Wednesday, August 30, 2006

INSPIRATIONAL: TO MEET SUCH A MAN

author: unknown
source: Phyllis Coats
"thank you helpmeet!"

I sat, with two friends, in the picture window of aquaint restaurantjust off the corner of the town-square. The food andthe company wereboth especially good that day.

As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, acrossthe street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to becarrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying, awell-worn sign that read, "I will work for food." My heart sank.

I brought him to the attention of my friends andnoticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him.Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief.We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I haderrands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glancedtoward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for thestrange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again wouldcall some response.

I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car.Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking tome: "Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven oncemore around the square."Then with some hesitancy, I headed back into town.As I turned the square's third corner, I saw him. He was standingon the steps of the store front church, going through his sack.I stopped and looked; feeling both compelled tospeak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space onthe corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. Ipulled in, got out and approached the town's newest visitor.

"Looking for the pastor?" I asked.
"Not really," he replied, "just resting."
"Have you eaten today?"
"Oh, I ate something early this morning."
"Would you like to have lunch with me?"
"Do you have some work I could do for you?"
"No work," I replied. "I commute here to work fromthe city, but I would like to take you to lunch."
"Sure," he replied with a smile.

As he began to gather his things, I asked somesurface questions.
"Where you headed?"
"St. Louis."
"Where you from?"
"Oh, all over; mostly Florida."
"How long you been walking?"
"Fourteen years," came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across fromeach other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face wasweathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yetclear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that wasstartling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirtthat said, "Jesus is The Never EndingStory."

Then Daniel's story began to unfold. He had seenrough times early in life.. He'd made some wrong choices andreaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpackingacross the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. Hetried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tentand some equipment. A concert, he thought.

He was hired, but the tent would not house a concertbut revival services, and in those services he saw life moreclearly. He gave his life over to God
"Nothing's been the same since," he said, "I feltthe Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 yearsnow."
"Ever think of stopping?" I asked.
"Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the bestof me But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That'swhat's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give themout when His Spirit leads."

I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless.He was on a mission and lived this way by choice. The questionburned inside for a moment and then I asked: "What's it like?"
"What?"
"To walk into a town carrying all your things onyour back and to show your sign?"
"Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stareand make comments.Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread andmade a gesture that certainly didn't make me feel welcome. Butthen it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touchlives and change people's concepts of other folks like me."

My concept was changing, too. We finished ourdessert and gathered histhings. Just outside the door, he paused. He turnedto me and said,"Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit thekingdom I've prepared foryou. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when Iwas thirsty you gaveme drink, a stranger and you took me in."

I felt as if we were on holy ground. "Could you useanother Bible?" Iasked.He said he preferred a certain translation. Ittraveled well and was nottoo heavy. It was also his personal favorite.
"I'veread through it 14times," he said.
"I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stopby our church andsee"

I was able to find my new friend a Bible thatwould do well, andhe seemed very grateful.
"Where are you headed from here?" I asked.
"Well, I found this little map on the back of thisamusement parkcoupon."
"Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?"
"No, I just figure I should go there. I figuresomeone under that starright there needs a Bible, so that's where I'mgoing next."

He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated thesincerity of hismission. I drove him back to the town-square wherewe'd met two hoursearlier, and as we drove, it started raining. Weparked and unloadedhis things.

"Would you sign my autograph book?" he asked "Ilike to keep messagesfrom folks I meet."

I wrote in his little book that his commitment tohis calling hadtouched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong.And I left him with averse of scripture from Jeremiah, "I know the plansI have for you,declared the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not toharm you; Plans togive you a future and a hope."
"Thanks, man," he said. "I know we just met andwe're really juststrangers, but I love you."
"I know," I said, "I love you, too."
"The Lord isgood!"
"Yes, He is. How long has it been since someonehugged you?" I asked.
"A long time," he replied
And so on the busy street corner in the drizzlingrain, my new friendand I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I hadbeen changed He puthis things on his back, smiled his winning smile andsaid, "See you inthe New Jerusalem."
"I'll be there!" was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with hissign dangling fromhis bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turnedand said, "When yousee something that makes you think of me, will youpray for me?"
"You bet," I shouted back,
"God bless."
"God bless." And that was the last I saw of him.

Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blewstrong. The coldfront had settled hard upon the town. I bundled upand hurried to mycar.

As I sat back and reached for the emergencybrake, I saw them... apair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid overthe length of thehandle. I picked them up and thought of my friendand wondered if hishands would stay warm that night without them.

Then I remembered his words: "If you see somethingthat makes you thinkof me, will you pray for me?"

Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. Theyhelp me to see theworld and its people in a new way, and they help meremember those twohours with my unique friend and to pray for hisministry.
"See you inthe New Jerusalem," he said.
Yes, Daniel, I know Iwill...

If this story touched you, forward it to a friend!"
---
I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again"

"God Speaks" Billboards

hi pastor's wife, came across this post on the web

Some new billboards are getting attention in Cleveland. Some reported seeing one or two messages, but the newspaper listed all of them.Here's a list of all variations of the "God Speaks" billboards. The billboards are a simple black background with white text. No fine print or sponsoring organization is included

Tell the kids I love them
-God

Let's meet at my house Sunday before the game.
-God

C'mon over and bring the kids.
-God

What part of "Thou Shalt Not..." didn't you understand?
-God

We need to talk.
-God

Keep using my name in vain, I'll make rush hour longer.
-God

Loved the wedding, now invite me into the marriage.-God

That "Love Thy Neighbor" thing... I meant it.
-God

I love you and you and you and you and...
-God

Will the road you're on get you to my place?
-God

Follow me.
-God

Big bang theory?... You've got to be kidding!!!
-God

My way is the highway.
-God

Need directions?
-God

You think it's hot here?
-God

Have you read my #1 best seller? There'll be a test.
-God

Do you have any idea where you're going?
-God

Don't make me come down there!!!
-God

Mean Moms

author: unknown
source: Dawn Judd
"thank you helpmeet!"

Subject: Mean Moms

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent,
I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:

I loved you enough . . . to ask where you were going,with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let youdiscover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for twohours while you cleaned your room, a job thatshould have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger,disappointment, and tears in my eyes.Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibilityfor your actions even when the penalties were so harshthey almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to sayNO when I knew you would hate me for it.Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm gladI won them, because in the end you won, too.And someday when your children are old enough tounderstand the logic that motivates parents, you willtell them.

Was your Mom mean?I know mine was. We had the meanest motherin the whole world!

While other kids ate candy forbreakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.
When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,we had to eat sandwiches.
And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinnerthat was different from what other kids had, too.
Mother insisted on knowing where we were at alltimes. You'd think we were convicts in a prison.
She had to know who our friends were, and what wewere doing with them.
She insisted that if we said wewould be gone for an hour, we would be gone for anhour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerveto break the Child Labor Laws by making us work.We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn tocook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trashand all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awakeat night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the wholetruth, and nothing but the truth.

By the time we wereteenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes inthe back of her head. Then, life was really tough!Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the hornwhen they drove up. They had to come up to thedoor so she could meet them.

While everyone elsecould date when they were 12 or 13, we had to waituntil we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of thingsother kids experienced. None of us have ever been caughtshoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrestedfor any crime. It was all her fault.Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honestadults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just likeMom was. I think that is what's wrong with the world today.It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

PASS THIS ON TO ALL THE MEAN MOTHERS YOU KNOW.(And Their Kids!!!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Pastor's Wife and the Seasons of Leadership

Mrs. Miriam Lofquist

There are many leadership qualities needed in the role of pastor's wife. These qualities vary with time and change as the ministry progresses. A leader is: watched, sought out, expected to lead and expected to love. Like a leader, a pastor's wife is also watched, sought out by others, expected to take the lead and expected to love those around her.


From the very beginning, as you and your husband stand nervously at the front of the church on your first Sunday, you are being watched. You are now part of the leadership of this group of people and they want to SEE what you do, SEE who you are, and SEE why God brought you to them. The women especially will all be watching you. I wasn't fully aware of this in our first ministry. The congregation does watch me - how I respond to my husband, how I handle my children, and how I treat others. Especially important is how I respond to my husband.

