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Stuck in the "Before" Picture

4 ways to renew your strength.

I felt like the "before" picture for effective ministry. You know, like the ones that demonstrate a spectacular new diet by showing how bad the person looked before. As a speaker described all that was wrong with the typical church—declining attendance, limited evangelism results, no visible spiritual growth—I realized he was describing my church.

I love the ministry, but after eleven years, not everything has turned out the way I imagined. When I dwell on these thoughts, it eats away at my appreciation for the good things God is doing.

I left the meeting determined to change my attitude. I've made several critical attitude adjustments:

1. I remember my call.

Our church has a pastor emeritus who served here more than 36 years. In retirement he has preached and served as interim pastor in almost every church in our community. He has finally slowed down now as he approaches 90. When I visit this godly man, he invariably asks, "Pastor, can I tell you about my call?"

The conversation brings me ...

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