Keeping short accounts…

As a follower of Jesus, a Christian, someone who proclaims Christ as my
Savior, my Lord, my friend, I want so much to be someone who doesn’t remember
those things that people have done. I want to be a person that forgets and
moves forward, but what if forgetting is difficult to do? What if the bruises
you’ve picked up along the way still sting?

I remember one experience I had with a youth leader of mine, someone who was
a church leader. I remember this church leaders biggest gripe was why our youth
groups weren’t overflowing with students. Numbers. Lots of kids. I remember
being called to accountability by this individual why our youth group averaged
somewhere around 20-30 kids in a large church that had close to 2500 members.
We often struggled with this issue, this church leader and myself. This
relationship I had with this church leader was going south. Intervention was
required. Now I must confess. I’m not the greatest at what I’m about to ponder
with you.

I remember years ago, one of my pastors who supervised us young youth pastor
types called this church leader and myself together for a visit. A time of
reconciliation. You see this pastor and friend of mine had a unique message,
something we all know and have been told about several times in working and
being in relationship with our friends, family members, and the body of Christ.
"Keep short accounts." He told me that my job as a pastor was
to model what it means as a follower of Jesus to keep short accounts, even if
it meant saying I was wrong, being the first to sorry, being the first to
forgive, and to even say I blew it in some area. He felt that if I learned the
art of keeping short accounts that I’d become someone of grace and who was able
to show grace even with those who disagreed with me like this church leader. It
might even help others become people who keep short accounts and become people
of grace.

My question for those pastor types out in the blogging world is what if
those around you have been so bruised, just can’t receive your attempts at
keeping short accounts? How do you move forward in ministry knowing that there
those who still want to remember? How do you trust that the Holy Spirit, our
Advocate, who acts and moves on our behalf, will work and will walk with us,
knowing that there are those who still need time? Time to listen. Time for the
Spirit of God to intervene, time to heal, time for them to recognize their
junk? You see my problem is that I want it now and the reality is that it might
not happen now; it might happen later, it may never happen. Somewhere in my
life I need to let go and trust that God will move when he wants to move. This
church leader I talked about is someone I consider today almost a father figure
and mentor and was even at my installation service back in 2004. I love Stan to
death and I’m ever so grateful for my friend and pastor who encouraged me to
work hard at keeping short accounts. I challenge you in 2006 to be people who
learn and who practice the art of keeping short accounts! 

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