You are in a Sunday school class and your husband is the teacher. Do you correct him in front of the entire class? Or quietly talk to him later? Do you laugh at his weaknesses or proudly support him? As he talks, do you interrupt him to make a comment, or give him respect as the teacher? Many ministries have been harmed by a wife who cannot follow and instead wants to take the lead. To a watching class or congregation the husband will not be seen as the leader he needs to be. As a husband/wife team in the ministry you want to help your husband be a good leader. Correcting him or verbally telling him what to do in front of everyone does not help the team. It only brings harm to your husband, to your marriage relationship and to those observing your actions. Honor your husband in all ways, and he will be a better leader.


Not only does the congregation watch you, but so does the community you live in. Your neighbors may not know another pastor's wife so they are watching you closely. Once at a checkout stand I was introduced to the cashier as "this is my pastor's wife" - no name - just the title. Now the cashier is watching me even closer. Jesus was watched by all as He ate, as He talked, as He lived, and His goal was to bring glory to His Father by doing His Father's will (Heb. 10:7b). That is my goal as a pastor's wife - yes, I'm being watched, but more importantly, God is watching me and I want to obey and please Him just as Jesus did (John 8:29b).

However, being watched is not all bad - some people watch and see that you are tired, upset, in need of some material things and they then respond in many different ways to encourage you - whether with a hug, a flower, a note, a word or a gift.

As a pastor's wife you are also going to be sought out by others. In a small church the ladies may call often and share the days' sorrows and joys. When I was younger this was the main reason I was sought out. As I have grown older and our ministry has changed, I have been sought out for deeper reasons - for example, a conflict between two ladies in our church that needs to be resolved. The first time I received a phone call for this very reason, my heart started to pound and my mind raced. I felt totally unprepared and inadequate. Thank God He was and is there to give His wisdom and truth when we ask.

Many moments of my Sunday are spent listening to those who come and find me and need a listening ear, encouragement or some kind of advice or help. I find this happening more as I grow older. My skills at listening, patiently standing as someone talks to me, have also matured as I have grown older. In our first years of ministry I was more focused on myself, my husband, and my children and indifferent to others. I thank God that He never gave up on me, but instead brought tough circumstances into my life that molded me into a better listener, a warmer, more empathetic person and one who wants to love as Christ loves.

Another side of leadership is your seeking out women and initiating conversation. I know that some pastor's wives would classify themselves as shy. However, you need to be the one who initiates conversation, that seeks out other women and talks with them. Jesus did both - He listened when others talked and He initiated conversations. When Les and I are at a fellowship dinner we rarely sit together. At first I felt uncomfortable being alone without him to keep the conversation moving. But now I realize the great asset it is to have both of us initiating conversation with others and covering many more people that way. It is sometimes out of my comfort zone, but I have always found it a blessing to talk with new people.

A pastor's wife is also automatically expected to lead. Upon arrival at one of our ministries, a woman immediately came up to me and asked when I wanted to take over the position as President of the Women's group. This lady thought that the pastor's wife automatically would take over these roles in the church. A pastor's wife will be expected to lead, sub for a class at a moment's notice, called on to pray at special functions, asked to give a devotional and scheduled to speak at ladies functions. Expect these things, but don't try to do them all. Of course in a smaller church you will find yourself doing more. Our first ministry was smaller and so I was needed in many areas: teacher, pianist, secretary, nursery worker, etc. At that time in our life, I was raising twins and so was quite busy. Now that our five children are older and we have a larger congregation, I am able to choose areas to serve in as I sense God's leading.

As a leader you also set a tone among the women. You lead in your attitude and they follow. It is very important to have a Spirit-led attitude desiring to model the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Any other attitudes on your part will cause problems for the ministry. Be ready and willing to admit to one another your mistakes, your sins, and be willing to forgive. One huge lesson that I have taken to heart in the past 22 years of ministry is the need for me to "make every effort to be a peacemaker." I am not to be the one that divides the team of those ministering at church, but rather the one who tries to keep a reign on my tongue and speak with thoughtfulness and wisdom.

Early on in ministry I struggled with this very thing, speaking careless words, and deeply regretting it. My prayer is that my words would be "seasoned with salt" and heal, not harm relationships I have with women in our church. The pastor's wife should be the one who puts out potential "fires," not the one who speaks and fans the flames!

As a pastor's wife, you are also expected to show love for the congregation. It is difficult starting at a church where you know no one. You aren't sure what they expect of you. Take the first step - begin to love them. Recently I visited a pastor's wife who has been in the ministry for over 40 years. WOW! All I wanted to do was follow her around and learn all she had to teach me about being a pastor's wife. After spending a few days with her, I especially remember one thing she shared with me - the congregation just wants to be loved. She quoted Philippians 4:1, "Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy...." The congregation hadn't been her love and joy at the beginning, but now, after many years, she could say with tears in her eyes and a smile on her lips - "I love them; they are my joy!"

Just as seasons of the year change, my leadership roles have changed with the seasons of life. As pastors' wives, ours is a ministry of obedience and desire to please God. I close with Hebrews 13:20-21 for all pastors' wives: "May God...equip you with everything good for doing His will and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever. AMEN."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miriam Lofquist is the daughter of Ira Ransom, missionary in Utah with BMW and a member of the IFCA for 45 years. She is the mother of five children, teaches a weekly expository Ladies Bible Study, and is an accomplished church musician. She and husband Les have been married for 23 years in June.

JW: Man seeks to end guardianship for wife

Jehovah's Witnesses:
Man seeks to end guardianship for wife
AP, via GazetteOnline.com, USA
Aug. 25, 2006
ReligionNewsBlog


IOWA CITY, IA - A man who refused to allow a blood transfusion for his comatose wife because of religious beliefs has asked a judge to terminate the guardianship given to her father.

Tawnya Nissen, 28, of Clinton, was hospitalized Aug. 4 with neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a condition caused by a reaction to diet pills.

According to documents filed Wednesday in Johnson County District Court, Chris Nissen wants a judge to end the "limited guardianship" given to his wife's father, Thomas Reid. Nissen also wants to move his wife from University Hospitals in Iowa City to a hospital in Davenport.

Reid sought and won temporary guardianship over his daughter earlier this month after her husband claimed the couple's religion prohibits the sharing of blood. The Nissens are Jehovah's Witnesses and the faith forbids blood transfusions, court records show.

Reid's guardianship was set to last until Tawnya Nissen was "conscious and capable of making her own medical decisions," Judge Marsha Beckelman ruled.

According to documents filed by Chris Nissen's lawyer, Frank Santiago of Iowa City, Tawnya Nissen is no longer in a coma and on Monday told her husband, father and doctor that she wanted to move from University Hospitals to Genesis Hospital in Davenport.

Beckelman ordered a hearing date to be scheduled once the proper paperwork is filed with the court.

Death by Ministry

* Originally prepared for an elders' meeting at Mars Hill Church on May 22, 2006.** © 2006 Mars Hill Church. (This material is free to use, but not to be re-published or sold.)http://theresurgence.com/mdblog_2006-05-24_death_by_ministrymark driscoll


At our recent Reform & Resurge Conference in Seattle, my good friend Pastor Darrin Patrick from The Journey in Saint Louis spoke frankly of the burden that pastoral ministry is. I have pushed myself to the edge and over the edge of burnout throughout my nearly ten years in vocational ministry. Subsequently, I have been doing a great deal of research that I am compiling in hopes of not only improving my own life but also the lives of the leaders at Mars Hill Church and the churches in our Acts 29 Network. As a leader I commonly set the pace of ministry for those under me, which can lead to wholesale burnout of others if I don’t learn this lesson and teach it to others. The following points that I pray are helpful are some brief thoughts from what God has been teaching me as of late. Lastly, the fact that at least twenty-two separate organizations exist in the U.S. solely to deal with pre- and post-pastoral burnout indicate that this is a widespread problem that has only been identified and researched since the 1950s.

