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A wave came in

"A wave came in" Continued...

Issue: "Flame-outs," May 8, 2010

Q: What do you see as your greatest success? My marriage is my greatest success because we are really, really happily married after a long time. . . . And most of the other people I know, my age, do not have all of their children professing faith in Christ. I do, and I know people who are much better fathers who do not. That humbles me.

Q: And what about Redeemer? Redeemer is the other great success. . . . We paddled out on our board and a wave came in. You can do all the same paddling and standing and then if the wave does not come in there is no surfing. We could have easily come here, done everything that we have done, and have very, very little to show for it. I know other people who have been every bit as faithful, if not more faithful than me, and do not have anything like the same kind of amount of success. I do not look at myself as being more effective than them, but I am more successful and therefore more blessed, for only reasons that God in His sovereignty would know.
To hear Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Tim Keller, click here.

Fighting inferiority and superiority complexes

By Marvin Olasky

Q: How did you overcome your "painful introversion"? Are you saying, how did an introvert get to be a megachurch pastor in Manhattan? Very gradually. It is a combination: God called me to be a minister and then decided to prosper my ministry more than a lot of other people's, which was always a surprise. I do not know why. It is not false modesty. I am still not sure why.

Q: Gift and grace? The gift side of it is that God continues to send me people who seem to be helped by the ministry. That overcomes some of your lack of confidence, but the danger of relying on your gifts, saying, "Hey, I am a pretty good preacher, people will come back to listen to me," is that that leads to the opposite of an inferiority complex, a superiority complex, which is probably more deadly. They are both self-absorption.

Q: How do you fight that? As I moved from feeling like nobody likes me to everybody likes me-then you get really famous and nobody likes you again-I had to work on the gospel a lot in my heart. Every time I started to get too big a head, something would come along and God would bring me down. This is the way I think everybody grows. Something would bring me down and I would have to use the gospel to shore up my confidence on the basis of His grace rather than on my gifts.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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