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I find myself asking, "why?" (6 paragraphs)

 
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Post I find myself asking, "why?" (6 paragraphs) Dean Steenburgh
Why are things like they are?

Are we at the point in this world where things are about to be shaken up as in the great falling away that we read about in 2 Thess?
Sure that is during the great trib but there are always tremors before the big quake!
I'm reading people's comments on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & here on Acts & I keep hearing about Christians & those in ministry who are having all kinds of issues with life & their calling.
Why is this happening?

2019 has been a difficult year from a position of various stresses. My dad entered heaven at the end of 2018 & that was an odd time there for awhile.
Besides Dad's passing I've never been under such weird attacks.
In reading what QW had to say on another thread, I felt like I was reading my own personal journal.
Our minds can be a strange place for ongoing issues, past memories & a feeling of loneliness, fatigue & forgiveness woes.
The enemy camps out in my memories & reminds me of past failures, sins & mistakes.
Why? I thought I had the total victory years ago!
My thinking led me to a place where I thought I was the only pastor feeling this way, even to the point where I thought I was beginning to losing it.

The church here has went through the worst time in the history of this ministry & I feel 100% to blame. Too many issues here to put into words but it has really tested my metal.
Why? Where did I go wrong?
We (the core of the church) keep putting out for the ministry of the church over and over every month but it seems like it's going into a big dark empty hole.
For the 1st time in 37 years of full time ministry my wife & I have had conversations about letting go & let someone else carry the torch.
Next month I'm scheduled to begin my classes for 4 weeks after which I'll begin a new secular job all because the funds are no longer available to meet the financial needs of my family.
My health insurance alone is over $1,000.00 a month just for the premiums & I don't take meds. Keep in mind this is the lowest I can find & I'm paying for this through my wife's employer.

My thoughts about this post are to express some real pain & torment that is on the rampage & I sure don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but I do have a gripe. About 3 weeks ago my wife made an emotional plea to explain how we need to pay the church bills (nothing about our personal $$) & not only was the offering super low but not one person has come up in the last 3 weeks to ask us if we're doing ok or do we need any help.
Don't get me wrong, we pastor a lovely group of people but this lapse in caring just ads to the frustration.

Couple all of this with expectations from the state office agenda, (our AB is great) and unfulfilled goals/dreams for our personal ministry & it can be tough to minister with a straight face in the pulpit.
Seems like ages ago when we were maxing out our facility, huge kids ministry, turning away teens for camp & winterfest because transportation was at max capacity. Seems forever ago when our finances were so strong we were helping other churches, missionaries & new church plants. Seems like we went off the tracks somewhere & we're in the parking lot of the wrecking yard waiting for the tow truck to take us in to begin dismantling.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in despair, we have food in the pantry, my grown kids are home for Christmas & I would never let on in front of them.
The Christmas tree is lit & the garland hangs over the door trim & wraps around the stair bannisters.
My bills are all current & it's been 60 degrees the last few days with sunshine to smile at us ...at the same time there is that odd heaviness.
Thoughts in my head travel to, "is God through with us here?" or "should we re-fire & get ready for a new season?"

There's no motivation in me to go negative (even though this opening post may come across that way) but I guess my computer needed a good assault today & maybe a couple of readers will take a look and yell back something to get me back on the right track Cool

Prayers gratefully appreciated!


.
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"Empty nest syndrome is for the birds!"

Email me at: SteenburghDean@gmail.com

Church planters are focused on just one thing ...introducing people to Jesus!
What are you focused on?
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12/21/19 6:04 pm


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Post Cojak
I wander off wondering. Then I come back.... I like "I am praying for you" and I am. But I also like solid answers. I even appreciate Prophecy with all my heart, and hope for it. But most of all I love peace of the mind and soul and pray for that. WE ALL KNOW.... GOD IS GOOD!..... He also can bring PEACE!
Merry Christmas to you and your Family, Praying that family time will sooth your soul. Smile
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12/21/19 8:03 pm


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Post Dean Steenburgh
Cojak wrote:
I wander off wondering. Then I come back.... I like "I am praying for you" and I am. But I also like solid answers. I even appreciate Prophecy with all my heart, and hope for it. But most of all I love peace of the mind and soul and pray for that. WE ALL KNOW.... GOD IS GOOD!..... He also can bring PEACE!
Merry Christmas to you and your Family, Praying that family time will sooth your soul. Smile


Thanks Cojak, so far these 5 youngen's have brought a ton of laughs back into the house lol
Thx for the prayers!
Merry Christmas to you & yours as well!
_________________
"Empty nest syndrome is for the birds!"

