To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. ~ Will Durant

I know I know, not a very catchy title. I wasn’t sure how to capture my thoughts and journey this past week. As I logged on to the computer I instantly went on to Facebook and saw this (the title of the blog) as my tattoo artist’s “what’s on your mind”. I feel it is a great start to my idea and conversation.

I’m not sure how to start this really. Well, let’s just go in chronological order. I woke up early last Thursday to attend a fundraising breakfast for the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan. It was a great time. THE John Daly was interviewed and we were able to watch him hit some balls. I have never seen anyone hit the ball like him. The coolest part was immediately after the breakfast I got to meet him outside. He was having a Diet Coke and cigarette break and one of the host’s of the event took me outside to meet him. I got my photo with him and chatted a little with the golf legend.

I drove back to work feeling pretty great. It was 9:30ish and I felt like I had already accomplished so much. (it’s a weird feeling, but when you wake up early and have a great start to the day you just feel energized) I felt like it was going to be a great day. Then it happened. I received an email from someone who attends my church. Someone I barely know. I see them often at church as I’m there all of the time, and usually on the stage but to say we are more than acquaintances would be pushing it at best. I’ve had a few conversations with them but they have always been focused around work as that is the only thing we really have in common. Anyway, now that I’ve established the type of relationship we have I can share the gist of the email. It went on to tell me that people are thinking about leaving our church because of me. The reason they stated was because they felt that I struggle with Carnality and Sin. They ended it off by saying that they love me and that they only tell me this because they love me.

Well needless to say my tires were deflated. I love my church!! If you haven’t grasped my heart from my previous blogs it’s simple. I love my family, I love my God, and I love my church. I am passionate about all of them. I am passionate about the success of my church, and have a heart to see the Holy Spirit move and change each and every life in it (including my own). The email came out of the blue really and I was actually heart-broken.

Have you ever felt judged? We all have at points of our life. A good friend of mine reminded me of a sermon our Pastor spoke on about criticism. One of the main points was to remember the source. This is no way speaks negatively about the source of the email. In my case I considered our relationship. They really don’t know me. So to have this perception/idea of me is out of ignorance. I then took solace in the accusations themselves. This might come as a shock to you but I indeed struggle with Carnality and Sin!! I hate to break it to you (anyone reading this) but you do too. This has been humanity’s struggle since the beginning. I believe Eve ate the apple because of her fleshly desires.

So, after some soul-searching, prayer, and sharing this with a number of close friends and leaders I came to the conclusion that God wants to do something amazing in our church. Ok, so that wasn’t chronological. Let me share the middle part of this.

Well without knowing what to do I looked for the counsel and guidance of close friends and the leadership in our church. I figured if they saw anything in me that needed to be addressed than I should take the appropriate actions and deal with them. To be honest I found the timing strange. As you have seen (through my blog posts) I have been on an interesting journey with God throughout the past 7 months. One that has changed my life tremendously. I have sacrificed many of my fleshly desires (coffee, being lazy) and have practiced abstinence with other things like alcohol etc. So to me the timing seemed off to say the least. I have focused my last 7 months on God, where He wants me, and what He wants me to do.

I was greeted by everyone that I approached with grace and humility. As one of the leaders said, this email could have been addressed to anyone and everyone in the Christian faith. However, as I was seeking counsel a few more issues came up. All of which were either complete fabrications (One was that I play in bars a lot and then have beers with people after to share Christ with them). First off, and I said this, so the worst case scenario is I’m playing at a bar and having people come to Christ and our church. Seems ridiculous when you say it like that doesn’t it. The other issue was one of offence I believe. We recently did a Day in the Park event for our community. During that event our worship band played some “secular” cover tunes. This was perceived as a compromise of faith. My heart is never to compromise my faith. My perspective was simply this. If I walked past a group of people in the park, bbqing and playing loud Muslim music I’m not sure I would feel invited, or the desire to go check it out. It was, at least for me, an attempt to make our community feel at ease because there was something they recognized and related too. I can assure you the music and lyrics to the song’s we sang were not negative.

So again, I felt horrible and deflated. Something that I did was misconstrued and was causing dissention. This is not my heart or my intention. So, I thought it might be best if I resigned. I came home Sunday broken and unsure of what I was going to do. I felt at that point that it was probably best if I resigned. My perspective was simple. If I am this much of a stumbling block to the church and the people who attend, it might be better for them that I step down. I was so torn though. This summer we had an opportunity to move to Kelowna. Have I mentioned that this is by far my favorite place in the world? That’s without saying that it’s also only 3 hours away from Vancouver. This could save me 14 hours when I drive there to see Pearl Jam. 🙂

Anyway, Danielle and I just didn’t feel released from our church. So, after sometime and prayer I felt a resolve that I hadn’t felt in a while. I wasn’t going to resign. I was going to seek God, and continue running the race. I began to pray for the people in our church and felt at peace with the decision. I really feel like God wants to do something amazing in my home church! I feel that God has great plans for us in the community and in the lives of each individual. The fact of the matter is simply this. When God has something great in store, the Devil tries to stop it. In this case he uses some ideas to cause division. But I see the end, and I see God’s grace pouring into our church. I see Him establishing Himself as Lord in our lives again and I see His Kingdom growing.

