Be good to your pastor!

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

-Hebrews 13:17

Yesterday my church celebrated “Pastor’s Day”—where the pastor is honored for their service and ministry. Before I continue, let me thank Templo Jerusalen for their care and attention in making sure the day was special. My leaders and members put a lot of work into everything that went into it, which I really appreciated.

It’s important to realize that even pastors aren’t perfect. We all have our imperfections and liabilities, and sometimes even the most anointed man of God fails. However, it is in our weakness that God is glorified.

David was a man chosen by God to be the king of Israel. Yet he failed as an adulterer, murderer, and by being prideful in taking a census of the nation (you can read his story in 1 Samuel 16 onward). Moses was a man chosen to lead the nation out of slavery, yet he was a murderer and could not control his temper (the Exodus story can be seen in Exodus – Deuteronomy). Even Peter, one of Jesus’ closest apostles, denied him three times in despair (Mark 14:66-72). In short, even the greatest men of God are susceptible to failure.

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3 things that I learned from a pig snout

Sometimes, crazy things happen in ministry… Here is my story.

A few years ago my wife and I were invited to dinner at the home of a new family in our church—recent immigrants from Mexico who wanted to get to know us better. When we arrived we were treated as honored guests as they attended to our every need. It goes without saying that for most pastors these types of visits are the best ones.

We were served “posole”—a traditional Mexican soup that is made with either chicken or pork. In this case, the region of Mexico this family comes from has a peculiar tradition of honoring their special guests by serving them the pig snout. Imagine my surprise when I was served a giant bowl of soup with a floating pig snout in the middle.

In my Puertorican heritage we aren’t accustomed to eating snout (as far as I’m aware, at least). I just smiled graciously and asked myself, “What do I do?” I didn’t want to disrespect them or make this couple feel bad. I didn’t want my culinary preferences to hurt these great people who had obviously worked so hard to make us feel honored in their home.

These types of situations are reflective of ministry, where sometimes pastors must stretch their cultural limitations. In order not to offend sensibilities, we might have to do things we are uncomfortable with…

That being said, allow me to share what I learned from a pig snout that evening:

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Church politics represent everything that is wrong with Christianity!

One of the things that I like least about church is when politics become more influential than Jesus. If you’ve been around the church world long enough, you understand that many times churches resemble the partisan governance similar to that of democratic governance. And we all know how efficient government can be.

One of the key things that I’m trying to instruct about is that we need to be different from the world, especially in this aspect. No one person is in charge of the church (yes, including me as pastor). We are all under the direction of Christ and under the auspices of the Holy Spirit.

Anytime a church is more political than spiritual, these things are commonplace:

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