Complaining and Grumbling

My pastor spoke to the whole church staff today and confessed (as he also did this past Sunday in front of the whole congregation) about his recent bout against complaining and grumbling. He said that he has generally been a joyful guy, quick to praise, and slow to complain. 'Stop complaining' photo (c) 2009, Aitor Calero - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/However, he said that as of late, he’s noticed some of that contentedness has been replaced by grumbling. This is the thing that he would like to focus on giving up to God, hoping that our Lord will help turn this attitude around before 2012 is over.

Since then, I did a quick search on Bible Gateway typing in “grumbl” (to include past, present, and future tense). I found it striking that nearly all of the results fell into two categories:

  1. The Israelites complaining against Moses while wandering through the desert
  2. The Pharisees complaining against Jesus’ works or Jesus telling the Pharisees not to grumble

'There is absolutely no reason to complain or bitch!' photo (c) 2010, Walter Lim - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/I find it ironic that the top complainers seem to do so while God is showing Himself mightily. When God is working great wonders, we seem to find the nerve to complain with a renewed intensity.

God has been doing mighty things in my heart these past months. This is fantastic news, but it also worries me because I’ve been doing some complaining to God throughout. In other words, I’m just like the wandering Hebrews and the ancient Pharisees! Now that I’ve recognized this, hopefully I can do some changing myself. With God’s help, I’d like to turn this around in the near future.

“Lord, give me the humility to repent and the courage to change!” Amen.

Growing Pains

It was pointed out that my current job is not regularly utilizing, stretching, or growing my natural talents or gifts. I’m doing a good job with what I’ve been given, but I could be used for so much more.

'gifts' photo (c) 2009, Rupert Ganzer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/I didn’t want to dwell on the negatives, so I starting thinking of the ways that I’ve been growing and stretching since I started this job. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I’ve been given lots of opportunities to practice patience
  • I’m learning to submit to authority way more frequently
  • My video and media skills have improved, even though there’s a long way to go in that area
  • I’m more organized than usual

Though I question God about many things all the time, I know I’m not one to contend with Him in the long run. He’s got a plan greater than what I can see. Nevertheless, I have a few questions: Am I supposed to be a youth pastor? If so, is it supposed to be at Island ECC? Are the things I’m learning worth the things I’ve sacrificed? Is my church job supposed to help put my teaching career in perspective? Hopefully I’ll learn the answers to these questions sooner than later. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to trust God as much as possible.

Pass on the Relationship

'uno jenga. ' photo (c) 2008, kathryn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Today I had the pleasure of passing on the fruits of my relationship with God with other people.

Every Friday night are small groups for my church youth group. All of our church kids come together for a night of worship, fellowship, prayer, and reflection. We kicked of 2012 with some fun games as well as a chance to think about all the good and bad experiences from 2011.

It was wonderful to simply sit around, talk, and encourage one another. That’s the beauty of God. As I grow closer to Him, I’m realizing that I can’t help but share what I’m learning from Him. God’s not meant to be contained, but He overflows from everything.

As a nice cap off to the evening, we engaged in our ritual game of uno-jenga. We deem it UJ, and it’s quite hard core because there are consequences. The person that knocks over stack has to do push-ups. The higher the stack, the greater the number of push-ups. I’m proud to say that tonight I didn’t have to do any push-ups.