When You Have Been Criticized

It was a harsh criticism and mostly undeserving but it struck through the heart. It may not had been taken seriously but it was someone we expected better. Even though it was over 25 years ago, I still remember how the bite hurt for a few months.

When criticism comes your way, it can make you feel devalued, disrespected and unappreciated; however, not all criticism should be treated the same. Criticism comes through various means and varied approaches, so the response to criticism varies; one answer for all does not apply.

Let me suggest a few action steps if criticism bites today:

Examine the criticism. Is it an attack against a decision you made and not all parties are on the same page? If so, no matter what side you are on, criticism will come. Stand for the right and continue to live with a smile on your face. If the criticism attacks an unchangeable feature, understand the nature of the attack, find grace to live without bitterness and continue to live patiently. If the same criticism thrown at you, others have received, most likely, nothing will change to suit the critic, continue to live forgiving.

Evaluate the criticism. Is the criticism coming from a person you love? Did it come at a heated moment? Was it intentional? Did it come from someone who does not know you? Evaluate the person’s value to you, close friend, anonymous source, a person in your group?

 

Rate criticism on a scale of one to ten. One being, criticism from a person I don’t know and ten being a criticism from a person who loves me much?
If one to four, IGNORE,
Five to eight, ADAPT and
Nine to ten CHANGE.
Is the critic a “known” critic? Everyone knows the critic lives with a chip on his or her shoulder or an axe to grind, give them a one.

 

Estimate the criticism. Are you offended? Is the criticism well deserved? Was it a courteous criticism? Are you willing to listen to creative criticism? Estimate the amount of criticism you will accept and the amount you will reject. Can you tell if the criticism is constructive criticism or destructive criticism? Can you accept ideas from others? What do you do when others do not agree with you? How you handle criticism tells a lot about you as a person.

Entertain the criticism. The worse becomes the worst when we engage an army, enlist recruits, play the story over in your mind and entertain the critic by how bad we feel.. Live by the philosophy, “you can hurt my ears but you can’t touch my heart.” Find a place to put your criticism before you go home. Hang up your jacket before you leave the office, placing all the criticism in the pockets, you will feel better when you get home.

Lastly, enlarge your heart by praying for your critic and  praying for yourself. Pray specifically for joy and peace. Pray because God understands criticism. When David was criticized by Shemei in 2 Samuel, he cursed, criticized and cast stones but David responded with an amazing answer, It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day. Leave criticism in God’s hands, it may be God will turn it around for the good.

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. Do not construe this post as medical, legal or professional advice.

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Small Church Pastor and Thank You Notes

In a personal file I have a valuable collection of encouragement notes filled with “thank you” and appreciation, I have collected from over forty years of ministry (I started young). These notes are read from time to time for a jolt of personal joy from remembering the event and the person who wrote the card or note. I have a separate file of notes or letters written by critics or complainers, in comparative size, it is small. I never read them again; because most of them lack the pain, they previously carried.
No doubt about it, the thank you note will be read more than once and still treasured. A thank you note can be written to a volunteer who put together a special occasion. A handwritten thank you note expresses faithfulness, loyalty or hard work.

A THANK YOU NOTE WILL ENCOURAGE A GOOD VOLUNTEER TO BE THE BEST VOLUNTEER

If I enjoy receiving a handwritten thank-you card – it must be true, others enjoy receiving a handwritten thank-you card. If we wrote, more thank you cards and expressed appreciation, we may see a decrease in criticism and complaints. Pastor, we set the atmosphere!

GOD GAVE A GIFT OF 86,400 SECONDS TODAY. HAVE YOU USED ONE TO SAY “THANK YOU?”
–William Arthur Ward

So, let me begin. Thank you, pastor, for reading this brief blog post today. Thank you, for being a man or woman of prayer. Thank you for preaching the Word of God each Sunday. Thank you for your care, love and concern in your pastoral role. Thank you from my heart, for the sacrifices you have made. Thank you, Pastor, for keeping your family first. Thank you, Pastor, for living holy, modest, and revering God. Thank you, Pastor, for your role in the community, your smile and prayers.
Thank you, Pastor, for being a pastor.

