20 Reasons Why I Go To Church

Someone who was missing church gipped, “I can live for God and not go to church.” Really? But why would you want to? The Bible is clear about church attendance and below are Twenty Reasons Why I Go to Church

1. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Don’t you want to be an integral part of something Jesus is building? Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
2. Often, it is not leaving the church that is as wrong as WHY you left it. God warns of the “root of bitterness.” 1 John 2:9-10 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
3. Our children are to follow our footsteps, “Parents that treat the Church as optional shouldn’t be surprised when their children treat Jesus as unnecessary.” – Benjamin Leonard
4. “The gates of hell will not prevail against the church” Don’t you want to join a body of believers who believe in the same causes? Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
5. The early church joined in fellowship, breaking bread and prayer – corporate prayer is essential to the body of Christ. The church provides this opportunity. Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
6. “Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together” is not a suggestion. Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
7. The church is a body and Jesus is the head – the umbrella of protection is essential to each believer. The church provides this opportunity. Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
8. Tithe is the responsibility of the believer and my church provides a storehouse for my giving. Even the disciples participating in giving to the church. 1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
9. Church provides a central location for others to receive help. James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
10. Church gives me a place of personal accountability. 3 John 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11. Church is a lighthouse set upon a hill to bring people together of “like precious faith.” Matthew 5:14-15 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
12. The Word of God preached at church is personal and directed for the salvation of the lost. Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
13. Water baptism is a step of obedience and church provides this opportunity. Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
14. Communion is an ordinance of the church and the church provides this opportunity. 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. (Previous verses state communion was done in the church).
15. Testimonies of changed lives is an inspiration in my life and church provides this opportunity. Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
16. Church is for singing and musical expression in a group of people. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
17. Church is a place for Bible Study, growth and discipleship, which everyone needs to grow in the Lord. We should delight in it. Psalms 122:1 A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
18. Jesus said Church is the house of prayer. We go to church to pray. Simple. Mark 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
19. Jesus Christ is coming back for a glorious church – I know this is not talking about an actual building but the body of Jesus Christ but still – the church is a place where glory resides. Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
20. Church in the Greek is the word Ekklesia and it means “called out ones” – if you don’t called to church who are you called out with? Who are your associations?

Maybe you need to ask yourself are you a giver or a receiver? If you are truly a giver you will want to be in the house of God to give worship, praise, thanks and to serve others.

Can you add some more biblical reasons why we go to church?

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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED FROM THEIR PASTOR?

 

WHAT DO PEOPLE NEED FROM THEIR PASTOR

 

 Pastor X was going into his first church with excitement and freshly drawn plans to blast his church off the map. Well, that’s how it began and within a couple years the new church turned into work, long hours and desperate measures for the pastor to keep up. Feeling the need to focus, Pastor X asked with a sigh of exasperation, “What does my church need from me the most?” “What do I focus on?” “What do people need from a pastor?”

 

 

GIVE YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY

 

The Superman pastor who leaps over tall buildings, stops speeding trains and deflects bullets off his chest is dead. The pastor who explains his own struggles of falling asleep in an early morning prayer meeting, admits he is asking God to make him a better pastor, asks for payer when he is sick and is transparent will gain more traction than Superman

 

Think humble. I am not better. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. Let’s all work together to please God and let’s work as a team to get where we ALL need to be – will find people willing to circle around you. 

 

Give your personal testimony of grace, your personal testimony of forgiveness and your personal testimony of healing.  Be human.

 

 

GIVE PRIME TIME

 

This doesn’t mean to give ALL your time. Give people your ear, your eyes and your understanding. When you are there be ALL there. Don’t be checking your phone while talking to them, don’t be looking somewhere else and definitely don’t keep looking at your watch.

 

 WHEN YOU ARE THERE BE ALL THERE

 

Give each member their hug for the day, compliment their promptness, and thank them for their faithfulness appreciate them for their prayers. Make each minute count by making valuable moments when you are with them. You can’t give everyone equal time but you can give them quality time with you are with them.

