Monday Morning Confessional

I confess that my first full time church staff position was at a church in Lee’s Summit, MO called Lakeland Community Church. I started there in 1996. Yesterday was my first time to preach again at Lakeland since sometime in 1998. I confess that before I jumped into my sermon I was introducing myself to the congregation, and talking about how I had preached my first sermon ever at that Lakeland. The problem was that I was ad-libbing, and I mistakenly kept saying “Redemption” (my current church), instead of “Lakeland” as I intended. I’m sure it was terribly confusing for people. I didn’t even realize I had made the mistake until after the service when somebody told me. (for future reference, I don’t what to know) :-)

I confess that I’m terribly hard on myself when I make silly mistakes like that. I find it hard to practice any sort of self-compassion when I feel humiliated. It’s like having your fly down in public … ugh. I confess that I can do a fine job of preaching and will only remember the one dumb thing I said or the one mistake I made. I can do nine things right and mess up one and all I will think about is the one I whiffed. It’s a sickness. I confess that what I would really like is for you to confess something humiliating from your own life, and then I will feel better … because misery loves company.

I confess that I had a bit of a bad cussing week this past week, owing in large part to the phenomenon of frustration – mostly not mine, but other people’s frustration that seemed to spill over into my life. Frustration is experienced when things we want or need or feel we are entitled to do not materialize, or when thing we do not wish to happen do materialize. Frustration is the sense of anxiety or dissatisfaction that comes when things don’t go the way we want them to. The verb form – frustrate – is where the troubles really begin.

I’ve noticed that most of life’s problems stem from verbs. I propose we all focus on a few particular verbs for the week: soothe, heal, trust, persevere, provoke, imagine, remember, provide, continue, walk, reach, meet, stand, rest … these verbs can help us.

I confess that I think that pastors should visit one another’s churches much more often, to preach and just to visit and renew old friendships. I think it is healthy to participate in worship at the church of friends and colleagues, not so we can copy what they are doing, but because it is a great encouragement. We have guest speakers at Redemption quite frequently, and it is always a healthy exchange. The guest usually brings one of their greatest hits which is great for those who are listening.

I confess that I’m working on edits for Shrink for part of the day today. I confess that I’m currently at that point in the process where I’m convinced I’m not an author but a scam artist, and that I have no business writing blog posts, much less books. I confess that pressing on will requires several of the aforementioned verbs.

I confess that I had checked the news Friday night when the death toll from the storm in the Philippines was still relatively low. On Saturday I was busy all day and did not see or read news of any kind. When I saw the death toll Sunday it was like a sucker punch. I knew that early reports had to be too low, but I was not prepared for a number like 10,000, as Reuters is reporting. I confess that I cannot imagine the hell these people are living right now. It is being called the most powerful storm ever to make landfall. I confess that I cannot imagine denying that global warming is changing the climate in drastic ways … denying that humans are contributing to the problem if not outright causing it.

Okay friends, that’s my confession for this Monday Morning. Time for you to make yours:

About Tim Suttle

Tim Suttle is a pastor, writer, and musician. He is the author of several books: Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), and An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade Books, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals. Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. He has planted three successful churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • http://jwayneferguson.wordpress.com/ Wayne Ferguson

    I confess that your reply to my confession (last week) really warmed my heart and may have inflated my ego a bit. It happened to coincide with one or two other pieces of news that were very personally pleasing and I was almost manic for 24 hours and seemed to be in a better than average mood all week long.

    Having said that, I don’t think it inflated my ego too awfully much — and I was very much aware of my mania (so it did not get out of hand, either).

    I would be more than willing to be your virtual spiritual director if you will be my virtual pastor. I confess that I have often wished I lived near your church and would love to call you my pastor…

    I confess that I am apt to feel humiliated a dozen times a week, but that I am determined to do the best I can and “let the devil take the hindmost” (as my mother used to say). I found this Tweet from @CarlMcColman encouraging:

    “Nothing would be done at all, if a man waited till he could do it so
    well that no one could find fault with it.” ~ John Henry Cardinal Newman

    And again– at the risk of being (or appearing to be) a “one trick pony” –I think the discipline of presence is paramount — NOT as a way of making the frustration or the embarrassment magically disappear, but as the essential ingredient of learning from the experience. And *learning*, in this context, means becoming a instrument that is fit for the masters use (not enhancing our self-image or achieving our personal goals).

    Thank you, Pastor Tim– I guess that’s all I have to confess today –peace be unto you! :)

    “There are two core fears:
    losing what you have,
    and not getting what you want.
    The solution? Falling in love with where you are”.
    ~ Jeff Foster


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