The “Struggle Bus” – Really?

Janet follows a lady’s blog who over the past few months she has been writing about their church planting journey. She wrote, “We are on the Struggle Bus,” referring to how she felt about it.  Janet responded to her blog with, “I never felt like that toward church planting. We have planted churches in USA, Singapore, Philippines and still send people to start churches.”  She  responded and said, “lucky you.”

Is it really “luck?”

I guess that Janet and I must not get it. We listen to pastors or their wives talk about how hard the ministry is. The very day we were married we drove away from Janet’s family’s home with a luggage trailer in tow that contained all our belongs, a Hammond organ, sound system and $75.00 in our pockets. Four days later we were at a conference and out of that a pastor invited us to preach at his church.. That was our beginning almost 48 years ago and we have never stopped.

“Struggle Bus” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”?

Each year during the holidays Janet and I have movies that we watch. One of the Christmas movies we enjoy is, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” George Bailey stands on a bridge lamenting his life, so he is going to throw his useless self into the water below.  But then Clarence, the Angel, shows up and begins to rewind his life story to show him that his life did matter. Clarence did not change George’s circumstances or rewrite his life but he helped George to change his perspective.

I’ll hear people say, “I don’t have any friends.” Or “I can’t be friends with people in our church.” Where does that come from?  We have always had dear friends in every church that we have pastored. Many of them are still some of our dearest friends. 

What is the motivation for a “Wonderful Life” rather than “Struggle Bus?” Jesus’ reply might be:

(1.) Love God: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Remember when Jesus restored Peter to his calling? Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?”  Then Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” The basis for ministry is loving Jesus first. 

(2.) Love People:   Jesus said, A second is equally important, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40 NLT). The ministry is all about loving  people. But, it is loving people the way that He loves us. “He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). 

This Monday morning if you feel like you are on the, “Struggle Bus,” you can get off. Maybe this mondaymoring .cub is Clarence’s way of saying to you that you really are living,  A Wonderful Life.

Larry Neville – Mondaymorning.club
Email: Larry@praisechapel.com  

Holy HUMBUG?

Making the holidays holy-days will make them happy days.

A Christmas at our home

When I pastored my first church in Phoenix, Arizona, I was 27 years old. Some well-meaning religious Scrooge gave me a book titled, “Mystery Babylon Mother of Harlots.” This book made just about everything we celebrate as Christians a heathen holiday. I got so into this book, that I questioned if we should have a Christmas tree in our house or church. I wanted to have a Nativity scene. Thank God for my wise dad who brought this young pastor back to my senses in time, so my family did not have to endure a Scrooge Christmas. Holy HUMBUG!

We all need Holidays and Happy occasions

However, your year has been, whatever you are experiencing today, let it go and enjoy this Holiday Season. This is the time of year to have fun and to be happy. Celebrating has become a lost art. Celebration, enjoyment, love, laughter, gifts, giving, trees, tinsel, holly, reindeer, carols and bells, pageantry, music, Enjoy ALL of IT!

Reasons for not enjoying the Holiday

Attitude: Scrooge had an attitude problem. Yesterday after church Janet and I stopped by a department store to pick up a few gifts. It was a pre-black Friday sale. When we were ready to pay, the line for the cash registers looked like a ride at Disneyland. I said, “OH! Holiday crowd already.” There I go, I had just preached on, “A Grateful Heart” and I was already starting to complain about the Holiday crowds. Attitude will affect our response to the Holidays more than anything else. The first step to enjoying the Holidays is to correct the crummy attitude.

Stingy: Some don’t like to give, it just cost too much. Have you ever heard this, “We are not going to give gifts this year.” Remember, the Father gave his Son. The Son gave his Life. Even the traditional Ol Saint Nicolas was a  giver. Christmas is the great time to give a gift and show people you care. It doesn’t have to be expensive.  I’ve seen the poorest people enjoy gift giving at Christmas.

Religious taboos: You have to hear it over and over every year, “Jesus was not born on December 25.” I resist religious superstitions which argue against almost every Christian holiday, calling it a pagan festival.

Ol Saint Nicolas: Our kids always went to see Santa.  Here is a  wonderful pictures of them on his lap. Janet and I have enjoyed taking all of our Grandchildren to see Santa. Even the tooth fairy comes to our house and our children always went trick or treating.  I loved to go through the bags of candy.


The original derivation of our word Holiday is from Holy-day.

In the story of Nehemiah, after they had finished the walls around Jerusalem, Ezra the priest and scribe had read the Law of Moses to them. Then Nehemiah said, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.’ Then he said to them, ‘Go you way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:9-10,12).

Start your Holiday Season with a Wonderful Thanksgiving 

Ahh! “Go for it! Have two desserts!” Celebration, enjoyment, love, laughter, gifts and giving, trees, tinsel, holly and reindeer, carols and bells, pageantry, music, enjoy ALL of IT.

I Mean ALL of IT!

Larry Neville – MondayMorning.Club

Check out my other blog at: Larryneville.com

The Richest man I know . . .

A day or two before my dad died at 80 years old, a wealthy businessman wrote a letter to him titled, “The Richest Man I Know.” In the letter he said that he would trade his wealth for the wealth that he saw in my dad’s life.

What did the rich man see? 

I believe what he saw was some of the, “true riches” promised to Believers.  Jesus said, “If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:11).  Some of the richest people I have ever met have been in some of the financially poorest of circumstances, like this church in Smyrna, “These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!” (Revelations 2:8-9).   

Should I make a list here of, “true riches?” I don’t think so. 

It is something you have to “see” for yourself. I never really thought that my dad was the “richest man I knew.” But now after more than 50 years of ministry, working with people from all walks of life, I can honestly say that none of them are any richer than my dad was. All of my life he was an example to my brother and I of a man of God. His integrity, faithfulness and passion for God’s work instilled in us a desire for God that over looked and overcame any personal or financial struggles we experienced. His life and ministry gave us a living example of what Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Always rejoice in the Lord . . .I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:11-12).  So, how do I live for these, “True riches?”

  1. True Riches are the Fruit of your Generosity.

Toward the end of Paul’s letter to the Philippians he writes, “I’m  not requesting a gift, but I want the  fruit of your generosity to bring you an abundant reward.(17). 

 2.  Stay Engaged.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).  I have seen so many just quit. They launch out excited about their vision but then the water gets turbulent . . .

3. Focus

What did the rich man see? The truth is when my dad died, he did not have much of this world’s wealth and this man knew that. But, dad had something that this man saw.  You have to choose what you see and focus your life on.

My dad, my mom and my brother have all moved on to their eternal rewards. I’m sure they are enjoying greater riches than we can possibly imagine. So, Jeff Bezo, you are not really the richest man around.

Larry Neville – MondayMorning.club

Quotes from: The Passion Translation Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing
New King James Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
New International Version Copyright © 1973 by Biblica, Inc