What They Need

Today, I have a question for you….

Have you ever thought about what Pastors, Ministers, Missionaries, Evangelists, and Teachers must feel on a regular basis… to pour out everything they have into every sermon, every service, to spend hours praying, reading and studying scripture, formulating the words to get the message into hearts in a way that is loving and hopefully receivable while preaching truth, trying to encourage and strengthen each person sitting in the congregation and helping them grow spiritually… all while trying not to cry, trying not to allow discouragement to weigh them down so much that they quit, choosing to use up their strength and fight their fleshly desire of wanting to yell, scream, shake, slap, or curse us with our blank stares, our crossed arms, our yawns, our rolling eyes, our zoning out moments, our “side conversations”, our getting up and down and causes of disruption, our looks of disapproval, having to hear our complaints or our suggestions on how something should be done or said, the constant judgment they receive, having to hear others opinions about everything, hearing unsolicited advice, being criticized, seeing someone they love choose to leave the church, hearing about how someone is offended about something, being asked to pray for someone for the third time about the same thing the person has continued to deal with for months, having a sermon prepared that they are excited to share only to see half the congregation missing, etc., etc., etc.?

Our Pastors, our spiritual leaders, they pour their hearts and souls out every single service, every single time, week after week, month after month, and they do it because they love each and every one of us and they want to invest in us.

They deal with more than we think they do. For crying out loud, they have to deal with us!

Can you imagine, just for a moment, how discouraged they must feel from time to time (if not every service)? Can you imagine how exhausted they must feel after giving everything they have in a service, plus using up all of their strength in maintaining composure and love toward us? I’m telling you they are saints. SAINTS.

They aren’t “just” our Pastors or our spiritual leaders, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and they are human too. It’s not enough that we take one Sunday a year or one month out of the year and tell them we appreciate them. I mean, for real, how would you like it if you only received a word of encouragement or a sign of appreciation one day out of 365 days, or one month out of twelve?

We need to pray for our Pastors, Ministers, those in ministry and in leadership EVERY SINGLE DAY.

We need to encourage them WEEKLY.

We need to tell them at least MONTHLY that we appreciate them, and we need to share with them something specific that we appreciate about them.

We need to put the word into practice and start living it out. They preach it to us, let’s apply it, and then actually tell them how we did and how fantastic the result was.

We need to share with them our praise reports.

We need to tell them how they have blessed us or encouraged us or how God used them to give us a word at just the right time.

We need to help them by getting involved in the Helps Ministry. Every church has, or at least should have, a Helps Ministry… There are opportunities to serve every service. You can serve on the Worship Team, as a Greeter, in Housekeeping, in the Children’s Ministry. Pray, ask God where He wants you to serve. Ask yourself if you have a passion for any of the departments. Choose one. Serve. Even if it’s only once a month, serve.

We need to watch our mouths and what comes out of them. Let’s speak life over our Pastors, over our churches. Let’s be careful not to voice our opinions or suggestions in a critical manner or attempt to provide correction or express disdain when others are around (or even at all).

We need to guard our hearts against offense and open our eyes to the ploys and schemes of Satan and not allow him to have any wiggle room in our lives or in our churches.

We need to link our faith with the Pastor’s, especially when it comes to his or her vision for the church or the ministry.

We need to support their choices and follow their leadership.

We need to make it a priority to show up at church (not just to encourage them, or to learn, but to show God we love Him). Those who show up are the ones who grow up. We can’t grow spiritually if we don’t give time to God, and if He has placed you at a church and/or blessed you with a church that you call home, then show God thanks by actually attending the church every chance you are able to.

We need to engage ourselves with the word of God. If the Pastor is preaching, listen, maintain eye contact, smile, laugh, say “Amen”. Don’t sit there like a bump on a log, or like you’d rather be anywhere but there. Don’t make your Pastor have to resist the urge to smack you!

 

These are ALL ways that we can encourage our Pastors and Ministers. Encouragement is needed, every day. Let’s do our part to be encouraging rather than discouraging. Every moment we have a choice… every service, we have a choice. Choose wisely. Choose to honor God and to bless God by honoring and blessing your Pastor(s) and Ministers and Teachers and Leaders. Choose to be encouraging and edifying. Choose to do ALL of the “we need” ideas. And, start them TODAY!