 

 

 

EXEMPLIFY PRAYER

 

Prayer is as necessary to a pastor as oil to your car engine. Slow down, spend time with God, and rest in His presence. Seek God and His presence will come; if you seek an experience with God you may wait indefinitely but seek a relationship with God and He will meet you when you mention His name.

 

 FIND A PLACE, IDENTIFY HIS PRESENCE AND GIVE JESUS YOUR PRAISE

 

Make prayer a priority at church, at home and in your personal life. Encourage your church to pray at church and at home. Announce special times of prayer and give time in each service for praying for one another. 

 

 

LOVE PEOPLE

 

People can discern between a pastor who is doing his job and a pastor who loves his people. It is no mistake the Pastor is compared to a caring shepherd in the Gospels. A pastor who loves his sheep will tell them, show them and disciple them. A pastor may not be able to make every hospital call, spend unbridled time on the phone or casually talk to the guy who has nothing going on today. But he can express care, respect, and thankfulness to everyone.

 

 

What do you think people want from their 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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

 

Three Things Pastors Are Afraid Of

A CHURCH MEMBER WILL UNLOAD ON THEM RIGHT BEFORE SERVICE

Let’s face it Pastors go to the pulpit with a lot on their mind. Announcements may not have been made. They forgot to acknowledge a special guest in the service. The pastor was to receive a special offering for a mission’s project. A song was to be sang before the message. An emphasis was to be given for the children’s ministry. A sermon series introductory video was to be played right after you read your text.

Having a stage assistant can be invaluable even in smaller churches. The microphones are filled with fresh batteries. The microphone is tested and ready for the special song. The video has been set up to play. A note sheet has been placed on the pulpit for announcements and special acknowledgements. The pastor shouldn’t be responsible but a trainee into ministry can be introduced in this position.

If the pastor didn’t have enough on his mind, a church member comes to church ready to unload their pent up emotions and vents right before service. This unbelievable outbreak can harm, influence and overshadow the service. Why not try these?  Stay in your office till ten minutes before service; shake hands with a few people, make your way back to the pulpit and begin service. Position greeters and don’t linger in the lobby before service. Tell someone kindly, “I would like to hear what you have to say; I’m sure it is important but I still have a few hands to shake before service begins.” Smile and walk away. As pastor set the tone and the time for meetings.

A CHURCH MEMBER WILL GET ANGRY OVER SOMETHING THE PASTOR HAD LITTLE OR NO CONTROL OVER

Even the most perfect pastor will have someone get angry with their judgment or with a particular action. Don’t dismay. You are not in this boat alone. Pastors admit about two people get angry with the pastor every year. If the church runs 100 or 200 people and only one or two get upset a year; I’d say you are running a good average. Let’s face it a pastor can’t make everybody happy. In fact, you will go insane trying to make everybody happy. So what is a pastor to do? Let’s look at a few suggestions. (This is a big subject and deserves a blog post dedicated to this one item).

LET’S FACE IT A PASTOR CAN’T MAKE EVERYBODY HAPPY

Firstly, make sure your communication of events, programs and ideas are given plenty of air space. The church bulletin, announcement screen, flyers, postcards or website should be informative and announced in advance.

Secondly, build a circle of protectors around you. Make a few decisions as Pastor, make most decisions as a team. This is called insurance. The board decided. The committee decided. The vision team decided. You may need to call a special church meeting but make sure everyone has the proper information before the meeting. Some meetings we discuss but don’t vote – it gives time to process the information and make a more informed decision the next meeting time.

Thirdly, treat everyone with respect. IF someone is angry don’t give a church member the luxury of dragging you into the fight, Smile and say, “Well…..” as Bethel Family Worship Center, Pastor Russell Hylton, suggests.

