The Pastor Challenge

The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To Mercy or not to Mercy, That is the Question

Rev. Matt Harrison, Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, has started a blog. Check it for good quotes and stories of relief that is being done around the world. Matt is a big proponent of the role of showing mercy in the pastoral office. I do not disagree.

However, I have found it is not as simple as that. For the line of those who would take advantage of mercy is long and filled with all sorts of people. How does a pastor decide who to help with the limited resources we have? Are some needs greater than others? More important? Is it first come, first served, and when the money runs out, that's it? How do we know when a shyster is asking for what he does not really need? I wrestle with these questions a lot. I want to help folks who ask for help, but I find myself growing more cynical - especially when I am taken advantage of. Often times when I help one person, word spreads quickly and I get a bunch of phone calls at once, making me suspicious whether these folks really need help or not.

It happened again last week. I believed someone who said they needed help, but I have come to the conclusion that I was suckered. Do I stop helping people? No, I cannot do that. Am I angry? Probably a little. Those funds could have helped someone who really needed help. But I find myself praying that this person - though I believe he was dishonest with me - needed this money and that God will use this for good somehow.

But you know, we do it too, don't we? We take the good and gracious gifts of God and abuse them. We often ask for what we do not really need. We don't deprive others, for God's resources are unlimited, but I should not be so quick to condemn what I see also in myself. And so I'll work at that plank in my own eye, pray for mercy for them, and for forgiveness for myself. And I'll keep helping folks, for we have been so richly blessed . . . and I know will be in the future.