Gooooood morning friends! How was your weekend? I hope it was happy :) today we continue our time in studying Judges and learning more about the judges and their triumphant battles. They are very engaging stories! Let's jump in together.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
What does this teach me about the relationship between the two?
How does this scripture help me or guide me?
Would Jesus say amen to this?
- My Thoughts -
I really like the story of Gideon, I find it to be one of the more engaging and fun scriptures to read. The characters feel relatable and war stories are written with strong detail. I got a cute little laugh out of myself when Gideon's army was reduced down to 300. I was waiting for a moment when he would spartan kick a enemy king and yell out. "THIS. IS. ISRAEL." But alas, it never came. Shame. Jokes aside, it is actually this part of the text that stood out to me.
I've probably told this story before to some of you but it's a story in leadership that has stuck with me. When Pastor Mike Slaughter was appointed to Gingansburg Methodist in Dayton the church was slowly dying with about 100 in attendance down from the previous 200 or so a decade or so ago. (sound familiar?) He was essentially tasked with keeping the status quo and helping them figure out the next stage of their church. Instead, he looked at the churches vision and mission statement which basically was "we welcome all" (sound familiar to literally every other church? lol) and said: "That's too vague - we need a specific vision that we will do really well." So Mike made his church focus on two things and two things only - Christian Education and International Missions. Everything else that didn't actively fund those two things was cut from the budget and from the churches work. Within a year the church was down to 40 people. Mike was a failure, yes?
No, a year later Mike explained to the church that he would rather have 40 on fire passionate people about the vision of the church than 100 complacent people just looking for a Sunday message. What happens when a visitor comes to a church of 40 on fire people? They get on fire too! The excitement is palpable. Within a year the church had 400 people and by the time pastor Mike retired from the church the average worship was about 6000 a week and over 10 million dollars donated to worldwide missions.
Pastor Mike took a church that was on it's way to hospice and gave it a new life by narrowing down to the passionate people while gracefully saying goodbye to those that needed to go elsewhere. For our own church I wonder if something like this could be a wise? Should we trim the fat to restoke the flames of the Spirit? Not my call to make but certainly a prayer to consider. In your own life, are there things that you could get rid of from your schedule or social circles that would free you up to discover your own passions and will of God?
Prayer - Lyrics from the song "Soul on Fire"
God, I'm running for Your heart
I'm running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I'm longing for Your ways
I'm waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire
Help me to be a soul on fire. Amen.