 

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And, if you’re a Pastor and reading this, I want to say “thank you” for all that you do every day for the ministry. You ARE a blessing, and you ARE appreciated. Whether you are a Pastor, an Evangelist, a Missionary, or work in Children’s Ministry, do Worship, or you lead in any way, THANK YOU.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt

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What a Rush… And a fail…

Too often we find ourselves distracted by the events and tasks of the day. We are often rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off. I was like this on Sunday, or at least, I felt like I was.

My Pastor has recently asked me to manage the Helps Ministry at our church, and I started Sunday. I went in early prepared to print off the bulletins, the Helps Ministry Schedule for the month, and prepare the Kid’s Room for Kid’s Club (our children’s church ministry) since I was scheduled to teach for the day.

God had really been putting a scripture on my heart to use for Kids Club, so I spent the bulk of Saturday getting my lesson ready and all of the activities. I spent so much time on it that I ended up getting only 2 hours of sleep!!! But, God is awesome and so faithful. I woke up revived, refreshed, strengthened and ready for the day. And, I knew God was with me and that He was my strength.

I arrived earlier than I had planned at the church, so I got everything ready to print the items we needed, but I didn’t have the password. I ended up texting the Pastor and two others requesting the password. I went ahead and unlocked the building, opened the blinds and turned the lights on before getting a response. Thankfully the password given got me in!

The printing had begun, but before all of the bulletins could get printed the ink cartridge ran out of ink, so 3 bulletins were messed up and needed thrown away. I texted the Pastor asking about changing the ink cartridge because I still needed to print the schedules. I didn’t get an answer so I went about figuring it out myself. I just didn’t realize that there were 5 ink cartridges in the printer!! I had NO IDEA which one needed changed so I changed them all. I got one schedule printed when the Pastor came in. I shared what had happened and He apologized that he didn’t have his phone and didn’t get my messages. He took over, printed his sermon notes and the remaining schedules. I went about getting the Kids Room ready for the lesson.

OH! Did I mention that I printed the inside of the bulletins upside down?! Yeah… First day and I messed it up right away! LOL!!! I just told people to think of it as an April Fools prank, since I didn’t get to pull any last weekend because of Easter.

I knew that during our Helps Ministry meeting it was going to be announced that I was going to be leading the meetings and managing the Helps Ministry departments. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to be received, and I was nervous. I couldn’t see any facial expressions, mainly because my eyes were glued on the Pastor. I’m one of the younger members in the church, and there are people who have been going to the church longer than the few years I’ve been attending. I didn’t want anyone upset or to feel like they should’ve been put in the position instead of me, and I was afraid facial expressions might reveal that or that I would read too much into them, so I just focused on the Pastor.

We were short on help for the day so our Worship Leader that was scheduled for the day was also going to serve as my helper in Kids Club. But, she was occupied with preparing for worship and the couple of minutes I did have with her, people kept coming in trying to talk to one of the two of us, so I didn’t really get to share with her what the plan for the day was, or get to ask her what she was comfortable doing or how we wanted to run the lesson for the day since we were also taking the nursery and toddlers in with us (again, like I said, we were short on help).

I was also trying to keep track of the time because she had to be up and ready to lead worship and I had to be at the laptop to run the lyrics so that the service could start on time. I had just looked at my phone and saw that we had 3 minutes before the service was scheduled to start and the person in the room trying to talk to us had just asked to see my phone because she wanted to see if it was like hers. And before I could catch myself, my “filter” sprung a leak and out of my mouth came, “I don’t have time for you to look at my phone right now.” She made a comment about me not having time, and I apologized and handed her my phone while I continued to get the room ready and then informed the worship leader that it was time to start the service. (I later apologized more appropriately to the lady I made the comment to.)

