Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Church/Ministry Critics

It's been a very long time since I last wrote.  I have never been much of a writer but have over the years enjoyed writing here on occasion to flesh out my own thoughts, challenge myself, and hopefully encourage others.  

This morning, I have some general thoughts about critics and the big C Church.  Critics need to step up, encourage their senior pastors/leaders, and help - not criticize and expect that one person (or even a staff) can or should do everything.  

The Bible is pretty clear that we each have roles to play, "The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ....This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad." -I Corinthians 12:12,25-26.  

I have read pastor blogs about this subject, seen the ministry statistics (that we should all be devastated by (over 1500 pastors leave ministry each MONTH), and have witnessed numerous instances of it.  Criticism can take its toll on any of us in our day-to-day lives and careers.  Stack that on top of all the other pressures of ministry and it's a recipe for disaster.  

Sure, there is a time and a place for suggestions and hopefully all pastors/leaders are interested in constructive feedback.  As members of the body, we all need to be mindful of the time and the place where we choose to share our thoughts and be sensitive to how our words might effect our leaders.  We need to make sure that our suggestions are suggestions and not us telling the pastor/leader what they need to do and we need to be willing to help if we present a suggestion.  Most importantly, we should spend significant time in prayer and make sure our thoughts are not merely selfish desires but that they are genuinely intended to build up the work of the ministry

Many of us expect church leaders to shoulder all of the burden of ministry and expect the work of the church to be wrapped up in a nice package - clean, easy, positive.  Ministry is messy and hard and requires the entire body.  Pray for, encourage, support, and help your pastors and ministry leaders.  Pray for your church, ministries, and the big C Church and then know that ultimately God is in control and he has allowed your leader to be in the position that he/she is in.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Every so often I will hear someone say, or read, "I was drug to church so much as a child that I'm not going to go now". I read this in a blog post yesterday - it was a random blog and not a person that I know but the thought stuck in my head. The comment frustrates and irritates me a little. But, really, I can relate to it, there was a long period in my life that I felt the same.

My mom and I were at church every time the doors opened and I got to a point in high school that I didn't want to get up on a Sunday morning and go at all....couldn't I just sleep in. My husband likes to say, "many of us had a drug problem growing up....we got drug to church twice on Sunday, on Wednesday and on any other day the door was open." By college, I only went to church once in a while and mostly just to make my mom happy. After college, for years, I didn't go at all...ever. And, I was living in a way that I'm not proud of today.

At the time I thought, I'm a good person, I can worship God on my own, my way, I believe in Christ, etc. etc. Today I know that I was not a good person at all. It's easy to consider yourself a good person when you are comparing yourself to the things and people of this world....it's a whole lot harder to call yourself a "good person" when you are comparing yourself to what God, in His Word, commanded and encouraged us to be.

As far as worshiping on your own...you can't, you don't and you won't! Saying a prayer once a week (or even daily) isn't the same as worshiping with a community of believers. We do need one another and we grow in our faith when we serve others with others. We find people to hold us accountable and we begin to see what living a Godly life looks like. We need to support one another in a church family in order to fight Satan's devious work, lies and control of our lives. That stuff is hard to see if you are the only one looking for it....you WILL miss it.

As for me, when I finally turned around and began going to church again...and really, when I got involved and gave my time to that church family...that's when my life was forever changed and I was able to see that the life I had been living prior to that was all wrong. I began living for Christ and striving to live out what God asks of us in His word. I am not claiming to be perfect or that every thing is easier now....I am claiming that I'm striving to be more like Christ and that because of that living in this world, even during tough times, is much more doable and enjoyable.

How can you say you believe in God and yet find His book full of silly ideas that you don't have to follow?? He gave us a guide to show us how we are to live....that guide is as relevant today as it was almost 2000 years ago...all of it....not just parts....don't pick and choose what you want to follow. His reason for that guidance was so that we may have a full, abundant and joyful life....not to restrict us just for the sake of restricting us...He knows what is best for us.

