PRIDE KEEPS SHOWING UP AND SHOWING OUT

Pride shows its hand in multiple instances when we demand our way over the lives of others. Pride loves applause, clamouring for center stage. We cherish the “pat on the back,” wish for acclaim, and we do all we can to win the approval of others. Not all talented people are proud, not all handsome or beautiful people are proud, not all rich people are proud. But richly defined, pride steals the attention for ourselves. Turning each conversation around to yourself, even when the story is about another person.

 

Pride is the epidemic of self, flesh puffed up. It majors on our territory at the expense of other’s needs. Craving the limelight, crashing the party, and pouting when not acknowledged. Pride is the onslaught of humility, the massacre of motivation and the destruction of benevolence. It is difficult to care for someone else when we are working so hard to build our own statue.

 

THE STRUGGLE FOR CONFIDENCE
We like to be accepted. There is a healthy approach to winning friends and influencing people while finding our confidence is in Jesus Christ. We are who we are, we do what we do, and we operate in the gifts by the grace and strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. Confidence is in a close and viable relationship with Jesus, to pull away strikes at our confidential level but to draw near to Him brings confidence to a higher level.

STOP CONSTRUCTION
Don’t build your own statue. Building yourself up is pride and is an indicator of inner needs of emotional security. Maturity ceases building confidence and security on “what I have done,” while humility stops construction of pride and confesses “all that Jesus has done.”

DEFLECT ALL THE GLORY TO HIM
We are a mirror, not a solar panel. A solar panel absorbs sunlight to generate electricity. While this illustration is not comprehensive, it illustrates the point. Pride is when we absorb the applause and praise for our self. A mirror reflects light and humility deflects praise to Jesus. One friend said it like this, “Give the glory to Jesus and not keep it to yourself.”

CONFESS ARROGANCE
Confess it to Jesus. We may struggle from time to time with pride. It will rise but with confession bring it to Christ and watch pride diminish in our life. Walk with the Lord each day and allow the Spirit of God to infiltrate your life.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of 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 professional advice.

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THE SMALL CHURCH PASTORS FIRST THREE YEARS

Pastor Smith had pastored for two years in a small church and noticed some startling information. “If you pastor a church for three years, the problems you face are your problems, not your predecessors.” The problem was Pastor Smith was still facing a long-term board who refused his suggestions for change and much of the congregation contently enjoyed their Sunday dinners.

Pastoral statistics and church analysis and armchair coaches admonish Pastors, it will take three years for the church to become your church. Or, another comment, “You won’t notice any significant change until you reach three years or more.”

Under close observation though, a lot is weighing on this perceived “three-year” Nova.

 

A LOT DEPENDS ON THE PASTOR

WHAT IS HIS VISION? Does the pastor maintain a clear and consistent vision? Let’s be honest, your church may not look like the church down the road. Every church has its own personality. It may take two or three years to define the vision for the church. Pastor, you can bring your experience from the last church but you can’t bring your vision from the last church. Each church vision fits the church, the community, the people and by God’s directives.
WHAT IS HIS MINISTRY STYLE? There is a difference in a teaching pastor, a lead pastor or an evangelistic pastor. Each fulfills their gift and calling and each important to the ministry but each style will reveal varied results.
1Co 3:6-9 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
The ministry style may see immediate growth in much-needed areas and be lacking in other areas of the church health.

 

A LOT DEPENDS ON THE CHURCH

WHAT IS AROUND THE CHURCH? A church filled with older people may have difficulty reaching out without prayerful introspection. Change may not be achievable in a short three-year span. However, if the church saw the need before the new Pastor arrived, the church may be ready to make immediate and significant changes. If the church doesn’t realize the need, it may take three years or more to convince the congregation of changes needed.