When the kids were dismissed for Kids Club, one boy didn’t want to go back because his favorite teacher wasn’t scheduled for the day – He chose to stay with his mom. His sister (who should’ve been in the nursery) was crying and didn’t want mommy to leave her, but mom left her with us. My helper tended to the crying child and got her simmered down while I worked with the other children.

When snack time was over and it was time to take the children out for a bathroom break before beginning the lesson, I looked over at my helper and said “you’re suppose to take the kids out…” but I was wondering if we even wanted to disturb the baby since she was simmered down. My helper suggested that she stay with the baby and that I take the kids out. I said, “well, uh” and turned around to see if there was anything she needed to clean up or get ready for when we returned and wondered if she should even get up with the baby as I didn’t want to disturb her. My helper took it as I didn’t want to take the kids and she said something, and I took her comment as her getting upset with me for not commenting yet. Needless to say, I ended up having the baby while she was getting the kids lined up. The second the door opened (and it wasn’t even fully opened) the child I held in my arms whipped around and started SCREAMING for her mom.

My helper took the kids out. I stayed with the baby and was trying to get her simmered down again when her mom came walking through the door, which caused the child to start crying and screaming louder. Mom took her out but the boy who refused to stay in the kids room returned, along with the other kids.

Once the door was shut, I instructed the kids to have a seat on the floor. But before I could share with them what we were doing, my helper proceeded to share with me that I should have listened to her because the baby may have been okay had she stayed with her and that it was her responsibility as someone older than me and wiser who has had children to share with me that I need to be open to listening to the wisdom of others who are older and have more experience and that it’s biblical for her to tell me so. This “lecture” as I’m calling it because I didn’t actually get to say a word or respond other than to say “I’m sorry”, lasted for several minutes.

I kept looking at the children who were looking up at us, and I wanted to say, “I understand what you are saying, and we will discuss it after the service because the children are sitting here waiting for us to finish so that they can be taught their lesson; this isn’t the time or the place to have this discussion,” but I didn’t want to sound disrespectful or dismissive of what she was saying. Unfortunately, either because I didn’t get to address the issue or say what needed to be said, every time there was a break or a moment where my helper and I were standing together, I heard the same “lecture”, this lasted throughout the remainder of the service.

I felt… HORRIBLE. I knew there was a misunderstanding and that she was upset and I couldn’t address it while trying to “preach” to the children, and keep the boy who had joined us quiet enough and involved in the lesson enough to stop being a distraction to the other children. However, we did get to have a conversation after the service ended and the children were gone.

I shared all of this with you, not to “vent”, “complain”, or to use my blog as a journal entry… I chose to be transparent with you in hopes that I can encourage you with this…

  1. We need to make it a priority and a regular part of our day to give our day to God, to trust Him to help us with whatever comes our way.
  2. We need to take deep breaths and actively trust God, especially when something doesn’t go the way we planned. Don’t be afraid to lean on Him and depend on Him to help you, no matter what is on your plate or what situation presents itself. God will NOT fail you, believe me.
  3. We need to not take ourselves so seriously that we hinder God from being able to use us. And, we need to be aware of Satan’s schemes to discourage us.
  4. We need to be gracious to one another and loving too and remember that we do NOT war against flesh and blood. My helper could’ve gotten offended, or I could’ve gotten offended, but we chose instead, to communicate with one another, and we did so out of love.
  5. It would do us all well to remember that the opportunity to take offense comes frequently, but that it is our choice to take up an offense. Offense is just a bait of Satan as a way to steal from us, and ultimately to destroy us and our relationships with others. Don’t let Satan use offense to get to you.

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

– 1 John 4:7,8

This is the scripture I used in my lesson Sunday, and as I taught the children, I remind all of us, too, the things we can learn from just this one verse:

  1. God wants us to love one another.
  2. Love comes from God.
  3. By loving others we show people that we know God and that Jesus lives inside of us.
  4. God is love.

I encourage you, my readers, to not only love others, but to work on, and practice, loving others well.

And, when discouragement comes, turn your heart and your cares to God. He really does care for you.

Have a blessed week!

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Rush

Make Him Feel Pain

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people are fighting off sickness, and that it seems like several people I know have had one thing after another after another happen. And, not good things. It’s almost like things are piling up on people.

