Category: Friendships

Sadly, many church leaders find themselves alone and longing for true friendships. Moses had Aaron and Hur. David had Jonathan. Paul had Silas. But who do YOU have? An Ezer isn’t JUST about a “help-meet suitable for him,” it’s about genuine friendship built around a mutual faith in our Lord Jesus with a mutual mission and calling. Let’s help you get connected!

Unwelcome at Church: Your First-Time Guests Need Hospitality

Unwelcome at Church: Your First-Time Guests Need Hospitality

People are Lonely. Many of them are #Unwelcome at church

Many people enter religious buildings on Saturday or Sunday morning looking for connection to God and to other people. Scores of them feel unwelcome at church. I put this into the “Isolation and Friendships” category because let’s face it: People in the modern Western world are lonely.

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Worthy of Honor: A Mother’s Day Sermon

Worthy of Honor: A Mother’s Day Sermon

Looking for a Mother’s Day Sermon?

Feel free to download mine here, for free. Just click the blue button below.

This Mother’s Day sermon is adapted from an article dated February 2006, written by Nancy Campbell, the editor of Above Rubies, a magazine for strengthening families across the world.

This mother’s day sermon teaches additional sub-topics of oneness in marriage, nurturer as woman’s design, her job description as helper like God, principle of first mention, as well as singing her praises. 

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How to Overcome Ministry Loneliness

How to Overcome Ministry Loneliness

How to Overcome Ministry Loneliness

Do you isolate yourself because you’re a pastor? When we talk about ministry loneliness, I am directly challenging the false assumption that we should. I am a Christian serving in vocational ministry. I refer to this subject from the vantage point of “we” and “us.” I have learned to overcome ministry loneliness after years of loneliness, isolation, burnout, lack of accountability and simply hiding from others, and I want YOU to as well! For the sake and length of this post, I’ll spare you that story for now. If you are interested in hearing more about my story, I’d love to share it at another time (message me or share in comments if you’d like me to write about that).

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Men’s Breakfast

Men’s Breakfast

Men's Breakfast | Church Leaders Campfire

Men’s Breakfast!

How do we put on a men’s breakfast at church? WHY do we put on a men’s breakfast at church? What is it about breakfast and men on (typically) Saturday mornings in American churches? Should we do away with the paradigm that believes that men should get together once a month to eat eggs, bacon, pancakes, orange juice and coffee, act with caveman-like butt slaps, grunts and charmless witless banter about sports, weather or sexual struggles? Do we really need another sermon–while eating breakfast?

The men’s breakfast idea came about in American churches for what purpose? To bring men together to talk about men’s personal issues. Is that important? You bet! However, I find it hard to believe that most American men feel safe in a public setting to discuss problems with listening ears around. Isn’t in smaller more intimate and intentional settings where we share our pain, struggles, victories and conscience? Such as in the car or in a friends backyard or basement or at the dinner table?

Questions:
1. What is the goal of your men’s breakfast?
2. Does the men’s breakfast accomplish your church’s goals?
3. How would you know if it did?

Raising Kids = Discipleship

Raising Kids = Discipleship

Raising kids = discipleship.

“All the principles of discipleship can be learned in raising kids.” – Robert Coleman, at Exponential 2013.

Raising Kids = Discipleship

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At the heart of every dad like me who desires to be raising kids in view of eternity, comes the need to make discipleship simple, manageable, and effective. Unfortunately this quote is true as well: “nothing is ever so simple that it cannot be made more complicated.”

Lord, if raising kids = discipleship, then is discipleship like raising kids? If I want to imprint and impress the commands of Jesus and His firm love and holiness in another person, then is it like raising kids? Raising kids is slow, agonizing at times, feels like two-steps-forward, five-steps-back sometimes. It is releasing and letting go, but then soon afterwards, grasping and bringing back to “safety.” Raising kids = discipleship.

