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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Ubiquitous Presense of Pseudo-Humility

Christian books and Church Conferences are filled with young pastors who are growing churches at alarming rates. Those of us who are more plodders that sprinters flock to these books and conferences. We would all like to grow our churches so that we could be writing books and doing conferences just like these guys.

Now, here is something that I have noticed: Many of these young guys put a fine wrapper of humility around their pride. They will begin their books or conferences with something like: "I am so humbled to be the youngest pastor of the fastest growing church in America."

What has he just said? He is letting the audience know that he is the pastor of the fastest growing church in America. You might say, "Well, of course he said that. If he didn't the person who introduced him said it." Does anyone get what is going on? This is pure pride which God has said He is opposed to!

I have yet to go to one of these conferences and hear a pastor tell the story of the growth of the community around the church which allowed it to reach critical mass so that it would grow faster. I have yet to hear one tell of the big giver or givers in the church who decided to fund their outreach, buildings and their staff. I have yet to hear one of these guys tell of the problems in the churches nearby which allowed their churches to grow rapidly because they were getting mature Christians who were able to immediately go to work. I have yet to hear them exclaim that it was their showmanship that brought in the crowds. The gimmicks run from bouncing on trampolines to a rock concert atmosphere smoke machines and laser shows.

Let's face it: it is hard to say that there isn't some pride in a sermon preached or even a book or blog written. (Why should anyone read this in the first place? I must think it is good or I wouldn't be making it public.) It is really hard to be purely humble. Pride brings attention to the proud. Humble people do not draw attention to themselves.

I cannot think of anyone in the world that needs God's grace and has received it so abundantly as me. Still, I haven't conquered pride either.

I was complaining to God recently about how hard I work and how little there is to show for it. Suddenly, He said to me, "Why do you blame me for the things I do with purpose?" Naturally, I stopped talking and listened (Listening is not really in my nature but I was a little scared not to.) God continued, "If you weren't so full of yourself, I wouldn't have to keep you humble."

Instantly, my gripes were turned to prayer. "Help me to empty myself so that I can be full of your glory!" I must say there is a lot of emptying to do.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.- James 4:6 (NIV)

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