plain, direct, outspoken and urgent. Spurgeon wasn’t trying to be popular. He was trying to bring the ​truth​ to your soul.

Does your pastor do a better job of bringing the truth to your soul, or of being a nice guy? I pray that I never become a “pretty boy preacher” but continue to rely on Christ as my strength and witness. If you are offended, I hope it’s for the sake of the Gospel permeating deeper into your life.

Making the Best Use of Time

I’ve been reading ‘Spurgeon: A New Biography” by Arnold Dallimore the past few weeks and have been amazed by Spurgeon’s life and service. He was reading and understanding the Puritan’s by the age of 10, and took his first church at the age of 17, taking over a large church in London by the time he was 19. It’s difficult to not compare yourself to him as you’re reading it, but he was a uniquely gifted individual. One of the things that’s most amazed me about him is just how much he got done. He preached 10 times a week, edited 1 sermon a week, visited numerous people throughout the week, wrote 500 letters a week, taught Bible classes at a college he started, wrote and edited a magazine and somehow still had time to care for his wife. From reading what I have so far, I’m guessing he didn’t stick to a 4o hour work week. During this reading, a passage from Ephesians 5 was brought to mind that says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Here we are told to make the best use of the time. How does one go about doing that?

In college, during one of my many periods of self-discovery, I called my dad and asked him if I had wasted my time pouring so much of my time into basketball growing up, instead of reading the Bible and growing in my understanding of God. In a nutshell, he said no, and as I’ve been reading through the life of Spurgeon, I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I waste my time on still today, and if I need to focus more time reading the Bible and theology. Then I came across a little sentence in Spurgeon’s biography that said, “A smooth area had been prepare for lawn bowling-a game Spurgeon greatly enjoyed, especially since it had been the favorite pastime of the Puritans” (137). I decided that if Spurgeon can have his activities outside of theology that he enjoys, so can I! Yes, Christians should focus on learning more about God and growing into the image of His son, but God has also blessed us with so many things that we enjoy doing, and let’s continue to enjoy those things and finding enjoyment in the gifts God has given! So do I need to feel bad if I play some Wii for a bit, or play a game of basketball, or go to a movie with friends? Unless it’s consuming my life and superseding my time with God, I don’t think so! So yes, I am a Christian Hedonist, looking to enjoy God and the creation He has given me to enjoy.

What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.