The Little Things

The picture at the left is NOT a mistake. But, let me explain. The cabin was nestled in the tall pines of east Texas, my wife was attending a ladies retreat in Ft Worth. I was spending Saturday writing, praying, drinking coffee and writing – it was a unique benefit – a great day – except for one thing.

The day started with a cool 42 degrees; breakfast and fellowship with a neighboring pastor was exceptional. Jogging down an old country road was invigorating and the peace and quiet was exactly what I wanted and needed except for one thing.

 It is amazing that one thing can cause such aggravation. One, small thing, so annoying. One insignificant frustration so attention-getting. Yes, a fly.

 I would close my eyes for a moment and he landed on my nose. I was reading and he landed on my hand. Drinking coffee and he would sit on the rim of my cup.

 It reminded me of a story I had read; about a teacher who held a white paper up with a small black dot in the center. She asked the class what did they see and unanimously they replied, “we see a small black dot.” The teacher replied, “that is what is keeping you back from accomplishing great things in life – none of you recognized the most obvious – the white paper.”

The fly asks, no, demands attention. Without a fly swatter, we swing, swat, mutter, wave and even, scream, at the fly.

You have an entire life to accomplish your passion yet persuaded by the fly you sink into despair. You have a dream and the means surrounds you but the fly keeps you preoccupied. Your prayer is being answered today but all you see is a small black dot. The fly creates frustrating moments of interruption keeping you from focusing on your ministry, your calling and your purpose.

The fly cannot be ignored, some think he is possessed with a demon, always showing up in the most obnoxious moment. Perching just arms length away, laughing at your dilemma. The menace of your message. The wart on your writing. The stench of your story. The disruption of your dream.

Flies are frustrating. For some, just opening the door and letting him fly out makes his day and yours much more comfortable. Why not get up from your chair, open the door of faith and let the fly buzz out of your life. If not, then grab a rolled up newspaper, address the problem for what it is and swat!

Habits can be dismissed. The past can be forgiven. The mind games can be conquered. The people problems can be cured.

The small, insignificant dot can be swallowed up into a mass of white.

Comment: What is a “fly” that frustrates you?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

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A Miracle in Your Marriage

Can we expect a miracle in our marriage; when frustrations, failures and fears have a tendency to creep up in what we thought was a near perfect romance? When love spirals down and tensions spews up in tirades of anger? Can I expect the best when all I am seeing is the worse?

I think it is interesting to note the first miracle Jesus performed was at a wedding. I think it is not a coincidence but determined to prove a point.

First, to declare Jesus is as welcome in the casual atmosphere of life as He is in the stately worship of a Sunday service. We find Jesus in a stable, at the seashore with fishermen, at dinner with a tax collector, walking through a vineyard, sitting on a mountainside and visiting in people’s homes. Jesus feels at home in our home if you simply welcome Him into your home.

Secondly, Jesus was at the wedding to exhibit His miracle-working power. Jesus worked a miracle at a wedding and He is still working miracles in marriages today. If Jesus can turn water into wine at a wedding then He can turn friction into love, anger into respect and separation into togetherness. Marriage is a trinity including husband, wife and Jesus; without Jesus, your marriage is incomplete. But miracles still happen in marriages. A couple who had been separated by bitter and hateful words is making a go of it again. A couple’s heated argument was changed into trust and honor. Yes, Jesus can still work a miracle in your marriage.

Thirdly, the story reveals Jesus asked for vessels of water so He could change them to wine. God changes circumstances but mostly, changes people. Bring yourself into the arms of Jesus and experience a Divine change today.

Sound like a fairy tale? Here are some practical steps to marriage miracles:

Be thankful True gratitude can open the hardest of hearts. Instead of trying to change each other be thankful for those virtues that brought you together in the first place. Your “first love” was based on attraction – dig those up from your hidden memory and be outspoken in your gratitude for each of these. Express your thanks be writing a note, a phone call in the middle of a busy afternoon, or at dinner time.

Be prayerful Prayer is the key to every marriage. Pray for your wife/husband for extra strength and love. Pray for yourself that you would become the kind of husband/wife God would be pleased with. Prayer will soften your heart and your spouse.

Be kind Kindness can get more do through one single act than a million complaints. No greater attribute in marriage can get more done. It may take time but its results are astounding. Don’t give to get and don’t expect kindness in return, just make it your common virtue.

Be respectful Men marry for respect, honor and regard – to compliment a man is like adding a deposit to your savings account, it will build with interest. Women marry for love and to support her with a sense of security and one to one attention will build a lifelong marriage.