Remember…. Satan HATES you. He is out to steal, kill and destroy you and anything God wants to do in your life (John 10:10). He doesn’t want you to have what God wants you to have, and he doesn’t want you to do what God wants you to do.

But, here’s some other things to remember too… When he attacks like this it’s usually one of two reasons… Either he’s afraid of something God wants to do through you, or he’s trying to keep you from obtaining a blessing God has already prepared for you and already has headed your way.

So… You praise the Lord. You praise Him with everything you have. You shove it in Satan’s face that he has ZERO power over you. You claim the healing that is yours. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was on Him, and He got those stripes on His back so that we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5). His pain was NOT in vain; don’t let it be in your life.

You remind Satan of the fact that he is already defeated. Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of God in Heaven right now, and Satan is under Jesus’ feet (Ephesians 1:22). AND, we are one spirit with Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 6:17). The same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead lives on the inside of you. That means, you are seated with Christ in Heaven and Satan is under your feet too (Ephesians 2:6). Satan may be roaming around like a lion, looking to see if he can devour you, but you have a lion living on the inside of you (1 Peter 5:8). AND, you are already MORE THAN a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:31-37).

You just do what you have to to make Satan feel some pain himself. And, make sure you tell him to go back to hell because he’s not allowed to mess with you. You are a child of God. The King of kings and the Lord of lords is your Daddy!

Impossible?

“I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You.” – Job 42:2

Did you know that God can do ANYTHING, and that NO ONE can stop Him? There is NOTHING too big or too hard for God. NOTHING. And NOTHING is impossible with God or for God (Luke 1:37). NOTHING.

Put your faith and your hope in the Lord. Cast your cares upon Him. He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). When the temptation comes to doubt God or to doubt His word, remember His word is a lamp to guide your feet and a light for your path (Psalm 119:105). God is for you (Romans 8:31), and NO weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). You are a child of the MOST HIGH God. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. And, He is your Father. Put your hope, your faith, your trust in God and rest in His peace that surpasses all understanding.

Remember, He is ALWAYS watching you. He never sleeps (Psalm 121:3). He has angels guarding you day and night, night and day, day in and day out (Psalm 91:11, Luke 4:10, Exodus 23:20). You are His (Isaiah 43:1). NO ONE is able to snatch you out of His hands (John 10:29). He loves you with an everlasting, never-ending, can’t earn and can’t lose kind of love (Jeremiah 31:3). His love is steadfast (Psalm 136), and He is a faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9).

Determine to KNOW God, to truly know God – His character, His ways, Him. I can tell you that God can do anything and that no one can stop Him… you can even read that for yourself, but no matter how many times I tell you or how many times you read it, you have to KNOW it for yourself.

I ask, do you know that God can do ANYTHING, and that NO ONE can stop Him?

Be encouraged today knowing that “with God ALL things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Have faith and believe.

How Do You Measure Up?

Have you ever met or experienced someone who was so unenthusiastic, indifferent and unfeeling that you were miserable being around them?

Maybe you’ve met someone who was so reserved, unresponsive and down right unfriendly and it made it impossible for you to get along. You might have even found it physically and emotionally draining to be around them.

I think we’ve all encountered at least one person like this at one time or another. If you don’t think you have, then take a hard look at yourself and make sure that frigid person isn’t you.

“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”

– 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

“Love is the hardest lesson in Christianity. For that reason, it should be most our care to learn it.” – William Penn

Let’s choose to be kind, patient, passionate, enthusiastic, and loving people. We can honor God by loving others, and loving them well.

“We should measure our love for God by our love for man…” – Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Frigid

Blessed

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all His commands…” – Deuteronomy 28:1

“If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways…” Deuteronomy 28:9

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33

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“… the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings…: ” – Deuteronomy 28:1,2

“Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, will be blessed.” – Deuteronomy 28:3-6

“Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.” – Deuteronomy 28:6

“The Lord will guarantee a blessing on everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you…” – Deuteronomy 28:8

“… the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.” – Deuteronomy 28:23

“… and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

“I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!” – Malachi 3:10

 

Reflection:

The Lord God wants us to honor Him with our obedience to His word, to His instruction, to His commands. God makes many promises to us throughout His word, but each one of them comes as a reward for doing something God tells us to do.

