A Different Kind of Book List

If you like reading then you may find yourself admiring the book list of bloggers, pastors, leaders and others who contribute. Often, you may find yourself grabbing one book off the list from Amazon, Christian Books, Barnes and Noble or any of the other myriads of booksellers available.
Life, work, family and ministry are ever changing and finding the right book for the right time is of utmost importance. However, most are lacking in a particular topic of interest. Going through my library it may be difficult to remember the content but remembering the episode of life around the book is clear.
Take for instance, being enrolled in Bible School with a full senior load, newly married and working a fulltime job was excruciatingly painful. My devotional time was nil, prayer was often a sleepy response at the end of the day and emotions were frayed. Someone handed me a book, Ordering Your Private World by Gordan MacDonald. My outside life rambled on in much of a chaotic state but my heart was full. While I may not remember all the content (I rereading it now) I do remember the experience in my life. Here is a compilation of my favorite books in topical preference leaning towards personal experience.

THE BUCKET LIST MENTALITY
I must confess my discontentment with boredom. I want to do it all, experience it all and be it all but in all honesty, I can’t. The book, Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald (as mentioned above), has helped be an anchor to discern between driven and the calling. I can’t always live with a bucket list mentality – it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of money, Yes, I have scratched numerous things off my bucket list but Ordering Your Private World has helped maintain sanity and focus. Worthy of mentioning also is, Today Matters by John C. Maxwell.

MY THOUGHT LIFE
Two quotes have arrested my attention, “The mind is an awful thing to waste” and “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” Purpose to think right, think well and fill up your mind appropriately. There are two book that have been essential in the area of clear and proper thinking, The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Myers and Thinking for a Change by John C. Maxwell. One book, that I wholeheartedly recommend, is the classic, Guarding Your Heart by Dr. Gary Rosberg.

HEART AFLAME
Passion must be rekindled and the books are numerous but I have narrowed it down to a few of my favorites but anything by Leonard Ravenhill is worth reading and taking into the prayer closet with you. John Bevere has two books that moved me closer to God, Drawing Near, The Fear of the Lord and A Heart Ablaze. Dr. Bruce Wilkinson’s book, 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthrough is a must. I would certainly be amiss if I didn’t mention the classic A. W. Tozer and his works.

CHURCH LEADERSHIP
Just go into any bookstore and the shelves will be filled with church management, church leadership and books for pastors but there are only a few that stand out peering over the shelves. Anything by Thomas Rainer will be attractive but particularly the book that has been read and re-read and alluded to in my congregational messages has been the book by Charles Swindoll, The Church Awakening. A terrific book for pastors burdened by comparison, Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, by Kent and Barbara Hughes, the title says it all. Last, but certainly not least, for leaders, a personal book for the inner life, The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero.

While this list is far from complete it does provide a small list of books for the avid reader to check out for his or her self. However, there is one book, I must mention, which covers all of the above scenarios, The Holy Bible, and I wholeheartedly endorse its contents.

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.

 

 

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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 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.

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.