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“The Struggle Bus” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” 
Larry Neville


Janet read a book by a sister and has been following her blog. She was writing about their church planting journey. 


She wrote, “We are on the Struggle Bus,” referring to how she felt about pioneering. Janet responded to her blog with, “I never felt like that toward church planting. We have planted churches in USA, Singapore, Philippines and still send people to start churches.” She responded and said, “lucky you.” 


Is it really “lucky?”


I guess that Janet and I must not get it. We hear stories like this "Struggle Bus"  about how hard the life committed to church planting and ministry is. The very day we got married we drove away from Janet’s family’s home with a luggage trailer in tow containing all our belongings. A Hammond organ, a sound system, and $75.00 in our pockets. Four days later we were at a conference where a pastor invited us to preach at his church. That was our beginning almost 51 years ago and we have never stopped.


“It’s a Wonderful Life”


Each year during the holidays Janet and I have movies that we watch. One of our Holiday movies is, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 

George Bailey stands on a bridge lamenting his life, so he is going to throw his useless self into the water below. But then Clarence the Angel shows up and begins to rewind his life story to show him that his life did matter. 


Clarence did not change George’s circumstances or rewrite his life - he helped George to change his perspective.


I’ll hear people say, “I don’t have any friends.” Or “I can’t be friends with people in our church.” Where does that come from? We have always had dear friends in every church that we have pastored. Many of them are still our dearest friends. 


What is the motivation for a “Wonderful Life” rather than a “Struggle Bus?” Jesus’ reply might be, 


Love God: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Remember when Jesus restored Peter to his calling? Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Then Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” 

The basis for ministry is loving Jesus first. 


Love People: Jesus said, “A second is equally important, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40 NLT).


The ministry is all about loving people. But it is loving people the way that He loves us. “He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). 


This Monday morning if you are on the “Struggle Bus,” you can get off. Today you can exit by changing your perspective as George Baily did in, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” 


As we move from Thanksgiving and toward Christmas focus on, "It's a Wonderful Life."

Return to Monday Morning November 29

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