Tag Archives: faithfulness

Top 10 Golden Nuggets From My Pastor

24 Sep

Today marks my pastor and friend’s last day as lead pastor at our church after 18 years of faithful leadership.  I have been blessed in my life to have some wonderful, godly pastors, who have taught me so much by both word and example, who have encouraged and challenged me, who have invited me into their homes and hearts, but today I want to share with all of you the Top 10 (cause there’s a whole lot more) golden nuggets I think of when I reflect on the gift of Pastor Leif Holmes to the Church and to me personally.

1. The fruit of the spirit evident in my life is more important than the gifts demonstrated through me.  Am I loving, joyful, peaceful, patient (uh oh), kind, good, faithful, gentle & self-controlled?  God always cares about my character more than my performance.

2. He thought outside of his own demographic (the one I’m speaking of being, married and male) to ask me about what it was like being single and female in the church.  Then he listened and cared about what I said.  That genuine interest in my feelings and perspective on this issue was both new and immeasurable to me.

3. It’s ok to not be ok.  Like, how freeing is that?  Freedom to be real and not have to have it all together.  He reinforced what I know to be true but don’t always see in the church or myself.  Being right with God is much more important than looking right.

4. If you really care about someone, you hold them accountable when they’re off course.  Difficult conversations are not enjoyable but they are necessary.  A true leader is willing to have them because they care about their sheep more than their popularity.  I have seen him consistently and yes, with myself a time or two, willing to have a tough talk because he cares more about my well-being than whether or not he’s my favorite in the moment.

5. We are never done learning.  Pastor Leif has had me read more books over the years than any other supervisor, teacher or professor in my entire life.  He is a learner and wants others to learn and be equipped as well.  If you want to keep growing, you keep learning.

6. You have to know the word to use the word.  Picking up your sword to fight when under attack is much easier when the blade is sharp and you know what you’re fighting with.  You have to input it before you can have any output.

7. The true test of whether or not you love God is your obedience to Him.  He doesn’t ask you to figure it out, He asks you to be obedient.

8. God’s definition of what is good for me is usually not mine.  Ain’t that the truth!

9. God’s agenda is not for you to be happy and comfortable.  It’s for you to be godly.  Didn’t so much care for this one when it was said, but it’s the truth!

10. And when you told me, “Denise, God chooses to use you because of your weaknesses not in spite of them.”  Well, that has been a game changer my friend.

Pastor Leif, you are not to heaven yet, and I hope that day is a good many years off for both of us, but I do believe that God’s heart is in agreement with mine in saying “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Thanks for all the golden nuggets and for being an authentic, imperfect, slightly goofy, often entertaining, dedicated, encouraging, supportive, humble and faithful leader.  Here’s to the next adventure God has in store for each of us!!

How I Learned What Faithfulness Looks Like

6 Mar

I went to church with some friends a couple of weeks ago and as I was heading home realized I would be passing by the church my grandma used to attend. I decided to steer my car towards grandma’s old stomping grounds and take a trip down memory lane and sure enough when I pulled up in front of the church so many thoughts and memories began to flood my mind.

I accompanied my grandma to church on a regular basis and spent a lot of time inside the church I was parked in front of and as I sat in front of that church I began to remember…

I remember how she smelled like roses and coffee.

I remembered that I would sit in the back of the church right next to my grandma.  She always sat in the back so her wheelchair was not in the aisle and the ushers would have a chair there for me every Sunday, so I could sit right beside her.

I remembered how I loved listening to her sing, she had that grandma warble (think Katherine Hepburn, On Golden Pond) and her vocal abilities were not all that stellar but the conviction and fervor with which she sang greatly impressed me.

I remember asking Jesus into my heart at 5 years of age in Mrs. Foulon’s Sunday School class inside that church.

I remember singing; I believe my first solo inside that church at my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, “I keep falling in love with Him” and I believe there were motions involved 🙂

I remember meeting there with a bunch of other people and my grandma & I loading on a bus to go to the Billy Graham crusade.

I remember her favorite hymn was “How Great Thou Art”, but she knew all of them.

I remember seeing her many times at her dining room table with her bible out and the daily bread devotional next to it.  She had no use of her arms or legs, but would use her clenched hands or her mouth to slide the page of the bible so she could continue.  The thing I also knew about my grandma is that, she was at that table every morning, even when I wasn’t there watching.

As I sat in my car remembering this precious lady, I was really overwhelmed with thankfulness for such an example.  It wasn’t a loud example that shouted “look at me”, it was just who she was.

Looking back at my grandma’s life through adult eyes, I know that her life was less than ideal.  There were relationships strained that I know she had to have anguish and great sadness over, there were her great physical limitations and the pain and frustration that would surely come from battling disease on a daily basis, but as a child I had no concept of this from what my grandma said or did.  All I knew is she loved me and I loved her and time with her was sweet.

Over 25 years since she’s been gone and I still miss her and I am more thankful than ever that I had her to model for me what faithfulness to those you love and most importantly to God truly looks like.  Just in case you’re wondering people it isn’t always pretty and it is rarely easy, but my grandma showed me it’s always worth it.

Looking forward to our reunion someday and hoping I get to be right next to her when “How Great Thou Art” begins to play!

IGrandma & Grandpa