WHAT IS A FACEBOOK FAST?

“Every time I scroll through Facebook, I see an acquaintance bragging about their dynamic spiritual life, perfectly obedient children, and vibrant career. I want that for my life, but I seriously don’t know where they find the time.” (echurch quote)
Facebook has become the idol of many. Facebook is the connection tool from February 4, 2004, created by two Harvard University students to keep the classmates in touch with profiles, posts and pictures. Now some 2 billion people use Facebook, some checking Facebook multiple times per day. Mobile FB has made it easy for users to check their status or their friend’s status many times throughout the day sometimes creating an addiction to “likes” and “shares”.

The problem is, while we connect with others we have found ourselves drowning in a pool of information, an addiction to “being in the loop” and a host of other philosophical dilemmas. Facebook addiction is common and there is even a Facebook Addiction Test online. (Now I know you are secretly going to see how you score on it – aren’t you?).
Maybe it is time for a Facebook fast. Occasionally I will read someone post, “I’m going to be off Facebook for a while.” Or, another will dramatically comment, “I can’t take the drama anymore – getting off FB.”

A Facebook fast is when a time is set aside away from Facebook for vacation, renwed focus or a fresh mental picture of life. Maybe it is time to take a Facebook Fast, let’s look at the next few reasons why a person would want to take a season of time to withdraw from Facebook.

FOCUS ON INVESTING IN INSPIRATION From Facebook to face look. Honestly, we could spend more time in prayer, Bible reading, and reflection, if we prayed to the proportionate amount of time we have been spending on FB we could settle into  peaceful and fulfilling spiritual refreshment.

CREATE REAL RELATIONSHIPS Instead of having platonic relationships via the computer, step into the real world and strengthen a relationship that is waning or fractured. Invite someone to have a cup of coffee or get together with another couple for lunch.

One of the major, hidden mental and emotional dangers of FB is to compare my life with my FB friends. Examine the list below and evaluate how many times we have compared ourselves to someone’s post.

WOW! Look where they went on vacation
My friend’s marriage is more romantic than mine
There children are so much better behaved
They have the dream life – my life is so ordinary
My friends just got a new car – we are still driving a “Junker”
How come they get to do that?
They must have a lot of money

“LIKES” AND “SHARES” DON”T DETERMINE YOUR SELF VALUE If we get minimal “likes” we have a bad day but if we get elevated “likes” it changes our mood and our emotions. There are people who really care for you but don’t express it openly on FB. Value is determined by who you are not a fabricated or perceived lifestyle on FB.

DEPRESSION ABATED Deep concern over our Facebook image can bring about bouts of depression. Finding ourselves with “nothing exciting to post” can bring us to a state of withdraw and intense loneliness. Connecting digitally while avoiding personal encounters can be damaging in our psychological and/or physical health. Taking a break and spending quality time with our family, friends or relatives can create healing bonds and emotional outlets. Having a week or month of not comparing weight, looks, opportunities, children, homes and other subjects could lead to a happier and more satisfying life.

FOCUS ON IMPORTANT ISSUES Is it just me or have you noticed how magnetized a person is to their phone, tablet or laptop while missing moments with their spouse, their children, their friends or other acquaintances? Several guests are having an important conversation and they are sitting in a corner sharing a comical post on FB. A FB fast may bring a renewed focus on what is important. Certainly we will have more time to devote to a hobby, family or other activities.

Let’s take a FB Break or a FB fast and give our emotions, mind and family a break. (Even though I’ll be participating in a FB Fast several posts may appear on FB through a Twitter post or with Buffer).Do you think a FB would help your family? What’s your thoughts about a FB Break?

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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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

AM I STILL IN GOD’S WILL?

The will of God has been identified as purpose, God’s plan, His purpose or life fulfillment. Yet good hearted, sensitive and even, prayerful individuals are ever seeking for the “will of God.” The will of God is nearer than you think. For most the will of God is already brewing in your heart. Your passion is mostly the will of God burning in your soul. The thing you most like to do has been implanted in your heart and magnified throughout life to reveal God’s perfect will for your life.
Purpose cannot be defined in a day but it can be revealed to you in one day. You may not understand the where and the when and the how but once you know the why then God’s will be defined to you within one day.

