This week I had a very unique opportunity of picking through the personal library of Reverend Jack Will who went to bewith the Lord this year at 100 years old. The bread of what this man studied is simply awe inspiring! While circling the sun 100 times is a feat in itself, Pastor Will did it more than 60 times as an Associate Pastor at Randall Church. What an incredible legacy to follow! But did he discover some type of secret to longevity in ministry?

Similarly, John Piper served as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist church in Minnesota for 35 years. His ministry posted an article In February of 2018 called "Pastors Need Friends Too" talking in detail about longevity in ministry, and give some great stats to back it up! "The Lilly Endowment invested $84 million over 10 years to study and support the practices that allow Christian pastors in America to sustain excellence over the years. They funded 63 projects across 25 different denominations and traditions. Each organization made a similar discovery: relationships with peers are the key factor to pastoral longevity. Pastors need real, intimate, vulnerable friendships if they are going to last."

I don't know for certain what Jack Will found difficult to handle, or what John Piper struggled against over his many years of ministry, but I do know that pastors need one another. I know that ministry can be isolating, personalities can be tricky, and well intentioned people can be hurtful. If you are a pastor and you have not yet faced discouragement in ministry, just wait. It will happen. Guy Richard says it this way: Ministry and discouragement go together like the sun and sunburn—the longer you're in the sun, the more likely you are to get burned. I say this not to be flippant or overly pessimistic, but to point out a ministerial reality. Now, ministry isn't always discouraging. But when ministry is tough pastors will function best and serve faithfully for the long haul when they have a "band of brothers" or "company of pastors" by which they receive encouragement and prayer support. 

This is why pastors need good guys. Good wise guys. If God tarries, I pray that He will allow me not only to serve Him with longevity of years, but with integrity of heart as well. For this reason, I long for deep and meaningful relationships with local pastors and Godly leaders from various ministry formats. One of those good guys in my life, a man who has shared a ton of wisdom with me while I was navigating some ministry hurdles, is my friend Michael. Pastor Michael Nieves planted Centerpointe Community Church in Lancaster, NY in the early 2000s, and this Sunday I have asked him to speak at Randall. I'm looking forward to a great time together. I'm looking forward to you all hearing from my friend. I'm looking forward to seeing you Sunday!

Pastor Milo

Today I was cycling to work, running behind and trying to get there in a hurry, when I heard the unmistakable sound of tearing fabric in the seat of my pants. I couldn’t be absolutely sure of the extent of the damage, but there was certainly some sort of wardrobe malfunction. While I was only a handful of houses away from my own, my street was jammed with city workers running heavy equipment fixing a damaged water main of some sort. Needless to say, I was too proud to dismount and do an inventory on my clearly compromised khakis for fear of public humiliation.

I love cycling. While I used to ride a motorcycle everywhere before we had kids, I am not joking when I say that I feel the same freedom of the open road I used to get back then via horsepower, but under pedal power. The exercise feels good, and the little bit of muscle ache never hurt anybody. The warm sun, the whistle of the wind, the smell of fresh cut grass, makes it all worthwhile. But then the sound of another impatient motorist laying on the horn brings me back to reality.

This week in Buffalo, the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds and I spent an afternoon working on one of my bikes so that I could get back in the saddle and start riding to work again in earnest. I was pumped. I’d gotten distracted from what I really love to do, but now I could get back in the saddle. Here's where reality came in. Monday started out great on the way in but finished in dampness. Tuesday was an all out deluge, as if Mother Nature was trying to do all she could to test my resolve. Then today, I’ve had to move about the office as inconspicuous as possible even though I’m well aware my pants are split in two! It’s been a bit of bumpy start to the cycling season.

Jesus once shared a story about a wardrobe malfunction. Matthew 22, he talks about a wedding feast where someone showed up to the ceremony without the wedding clothes provided to them by the bridegroom. Not only was this person embarrassed publicly, but he was tossed out of the place entirely. I’m sure the same would have happened to me today had I attempted to attend a wedding as I am right now. Jesus teaches that we will always be improperly dressed before a Holy God outside of the heavenly garments purchased for me by Christ on the cross.

We should live our lives each day with this in mind. Scripture puts it this way: “Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” Romans 13:14 MSG

Last week's sermon I invited you to engage your heart in fearlessly following Christ.  Today I want you engage your head. Putting on the garment of Christ assumes that we have given serious thought to what that looks like! We are called to engage our whole mind is integrating our faith and our world. Let us no longer have spiritual wardrobe malfunctions!

- Pastor Milo