WHAT ARE THE NEEDS OF THE CHURCH? Finding the needs of the church and the needs of the community may be the key to making adjustments in the church. A church that majors on offerings and participants, only to watch both decrease, will complain about the problem but may not be willing to change progressively. Some church changes may be years down the road no matter how hard the pastor has pushed to make things happen. A wise pastor who finds needs and finds ways to meet the needs may have a better chance at making changes within the three-year window.

Causally speaking, three to five years a Pastor needs to make himself known in the community and the church, establishing his style of ministry and finding the needs of the church and community. However, the time for change may be shorter than three years or longer than five years, depending on the leadership and the congregational responses.

To begin the “three-year” process,
First, pray privately for a clear and consist vision for the personality of your church.
Secondly, begin to meet with the church regularly for prayer.
Thirdly, meet regularly with community leaders and your church leaders discussing your five year and ten year needs and goals.
Fourthly, check for funds to be earmarked for outreach and to equip the church for a change.
Lastly, communicate and implement vision with the church team (inner circle).

Three years may not be the turning point. A pastor may be able to baby step into changes before the first year and make one significant change in the second year. You may see the most important changes in your third or fourth year but time is not the deciding factor only God’s directive and calling on your life. Take heart, Pastor, all heaven is behind you.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of 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 professional advice.

Do I Have to Forgive?

Max walked in the door and one of the women in the room ducked her head. Two men cut their eyes towards each other. It was obvious from the body language in the room, Max was a difficult person to deal with. Meeting with Max in a group was destined for disaster so he and I slipped into a private room. He sat down roughly and quickly asked, “What is this all about?”

After a brief exchange, I asked, “Max, tell me about yourself.” And for the next twenty minutes Max told me about his feelings of rejection when his father left his mother,and two sisters, He told me about his mother passing away at an early age. His wife, after ten short years, she died in a car accident and about his recent doctor’s appointment. Then I began to understand why Max was rough around the edges.

Before Max walked back into the room I spoke to the group about some of the things Max had shared with me, explaining to them why he needed, love, support and forgiveness. As Max walked into the room, the group stood, each one hugging him and expressing kind and supportive words. The atmosphere in the room changed.

Forgiveness changes the atmosphere. But may not change the circumstances.

When Jesus died on the cross he was:

Condemned by the Mob

Accused by the Religious

Crucified by the Authorities

Mocked by the Soldiers

Tested by the Alcoholic Offer

Dishonored by the Priests

Blasphemed by the Sinners

Ridiculed by the Thief

Tormented by the Nails

Yet, he cried, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Praying for you today to be able to forgive and change the atmosphere in your relationship.

*The name and details of the aforementioned story is fictious to illustrate a point.

Does Holiness and Grace Clash?

Often within the church, debate opponents, are required to take the grace side or the holiness side. Those who prefer liberty in thought and action often refer to the holiness side as rigid, legalistic or law keepers. Those who prefer the “narrow way” often refer to the grace side as liberal and worldly. These two have clashed since the biblical portions of scripture have been penned, often leaving no room for reconciliation.
There are differences in people and interpretation as noted in Mark 15;25 When Jesus is crucified at nine in the morning and John 19;24 records Jesus as crucified at “six in the morning.” Jesus could have been crucified either in the middle of the two hours or Mark and John writing of two different events leading up to the crucifixion. Did the crucifixion occur at the whipping, the actual cross bearing, at Golgotha’s hill, or once the cross was raised?

While differences in people may develop different theological arguments the Holy Bible is the anchor of truth holding all hearts accountable.

Holiness, best defined, is the nature of God and defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, “the quality or state of being holy. Grace, best defined, according to Webster’s Dictionary, as “the unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” The qualifying definition of both grace and holiness must be biblically defined, if we are to ascertain the truth of God’s Word. Sadly, we have adapted a “Christian worldview” that has become increasingly apart from a “biblical worldview.”
In the Old Testament, God is referenced as HOLINESS, Kadesh, sacred, consecrated, or hallowed. Because God is holy, (Isaiah 6), he can set apart and consecrate, and He did make holy:
Holy Habitation
Holy Sabbath
Holy Nation
Holy Men
Holy Garment
Holy Gifts
Holy Crown
Holy Anointing Oil
And much more, it appears what God touched, consecrated and set apart were made holy.

