Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Grumpy Day and what I did about it...

I don't do most things well.  I can't really build anything.  I'm no good with visual art.  I have only a basic working knowledge of project management.  I'm not particularly well organized.  And, as a few of you have noted, I should never pick out my own clothes!

But each of us has at least one God-given gift.  One Divinely-infused genius that is beyond the norm.  Most of us have marveled at a particularly gifted carpenter, artist, architect or musician.  I can think of moments when I was awestruck over the ease at which a colleague broke a project down to all its working parts, the full color gantt chart on display like it was a Rembrandt.   Who can't remember that one incredibly gifted teacher who made their subject come alive for us?  Or that one skilled manager who inspired us to accomplish more than we thought we could?  Or the athlete who plays your beloved sport at a level that is truly magical?

Whether you know your gift or not, I believe that everyone has one.  And my one gift is writing and communicating spiritual truth.  I wouldn't call it genius, but I think I'm learning to do it well, at least better than I used to.

The downside for what I do is that I feel the weight of enormous pressure every single week.  See, Truth can be taught in a way that is engaging...or in a way that is boring.  We can teach it so that it's relevant or we can fail to connect the dots between Truth and life where we live it.

I often imagine people coming to church, inviting their friends.  I envision them saying as they leave, "well, I don't know what happened today....Brian is usually better than that." and sheepishly asking, "Wanna come back next week and try again?"  The image in my mind is of an embarrassed PCC'er and their unchurched friend who is now firmly convinced to remain...unchurched.

So every week I feel pressure to be Biblical, engaging, fun, serious, funny, relevant, challenging, authentic, truthful, self deprecating and humble - all at the same time and in every single message.  I know the need to connect the dots for folks, have them leave having the Bible come alive for them and encountering God in a new way.  I want folks to leave saying, "I can't wait to come back!"  and "I wish he would have taught for longer" rather than "If only he had quit 10 minutes earlier!"

That brings me to this week.  With a deadline looming, and Sunday racing towards me, I could not make the words happen!  Call it writer's block.  Call it a lack of inspiration.  Call it laziness.  Call it a lack of faithfulness.  Call it whatever you want.  I call it misery!  I hear the tick-tock of the clock on my desk reminding me one second at a time that the moment I've always feared is now coming:  That I would walk on the platform and have nothing to say.

Yesterday was a really bad day.  Grumpy doesn't adequately describe it, but - since I quit cussing - I have no better word that I can use.  It was one of those days when I hate this gig, just to be honest. ('hating this gig' doesn't happen very often, but it does happen)  Sure, I can write something.  But who cares if it's not worth hearing

So here's what I did:  I came to the Powhatan Campus yesterday evening.  I knew that there were some small groups that met in the building, and I knew that they started their time as one big group, worshiping together.  So, at 6:30, I slipped into the big room, the simple sound of a keyboard and guitar calling out into the atrium as I approached.  I stood in the back, away from the crowd.  I didn't need to have a conversation and I didn't want to be the pastor.  I just needed a moment with God.

So I hid behind a wall and closed my eyes and basked in the presence of God through song.

He wraps Himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
It trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How Great is our God - sing with me
How Great is our God - and all will see
How Great...How Great is our God.

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

How Great is our God - sing with me
How Great is our God - and all will see
How Great...How Great is our God.

As I sang, an amazing thing happened:  God met me there.  And I noted something else:  when others use their gifts, it often inspires us to use ours.  Not in a competing way, but in a complementary way (See 1 Cor 12) so that the Body of Christ is complete.

Beth's voice led me to God's voice. The genius of Beth's gift and the genius of Matthew's gift led me to practice my gift.

When the music was over, I slipped quickly out of the room, down the hall, into my office, closed the door, opened my heart and the words began to pour out.  It was almost as if I simply needed to let the pressure go long enough to simply stand in the presence of God and acknowledge who He is.  And once I did that, I could accept that my gift really isn't my gift, but a reflection of the very Greatness in which I stand.  Then and only then can the Genius of God be seen in me.  

And in all of us.


1 comment:

Mike F said...

Thanks for sharing this, as well as sharing your awesome gift(s)! and for the record... there hasn't been a "come back and try again" Sunday yet.