This weekend is a weekend of Prayer and Fasting at our church. Perfect timing right? I am excited to see what God does as we submit ourselves to a weekend of sacrifice (Food!! I hate the fast’s we’ve invented. We don’t need TV, or Music, we need food. That’s why it’s a sacrifice. Sure some people have medical needs, just fast enough to make sure you don’t die or harm yourself. Don’t give up on the idea completely) allowing us to focus on Him.

I’ll keep you posted, but keep me and our church in prayer. We all struggle with sin, but that doesn’t need to ruin us. We need to in our struggles, submit and focus on God, our Creator. It’s through Him that we have our purpose and reason. Cheers friends.

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9 thoughts on “To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. ~ Will Durant

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart Evan. Don’t give up. Jesus also was persecuted and accused of many false things as well. Take it as a compliment (if it can be that) – Matthew 5:11 (NKJV) “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake”. Jesus is talking about what others say about us and the verbal attacks that believers will undergo. And that is hard to swallow because we really want to defend ourselves out of our hurt and anger. Jesus also said that Blessed are the persecuted for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”.

    Of course Jesus also said to take the plank out of your own eye – and the people who are criticizing you need to heed that instruction

    It isn’t like you were playing “Highway to Hell” or anything… well actually maybe that song could be tweaked for an evangelistic tool…

  2. Evan, I appreciate you. A lot. I’m glad you did post this. One of my greatest struggles within the last year have been being told that being in leadership means censoring yourself and your struggles (that’s a paraphrase, but that’s what I’ve gotten out of it really). I love that you don’t. At least, you don’t seem to 😉

    I think that this post symbolizes a beautiful journey. Some might say that the person that wrote to you was completely out of line. My thoughts? Only maybe.

    Sure, they don’t know you at all, and can’t judge you… and I’m guessing the tone of the email was quite hurtful. But as I look at it, I see an instance where what they said, though it threw you, also provided an opportunity for you to discover those rumours and misunderstandings and deal with them. I’m not saying your email-er did it right, I’m just saying, I can see how good came of them being honest about how they felt, even if their feelings weren’t right.

    I am very very glad that the devil didn’t win in discouraging you, and am likewise sure that God is planning something great. I will be praying for you, your fam, and Lawson in the coming weeks.

  3. Thanks for sharing. It was a really encouraging post, and I pretty much reiterate what Vicki said – your honesty with yourself and your struggles are a beautiful thing. We need more of this in the Church.

  4. Hi Evan – again you open your heart honestly and bare your thoughts to all, and that helps us as leaders to realise we are not in a game, and we all have things that we need to allow God to deal with, so we can continue our journey of growth.

    I know how you feel when you received the unexpected email, because when I was first reading it, I thought you were writing it to me, and I was feeling cut and gutted, and was wondering what is going on.

    So like I said in my original reply you are my closest friend, and one of the most genuine and ‘keeping it real’ christians I know.
    More power to ya.

  5. You truly exemplify what it is to “seek the Lord where He may be found” And God is everywhere. thank you for being such a true person – multi-faceted, truly caring, and the most honest soul
    Your rewards will be great

  6. When I read this post I was shocked. I am the kind of person who tends to believe the best in people, and I was ashamed that such hypocrisy and judgement was in our church body. It makes me really sad. We all deal with sin, and to judge someone for being honest about that, well it doesn’t make sense. It’s hypocritical, and whomever is making such judgements needs to realize that they in fact have a problem as well. Not just as well as you, but the entire body of Christ. We all deal with sin, and if you don’t, well maybe looking into pride isn’t such a bad idea. Chances are, that’s the plank in your eye.

    When I told Ryan about it, he said our church is better off without people like that. I can’t help but agree. Not in the sense that these people should leave, but that the church as a whole needs to repent and be cleansed from the judgements that we place on others. We are told to confess our sins to one another in order to hold each other accountable. So to be condemned for doing so… huh? It may not be evident, but it leaves me speechless.

    I am so glad that you didn’t allow your discouragement to let you step down, because we need more leaders like you. And as I have gotten to know you a little better in the past few years, I have seen a small piece of how far you have come, and the grace of God that has moved in your life. That is something to praise God about, and I for one am excited to see the continuing works that God is still doing!

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