Suffering Well

I met a worship pastor one time that couldn’t sing. No joke. His name is Bob Sorge and he was serving as a worship pastor when he had to go have a medical procedure done. The surgeon accidently clipped his vocal cords and now he can’t sing; he can only whisper for one hour a day. After this tragedy, Bob asked God what He wanted him to do with the rest of his life. God said, “Be a worship pastor!” Bob replied, “Uh, I can’t sing anymore. We have to do something different, Lord.” To which God said, “I didn’t make a mistake when I made you a worship pastor. I also knew the difficulties you would walk through. Go be a worship pastor.” Bob went on to write many books on worship, raise up worship leaders and he “whispers” (speaks) at worship conferences. I have had the privilege of meeting him and hosting him at our church. He is a hero in the faith.

Recently, a couple of my staff and I had an opportunity to go to a conference. We enjoyed worshipping together, which was led by Bethel Church’s worship team. We were inspired by the main speakers, which included Lisa Bevere, Jimmy Evans & Choco De Jesus. But, one of the highlights for me was a breakout session one morning that was being taught by a guy I had never heard of. His name was Joel Sorge.

Joel was teaching a class on developing an environment that cultivates creativity. While that title intrigued me, I was more interested in his last name…Sorge. I kept wondering if this guy was related somehow to my hero, Bob. Joel taught for about 45 minutes of his hour-long class and then he got personal, real personal. He started talking about all the failure and disappoint that he and his wife had went through. He had everyone’s attention. And then he said something I will never forget. He said, “I have been through all this hurt and pain, but thank God, my father Bob taught us kids how to SUFFER WELL. He taught us to always complain vertically, not horizontally. You see when you complain about God to other people, it is sin. When you complain about God to God, it is worship. Read the Psalms.” Wow. When we complain about God to God, it is worship. What a statement. What a treasure. I don’t like to fail and I don’t like to suffer. But, if I have to go through it, I want to SUFFER WELL. Thank you Bob for teaching your kids this lesson. Thank you Joel for learning it! My life is enriched because of the pain you both have endured. For more on this subject go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekYgDb1fQ2E

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The Art of Awareness

Ever deeply admire a trait in people that most others overlook? I deeply appreciate and admire awareness. I respect it when people are conscious of others around them and what they are doing. Likewise, I am absolutely astounded at the lack of awareness that some people demonstrate.

Recently, Tina and I were travelling out of state and were at a local grocery store. When we pulled in the parking lot, we noticed a young lad that worked for the store, collecting about 5 grocery carts. As he was wheeling them in through the front doors of the store, he suddenly stopped right in the middle of the doorway. The couple in front of us pulled up abruptly and so did we. I looked around the logjam to see what was holding him up. There was nothing and no one in the grocery cart holding area. He was apparently daydreaming. I said, “Excuse me”, to which he responded, “Oh, sorry” as he promptly moved to the side (but left the 5 carts in the doorway) and added, “let me get out of everyone’s way”. I laughingly told Tina that I was sure somewhere in the training manual it said to never physically block customers from getting into the store.

Now, this incident wasn’t a big deal and it literally inconvenienced us for a grand total of 3 seconds. But, it was the genesis for this blog because it was a glaring example of someone so self-absorbed that he lost all awareness of the others around him, not to mention his job.

One of the things I regularly say to our staff is, “You can’t fix the problem you can’t see”. If there is a perpetual problem happening in their specific ministry, the first thing I ask is; can they see it? I surmise if it happens repetitively, they cannot. And, if they can’t see the problem, they can’t fix it.

When preparing a team to go on an international ministry trip I stress the importance of cultural awareness. One of the easiest ways to honor the culture of the places we visit is it to pay attention to the way they do things, and then do it like they do. If they sit on the floor when they eat their food, then we sit on the floor while we eat our food. If they eat the bones, we eat the bones. If they kick their shoes off before entering the house, then we do the same.

Being aware of other people allows us the opportunity to anticipate their needs and to serve them. Recognizing their unique way of doing things allows us the opportunity to honor them by trying it ourselves. For more on this subject, go to https://www.newcovenantchurch.com/sermons/2018/4/23/the-names-god-calls-me

 

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