Part 1 — Some Statistics
The following statistics were presented by Pastor Darrin Patrick from research he has gathered from such organizations as Barna and Focus on the Family.

Pastors
Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Pastors' Wives
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

Part 2 — Some Signs
The following are indicators that ministry leaders are heading toward burnout, if not already there. Sadly, we too often become so focused on our tasks and responsibilities that we fail to see these warning signs until it is too late.

Unusual mood swings that may include weeping without just cause,
anger, or depression
Exhaustion Paranoia and suspicion
Weight change, including gain or loss
Moments of panic and feeling totally overwhelmed
Fantasizing about dying or running away to get away from the pressure
Fight-or-flight cycles where you rise up to intimidate and conquer others or run away from difficulties just to avoid them
Insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to a reliance on sleeping pills
Too frequent use of alcohol or tobacco
High blood pressure
Comforting yourself with unhealthy foods packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates General irritability
Reckless driving
Change in sexual desire of either noticeable increase or decrease
Notable ongoing sexual temptation
Health-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, heart trouble, chronic sickness, and stomach problems including ulcers
A victim mentality that sees the world as against you and everyone as an enemy to varying degrees
Shopping sprees and unnecessary financial spending
Reliance on caffeine to self-medicate
Children, friends, and loved ones begin to feel like yet another burden

Part 3 — Some Solutions
The following are simply some things I do in my own life that I have found helpful to prevent me from dying a death by ministry.

Fill your plate — In a conversation with Pastor Wayne Cordeiro of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii, he gave some very sagely advice. He said that each person’s plate is a different size; each person needs to first find the size of their plate and then fill it only with those things that are of highest priority. And, before adding any additional things to our full plate, we must take something else off to leave space for the new duty. Finding the size of one’s plate takes time and attention. For example, I have personally seen that high-level leaders have an energy level that is unusually high and those working under them who seek to keep up with their pace find themselves quickly burning out.

Exercise — Sadly, most pastors and Christian leaders I know are woefully out of shape. Many of them pound their pulpits against rock music and alcohol while their huge gut jiggles in mockery of their own gluttony. In the early years of our church plant, I ate poorly, slept infrequently, and lived off of the constant adrenaline of perpetual stress. As a result, I weighed 235 pounds at my highest point. Through regular diet and exercise I dropped back down to a lean 190 pounds. But in the past year I have seen my weight climb back up to 210 pounds as my diet and exercise routine has been trashed by laziness, travel, and the constant state of emergency. So, yesterday I cleaned out my garage and plugged my treadmill back in so I can resume daily running and lifting conveniently at home. I got started exercising this morning. I find that when I work out, I drop weight, feel better, sleep better, and am better able to lead out of health with energy. The experts say the best time to exercise is in the morning and those who work out early in the day are most likely to remain on an exercise regimen.

Do not allow technology to be your Lord — A recent issue of Fortune magazine had an insightful article about the average day of some of the most successful CEOs in the country. These people lived lives ruled by technology, including spending whole days each week doing nothing but obsessively responding to every single email they received. The article mentioned that the average American worker is interrupted once every eleven minutes and takes twenty-five minutes to refocus on their original task. The problem is that the alarms and bells of our technology deceive us into reacting to them even when the matter they call us to is neither urgent or important. So, turning off the chime and vibrate on your phone, only checking your voicemail and email on certain days at certain times, and turning the notification off on your email will itself go a long way toward your healing. You won’t have the unpredictable fire drill caused by the bells of technology. Imagine what the world must have been like before the 1200s when the first mechanical clock was invented, or before minute and second hands were added in the 1600s, or before 1879 when Edison produced the first light bulb, thereby enabling us to stay up all night.


Sabbath — This includes taking five minutes off every hour to catch your breath, go for a walk, stand up at your desk, etc. It includes taking thirty to sixty minutes off a day to nap, go for a walk, read, garden, or whatever else releases your pressure and helps you to relax. This also means taking one day off a week to Sabbath, including a date night if you are in a serious relationship or married. This also includes a day or two off a month for silence and solitude and a few weeks a year for an actual vacation that does not leave you more tired than before it began.

Pick a release valve — Because ministry causes pressure, any leader without an acceptable release valve will either burn out from stress or blow up from sin. So, the key to releasing pressure is to find and use an acceptable release valve. This may include exercise, gardening, a hobby, journaling, or my favorite, dropping the top on my Jeep and heading into the mountains for a day of adventure to find new lakes to swim in.

Work on your life, not just in it — Rather than just pulling more hours and trying harder, time needs to be regularly taken to pull back and look at your life so that you can work on it rather than just run in it. For me this includes printing out my schedule every few months to review how I spent my time and inform my assistant of what was a waste of time that should not happen again. This also means taking time to read books on the issue of time management and burnout and biographies of great leaders to learn from their lives, and possibly even taking time to meet with a Biblical counselor to get insight on your own life and tendencies.

Leave margin — When we push our bodies, schedules, minds, and budgets to the point where there is no margin, all that it takes to destroy us is one unforeseen expense, one small emergency, or one small cold. Therefore, leaving margin is the key to not being crushed when life does not go according to plan. This means leaving extra money in the bank, leaving extra time between appointments, and preparing to arrive at places early so that if there is traffic you will still be on time and not stressed.

Spend most of your time training leaders — While thousands of people came to see Jesus, only a handful really knew Him, and only three knew Him intimately. This is because Jesus spent his time training leaders to do ministry and without doing the same we will die from our work and sadly see it die with us as well.

Work from conviction, not guilt — Conviction comes from God and guilt comes from people. The key to being both fruitful and healthy is to do what God wants and not always say yes to or let yourself be pushed around by people who are demanding and have perfected the art of making you feel guilty if you do not do what they demand.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Praying aloud gets man jailed

Canada:
Praying aloud gets man jailed
Calgary Sun, Canada
Aug. 21, 2006 Column
Licia Corbella
calsun.canoe.ca
source: Religion Newsblog

Something's wrong with police priorities.

Maybe if Artur Pawlowski had been holding a flag of the outlawed terrorist organization Hezbollah, Calgary Police would have left him alone.

Perhaps had they seen him on a street corner smoking crack cocaine -- or selling it -- they would have turned the other cheek, as is so often the case.

But Pawlowski was clearly doing something much more provocative Wednesday afternoon on the corner of 17 Ave. and 8 St. S.W. He -- along with about six other people -- were praying and reading the Bible.

Pawlowski, 33, who has been helping the homeless for years, gave up his lucrative home-building business last year to start up The Street Church full-time.

With the support of area churches, he spends most of his time feeding, clothing, housing and loving members of Calgary's homeless population. He starts by taking his church to them -- in front of the Drop-In Centre mostly, but for the past four years, he has often preached to the drug dealers and street kids who congregate in the block-long park in front of Mount Royal Village shopping centre.

Because Pawlowski has been threatened so often by drug dealers angry their clients often turn away from drugs as a result of his message of hope and help, he started videotaping every outing. Wednesday's was no different.

Pawlowski and his friends, including his younger brother, David, stood in the far southeast corner of the park praying and reading the Bible.

Shawn Pierson, 25, once a street person himself who is "one of the fruits" of Pawlowski's ministry can be seen and heard on the videotape reading from

Psalm 140: "'O Lord, I say to you, 'You are my God.' Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy.' "

Such activity was clearly too fringe for the Fringe Festival underway in tents further west (and out of earshot) in the park. On Monday, Pawlowski and his brother went to the park, talked with tarot card readers and other practisers of "sorcery" to tell them the Bible condemns such practices. Video shows they remained calm but the vendors became agitated. Event organizers called police and Pawlowski and his brother David were asked not to talk to the vendors again. They agreed and left.

On Wednesday, when they returned to pray, they stayed far away from the vendors. Organizers called police anyway.

The video shows Pawlowski standing on the public sidewalk with his hands in his pockets. He asks a burly police officer in a calm voice, "Why are you harassing me? What did I do wrong?" The police officer responds with: "I'm going to arrest you for obstruction."

