Seven Steps to Subdue Conflict

Conflict is inevitable. It is not our intention to cause friction but leadership, by its own rite, will have disagreements, varied opinions and even abrupt disapproval. People are people and will always be people. People who know people will collide with people.
We may not have the ability to avoid conflict but we do have the ability to subdue conflict. Let’s look at Seven Steps to Subdue Conflict:

Communicate Carefully Thoughtless words quickly turn against us. Carefully chosen words can be the most influential method of avoiding undue criticism and conflict. To stir up conflict because of our negative tones, overbearing demands and blatant arguments are unnecessary. Weigh out your words, carefully think it out and in difficult situations, check your statement with someone else to get their opinion.

Affirmation In negative environments it may seem impossible to give affirmation to an offending party but it can be done. “Before we begin our discussion, I would like to say how much I appreciate the hard work of X in our Children’s Department last Friday, the decorations were excellent and I commend you.” This affirmation can cool off the hot heads, catch the opposition totally off guard and may quell the conflict to a point.

Stick With The Facts Conflict only gets worse when you neglect to solve the problem and it becomes a personal assault. A personal attack is the most difficult of all conflicts. We should resolve early in the disagreement, it is not Bob’s problem or Sally’s problem – it is A problem. Shred gossip with facts, dismiss fairy tales, silence all lies and stick with the facts. Stay on course with the issue without naming individuals – most often, people will rally around a truth before they will rally against a person.

Attitude is Everything When everyone has lost their cool they have already lost the argument. Stay cool. Dismiss any illogical thoughts of gaining ground by raising your voice. A quiet, calm steady voice may not win the argument but it will win people. Claim meekness but never intimidation. My friend, Jim Durham states, “Your convictions combined with your humility may even attract others to your viewpoint.” Stand firm with a right spirit. “I know where I stand, I know what I believe and I can do it with the right spirit.”

Negotiate Some may think compromise in any position is a sign of weakness but negotiation to an agreed position is a sign of mature leadership, not weakness. You have the power to create a win-win situation by a carefully and well planned strategy. Again, Jim Durham suggests, “Be willing to compromise on nonessentials… Let go of what isn’t important.” Performing under pressure doesn’t necessarily means “someone blows up,” but actually the opposite – performing under pressure keeps someone from blowing up. When we try to demeanor a person(s) until all submit to a strong leadership style you may have subjects but you won’t have disciples.

Respect Before meeting with antagonistic opposition set the ground rules. Let’s suggest a few.
• “The meeting will begin at 7:00 and will end by 8:30. If we aren’t finished with business we will set another time as soon as possible.” Then look each person in the eye and ask if they agree before the meeting begins. This gives the meeting STRUCTURE.
• “We will respect everyone in the room. No name calling, raising our voice or expressions of anger will be tolerated or that person will be asked to leave the room.” Then look each person in the eye and ask if they agree before the meeting begins. This gives the meeting SANCTITY
• “We will stick with the problem and stick with the facts. Gossip and hearsay will not be allowed and personal attacks will not be tolerated – we are here to discuss the major problem not personality problems.” Then look each person in the eye and ask if they agree before the meeting begins. This gives the meeting STABILITY

With looking each person in the eye and asking for agreement you are building consensus and a mutual feeling of respect for everyone in the room. It is essential for a leader to respect people – even when they disagree. A mature leader will never lower their integrity to the oppostitions lack of it.

Pray Personally I believe we should pray before and after the meeting and occasionally the leader may want to bring the group to prayer in the heat of the meeting. Pray for wisdom, respect, brotherly love and God’s purpose be fulfilled in the meeting.

Personally, the leader must find a secret place with God and pray for wisdom, understanding and the presence of God. Oswald Chambers writes, “The reason the battle is not won is because I try to win it in the external world first. Get alone with God, fight it out before Him, settle the matter there once and for all.”

You won’t always win everyone and you won’t always win in every conflict but walking away with a clear conscience is the major win of all.

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, counselling or professional advice.

 

 

SEVEN WAYS SMALL CHURCH PASTORS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE THIS WEEK

If you are reading about the status of the church in America you probably have read some pretty depressing news. I have both good and bad news; I will give you the bad news first; there is plenty of bad news. But there is good news; you don’t have to become a part of the bad news.
Refuse to settle, to cope or “just get by.” Rise again with hope, faith and zeal. It’s hard. We have all felt the despair to the point of “giving up.” The problem has always been, we don’t know where to go when we “give up.”
We have always wished there was encouragement for small church pastors that wasn’t coming from a glossy magazine and a “large church” pastor. “I appreciate the concern but when you use ministry words in your large church they mean totally something else in the small church.” What works for 1000, 500 or even 200 doesn’t necessarily fit the small church.
But there are some areas of ministry that will work in the small church. Read the list below. There may be more or maybe, a couple items need to be deleted. This list may need to be refined and tailor made for your location and, as always, feel free to add your ideas in the comments below.