A CHURCH MEMBER WILL QUESTION MY INTEGRITY

Pastors want to get it right. They may suffer from depression because they can’t get it right every time but Pastors know that if they lose their integrity they lose the ministry. That’s right. In the ministry the moment integrity is gone then usually the church board will declare the Pastor incompetent and he will be terminated. Pastors know they aren’t perfect even though they try very hard to be perfect. They try to preach better, lead better and shepherd better but most guard their integrity because they know they could lose their spouse, their family, their church, their income and mostly, their intimate relationship with God. Let’s guard our heart by put security protections in place. Have a pastoral friend you can talk to. Date your wife. Read the Bible and pray daily. These are just a few safeguards that protect the heart. 

LET’S GUARD OUR HEART BY PUT SECURITY PROTECTIONS IN PLACE

In my office I have a picture of my wife’s and my wedding picture, is a picture going to save me from a closed door impurity – No, but it is one more hurdle that is in place to make it more difficult to lose my integrity. Integrity is the most valuable thing a pastor possesses and he must guard it with everything he has.

But what happens when someone misjudges a situation and questions your authority? Lies were conjured to judge Jesus – let’s look at his response.  He answered them not a word. There will be a time when you will speak in your defense but to speak in haste or angry only deepens the problem. Wait – sometimes giving the accuser enough time and he will trap himself with his own lie. Trust in God to speak up for you. God is very angry when people misjudge a man of God. Let God make the first move. Pray with your leaders. Humble yourself – arrogance will lose every battle. Stephen, when stoned in Acts 7, had the face of an angel, possible one of the most impacting moments in Paul’s later conversion. Let your leaders and congregation see Jesus in you.

Pastor, what are you mostly afraid of?

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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

FIVE THINGS WE MUST NOT CHANGE IN THE CHURCH

Change is inevitable–it will come for the better or for the worse. Change comes when we want to, we need to or we have to. Some churches are changing (for the better or for the worse) because they need to. Let’s be honest, in thousands of churches across America the “builder generation” is paying the bills and the “millennials” are still unfaithful.

While traveling across the United States thousands of churches with large or small congregations are making incremental changes trying to address the needs of an ever changing culture. Many changes in color, design, methods, approach, and outreach are being seen in churches who are passionate about reaching a new generation. Many churches are still operating in the 80’s with their myriad of programs no longer pursuing their purpose and lacking passion. Change will come and not all change is bad but not all change is good.

There are however, some essentials to never lose grasp of and I’ve compiled a short list of value elements in the church that should be the bedrock of our faith, I call them the CHURCH UNCHANGABLES.

 

A SINNER FRIENDLY CHURCH SHOULD NOT MEAN WE ARE A SIN FRIENDLY CHURCH.

All churches should be friendly to sinners. Let’s face the facts, if we want a sinner to come to church and give their heart and life to Jesus then we must be friendly to sinners. Jesus himself was a friend to sinners, see Luke7:34  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! Although, being gluttonous and winebibber was a slam against him, a friend to publicans and sinners, is a compliment. Though the Phariseedical crowd refrained from touching, talking or eating with sinners, Jesus encouraged it.

Yes, the church must be sinner friendly. However, to reach the unchurched we must not forget to stand strong against the evils of this day and the sins held socially acceptable. We must uphold God’s standard of righteousness.  Sinner friendly doesn’t mean we muddle in the same puddle. While some churches quit the call for repentance, we must not slide down the same abyss. Sin should be defined and declared while giving opportunity for a repentance prayer. A healthy church warns of sin and reveals the Savior.

 

SINNER FRIENDLY DOESN’T MEAN WE MUDDLE IN THE SAME PUDDLE

 

WHY WE MEET SHOULD NEVER CHANGE BUT WHEN AND WHERE AND WHAT SHOULD CHANGE REGULARLY

If we lose our WHY then we cease to be a church and self-create into a business, a party, a club or social gathering. Our WHY–Jesus lived, died, resurrected and coming back again must never change. Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

THE WHY DRIVES EVERYTHING IN THE CHURCH

 

Bringing people to Jesus, baptizing them and teaching them is WHO we are and that must never change. But there are a few things we can change; times, days, methods, places, and opportunities are variables. Recently our Wednesday Adult Bible Study starting serving dinner at 6:30 pm, with Bible Study at 7:00 pm has consistently gathered the most response. That may change in time but at this present time we are investing more into the Bible Study with handouts, food, praying together, and celebrating with communion. We changed the method and still hold up highly the WHY. 

