The Pastor’s Garage June 2, 2022

*Pastor Mike’s Garage-June 2/2022*

A number of years ago I worked for a season as a guard at the RCMP
detachment in Broadview. Basically, the job entailed sitting in front of a
computer screen watching all of the prisoners in their various cells,
documenting what they were doing in writing within every 15-minute period,
for as long as my shift lasted. Every once in a while, they would request a
beverage or a magazine which I would deliver or if it was meal time I would
serve that to them. I didn’t have any seniority yet so I didn’t have
regular shift hours, but rather would be called in if someone else couldn’t
make it. Magically it seemed the overnight shift was the one that people
would be unavailable for the most so that’s when I got called in the most.
I had initially taken the job as a ministry thinking I’d have a lot of
opportunity to interact with the prisoners and RCMP officers, but as it
turned out there was very little of that. I had an epiphany early one
beautiful spring morning. It was about five in the morning, I could see the
sun shining brightly in the one high small window we had, I could hear the
birds singing happily to greet the warm spring morning even though I was
sitting in a cold cement building. I sat in my chair, my back, butt, legs
and arms aching from sitting there all night long writing in the prisoner
documentation book, gravel in my eyes from staring at the screen, my brain
in a fog. There was only one prisoner that night, he was laying comfortably
in his cell snoring. The thought came to mind, he’s not the one being
punished here, I am! He’s not the one in jail, I am! It was soon after that
morning I decided that maybe this wasn’t the career for me!

As I was thinking this morning about what I was going to write about for
this PG a verse from Proverbs came to mind. “Guard your heart above all
else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 I’m
currently reading an autobiography by Doug Siggelkow, a long-time pastor
and missionary with ACOP who is retired now, living in Moose Jaw. He tells
his story starting right from childhood to present. I’ve always found
peoples story fascinating, and in this particular case, even more so, as he
mentions so many “historical” figures within our fellowship over many
years. It’s interesting to me to hear about men and women who I have looked
up to as pioneers of our fellowship, and see them from the perspective of a
child, or young bible college student, or new inexperienced pastor or
missionary. What has challenged me the most is he mentions a couple people
that didn’t finish well, and in fact made serious shipwreck of their faith,
hurting many along the way. Now I have heard about them many times before,
but all I know and have heard about them is the damage they have done to
themselves and the kingdom. What haunts me in reading this book is seeing
them as a young person eagerly serving God and hearing about their passion
and the many good things they did before the wheels falling off their lives
and ministries. It was in light of this that I thought about that verse in
Proverbs about guarding our hearts!

What does it mean to guard our heart! I think similarly to my stint as a
guard we need to be diligent to watch its state and condition. To take note
of what it’s doing. Even though it can be tiring at times, we cannot leave
it unattended. We need to guard what we allow into our heart. We need to be
careful about bitterness, pride, self-promotion, self-ambition, arrogance,
how we look at ourselves, others, God! It’s easily distracted, and
discouraged. Another aspect of guarding is diligently watching for the lies
and tactics of the enemy! The heart is his main target! I will leave you
with a bit more of that passage from Proverbs. “Guard your heart above all
else, for it determines the course of your life. Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on
what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the
safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”
Proverbs 4:23-27 NLT

Pastor Mike