Marion | Have you ever had a PLUM party? Have you ever heard of a PLUM party? In the IBSA Annual Meeting’s Annual Sermon Josh Crisp, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bethalto, introduced what was an unfamiliar term to some but turned out to be a very familiar concept most.
Crisp explained that in Southern Illinois parlance, PLUM stands for “Poor Little Old Me.” As child when Crisp was having what others might call a “pity party,” his father would tell him to quit having a PLUM party. A PLUM party is what Crisp said Elijah was having in 1 Kings 19 – and it’s something that IBSA pastors want to avoid.
“We see pastors and prophets in the Bible having a PLUM party,” he said. “Ministry is people. Ministry is serving people. At times people don’t want to be led.” When those times came to the prophet Elijah, He became afraid, ran away, and sat down under a broom tree.
While it can be difficult and discouraging, God will give you everything you need just like He did with Elijah, said Crisp, November 9 at Cornerstone Church in Marion. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel blamed Elijah for the devastating drought he had prophesized and for the slaying of their priests. “Elijah was Israel’s most wanted, and God protected him.”
Crisp related a story from his own life, when he felt God’s call to leave Kansas City where he was attending seminary to move to Indianapolis to plant a church and continue classes remotely. Once there his wife fell into a deep depression, their financial situation became desperate, and he “didn’t know if their marriage was going to make it.”
While in Indianapolis Crisp, who was discharged from the military on a disability, saw a doctor for a six-month physical who told him about a vocational rehabilitation program for veterans such as him. God had intervened for him just as he had Elijah. Crisp reminded pastors, “God will give you personal supplies when ministry is difficult.”
Elijah was still on the run and fearful when the Lord came to him. “The Lord was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire,” said Crisp. “After the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper… God will give you a soft whisper.”
When the prophet needed encouragement, God reminded him that he was not alone. There were 7,000 others in the land who not bowed down to Baal.
Crisp spoke about when he was in basic training and had poison ivy in one eye that was quickly progressing to the other, taking away his sight. This was just as he was to embark on a 28-mile march that would mark the completion of his training. His options were to go to the infirmary to have it treated, which would mean redoing the entire six weeks of basic training, or find a way to finish basic training and then deal with the poison ivy.
His drill sergeant knew what he needed. “Hold onto your gun with your shooting arm and the ruck sack of the guy ahead of you with the other,” said Drill Sergeant Jackson. He encouraged Crisp all along the way, even walking with him that last mile. “He knew what I needed,” Crisp said.
He implored pastors and church leaders to look at all God has done in their own lives. “When I have a PLUM party God always gets me out of it.”
Reflecting on Elijah and other Old and New Testament figures who faced trying times, Crisp said, “We’re not the first ones to go through hard times in ministry. Why do we think we’re different from them? Pastors, pastors’ wives, and ministry leaders, let’s quit having PLUM parties and get to work for King Jesus!”