Tag Archives: jerry

God Help Us!

By Rev. Jerry Chiles

In March 2020 we lifted our voices to heaven crying, “God help us! Deliver us from this pandemic called Covid-19.” At that point in time, we had no idea what would be the extent of the pandemic. Over and over, we cried out to God to deliver us.  When relief did not come, we asked, “Why not God? Why have you left us to struggle, unable to return to your house and be with your people?” Similar other cries of deliverance are found throughout the Bible in Joshua 7:7, Psalms 79:9, Matthew 6:13, and Matthew 26:39.

What do we do, when we cannot hear a word from the Lord? Maybe we are just not seeing the word the Lord has given. Open our eyes Lord, so we can see you acting.  Here are four answers I have seen.

What if the word of the Lord is, The Church is not a building? Is God saying to us that buildings are not important? He is saying, “My people are to be primarily in the world and not in a building”. Jesus said, John 17:18 “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” How many Christians, who normally would be in a building, have been doing God’s work in neighborhoods and other unique places?

What if the word of the Lord is, I have provided you new ways to communicate to a world already proficient in technology? In Isaiah 43:19 we hear these words, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” How many times have we said ugly things, as we struggled to become proficient in technology when God had already put the gifted people in our midst to teach us?

What if a word of the Lord is, I have already shown you what is good? “He has showed you, O man, what is good. ….to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8   This pandemic has helped us see a bigger world. He has called us to see people in need of food and housing and recognize the plight of people different from us. We must find ways to give people dignity, worth, and equality.

What if a word from the Lord is, All people from all tribes and nations, saints and sinners are welcome at My table?  In Matthew 9:10 Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. In Matthew 26:6 he ate with a leper. As we begin to break down barriers to His table, we will experience resistance. In Matthew 9:11 the Pharisees asked, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” Who does God want you to invite to His table?

We now have vaccines. Maybe it will not be long, before we have herd immunity and can return to some sense of normality. Is God calling us back to where we were, or is he calling us to move into a new world?

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister. For more information about how he can help you, contact him here.

I Don’t Know What to Do

By Rev. Jerry Chiles

I have survived so far in this COVID-19 pandemic. I think I’m OK, but have some bumps and bruises. I find myself not knowing what comes next. I hear about lawsuits to allow churches to reopen, and I listened to the health experts who are very cautious.  What do I do? This is no man’s land; a place where we become paralyzed.

We want to go back to the place we feel safe and comfortable. Yet we wonder, if that place still exists. We see the need to move forward, but don’t know what that looks like.  We are afraid of failing.

Moses faced similar circumstances in the Exodus. The children of Israel grumbled against Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die?” Moses became frustrated, “What am I to do with these people.” (NIV). Moses knew they could not go back. He had a vision of their destiny. Did he take some missteps? Yes, but he moved forward with the Lord’s help.

Be assured that failure is not the enemy, failing to act is the enemy. If you step out into the unknown, will you make mistakes? Yes. In a blog by Robyn with Partners in Mindful Living it says, “The big truth is that failure has gotten a bad rap. It’s the only way we humans move forward, make progress, and grow into functioning, reasoning adults.” In Love Does Bob Goff says “Failure is just a part of the process. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so that we can swing for the fences again.”

“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” – Deuteronomy 3:22 NIV

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister.

In the Middle of the Crisis

By Rev. Jerry Chiles

You might be asking yourself, “Why am I here at this junction of history? Why am I having to go through this crisis? I am exhausted. God why are you doing this to us?”

God is not the one who is doing this to us. Is God present in this crisis? Yes! Can God use this crisis to show us a better way? Yes! There are times in life when ordinary people have the opportunity to do extraordinary things. It is no accident that we are present. This crisis will help us define our ministries. Will we step up and make a positive contribution or will we do the minimum and try to wait it out?

What does God expect of us? I think he expects us to self-care, to be present with people, and prepare our congregations to move forward. Does he say it will be easy? No! But he promises to be present with us.

While we have given up some things, we have also discovered new things. We had to embrace social media as never before. We had to discover how we can be present without being in physical contact.

One of the hardest decisions we face is what will we leave behind and what we embrace as we move forward. It is natural for us to long for a time and place of the familiar and safety. Moses wanted to stay in the dessert and gave God excuse after excuse as to why he could not do it. After he said yes, he took lots of grief from his people who often asked to return to Egypt? Joshua was afraid but God told him, “Do not be afraid of them”. Barnabas brought Saul under his wing stepping into the unknown and took criticism from his fellow Christians.

So how do we discern what God is calling us to be and do in and after this crisis? Each of us must decide God’s calling. However, God does not call us to go back. He calls us to join him. In Isaiah 49:18-19 he challenges us to ‘see a new thing’. In the New Testament Jesus talked about new wine in new wineskins, new garments, new commandments, new treasures, and a new creation. In Revelation they sang a new song.

It is not enough for us to embrace the new. We must encourage our congregations to embrace the new as well. Some of the congregation will move quickly to follow this new way, while others will be slow to move and some not at all. It must be said up front that failure may be part of the new way, but remember failure is not the enemy.  Failing to act is the enemy.

Be encouraged! We will get through this crisis. Be encouraged! God wants the best for us and His church. Be encouraged! You are not alone. All of us are afraid about what to do. Be encouraged! There are members of your congregation who are seeking God for the new way, too. In 1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV we find: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. “

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister.

Ministry in Other Contexts

Many ministers are considering moving to other careers. What are some of the reasons these
moves are contemplated? Is the church becoming a more difficult place to work? Is God calling
these ministers to unfamiliar places of ministry in a different context? Is it a misunderstanding of
calling?

I would like to hear your comments about these thought provoking questions. Contact me at jerrychiles1@gmail.com.

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister.

Warning Signs for Ministers

Many ministers are caught in the church’s downsizing brought about by fewer members and diminishing finances. What are the warning signs that hint downsizing may be coming?  How can we help ministers in mid-career retool for the next step in ministry?

I would like to hear your comments about these thought provoking questions. Contact me at jerrychiles1@gmail.com.

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex. He has served in various churches across the Southeast as an associate minister.

Running with the Horses

The Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May. One of my favorite times of the year is the Derby.  It is hard to explain the beauty of running horses. You just need to experience it. While excitement builds, as the race progresses, it is not the same as running with the horses. Can you imagine what it would be like if we took God at his word and ran with the horses?  What footrace do we need to discontinue to have the strength to run with the horses?

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex and Eastern North Carolina. He has served churches in the Southeast for more than 40 years.

Let’s Be Honest

“Honesty is the best policy”, we learned as a child. However, we have difficulty with honesty. Most of us have difficulty admitting that we are stuck. For the most part we are caught up in making the ministry function and cannot see that we are stuck. The hard question: Is the horizon I see really the top of my rut? Am I leading my ministry or am I being swept along?

These thoughts above are from Rev. Jerry Chiles, one of our partners in ministry for the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina Metroplex and Eastern North Carolina. He has served churches in the Southeast for more than 40 years.