 

REGULAR TIMES OF PRAYER SHOULD NOT CHANGE TO SEE YOU NEXT SUNDAY.

Can I bluntly ask? Why are we ashamed of bringing the congregation into corporate prayer? A deacon or an usher can quietly bring a disruptive saint to the back but we value the privilege of having corporate, community prayer. Leading each person who wants to pray into a side room may embarrass the seeker more when they are with people they don’t know, probing into their personal life. Why not let a friend slip an arm around them and pray with them while they stand at the end of the service? Or invite everyone to come forward to pray as a body, the people of God kneeling together, and watching God work through the lives of people. Where is the prayer room? Do you and your staff meet regularly for prayer? When does the church body pray over the needs of the church body? Is there a regular time in the morning worship for prayer? Why not?

A pastor with a church of 600+ people confessed to me, while we were drinking coffee at Starbucks, “I haven’t called the people to prayer for six years.” The “big churches don’t do it”, “you might lose control”, or “there may be emotional outbreaks” are detrimental imaginations. The following Sunday a time of prayer, to come up front and pray, was given after the end of the message and over 250+ people responded. When the pastor and I met again at Starbucks, he confessed, “It was like revival, a real refreshing.”

PERFORMANCE AND PERSONALITIES SHADOWS GOD’S PRESENCE

The presence of God in a church service compared to when God is not present in the church service is perfectly compared to having church with no electricity and having church with electricity. Can we examine our worship times and ask the question, “do we do church without electricity?” The presence of God can easily be overshadowed by performers who desire to sway the crowd with gyrations and musical entrees. The scriptures warn us “no flesh should glory in His presence.” God’s presence is of great value. When God comes to church everything else develops, grows and matures. Yes, there are levels of His presence in every service yet personalities lowering the level of His presence “grieves the spirit.”

CAN WE EXAMINE OUR WORSHIP EXPERIENCES AND ASK THE QUESTION,

“DO WE DO CHURCH WITHOUT ELECTRICITY?”

 

CULTURE SHOULD NOT BE THE DRIVING FORCE BUT CHRIST JESUS IS THE DRIVING FORCE

To define the church by the crowd might increase the numbers – to define the church by Christ will disciple the numbers. Culture gives birth to entitlement belief systems and maybe even, unfaithful members but a genuine Christ Jesus experience births committed, loyal and faithful members. Culture defined worship is compared to a making a plumber the captain of a war ship because both have experience with water. Christ Jesus brings wisdom to the table. Christ Jesus beings insight and direction to the board room. Christ Jesus brings a driving force into the auditorium. People can see the difference, feel the difference and know the difference.

 

LET’S CHANGE THE CHANGEABLE AND CONTINUE TO CHAMPION FOR THE UNCHANGABLES.

You may not agree with my list of unchangebales or you could add a few more but at least give it deep and complete contemplation. The better way could be standing in front of you right now.

 

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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling.

Are We Praying Wrong?

prayerPraying often has its dips and turns according to the emotional needs of the man or woman praying but what would happen if we changed one-act of prayer? No, I’m not advocating a new, improved or  “greater revelation” type change but a scriptural change to our prayer life. Of course, I am assuming prayer is a natural element of your Christian life. We have both, corporate and private prayer and unlike some, time spent praying is not as important as why we pray.

We all agree, to pray is to communicate with God, both speaking and listening but acting on our prayer has been virtually nonexistent. We are asking according to the Word of God; right? We have checked or examined our motives and heart; right? We have prayed earnestly and sincerely; right? Yet, no answer; why? I believe this simple act of stepping out or taking hold of it through action may be the very thing missing in most of our prayers.

