Chips are Bad for the Heart: 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Minister with a Chip on Your Shoulder

I think most people can admit that, deep down, you have a love for chip.  Save your comments on saturated fats and cholesterol, I know they’re not healthy, but can we just admit, that apart from the health factors, chips taste amazing? As you are reading this, most likely you are imagining not just a type of chip (corn, potato, veggie, etc) but a specific brand of that chip.

Growing up, we were a “Better Made” family.  Not only were they a local chain (Detroit) but they were pretty dang good. And I can’t remember a time in my childhood where we didn’t have a bag of Better Made around. It was my father’s favorite brand and it was the perfect accompaniment to a tall glass of ice-cold Coke and a football game.

But when I think about chips, this is the commercial that comes to mind:

It takes me back to a simpler time when I didn’t have to care about what I was eating because track and football was burning it all off.  

But, lately, that slogan “You can’t have just one” has been what’s on my mind. Why? I’m preparing for a message in our series, “Pivot Point” here at Kfirst on the issue of offense. And as I study, I recognize that entertaining offense in our hearts opens us up to more offense. Like a small bite from a poisonous snake, the offense-venom spreads throughout our spiritual bloodstream at a prolific rate.

My focus turned from my message and went into inspecting my heart. Here in the coffeehouse, the Holy Spirit began to work upon me. I looked over the past 19+ years of ministry and could see far too many moments when it seemed I had allowed offense to not just be present but to frame my ministry.

I found myself staring at a blank page in my journal and writing the words:

Chips and ministry don’t work; pastoring with a chip on your shoulder will destroy you.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “chip on the shoulder”? I’ve usually experienced the usage of it in the sports world as someone is described as, “playing with a chip on their shoulder.” Usually it means that someone is acting out of a feeling of inferiority or a grudge. So in the context of my journal entry, to pastor with “chip on your shoulder” means you minister while holding an offense or grievance.  And, unfortunately, I’ve wasted too much time and squandered too many opportunities feeding off of those “chips.”

I wonder if a few of you have as well.

Why don’t “Chips” (offense) and ministry work? Here are 4 reasons why:

1 – Offense mimics “passion” and “progress.”
One of the most deceptive things about offense is it impersonates itself as something that is permissible to entertain. We think ministering with a “chip on our shoulder” is a badge of honor. But in reality, that sensation of momentum and drive we’re experiencing is really a focus that is directed inward. In other words, the false sense of motivation isn’t Christ-focus, it’s Me-focused. You’re determined to make “you” shine as to prove a point instead of living to glorify Christ.  

2 – Offense is addictive.
Living with offense is, far too easily, a place to hang your hat. It feeds a victim mentality which finds identity in a place of hurt. And that place of hurt is an addictive place to live. It creates a story; a narrative to live by. But I wonder if too many of us our more addicted to talking about our pain than we are talking about the healing Jesus can bring. As a minister (let alone a believer), if we find our identity in ANYTHING other than Jesus, we are living from a sub-par place that will lead us to sub-par locations. We don’t live FOR an identity; we live FROM an identity. And from our identity in Christ, a victim mentality is impossible to maintain. If we are healed in Him, if we operate in Him, then what we do will flow out of Him and not our offenses.

3 – Offense gives a false sense of fullness.
I think there’s a real challenge to this. When I entertain offense, I tend to continue to feed off of it. And the more I feed off of it, the less healthy mindsets I feed on. I’ll go back to my “chip” metaphor. How many times have you started snacking on junk food before a meal because you were extremely hungry? But when you got to the meal, you couldn’t eat what was put before you (that is probably 10 times healthier for you) because you had filled your stomach with junk. Offense wants to stuff you and weigh you down by leaving no room for that which can build and grow you.

4 – Offense clogs up the life-flow.
Offense in ministry is what high cholesterol is to your blood. The presence of it will slow down life, inflame issues beyond what they should, and lead you toward death. The death I’m talking about is beyond the physical. I’ve watch churches dying from issues of offense. Relationships between churches have been destroyed over it. I’ve seen pastor’s marriages plummet as offense is entertained. The more you entertain it, the less surprised you should be when you, your family, and the ministry you are involved in start suffering from offense’s catastrophic results.

I love the quote from Steven Furtick on the subject,

“Offense is a moment; offended is a choice.”

