God’s Word for Today: Character. As part of this week’s winners, one cannot get by without mentioning character. Today’s word of character refers to the gift on the inside. I have known plenty of “characters” in my life. Most of them were pretty good at making me laugh. Others, not so much. Mom frequently used the description of a person as being “quite the character”. I believe in the South they simply say “Well bless their heart” when they really don’t know what to say about a person.
Back in the day, actually in my Navy days, my family started attending a church right in Grand Prairie, TX. Due to the sensitivity of this little story, I will leave out the name of the church and of the people involved. Well, sort of.
The church we attended was a sleepy little church that fit right in with my sleepy little church upbringing. Even with its less that ambitious character, this church to us felt right at home. After the first attendance, when convenient, we returned. The pastor was a warm and welcoming individual, and the members seemed sincere, but not too overbearing.
Then, change came. This quiet little church’s Pastor received the call to move on. Just when we had thought we found a home, it was going to change. There was an unsettling feeling that this would not be good.
Out doubts were soon laid to rest. As a replacement, in walked Pastor Ron and his beautiful, just getting started, family. If memory serves me correctly, Pastor Ron had grown up in this church, went to college and seminary, and now was called back home. Life for this quiet little church was never going to be the same.
You see, Pastor Ron brought the ambition and energy of a new generation of Christian outlook. Pastor Ron took some of the positive aspects of this church and his upbringing, and kicked them into overdrive. The Church started to grow in leaps and bounds.
Pastor Ron had a few theories that once put into practice, were quite successful. He believed that music was a very important part of a service. Not just music to listen to and be presented by others, but music that everyone could be a part of. His theory was pretty simple. If most people could not hear the sound of their own voice while singing, they would sing out that much louder. So, it was a point that the song leader had the volume up on their microphone, and soon the whole church was rocking half the town.
The need for an alter call every service was on Pastor Ron’s priority list too. One Sunday, I found myself up front, on my knees, and pouring my past out to Jesus. It was pretty cool. This Church had it going on. This Church was alive, growing, and spreading the Good News. It was wonderful to be a part of. Then, things came crashing down.
Romans 5:3-4. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I can’t say why it happened. I have my theories. One evening, we were called into an emergency meeting of the Church. It was not a pleasant evening. This church that had went from around 20 regular attendees every Sunday, to well over 100 and still growing by leaps and bounds, decided that it was going to be human instead of God filled.
Some of the “powers that be” called Pastor Ron out on the carpet. During one of his dynamic sermons, Pastor Ron had said that he believed in speaking in tongues. He did not say he practiced this particular ritual. Pastor Ron did not encourage the church to start this practice. He had simply stated that the subject of speaking in tongues was addressed in the Bible, more than once. Thus, there must be something to it. After all, if the Holy Bible is a rule and guide to your Faith, isn’t it only right the Bible as a whole be addressed? Or, should we just take from the Bible what is convenient and comfortable for us? Pastor Ron was trying to simply incorporate every part of the Bible in his teachings.
Long story short, Pastor Ron stuck by his belief that if it was in the Bible, then it was part of God’s word. This truth got Pastor Ron fired. He was given the choice to denounce his belief in speaking in tongues or remove himself from the Church. Pastor Ron chose removal. Pastor Ron believed in every part of the Bible. With God’s strength and guidance, Pastor Ron accepted and received verbal abuse unwarranted. He knew God’s direction. Pastor Ron chose the difficult path. Pastor Ron was right. Pastor Ron had character.
Today, know that at times, to be a winner, your character is going to come into question. You are going to be asked to persevere because of your beliefs. You will be given a choice. Will you lean on God to expose the winner’s character He has blessed you with? You can and you must………………..
Prayer: My dearest Lord who made the character within me. I thank you today for giving me a choice. It would have been much easier for all involved if my path was laid out for me. But Lord, I appreciate the fact that the free will you gave me, if used for your Glory, will only strengthen and build my character. Forgive me for the times I have folded to the pressure of conformity to this world. Only through your Grace can I overcome my weakness and win the race with character. In Jesus name I will always pray. Amen.