Here is a letter I wrote for our congregation.
Last week I noticed several wasp nests outside the church entry door. I do not remember seeing them form, all of a sudden, there they were. Of all my pastoral duties, I count killing wasps as one of the more fun “obligations.”
I needed to come up with a plan. I secured some wasp killing tools (two for one) from the True Value store down the street. Perfect. I came back and quickly checked to see if they were still there. Who knows, perhaps they got wind of my scheme and headed out? They were still there, good.
Now what? I didn’t want to make a mistake and lose an opportunity so I did a couple of practice shots into the mulch. It worked. Ok. I sized up the nest again. Thankfully, it was located in a corner of the window so all the spray would be concentrated so as to maximize the impact. Enough planning, it was time to conduct the mission.
I cut loose with 6-7 seconds of concentrated spray. For that brief moment in time I ruled the world. Wasps came tumbling down in confusion and disorientation. It was pandemonium. Making sure none of them got away, I continued with some follow-up shots. Several wasps came back from other missions and they soon joined their colleagues, in death. I counted over 30 dead wasps and that does not include the generation or so of wasps who were still in the larvae stage.
I still had another bottle of spray. Now what? I needed another task, are there any more nests to destroy? I walked around the entire building looking for more enemies. Thankfully, I found one more nest. I killed all these wasps too. Not bad for a day’s work.
I went back into my office knowing I had done my duty. It was over. Truth won that day.
Today I went out again, in the warmth of the afternoon to take a break. I decided to look over the carnage from last week. Wouldn’t you know, there were two more nests? Hmmm. I repeated my trip to True Value, they still had the same deal going. I came back and repeated the battle I fought last week. This time I counted almost 60 dead wasps not counting the ones still in the larvae stage.
Earlier today as I was reflecting on the journey our fellowship is in, I literally thought to myself, how many more difficult fights do we need to fight? We’re looking at Healing the Heart this month and next. We’re needing to move to another location. That will bring its own share of logistical challenges. We’re fighting to get our Missional Communities up and going. We’ve literally turned worship upside down. Youth….? How do we solve that one? All of this has or most likely will happen this calendar year. Not surprisingly, some of our folks are getting tired.
We are hitting things and hitting them hard. There is a reason we want to be unconscious when a surgeon does his work. Who wants to feel pain?
When I went out today I was mildly surprised that the nests were back. I had to go after it again! Next week, I’ll check yet once more. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have to take out some more wasps.
I do not believe FCC will always have to fight this hard. We got to where we got through years of casual drift. Now we are taking radical approaches to correct what took a long time to happen.
Please hear me now. The enemy will hit us in the areas of morale, hope, faith, and courage. He will suggest to you an easier road of funk, cynicism, unbelief, cowardice, and redeployment although…he will not be so bold as to say those words to you, to us. It will be a slow unwinding, a sense of impending doom, a hopelessness and the suggestion that “God has forsaken you (corporately).”
When these negative emotions and beliefs creep up on us, we have to fight against them. The target of such temptation is our identity. If we come out from under our identity in Christ, we lose confidence and bearing. We literally do not know who we are and where we are going. So, when these things come against us we run back to what God has done for us and who we are in his sight. God has placed us in Franklin. He has blessed us. He is leading us now. We are not left as orphans without his leadership. We are not abandoned. The things which we are battling are good and right. We must fight and God is literally for us!
No, the fight will not always be as difficult or wearisome. But, there is a time for war and there is a time for peace. We are in a time of war. The wasps have got to be killed, every last one of them.
I love being your pastor,