FIND OUT WHAT MAKES YOUR CHURCH UNIQUE IN THE COMMUNITY
In the small church it is absolutely essential to discover the history to know the future; if it is good, major on it. If it is bad, recreate it. Find out what makes your church click or better yet, what is the one thing you do or could do making your church unique in your community.

Go down to the local coffee shop and see what the locals are talking about.
Ask your church to brainstorm and find your brand or uniqueness.
Find a need in the community and begin to meet the need through your church.

REACH OUT TO THE CIRCLES WITHIN YOUR COMMUNITY
Everybody in the local church knows somebody but not everybody is inviting everybody they know. Here is a suggestion, have everyone in your church write down three family members living in the area that don’t go to church and invite them to your next church service and church dinner. Why church dinner? Because it gives your guest a reason to stay and fellowship. (Make sure they don’t sit at a table by themselves).
The next service recognize the members who brought the visitors. Take your time and do it sincerely – this is a phenomenal moment for your church and will cause other members to invite visitors. The big church calls it “creating the invite culture.”

SOME CHURCHES RECOGNIZE THE VISITORS
BUT WHY NOT RECOGNIZE THE MEMBERS WHO BROUGHT THE VISITORS.

The next month you are getting ready for a church supper invite the same ones again. After a few months you can have the members invite neighbors, community people or their work acquaintances. Keep expanding the circle and keep acknowledging the church members – it may take six months before you see any results but keep at it.

PREACH TO THOSE WHO LOVE YOU
Disgruntled members can drag a pastor and his message to the ground but great advice came from a friend, a few years ago, during the roughest time of our ministry. “Find those who love you and preach to them.” It totally changed the atmosphere of the worship service and changed the preaching style. Don’t watch the angry faces of the “mob” but preach to the glowing faces of those who stand with you.
You can’t control the mob but you can control your attitude. Find a happy place in the congregation and preach the Word. The pulpit is not a place to air dirty laundry or vent frustration with the board. The sacred desk is the grounds on which God anoints His word. Preach the Word.
RESPECT EVERYONE SINCERELY
No matter where you are in ministry, five months or 35 years, respect is the greatest characteristic a pastor can possess. “You may disrespect me but I will not disrespect you.” The respect you give to others will follow your ministry for many years.

INVEST IN THE ONE THING THAT BRINGS THE BEST RESULTS
Look at your ministry and begin to focus on the one thing that brings you the most fruit. Evaluate your calendar and rearrange your schedule to adopt more time into that one thing. Invest in that one thing. Begin to sow seeds into that one thing.
A field of flowers takes months before the first blossom blooms and ministry planted in the right field will, in its time, bring the fruit you were hoping to bear. There are no silver bullets in ministry but there are seeds that need to be sown in the right field.

SPEND TIME ALONE WITH GOD
This can never be stressed enough but your prayer life is the stage upon your ministry will stand or fall. Pastors need personal prayer to energize their public ministry. When no one understands how you feel – Jesus does.

Set a definite time.
Set a definite place.
Set a definite devotional.
Set a definite heart upon Jesus.

Maybe it is a good time to slip into the church auditorium, bow your head before a holy God and cry out for strength, anointing, vision and life. Oftentimes, a short time spent alone with God will be the encouragement you needed. Let Him hear your voice, let Him hear your heart beat, let Him hear your innermost needs.

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR WIFE
Rarely will a small church pastor feel he has the time or the money to treat his wife like he wants to treat her. You’re thinking steak dinner, night out, overnight stay, a cruise or an elaborate vacation. Spending time with your wife can be a walk around the neighborhood. Grilling out on the patio. Visiting with some nearby friends. Or drinking a cup of coffee together in the morning.
If you were to resign and leave your church you will not measure the days you wished you had spent more time working in the church but you will evaluate each day you wished you had spent more time with your wife.

YOUR WIFE IS YOUR MINISTRY

Tell her how you feel, let her know your heart is with her, tell her she is special to you. Tell her she is an integral part of your ministry and you need her alongside you. If you plan to change your ministry this week changing your marriage attitude would be the starting point.

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.

