In the last 6 months my life has become a weird mixture of stuff I never anticipated…
- self employed (always liked the idea, but never thought it would happen)
- NOT working in pastoral ministry (which I thought I’d be doing until Jesus returns)
- engaged in all kinds of business activities (which never interested me before)
- and about to become a grandpa (which I never imagined would be the case at 46 years of age).
But it’s amazing how changes like these can hit you out of the blue, and the LORD gives the grace to roll with it all. He’s kept me focused on Him throughout and actually eager to be engaged with Him in the process.
It’s been quite a ride.
My main life-lesson through it all has been this:
God is in control – so relax.
It’s amazing how little I’ve worried, felt stressed, or been in a place where I’m anxious about the future.
It’s all glory to Him really, and I’m a bit amazed by it (OK, a LOT amazed by it).
A cool thing to go along with it is that my wife has been in the same place too!
Thank You LORD, for Your faithfulness and presence.
I’ve been working on a family economics related website lately, which is…
- A community
- for believers in Christ
- a brainstorming environment
- an experience sharing experience
- a resource for small or home based business
- family oriented
- aimed at being Acts 2 and Acts 4 in a business sense
- an opportunity to develop relationships and possible partnerships
- exploring how families can work together to produce multiple streams of income
If you’d like to check it out, there’s an introductory video explaining exactly what family economics is… how it works… why it’s important… and what you can do to become a part of this growing, but age-old movement.
Personally, it seems like a no-brainer to me. The entire family working together toward greater ends than any one of them might have… and all for the good of them all.
Check it out at www.cfemastermind.com (Christian Family Economy Mastermind).
POWERFUL – worth EVERY MINUTE of the 14 it will take you to watch this video.
Pastor appreciation month… from a Pastor’s perspective
It may sound kind of obvious or even weird for me to say, but I appreciate Pastor/Clergy appreciation month.
The fact that somebody, somewhere took the initiative to highlight and promote the value and importance of what I have done for the past 20 years is truly meaningful to me.
Why do Pastors or clergy need your appreciation?
While it’s true that most jobs have their vital contributions to make, there are certain vocations that have a deeper or larger impact on individuals and groups simply because of the nature of what they do (assuming they do it right and well). The pastorate is one of those vocations.
Reasons to appreciate your Pastor
I write this hesitantly, because I know that members of my own congregation read this blog, and I don’t want to seem like I’m fishing for something personally. So please know, that’s not my motive.. honest.
I’m taking that risk because too many Christians actually DON’T GET why their Pastor’s job is so vital, or what they actually do. So, in that sense I’m wanting to “go to bat” for my fellow Pastors out there. With that in mind, let me give you some food for thought…
What other professional is EXPECTED to do the following as part of his normal duties each week?:
- Present a well-prepared, heart-stirring, biblically faithful, public “speech” between 30 minutes to an hour in length, every week – 1 Timothy 5:17. (How long would it take YOU to adequately prepare?) Some Pastors do this more than once each week.
- Ensure that his own heart is adequately prepared to humbly but boldly instruct others (think, “take the log out of your own eye” on this one – Matthew 7:5).
- Do this when their own life is going well… and do it when their own life is heavy or full of pain – 2 Timothy 4:2.
- NEVER have the option to “not go to church.” Even when they’ve had a rough week, are tired, stressed, coming down with a cold, just had an argument with their spouse, are struggling with their children, or just don’t feel like it.
- Be available for anyone (church member or person off the street) who comes in the door… or at least be able to make time to meet with them in the near future.
- Know how to wisely and sensitively juggle those kinds of sometimes-conflicting priorities.
- Give wise and timely counsel in every one of those situations… counsel that is truly helpful (Colossians 1:28-29).
- Know the names and life situation of anywhere from 40 to 150 people or more. (I think I’m on the “low end” here…), and actually CARE about them.
- Wisely oversee various administrative functions, or the people who do. Consider the variety and weight this: buildings, schedules, curriculum, consumable supplies, equipment, assets, funds, property, fund-raising, recruitment, community outreach, publicity, inner-organization relationships, volunteers, etc.
- Effectively and continually recruit and equip an ENTIRELY volunteer pool of people to serve the needs of the church and community.