Oh Lord, please help us church leaders get it that to lead others in discipleship is to give of ourselves daily, and sometimes simply offering what we’ve got: the stuff of life (good, bad and ugly), memories of Bible studies completed long past (when we’re out of “fresh” interaction with God), honesty and openness about our own struggles with sin, and even providing a friendship with them. Is discipleship really about meeting together once a week to read a Christian book together, ask “hard questions” about sin struggles, a quick prayer and “see you next week?” Oh bother.

I agree with Robert Coleman, and appreciate simplicity in his statement about Raising kids = discipleship, and discipleship being like raising kids. The light bulb just went on for me.

Dealing with Marital Conflict

Dealing with Marital Conflict

In every marriage, whether a ministry marriage or not, there are spiritual principles and practical applications to dealing with marital conflict. Although no marriage has ever been perfect since the Fall in Eden, having true peace, love and joy is possible even in the midst of all that ministry brings along with it. Ready for it?

Spiritual Principles

PermanenceMarriage in God’s eyes is meant to be permanent! (Mark 10:1-12, 1 Cor. 7:10-11)

Default Conflict StyleWe all experience conflict in our marriages and tend to either clam or explode. Neither of these ways of dealing with marital conflict reflect God’s way or working through conflict in love.

IF you’re a clammer, you need to learn not to keep a record of wrongs done (1  Cor. 13:5) and to not let the sun go down on your anger (Eph. 4:26).

IF you’re an exploder, you need to learn self-control, so you don’t speak words you’re going to regret later (Prov. 12:18; 14:17; 15:1).

AuthorityGod has established for our good and for His glory, a line of authority in the home with the husband being the leader of the home and the wife submitting to the authority of her husband. Wives–we are not submitting to God if we are not submitting to our husbands (or any other God given authority). Husbands–we are not submitting to God if we are not leading our wives in a loving manner.

Submission: Submitting to our husbands is part of what God uses to grow us up to be more like Jesus and should be done:

  1. Graciously (1 Peter 3:3-4)
  2. Respectfully (Ephesians 5:33)
  3. Without fear (1 Peter 3:6) because it is with faith, entrusting ourselves to God (1 Peter 2:23)
  4. As unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22)
  5. In order that the Word of God may not be dishonored (Titus 2:5)

Guard Your Heart: In dealing with marital conflict, we need to diligently guard our hearts from letting resentment and bitterness take hold in our marriage (Proverbs 4:23; 19:11; Ephesians 4:26)

One way we prevent resentment from creeping in is by surrendering our expectations to God in areas where our expectations cause conflict.

We are able to do this because we are looking to God to meet our deepest inner needs.

Agape Love: God calls husbands and wives to love each other with AGAPE LOVE–All Out, All-In (to us a Texas Hold-’em phrase), 100%, freely and fully, as a gift to God (1 Corinthians 13).

Win them Over: The purity and reverence of our lives can move our husbands towards believing the Word (1 Peter 3:1-2). This is tough on husbands who are church leaders, because when we don’t love our wives in certain areas, we are doubting God’s ways and wisdom related to dealing with marital conflict.

Practical Applications

ReflectWhen dealing with marital conflict with your husband or with your wife, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I submitting to the Lord’s ways for my marriage (wives: by submitting to my husband; husbands: by lovingly leading my wife)?
  2. Am I guarding my heart from resentment and bitterness?
  3. Am I loving my husband or wife with agape?
If your answer is no to any of these, cry out to the Lord and right the wrong. THEN, if you need to, go to your husband or wife as well. In dealing with marital conflict, you’ve got to remember to apologize WITHOUT explanations or ultimatums.
If your answer is yes to all three, then BE AT PEACE (you are doing all that God asks of you!) and pray for your spouse.
Discuss: It is not wrong for you to speak with your spouse about an issue in your marriage with which you are not at peace, but remember to:
  1. Do it graciously, not accusingly!
  2. Leave your expectations at the table (don’t increase expectations and resentment because now they have no excuse for not doing it your way!)
  3. Trust God to meet your needs and change the things only He can change in your spouse’s heart.
Forgive: When your spouse makes a mistake–and they will–FORGIVE HIM or HER (Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 3:13).
Thanks to Cathy Nelson from Grace Community Church in Ramona, CA who provided much of the source material, from which this has been adapted.