Email me at: SteenburghDean@gmail.com

Church planters are focused on just one thing ...introducing people to Jesus!
What are you focused on?
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12/21/19 8:21 pm


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Post Preacher777
Dean, you are a fine man of God and He will bless you and your wife for all of your ministry work. One of the ways I encourage myself when facing these types of issues is to look at the eternal rewards we receive for the sacrifices we make for the ministry.

II Corinthians 4:17-18: For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul wrote about the challenges and persecutions of ministry throughout II Corinthians 4-6. We are not being whipped and stoned but if a pastor preaches a strong challenging Word sometimes people will become offended. We are not being whipped and stoned but may face anger when challenging people to go beyond their comfort zones. Most people will not show their anger but instead become uncooperative or show up for church but pull back from involvement. God sees your heart and those eternal rewards are far greater than the temporary problems here.


Last edited by Preacher777 on 12/22/19 8:42 am; edited 3 times in total
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12/21/19 8:47 pm


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Post Dean brotherjames
I feel for you, many of us have been there. There is a story in 2 Kings 6 about a lost axe head and Elisha. He asks the man "where did you lose it?" You said your church went off the rails after having been going very well. What happened? Why?

The AG and the Southern Baptists are being aggressive in helping a lot of our churches get unstuck and helping them to revitalize. There are a lot of ministries designed to help do that and some of them are expensive. The unstuck group (google them) is good but pricey as is the Revitalize Network. Also, churchreplanters.com is a Southern Baptist one but still good and it has an online assessment tool.

The AG has a program called the Acts 2 journey that can be very helpful and it is very affordable. For $150 you can have access to the church assessment tool and it identifies 12 areas to help you see just where " you lost it". You have a survey of 75 questions and you get congregational and other people to input their perceptions. Here is the link https://acts2journey.com/ scroll down to the church assessment tool.

Frankly, after 37 years of ministry, you can get in a rut, get tired and miss what you need to see. I know I have. I do some church planting and revitalization coaching when needed by the District. If I can help you just pm me. Merry Christmas, God is able and willing to do exceeding abundantly above your s or my expectations. Thank you Jesus for blessing Dean and his ministry.
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12/21/19 10:29 pm


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Post Dean Steenburgh
Thanks Cojak, Preacher & BJ for all of your encouraging words.
About to begin worship here at 10AM & I saw these comments & I wanted to read them before I go inside.
Interesting side note, the majority of the attender/members seem to be so oblivious to the atmosphere, even the key leadership seem to feel like things are going along just fine.
Maybe it's just me, so I'm going to double down & meet with the Lord more often & see where my issues are centered.
I truly do appreciate all of your prayers Coffee
_________________
"Empty nest syndrome is for the birds!"

Email me at: SteenburghDean@gmail.com

Church planters are focused on just one thing ...introducing people to Jesus!
What are you focused on?
Golf Cart Mafia Capo Famiglia
Posts: 4640
12/22/19 12:32 pm


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Post Patrick Harris
Dean

I don't think you are in this alone. After reading your story and QW's I think there is a deliberate and concentrated battle for the minds of those who serve God. Look at things going on in the Christian world and you can see it there as well...

The past few months I have had to hang on even tighter to my faith because I felt, at times, like my mind was going down the preferable hill and going fast. I even reached out to a couple people recently, who I trust with what I tell them, to help me pray about it and things are better but I'm not yet won that battle.

There is a certain expectation in the air that I can't quite put my finger on but I know it's coming.

I've served him for almost 5 decades now and I'm not moving. There is absolutely nothing back there to go back to that I want.

I covet everyone's prayers as well.
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12/22/19 8:01 pm


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