Leadership, That'll Preach Sayings

The Pain That Change

17 Nov , 2016  

Over the last 12 years in ministry, I have faced the dreaded pain of life. The Pain of death, failure, betrayal, and lack.  This pain cuts deep but was a part of the process, that God has me on. Pain is a part of ministry and leadership. It’s a reality that must work its course. If you are drawing breath right now, you will go through some kind of pain.

It’s not easy to deal with but it is needed for the journey God wants to take us on. It teaches us wisdom, resiliency, faith, hope and to have tough skin. The necessity of pain is shaped by our experiences in life. Pain doesn’t just show up for no reason; it’s a sure sign that something needs to change.

We have all heard of the old saying that “what doesn’t kill us, only makes us stronger,” or “pain is gain” — both are true and Biblical. A.W. Tozer says it this way about pain and trials of life:

“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”

There was a man in the Bible who was all too familiar with pain, anguish, and the tears of life. This man found himself in a garden alone, after living a holy and blameless life, betrayed by a friend and tired. He spent that time in the garden crying and feeling the proverbial weight on his shoulders as he will soon carry the sins of mankind upon his back. Knowing fully well that his father for a brief moment would turn his back on him. He knew his impending death for a crime he did not commit was drawing near. This man, of course, is Jesus and this reality surrounds his death by crucifixion. But it lends us a first-hand experience into how to deal with pain.

Pain will either propel you to your destiny or cripple you in being stagnant…  the choice in how you respond is solely yours. Jesus could have decided that he wasn’t going to endure the cross (pain). He could have allowed his flesh and human nature to take over his deity. We know with any doubt that if this choice was made, he would have never reached his full earthly potential and destiny (earthly – to atone for sin as the perfect sacrifice, making us sons & daughters of God, the Father).

Practical Ways to Deal With Pain

  1. Identify what or who caused the Pain – was it a boss, parent, friend, an ex, health issues, a death, an accident, yourself?
  2. Seek to understand how you can grow from the Pain – will I grow as a leader, employee, spouse, OR has this happened so I can chase my dreams or fulfill my purpose?
  3. Honor the Pain (probably the hardest part) – can you see the good in the Pain and/or even thank the person or thing that cause the pain? This is for you, and not the other person.
  4. MOVE FORWARDsimply embrace the change and growth from the pain! Pray and rejoice in who God is shaping you to become.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 | That’s why we are not discouraged. No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are being renewed each and every day. This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory, far beyond any comparison, because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal.

1 Peter 4:12-13 | Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

2 Corinthians 7:8-11 | For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.  As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point, you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.

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This Jesus… That Messiah

12 Feb , 2013  

1-3 They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they’d been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that “THIS JESUS I’M INTRODUCING YOU TO IS THAT MESSIAH!” ~ Acts 17:1-3 MSG

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love this scripture. To me, these verses mark us as Christians and more specifically, the one’s who are pastors, church leaders and preachers of the Gospel. Here you have a man, a minister of the Gospel, the Apostle Paul who shows up to the Thessalonica community he visits frequently and begins to preach and teach the Biblical Scriptures that they knew. Spending 3 weeks at a time with them (speaking of a process), he taught them deeply about the Scriptures/Prophecies of a Messiah [savior king] dying and being raised to life in glory. The crescendo of the text comes to an emotional plea as Paul simply says, “This Jesus (who I’m teaching about) is that Messiah”

As I evaluate the current state of youth & young adults and talk with ministry friends all over the nation… I’m constantly finding myself praying for our generation of young leader that we are in dire need to simply give them JESUS. That in light of 2 Corinthians 4:5 we would preach nothing else but Jesus. The Jesus we preach is that Messiah… He simply is. He saves, he revives and he replenishes those who have been lost, dead and dry. That as pastors and preachers, we won’t sugar-coat the Gospel. That the scandalous Cross is preached and we fall nothing short of proclaiming Jesus as the one true Messiah. 

In the day and time we live in where we up at arms about the fizzled/flawed economy, a divided government & nation, and social justice being at an all time high… We still consider the message of Jesus. We must not fall short in preaching Jesus as the true living Messiah that vindicates his Bride as we advance the kingdom of God. The World is desperately looking for a savior and King… And his name is JESUS! We as Christians MUST show and introduce them in love to This Jesus… For he is That Messiah. 

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Intentional Relationship Ministry Goals – Guest Blog

5 Dec , 2012  

Intentional, relational, authentic ministry. I would like to think this is the goal for everyone and anyone in youth ministry. Students are the most accurate “B.S. Detectors” and can sniff out a fake from a mile away. One thing that has been on my heart lately is being real, genuine and intentional about relationships with students that I know well and students I just met. Whether is was the sleep over I had at my apartment for some of my small group guys who I know really well and love or the students I met for the first time at our 80′s Ice Skating Event, being intentional about the relationship I start and develop with them is key. What does it say?

  • I Care About You– In any case with a student, whether how well you know them, any step you take into getting to know them a little better than you already do, shows them that you care. It is really easy just to say hi during the service, but to ask them about themselves, how their relationship is with God and simply just have fun, shows how much they mean to you and that you care for them.
  • I’m Not Just Another Face– I am really bad with names. I mean, I’m awful with names. It’s embarrassing. Being intentional about remembering a new persons name will go further than you can even think of. Just the other day, another leader told me that a student who I met once before, who has not been to church in a month, said I remembered her name and it made her feel so welcome and loved that she had to tell a leader and was glad she was back. It then sparked a great conversation. Make their face known.
  • You’re Proud of Me? – I have been making a point to tell the students who are serving in our ministry to help me pull off our weekends that I am so thankful for what they do and that they contribute so much to the weekend and that I am proud. Never have I ever said that and have someone be upset or angry. Their face lights up. These can be a game changer knowing that you, their leader, are proud of what they are doing.
  • You’re a Nerd. Me Too. Let’s Be Friends– Sometimes to break the ice, you have to look stupid and make them laugh. Since laughing is one of my favorite things, I like to assume everyone else likes to as well. Sometimes you have to look dumb and not care what others think. This works for me at least. For example, I met a ton of new students at our last event. I showed all of them a new dance move I made up called “The Knowles” (a video will be made someday with this, I promise). I looked dumb, but I got the whole group of new students to do it as well and spread the word. 2 days later I got a Facebook message about how excited they were that they made a new friend by doing the dance move to a student, and a friendship started.

These are my own personal intentional relational goals that I am working on. If you have any personal goals as well, please share! We are all in this together.

Pastor Justin Knowles

PASTOR JUSTINKNOWLES + website | twitter
Justin is the Pastor of High School Ministry Small Groups at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He loves what he does. He loves to write. He loves tattoos. He loves his beautiful wife. He loves Jesus.

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