God, Speak to me through the pastor!

When I first started going to church as an adult, when I was 31, I wasn't a Christian.   The pastor was cool, didn't get too preachy, and tied the Bible to everyday, modern life in a way that meant something.  Yet, I didn't like him.  I always found a fault.

During our yearly Relationship Series, he'd get up there and say all these great things about how great things were between he and his wife.  Here's why, here's how, yada, yada.  Not even in one ear and out the other, just "stop there at the eardrum, I'm not listening."  I don't know if it was pride or the fact that I could tell my wife something and she'd think it was stupid, then Oprah or my pastor would say it, and she'd think it was genius.  Or, it could have been that he really did seem to have a good marriage.  Mine was okay.  But who wants to settle for "okay"?  "Okay" is my grandparents that several times went years without speaking, whose lives were designed to avoid each other -- one was up early, off to work early, early to bed, the other was up later in the morning and stayed up later at night.  "Okay" is the enemy of awesome and I finally decided I wanted an awesome marriage!

There were two things that kept me going: The worship music ROCKED.  I mean, seriously they were better than most of the big name bands, Christian or not.  Very talented and fun.  The other was that so many guys I really did like LOVED the pastor.  Loved him, talked about him with reverence.   Adored.  They didn't think he was Jesus, no.  They knew who he was, and they loved his leadership.

Miraculously, I became a Christian, led there by a pastor I still was often cynical about (to my wife; we had many discussions and that helped; I wasn't bad-mouthing him).

Then, there was a crossroads.  I was either going to give it up, or go all in.  No more "okay" for me as a Christian or as a husband.  No more cynicism.   So, every time I went to hear my pastor, I would pray, "God, please speak to me personally through the pastor, so that the things he says are things you want and need me to hear."  Then, when I wanted to be cynical, I had no reason to be.  God was telling me things through this man and I was no longer listening to ideas from a man, but from my God and that's good enough for me.

Next time a relationship series came around -- once per year, usually in January -- I prayed that prayer, and decided that I wasn't going to let a fissure-free marriage cause me probelms.  No mumbling, grumbling or rolling-eyeballs.  I implemented the recommended changes, ignored the little voice that said "your marriage is Fine, don't worry about it! He's talking to those other people there with Real Marriage Problems.  Go windsurfing all day today."  And, it worked great.  Now my marriage is fissure-free.  No, not perfect -- in fact my spouse is giving me the cold shoulder without a stated reason right now.  But, I'm off to work it out before it becomes a fissure because I know how.  God told me through my pastor.

--- May 3rd, 2009 :: Church ::