Jesus asks the question, “Who do you say I am?” A very important question to ask our self as we pray, in fact, Jesus instructed us first to acknowledge the “I AM” when he taught the disciples how to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed is your name.” Hebrews also, reiterates, “You must believe that HE IS and is a rewarder of those who seek him.” Prayer is based not on His power but on His person, the I Am.

Once you believe in your prayer then it is time to act on your prayer.

Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This was a direct message to the conquering church, just before Jesus promised the gates of hell could not prevail against the church. When people come together in corporate prayer act on the prayer by action.

My good friend, Clifford Hurst, pastor and Greek scholar, stated the Greek text states, heaven has already “loosed” or “bound” and now the church can act on it. That’s powerful! Praying in God’s purpose knows the work has already been accomplished and now we can rejoice in the prayer answered. Praise Him before the results come because we pray not for results or revelation but we have a relationship with the I AM. No, not a “name it, claim it” but a pray it – believe it.

Take for instance, Hannah prayed for a child and received the promise, she left the temple, knowing in her heart God had granted her request but the answer came gradually over the next nine months. She painted the nursery and put together the crib after she received the promise. When God puts the seed of faith in your heart then you can begin to act on it.

The greatest form of faith is when I walk out of the prayer room knowing God has heard me.

What have you been praying about? What can you do to act on it? Put shoes on your prayer. Take the step of faith. Build your relationship instead of hoping for results. Trust the I AM – believe and act.

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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Marry Someone You Like NOT Just Someone You Love

coupleThe crazy thing about love is it feels just right. That is until two kids later, a messy house, an overworked husband and a bad hair day. Feelings change and the subject of love is being defined in a myriad of make believe scenarios until it has become hard to really recognize it. If you follow the movie trail you simply run into someone in the rain, he covers you with his umbrella, you fall in love and magically you love each other until a major breakup. Have you ever noticed how two happily married people can become two unhappy, angry, bitter and divorced people? We could define “love” but the false images of exploding emotions and raging hormones are embedded in the minds of many youth and much easier for them to understand. But love is too passing for many, no concrete but fluid. There must be a better way to describe what real love looks like – so, here it is:

Marry someone you like NOT someone you love. Since emotions lie and feelings change, ask yourself this question, do I really like them? The sage advice of Amos still rings true, Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

HONEST? Are they transparent? Are they hiding something? Do you feel uneasy around them? Is holding secrets their big game plan? Honesty between a couple is real love and if you don’t like them holding back pertinent information then how will it be a few years into marriage?

TRUST? This is different. Would you trust him with your sister? Would you trust her with another guy? Do you trust them with money? Small areas of mistrust often grow into large areas of mistrust. Do you like the way he or she is when you are not around?

ANGRY? What ticks them off? Do they get angry easily? Have you seen levels of impatience that you don’t like? Are they calm, cool and collected or angry, anxious and agitated? Will this explosive character follow you into marriage? Give them time to change without a long term commitment and be sure and marry someone you like.

CARE? How do they treat others? Do they show concern for the hurting? Are they considerate? Is he a gentleman? Are they selfish, proud or cruel? He may look like a hunk now but how will he treat you when you are sick? She may be beautiful on the outside but is she hospitable, loving and caring?

PRAY? Are they leaning in towards God or withdrawing from God? Do you pray together? Are dates a “touchy, feely” date or an opportunity to find out more about each other’s spiritual growth and stamina? Do you know what her convictions are? Do you know what he believes?

Find out if you like the guy or girl you’re with before you fall in love.

 

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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling advice.

Five Components of a Compelling Message

When you begin to develop a message, with the intent you never want them to forget this, there are some essentials that must be included.

One time while baking a cake the sugar was left out, even though all the other ingredients were mixed well, baked well and frosted well, something was missing. Ever listen to a speaker only to discover something was missing? Just like ingredients there are essentials to every great presentation.