The Small Church Pastor

It is interesting to note 60% of America’s churches run 60 or less but regardless of the size we can all do better to encourage, support, pray for and be a friend to the small church pastor.
This is a non-comprehensive list of items you may or may not find true of a small church pastor

1. He gets a late night call form a member who found a hymn book had been colored with a Crayola and he thinks he knows who did it.
2. Somebody was off-key Sunday during the song service and there was a call Monday morning, “Who is going to do something about it?” (Meaning the pastor is expected to do something about it).
3. The testimony service took a turn Sunday night when Sis Smith started “testifying” about her “old man’s” colonoscopy results.
4. The trash from last month’s social wasn’t taken out and a deacon meeting was called to see who is responsible.
5. Door to door visitation was poorly attended with one teenager, an older women and one child.
6. The Sunday School offering was larger than the tithe offering. Disgruntled members were the cause.
7. The sermon went over seven minutes according to the head deacon.
8. The same busy body who spread something about Sis Smith has now sided with Sis Smith against the Pastor’s wife.
9. A ninety-two year old faithful member fell asleep again during the Sunday morning message.
10. A wasp flew in the back door and caused more excitement than the song service.

Hopefully you had a good laugh at this exaggerated post but truthfully the small church pastor has a tremendous load and can be applauded for many services to the church and community. Here is a non-comprehensive list of items you may or may not find true of a small church pastor.

1. Often the Pastor and his wife are the only ones who show up for the Monday night prayer meeting.
2. If the special speaker is to receive a decent offering for the Sunday Morning message the Pastor and his wife are usually the ones who gave sacrificially.
3. The small church pastor often has to put gas on his credit card so he can go to hospital to visit an ailing church member.
4. The small church pastor and his wife are not applauded enough and criticized too much.
5. The small church pastor is usually the one inviting new people to the church.
6. The small church pastor is tired, stays up late, works a job, visits the sick and organizes events and spends Saturdays mowing the church yard.
7. The small church pastor is underpaid but he is expected to drive a nice car that represents the church well.
8. The small church Pastor’s children are often expected to live exemplary lives – no mistakes allowed
9. The small church pastor’s education, books and seminars are usually at his own expense.
10. The small church pastor’s vision is waning because only a few catch the vision.

Merely knowing the problem but not doing something about the problem will only allow the problem to get worse. Here is a short list of ideas to encourage our small church pastors – start today

1. Slip the small church pastor some money for dinner at a nice restaurant
2. Give the pastor’s wife some money to go shopping with
3. Evaluate his salary and considering a substantial raise
4. Take notes of the pastor’s sermon
5. Offer to mow the yard while the pastor and his family are away at a conference or vacation
6. Offer to babysit the pastor’s children so he and his wife can go out on a date
7. Pray for them daily
8. Stomp out gossip
9. Be a volunteer
10. Encourage your pastor with complimentary words

There are many things we can add to the list – what do you think?

 

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.

BECOME A PERSON OF INFLUENCE

manFirst in a series of a multi-blog post on Influence

In the world of influence there are dreamers, tinkers and winners. Dreamers are the people who wish, pray, hope and play the mental lottery hoping to get the winning ticket. Tinkers are the people who toy with the idea, experiment with numbers and sidetracked with “shiny objects.” The winners are those who want to jog, so they jog today, they buy the outfit, they read about “safe” jogging and they put “jogging” on the calendar. A winner does what they are dreaming and what they are tinkering with.

 

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS IS STILL HARD WORK AND THAT’S NOT A SECRET

 

EMPOWER YOUR STRENGTHS

List your strengths and weaknesses. What happens next happens every time we mention winners. We judge ourselves with too many weaknesses to become a winner. But let’s be honest—we all know our weaknesses, but we all know our strengths. Instead of concentrating on our weaknesses and gauging how we will fix, eliminate or diminish our weaknesses, let’s concentrate on our individual strengths God has given us and let’s empower it.

Empower your strength by finding avenues to exercise it. Buying into your strengths will yield a better harvest then trying to pull out every weed that grows in the field. Funding weaknesses and discovering a strength in the mix leads to trouble as placing the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If your strength is the gift of communication begin to research how to better communicate to your circle of friends, family and business associates by planting visual pictures of your strengths at work.

Send a card for their birthday

Text a “happy” note each day

Use Twitter as an encouragement tool

Contact someone you haven’t heard from in a while

Discern the needs of others and lift their spirit

 

When your strength is communication and you invest in people’s lives the weakness will become weaker and the strength will become stronger. Just as muscles grow stronger through exercise so personality strengths become stronger through use.

