7th Heaven! By Pastor Joe

7th Heaven! By Pastor Joe

From 1996 to 2007 a television show portrayed the family of a protestant minister, Reverend Eric Camden, living in Southern California. The Camden household was comprised of 5 children, the Pastor and his wife. Therein lies the background of the name of this weekly show which aired on the WB network. 7th Heaven episodes centered around doing good things in the name of God, some shows pushed the boundary on social issues. My article would be swallowed up by my personal views on these social issues and that’s not the purpose of today’s thought.


Last Sunday Janet and I began our seventh year of serving this great and growing congregation in northern Wisconsin. So, for us it is a sense of seventh “heaven”. In some ways it’s just another number, but we know from the Scriptures that numbers have significant meaning. Seven is a very well-regarded number within the Scriptures as referenced throughout various strategic time facets or events. One of the most glaring uses of the number seven is a time in history where the inhabitants of the earth will go through a very traumatic block of years. This seven year stretch of time is called the Tribulation, or Great Tribulation. In the near future we will be discussing more of the details of this very sobering time span many will have to endure. Yet, today my goal is to share 7 action steps which will help guide me through my seventh year as your lead pastor. Hopefully one or two of these action steps will help you in your journey. #1 Psalm 119:164 speaks of praising God seven times a day. My declaration of worship would not be ritualistic but rather something of reverence and a daily reminder. Seven would be a “minimum” threshold and at the same time a great starting point. #2 Seven times in a week, send an encouraging thought by word of mouth, email, texting or personal note. #3 Read seven new books every quarter for personal development and spiritual growth. #4 Commit to sharing my One Minute Witness, testimony seven times a week. #5 Train and develop at least seven individuals over the next few years into full-time ministry. #6 A minimum goal of planting seven new churches in northern Wisconsin. Spooner, Iron River, and Minong represent the first steps towards the final number. #7 Begin a daily seven minute podcast, Monday through Friday, highlighting a portion of our daily SOAP reading from the Word of God. These seven touch points are part of a plan to make my seventh year at Hawthorne Assembly even more productive and prosperous spiritually and personally. Ironically it’s the seventh year for all of us! If you continue to embrace Janet and I as your pastors, we will together enjoy this significant year of ministry. 30+ years of ministry has taught me many things. One nugget of truth is that ministry requires effort and it also requires a sense of resiliency because people will come and people will go, but God‘s calling never changes. Possibly something on my list of seven resonates with you and now you are considering how to incorporate this challenge in your own life. For me, there is some level of priority in my list, nevertheless they’re all important, with number one taking the highest priority. If each of us embraces something in year seven, from my list, or your own, we will see change which will benefit the entire fellowship. Together is Better!

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