And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves

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“Hi Pastor Obermeyer. Would you like to unwrap these statements of yours a bit, which you gave in answer to my questions?  Here, Preacher; the floor, or rather, the pulpit is yours! If you wish to take it—go!”

“Okay, rolling up my sleeves, lol.”

 

Rachael:   What most breaks your heart? What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today? 

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:   The condition of the church these days, which gets so caught up  with the world and then wonders why it isn’t being effective. Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.

Image-2What I mean is that I see many worldly philosophies and practices actively being taught in the church by ignorant and immature Christians. Spiritual immaturity is rampant, as is Biblical illiteracy. I hear more people offering their logic and opinions than actual Scripture verses. I hear Christians talk about “centering,” themselves, not realizing they are really talking about centering their “chi,” or life energy, which is a complete Eastern thought about how our life energy vibrates out of balance and needs to be re-centered.

Even yoga is designed for this, each position centering and balancing a different part of the chi; and yet we find “Christian yoga,” which is kind of a contradiction in terms, being led in some churches. I hear Christians talk about karma—good and bad karma and how karma is going to, “get that person.” This is horrible. Karma is not the same thing as the Biblical teaching of reaping what you sow despite its popular use even among Christians. Karma is a cosmic force, energy, or presence generated by the sum of a person’s actions, good and bad, which affects the nature of a person’s existence and determines their destiny or fate through transmigration into their next incarnation. That’s a mouthful, but it’s even more than that. It’s also one of the three margas, or paths to Brahman or salvation taught in Hinduism, being the path through works.

All of this comes from paganism and mythology and is completely contrary to Scripture, which teaches against reincarnation and salvation by works. It also puts our trust for justice and vengeance in something besides a merciful God and bypasses mercy altogether. Sadly, so many people today think they get into Heaven by doing enough good things to outweigh the bad, which is why many people struggle with the security of their own salvation in Christ.

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10 (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

Karma completely undermines the finished work of Christ on the cross and the hope we have in Him. It puts all the responsibility on us and our own abilities to save ourselves, which is an impossible task. And it isn’t enough just to say you don’t use the word, karma, that way but mean something else, like good or bad luck, (also pagan). The Bible is clear that it is what it is regardless of how you use it (c.f 1 Corinthians 10:19-21).  And if that isn’t clear enough, Paul specifically writes that we are to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The Bible is replete with passages, (Old and New Testament), telling God’s people not to be like the pagans and not to do what they do, especially in dance, worship, and lifestyle. We are to be different, set apart, holy. That’s something I think a lot of Christians overlook but really should investigate. Both Paul and Christ warn even further against causing others to stumble in their faith by one’s own misleading actions. 

People offer their thoughts and positive energy along with their prayers; again Eastern thought. And they confuse Eastern and New Age meditation, (emptying your mind and thoughts), with Biblical meditation, (filling your mind and thoughts with Scripture and Godly reflection). Christ warns that an empty “house” is vulnerable to being filled with demons, (Matthew 12:44-45). We think if we call it, “mindfulness,” then it’s not the same thing as Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age thought; whatever you want to call it, it isn’t Biblical.

I see churches and pastors getting distracted and becoming more concerned about looks and feels and making sure people are entertained rather than about teaching solid truth and deep faith. We sure get fired up about political and social issues, and we’ve got to look fly in front of people to keep up with the world, while the meat of God’s Word for daily living, spiritual growth, furthering of God’s Kingdom, and changing that world can just take a backseat—as if we don’t truly believe in it’s Power. I hear more motivational speaking than preaching, and those are not the same thing. Sadly, the church is sick and is presenting a shallow Gospel, and then we wonder why so many people, especially young people, question and abandon their faith. They’ve been given a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9) with no saving power. Their need isn’t satisfied. Their faith doesn’t take root because their faith hasn’t been placed in the true Solid Rock of Christ, but sinking sand.

Rachael:   If you could tell the Church anything, what would it be? What’s on your heart?

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:   So many have unteachable spirit attitudes. I want to remind people about holiness that seems to be so lacking today. Continue reading “And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves”

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Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?

