I am so blessed. I am in my 13th year as senior pastor of the 1st United Methodist Church of Sapulpa and I serve a wonderful congregation. I have known this for years but this truth was made evident once again this past Sunday as they surprised me (and my family) with a Pastor's Appreciation Day celebration. Cake, balloons, an office door covered with notes, a wall display of art work done by the children of the church, numerous greeting cards (many with personal notes of appreciation) and a love offering, were all apart of this wonderful day. I know that I am truly fortunate to serve such and amazing congregation. But I am also aware that there are many pastors today, all across our land, who are tired, stressed, and struggling because of the stress and conflict that the work of ministry sometimes brings...
One thing that is clear about my wife, there is hardly anything she won't do if it means spending time with her grandchildren. Recently, our daughter Beth, and grandsons, Andy and Sam, decided they wanted to "try their hand" at an indoor ropes course. The course led participants to a height of approximately 20' above the floor. The course involved a number of obstacles and maneuvers and most people would consider it a challenging adventure. The participants wear safety harnesses so I wasn't too concerned when my daughter and grandsons got in line to purchase their tickets. My anxiety heightened, however, when I saw my wife get in line and I realized she was planning to go rope climbing with them. "Are you crazy?" I asked. She let me know that she was sure (even though she suffers with a moderate degree of neuropathy in her feet and related balance issues) that she would be fine. Fortunately that proved to be true as she had a wonderful time with her daughter and grandkids. Her experience, also suggested several life lessons...
Taking a "step of faith" sometimes means moving forward in the face of strong fears.
Recently my wife and I vacationed (along with our daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren) in the beautiful Winter Park area of Colorado. While there we got to spend some time at Snow Mountain Ranch (near Granby) and a friend of ours arranged for our son, daughter, and grandsons to ride the "zip line" that stretches across the Snow Mountain Ranch valley. To ride the zip line, however, requires one first to climb to the top of a 35' tower, get "hooked up," then step off of the edge of the tower and allow the force of gravity to pull you down the mountain side. For most people, this climb and ride provokes a heightened level of anxiety and requires taking a definite "step of faith."...
Some people work hard to get "somewhere." Unfortunately they have little vision of what they want to accomplish or what their Preferred Future might really be. Others have a clear vision of where they want to go but they do not have the dedication to work towards this end. Still others have vision and dedication, but they spend little time in prayer seeking God's guidance or assistance. But I believe it is when when vision, hard work, and prayer are merged together that there is often a wonderful outcome...
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.