God wants us to fully obey Him. He wants us to carefully keep His commands. He wants us to walk in His ways. He desires us to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness before anything else. He wants us to make this life about Him.

And, God wants to bless us.

 

Living it Out:

To “carefully” do something is to do something intentionally and with purpose. Whatever is on our agendas, let’s do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23); let’s do it with Him in mind; let’s do it to honor Him and to glorify Him.

We CAN honor and glorify the Lord with our words, with our actions, with our thoughts, and even with our intentions. Let’s choose to do so today. And, let’s do so willingly and gladly.

It’s through our obedience to Him that He is able to bless us wherever we go and whatever we do. We will be blessed by the Lord God Almighty, Himself, as we willingly walk in His ways and heed His instruction.

 

Prayer:

Lord God, I thank You for the blessings You have prepared for me. I thank You for the plans You have for me and for caring for me. Lord, I am overwhelmed by Your goodness and Your generosity. I thank You that You desire to open the windows of Heaven and to pour out a blessing on me that is so great there isn’t room enough for me to take it all in. Help me Lord, to honor You, to obey Your word and Your commands. Help me to seek Your Kingdom first and to put You and Your ways before anything else. I thank You that You bless the work of my hands, and I thank You that as I give everything I do to You and do it for You, that You bless me in good measure, pressed down and shaken together and overflowing. You are a good God, and I am grateful for Your mercies toward me. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.

A Thing of Beauty

I haven’t written any fiction in years… we’re talking at least a good decade. But, tonight, browsing on WordPress, I came across another blog post in response to today’s word prompt. Someone had begun a fictional story about a perfect wedding, or something like that. I read what was written. It was unfinished and the author was asking for the readers to finish the ending in the comments. I guess you could say I was inspired, so I tossed aside any caution I had about dipping my fingertips into the fiction pool, and started typing. Unfortunately, my writing sparked more details for the story than what was worthy to have in a comment. I shared what I wrote in the comment section any way. Then, I added some more to the story and am going to share what I’ve written with my readers.

I know this is NOTHING like what I would typically post. NOTHING at all like it, but sometimes different can be fun. So enjoy! Remember, this is my addition to the beginning of someone else’s story, and this one isn’t complete either.

 

as their gazes collided with one another, tears filled both their eyes. This day had finally come. They were going to pledge their love in front of friends and family, and begin their life together united as one. Joy and excitement overflowed Darcy’s heart and beamed from her shiningly smiling face. Her heart skipped a beat as she witnessed John’s reaction to seeing her for the first time today.

John, with every ounce of his being, took a deep breath in, right hand over his heart, actively reminding himself to breathe. What a beautiful sight Darcy was in her flowing gown. “She wore the daisy chain I got for her” he thought while admiring how her brown hair made the daisies pick up the white sparkle in her eyes. She was radiant.

A big toothy smile that showcased his perfectly straight and whitened teeth crept upon John’s face as he said to himself, “Today is the day I finally get to call her my ‘wife’.”

Anticipation for this day had been building since the first time John laid eyes on Darcy. As she slowly cascaded down the isle toward him, he reflected on the days leading up to this very moment.

A scrawny awkward young man in his early twenties walking into his first “adult” job wearing his best baseball uniform. As he approached the building where he would begin his career as a forest ranger, he noticed two beautiful women in conversation. Both ladies, one with short brown hair who was decked out in her best “valley girl” clothes and the other with medium curly blonde hair glanced up at him and then started whispering.

“Yep, they were completely talking about me and how handsome I looked” is what he would later tell friends and family. While Darcy would interrupt to correct him, “no, we were saying, and trying not to laugh mind you, ‘who’s this guy in the baseball uniform coming into the ranger station?'”

Months later hunting with a buddy, John shared that he was going to marry Darcy.

Funny thing was, Darcy was dating another guy and had no idea John was even interested.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Radiant