Thoughts about My Younger Days
I want to add to my previous post about my time in Houston Texas as a young man eager to be recognized as a godly man without actual godliness. Grace Bible Church was a mistake in my eyes but it was part of God’s sovereign will nonetheless. To say that the church itself was a mistake does not mean that the people within the church were mistakes. Far from it. Many of them were used by God to help this young man grow in his faith. Genuine friendships developed. Genuine fellowship experienced. And my awkward growth as a Christian was also confined to a relatively small area of impact.
As a Henry I am by nature fairly aggressive. I do not say this as something that is good or bad, it just is. But at the same time I have a very sensitive side of me that people often do not understand. Though I am a pastor I am an introvert as well which makes for some unique situations at times. If I had my way I would retreat rather than advance in many situations. What is a saving grace in my life is also a strong sense of duty that forces me to step out of my safety zone and into real life.
If I were part of a larger church I think that I would have been hurt as I clumsily moved forward in my faith. But friends like Phil, or Bruce, and Lou were patient with me throughout my time there. Because it was a small church I was able to see many aspects of how a church functions on multiple levels. I realized during that time that there is a business aspect that that simply exists whether you like it or not. I learned that people need to be faithful in serving and giving especially when the church is small. I learned that a pastor is not Jesus; rather, he is just a man just like me.
It was at that little church that I had the opportunity to actually preach. It was at that little church that I began to realize that preaching was serious work. It was at that church that I began to slowly begin to see that I was a pompous jerk, and yet my friends were still friends. I remember once preaching a sermon out of James, it was my second sermon if I remember correctly, when I was discussing the relationship of verse five with verses two through four. I was trying to show that verses five through eight were tightly connected to verses two to four and my pastor was sitting in the front row. I was very nervous but I preached what I thought was correct and afterward my pastor came to me and admitted that he had never realized the connection of verse five with the previous verses. An opportunity for humble appreciation on my part but instead to my shame I told him, “Really? It seemed obvious to me.” He took graciously but even now I am ashamed.
Hypocrisy is not something I am unaware of. I remember praying with other men as decisions were being made regarding who would be the elders of the church. Previously I mentioned that one way we can know the heart of a man and his maturity is through his prayers. And so now as I was gathered with other men praying I was trying to mold my prayers in such a manner that would show that obviously I am one of those godly men. What a joke. I was not selected as an elder but I was not brushed off to the side either.
Updated, fixing some errors I missed. Still learning Dragon Naturally Speaking.