Skip to main content

Thoughts From Jacob Waldron

Dear Friends,

Have you ever had to fight feelings of not wanting to go to church? Ever struggled to worship when you have gone? Ever been distracted by things going on inside your own heart or head? Things like shame, temptation, or failure. Things like the loss of a loved one, a load of cares, betrayal, infidelity, or straying children. Things like doubts, burnout, emotional numbness, or work issues. The list could go on and on. In fact, after nearly four decades in the pastorate I can say that most people have at one time or another. And it’s not just parishioners – pastors go through the same thing.

So, when I came across the following post/poem(?) “CHURCH IS HARD” on a friend's feed, I couldn’t help but share it on mine. And from the feedback I got, and the shares, it was obvious many could relate. In fact, I myself have gone back and reread it a few times, because it helps me remember that on any given Sunday there are people in my flock carrying the same burdens. Burdens I as a pastor need to be reminded of as I put together my message from God’s Word.

In searching for the author, all I could find was one particular church website that shared it and added at the end: “Attributed to Jacob Waldron.” I don’t know who he is, but I pass along his words as being an extremely helpful reminder before I ever join in any gathering of the assembled church. For if we are unaware of these realities we will miss out on many opportunities for ministry right there in our midst. Enjoy.

“Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.
Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.
Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken, and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together but doesn’t.
Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.
Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.
Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.
Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.
Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.
Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.
Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.
Church is hard for the sinners.
Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect – Sunday best in behavior and dress.
However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, and selfish motives.
But here is the beauty of church:

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation. Church is a body. Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints. Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace. Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors. Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted, and hearts are invited to seek restoration. Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope. Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories. Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where God resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church…
When I am at odds with a brother or sister.
When I’ve fought with my spouse because we’re late once again.
When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle yet masking the pain with a smile on my face.
When I’ve worn a scarlet letter under the microscope.
When I’ve longed for someone to hold or fought back tears as the lyrics were sung.
When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away…
I’ll remember, God has never failed to meet me there.”

Lord, help me never lose sight of these very real ways in which CHURCH can indeed be HARD.

In His Service, Pastor Jeff


Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts On the Holy Spirit

Dear Friends, A. W. Tozer once said, “I think you will agree with me when I say that many people are confused about the Spirit of God.” What Christian who has walked in church circles for any length of time could disagree? That’s why I want to offer some helpful thoughts regarding the Holy Spirit from well-known saints, past and present. I trust you might find them useful in helping you listen to His guidance, respond to His leading, walk in His power, exercise His gifts, and be transformed by His presence in your life. Enjoy. “The Holy Spirit is not enthusiasm. Some people get enthusiastic and imagine it is the Holy Spirit. Some who get all worked up over a song imagine that this is the Spirit, but this does not necessarily follow. Some of these same people go out and live just like the sinful world. But the Holy Spirit never enters a man and then lets him live just like the world that hates God. In fact, that is the reason most people do not want to be filled with the

Thoughts From Diana Gruver

Dear Friends, In recent years I have found more and more people of all ages wrestling with depression, despite their faith in Christ and assurance of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Part of that (for the older folk) seems to be their struggle with a world so different from the one they grew up in, that they no longer feel at home in this world, while with younger people it seems to have a lot to do with the social isolation caused by their phones and social media. I know it sounds odd to say that social connectivity can lead to loneliness and depression, yet it’s true. It’s one thing to be connected electronically to others and another altogether to enjoy face to face “in the flesh” presence, eye contact, conversation, affection, laughter, and physical touch – even if it’s a simple handshake, hug or pat on the back. Better to have one committed, caring, loyal, ‘there in the flesh friend,’ than 1000 followers on Instagram merely leave a comment in your thread on occasion. Yet please do

Thoughts In Memory of Tim Keller

Dear Friends, News broke last Friday (May 19) that pastor Tim Keller had gone home to be with Jesus. I must say that his commitment to a gospel-centered understanding and application of Scripture, his determination to reach this generation, his encouragement to live out the Gospel through our lives and words and actions, his keen insights into contemporary culture, and his gracious way of engaging even with those he disagreed with – have been an inspiration to me and multitudes of others. He was truly a gift of God to many pastors and parishioners in our day. Therefore, today, in honor of his life and ministry, I offer you a mere sampling of 20 Tim Keller quotes. But I warn you that although reading Keller can be insightful and refreshing, it can also be a bit convicting and unsettling. Through his insights you will learn to see old things in a new light (which stirs the spirit!), but you will also discover that you do some of what you do for reasons other than what you had th