 

DON’T WASTE A LIFE—INVEST IT

 

EVALUATE THE PAST

Answer these questions cover a period of time – maybe a week. Your greatest influence may well be found in this process of self-evaluation.

Where did I find the most satisfaction?

Where did I influence people?

Where is my heart headed?

 

When do I get the most done?

When do I influence others the most? (Time of year and event)

When do I know I did my best?

Who are my friends who tell me the truth?

Who is my mentor?

Who most influences me?

 

What is my life’s major dream?

What do I love the most?

What am I doing daily to reach my dreams?

 

Why?–most important question of all.

Why do I do what I do?

Why am I not influencing others?

Why don’t I start today?

 

When we carefully and prayerfully examine and evaluate our life we might get discouraged but would you be willing to change if you knew you could actually close next year being encouraged because your field of influence grew?

Pray this prayer with me, Lord, increase my territory, enlarge my boundaries, fill me with more of you, through my humility and strength in you I can do all things. AMEN.

 

Coming next: Become a Person of Influence- Little or Much?

 

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 counselling.

Five Qualities of an Effective Communicator

He walked into the room without shaking anyone’s hand, came quickly to the podium conveying to the crowd he was in a hurry. He spoke quick and terse with a know-it-all attitude. He went over his allotted time without apology making exaggerated claims of his success then briskly walked out the door.

The chatter around the room after his presentation was a mix of relief and anger. Relief that he was finished and gone – anger that he was brazen and narcissistic.

Communication is one of the most important qualities within the element of being an author, pastor, business person or speaker. Yes, as illustrated above, there is a lot of difference between a speaker and a communicator.

A communicator doesn’t become prolific in well versed words, flaunting his education and attitude to gather or collect an audience but rather takes an interest in people while dissecting hard truths and offering small pieces as a dainty delicatessen. A communicator builds a friend list, tells stories and cares for people while probing their emotions and thoughts.

 

Here are my suggestion for Five Qualities of an Effective Communicator

 

LEANING

Our body language speaks louder than our words.

Multitudes of studies have been done on body language and slumping, twiddling, texting and a far off look are adverse body styles to communication. Leaning into the person, hanging onto their words with a soft smile and a gentle nod brings attention to an all new level. Social media has reversed communication into words and videos but real communication “leans into” the conversation.

Keeping in mind that personal space is necessary, so look away briefly, don’t stare and don’t make them feel uncomfortable by leaning too much. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “An arch consists of two weaknesses, which, leaning on each other, become a strength.”

 

LEARNING

There is never a person so bright that there can’t be another light bulb in the room.

Teaching and learning should go hand in hand. Asking questions during a conversation is needful for receptacle learning. Agreeing, debating (not arguing) and questioning develop a well-rounded conversation. “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t,” states Bill Nye.

Becoming emotionally and uniformly attached to the conversation (not the personal exactly) brings learning to the forefront and helps us retain the details of the conversation.

 

LISTENING

God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason someone once quipped.

Painful but true. We are dedicated talkers and many love listening to their own self talk. Listening is a skill – an important skill. Listening bonds friends, brings relationships to the table and develops on going communication. Andy Stanley teaches, “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”

Listening without charging into our answer but remunerating the answer quietly and purposefully after we have fully listened demonstrates great respect for the speaker.

 

LOOKING

Eye contact may be the most important communication ability we possess.

Looking away does more damage to the attention span than most any other distraction in the communication process. To look intently and interestingly is an art and must be perfected by communicators.

Someone once said, “Looking into someone’s eyes changes the entire conversation.”  A long stare is uncomfortable so look away occasionally but not long enough to lose the train of thought or the line of thought.

 

 LIKING

To communicate is the first step of friendship.

We won’t personally like everyone we speak to but if we communicate with them long enough there should and most likely will be a thin thread of truth to where we might find common ground. You might not personally like them but like something they say. Like has variables and levels and definitions but they all involve people.

 

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.

The Big Question

2e52dd1d53Maybe it is time we define, “worship.” Maybe our self-made worship is more about us and our feelings than it is about drawing near to God and exalting and adoring the Lord God. Maybe we have turned our worship service into a self-serving manipulation of God turning the spotlight on my life rather than His glory. Maybe, just maybe, we need to define worship by going back to the Bible and seeing what God really desires.

When God created man it was for the dual purpose of fellowship and expression. Fellowship was the heartbeat of God for mankind to know and experience the love of God on an everyday basis. Expression was to manifest His glory upon them and within his creation; upon them for influence to reach for the souls of men and within them for personal hope and peace. When the glory of God illuminates upon a man He will influence others to righteous living. When the glory of God resides within a man, he will walk in integrity, transparency and peace.