Here are my five components to a compelling message:

The Beginning Sentence There are opponents to this method but grabbing your audience at the beginning, especially when left with a question in their mind of how is this going to end, has enormous results. Take for instance, “I will give in this 25 minute message three ways you can change your marriage by the end of the week.” People will be grabbing their notepads, sitting on the edge of their seats and ready to grasp their “life changing” tools. Notice the sentence answers several presuppositions: “How much will it cost?” (I will give you) and “How long will it take?” (25 minute message) and “Can I do it?” (Yes, by the end of the week).

A word of caution is in order: don’t overstate your objectives or content. Understate and over deliver but create enough suspense and punch to pull them into the message.

Interesting Information Some like statistics, others like reading a definition but pulling some facts together with no personality can lose an audience. Rather share intriguing data with personality added, take for instance, a personal story with facts scattered throughout the story line.

“Sara, was kidnapped from a Kmart shopping center parking lot at 11:00 PM on a Saturday evening, after several days of beatings, she became another statistic in the horrid sex trafficking surge. FBI information states currently there are an estimated 293,000 American children at risk of being exploited and trafficked for sex, in the United States alone”

Sprinkles Humor, bold points, quotes and practical applications need to be sprinkled generously but not over done. I usually wake early in the morning and fix breakfast for my wife before she heads off to work. One morning I wasn’t paying particular attention and I must have salted the eggs twice and it made a distasteful difference to the “good” breakfast she usually enjoyed each morning. Too much of anything can distract, disrupt and dismantle a good message or speech. If you are preparing a sermon, add enough flavoring to make it taste good but don’t allow you congregation to taste the seasoning at the expense of the well prepared meat.

Personal Experience Telling others how you came through can add weight to the message. Don’t deviate into personal trivia, don’t embarrass people you love and never exaggerate or boast of your own successes. But do boast on others, be honest and transparent. The pulpit is not a place for super heroes. This is a great spot for humor or for a tear. If you can’t think of a personal story, tell a story of someone else but make sure it highlights your message.

Personal experience should help the hearer personalize the truth. Take for instance this based on a real life story:

                Just last night while riding patrol with our city police we were dispatched to an attempted suicide. The young 17-year-old had barely ingested enough prescription medicine to give him a stomach ache. As the ambulance loaded him, he voluntarily went to the hospital for observation. A young girl, 16 years old, stood trembling in the cool, autumn air, she was crying. “He is my boyfriend, he wanted to die together and I told him, No!”  (I may add more facts here about the city suicide rate, boy/girl relations, and any other details surrounding the story and the message). To finish up, an observation may be inserted, such as, “She had a great life in front of her, young, responsible, healthy, had a job, she was like a swimming pool full or fresh, clear and clean water but he was like the plug at the bottom of the pool, who kept coming loose and draining her. Do you have life draining circumstances?”

A Great End To have a great movie with an ending that was way off base or not completely fulfilling is a disaster. To have a good sermon without a good ending is a disaster. We should plan the end just like we plan the entire message. A great message demands a great response. Having the auditorium rise to their feet, the appropriate song, and a well planned response can be the highlight of the entire message. Too many a speaker has had a tremendous presentation only to drop it at the conclusion. Or, this one, “As I continue to close,” drags out the ending and can thwart your intended purpose.

The ending should include three well planned purposes: The speaker should know where he is ending, know how he is ending and most importantly, should know why he is ending.

Comment: What do you look for in a compelling message or sermon?

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

Before You Enter Your Storm

In light of the tragic storms of Sandy as she unleashed her rage over the Northeast United States, some of the residents found they couldn’t buy the necessities of life since the electricity was out, debit and credit cards would no longer work.

While we may not plan for every aspect of tragedy, we must have a shelter should “Mayhem” show up unexpectedly. I am an optimistic leader but when the slithering snake of trouble raises its poisonous head I must know where to go and who to turn to.

But what happens when a domestic, financial or spiritual “Sandy” hits our life. Are we ready for the storm?