In the New Testament, we  are determined by God to live holy. Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And commanded to be holy, 1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Holy is not to be fought against but actually we are to be passionate for His nature of holiness to live within us. Resistance, struggle and disobedience are enemies of God’s holiness. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

If I am responsible to allow the nature of God, holiness, to flourish within me, doesn’t this contradict grace?, There is nothing I can do to be holy, or I am working for my salvation? And of course, the answer is, there is no clash. We can never work or be “good enough” to be saved, that is a works based salvation and it absolves the power of grace. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Grace and grace alone saves but when grace saves you, it also changes you.     2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When the nature of God, holiness, is imparted in your life, the nature of God creates a new creature and you begin to adapt the nature of God to be your nature. Grace empowers you to live holy. Examine this verse carefully, notice grace opens the door for God’s nature of holiness to live within you. Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Grace and holiness are not opposites but actually partners in the path of salvation. Grace opens the door for the nature of God, holiness, to live within us. We are given grace to deny ungodliness, to deny worldly lusts, liver soberly, live righteously, live godly – all pointing us to God’s nature of holiness.

Holiness is not works but holiness is grace at work in our life and works will follow.

If the nature of God is within us then we will live, walk, talk, and act like God. Any other grace is simply a cheap or weak substitute.

God’s grace must “teach us” what ungodliness we should deny, what worldly lusts we should deny and how to live soberly, righteously and godly. That is grace and holiness in partnership to conform us into His image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of 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.

 

 

Revival and more…

Revival in the church, revival in the land and revival in me. Sounds like a good song and we need an awakening. A fresh encounter of the presence of God rising above cultural norms, western Christianity, and church normalcy.
Revival is to bring back something almost dead and to see new life in the near corpse-like body. In a spiritual sense, it is Ezekiel’s dry bones getting a new breath from heaven and the Spirit of life raising them into an army. Acts 2 enabled a doubting Thomas, a denying Peter, a running Mark, a “behind locked doors” disciples to become a church, “endued with power from up on high,” to “turn the world upside down.”
Revival is promised in Joel and later reiterated by Peter, “In the last days, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” This promise and others throughout scripture, including, “the sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings,” bring hope to churches and individuals scattered across the United States of America.
God is moving in some exclusive areas, the “pour out of my Spirit,” however it is more like a drizzle than a downpour. Don’t count me as negative because there have been souls saved, people healed and great deliverance in many people’s lives but compared to Acts we are in the sprinkling proceeding the downpour. We are seeing in small measures will be poured out in larger doses, we can believe God is about to do something far greater than what we have ever experienced.
However, we are facing dramatic instances of mass shootings, drug addiction is rampant, sexual perversions screaming for attention, demonism glorified in movies and video games, homeless families on the rise, epic criminal activity and a sense of hopelessness and despair.
We need revival.
It has moved from “we want revival” to “we need revival.”, we need to repent of apathy, repent of lethargy, repent of sleepiness, repent of hypocrisy, repent of selfishness and repent of prayerlessness.
Revival doesn’t come upon the smug. The comfortable. The self-reliant. The comfortable.
Revival comes to the hungry. The thirsty. The needy. The broken. The crying heart of His people.
We must be the conduit which revival comes through.
God is pouring out His spirit now. As the dove sent from Noah’s Ark, the dove scans the horizon, choosing a place for her foot, finding none she returns to the ark. Revival is in the wings of the morning sun, God is seeking for a people who crave Him, in desperation of His presence, crying for His Spirit to fill them.

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of 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.

The People of Israel Raising Children in a Bomb Shelter

Hvat* never wanted to live this day but in her mind, she has relived this day thousands of times. Waking in the darkness, hearing the sounds of exploding missiles, screams piercing the moment, and now, seeing the blood, too much blood.