Be real Dishonesty breaks the strongest marriage. Real relationships are built on trust – once broken, it make takes months or years to repair. Cover ups and hidden deceit break the back bone of love. Be honest, transparent and humble and watch miracles happen in your marriage.

Comment: What is another change you can invoke into your marriage?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

Public Ministry Continues in Private

Pastors often find their self jockeying for positions to find the most prominent spot in the arena of public ministry. Like business leaders climbing executive ladders it is more “who you know” rather than “what you know.” The Christian realm can be sadly possessed with a “Saul” mentality of the tallest, the smartest, the most talented and even, the best looking. While this may represent the minority rather than the majority; we must not “shoot” at the “offenders” but rather we must look for the smile and approval of God.

Yet public ministry sounds like it is different in some respects than the pastor of a smaller congregation; can 30 people in the congregation warrant a public ministry? Of course, public ministry consists of a Pastor who opens the door of his home and enters into the community or enters into the pulpit – he is now on display – “an epistle known and read of all men;” so whether one or one thousand, public ministry consists of an extension of our familial ministry.

Yet, public ministry is not separated from our private but rather, an extension. What we do in private, what we are in private and how we live in private affects, influences and even widens our public ministry. The private and the public mesh together even though they are intricately apart. Public ministry continues in private.

Public ministry is best developed by personal disciplines The disciplines of fasting, prayer, meditation in the Word, exercise and memorization are not the popular kids on the block. Yet our public ministry is definitely expanded and enhanced when these disciplines become a regular part of who we are in private. No accolades, no banners, no applause just the making of a man of God in the closet of prayer. The 3M’ of meditation, musing and memorization in the Word of God will show, not only in the pulpit but in the community.

Public ministry is best championed by personal mentors Timothy with his mentor, Paul, becomes the biblical norm for the New Testament preacher. To grow I must be challenged. To learn I must study. But, to have great influence is best developed by a godly, spiritual mentor of the faith. We will grow only in the areas we know unless we have a mentor who has experienced greater pools of spirituality. A mentor should be one who can take you into the presence of God by his prayers. A mentor should be one who can take you into the Word of God by his words. A mentor should be one who can take you into the holiness of God by his actions.

Public ministry is best formed in private prayer To become the preacher you want to be you must become first, the prayer person you want to be. Private prayer propels public ministry. …they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). Listening to God speak prevents wrong decisions. When you sincerely desire the power of God in public you will know the power of God in private.

Public ministry is enriched by private infillings 24/7 sounds sacrificial but it also reeks of death. There must be a pulling away before there becomes a falling apart. Taking time with your family is essential. Dating your wife is the fragrance of public ministry. Finding a retreat setting, relaxing, reading a good book and sitting on the back porch can be the rejuvenation in this week’s Sunday message.

Public ministry is best protected by private purity He wouldn’t even raise his head. He had kissed a woman that was not his wife while working late in the church office. He admitted his secret sin and now his public ministry was stripped from him; he was deflated, completely exasperated. Public ministry can be lost with private impurities. Private secrets have become public killers. Place a moral fence around your ministry, guard your mind and live in the caution of spiritual disciplines. Keep your family close by, communicate with those you trust and fight the good fight of faith.

Comment: What would you add to increase private time values to the pastor?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

Three Questions Every Married Women is Asking

Married women are asking questions and nobody dare to answer them and there are three major reasons why. The first is no one really knows what the questions are. Secondly, most are afraid to answer the questions, and thirdly, most married women who ask questions aren’t really looking for answers.

But if we did know what the questions are and if we can assume they really want answers and we dare to walk where angels fear to tread, then read on, at your own risk, because women can answer a question without really giving an answer but be careful, be very careful, to the man who endeavors to answer the question, (see point three above).

The three questions most married women are asking:

  1. Does my husband think I still look good?
  2. Does my husband still love me?
  3. Is my husband listening to me?

Now, I know I will get emails and other comments saying that is NOT the question they are asking and I must admit, there are many more questions married women are asking but remember I am a male, I am writing this from a husband prospective. When women ask questions these are the three questions most husbands are hearing.

First, does my husband think I still look good? Your husband may or may not have married you for your looks. If you actually wowed him during courtship then you may have some reasons to worry when you reach 75 but when you are 75 there are many more ways to keep him around for a few more years. But most husbands marry because he enjoyed being around you, (assuming of course, that women are actually reading this blog). He married you for fun, laughs, good times; he felt completed with you and would not be completed without you.