Let us get our Thank you note written. Here are some ideas:
1. Thank you for being a friend to the Pastor and Spouse.
2. I know you pray and thank you for keeping your Pastor in your prayers.
3. Thank you for your volunteer work as a Nursery Worker – I know it is not easy giving up a Sunday. Morning Worship Service but YOU are making a difference in the lives of people.
4. Thank you, Youth Leader, I appreciate your leadership and enjoy spending time with you.
5. Thank you, greeters, for your friendly smile, warm welcome and firm handshake every morning, the first 90 seconds a first time visitor comes to our church will cause many of them to return.
6. Thank you, worship team, for practicing often and setting the atmosphere of worship. I could not do it without you.
7. Thank you, (elderly person), for your faithfulness over the past (30) years, I am personally encouraged to keep the faith because of you.

Well, you get the idea; in fact, it may not be a bad idea to write a thank-you card each week or every two weeks. It would do wonders for your spirit and for the spirit of the church. Pray for the person as you write the card, asking God for the spirit of encouragement to envelop them. Thank you cards are inexpensive but are invaluable in encouraging another. Go ahead and write a Thank You card now.

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. Do not construe this post as medical, legal or professional advice.

LIFT Living in Fullness Today

The joy continues.

I am so thankful and humbled by the response to my new book, LIFT, Living in Fullness Today, published by Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

Lift is what God does to get people off the ground. Lift is what aerodynamics does to get airplanes off the ground. LIFT is needed in every man and every woman’s life, everyday.

On Launch Day we watched as people posted, “I got mine.” And every new picture and post brought tears to my eyes as I watched my dream come true. I wanted to see people encouraged on a national scale, enough with the blame game, criticism, laughing at others, putting others down and division. People need to be lifted not downgraded. Lifted not scorned. Lifted not shunned.

Launch Day and the day after proved to be amazing. God kept amazing me. On Launch Day, LIFT, went from Amazon’s Best Seller Rating on Spiritual Growth Books #16,698 at 8:30 am to #365 by 9:00 pm. And, Kindle downloads, the day after on Amazon’s Best Seller Rating #55 in Christian Prayer and #283 in Christian Spiritual Growth.

I asked several people, including my congregation, to believe in prayer, specifically on Launch Day, that God would be glorified as the CEO of LIFT. It wasn’t the money because writers don’t get rich but it was a message needed among thousands.

Thank you! To the many people who bought the book, thank you! For the many people who posted their picture with “I got mine,” thank you!  For the many pastors who ordered multiple copies for their staff, thank you! For the many people who prayed and believed with us, thank you!

If you haven’t ordered LIFT here is a link for both paperback and Kindle download. Blessings to you.

THESE GIFTS ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE USED IN THE CHURCH 2018 Favorite Post

God has intentionally and appropriately gifted people in the church to fulfill the mission and vision of the church. Some are God gifted people who are able and willing to, with their team, to accomplish the work God has set before them. They are a joy to the leader and are a resource to the church.

However, there are some who are self-gifted. Maybe sensing the need to do something they clamor for a position, desire acclamation and perform for applause. The gift is questionable to the leadership and may reach the level of obnoxiousness to the congregation. Some self-gifted volunteers can be redirected into a more purposeful and God-honoring area of ministry while others simply fade away to “use their gifts elsewhere.”

GOD GIVEN GIFTS exemplify the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
SELF GIVEN GIFTS react instead of restore, resign instead of revive and resist instead of respect.

There are gifts NOT intended to be used in the church, in any church.

THE GIFT OF ASSUMPTION
Nothing is more disturbing to the leadership of the church than a person who assumes the worst and ignores the best. The negative attitude is carried through the sanctuary like a carton of rotten eggs. They presume and assume about everything and everybody. No, this gift is not based on evidence and certainly not based on facts but purely on speculation. No gift of discernment is evident just entire and complete fabrication based on “I thought I saw…”

THE GIFT OF INTERRUPTION
The “know it all” has an opinion on everything and everybody. They are often wrong but never admit it. They don’t mind telling you “how I feel about it.” Explanation, examination or exegesis is not a part of the conversation; interpretation is based on an interior motive of being right and winning the argument or the debate. Combustible when losing and celebrates others loses.

THE GIFT OF MAGNIFICATION
Making a “mountain out of a molehill” is the ulterior delight of the “magnifier.” Small is enlarged in their mind before all the facts are known. Taking bits and pieces they construct a castle of doubt and fear. Pastors are trying to deal with problems but the “magnifier” increasingly casts suspicion on the people involved. Making others feel smaller and themselves bigger is the role of the “magnifier.” The personal quest to build their own statue of holiness perceives everyone else as the enemy who is guilty until proven innocence.