- Keep tabs on how those volunteers are doing week to week, both in their service and in their morale.
- Doing what is necessary to keep those volunteers excited/motivated about what they are doing… and why.
- Effectively hold those volunteers accountable without the “leverage” of salary or other types of tangible motivation (it’s almost an art-form to do this well… and I personally have to work very hard at it, and still don’t do it well.)
- Effectively have and communicate a gripping vision to those he leads.
- Motivate the individuals in his congregation toward continual growth/change, on a heart level.
- Counsel, guide, teach, and equip individuals and families who are experiencing situations he’s never encountered personally.
- In some cases, oversee, encourage, and hold accountable paid staff (from custodians to other ministerial staff).
- Faithfully and consistently pray for those under his care regarding their needs and concerns.
- Maintain his own spiritual walk with integrity and diligence.
- Do all of this while maintaining a healthy, exemplary family life at home (which is a qualification for his position) – 1 Timothy 3:4-5.
And I don’t even think this list is complete.
Seriously, do you know any other profession that is EXPECTED to do all this, every week without fail?
Do you know of any other position EXPECTED to fulfill such a variety of responsibilities with excellence?
Ideas for appreciating your Pastor
I love it when my wife tells me how I can love her better. That way I know, without any doubt whatsoever, that I’m doing something she values, something that speaks love to her.
In that spirit, I want to give you some ideas of what a person in the position of a Pastor would likely appreciate as a meaningful gesture of appreciation.
- SAY “thank you” to his face, and be specific. Your Pastor needs to HEAR it.
- WRITE him a note of appreciation. Don’t just buy the card and sign it. Make it PERSONAL.
- Write out a LIST of specific ways he’s personally positively impacted YOU and your family, and give it to him. Sometimes we Pastors can’t see the trees because of the forest.
- Say you are SORRY if there are past issues relating to you or the church where he or his family may have been hurt. Sheep-bites often get infected if not addressed and dealt with.
- Take up a monetary COLLECTION for him and his family. Pastors struggle financially just like you. Sometimes the best gift is one that relieves the stresses brought on by financial difficulties. (A side note… don’t tell him what to do with it, i.e. “This is for you to do something fun….”)
- GIFTS are always nice… the thoughts really do count.
- PLAN for him and his wife/family to have some time away from the responsibilities of ministry. A weekend getaway, a dinner out, a surprise week off… be creative.
- ORGANIZE a group of people to send a card/letter/note to him every day of the month. The slow trickle of appreciation can erode a great deal of pain, disillusionment, hurt, etc. that he may be feeling.
- ESTABLISH a “Pastor/Elder Encouragement Team” that takes this issue seriously year-round. Taking this kind of initiative will speak volumes of appreciation and care to your leaders – and it serves you best in the end (Hebrews 13:17).
- RECRUIT people to join you in showing appreciation for him. The more the merrier, and the more effective.
- DON’T FORGET his family. They pay a price to enable him to be in ministry. You truly don’t know how high a price. Make sure you don’t neglect them.
The Christian Home and Family Podcast – an update
You may not know, but I have put together another site focusing on Christian home and family life – in fact, that’s the name of the site!
Part of what I’m doing over there is producing a podcast, that at this point comes out every-other Monday (next one is scheduled to come out on October 1, 2012). So far, here are the topics I’ve covered:
- Episode 1 – 4 steps for developing God’s vision for your home
- Episode 2 – Thinking outside the box about family mission trips (with Carl Walker of En Gedi Retreat)
- Episode 3 – Financial advice for the Christian family (with Glen Stienson of Stewardship Weekly)
- Episode 4 – Establishing daily devotions for kids – part 1 (with my 3 oldest kids – Aaron, Melinda, and Madeline)
- Episode 5 – Establishing daily devotions for kids – part 2 (with my 3 oldest kids – Aaron, Melinda, and Madeline)
- Episode 6 – The bible’s blueprint for marriage (message audio from the church where I serve)
- And the upcoming episode is “The Apostle Paul’s Prescription for Parenting”
I have future episodes that I’m working on which include these topics:
- Health Stewardship for the brain (an interview with Dr. Alfred N. Green… my big bubba!)