At that, Pawlowski is handcuffed and made to walk backwards to the police cruiser where he was frisked.

Pawlowski is then heard telling the police officer about his Charter rights to freedom of speech, assembly and religion, pointing out his family immigrated to Canada from communist Poland so they could be free from oppression.

He was also charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace. He spent one night in jail and is to appear in court on Sept. 7.

Insp. Ed Yeomans confirmed Pawlowski's story, saying Wednesday's arrest was the police's second dealing with Pawlowski. "One vendor closed up her booth and others left the park because that man and his group were causing a disturbance to other users of the festival," said Yeomans.

But the video shows clearly Pawlowski and his group did not approach vendors.

Do people have a right to read the Bible in a public place? Obviously, some don't think so.

Many Calgarians will likely read this and shrug. But consider this: The video clearly shows six police officers attending to the calm Pawlowski. Your tax dollars at work, folks!

What's ironic, said Pawlowski, was he saw a couple of known drug dealers watching as he got arrested.

Something's not right with that picture.

Attributes of God

by Dr. William R. Bright
source: Empowering Women Through Christ

Because God is a personal Spirit...........I will seek intimate fellowship withHim.

Because God is all-powerful......He can help me with anything.

Because God is ever-present......He is always with me.

Because God knows everything......I will go to Him with all my questions andconcerns.

Because God is sovereign......I will joyfully submit to His will.

Because God is holy......I will devote myself to Him in purity, worship andservice.

Because God is absolute truth......I will believe what He says and liveaccordingly.

Because God is righteous......I will live by His standards.

Because God is just......He will treat me fairly.

Because God is love......He is unconditionally committed to my well being.

Because God is merciful......He forgive me of my sins when I sincerely confessthem.

Because God is faithful......I will trust Him to always keep His promises.

Because God never changes......my future is secure and eternal.

Father, deep within our hearts we want to know You more. Amen

Snack Attack: Here's the Plan

Written by Kelly Snow Preston
This article is courtesy of HomeLife magazine.

Now is a great time to start working on healthier eating habits. Nicole Haywood, a registered dietitian and wellness coordinator for the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, has a great tip to help trim excess food from your plate at mealtimes: Practice "planned snacking." She suggests staying "as close as possible to a set meal and snack schedule." The reason? "A regular eating schedule," she says, "helps people feel more relaxed about their food since they know when to expect the next meal or snack." And that means less overeating at meals. Enjoy this article? Subscribe to HomeLife But if a regular schedule isn't possible, try the following snack suggestions to minimize the drive to overeat:

If your next meal is within two hours, try a small serving of one food group, such as piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, or a slice of low-fat cheese.

If your next meal is two to three hours away, sample two food groups: celery with peanut butter; trail mix made of cereal, nuts, and dried fruit; or berries or melon with low-fat cottage cheese.

If your meal is more than three hours away, your body probably needs a mini meal of three food groups. Try low-fat yogurt mixed with fresh berries and sliced almonds, whole grain cereal with skim milk and sliced banana, or baked tortilla chips with black beans and salsa.

Kelly Snow Preston, RN, MSN, specializes in congregational health ministry. She lives in Newnan, Ga., with her husband, Jason; their son, Nathan; and
their yellow lab, Sipsey.

lifeway.com

Something’s Wrong with this Picture

pastor's wife, came across this post.( original article is found at the link above)

Something’s Wrong with this Picture
August 11th, 2006
http://blog.ybmt.org/?p=130

These are the people the church is paying to disciple others into the peace and joy of God’s Kingdom?

The statistics should disturb us. For example, did you know that 1200 pastors in North America leave the ministry every month due to stress, burnout and failure? Some other troubling numbers about pastors:

97% of pastors say they were inadequately trained for the challenges they face
80% say pastoral ministry has had a negative effect on their children
70% say they constantly fight depression
70% feel underpaid
71% say they are in financial trouble
65% have thought of quitting the ministry within the last 30 days
70% say they do not have someone they consider a close friend

As quoted from this article…
http://www.gatewaycitychurch.org/html/publications/article.htm

Here’s another look at the profession of “Pastor”…
1,500 Pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their church.
4,000 new churches begin each year, but over 7,000 churches will close.
50% of Pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
70% of Pastors constantly fight depression.
80% of Pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as Pastors.
95% of Pastors do not regularly pray with their spouse.
70% of Pastors do not have a close friend, confidant or mentor.
50% are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way to make a living.
80% of Pastors surveyed spend less than 15 minutes a day in prayer.
70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons. Almost 40% polled said they had an extra-marital affair since the beginning of their ministry. 80% of Seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first 5 years.
80% of Pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
80% of adult children of Pastors surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression. 90% of Pastors said their Seminary or Bible school training did only a fair to poor job preparing them for ministry.
85% said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members and associate Pastors.
90% said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.
70% of Pastors feel grossly underpaid.
80% of Pastors’ wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members.
90% said the ministry was completely different than they thought it would be before they entered ministry.
70% felt God called them to Pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after 3 years of ministry, only 50% still felt called.
80% of Pastors spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
80% of Pastors’ wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they really are not. The majority of Pastors’ wives said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

As quoted from this article:
http://www.ravenministries.com/FebruaryNews.htm


additions:
Some more statistics from research by Leadership Magazine, Focus on the Family and Barna Research.
Twenty-five percent of all churches have less than 50 regularly attending adults.
Half of all congregations have fewer than 100 regularly attending adults.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hope

author unkown
source:Empowering women Through Christ

Hope

Hope opens doors where despair closes them.

Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot.

Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God.

Hope "lights a candle" instead of "cursing the darkness."

Hope regards problems, small or large, as opportunities.

Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism.

Hope sets high goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks.

Hope pushes ahead when it would be easy to quit.

Hope puts up with modest gains, realizing that "the longest journey starts with one step."

Hope looks for the good in people instead of harping on the worst.

Bible Vitamins

author unkown
source: Empowering Women Through Christ

Anxious? Take Vitamin A. All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)

Blue? Take Vitamin B. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Ps 103:1)

Crushed? Take Vitamin C. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:7)

Depressed? Take Vitamin D. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (Jas 4:8)

Empty? Take Vitamin E. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. (Ps 100:4)

Fearful? Take Vitamin F. Fear not, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. (Isa 41:10)

Greedy? Take Vitamin G. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put unto your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. (Lk 6:38)

Hesitant? Take Vitamin H. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns." (Isa 52:7)

Insecure? Take Vitamin I. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

Jittery? Take Vitamin J. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb 13:8)

Know nothing? Take Vitamin K. Know this that the Lord is God, it is He that made us and not we ourselves. (Ps 100:3)

Lonely? Take Vitamin L. Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Mt 28:20)

Mortgaged? Take Vitamin M. My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Nervous? Take Vitamin N. Never, no never will I leave you nor forsake you. (Heb 13:5)

Overwhelmed? Take Vitamin O. Overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:21)

Perplexed or puzzled? Take Vitamin P. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Quitting? Take Vitamin Q. Quit you like men and women, be strong. (1 Cor 16:13)

Restless? Take Vitamin R. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Ps 37:7)

Scared? Take Vitamin S. Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me. (1 Sam 22:23)

Tired? Take Vitamin T. Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:31)

Uncertain? Take Vitamin U. Understand that I am (the Lord). Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. (Isa 43:10)

Vain? Take Vitamin V. Vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. (Acts 5:16)

Wondering what to do? Take Vitamin W. What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
(Mic 6:8)

Exhausted? Take Vitamin X. Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. (1 Tim 4:7)

Yearning for hope? Take Vitamin Y. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you art with me; your rod and your staff - they comfort me. (Ps 23:4)

Zapped? Take Vitamin Z. Zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14)

Connect With Body Language

by Mary Kassian

Actions speak louder than words. The way you position your body tells others how available you are to interact and how interested you are in what they have to say. If you want to signal others that you are relaxed, comfortable, open, and interested in them, then "salute" them with your body language. To salute is "to address with expressions of kind wishes."


