1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us to be thankful in ALL things.
In the last few years of my life, I have come to realized my attitude can be less than impressive sometimes. I don't like that fact, but it's true. I think it's most true when something doesn't go the way I thought it would or should. My mom use to call this "bent out of shape".
I have learned that you can't have a bad attitude and be thankful as the same time. It's a choice we all have to make and Paul reminds us to be thankful for all things. I heard a pastor proclaim, "All means all and that's All all means". It's very true, we can be thankful for things that go the way we think, but when something goes sideways, how do we usually respond?
One personal example in my life is my moms struggle with dementia. For about 7 years now my sisters and I have watched my moms cognitive health decline, while her physical health is extremely good for a lady of her age. We have watched her go from struggling with names, to a point that she doesn't know we are anymore. She has said to me on many occasions in the past few months, "Am I suppose to love you"? I will say yes mom, and she responds "I thought so"!!!!
How can you be thankful for things like this, because this falls into the "ALL" category. It's not easy, but it's something we must learn to do. I have had good and bad days when trying to figure out my gratitude for my moms disease. For me, I have come to realize that God is in control and as a follower of Christ, I have to trust Him fully. He knows me best! I have sad days still, but in those moments I just ask the Lord to remind me of the things about my mom that I am grateful for, and you know what happens? My attitude changes.
I am thankful my mom is still around, that I can hold her hand, I am thankful that I can still spend time with her and laugh together. I am also thankful that she knows the lyrics to most gospel hymn I play and we can still SING together. I choose to be thankful, and in that choosing, God does a work on my heart and mind to change me!
One of the greatest questions I was asked when I stepped in as Georgia Baptist Mission Board Catalyst for Worship and Music, "Are there things that every worship and music ministry in Georgia have in common"? As I pondered this, I believe the Lord helped me with 6 things. I affectionally call them "6 Magnets for every Worship and Music ministry".
The first one is "Mind of Christ". I was sitting in a leadership meeting today and realized that real leadership starts with character. I began to think about things that build character and I quickly went to Romans 5:3-4
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation."
We as leaders need to develop the mind of Christ and always filter our lives and our ministry through the Word of God. We need to strive to be spiritual leaders because spiritual leaders always teach what they know to others. It is very important that we consistently work on our personal spiritual disciplines and that we help our worship and music teams do the same. Spiritual disciplines help us become more like Christ in all we do. I have learned that people do not drift closer to Jesus. It's hard work to stay close to the Lord. We have to find time to read the Word, pray, journal, meditate, memorize, and find times for personal worship.
I believe it's important to have the mind of Christ as ministry leaders and I know it helps us minister better. I also think our teams benefit from learning to have the "Mind of Christ" as well. What I love about these magnets is not matter the size, style or structure of your ministry, they fit.
You will find a one page below I have created to help you and your ministry as you develop the "Mind of Christ" for worship and music ministry.
One of my personal goals this year of 2022, has been to become an early riser. I have always been what one would call a night owl and a morning person, but after reading some leadership books, I decided I wanted to create a better morning routine for me.
I have a daily alarm that goes off at 5:15, and as a joke, and a trigger to get me going, I usually shout, "Feet on the Floor, Look out the Door" as I get out of bed and look outside. It's just a personal trigger to help me get up and going.
With our move to North Georgia, and purchasing a home with a screened back porch, this has become my morning oasis. I grab a cup of coffee and my iPad (yes I am fully digital in my bible reading and journaling). I may do a post about my process soon.
I find my place in the chair on the back porch and sit in the dark just listening and enjoying the surroundings that can only be detected with your ears. One amazing thing is my porch faces the East and so as I sit, I begin to see a small sparkle of light begin to come through the trees. As I sit, think, read, and pray the light becomes more pronounced as time goes by until finally I actually see the sun come up through the trees.
As I ponder, the thought of being the light to the world reminds me that light permeates darkness and darkness cannot keep it out. I want my life to matter and the best way that can happen is to shine the light of Jesus in all that I do. People today need the light of the world given to them, because, they trample through darkness in their personal lives each day.
A smile or a "have a great day' can shed light into the darkest places in someone's life if we will just remember to do it.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5
I am the Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church, Statesboro Georgia.