Sheptock, Rudy

Pastor Rudy Sheptock.

Do you have an authoritative voice in your life? Is there someone that you trust enough to allow that individual to tell you the truth even when it is difficult to hear?

Too many people today only surround themselves with others who will tell them exactly and only what they want to hear. As for being open to receiving correction, well that isn’t happening because pride and stubbornness prevent the truth from ever hitting its mark.

There was a day that we were all taught to have respect for our elders and for those in a position of authority, such as teachers, coaches, law enforcement officials, preachers and so on. Today, too many parents are teaching their children, whether they realize it or not, that they don’t have to esteem anyone but themselves.

If Johnny gets in trouble, mom or dad will come to their rescue and remove any real discipline or consequence for the unwise choices. How can we ever learn how to genuinely do it right if we are never wrong?

I am so weary of watching baseball games where players don’t hustle when they don’t want to. How can managers or coaches have any real influence when they know that their outfielders are making millions of dollars more than they will ever see in their lifetime?

We are rewarding mediocrity, and celebrating the status quo. When the crowd ignores the leader, it only results in chaos.

We used to say that nothing positive will occur if the inmates are running the asylum. It takes some confident men and women who will embrace and engage grace and truth together and dish it out in an abundant supply no matter what the audience begs for.

If you don’t have a teachable spirit, your growth will be stunted. If you don’t approach life with a servant’s heart, Jesus said that you would never taste the essence of God’s kingdom. Too many misguided souls are dying to obtain a title when what really counts is whether you are a person of integrity no matter who notices or doesn’t notice.

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was famous for the line, “I don’t get no respect.” His tombstone actually reads, “Here lies Rodney Dangerfield, There Goes the Neighborhood.” It is way too easy for those who have been called to make a difference to use the lack-of-respect excuse to keep them from fulfilling their God-given purpose.

Jesus did what He did for an audience of one. He didn’t look horizontally to take care of the need that would only come vertically.

Jesus said, “If my Father didn’t call for it, I won’t do it. If my Father opens the door for me to follow Him even down a difficult road, it is not my will but His will that needs to be done.”

Don’t expect self-respect to happen if you choose to compromise your principles. Don’t assume God will be pleased if you only act like a disciple and not live like a disciple. Remember Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, if you have no intention of doing what I say?”

I believe that some of my most fruitful experiences have involved me submitting to God and surrendering what I wanted to do to obeying where the Lord was leading.

I am a natural whiner and complainer and I don’t like to be told what to do. If I stick to my guns, I will run out of bullets.

I can’t tell you how many times that the most powerful moments of my life have occurred when I stopped trying to be god and just was content to be with God and do what He asked me to do.

I once led a youth group from Nebraska to go on a missions trip to New York City. We were going to help plant a church in the Bronx.

I assured our young people that New York City was going to be a lot different than what they saw in the movies. On the second day, we got mugged and robbed so maybe I was wrong. Maybe we were going to experience what happens in the movies.

I knew the kids were looking to me and how I behaved was going to set the tone for whether this trip was going to turn out to be the success I believed God wanted it to be or a total disaster.

The following day I was sure to be tested. The pastor of the church wanted us to go out on the streets and do some sharing about the Lord and the new church.

I had no problem with that. It was the next directive that made me shudder and shiver.

The church wanted us to wear their specially made t-shirts which were like literal billboards with wording covering every inch of it. There was also another catch. The largest size they had was medium.

Our group was beginning to grumble and if I were to be honest, I wanted to wear that shirt as much as I wanted my teeth drilled. It wasn’t going to cover my XXL frame.

I went into that tiny bathroom of that church building and I prayed this simple prayer. I looked up and exclaimed, “Dear Jesus, I wouldn’t wear this shirt for anyone but you; but because you humbled yourself and took on the uniform of humanity, I can surely wear this much too tiny wardrobe for one day.”

In seeing how ridiculous I looked, the rest of our group followed suit and God moved and blessed and to this day, we still praise Heaven for all that happened on Earth that week.

There is a devastation of a massive proportion occurring in our culture today because there is a breakdown of confidence, trust, love, and affection between one another. When integrity goes, and credibility goes, and confidence goes, and trust goes, and love goes, and affection goes, at the point of relationship, you have devastated the life of that society.

Years ago, I had the privilege to have worked with my dad. Because I worked for my dad, right from the get-go, I made a commitment to make it impossible for anyone to ever say that I do less because I have a relationship with the boss. I made sure I worked doubly hard because it wasn’t just my reputation at stake, it was my father’s also.

Today, I work for my heavenly father and I feel the same way. It is my prayer that we all will practice what we preach and be diligent to live what we say. Our lives are a book of all that we stand for and we can’t waste a day, especially when we could have given more. 

ED. NOTE: The author is the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church, 1248 Route 9 South, Court House.