SMILE: Smiling is the most important way you can signal your openness. If you fail to smile, people will think you are uninterested in them or that you are cold and aloof. Wearing a warm smile is like hanging out a welcome sign. It invites people to relate to you.


AFFIRM: In conversation, we signal our understanding and encouragement non-verbally through nodding and affirmative vocal sounds. If you don't affirm the speaker in this way, she will probably assume that you disagree with her or are disinterested in what she has to say.


LEAN TOWARD: Leaning towards someone indicates your desire to engage with him or her. But only lean slightly. Leaning too far can indicate aggression.


UNLOCK POSTURE: Crossing your arms, closing your hands, holding your arm across your chest, clasping your hands together, or crossing your legs away from the other person are closed positions. They signal that you are defensive, guarded or closed to interacting. Unlock your posture to communicate openness.


TOUCH: Touching expresses caring. If you want to show someone warmth, put your left hand on top of her right hand while shaking hands, touch her arm, pat her back, or give her a hug. The physical contact signals that you are open to emotional contact.


EYE CONTACT: The eyes are the most expressive part of the human body. Making eye contact is a prerequisite for successful social interaction. Eye contact is a powerful sign of respect and attention. It communicates, "Right now, I am more interested in you than anything else!" If you avoid looking at someone, he or she will think you are anxious, dishonest, or disinterested. While conversing, make eye contact for between one and ten seconds at a time, more while listening than while talking.


Adapted from Conversation Peace, an interactive workbook and video Bible study designed for six weeks of daily, individual study and seven small-group sessions. In each segment, Mary Kassian will teach and introduce one powerful speech-transforming element for communication to your group via a video-enhanced session. Then each day you'll personally study and apply what you've learned. Mary Kassian is a Canadian author, conference speaker, and president of Alabaster Flask Ministries http://www.alabasterflask.org/.

She has developed a passion for ice hockey having spent countless hours in local rinks watching her three teenage sons play.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

RESOURCES ON THE NET

FREE RESOURCE LINKS/HELPS(last update- Aug 9, 2006)

pastor's wife, here are links to free resource sites on lessons, games, recipes, homeschool,etc.

some games, resources:
http://www.pastor2pastor.com


A great website for recipes, fellowship and homeschooling resources is http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com

have a hard time keeping all the balls in the air when it comes to the ministry of the church and the ministry of keeping house?
check out http://www.flylady.com Marla Cilley, the founder, is a Christian lady based in Brevard, NC and she often has musings that are very uplifting. She has a no-guilt, let's-have-fun approach to housekeeping.

Also affiliated with her is Leanne Ely, aka "the Dinner Diva" (http://www.savingdinner.com) who provides a meal-planning service (complete with grocery list) for busy women who want to make healthy, home-cooked meals for their families.


World's Best Free Christian Resources at Cybergrace Christian Network.Collection of links to Christian content. www.cybergrace.com/


Pastors' Wives Resource Page, a help for ministry wives.This site is a help to all ministry wives and those women that want to be a help to those in the ministry.
www.pastorswife.net/

Search Directory for Women Online!Food, Girls, Hobbies, more · Publications ·Books, Magazines, Other · Women'sResources · Hotlists, Reference · Science/Technology Science, Technology ...
www.wwwomen.com/

Free Youth Ministry Resources, lessons, games at
www.youthpastor.com

CrossSearch is the largest, most complete and most accuratedirectory of Christian Internet resources on the Web.They have listings for FreePastoral Resources/Free downloadablebulletin inserts for personal or church use. ... Providing a supportiveresource for all in pastoral leadership.
www.crosssearch.com/Education_and_Growth/Leadership/Pastoral_Resources

A christian run youth leaders site offering free resources, ideas, ...Ultimate Pastoral Resource Community.Designed by Church Leaders...for Church Leaders ...
www.search.711.net/Church_-_Pastoral_Resources

Pastoral ResourcesA page of resources for pastors and their familiesfrom thePastoral Ministries department of Focus on the FamilySign up for a free e-mail subscription. ...www.family.org/pastor/resources

A Home Page for Ministers and Their FamiliesEver feel like you wear a mask to cover up who you are as a pastor's kid?Sign up for the free PWB e-mail newsletter ...
www.family.org/pastor

Free resources for worship and ministry, prayer, sermons,music and drama, bible commentaries and translations
www.praize.com/engine/Pastoral_Resources/Worship/

Resources for pastors and church leaders. Use these free resourcesand ideas to raise awareness of online evangelism in your community
.www.gospelcom.net/services/pastoral/

PDL Phils can be found at:
www.purposedriven.com.ph

Other free resources at
www.ebibleteacher.com

Free sermons/illustrations at:
www.e-sermons.com

Free devotional E-book at
www.retirementwithapurpose.com

Free gospel tracts for download and printing, in addition to e-Books.
http://www.missionofhopeministries.com


www.creativeladiesministry.com

http://www.womensministry.net/

bad links? please let us know. drop us a comment below.
***to be updated***

Pastor's Wife Forged a Success of Her Own

A Local Life: Jewell Kees Smith
After Lost Chances, Pastor's Wife Forged a Success of Her Own

By Patricia SullivanWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, August 7, 2005; Page C10

Had Jewell Kees Smith been born in a different time or place, how different would her life have been?

Consider: Smith, who was born in a small Louisiana town about halfway between Shreveport and New Orleans, was an exceptional student, winning a college award for drama when she was still in high school. At age 15, she was valedictorian of her high school, the largest in Louisiana.

The Louisiana native was unable to accept several educational opportunities, but she never expressed regret, instead filling her life with activity.

The rigorous University of Chicago offered her a full scholarship, but her father insisted that she attend Louisiana College, a private Christian school in her home town of Pineville. Her father died during her sophomore year, and Smith was forced to drop out to support her mother and two younger siblings.

She worked full time as a pastor's secretary and taught piano lessons at night. After a year, she managed to get back to college and completed two terms while holding a part-time job. She graduated at age 19 with a major in math and the second-highest grade-point average in the school.

Three Baptist seminaries offered her scholarships but she stayed in Pineville to support the family through the Great Depression. She kept the books for a grocery store, taught math classes at her alma mater, was secretary to a college dean and was a pastor's assistant and piano teacher at night.

About the same time, halfway around the world, English social critic Virginia Woolf asked whether a brilliant, ambitious woman equal in all ways to an equally talented brother could succeed.

Would her family have sent her to school? Would someone offer her a bit of income to get her started? Would the public be interested in what this woman had to offer?

Of those who persevered, Woolf asked, what limitations had been placed on their talents? Woolf's "A Room of One's Own," which asked these questions, was published in 1929, just as Jewell Kees was working all those jobs and letting educational opportunities pass by.

Unlike the woman in Woolf's book, however, the young woman in Louisiana did not surrender to despair. Never one for "could have, would have, should have" sentiments, Smith's prodigious work ethic saw her through 94 years of life, until her death June 26 of coronary artery disease at Goodwin House West in Falls Church.

"I never heard a sour note from her," said her pastor, the Rev. Ted Fuson. "I don't think she ever thought of [herself] as being second banana. . . . always thought she was an emotionally healthy woman, a strong woman."

She married A. Lincoln Smith, a childhood friend and seminary graduate, in 1935.

The cheerful, outgoing Mrs. Smith was the consummate accompanist, her two sons said, aiding her husband's ministry and the Washington area religious community for 65 years.

She was the organist, Sunday school teacher and secretary at four churches: National Baptist Memorial Church and Congress Heights Baptist Church in the District, Groveton Baptist Church in Alexandria and Lake Ridge Baptist Church in Woodbridge. She and her husband also established 10 churches in Southern Maryland.

"She and my father fell into a joint partnership that was widely recognized," said Dave Smith, their eldest son. "They worked very, very closely together.