THE GIFT OF MANIPULATION
Moving people like games pieces on a checkerboard is the goal of the “manipulator.” A buried desire to “straighten” other church members out is the outcome of most discussions. The motto of the “manipulator” is “do what I say don’t do what I do.” They have a hidden, interior design to have other’s follow their lead without question. Some will come back to the discussion table with manipulative statements, “You can’t make it without my tithes.”

THE GIFT OF AGITATION
The agitator has been hurt and they fling hurt wherever they go. “Hurt people hurt people,” and the agitator lives up to it. “Locked and loaded” is emblazoned across their forehead. Harm and hurt are left in the path of destruction. Stirring up trouble, living on demeaning actions and an incendiary attitude describes the agitator.

• Pray sincerely and humbly for direction. God has answers we haven’t seen.

• Slowly approach others who have witnessed this behavior. Others may be willing to agree and others may simply say, “That’s just the way he is.”

• Check their history – has it been an ongoing problem or something out of the clear blue? It may be pressure in his home or workplace or a serious health issue.

• Weigh it carefully before acting. Removing people from leadership is harder than placing people in leadership. And, having people leave your church is easier than gaining people into your church.

• Examine your own heart whether you are acting or reacting, shepherding or fighting; then proceed with the passion of Jesus.

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.

The Small Church Pastor and His Wife

A small church Pastor is most likely bi-vocational. That means he has two jobs – neither of which pays him enough to do without the other.
A small church Pastor likely feels time crunched with two jobs, ministry duties, visitation, sermon preparation, board meetings, church maintenance, denominational meetings, parsonage repairs, and personal devotion and prayer.
A small church Pastor is most likely financially strained as he leads the church in giving, expected to give to every child who is selling a candy bar at school and pays his denominational dues.
However, if all the above fall short there is one thing and one thing alone that rises to the top of the “you must do this one thing” scale. If you ever leave the church, this will be the one item you will take with you. Your wife is the most essential part of your ministry. Your wife is the one prized possession a small church pastor has above all else.
YOUR WIFE IS A GIFT FROM HEAVEN. Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. Respect and honor to your wife in public and in private will “obtain favor from the Lord.”
YOUR WIFE IS HALF YOUR MINISTRY. Eccleisates 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Many of the ministry duties and responsibilities are directed by your wife.
YOUR WIFE NEEDS YOU. She needs your time, she needs your ear and she needs your heart. Don’t be afraid to give her all three. Take the time, prime time, when it just the two of you, and invest in your relationship. I personally believe, a strong pastoral marriage helps build strong marriages in the church.
YOUR WIFE NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS. Pray for your wife daily. Pray for her physically, mentally and spiritually. She may take a phone call she didn’t need to answer. The snarky looks and penetrating stares are overwhelming. Keep praying for her and keep praying together.
YOUR WIFE NEEDS YOUR LOVE. Tell your wife you love her. Look her in the eye and let her know she still means the world to you. Remember why you married her and repeat it to her. Go on a date, it doesn’t have to be expensive but it does need to be personal and private. Invest in your marriage before you invest in the church.

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.

 

Fathers, You Have What It Takes #4

This is the last in our Special June Edition about Fathers.

Fathers, we must do more. Circling your children with prayer will provide protection for them when you are not there. But, what can we do when a Father is present, where does he start?
First, we must fortify our minds and the minds of our children. Television is now responsible for flooding with a 69% increase of curse words in the last five words. We must be strong enough to turn it off. Our sons see pornography for the first time at 8 years old. We must be strong enough to turn it off. Television shows have seen a 70% increase in sexual content in the last five years. We must be strong enough to turn it off, for our own sake and the sake of our sons and daughters.
By guarding the hearts of the young we can save the next generation from the moral tyranny of the mind. When Fathers take a firm and loving stand against evil in their own heart – children are watching and following.
In a recent survey, if a child is the first person in a household becomes a Christian, there is a 3.5% probability everyone else in the household will follow. If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17% probability everyone else in the household will follow. However, when a Father is first to become a Christian, there is a 93% probability everyone else in the family will become a Christian.
Secondly, Fathers must plan their inheritance. Not just a financial cash reserve for children to wildly spend after your passing but a spiritual inheritance to leave behind you. I have always appreciated the story of Israel leaving 12 stones in the river and 12 stones on the bank of the river, as a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Fathers who spend time with their sons and daughters building spiritual moorings will watch their children value their Fathers testimonies.
Sharing God’s faithfulness with children builds a level of trust and honor. Your win doesn’t depend on your perfection as much as your faithfulness. God wants Fathers to share their faith with their children. Young boys must see a Father, strong in his faith. Young girls, must see a Father, strong in his faith.
Father, You Have What It Takes