IMG_2469Hvat* lives in Israel in a small village near the Gaza strip, raising a small family, “This is my home, I don’t want to move, I want to live here, this is my land and this is my people.”  She had mentioned that to leave would to give the terrorists a win,

Standing there with her, within two minutes of the Gaza Strip border, less than ½ mile, the air was tense. The sky was clear, the air was dry and two elementary aged boys were riding their bikes. It was an uneasy feeling. Just a few days before our arrival IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) found a tunnel laden with explosives, motorcycles and several Hamas terrorists.

Terrorists have sent as many as twelve laser guided missiles in one day, “No one ever forgets, it never goes away.” A missile struck a bus, where most of the school child had just unloaded the bus for home but the driver and one teenage boy weren’t so fortunate. Hvat* continues with tears, lots of tears even though that day, that grievous day, was two years ago. “No one ever forgets, it never goes away.”us day, was two years ago.

“No one ever forgets, it never goes away.”

IMG_2455

Hurt feelings turned to compassion, many of the people in Palestine and Gaza are victims of Hamas terrorism just as we are. Her eyes are full of fear, her voice quivering, “I just want this to stop, for all of it to go away.”

It was a warm day, just like many days in the Southwestern part of the country of Israel. Just a few short miles to Egypt’s burning sands. The school was in session, concrete barriers were in place to help deter the attack of missiles. A weather balloon with a heat sensing camera monitors the area without much consolation.

Each bomb shelter received the artistic paint providing a stark contrast of fear with a mixture of hope.

Children have been trained and retrained, so much it has become a habit for most.

Children have learned to run for the bomb shelter. Hvat* looks out the window for a moment, “You may have 6 seconds to respond, twelve seconds would be considered a blessing. When the siren blows – you run. Several had an app on their phone telling them, not the weather or the news but the alert code. “You decide what pair of shoes to wear based on the intensity of the alert – if it is a high alert you wear something you can run in.” Tearfully she continues, “We painted the bomb shelters because we wanted to make this a better place.”shelters because we wanted to make this a better place.”

IMG_2442
Bomb shelter near a playground

The paintings and the bomb shelters seemed to divide the consciousness, one of joy, the way life was meant to be and the other of desperation and fear. “You never know the next time terrorists may send a missile over, we are just two minutes away from the border. You really don’t have much time to get to the bomb shelter.” She tried to smile for the picture but it was brief.

Two children playing in the living room under a makeshift tent, their mother was too far from her children at the moment, unable to grab the children and run to safety in the 6-second warning. The missile hit in the nearby street, digging a crater hole, shrapnel flying through the air went through the wall of the house, striking the four-year-old boy. “When I got there he was covered in blood – her son was dead.”IMG_2456

Grieving mothers confess when you have multiple children you have to quietly and sincerely decide which child you will grab when the bomb siren goes off.

Michael’s* name is written as a memorable among a gripping list of others, upon the walls of concrete.

She softly cries again and those with us cried with her.

The hole in the wall of the house has been patched and the street repaired. The hot sun has faded the paint on each bomb shelter but the memories are as fresh as today.

Hvat* motioned with her hand, a gesture of despair, “Has anyone heard this story? Does anyone care?”

 

Yes, we have heard and yes, we care!

 

Have you hugged your child today? 

 

*This is a true story but the names were changed for security reasons and personal privacy.

**This is the first of a series of true life stories of the people of Israel

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of 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, counseling or professional advice.

