I arrived Denver Sunday night and immediately got lost. I went east on interstate 70 when I should have drove west. It took twenty minutes of driving through totally open plains for me to figure this out.
Denver's got strange weather. Sunday night, it was around 65 degrees and clear. Yesterday it was sunny and the temperature climbed to about 85 degrees which coming from the Redwood Coast, is heat wave. I ran the air conditioner in my rental car. At the hottest part of the day, the temperature started to free fall. By 6pm, it was raining and 45 degrees. Today, there's snow in the foothills and cold rain here at the conference. All I brought is a sweat shirt.
Tom Stipe is Pastor of Crossroads Church of Denver. He is host and master of ceremonies at the Calvary Chapel Regional Conference here in the Rocky Mountain and Plains Region. He's a veteran Calvary Pastor and a seasoned man of God. He opened the conference with a refreshingly simple message about becoming a leader. "We tend to let people in cheaper than we got in," Stipe said. For some strange reason, pastors, once they have their churches up and running want to create a path of least resistance for those coming up in the ministry rather than allowing God to use difficulty and trials to refine and perfect. Pastors ad leaders in training need to learn that they're in ministry to serve, not working toward greatness, popularity or prominence. "Will I associate with people 'lower' than myself? The poor? The unwanted?" Stipe asks, rhetorically.
Stipe told of his time as a pastor in training under Calvary Chapel hero L. E. Romaine. Romaine is a legendary figure in our movement. The former Marine Drill instructor was as much of a leather neck in ministry as he was in the Corps. Stipe didn't say it, but a guy whose first name is "Laverne" has got to be tough.
The quote that Stipe ended with and I made sure to scribble down was: "Defy human nature which says go to the high place."
I need to remember that I need to be willing to serve the least of the least.