Are you ministering with a “chip on your shoulder”? Are you living with offense?  I’ve been there. I understand. And like you, can have a lot of excuses to carry my offense. None of us can be excused from being faced with offense. But we do have a choice about picking it up and letting it be the frame for which we live life and operate in ministry. But no justification can rationalize carrying the burden of the unnecessary pain of not dropping offenses, offering forgiveness, and allowing Christ to bring deep healing.   

Is there any more fitting scripture about this than John 10:10?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Please learn from this pastor who used to live off “chips.” Offense is what the Enemy wants to used to steal your joy. He wants to kill your calling. Destruction is all he is after. But releasing the “chip” and grasping onto Christ brings us to a place that is nothing short of a full life (which includes a full ministry).

I love ya pastor.  I’m praying for you.

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Marriage Blog: The Pre-nup Mind

“It’s mine!”

kids-fighting

It is that familiar phrase yelled by my children.  Every time you hear it, you get annoyed.  The problem is you’re not sure what’s more frustrating: them yelling and screaming or the fact that you remember when you did the same thing.

We were once at the age where we fought with siblings or friends that were invading our space attempting to take something that we felt completely belonged to us.  I can look back and remember my parents responding to the angry rants of me and my sister acting so selfishly.  When you grow up in a mobile home, those fights are hard to keep quiet with such thin walls.

As a parent, we work so hard training our child to learn how to think of others and share what we have.  We want our kids to think of others to respond to the needs of the people in their lives.  At some point, like a snake shedding its skin, we think it is okay to shed what we were raised to do and to live with everything being “mine.” It’s the polar opposite of what we want our children to live. We walk with a sense of entitlement. After all, “it’s mine…I worked hard for it…I earned it…it’s mine.” What we done is we’ve made selfishness acceptable.

What I see in marriages is couples that walk with, what I call, a “pre-nup mind.”

Let me explain.

A “pre-nup” or prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couples agrees to prior to marriage that stipulates who owns what (assets, liabilities) should a divorce occur.  Soon-to-be married couples can outline not only the financial responsibilities of each should there be a divorce, they can also put in writing the expectations of each as far as behavior during the marriage AND what will occur should their expectations not be met.

(Sounds safe doesn’t it? I hate it.  Why? Because a “pre-nup” is a plan for divorce.  It’s getting married with an escape plan.)

Even though couples may have not signed a prenuptial agreement, it doesn’t stop people from walking with a “pre-nup” mindset.

his and hers

“This is MY money.”
“This is MY house.”
“I paid for that.”
“That is MY account.”
“It’s MY business. Why do you care?”
“Don’t worry about it…it’s MY problem?”

When or at what age did selfishness become acceptable?

The “pre-nup mind” creates an atmosphere of selfishness where we lay claim to “stuff.”  We might as well walk around marking our territory.  It can include money (separate accounts for the purpose of MY selfishness), material items (this is YOUR stuff and this is MY stuff), time (this is MY vacation time/day off), emotions/thoughts (I only think/care about ME), and our bodies (it doesn’t matter because I’M not in the mood).  When or at what age did selfishness become acceptable?

There’s a well-known poker term. It’s called “All in.”

All in

To declare “all in” means to bet all of your chips/money on the current hand.  

THIS IS WHAT MARRIAGE IS!!! When I married Anne, I put all of my “chips” in the pot (money, material things, time, thoughts, and affection).  I didn’t keep any “chips” for myself.  Why? Because she’s all in too.   We operate that we because that’s what we see modeled in Christ. 

Philippians 2:5-7 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Simply said, Christ laid aside what he was entitled to (he is the Son of God) for the sake of serving humanity and giving everything he had WITHOUT holding anything back.  This is how we should approach our marriage; laying aside ourselves for the sake of the one we’ve come together with. 

Living the “pre-nup” mindset does nothing more than fight against the very nature and design of marriage.  It’s like using a wrench as a hammer; you can operate that way for a while but in the end, you’ve never got the effectiveness you could have, you’ve worked harder than you needed to, and you’ve done more damage than necessary. 

Today, lay down your pride…and everything else.  Erase the lines of “mine” and “yours” and take up the mantel of “ours.” Today, maybe for the first time, toss off the “pre-nup” mind and take on the mindset of Jesus. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…