14
Feb

Do you love me? Leader Notes

“There is nothing more confusing than a person who gives good advice but sets a bad example.” @JohnCMaxwell

I pray this morning over a situation where a pastor abandoned his flock here in Oklahoma with insufficient explanation to friends, bishop, or the people.

What might be going on in him?

Depression?

Hidden addiction/ sin?

Suicidal tendancies (this is definitely a form of ministry suicide)?

Lack of character and moral base?

Lack of core discipleship and advancement into ministry without proper inspection?

Just tired of the press?

A physical malady?

It is easy to make up a convenience judgement, but harder to reach out in compassion.

A city is grieving. Some people will never return to faith in confusion. A decades of building goodwill back in the community by others for the location and denomination are gone.

And a pastor has chosen to publicly deny his commitment to himself, the people, the ministry, integrity, and the denomination. Maybe he saw no other path. I doubt he did it because he is evil. He is probably grasping. It could be a problem of how we minister to ministers.

I remember 30 years ago ministering in a mission. After 5 years of neighborhood evangelism, home groups, and building a mission outreach, I tired. Everyone thought I was succeeding. I tired. Hundreds were being reached. I tired.

My children were young and needed me. My job was pressuring me to give more hours and some even persecuting me for my faith. Leaders were blank faced when I asked for help and gave horrid advice concerning the pains and problems of real evangelism and missionary planting style.

Miracles were normal. Salvations were always. The body was growing and settling. I tired. We closed the doors on the mission. For the next year, I would visit the people and pray with them, but it was not the same. Some transitioned to another church, but it was not the same. Every one of them was precious to me, but i simply saw no way to maintain the mission.

It was only recently that I forgave myself for being human and weak and walking away. It really was the right thing for my family and God has blessed my life. But the scar stays.

For two years I ceased any active ministry.

What I needed was a cool pool of water in the hard rocks.

At a family weeklong retreat after two years, I was called out. An international prophetess asked me to join her in ministering to others. She chose to follow the Holy Spirit and call me back to ministry. We tag team prophesied over folks for some time that morning.

And the quiet voice of Jesus said, “Philip, do you love me more than these?”

The same week, a vision captured me. In my heart I saw a glass casket covered in white lace. A beaming light came from inside the casket. That gentle voice spoke and told me my vision and call was in the casket. If I would begin to speak well of the Lord again, He would lift the lid and let it out.

“Philip, do you love me?”

The same week, a fellow minister asked me to come and minister in his church.

“Philip, do you love me.”

When Peter did this, Jesus came to him and worked to restore.

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
John 21:15‭-‬19 NKJV

In my story two years later, the Lord placed me back into ministry that is world shaking. I joined a team and we built a monumental outreach to tens of thousands. At one point I oversaw 50 ministries and coached and worked with others facing the same pressures I faced. It was a good season and I pray I was more sensitive to help these I coached.

That season passed and I spent ten years working on citywide fathering and body of Christ unity. Working with hundreds of ministers, it has been a joy to help some overcome deep depressions, affairs, and hard spots of many denominations.

Today, I press again in direct missions on the church abandonded streets littered with stories of hirelings and broken pastors and churches retreated from the hard stuff because it hurts.

And I hear the voice of Jesus calling out to the broken and battered minister who quit and hid, “Do you love me. I love you. Let’s do this.”

And I hear the voice of Jesus calling out to the one who is sinking and almost fully broken to the point of quitting, “I am with you always.”

Maybe you are the one ready to quit. Maybe those who lead you are oblivious and you wish they could see through your churchified mask. Maybe they just don’t get it. Reach out again. Don’t die. Call me. Let’s walk this out. 405.388.8037

Jesus says, ” Do you love me? I love you. I am with you always. Let’s walk this together.”

Maybe you are the leader wondering why all the churchified minister meetings do not work for all like they do for you. You need to learn some new tricks before you lose another pastor needlessly. You need to cancel some meetings and conferences and take Jesus to the streets and living rooms of those you lead. Go to a lost and wandering sheep of a minister. Trust God to direct you. Put down the tweet and text and pick up the phone.

Jesus says, ” Do you love me? I love you. I am with you always. Let’s walk this together.”

I wish I had time to tell you more stories. The AOG minister who called with a gun in his lap, now doing well in ministry. The Baptist trapped in an affair, now doing well in ministry. The Lutheran ostracized by church politic, now doing well in ministry. The Methodist pastor living in a car, homeless, restored to a job and home but not ministry. On and on and on, stories of ministers, who could not find help or understanding from their leadership now restored. And there are stories of those that did not restore. Those are painful.

Jesus says, ” Do you love me? I love you. I am with you always. Let’s walk this together.”