Confession – This morning my flesh is a deterrent to the work I have been called to do. I am having to prayerfully remember the covenant with God as it relates to pastoring. There may be many “I’s” in this confession because it is my challenge today. Friday, I caught a member in a direct and bold lie that has had a negative impact on the church. Since my arrival, this member’s words and actions have ‘held the church hostage’, and for many years before. I’ve heard every issue and reason why something has or has not occurred. They have been boastfully prideful in the work they claim to do, yet has not manifested. Before arriving at the post, this member was the one I was encouraged to reach out to because of the influence. Today, it feels as if the influence is cancerous. For many, you question why a pastor would continue to entertain the trials and tribulations from one member. As you may know, in rural ministry and small church, one member can have a major and lasting impact: positive and negative. Just as one nail in a tire can interrupt a journey or a single red light can ground an airplane or one signature can start a war. The community has learned to live with the “way” the member is because they’re family. Just as you have learned to live with “that” family member in your tribe. “That’s just the way they are.” However you wouldn’t let anyone one else (an outsider) say something to them because they’re yours and you have learned to tolerate them. Today, I am troubled at how to respond to “one that has a problem for every solution”. It must be dealt with. As God answered Solomon with wisdom, I pray the same. When the trials and turmoil of leadership become the fork of your pastoral road, I pray for God’s divine wisdom to become the guiding star to follow. This morning I sit in silence waiting for the Spirit to speak. I stand in the pulpit to preach the good news, not to correct or reprimand. Today, I pray for God’s guidance, grace and gifts to preach the Word. Often I ponder when we say “hide me behind the cross”. Where we not called to stand boldly and point to the cross? This day, I do ask that ‘I’ be hidden behind the cross so my flesh has no voice in the pastoral position. May God’s voice be heard in all that is spoken today and may our flesh be arrested in the preaching hour. May the words of our (my) mouth and the meditation of our (my) heart be acceptable in thy sight. Praying for each of you and that today our covenant of service is consecrated with the God we serve. Today I pray you are able to preach with the Authority and Power of God and that souls are saved, lives are changed, bondages are broken and those under your charge are strengthened in their Christian and communal life.