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Mondays. For many, Mondays mark the beginning of a new work (or school) week. Maybe anticipated but mostly dreaded it seems, Mondays are a kind of starting over–the weekend is over and the week has begun. As a pastor, Mondays can be a little more complicated. True, they mark a sort of beginning. But for me at least, they include a bit more than that as I think about the day before in a sort of closing of the previous week exercise. Here are some of the things I typically think about on Mondays.

I think about who was missing.

This one weighs pretty heavily on me as I think and pray through Sunday. Selfishly, I find it so encouraging when people show up. I’m convinced that most people will never truly know the power of their presence. Most people likely suppose that because they don’t “do anything” in the worship service, it doesn’t matter that much whether they attend or not. But when you’re gone, it matters to me. I notice and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

But there’s another reason my heart is heavy for those who are missing. It’s because when you’re missing, you’re missing out! You’re missing out on the chance to be encouraged and to encourage others. You’re missing out on the chance to experience worship with other Christ-followers. You’re missing out on hearing how God is working in others’ lives. You’re missing out on the unique opportunity that corporate worship offers to lay down your burdens before God. And you’re missing out on the incredible gift of being reminded of the beauty of the all-satisfying Savior, Jesus Christ!

I think about who may have been impacted.

I cherish the ones who do show up. I find deep encouragement in the service of those who tirelessly, gladly use their gifts in ministry. I love that they love to serve in music ministry, children’s ministry, teaching ministry…

I thank God for the ones who showed up and placed themselves in the way of God’s working. They sang, listened, joined in prayer, greeted others. In other words, they just did the “normal” Sunday morning stuff and in the doing were open to God’s teaching them and using them.

I also wonder how these can take the next step in growth and ministry. We’re impacted in order to impact others with the love of Jesus. So on Mondays, I think about, hope for, and pray for those who were present in worship on Sunday to take the next step of growth.

I think about who should be reached.

This one always gets me. There’s something beautiful about celebrating and reveling in the magnificence of God with other Christ-followers! So much so that I find myself wondering who else could be invited to come along. Who in the room that Sunday needed to be rescued from the cold, dead hands of legalism and empty religion by the heart-rescuing, life-giving Savior? Who outside those walls needs to know that there is good news? On Mondays, I think about how the church (both individually and corporately) can get better at reaching out to those who have yet to hear clearly the good news of Jesus.

Because the good news of Jesus is as sufficient, beautiful, and life-changing on Monday as it was yesterday!

Monday Musings

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This story has been told and retold so many times I’m not sure where to give credit.

A young man went hiking alone on a narrow mountain trail when he slipped on a loose rock and began to fall down the steep mountainside. As the rocks and dirt rushed by him, he plummeted over a cliff. Frantically grabbing for anything that would offer purchase, his hand grasped a small tree jutting out from a rock. Amazingly, his grip held and the tree remained in place. Temporarily saved from a disastrous situation, he caught his breath and gathered his wits before yelling for help.

“Help, is anyone up there? Help, I’m stuck down here!” he yelled over and over.

After yelling until he was almost hoarse, a voice came to him. “I can help you, son.”

He couldn’t believe his ears. “God? Is that you? Will you help me?” the young man queried.

“Yes. I’m here,” came the reply. “I would be glad to help you. Let go.”

Having no hands to clear his ears, the young man responded, “What???? I thought I heard you say let go. That can’t be right.”

“That’s right, let go,” was the clear answer.

The young man hung in silence for only a moment. “Help, help, is anyone else up there?”

Stories are wonderful, aren’t they? They capture us. We remember stories. They have a way of pointing to lessons we need to learn. Like the young man in this story, we have a way of only wanting help on our terms.

It may be that we’re asking for God’s help but missing His response because it doesn’t conform to our desires or expectations. We might need help from a friend, but the truth is we’re not willing to submit to his or her counsel. These are just a couple possibilities.

But in the end, isn’t it just possible that in wanting help only on our terms we are really refusing help altogether? And if this is the case, who are we really hurting?

Let Go!