Page 4 - 2015 October Newsletter
P. 4

Pastor’s Notes • Pastor Tim Dodson

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN...

    All of us at times pass through difficult spiritual times, for it  too. Our families and friends...our spouses and kids. But by
 honestly is the "ebb-and-flow" of life. And the reality of            then, we don't care, because we are completely lost in the
 such...according to even the Word of God, is that those times         fantasy land of "self."
 help to define us as we are tested and stretched beyond our
 worldly comfort realm. It is simply part of the maturing process.       And the sad point of all of this...the "most saddest" (sic) of
 Without the difficult times we would tend to never leave our          it all, is that so very often when and if we get out of such a
 comfort zones and spiritually we would remain on our                  dark place, we are so enthralled with having done so, we
 proverbial couch playing video games all our lives while living in    rarely look back and question the validity and value of the
 our parent’s basement. And yet the trick in passing through           journey. We are just happy to get out of there! Who cares
 such times of trial and testing is actually finding and defining the  what it was all about! But sadly, because we fail to evaluate,
 benefit that God intended the experience to produce in us. It is      the safe bet is on you going back there again someday. And
 the only way to ever see such events as a blessing and a good.        again. And again. And the result of repeated trips of such
                                                                       toxicity is that one day, we don't make it out. We do not live
    One of the benefits of having ministered for better than two       to "fight another day."
 decades here is that I have been in a position to observe
 "patterns" of individual life journeys. Some truthfully are so          This is where the fellowship community comes into play.
 often repeated that they are                                          (Whether we like it or not!) It is so very essential that we
 essentially four lane paved freeways
 to handle the volume of traffic.                                                                      actually learn. If not, we are
 Again, while such times of testing are                                                                doomed to repeat the class over
 part of the universal experience, the                                                                 and over. This would not appear
 fact is, the "outcome" or the "result"                                                                on the surface to be a big issue in
 of the journey varies tremendously                                                                    "spiritual land", but the fact is, so
 from person to person.                                                                                many of us are stuck in 3rd grade
                                                                                                       having to get it all explained to us
    In ministry we speak of the                                                                        again and again! We never
 personal quest which we refer to as                                                                   graduate and move on. We just
 "another trip around the mountain."                                                                   "go around the mountain one
 It's used like this: "that guy has done                                                               more time."
 this several times, but it looks like he
 is going to yet take another trip                                                                                As we pass through these
 around the mountain." Meaning, what was experienced in the                                            times of testing and trial, it is
 event...the trial and test, had no enduring effect...the lesson                                       imperative that we stop...look
 wasn't learned....the exercise wasn't assimilated. And for so         back...and evaluate! We must ask ourselves "what the heck
 many of us, we then are relegated to "going around the                was all that about?" And we must vow to not let it go until
 mountain" again...through the same test again.                        we figure it out. We must allow our brothers and sisters to
                                                                       speak into our lives always, but it is especially critical at this
    One thing we must acknowledge is that the grace of a loving        juncture. For our very spiritual and perhaps eternal lives hang
 God provides for us...in fact affectively demands in us, that we      in the balance! When we refuse to hear those around us, we
 do not bask in self pity and spend our time in a fetal position in    are 'going down' for sure. Lives go into a tailspin in slow
 a corner someplace. For that is most often simply a poor and          motion and everybody starts jumping for cover in the
 childlike excuse to not get up and move on. God loves us. God         ensuing chaos. What we do at the "end of tunnel" is crucial
 gives us grace. God forgives, and yes, God forgives again. So         to growing up and being a viable 'adult" servant of and for
 that much must be a throw down. No excuses! And in light of           Christ.
 that, we must stop at the 'end of the tunnel' and ask, "What did        When we are in such places, we must have a plan. What
 I learn?" How do I interpret this? What do I see here and now?        are we going to now do to make sure that I never find myself
 What was I meant to have learned? And finally and so very             in this place again? There should be follow-up. Review.
 important: "how can I make sure I do not come back here               Revisited conversations. Doing so can be, however,
 again?"                                                               uncomfortable. But you know what? Not nearly as
                                                                       uncomfortable as the public fiasco that is coming for those
    See, this is the trip that I see so often: Through whatever        who keep going around and around that mountain over and
 cause and effect, I find myself in a spiritual funk. I'm in a dark    over again!
 place and certainly self absorbed and feeling sorry for myself. I       How did I get here? What was the catalyst? What was the
 herein run the gambit of emotions. Anger, bitterness,                 conditions of the road? How did I perpetuate the situation
 selfishness, self-righteousness, self-justification, self -pity, and  and escalate it from a bump in the road to careening out-of-
 isolationism. All of course having the great common                   control accident? What am I going to do to make sure I never
 denominator of "self." And then what then ensues is of course         ever come back here again? These are absolutely mandatory
4another "self-ism:" 'self-destructive behavior.' But we know that     in an adult spiritual walk. If you refuse such, then I guess "I'll
 never is any such act truly unto myself alone! No, no...our           see you when you come back around the mountain."
 "scorched earth policies" are certain to burn those closest to us     Maybe.
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