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

FATHERS YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES (SPECIAL JUNE EDITION) #3

A father has unbelievable ability to dramatically influence the next generation. If you search the Old Testament in the Bible the Father’s planned on a “generational transfer of faith,” in fact, a biblically repeated statement, “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” shouts the value of the “generational transfer of faith.” Exo 3:4-6 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
God declares, “I am a God of succession,” God establishes early in the Bible, a “generational transfer of Faith.”
• There are those, like Moses, whose Fatherly image had made an incredible influence and persuasion on a young man, Joshua. Moses’s, at his last days, handed off a 2 million people congregation to his successor, Joshua.
• Evaluate David’s final days, he successfully hands down the kingdom and plans of building the temple, to his son, Solomon.
• Don’t forget the New Testament concept of a Paul to Timothy mentorship illustriously designed in First and Second Timothy.
• Acts 2:38-39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. A perpetual and “next generation” promise of Spirit infilling and fullness.

Fathers can and will hand down their faith to their son’s (we will discuss daughters in a separate post) when they purposely and intentionally incorporate faith into their everyday life. Fathers who go to church on Sunday but don’t live the faith throughout the week lose their power of influence. Passing down God given personal principles and convictions brings highly effective results in the lives of their sons, when incorporated daily and intentionally.
A Father can provide a generational transfer of Faith by four simple but highly effective methods. Many fathers are already doing this with substantial results.
TIME – Prime, personal and private time with a son is the most important of all aspects of Fatherhood. Going with them to a church service or going with them to a youth camp or going with them to a ball game coupled with prime, personal and private time, results in visual and noticeable outcomes.
Look at the stories boys love; “Dad and I went fishing together, dad and I went on a trip, dad and I went to eat a burger.” The most important stories to your son begin with, “Dad and I.”
TEACHING – Instruction and class room settings are informational and instrumental in developing children but no greater impact can be accomplished in a son than the father who gives the right tools to mature him for spiritual, physical and mental progress. Matt Walsh preaches, “We ask for self-discipline and self-control from the boys while providing him with no tools to develop them.”
Teaching is not to tell them everything to do but to provide tools to show them how to do it. One tool you can give your son is “how to treat a woman.” Some 66% of college males admit their daily struggle is lust, yet, we provide our boys on little or no training on a pure mind, clear conscience or daily victory. Fathers should and must have an honest conversation about pornography, sexual maturity and scriptural “wall building.”
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Build A Wall Of Protection Around Your Son’s Heart
By Speaking The Word Of God Into His Heart And Life

TRYING – Proving a daily example is no doubt one of the most powerful lessons a son or daughter will ever learn. As Dr. James Dobson adequately states, “Boys are not born knowing how to be men. They have to learn that.” Fathers who TRY to be an example are tons better than the Father who never tries.
Indifference is expensive. Not trying is worse than trying and failing. A son will respect a father who admits his mistakes but will dishonor a father who ignores them.

Your WIN Doesn’t Depend On Your Perfection
As Much As It Depends On Your Honesty.

TRUST – The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago and the second best time to plant a tree is now. Building a son will take a lifetime. Daily lessons of trust in God will create a strong faith to pass onto a son. He will watch his Father more than he will listen to His Father. Trust is never more strongly seen than in a Father’s daily walk with God. When a son sees a father end the evening by reading his Bible, or how he handles critics, or how he honor’s his wife, there will be a foundation built for years to come.
Pray for your son but also, pray with your son. Prayer is the melting place for two hearts to come together. Build a faith in your children reflecting your own trust in God. You can’t make him but you can lead him. In regard to faith, show him what authentic is.

Father, you have what it takes.

 

Some information derived from:
TheFatherlessGeneration.wordpress.com, Fathers.com and FocusontheFamily.com

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.