When Adam and Eve sinned they lost fellowship and expression; they lost the everyday fellowship with a loving God and they lost the glory of God upon and within them. After their sin, God began earnestly looking for them and God asks the BIG QUESTION, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). The first question God ever asked, and the most heart wrenching, the man and woman He created were gone; he sorrowfully asked, “Where are you?”

The BIG QUESTION needs to be asked today, “Where are you?” Are you living in everyday fellowship with a loving God and is the expression of His glory upon you and within you? God is looking for you, pursuing you so He might show His lavish love by everyday fellowship and supremely pour His glory upon and within you. He wants you to come to Him. He wants to be with you. “Where are you?”.

Let’s do a checkup. The following reveals the emptiness of living without the presence of God in our life:

 

  1. Frustration, anxieties and other emotional downfalls
  2. Provokes a man to live close on the edge of failure
  3. Friction at home escalates
  4. Financial pressures abound
  5. Emptiness creates larger vacuums
  6. Our heart becomes weary
  7. Complaining instead of worship flows from our mouth
  8. Our song, joy and dance is gone
  9. People problems become prevalent
  10. Life becomes complex and worrisome
  11. Fear is substituted for faith
  12. Weakness in our Spirit
  13. Job related problems increase
  14. We begin to withdraw from others
  15. Our attitude becomes obnoxious and defensive
  16. We cower from the presence of God
  17. The Word of God becomes boring
  18. Life is increasingly boring
  19. Depression and discouragement
  20. Loss of Hope

The good news is that one step in His direction and He will come running towards you. James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. The opportunity for more is within my grasp. Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. When you hunger for more, thirst for more, it is your initiative that brings God’s blessings. His glory is poured out upon a man who enlarges his capacity by total surrender of heart, mind, soul and body. The empty self gains the fullness of His glory. He is ever longing to speak to you, bless you, fill you, heal you, restore you and love you.

His presence is waiting for you now – He wants fellowship and to express His glory – to overflow you with His love and His glory.

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.

How to Win the Heart of Your Husband

Of the questions asked, this one gets asked the most, How do I win over the heart of my husband? I feel like I am losing him. We don’t talk much anymore. Or, he seems so distant.

First, of all, understand a man’s communication code. Once he is focused on a subject or object it is hard for him to pull himself away. Men love their caves. Their withdrawal into silence isn’t meant to offend or resist any intervention but is simply a man’s way of dealing with the circumstances or stresses around him. He may pull into the silent zone for a few days if making an important decision. Don’t fear when he goes into his cave – he is thinking.

Now I know what you are saying, “I want him to tell me what he is thinking.” Of course, but he doesn’t know what he is thinking yet. He is still processing his thoughts and once he digests it then he will be ready to talk.

Here are a few ways to bring your husband around to a heartfelt discussion and win his heart in the process.

1. I trust you – No greater words can be spoken to a man than these three words. You must trust him to make the right decision even when you think he should ask for your opinion. Once he is done processing and he begins to talk say something like, “I trust you to do the right thing – have you thought about …..” Don’t use the word “but” or “Well, I tell you what I think,” or “You never want my opinion.” This is crossing out the line, “I trust you.” Lead him around to your opinion by kissing him and saying softly, “I trust you and when you are ready to talk about it, I will be ready to listen.” Powerful words and oftentimes, he will be ready to listen to your advice or opinion.

2. I need you – This places the ultimate responsibility on the man. Remember the cartoon where the damsel was tied to the railroad track by the bad guy and the good guy would come and rescue her at the last-minute? Your man wants to feel you need him to rescue you. The damsel in distress arouses his manly feelings for heroism. Not whimpering, whining or crying woman because men freeze up with these tactics – they honestly don’t know how to respond. Men marry for strokes not sex, this will keep him attahced to the wife who encourages him and makes him feel important.

3. I love you – A well placed, “I love you.”  As the Bible says, “Apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  Abigail brought the right gift and the right words to King David and he later chose her to be his wife after her husband passed away. Not just saying, “I love you” but expressing it throughout the day, bringing him a glass of water, fixing his favorite dessert or simply being there beside him.

4. I believe you –  Men are not liars but men have a difficult time talking in “woman” language. Therefore, interpretations and descriptions get jumbled up into a mirage of words difficult to understand by the opposite sex. “You said what?” won’t be as effective as “I believe in you.” One man said, “Fighting for your marriage is more important than winning the fight.” Remember, winning him over is the key to a long-lasting love and good communication but it starts with believing in him.