 

HEALING FOR HURTING PEOPLE

If you have been in the ministry even a short time, you probably have discovered church, by its very nature, draws and attracts hurting people. Hurting people are described as:

 

  • WITHDRAWN – Hurting people have a tendency to withdraw from the crowd. Usually, find it difficult to be a team player.
  • HURT OTHERS – you have probably heard the phrase: hurting people hurt others. It is hard to kiss a porcupine – their inner pain repels and hurts others by their words and actions.
  • THINK IN TERMS OF HOW IT HURTS THEM – People who carry pain have tunnel vision – defining each moment in terms of how each situation affects them not in terms of how each situation affects others.
  • EXCUSE THEMSELVES – A common statement for a person filled with pain, “You don’t know what I’ve been through.” Or, “You don’t know what I’m dealing with.”
  • TRULY IN PAIN BECAUSE OF PAST OFFENCES – If You Are Still Angry Because of A Past Offence Then It May Be Time To Get Off The Fence. A pain filled person can point to each offense.
  • PUSH OTHERS AWAY – A pain filled person doesn’t want to be hurt again and often pushes others away from them. “I’d rather be alone than hurt by another person.”
  • SEEK OUT OTHER HURTING PEOPLE OR AN ANGRY CAUSE – Like attracts like and hurt people will gravitate to other hurt people.
  • THINK AUTHORITY FIGURES ARE AGAINST THEM OR FAVOR OTHERS – they may do their duty but reluctantly or grudgingly.
  • EMOTIONALLY DRIVEN NOT SPIRIT DRIVEN – “I’m having a bad day” may be their excuse as to why they are treating others around them disrespectfully.
  • OVERREACTIONARY – “You always get an overreaction in an area that has never been healed.” – Russel Hylton
  • WRESTLE WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS THEIR FATHER – it is increasingly difficult to accept God’s love for themselves or for others.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE ENCOURAGER, CONSOLER OF THE HEART

Healing and comfort are provided through the working of the Holy Spirit. Read the following verses carefully if you are carrying hurt, past offenses or unforgiveness in your heart.

John 14:15 -21 If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray for the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.

 

RECEIVE HEALING IN YOUR HEART AND MIND

 

BELIEVE AND RECEIVE THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST God not only loves the world – He loves you. Accept God’s love in a heart cry to God. Know God was with you in your offenses but never intended for you to carry them. God wants to heal you from the pain and enable you to forgive others and forgive yourself. Look at this empowering scripture, Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. This has been largely interpreted as healing for our physical bodies but read the verse again, “He hath borne our griefs.” Jesus carried your pain and hurt – you don’t need to carry it anymore.

 

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS TO JESUS AND NOT OF OTHERS “First Focus” is to magnify Jesus and maximize relationships. FIRST FOCUS enables you to look at Christ hanging on the cross carrying our sin, our pain, our hurt and focus on His love, His forgiveness, and His strength. By watching other’s responses we merely build up our case, we strengthen the stronghold of personal offenses. By looking to Jesus, we recognize He is able to be the “author and finisher of our faith.”

 

SEEK FOR HUMILITY The door to God’s favor is found in humility. You will never reach the top by putting others down. Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life. Yes, you have been hurt. Yes, you have been offended. Yes, you were treated wrong. Humbly take it all to Jesus and humbly seek His presence in your everyday life. Humble yourself as a child of God, not because of your offenses but because of God’s enabling ability to carry you.

 

COMMIT TO RIGHT ACTIONS AND DELETE REACTIONS Begin a mental practice of actions when confronted with a variety of possible scenarios where you possibly could see yourself being hurt again. “I will honor and respect those around me despite how they use me, speak to me or hurt me.” You are responsible for your actions but you are not responsible for other’s reactions.

 

ALLOW JESUS TO RELEASE YOU FROM THE OFFENDER’S

POWER TO CONTROL YOUR REACTIONS.

 

PRAY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT Pray through to a breakthrough. Jesus heals and in His presence, there is a refreshing wave of His freedom. Find a quiet place and stay in His presence until you know within your heart and mind you have been freed and the chains have fallen off. Your deliverance is key to your spiritual health. Stephen, a New Testament deacon was stoned for his beliefs. As the rocks hit hard across his head and body, he shouted for all to hear, “Lord, lay not this sin against them.” When he died, witnesses around him saw his face as the countenance of an angel. God can change your countenance in the face of your fiercest opposition.