We joked that our father would call everyone by name because she whispered their names in his ear." The Louisiana native was unable to accept several educational opportunities, but she never expressed regret, instead filling her life with activity. The couple moved to Washington in the late 1930s. While her husband handled pastor's duties, Mrs. Smith briefly worked for Rep. Asa Leonard Allen (D-La.) until her first child was born.

Then came a series of church assignments, and a whirlwind of activity. She liked to point out that her Sunday school class at National Baptist Memorial included more than 150 career women and that average attendance topped 100. She rescued pieces of a pipe organ in a derelict building on the Southwest waterfront that had once been a church, and the rebuilt instrument was the pride of Groveton Baptist.

In addition to her church work, she was a substitute teacher for math and music at Groveton and Woodbridge high schools, working well into her eighties. She was a private tutor in math and taught piano and organ, too. After she moved into a retirement home, she played the organ in its chapel, sang in a choir and would act as a substitute at several churches.

"There was nobody in the world who was better named than Jewell," said Gaylie Grindheim Lund, who had known Smith for the past 14 years. "I just adored that woman. She was always willing to give of herself, she was always kind. She had a lovely, lovely, gracious personality."
Smith was such a popular math substitute that, more than once, students applauded her arrival in the classroom, said Lund, who worked at Woodbridge. "She was so good in math. I never heard her raise her voice in anger. It was just: 'You can do better. C'mon.' Kids loved her."

She might have not regretted the lost opportunities because by all accounts, she looked forward, sought chances to help others and loved her family.

But for the rest of us, Virginia Woolf's question must be asked: What is the world's loss? What if in 1929, the young Jewell Kees Smith had had a bit of income, a scholarship and a room of her own?

On Psalm 23

-source unknown-
The Lord is my Shepherd
That's Relationship!
I shall not want
That's Supply!
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
That's Rest!
He leadeth me beside the still waters
That's Refreshment!
He restoreth my soul
That's Healing!
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
That's Guidance!
For His name sake
That's Purpose!
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
That's Testing!
I will fear no evil
That's Protection!
For Thou art with me
That's Faithfulness!
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me
That's Discipline!
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
That's Hope!
Thou annointest my head with oil
That's Consecration!
My cup runneth over
That's Abundance!
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That's Blessing!
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
That's Security!
Forever
That's Eternity!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

NEWS: Stephen Baldwin- ‘Livin It’ For Jesus

Stephen Baldwin Takes ‘Livin It’ For Jesus To The Extreme
Written by Kelly Davis

DENVER, 7/31/06 -- The day the Twin Towers fell, Stephen Baldwin looked upward.
The youngest of the Baldwin brother actors, he was at the height of his film and television career when Sept. 11, 2001 changed his life and prompted an eternal introspection into his heart and soul.

"After 9/11 and my wife’s conversion [to Christianity], I came to understand something. The impossible was possible," writes Baldwin in Livin It: What It Is, a new book from B&H Publishing Group. "And if anything’s possible, then Jesus Christ could come back to this planet tomorrow. I want to be ready when He comes."

Baldwin received Christ more than five years ago and has since launched a ministry - also called Livin It. The ministry focuses on a bold campaign to encourage young extreme sports enthusiasts to live out their faith.
Livin It uses music, books, nationwide skateboarding demonstrations, skate DVDs and evangelical events to bring the gospel to young athletes.

Baldwin, who has starred in more than 65 films including The Usual Suspects and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, outlines the purpose of the Livin It ministry and recounts his journey of faith in three unique resources released in July from B&H Publishing Group, the publishing division of LifeWay
Christian Resources. The releases are Livin It: What It Is; Livin It: Testimonies; and Spirit Warriors.
Baldwin shares his testimony in Livin It: What It Is and offers a transparent look into the lives of extreme athletes who have received Christ. Evangelistic in nature, the book delivers the testimonies of the popular athletes and encourages young people to boldly stand up for the gospel.

"God does not call us to hide our faith under a bushel, but to shine His light to every corner," Baldwin writes in Livin It: What It Is. "Speaking up for Jesus Christ may not always be comfortable; but it is always powerful and effective."

Livin It: Testimonies is a second book in the Livin It series and also incorporates courageous testimonies from famous extreme sports athletes like Christian Hosoi, Elijah Moore, Luke Braddock, Josh Kasper and others. The full-color action photography throughout the magazine-format book captures the heart of Christians who are "livin it" through extreme sport ministry.

"As you flip through the pages, you will meet 14 amazing guys," Baldwin writes in the introduction. "Some of them are skateboarders. Some are BMXers. … Some are still in their teens. A few have been skating or riding for more than 20 years. But they all have one thing in common - they are Livin It!"

To Baldwin, the concept of Livin It means pursuing a life of purpose instead of existing for temporal things of the earth.

"A lot of them [athletes] have tried to find happiness in money, fame, drugs, sex, partying, and other things, and been left unsatisfied," Baldwin writes.

He further pens that Jesus Christ is the only answer to all of life’s uncertainties.

Spirit Warriors also released in July and is designed to pattern popular graphic novels. With its comic book style and fast-paced action, Spirit Warriors follows the antics of six fictional characters who battle against good and evil.

Baldwin said mainstream graphic novels are the new trend among young people and believes Spirit Warriors has the potential to reach many non-Christians with the gospel.

"The response to this book has been so positive," Baldwin said, mentioning that B&H is setting the standard for creating a product like Spirit Warriors.

"I’ve had moms come up to me to say thanks for creating content that’s fun, edgy and cool." Kids will take these graphic novels to lunch with them and
show them to their non-Christian friends, he mentioned.
The heart of the Livin It ministry is to create culturally relevant products and package them in a trendy way. "The content doesn’t apologize for its bold stand for Christ. Jesus is all over it," Balwin said.

Livin It products present "hip, edgy and cool" messages, all aimed at bringing kids to Christ. Baldwin said he doesn’t "sugar coat" his message and said the style of Livin It is "cutting edge" and "street legit."

"If you bring the kids dorkville they don’t listen," Baldwin said. "If you bring them really cool, they’ll listen … because all of this is really about sharing the news about a man named Jesus Christ."

For more information about Livin It ministry and Livin It products visit
www.bhpublishinggroup.com.
-----------------------
About Kelly Davis Kelly Davis is the employee communications editor at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Prior to joining LifeWay in 2003, she was the news editor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Davis, a native Texan, has a Bachelor of Arts from Baylor University and a
Master of Arts from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Kelly can be contacted at kelly.davis@lifeway.com.

Ministry is Constant Change

Written by Becky Badry

I grew up in an Air Force family so I guess you could call me an Air Force Brat. Living the Air Force life had a tremendous impact on my life and, in many ways, prepared me for my life as a Minister’s wife. For instance, our family moved to a new base about every three to four years. If you have been in ministry long, you may have experienced this as well. Even my husband noticed that if we stayed six or seven years at a church, as the four year mark rolled around, I had an insatiable desire to move something. Usually, that meant rearranging the furniture or redecorating the house. Yet, having this nomadic spirit allowed me to adapt easily to change.

A few years ago, I experienced a time of change that was so overwhelming that it was almost more than I could take. I started a new full-time job for the first time in our married years. My husband resigned the church we had served for over seven years and planted a church (which had not been my plan for my 40s). We moved out of the parsonage, purchased and moved into our own house.

To top it all off, both of our sons left home to attend college within a week of each other. As a result, I grieved as I entered the empty nest season of life. With the exception of the death of a family member, I think I hit all the top five experiences on the stress chart. Everything and everyone in my world had changed.

All I could do is cry out to the Lord, “This is just too much for me to handle at one time. Please show me something that is stable and not going to change!” That is when His faithful words flooded my heart, “I am the same yesterday, today and forever.” As I began to wrap my mind, and my emotions around that promise I was able to endure until the storm subsided.

I learned from that painful experience that I could not wait until I was in the middle of the storm to find an anchor for my faith. Life is full of changes, and the changes seem to increase as I get older. I must trust His ever-living Word before the winds of change begin to blow.

