Have you ever heard a message and thought that it was Heaven on Earth? I have a number of times. And so often I have put the messenger "up there" with the message.
But as time went by, I would see the flaws and human side of the character giving the message and come into great disappointment and even disillusionment for a season. "What is this? Why is it happening?" I would ask.
Many times I would blame them, and call them false because the character and the ministry did not line up together. Especially the ones on television in my early days, and then some others would come across my path, seeming so personal and caring, but then when I would respond, it wasn't that way at all! If Jesus was all they said He was, where was He?!!
It was more than just an intelligence these people were carrying. It was an anointing. But I would get confused because the anointing and the person were two different things. To get to know these humans, be it a pastor or minister, seeing their differences and shortcomings in my eyes was a challenge to me.
Now some are raised in ministry homes and for them to see the human side of ministry is not so shocking. If anyone sees grace, it is these people - for they see it in the home and in the work. Others, though, are shocked when the carnal nature shows through those who are carrying the message because without realizing it, they are looking for perfection in the flesh.
A lot of the "cliquishness" that I saw and unpenetrable walls in ministry turned out to only be people protecting the ones they loved and trusted, and those were usually family members or trusted staff. I used to think they "had something" beyond most and that I just "didn't qualify." I thought something was wrong with me beyond the blood of Jesus Christ.
I used to really long to be a minister. It was a call inside of me, but I just didn't see how I could do it, because no one seemed to want to help me. But I longed to help the needing and hurting and discuss and learn the ways of ministry. I wanted to know how God was at work in other people's lives. I wanted to hear people's visions and dreams and heart's desires for the Lord.
No one put their confidence in me for ministry in the beginning, I was quite the unlikely candidate, especially for my family, and I found that so difficult. It's so true that a prophet has no honor around those who are familiar with him or her. But I was hungry for this, so I kept pursuing God and churches who offered me glimpses of Jesus in their ministry.
I learned how to be a more pleasant personality and the ways of getting along. It took a while because ministry was a whole new world for me and I had to learn the language and the lingo. Some styles were more acceptable than others and I worked to fit the mold. I didn't understand how God was working in all of it, because sometimes the mold was hard to fit with my spirit.
On top of that, I found that some had styles that clashed with each other and at times I was feeling forced to choose "whose side" I was on! This was really hard, as I wanted God and all His Ministry! Sometimes I liked both sides presented as ones I had to choose. Sometimes I could see what was wrong and right with both of them!
Through that though, I did learn that the safest place to be was on the side of the Word of God. Even with all this good ministry, there was a lot of false information around. I had heard the Voice of God calling me to ministry, but some were defining it in very unusual ways. Of course I made mistakes in wading through all that. That's really when I learned to trust the Word above all else.
Some used the ways of the world and called it God. It seemed to get results -- but most of that was mixture. You mean that I had to learn how to discern that? Where are my true ministers? I want someone to do all this for me! After some maturity, the ones who had been so awesome, seemed to have lost some of their shine! Now what?
Well, should I give up? Should I forget the ministry call as not valid? If I told you how many times I thought that, it might scare you! I have wondered if it was possible to put confidence in this calling! So have many others.
What I have learned is that ministry comes down to you. If you do it to please a man or a woman, you will be disappointed. If you do it to fulfill the job description of a person, you will get burned out. But if you do it out of a desire to please God, you can get renewed and refreshed.
God can handle your anger and God can handle your tears and all your frustrations. (It's amazing!) He can handle your shortcomings and use them to make them a glory for Himself.
In spite of all the junk that is going on, is He still God??? Yes! I can close my eyes but He is still on the other side. Well, then, there is still hope!
In pursuing Him, I found that I had something to give others. A little love, a little kindness, a smile, a prayer , a help, a teaching, a word of doctrine and encouragement or financial gift seemed to help so many and gave me a respect - one that I didn't have among my family and old world friends. Oh they had liked me and loved me, but that was not without its problems! But in ministering, I found a satisfaction and worth that the world could not touch. In ministering, I had purpose. There was something higher than me and it was a worthy cause - it was God!
