From Our Senior Pastor
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I think I’m struggling with “holy discontent”. 

In his book, Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire that Ignites Personal Vision, Hybels describes something he calls a “Popeye moment”. You remember the old cartoon, right? (Everyone who’s at least my age will … everyone else can just google it!) Popeye was nice and calm until something happened that pushed him over the edge and then he’d respond with his classic line, “I’ve had all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!” When he got to that point, the spinach can gets opened and Popeye goes to work! Hybels was describing the catalyst or motivation that people find when they get to a point of frustration or dissatisfaction that drives them to do something about it.  He writes, 

Truly there’s nothing more inspiring than a person who transforms something he just can’t stand into the kind of positive energy that advances restoration in the world.  This is what’s at work every time a check gets sent from a grateful heart to a worthy cause, all in the name of “doing good” in the world.  It’s what’s at work every time a person steps into a church or a civic center or a relief agency’s tent with an “I’m here to serve” attitude—and does so after logging forty or sixty or eighty hours at their “real” job each week.  It’s also what’s at work when that real job is more than a path to a paycheck; it is an avenue for releasing a little pent-up holy discontent tension.

Paul Sohn, a writer for Lifeway defines the condition like this: Holy discontent is when you experience an uneasy spirit about the brokenness of this world which aligns with the heart of God that spurs us to take positive action to change the world. 

As a biblical example of holy discontent, the apostle Paul described his “unceasing anguish” for his own people who had not received the grace of God (Romans 9:2). 

My personal discontent stems from the brokenness and lostness all around us in our city and our – no, my – relative ineffectiveness at remedying it. It’s a frustration that we aren’t seeing as many saved and baptized as I think we should. It’s a longing to see more people invited to Calvary and joining us in making, maturing, and multiplying disciples. It’s knowing that we have 10 children being mentored every day after school, but that we could have 20, 30, or even 50 if we had the volunteers. It’s knowing that a new junior high is being formed and we have an open door to do ministry there – mentoring, tutoring, etc. – but wondering if we will have the people to go. It’s the neighborhoods around us that need a Gospel witness, but largely don’t have one. It’s a realization that God wants us to be an army at his disposal to advance His kingdom, and we – no, I – am not often that.

Remember this stanza from a well-known hymn?

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. 
We are not divided, all one body we, 
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

It’s the third stanza of Onward Christian Soldiers. I love that first line: “Like a mighty army moves the church of God”.  It summarizes my dream for our church; that we would be a mobile, agile, energized, unified, focused, and well-equipped army of believers ready to take on every challenge in front of us and seize every opportunity given to us to make much of Jesus and to advance His kingdom here in Dothan and far beyond. 

The idea of Christians as soldiers in the Gospel Army of God can be traced to Paul’s words to Timothy in 2nd Timothy 2:3-4:

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 

In this passage Paul tells Timothy what being a “good soldier” in God’s army means: Above everything else, it is doing what pleases Him who enlisted us into this army in the first place. 

Will you join me in seeking God and asking Him … 

What would please You here in Dothan? What would it please You for me to be doing? What ‘hill’ do You want Your army to take? What victory do You want us to win? What captive do You want to use me to rescue from the kingdom of darkness? Enable me to see what You see and to want what You want. Don’t let me be content or satisfied with anything that’s not satisfying to You. And lead me to a “Popeye moment” that stirs me to action.

Praying with you for “holy discontent” that inspires action for God’s glory and His kingdom!

Pastor Paul