In her book, Renewal on the Run: Embracing the Privileges and Expectations of a Ministry Wife, Jill Briscoe shares some of the benefits of change.
Change can be a tremendous incentive for spiritual growth.Change brings new life experiences with opportunities to discover and use new personal skills.Change challenges us.Change may be the chance to do it right this time.Change is an opportunity to model a right response before others.Change forces us to evaluate our lives.

We can respond to change with anxiety and fear, or we can respond as Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:6-8, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Becky Badry, a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier and the director of women's missions and ministries for the Colorado Baptist General Convention, has been a minister's wife for more than 25 years. She and her husband Jay have served in Oklahoma, Georgia, and Colorado, where Jay now pastors and Becky is ministry teams coordinator.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Because Jesus Is, I Am

by Roger and Eileen


When we learn to think like God does, everything looks different. The purpose of the gospel is to transform our thinking, and allow us to see things from God's perspective. This is why the gospel is a revelation (Rom 1:17) -- an empowering revelation of spiritual reality!

The title of this article is taken from I John 4:17: “As Jesus is, so are we in this world." Translated, this says, "Because Jesus is, I am." Remember the purpose of the gospel is to transform our thinking, as Romans 12:1-2 says. It is designed to change our thinking from earthly thinking to eternal thinking. It is to transform our thoughts from human thoughts to God's thoughts.

Also, keep in mind that ‘eternity’ is much more than just future. It is the eternal past and future, which includes the earthly here and now. Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us before the foundation of the world. That is past tense. Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

The gospel of the finished work of Christ shows us who we are in Jesus. Thus, the scripture we are looking at today tells us that as Jesus is, WE are. This is a big spiritual paradigm for most Christians to embrace. This is because our minds are consumed with who we are in the natural, not in the spiritual. But the truth is that if we will see ourselves in the spiritual, as God sees us, then we will become more spiritual, and less natural. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

”The gospel is:
(1) all God has done for us in the finished work of the cross of Christ, and
(2) who we are in Jesus because of that finished work.

With this in mind, let the seed of today’s scripture be planted deep inside you, and see it for what it says -- emphasizing each word.
AS Jesus is, so am I in this world!
As JESUS is, so am I in this world!
As Jesus IS, so am I in this world!
As Jesus is, SO am I in this world!
As Jesus is, so AM I in this world!
As Jesus is, so am I in this world!
As Jesus is, so am I IN this world!
As Jesus is, so am I in THIS world!
As Jesus is, so am I in this WORLD!

When you think about it in the natural, this verse defies human logic. This is true of ALL the gospel. The gospel is ‘the wisdom of God,’ and it is very different from human or worldly wisdom we hear so much of. Thus the gospel is meant to transform our thinking from natural to spiritual ways of seeing. This is seeing with ’gospel eyes.’ As Paul says in II Corinthians 4:4, Satan will do anything to keep us from seeing spiritual reality with gospel eyes -- from God's perspective.

We are called believers. As such, our job is to believe what God says. Again, Jesus’ very first sermon was, “Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). When we have faith in the gospel, Hebrews 4:2 says it is of untold PROFIT to us. Jesus says our ‘work’ is to believe what God SAYS, not what we THINK (John 6:29).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Roger and Eileen's ministry shares living practical gospel Christianity -- how to live a powerful, practical life in peace and joy do to the working of the gospel within us. Visit our ministry web site: http://www.ThePracticalGospel.comSubscribe to our short twice a week newsletter. Send a blank E-mail to:GospelSnapshots@Royal-Responder.com

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Mother's Beatitudes

A Mother's Beautitudes:
(Author unknown)

Blessed is the mother who understands her child,
for she shall inherit a kingdom of memories.
Blessed is the mother who knows how to comfort,
for she shall possess a child's devotion.
Blessed is the mother who guides by the path of righteousness,
for she shall be proud of her children.
Blessed is the mother who is never shocked,
for she shall receive and know confidence and security.
Blessed is the mother who teaches respect,
for she shall be respected.
Blessed is the mother who emphasizes the good and minimizes the bad,
for her children shall follow her example.
Blessed is the mother who answers questions honestly,
for she shall always be trusted.
Blessed is the mother who treats her children as she would like to be treated,
for her home shall always be filled with happiness.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Falling in Love with the Church...again

pastor's wife, a resource article by JULIA HOLTZE

Falling inLlove with the Church...again

I t doesn't happen overnight. I call it "the grumbles" — a gradual seeping in of negative thoughts, until one day you wake up and realize that you don't even like the church, let alone love it as Jesus commands. Your vision of the flock God has entrusted to you has become clouded over with discouragement and frustration.

This happened to me. It was not a pretty season in my life, but in God's faithfulness and grace, He took me on a journey of sweet conviction and a change of vision to fall deeper in love with Him and His church.

I had been serving in a variety of leadership roles in our church for six years. I began to notice that people's differences and quirks loomed larger in my thoughts than God's joy and delight for them. I didn't like how I felt, yet I knew I couldn't change it on my own. I turned to God and prayed for help.

In His faithfulness, He led me to 1 Peter 5:2-4: "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."

Through this passage, God reminded me of the calling on all of us in leadership to be strong and gentle shepherds like Him. Specifically, He calls us to look up, look out, and look within.

Look Up
"Be shepherds of God's flock... as God wants you to be." Notice in this verse to whom the flock belongs. If our vision is clouded by negative thoughts, it's possible we have lost sight of His throne. God calls us to first look up and seek His heart for His flock. He calls us to love His church, not because of their behavior, but because of our love for Him.

When Jesus returned after His death and resurrection, He restored Peter, who had denied Him, by asking three times, "Peter, do you love Me?"

Peter quickly said, "Yes, Lord." And each time Jesus told him to feed His sheep. As I studied this, I began to hear, "Julia, do you love Me?"

"Yes, Lord," I responded.

"Then feed my sheep — out of My love for you and your love for Me."

Oh, His tender conviction. As my eyes turned to Him and I experienced His love, I could feel my heart softening toward the church. When we are discouraged with any relationship, we need to start by looking up and seeking His face and His heart.

Look Out
"...not greedy for money, but eager to serve." Jesus demonstrated to all of us an important, humble message about serving the flock. The last thing He did for His disciples before He was crucified was wash their feet, knowing not one would stand with Him. As we look out at the flock God has given to us, we can pray a simple request, "Lord, show me how to wash their feet."

As we pray, God begins to lead us, not by having us work harder, but by guiding our actions in ways that touch hearts. Sometimes it's a kind word, sometimes it's a hug or a smile, sometimes it's a straightforward truth, and sometimes it's literally washing someone's feet. But again, as the Great Shepherd leads us on how to shepherd our flock, we begin to feel joy as we respond to His instructions. As I responded to Jesus' directions, He continued to soften my heart and open my eyes to see the flock as He does.

Look Within
"...being examples to the flock." Lastly, we ask, "Lord, am I someone the sheep would even want to follow?" With this question comes humility as we remember our own need for God's grace and His faithfulness on our own journey. In my case, God showed me areas of unforgiveness. And as I confessed them, He melted away the rest of the hardness in my heart. Praise Him!

As we look up, look out, and look within, God's grace showers over us, and He fills us with a love for His flock that begins to erase "the grumbles" — for that day. Then we begin the next day by saying again:

"Lord, I look up. I love You. Fill me today with Your love."

"Lord, I look out. Show me how to wash their feet and help me see Your ways."

"Lord, help me be the example You ask me to be, reflecting Your glory by walking as the woman You created me to be." Ministry can be hard. But God is faithful and, as we cling to Him, He will show us how to love. We also can't forget God's promise at the end of the passage in 1 Peter, "And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." Now that's a treasure worth remembering!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Julia Holtze is a speaker at women's retreats and events. She has served in a variety of leadership roles at Woodcrest Church in Eagan, Minn., for nearly seven years. Julia and her husband, John, live in Rosemount, Minn., with their two young daughters.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Running on Empty?