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What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?

This comes at the expense of a broken heart. —Pastor Pablo Catala

Physical and emotional stress; personal time and freedom; often any sense of security because things change so much in your life; and struggles with self-worth as you are constantly being evaluated, of which you mostly only hear about your shortcomings. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

As a missionary it has cost convenience, comfort, seeing family… but the promised reward of souls far outweigh the costs. —Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal

What is the hardest part of pastoring?                            

Seeing what people need to do and watching them not do it, no matter how I present it or how I word it, no matter how much time I spent with them and then having to hear the lament of,“Pastor, you were right,” which does not comfort me as I’m seeing the carnage of their bad  decisions. —Anonymous Pastor

Expecting to be loved, understood, maybe even appreciated? They have no idea how needy we are. —Anonymous Pastor’s Wife

Sometimes your own children reject everything you’ve lived for and still you must keep going.  —Anonymous

Realizing how much you don’t know, and feeling like you never do enough, aren’t good enough, or that you might misspeak something heretical. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

What is your biggest challenge and most unexpected hardship in pastoring?

I guess my passion for the church gets me in trouble.  —Janet Foley

Making sure that in the midst of building God’s church I don’t lose my marriage or children to the devil’s lies. Stretching time and making sure none of the 3 most important elements of your life are not cheated: God/ family/ work. —Pastor Pablo Catala Continue reading “Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?”

From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_From_Dope-Dealer_to_Hope_DealerI recently had the privilege of being on an outreach team to help Pastor Pablo and Nicole Catala’s pioneer church in Bridgeport CT. I was struck by how laid down, how wide open and vulnerable their hearts and lives were for God and the people of their city. I watched them love people with the love of God. I watched the ease with which they outreached, their children alongside them—truly a team, like a machine in sync. I took note of their home. Everywhere I turned there were photographs of their family and decor that shouted in unison about God and family. I learned their story later and asked them to share it. Here it is.

The  Catala Story

IMG-4281Nicole Catala: One night my husband and I were fighting and basically done with our marriage. We both never had an example. We were only 6 months married and wanted to go for a divorce! That night my husband packed his clothes and left the house. The very next day I got a flyer from someone that there was going to be a healing crusade right across the street in Poe Park, put on by Victory Chapel in the Bronx, NY. As I was looking at the state of my life I knew I needed a miracle. I didn’t want my life to be just like the life of my family: Divorced, having multiple children from different men. I decided to go to the first night of the healing crusade. I was in a state of depression at only 18 years old and felt there was no hope for me and my eight month old son. Continue reading “From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer”

If My People… New England Night of Prayer ~Pt. 1 of a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives in Honor of Pastor Appreciation Month 2018

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Pastor Winslow, I interviewed you and your wife, Suzanne, as part of my series of interviews with Pastors and Pastor’s Wives for  Pastor Appreciation Month two years ago.You were missionaries to Mexico for 27 years and pioneered and planted churches there. Can you please bring us up to date on the church in Mexico what you’re doing currently?

Continue reading “If My People… New England Night of Prayer ~Pt. 1 of a Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives in Honor of Pastor Appreciation Month 2018”

I Hate Commitment, (or is it Failure I Fear)

I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failing to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting Jeff Goins’s 30 day #My500Words writing challenge for the month of January, because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid being a failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.

The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have  reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion

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You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.

In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. But there is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.

So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. If I stay in my comfort zone I don’t need faith. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, or don’t need a miracle, or if I can do it in my own strength, or have all the answers up front. I like the sure thing, the guarantee. But if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I will miss the chance to see God work with me, through me and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.

I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s so hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up already. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.

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Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.

Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling.

Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others.

Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.

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When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.

If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

And all that really matters is the will of God.

I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.

Pray. Persist. Prevail.

“I AM THAT I AM” beats “it is what it is” every time. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

We were made for Christ, to follow Him, to obey His Word and calling, to lean on His strength and grow in His grace.

He has called me to write for Him, and so, I write.

What about you?

Carrollton- Made for This

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

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