 

Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of 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, counseling or professional advice.

 

How to CHANGE Your Pastor

Have you noticed how many people find it easier to complain and criticize? It is clear some part-time church goers fail to show appreciation for the prayers, phone calls and encouraging messages received from the Pastor. Lifeway.com reports, American pastors are leaving their church after 4 or 5 short years. Conflict, criticism, comparisons and complaining are the four major reasons plus, burnout, financial stress, integrity issues or marital conflict. Pastor’s are facing untold daily pressures adding to the load of their weekly ministry.
CONFLICT When words, attitudes and actions stretch beyond the bounds of Christian behavior the pastor sees no recourse but to leave the church, believing the issue at stake will not settle otherwise.
CRITICISM Sharp barbs are thrown as pastors are expected to live up to people’s unrealistic expectations. When the spiritual level of the church is down and the morale is low, criticisms spike upward as “someone is looking to blame someone.”
COMPARISONS Whether church members are comparing the local church with a neighboring church or comparing their pastor with another pastor the weight of comparison is difficult to manage. Contentment is destroyed by comparison. Comparison will kill a marriage and it will kill a pastor.
COMPLAINING It may not be a direct accusation against another member but it is the consistent static of a grumbling body of believers obstructing the work of God and stifling mission the church. To complain is to decrease the believers walk with Christ and reduce the opportunity for revival. One recorded prayer request from Jesus cries, “May they be one as the Father and I are one.”
Can we reduce the obstructions to change short term pastors into long term pastors? Can we CHANGE the mood from negative behavior to positive actions? I believe the answer is a resounding, “YES!” The following list is not conclusive but will graduate the church to a mature and healthy congregation and change your pastor.
PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR Nothing will change the pastor’s ministry and change your heart as intentional prayer for the pastor. Nothing will change the atmosphere or the chemistry of the church as believers calling upon God for divine intervention. Beverly Hylton, a pastor’s wife,  posted, “A pastor’s greatest asset is praying people.”
PLAN TO BE AN ENCOURAGER An encourager is a bright light in the darkest nights of discouragement and depression. A believer who allows God to use them to uplift the pastor can be pivotal to the life and future of the church. Anyone can complain but it takes a dedicated man or woman to encourage a downhearted leader. Hur and Aaron were used of God to uphold the weary arms of Moses during the battle, we can do no less for our pastor.
PARTCIPATE IN MINISTRY Sometimes what a pastor needs is someone who will volunteer. Something as simple as mowing the yard while he is gone to a conference or on vacation, washing the fellowship dinner dishes, cleaning up the nursery, preparing for an outreach, watching the children’s class and giving the regular teacher a break. An excited member can turn the anxiousness of the pastor into expectation as he visualizes the vision is being passed on. He has preached vision, planned vision and prayed vision and it is exciting to see a church member meet with the pastor about fleshing out the vision.
PARTNER IN GIVING The statistics are rough – some churches are seeing as little as 25% of the congregation tithing and only 15% giving to missions, youth or other church ministries. Often times the pastor’s salary is cut to accommodate for the rising cost or insurance, utilities or building updates. The pastor’s salary should be reviewed yearly with a cost of living raise, bonuses and special occasion gifts (birthday, Christmas, anniversary and conference expenses). Members should be expected to tithe of their income to the local church but special gifts and offerings to the pastor should be the norm for active church members. We must remember the church operates as a business but lives as a church.
POSITIVE PERSONALITY A believer with a smile and a kind word is a delight to God. Positive people may disagree but they disagree with a kind spirit. A believer who is motivated to please God, assertively promoting the church and joyfully entering into worship will emphatically change the impact of the local church. The first impression of visitors will be one of joyfulness, attracting them to return. Pastors are in a dire need of positive believers to gather in chorus around them. Supporting them to continue preaching and praying, “Your ministry is making a difference in my life.”

What are some ways you encourage your 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, counselling or professional advice.

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.

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.