Running on Empty?
A ministry workaholic discovers a secret that turns burnout into joy.
By Becky Tirabassi

I arrived at the opening session of the youth workers' convention when the evening speaker boomed out his first words: "If you think it's time to quit, it's too soon."

"No," I groaned to myself, "he didn't say that. That's not what I came to hear."

I had planned to attend the convention in order to wish my cohorts in ministry a wistful bon voyage. After six years of a life packed with appointments, meetings, physical and spiritual responsibilities for teens, and fundraising, I was simply burned out.
Sensing that the speaker's comments were not a coincidence, I quietly asked God to speak to me, change me, and get me back on track. Somewhere I had lost my voracious hunger for the Word, infectious joy, and eagerness to pray for others. I began to get the feeling that whatever was lacking in my life prior to this convention would be replenished by the time I departed.

Parking-Space Prayers
One thread wove itself through each speaker's message. Though they hadn't been urged by the convention's organizers to speak on prayer, each keynote speaker did just that, using Scripture and illustrations and tears to convince and convict us of prayer's immeasurable power. One man of God told how India was opened to the gospel only after an all-night prayer meeting reversed the Indian authorities' decision to prohibit the gospel. I could hardly imagine staying up and praying for that many hours!

Another evangelist tearfully shared how many miraculous conversions to Christ were the result of daily, persevering prayer. He urged us to take Jas. 4:2 literally: "You do not have, because you do not ask God." I was taken aback by the simplicity of the powerful promise to me in just that one Scripture on prayer. I was challenged to take an honest look at my personal spiritual disciplines.


What had appeared to be merely external fatigue and burnout was now coming into a new light. My dissatisfaction and restlessness might just be prayerlessness.
I already had a daily quiet time. I read my Bible every day. I led two to three Bible studies a week. But a painful look at the past few years exposed a prayer life that consisted of bedtime prayers, miracle prayers, and parking-space prayers. No longer was it a natural habit to whisper, "God, what would You like me to do right now? How would You have me deal with this?"

Getting Radical
As each convention session unraveled, my convictions deepened and my inside cried out for direction. So, I did something totally out of character for someone with my outgoing, "Type A" personality: I attended an optional seminar on prayer. Even a close friend joked about my attending a "prayer meeting" as we parted ways outside the room.

As the session passed, I was humbly reminded that a closer walk with God meant spending time with Him – and not just casually chatting when I needed help or approval for my ideas, not making a bunch of decisions first and then asking for His blessing during my evening prayer. I caught a number of verses and principles about prayer that the speaker was explaining. Not a single verse was new to me. Yet for the first time, it seemed, they were alive and fresh and inviting. As I toyed with actually believing them, they stunned me with their power.

"So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?' or ‘What shall we drink?' Or ‘What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6:31-34).

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7, 19).

The seminar room emptied. I stayed glued to my seat, not wanting to lose the insight or spiritual momentum I had gained. After a few minutes of silence and sorting my thoughts, I understood where I had been and where I needed to go. Convinced that I needed to take a radical step, the simple prayer that deliberately passed through my lips was that I would be granted the discipline of prayer, coupled with the time commitment of one hour a day for the rest of my life.

I reasoned that all other appointments were a minimum of an hour – why not this one? After flailing around on the fringes for too long, it seemed the only action to take if I really wanted to increase my knowledge of God, hear His voice more consistently, and be in tune with His daily plan.

I had to take the plunge. If I allowed myself a trial period and if it got tough, I'd drop it. I needed a non-negotiable, no-turning-back decision to have a daily, meaningful appointment with God.
Repentant, refreshed, and refueled, I left the "prayer room" with the irrepressible urge of an evangelist to tell others about my life-changing prayers and miracles. I knew deep inside that I had made a decision to give God my time so that He could counsel, convict, control, and challenge me daily – and that I would stick to my decision.

A Healthy Addiction
I chose to write out my prayers for that hour each day. Writing kept me focused and helped me concentrate on my conversation with the Lord.

My hours of prayer must come in the earliest part of my day, or else I am inevitably interrupted or distracted. That meant no more sleeping in. Since I had an appointment to keep,
I had to plan for it on my calendar. And on those inevitable days when things just didn't go by the book, my decision kept me accountable – I either stayed up late or holed away during midday. I was determined!

Results surfaced immediately. This hour of prayer transformed my days and produced such positive differences in my character and lifestyle that even my family noticed. Not only did I crack the dawn, but I could hold my temper in check, especially with my toddler. And there were the undeniable answers to specific requests that concerted prayer produces. Prayer was no longer a discipline that I considered boring or for the elderly. It was becoming attainable, an addicting spiritual discipline I had never taken time to pursue.

But the most surprising manifestations of my hour in prayer were the personality flaws it uncovered in me, flaws that had been swept under the rug, weaknesses that had remained untouched by correction or conviction. What once seemed too painful or personal to deal with was now approachable. And when I exposed them to a loving Father and disposed of them with His help, my friendships blossomed, my unhealthy inclination to compete and compare diminished, and my self-image vastly improved.

Staying Hungry, Getting Holy
Those busiest in ministry fight the hardest to salvage their own personal time with God. Urgent needs and constant demands easily push aside our own relationship with God. What more than three years ago seemed contrary to my nature – sitting still, reading, meditating, praying diligently – has resulted in a renewed hunger for the Word, a deep desire to be holy, and a quest for integrity in my personal, family, and ministry decisions.

It's still hard to believe that this beach-going, fun-loving socialite, this numbers-counting youth worker, still prays an hour every day. I don't believe one hour is a magic number, but I'm convinced that a commitment of specific time to a daily appointment with God can become a stress-reducing, joy-producing hour in anyone's life. What could it mean for yours?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Secrets of a fruitful ministry

pastor's wife, thought i'd share part of this resource i read on FRUITFULNESS

Secrets of a fruitful ministry
by Rick Warren

Most people are interested in productivity. But the Bible doesn’t use the word "productivity;" instead, you’ll find the word "fruitfulness.”

God wants us to have fruitful ministrie. I want to show you some principles that will produce a godly fruitfulness in your life. I believe there are four conditions that are essential for a fruitful ministry.

First, you must cultivate roots.
God says there’s no fruit without roots. You need roots particularly when your resources are limited, for when times of drought come along.

A drought in your life is whenever you must do without something you need, such as time, energy, money, or support. There will be times of drought in your ministry. Perhaps you’re even in one now.

Second, you must eliminate the weeds in your life and ministry.
The weeds in your ministry, and in your life, are anything that hinder or limit your spiritual growth. Weeds are the things that choke your relationship to Christ or that prevent you from further growth.

Weeds are a sign of neglect. I’ve found that when I neglect my quiet time, when I neglect my personal maintenance, like walking and staying physically fit, and when I neglect key relationships in my life, the weeds start to grow and begin choking my productivity.

Third, you must cooperate with God’s pruning in your life.
What is pruning? Pruning involves cutting off not only dead branches but also living ones as well in order to improve the shape of the plant and stimulate growth. Pruning is essential for increased productivity. It’s not optional. If you’re going to be productive in ministry, God will put you through times of pruning.

God prunes you for fruitfulness. In your life it’s not only the dead wood that God cuts off; he also cuts back areas of success, even areas that are bearing wonderful fruit.

When he does this you might struggle to understand why, but the reason is he is preparing you for even greater ministry.

Fourth, you must wait for the harvest.
Growing fruit takes time. It doesn’t come automatically. You don’t plant a seed in the ground and harvest it the next day.

Just as a seed creates new life out of death, for you to be more effective in your ministry there’s a dying to your old nature, a dying to your own desires and ambitions in the waiting process. Growth takes time but don’t give up. Stay plugged into Jesus Christ.

Maybe you’ve been dormant in your ministry for some time. My prayer is that you’ll give yourself to Christ, saying, "Lord, I want to work on these four things: cultivating my roots, eliminating the weeds, cooperating with your pruning, and waiting for the harvest. God, I trust you with what I’ve planted, and I trust that what I have sown I will inevitably reap a harvest for you.”

That is the law of the harvest.

Rick Warren