- Christian families in a sexually saturated culture (an interview with Brad Hambrick)
- Sharing the gospel with your children (an interview with Rev. Barney Kinard – AKA “The Kid Helper”)
- and one other top-secret, not yet-arranged interview that is in the works (you can pray about this one to come through!)
So far there have been almost 1000 downloads of these 6 episodes, in 14 different countries, and 65 different cities around the globe! It has been very, very encouraging!
You can help!
It would truly be encouraging if you could do FOUR THINGS for me in relation to this podcast:
- Suggest people for me to interview on the podcast. If you know them and I don’t, feel free to make the introduction. If you don’t know them, tell me why they’d be a great guest, show me how to find them, and I’m not shy about asking!
- Subscribe to it. You can do that in a variety of ways, depending on your preferences… Itunes, zune, stitcher, miro player, or in your favorite mobile phone podcatcher – I’m using Pocket Casts and LOVING it!
SUBSCRIBE TO THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY PODCAST
- Leave me a rating and feedback on Itunes… that will help the podcast rank higher in the Itunes search monster! You can do that by clicking on the previous link or the picture below!
- And I’d love to hear from you… what do you think about the podcast? Suggestions? Critique? Encouragement (I can always use that)?
This morning as I was tooling around the I-tunes store seeking a new podcast to listen to, I found this! It’s my other blog’s podcast!
It’s under the podcasts>audio>Kids & Family>New & Noteworthy category!
If you’ve not checked out the Christian Home and Family Podcast – go do it now and help me spread the vision for Christ-centered homes!
A children’s book
I wrote it for my kids, and I don’t even remember what sparked the idea. I didn’t have any goal or purpose in mind for the “theme” of the book. I just wrote it. As you can tell, if you look it over, I was heavily influenced by Dr. Seuss, my childhood favorite. By the way, who DIDN’T like Dr. Seuss?
It’s called, “The Great Smizzmozzel Bash.” The original was bound in a 3-ring binder with the pages in sheet-protectors (we still have it at home). And all the illustrations were done using MS Paint (c) and a mouse.
Yes, it took a very, VERY long time.
Recently, for those same mysterious, unknown reasons as prompted me to write it in the first place – I got the urge to make it a bit more “professional” – so I set it up to be printed (paper-back). It’s now available… if you care to check it out – including a free ‘SNEAK PEAK” of the first part.
I usually put this type of thing in my BLOG CASSEROLE posts on Fridays. But this one is important enough (and relevant enough) for me to put in it’s own post.
Christian values are the problem. Hell will be filled with people who were avidly committed to Christian values. Christian values cannot save anyone and never will. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a Christian value, and a comfortability with Christian values can blind sinners to their need for the Gospel.
How do YOU think about the issue of Christian values?
Are there ways that you’ve wrongly depended on “Christian Values?”
This coming Saturday my wife and I (and my in-laws) are all heading to California to take my oldest daughter, Melinda, to college at Calvary Chapel Bible College in San Diego. It should be a fun road-trip (still trying to get the Suburban in shape to go), and we are all looking forward to it.
Thinking toward this trip reminds me of the unexpected response I had to leaving my oldest son, Aaron (Mel’s older brother) at school a few years back. I was surprised by the amount of emotion that welled up in me when I left him. He was ready. I was glad he was leaving the nest. I was confident in his ability and character – and more so in the LORD’s work in his life. Still, I started crying like a baby when I hugged him goodbye.
Is it going to be the same with Melinda? Probably. I have no reason to think it won’t.
Some things that come to mind as I think about the week ahead…
- Melinda has been nothing but a joy the past 18 (almost 19) years.
- The LORD has been so faithful to her, and thus to us (or is it the other way around?).
- She’s going to LOVE the college atmosphere (she is great with people).
- The LORD is going to move her ahead in ways she couldn’t at home – and I’m glad for that.
- I’m going to miss her – a TON.
We had a great Sunday together this last week, and this is the audio of our sermon from the morning.
The latest sermon covers Ephesians 6:1-4
LOVING SUBMISSION: EXAMPLE #2 – FAMILY