Monthly Archives: May 2014

When Your Heart is Breaking for Those in Your Church

One of the hardest things for me, in ministry, is the occasional heartbreak that goes along with loving people.  I am amazed at the depth of love and compassion God has given me for those He has called me to serve.  They have wormed their way into my heart (-smile-) and when they hurt, I hurt too.  This is one of those times.  My heart literally feels broken over a situation someone is experiencing.  I have cried, I have prayed, I have mourned right alongside them.

How do you minister Jesus’ love and compassion when your heart is breaking too?

  1. Get real about your emotions.  If you are sad, be sad.  If you are disappointed, be disappointed.  If you are in disbelief, be in disbelief.  It is good and healthy to experience emotion.  Stuffing it may get you by short-term, but the long-term results are disastrous.
  2. Give your emotions to the Lord.  Ask Him to be your comforter and peace.  Ask Him to heal and bind-up the hurt and broken places of your heart.  Rest in His presence.
  3. Pray for those who are hurting.  When your own words fail you, go to His Word.  An excellent verse that I am praying right now is Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and heart may fail.  But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
  4.  Be “Jesus with skin on”.  Many times the Gospels say that “Jesus was moved with compassion”.  Compassion leads to action.  What action steps can you take to show Jesus love?  A text, a phone call, a coffee date, doing something practical to help?  Most people know that Jesus loves them, but during difficult times, they need their Jesus to have skin on so they can be assured of His love through you.
  5. Give them hope.  Because we serve a risen Savior, there is no situation beyond hope.  Offer hope by reminding them of God’s goodness and faithfulness.  Point out any glimmer of His goodness.  Call out His faithfulness, even in the midst of difficult situations.  Life is hard, but GOD. IS. GOOD.

Even though heartbreak is a difficult thing, it is also a good thing.  It means that you are doing the job God has called you to do.  He has called you to love and shepherd His people.  Thankfully, He is the Good Shepherd and as you shepherd others, He will Shepherd you.

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 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 for ever and ever. Amen.  Hebrews 13:20-21

Your Friend in Ministry,

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One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus

When I was a little girl, growing up in church, we used to sing this song:

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

On days like today, when my schedule gets really busy, those lyrics come to my mind and I sing them out.  As I do, my mind is filled with Bible verses that go hand in hand with those words.

Psalm 84: 4-7

Psalm 84

Where do you find your strength?  In your “can do” attitude?  In pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and charging through your day?  In eating well and making sure you get enough sleep?  Although the previous are not bad, they will always be found lacking and incomplete because they are relying on human effort and strength.  Human strength does not last.  It is limited.  However, God’s strength is limitless.  That’s why we are blessed when we find our strength in Him, vs. 5.  As we rely upon Him alone we get stronger and stronger, vs. 7.

 

Matthew 6:33-34.  Read verse 34 first.

Matthew 6

When we take one day at a time, we don’t worry about tomorrow.  We ask the Lord to give us our priorities for today and we do not let our mind get preoccupied with what needs to be done tomorrow or the next day or the next day.  If you find it too difficult to think only about today, make a list of all that needs to be done for the week.  It is amazing how when we write something down, it gets it onto the page and out of our brains.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Your to-do list will still be there, God hasn’t given you strength for tomorrow today.  He gives us our strength one day at a time.

Now read verse 33

Matthew 6

We take one day at a time, finding strength and not worrying about tomorrow in only one way, by seeking God first.  As we do, He will give us everything we need (often the very things we worry about).

I love how the Living Bible says it, “He will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.”  Is God getting first place in your life?  In your busyness are you still making Him your priority relationship?  Are you spending time with Him, even if you have to miss some sleep in order to do it?  Sleep is important, but pales in comparison to spending time with the daily giver of fresh strength!

When you are in a busy season, look to the Lord for strength, do not worry about tomorrow and remember to keep Jesus in first place.  As you do, you will make it through.

Lord help me today.  Show me the way.  One day at a time!

Your Friend in Ministry,

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As a Leader, Are You a Good Follower?

This morning, I needed to “follow” my husband into town to drop off a vehicle that needed to be worked on.  Because he had to stop to get gas first, I got on the interstate before he did.  Not too long after, I saw him in the rear view mirror zooming along in the passing lane.  Since I can be a little feisty from time to time, I had the briefest temptation to move over to his lane and not let him pass me (-smile-).  However, I thought better of it and let him pass.  As I did, I thought about how foreign it can feel for leaders to follow.  Most of the time, we are the ones blazing the trail, looking in our rear-view mirrors to see if people are able to keep up with us.

Yet, there are times when we need to follow, not lead.  Of course this is always true in our relationship with Christ and our husbands; but there are also times in ministry when we need to step off the gas and let someone else take the lead.  Here are some suggestions from my morning drive on how to be a good follower:

  1. Ease off the gas and allow someone else to get the lead.  Don’t get feisty and begin to compete for the lead.  This only leads to recklessness.
  2. Stay close to the leader and don’t let anything ugly get in between you.  While I was following, an old, ugly, beat-up truck tried to get in between me and my husband.  So, I sped up and got as close to my husband as I could so that wouldn’t happen.  Sometimes, there are ugly feelings that try to come between you and your leader.  These can be old things that you have gotten victory over, but they still try to rear their ugly head, feelings like pride or judgment or jealousy or negativity towards your leader.  The best way to get rid of these feelings is by staying close to your leader.  Stay close by praying for them and your relationship with them, stay close by seeing them as a human person in need of grace (just like you), stay close by crowding the old & ugly feelings away.
  3. Make it easy for your leader to lead.  Because I had listened to the directions my husband gave before we left, as we were getting close to our exit, my husband put on his blinker and I quickly switched from the middle lane to the right hand lane so that he could easily get over as well.  Are you easily led?  Have you listened to the directions your leader has given so you can anticipate “lane changes”, making it easy for them?
  4. Relax and enjoy the ride!  One of the things I loved about my morning drive is how relaxing it was to be the follower.  I didn’t have to over-think anything; my main objective was to simply follow the leader.  How freeing!

Being a follower can feel uncomfortable for a leader.  However, every now and again, it is good for us to follow rather than lead.  In addition to keeping us humble, it also allows us to experience what it’s like for those we lead to follow us.  This causes us to get a new perspective, which makes us better leaders!

Your Friend in Ministry,

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