As I continued to mature and became more known for having gifts of ministry, I suddenly became intimidated because I knew that "Pam the minister" had some problems. She was by far not perfect yet! Yikes!!!
So what do I do? Do I fake it? Do I act as if I have it all together? Do I hang around Joe Cool and be like him? Only problem is that I met Joe Cool and he was not all he was cracked up to be! Ha Ha! Oh my...
No, humbly I had to find out that I needed Jesus. Yes, even with this acquired expertise, as limited as it was, I still needed Jesus. In fact, He didn't "need" me as much as I thought He should! I had worked hard to be as good as I was! I should get something for this! But no, He had enough people who thought they were in charge and I wasn't so bright in every respect either. Like one friend of mine recently shared with me, "I am not the brightest bulb in the package of light bulbs." I needed to let go of my self image and get His. I wasn't the judge!
You know, I also found folks who had different ministry callings and it amazed me at how well we didn't work together! Suddenly I found out that there was effort to this thing; it was not just a honey road of sweet ministry. Some people ~ in ministry ~ were not nice!!! I found I was tempted now to take my own "sides" to this thing, but my heart convicted me that was not right.
Now I had the choice to go with the "clout" or go to Jesus. Inside, I really knew that He was where the real "Clout" was. But I also knew that He was not the full time angry God some projected, nor the namby-pamby, grace-only, anything goes "you little darling" God either! He was holy! And visions of Him got cloudy without that holiness. It was amazing at how well that carnality could creep into a God thing or a God move.
So since I saw all this carnality, in myself and in others, do I step out? Sometimes I am tempted! But then who is going to carry this thing? Who is going to suffer more because of that and not have hope and maybe die a Christ-less life? What seriously mattered to many others in life changing ways depended on me!
Guess what? I had to forgive myself! I had to have grace for me! I could not be perfect and neither could any of these others that I thought were so great in the ministry. Most had earned their respect and a few had crept in over the wall, but inside I knew they would be dealt with. No one enters true Life except through Jesus the Door.
Some were learning by doing, as I was. Some had developed expertises, but I found that the real expertise was knowing how to handle ongoing change and growth. It was learning how to let God come in and rule in the adverse and blessed places of life.
Some days I am just me. Wow! Ha! If you were all that impressed before (and no one heard of me then, except the local folks and they weren't impressed, trust me), then you won't be that impressed when I am "just me" now. I was just the kid down the block who didn't have it together any better than anyone else!
On other days, I have come from a place in seeking God and the anointing is resting upon me. Some days He has called and anointed me for service and the anointing is abiding on me because of that!
And sad to say, some times I have bad days and you really might not want to be around me at all. Some days my problems are the same as yours and so I am a just a burden or a thorn and a demand you can't help, no help at all for you.
You can know people in the anointing and out of the anointing. Sometimes God has a way He wants to work through someone and so you will see that. It can be impressive. But later when you see them in human form and character, there is something lacking.
So, whose program is it? Whose ministry is it? Do we give up when we aren't all that we should be? Some people have the idea of this but not the character yet.
I am so far down the road from where I used to be, but I still see my stinking flesh. And thanks be to God, I still see where He wants to take me.
God is good for giving you a vision that takes Heaven and Earth moving to get you there. But that is precisely because He wants you to learn how to move in Him to do it. Flesh won't get you there. There is a glory but there is also a price and also an accountability.
But the good news is that God is your Judge. Sometimes that judgment comes through people but if you learn to judge yourself, the other won't be as severe. Sometimes people judge you wrongly and you have to know how to hear God's Voice and judgment through that.
Hell screamed at Jesus that He was the worst sinner that ever was. The sins of the world were laid upon Him and all that Satan had was used against Him for it, but He overcame and got through it to the side of Resurrection Life. You can do the same. Nothing is so big that He can't handle it and help you with it if you are in His side of Life.
You may not be much, but you are His chosen vessel in the earth, made of earth, but one He wants to use to show His Mercy and Life and Love. Some days the anointing is real impressive. We can go up and down and ride the waves of it.
But some days it's just us and we are lacking. Some days it's just them and they are lacking! But Grace gets us all through.
Let's press on to win the race and gain the prize.