Well, a ton happened this past week and I wasn’t able to get musings out last week, so I’ll try to keep this post just on some recent happenings. I hope this gives you some insight into how some decisions are made at CLF and why they’re made.
A deep bench:
First, I think it’s important to highlight an important thing that’s happened in our church over the last several years. We have a very deep “bench” of men who can preach God’s word to us. Bruce Wells, once again, delivered God’s word to us and he’s one of several men in our church who are ready to do that regularly. I cannot thank these men enough. This creates a sustained presence of biblical preachers in our Sunday gatherings and it’s really good for our church hear from others besides me. I’m very grateful for how the Lord has provided for us like this.
One of the hallmarks of serving CLF since its inception has been the elders care for me, as the senior pastor. That was evidenced this last week. But there’s more to this story than what many of you might think or what you’ve heard. This was not due to the coronavirus that is on every piece of social media. It is actually due to a long-standing (last 10-12 years) understanding of our elder board, that I submit all “outside” ministry opportunities to them and they reserve the right to pull the plug on anything. And this understanding is something that I requested several years ago because I have a tendency to over-do it, overcommit, and become inefficient where I need to be more efficient. In a sense, I realized years ago, that I’m not very good at correctly judging which ministry opportunities fit my gifts, schedule, and obligations, the best. Part of this is because I have FOMO (Fear of missing out) on what the Lord might be doing and some of this is because…I run my life like a racehorse (all sprint…then collapse). So, when I started seeing this pattern in my life, I asked the elders (and more importantly, my wife), to help me…So, that’s at the top of this decision. Our elders, along with my wife, and staff members, all have the freedom to speak into this type of ministry decision.
So, with that background, the elders met on March 1 to first express concerns about my trip to the Philippines. The original concerns were over the possibility of travel closures and they wanted to see how things panned out with the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus. Then on Tuesday, March 3, they asked for another face to face meeting in my office. At that meeting, they asked me several questions: 1) how was I feeling physically? Since I have been fighting a bad cold, had a fever earlier, this was the main concern. Plus, we have had a couple of sick kids at home, as well. 2) How did Jill feel about this trip? Jill had expressed early concerns about the trip (unrelated to Coronavirus) but had come to a point where she was trusting the Lord to lead the elder board. 3) were there any concerns among those I was going to the Philippines with? Lynn Baird is a pastor from LA and Dave Taylor pastors in Sydney, Australia. Both guys had zero concerns about this trip. 4) were there any concerns of those on the “ground” in the Philippines? The pastors in the Philippines that I know, had zero concerns as well. One pastor’s wife is a pediatrician and she was not alarmed either. 5) what regrets would I have if I couldn’t get back into the country if I was quarantined due to current physical illnesses? And to be honest, there would be some regrets, but I knew the church would be in great hands. My main concern would be not getting back to my family. With all of that, the elders expressed their concerns and their main reasonings for pulling the plug were: 1) my physical health, which hasn’t been great. 2) they were concerned that the media hype over the coronavirus could possibly cause governments and others to over-react and I would get stuck in Philippines with something much less than the virus. 3) with the rise of the virus on the West Coast, they were concerned that I could be detained overseas, if I was needed back in in Roseburg, to help pastor our church through a potential crisis. So, they voted to have me not go…and if you know me, it’s important that they make that decision because I have hard time thinking objectively through a decision like this.
While many of you have expressed much gratitude and happiness that I’m not going, I must say, I miss serving the brothers in the Philippines and it would’ve been nice to go to care for the growing number of churches. I’m hoping that I can go later this year, if the Lord allows. But I believe that other opportunities will arise.
Let me say one other thing about this…our elder board functions as a plurality, which means that all of us have equal say and equal vote. I am one of the elders and as the Senior Pastor, my vote doesn’t count any more than others. Also, I have an equal say with the other elders and vice-versa. Some folks recently asked me about this because they were curious who has authority over who and how all of this worked at CLF. And this is my reply: we’re all accountable to each other and to the church body. I’m as much as an elder as the other elders and they are as much of a pastor as I am.
Lambing at the Yorkies:
My daughter, Bethany, is a unique little lady. Over the course of the last couple of years, she’s wanted to develop her own lamb flock. Well, the time has finally come. Bethany had 2 ewes that were lambing recently and it was crazy exciting. The first one, Snowball, gave birth to 2 babies (a ram and a ewe) and both were healthy and are doing well. The second one, Chloe, had lots of trouble giving birth to her ram lamb and the baby died in the middle of the night…it was crazy (I wouldn’t know because I slept through it all)…but something amazing happened…we have a friend who’s given us bummer lambs in the past and that very night, he just happened to have a ewe who died while giving birth to 2 babies. So, Jill, Bethany and Abi ran over to his ranch (in the middle of the night), got the little lambs, brought them back and grafted them to Chloe (this means that the hope was that Chloe would take to the new babies, like they were hers)…and after a couple of days, it worked! So, now our girl, Bethany has 4 brand new babies and she’s learned a lot in the process. It’s been fun watching her work.
From the Cheap Seats:
I’ve got to admit, when I’ve left this section out recently, I was shocked by how many of you said that you missed it and you actually skip over the quotes section to get to this one. So, here’s some recent thoughts from my brain…
- Another baseball season has come upon me. We started full-squad practices this past week. Practicing at Legion Field (One Champion Field) this early is the season is unheard of but with the new turf, we can practice anytime and in any weather. It really is amazing. And so far…I love my group of guys. We have 20 guys out for baseball at UVC, which is about 50% of the young men population at the school:). First game is March 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Legion.
- Derby Day in the Premier League is supposed to be exciting…
- Is it really difficult to sign a contract for $33 million/year and $105 million GUARANTEED??!!?
- Having players mic’d up for MLB Spring Training games is amazing. However, I just don’t think it can fly during the regular season. These guys are competing at a level and pace that is much different than spring training and I don’t think managers will allow it.
Last Sunday’s Sermon:
Have a great week…