Monday, May 12, 2008

Your Pastor Got Drunk!

Shortly after we had moved from Ohio to Indiana and I had begun my first ministry as a Senior Pastor at the Osceola Grace Brethren Church, a rumor of my “hitting the sauce” began to spread like wildfire through the church. Was it just a rumor? You decide. My daughter, Joy, was about 5 years old at the time. One day, just a few weeks after our move, she asked me if I had ever gotten drunk. I answered her honestly and said, “Yes, honey. I’m not proud of it but there was one time in my life that I got drunk!” That satisfied Joy’s curiosity and we went on to another less serious subject

The next Sunday in Children’s Church, the adult leaders were taking prayer requests from the children when the new pastor’s little daughter rose her hand and loudly announced, “Pray for my daddy…he gets drunk!” We received several calls that afternoon at home from concerned parishioners and I ultimately had to address it from the pulpit to assure the congregation that they had not hired a drunk to be their spiritual leader.

Last Sunday here at Grace Church we saw in Proverbs 31 that the mother of King Lemuel warned her son as he took the throne regarding the dangers of women and the dangers of wine. I mentioned that Proverbs 31 is not meant to be a final Biblical say on alcoholic beverages. I also promised that I would use my blog today to share some of my personal convictions when it comes to drinking. I know that I am taking a risk here as not everyone will agree with me. That is fine. Remember, these are just my personal convictions. They are in no way meant to be the final say for every follower of Jesus when it comes to drinking.

There is no question in my mind that drunkenness would be a clear violation of Scripture.

I do not believe that it is always a sin for a Christian to have an alcoholic beverage. I do believe, however, that every Christian must realize the potential that alcohol has to take control of one’s life as well as the ability, if misused, to destroy people and families.

I believe that it is always a violation of Scripture for someone under the legal age to participate in drinking alcohol as it is a failure to submit to and obey one’s authority.

I would never consume an alcoholic beverage where someone who is from Grace Church or who may visit Grace Church may see me (i.e., a local restaurant, etc.) as it could diminish the effectiveness of my ministry. I believe that with greater levels of leadership come fewer personal rights.

I would never keep alcoholic beverages in my home. This is due to the fact that my years in youth ministry taught me very clearly that what adults do in moderation, children and teenagers often do in excess. I do not want to put that temptation in front of my children.

But would I ever share a glass of champagne with my wife while taking a romantic getaway hundreds of miles away from Lititz? Folks listen, that is none of your business! How’s that for being transparent?

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