Worthwhile: March 1, 2019

Already March. Were you ready for that?! Things keep coming at us fast. Hopefully, you will get a chance to take a break and breathe in the rest of Christ this weekend.

A couple of items worth thinking through this week. Not a lot in the way of articles but some perspective from my roles as pastor and father.


First up is a tweet from Dan White Jr. A pastor and author with a forthcoming book on love. Dan tweeted a reflection from counseling that struck a chord on the Twittersphere, certainly with pastors.

Ghosting is essentially disappearing from someone’s life. You avoid them, you don’t communicate, not texts, calls or interaction on social media or more importantly, non-digital life.

I have been a pastor for nearly ten years and my experience is much the same. It is a strange vocation and since it is people-oriented role, meeting, becoming friends, and eventually losing people is normative. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

The hard bits are when it happens seemingly without cause. I get it if I was harsh or drove someone away, but even when you labor to care for someone and they vanish it can leave you broken.

I have even had people who have made a verbal commitment to commit and stand alongside me in ministry disappear over the years. My personality make-up doesn’t get as affected by it as some others but it is noticeable.

So maybe the take away is that we generally should try to avoid ghosting people, be open to deep relationships and allow our pastors to be among them.

And it goes both ways, sometimes pastors “ghost” people. As I was reminded by a young man who once served at my previous church. We shall call him “Marques.” Of course, he wasn’t ghosted since I stay in contact with him and even bought him burritos once when he visited San Diego! While moving away can feel like ghosting, hopefully, you have farewell parties to make the separation anything but a surprise!


Next up, and more importantly, is anxiety. And specifically anxiety in our kids. We have dealt with this in our home and are always on the search for solutions and ways of avoiding it. I am looking forward to some forthcoming work by Jessica Thompson to apply the gospel to kids and anxiety. It is everywhere and as a PTA member, I talk to parents about it all the time.

This article from John Thornton in January on Vox was super helpful to me. And the big takeaway is that kids carry their parents’ economic stress. From the burden of planning their futures so young and living with parents struggling to pay off debt and thrive in this economy can be too much.

I know first hand this is real, when my oldest daughter was in second grade she submitted a report at school that one of the things she feared was “taxes.” Clearly, she got that from me complaining about money and fearing taxes myself (which I am reminded I need to work on!)

Hear what Thornton has to say. Love your kids. Free them from some of these burdens. And live.

Anxiety and the Christian

“Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my
anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead
me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 You know the feeling,
as kids we called it butterflies. As adults we ignore it or avoid
situations that create it by all costs. It is anxiety. Perhaps the
clinical word makes it sound like something for those diagnosed…
It can be the adrenaline rush right before you jump out of a plane,
or the shaky hand you get before speaking to large groups of
people, or (the long forgotten) feeling of introducing yourself on
a first date. We have all had anxious moments of life and feelings,
but how as Christians should we live in light of anxiety? Maybe the
question is better asked, how should we live in light of Christ?
Brennan Manning suggests that “the troubled eyes and furrowed brow
of the anxious believer are symptoms of a heart where trust has not
found a home.” Has trust found a home in us – are we embracing the
call to peace and assurance in Christ? This is challenging me
today. It is no secret that I am an extrovert and fairly boisterous
but sometimes I am anxious – how will bills be paid – what will
people think of my presentation – will I fail… the truth (that
which Manning suggests needs to find a home in my heart) is that I
am a failure outside of Christ. Without the empowerment of the Holy
Spirit I am nothing more than a bag of words and chuckles. When we
are faced with that anxious feeling I think we need the immediate
reminder that our life is no longer our own, we have new life in
Christ thanks to his sacrifice on the cross. We no longer live by
standards that lend themselves to anxiety. We live by a standard of
peace and victory. Colossians 3:15 clearly instructs us to “let the
peace of Christ rule your hearts.” I am determining to do just
that. Next time we face that anxious feeling, those distracting
thoughts, let us be drenched in the peace of Christ and peace that
comes as our trust in him finds a home in our hearts.