Let me explain, women think men marry for sex but actually most men marry for strokes. They actually like to be petted, nursed, carried for, and bragged on. If you make your husband feel good when he comes home from work then you will see him continue to come home from work. Your greatest marriage insurance is to brag on your husband, compliment him.

As far as still looking good to him, sure, brush your hair, put on perfume, wear something fresh but most of all greet him with a smile – make him feel good to be home.

Secondly, does my husband still love me? Well, most likely so but men don’t communicate like women or as often as women. Squeezing an “I love you,” from his lips may be more difficult than most women realize but it doesn’t change his thoughts towards you. Men communicate love with gifts, time, protection, a service (mow, take out the trash, etc), or wrestling with the kids. I agree, men need to practice saying, I love you, to their wife and showing it but don’t be startled if he hasn’t said, “I love you” in a while but today could be different. (Men, if you have waded through this blog this far then you need this, tell your wife today, “I love you”). Ladies, give him a reason to say, “I love you.”

Thirdly, Is my husband listening to me? “No!” I mean, “Yes!” Well, sometimes. Would you mind repeating the question? Men are compartmentalized. It is an understatement to say that men are preoccupied. They carry their work in their head; they bury their nose in a newspaper or stare at a computer screen for hours and hardly come up for air. This is his way to escape but check his pulse occasionally.

Let me give you some ideas:

Don’t try to lay heavy decisions upon him when he first comes home from work – bluntly, he isn’t listening.

Don’t try to have an important conversation with him right before dinner – he isn’t listening.

Don’t interrupt his game, his reading or his sleep – he isn’t listening.

Instead, wait till he has been home about an hour, after supper and after his planned escape (rest time), then sit next to him and say, “You always seem to have such good advice; I need some input, would you help me?” The damsel in distress! Yes, he is listening. By giving a compliment, asking for an answer and asking for help, you have just tapped into the male brain to come to the rescue.

When you need to ask a question in a hurry, make sure you are looking at him and he is looking at you. Men need to see you to hear you – most of the time. (Men, again, if you have waded this far you are in way over your head, but the next time your wife needs to talk to you about something, look her in the eyes and give her the honor of having your complete attention. In other words, turn your phone on silent and put it in your pocket).

Well, I just thought of a few more questions… maybe, next time.

Comment: What is another question women are asking?

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission from the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author

See Inside Highpoints Book

Highpoints Book is being used by churches and individuals in their small group Bible Studies and by individuals who want to grow in their faith. If you are still on the fence and haven’t purchased your ebook or paperback copy yet – we are going to make it easier for you.

First, what is Highpoints about?

Here is a short introduction.

Does your heart crave more? More of his presence? Join the climb to the highpoints – the place in God where the scenery is breathtaking. Elevation is for those who dare to climb. Climb the mountain to reach your summit with the Holy Spirit as your guide. Reach the pinnacle in a renewed passion and desire for a holy God. Touch the top with your heart and find the God of the mountain. Get ready to climb-get ready to plant your flag at the Highpoint.

We are growing, reaching and climbing together as we grasp Trust, Endurance, Faith; like we have never had it before. Highpoints includes stories of real life mountain climbers telling their stories of stamina, high risk danger and near death experiences. Coupled with tough choices and breathtaking scenery we will move from one mountain peak reaching to our Highpoint.

You can read more about Highpoints book at our website www.highpointbook.com

Secondly, I have a Kindle, can I purchase and download it there?

Yes, it is available on

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Highpoints-Those-Who-Dare-Climb/dp/1449761291/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1349446506&sr=1-3&keywords=highpoints

Christian Book Distributors http://www.christianbook.com/highpoints-those-who-dare-climb-ebook/jim-laudell/9781449761301/pd/32826EB?item_code=WW&netp_id=1043514&event=ESRCG&view=details

Barnes and Noble for the NOOK version  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/highpoints-jim-laudell/1112669252?ean=9781449761288

Thirdly, Can I preview it before I buy?

Yes, just click here and read the first two chapters http://www.google.com/books?printsec=frontcover&id=jyQ1o6ba9wsC#v=onepage&q&f=false

Lastly, what are other people saying about Highpoints?

Not everyone has experienced mountain climbing, but everyone has experienced falling and then fighting to get back up. Jim takes us from that point of crisis, through the climb, and to the summit. Keep climbing! Brandon Cox, Pastor of Grace Hills Church, NWA, Editor of www.Pastors.com

My wife and I have been agreeing in prayer for a special anointing upon the book leading the reader to their own personal Highpoints.