Prepare for the Worst and Live for the Best Preparation is the plan we make for the moments of life when things get out of control. Find a mentor; preferably an experienced elder; someone who will take the time to honestly expose your weaknesses and acknowledge your strengths. A mentor who prays often with you and for you; is worth their weight in gold. Surround yourself with their counsel, learn from their example and call for advice. When life gets going in circles a mentor can be an invaluable asset to your life. Build a circle of friends around you.

Plan to Protect Your Family Remember your family needs you now more than ever. Express to them how much they mean to you. Have frequent family outings, enjoy each other’s company and have fun. The greatest stress reducer, while you are going through a storm of life, is to be surrounded by your family. Spend time with those who love you.

Grab the Essentials It is amazing to discover the essentials and non-essential when you are in a storm. It is amazing how quickly important items of yesterday’s fortune fade into oblivion with today’s needs. Write down the temporal and the eternal and you will quickly realize the important stuff. Make sure you major on the majors and minor on the minors. Choose your battlefield wisely. Don’t let little things add to a great downfall and keep you from reaching your highpoint.

Keep Calm Controlling your personal emotions may be the most important aspect of endurance. Seek the truth and ignore the trivial. Take a walk, visit with friends, and confide in your wife. Your personal struggles don’t have to be brought into the public arena. Anger doesn’t win battles nor does it please God. Staying in control is your greatest asset. Tim Laurito adds, “You can’t change the storm on the outside, but you can change the storm on the inside!”

Pray Through It All  Fear causes me to react but faith causes me to wait on God. God will do what you cannot do. Cry, let God know how you feel and let Him heal you. When Jesus cries, “Peace, be still,” He calms the storm and your heart.

Comment: What have you done to prepare your heart in case of a sudden tragedy?

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

Discouragement is the Vision Breaker

What breaks the vision in two? What destroys dreams? What makes the future look bleak? Nothing like discouragement. The haunting past can creep upon you when you are least aware, take you down and keep you down. Discouragement tries to steal the hope of a person and endeavors to bankrupt his gift and shortcut his abilities.

Here are a few tips on removing discouragement from your life.

Recognize the “button.” If you are to defeat discouragement you must ask yourself, “When did it start?” and “Why does this affect me?” There may be a button pushed beginning the process of discouragement. Did you lose a position? Are circumstances loaded upon your shoulders? Do you fee you have failed? These questions and more will help identify the pushed button that causes a cascade of guilt, fear or anxiety. Finding the beginning of discouragement can help identify it and minimize its effect on your life.

Turn to the positive. Everyone has positives in their life. Sometimes a walk by the lake, a change of scenery, a book and a cup of coffee, or a conversation with a friend can turn the discouragement into relief. Don’t spend a lot of time around negative people – seek positive friends who will build you up. Yes, you need to face the facts and not ignore your difficulties but a positive attitude can be the encouragement you need to see the better side of the situation.

Praise God. Turn your eyes upward and praise God for the good, His handiwork and His work in your life. Realize God can bring the discouragement to pass away quickly. Lift up your head and acknowledge your blessings. Count all the good things God has done in your life.

Tell a friend. We alluded to this previously but exposing your weaknesses to a friend is difficult to say the least but doing so can release a flood tide of built up emotions. Don’t overwhelm them with every detail but ask them to listen and to pray with you.

Comment Below: What would you do to destroy discouragement in your life?

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.

Ten Commandments for Pastors

Preach on Heaven with excitement and preach on hell with tears

Love everyone the same and tell them often

Grow in the Word of God and teach others

Start planning for Sunday early in the week

Honor your wife/husband

Guard your heart, your mind and your spirit

Emphasize quality not quantity

Remember character and integrity is your greatest achievement

 Purpose to please God before people

Pray for your family, your church and yourself

Comment below: Can you add another?

Copyrighted by Jim Laudell. Material contained in this post cannot be reproduced or copied without permission from the author.