Ministry can be a lonely endeavor, if you let it. There are few careers that tend to isolate you like the one I am called to. To be sure, you can become a Lone Ranger in any line of work if you choose to, but by nature, ministry seems to push us away from the very people we are called to love and serve. The more we give and pour ourselves out, the greater the tendency to pull away from deep, personal friendships and ultimately, a deep abiding relationship with Christ Himself. Read more for five reasons ministers quit.
You get to choose your perspective on the life you've been given. While it's easier on the front end to complain about all the things that haven't gone right in your life so far, the long-term consequences of negativity are enormous. Studies consistently show that negative people who complain not only see the world through the worst possible lens, they are also unhappier, unhealthier, and more lonely than people who choose to be positive.
Learn six ways to approach the holidays with a good attitude.
This lingering thought haunted me over and over again as the plane carried me across the ocean for two years. All the things I would I miss...
Everything from decorating the tree, baking, and making gingerbread houses to the rush of shopping for, wrapping and delivering gifts. Christmas music on the radio, advertisements for toys, billboards splashed with all things red and green.
11 months later, my Thanksgiving meal and the daunting December calendar were the only reminders that Christmas was just around the corner. The South Asian town I lived in was quiet during this time of year. No music. No flashing lights. No advertisements. No rush to shop. No Santa.
As a rule, I'm usually asleep most nights by 9:30. That doesn't mean I'm in bed. I'm usually on the couch. I don't make it to bed until around 11pm when I wake up and find the lights and TV are turned off and everyone has left me all alone in the den. That is, unless there's something really interesting on TV that won't allow me to slip into unconsciousness. Like the Super Bowl, game 7 of the World Series...or last night's Presidential election.
I confess that I stayed up way too late (or early) because I was glued to the unfolding story that's dominated the headlines in America for the past year. I also realized, rather recently, that the rest of the world has been watching our democracy approach this election with great concern and interest. While traveling in Europe last month with my staff and family, a gas station attendant in Greece told me that he was afraid we'd elect the wrong candidate...all the way across the world in the United States.
Many times as we think about my life, my calling, my purpose, we have believed the individualistic lie from the enemy.
The question is usually phrased something like: “What is God’s purpose for me?” Or “What is God’s plan for my life?”
When I look to the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, I simply do not see an answer to this question. Rather, I see something much greater.
Every person on the planet has an invitation into the mission of God.
There is a simple way to discover what you love in this life.
And I’m not speaking of love in the way that you might love a hot dog. However, that does bring a story to mind...
When my sister was in 2nd grade she loved hot dogs. I mean really loved them. She even received a note home from school from her teacher. I vividly remember my mom asking her, “Did you eat hot dogs every day for lunch this last year?!” My sister responded, “On November 13th, I had a piece of pizza!" I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. She really had eaten hot dogs almost every day. She loved hot dogs!
Since I became a Christian in 1987, I've constantly heard the phrase "Culture Wars" thrown around. It usually refers to the clash of two perspectives in America: a more traditional worldview based on a Biblical understanding of how a society should function and a more liberal view of culture where old perspectives are challenged and replaced with new viewpoints and ideas on everything from marriage to education to economics to the power of government.
Christians today find themselves in a tough spot. As the culture shifts further away from the long assumed Christian ethos of American history, we as followers of Christ remain firmly planted in our convictions on essential values and beliefs. But the cultural shift means that as society moves farther from the way things used to be, evangelicals look more and more odd to outsiders.
You may or may not know that October is more than the most beautiful month of the year. It's also Pastor Appreciation Month. For many congregations it carries the same weight as Arbor Day. It means very little, if anything, to most churches.
Many people bristle at the idea of showing anyone extra appreciation or honor if they're being paid for doing their job. I once asked a Deacon if they were doing anything special for their pastor in October and he replied, "Yep, we're giving him a paycheck!" And he wasn't being cute. He was being serious. That attitude is completely opposite of what we are commanded to do in scripture.
How can we honor and respect those God has called and equipped to lead us? How can we avoid worshiping a personality while simultaneously loving and blessing our pastors and setting them up to win and succeed in serving us? Here are 5 practical places to start...
I truly believe that one of the defining marks of a mature follower of Jesus Christ is their willingness, or more particularly their EAGERNESS, to celebrate the victories, successes, and milestones in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
It seems like the internet, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook have helped create a culture of critics and cynics who say things about people behind a computer screen that they would never say face to face to a fellow believer. This has added to a culture that automatically assumes the worst about people rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt. So perhaps it is more difficult today to celebrate when God blesses someone else; their finances, their church, their ministry...you get the idea.
So you are no longer a slave, but a son. And since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:7
There are two kinds of people in this world. One is a slave. The other is a son.
Slaves own nothing. They have no rights. No property. No posessions. No freedom. Slaves are told what to do by their master. Their existence rises and falls on the whims of whoever owns them.
Sons, and daughters, own everything that their Father owns. All His property. All His wealth. All His authority. Even His own name belongs to them. And by virtue of the Father's goodness, His sons and daughters are not just His children. They are His heirs. Everything that is His is also theirs. Both now and ultimately.