YOUR INNER HEART ALREADY KNOWS THE WHY

BUT YOU MUST SEEK GOD TO RECOGNIZE IT.

There is the general will and the specific will of God. The general will of God can apply to a lot of somebodies but the specific will of God is for you and relatively few others. Let me illustrate by saying a lot of Americans own a car but the car you own has a title with a specific VIN # that uniquely makes it yours. While it is God’s general will to follow His command to “Go ye into all the world…” it is God’s specific will for an exact location for you.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL BECAUSE YOU FAILED. Failure in one area doesn’t mean you failed in all areas. Just because you struck out doesn’t mean you lost the ballgame. A fumble is embarrassing but doesn’t mean you can’t score a touchdown in the next quarter.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD BECAUSE IT IS HARD. Life is hard. Nobody promised it would be easy. Climbing is hard but the exhilarating view from the top of the mountain is worth it. The place God put you may be difficult at times but God wouldn’t have placed you there had He not had the confidence in you that you would endure, have the tenacity of a bulldog and win.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD BECAUSE IT IS INCONVENIENT Similar to begin hard yet different. Inconvenient means it is not a comfortable ride. You can drive to California in a bus and it may be more inconvenient than to fly in a plane but you arrive at the same destination.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD BECAUSE OTHERS DON’T AGREE WITH YOU Go to trusted counsel, express your feelings to a mentor or pour your heart out to your pastor but all friends may not feel about the “will of God” as you do. This is not an excuse for independence but after seeking the advice from experienced and caring counsel; get ready to watch minor reactions of negativity from others as you pursue your journey.
YOU ARE NOT OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD WHEN YOUR FEELINGS CHANGE. Just ask the thermometer if change is inevitable. Feelings come and go but the will of God doesn’t change with your feelings. Stay firm, be determined to follow through and put your seat belt on until your roller coaster emotions are more predictable.

NEVER MAKE A CHANGE IN THE DARK – SEEK TRANSITION ONLY IN THE LIGHT

Comment: How do you follow God’s plan and purpose for 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. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or counseling 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?

 

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.

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.

Life and Longevity

Life is not measured by its longevity but by its quality. John Boy Walton, of the popular Walton series TV Miniseries, quipped, “Life is not measured by birthdays but by memories.” Life has its up and downs. Life always has those moments when we question the unexpected loss of someone we held dear to us but God said He alone is the giver of life. God expresses the quality of life is based on the fear of God so life and death are in the hands of God. There are parts of life and much of death we don’t understand. In fact, we know very little of what the other side looks like.

The Bible tells us about the streets of gold, the Crystal Sea, gates of pearl, the throne of God but little about what life is like in the eternal heavens. Jesus tells us He has gone to prepare a mansion for us but doesn’t tell us why we need a mansion in heaven. Jesus tells us there is no marriage nor giving of marriage in heaven; yet we will be known as we are known. Yet there is much about life in heaven we don’t understand. We wonder – what really awaits us after death, we speculate, wish and hope.

But there is one scripture in the Holy Bible that helps me more than any other. In Hebrews 11:1 -2b Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; …..  These witnesses are not mourning their passing but are rather standing on the balcony of heaven but watching below those who are still running the race. Not tears but applause. Not sorrow but cheering; Cheering on those who are yet to cross the finish line; Applause for everyone to run well; Applauding our efforts as we move closer and closer to the finish line.

In the stillness, of the midnight. Precious sacred scenes unfold,*  tears run silently down our cheek, in the pain of loneliness grips our soul, we are compelled to listen, to listen carefully to the soft applause of our loved one; “run, run well; keep on running, cross the finish line with faith; we applaud you.”

So while we may not see them it is definitely clear that they can see us and they are cheering us on – yes, you can make it.

 

*Precious Memories, original lyrics, © 1966 by Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Co. J. B. F. Wright, author-composer of “Precious Memories” (originally copyrighted in 1925)

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.