So, in response to the idea that "I don't go to church because I was drug there as a kid", this morning I thought....and, your mom made you brush your teeth at least twice a day when you didn't want to. Fortunately, you didn't decide that you shouldn't do that anymore because your grown and you don't have to. You realized that she forced you to do that because it's part of what you need to do in an effort to take care of yourself. Isn't church the same way?

Our Father calls us to worship together. Your mom knew you needed to brush your teeth....God knows that you NEED to come together and worship.

Consider this:
"Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies."
-Hebrews 10:23-27

I hope that some of you will find encouragement in this. It's important to me because you are important to me and I know that we are all important to God. He knew what He was doing when He taught us how we ought to live...BELIEVE...TRUST....DO!

Thursday, March 18, 2010



1 Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns.
2 She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table.
3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4 "Come in with me," she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5 "Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed.

6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to LIVE; learn to use good judgment."
7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get
8 So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good

11 Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life.
12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

Folly Calls for a Hearing
13 The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn't know it.
14 She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city.
15 She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business.
16 "Come in with me," she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17 "Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!"
18 But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.


Wisdom is LIFE! It is for those who choose to learn and to use good judgment.

Folly is for the foolish, they lack good judgment and choose not to learn.

Wisdom provides for more and better things than Folly; it gives life in abundance.

Folly may appear good, great even, it's very enticing on the surface but is truly disguised darkness, emptiness and DEATH.

Teach, correct, instruct the wise & righteous....don't bother with the mocker or fool...they aren't ready or willing to listen and will not understand. Wisdom must be a choice...

Verses 13-18: She (folly) (or sin, lies, drugs, alcohol, bars, strip clubs, porn, cutting....pick your sin struggle and insert here) calls out to men....she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment...Her guests are in the depths of the grave."


Friday, February 12, 2010

Patience & Hope comes from the Lord

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call to you,
O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?
How long will you make groundless accusations?
How long will you continue your lies?
You can be sure of this:
The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don't sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent.
Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,
and trust the Lord.

Many people say, "Who will show us better times?"
Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vision and Goals

I had my last teaching small group of this year with my high school girls last night! I have led high school small group for three years now and as each year (school year) has come to a close I have mixed emotions. There is usually a feeling of some relief - we made it through the year, it went fairly well, and now I have some time off. But, that feeling of relief is mixed with feelings of excitement, sadness, disappointment, and hope. Excitement because I know this awesome group of students that are going to head out into the world and do amazing things. Sadness because many of them are leaving. Disappointment because I wonder if I've done enough, left them with enough strength and knowledge to stay strong in their faith in a world that's tough. And hope because I know all of that is not up to me....God is watching over them...the foundation is there....they know the truth....and God is much bigger than any of us could ever imagine.

Last night we had dinner at Atlanta Bread and just hung out for a little while. The girls signed each others year books and chatted about graduation, colleges, the upcoming seniors, summer, movies and just about anything. I had prepared something to discuss but decided to keep it pretty informal. I spoke about 20 minutes - taking them back to a couple messages that were given at Seacoast over the past month or so. One from Steve Furlick and the other from Geoff Surratt. From Steve's message we discussed the need to have a vision for life and from that to have patience knowing that God's timing is perfect. From Geoff's message we discussed being loved, beautiful, valuable and safe and the need to derive our image of self from the Lord. Our group's foundation was based on Proverbs 31 which made this a perfect ending. We talked again about what makes up a Proverbs 31 woman....I'm very proud of my girls they covered just about all of the description from memory....and we talked about our growth in that direction.

Earlier this year I had planned to discuss life goals with them and share the goals that I had created for this year. I ended up at the last minute not doing that lesson because the Lord laid something else on my heart for the night. But, last night, it fit perfectly. We discussed vision, being Godly women with a Godly view of self, and putting a plan (life goals/vision/mission) in place in order to be successful.

My girls are amazing and I'm so proud of all of them. I know that they will stumble and make mistakes just like all of us as they grow but I also know that they will do great things in this world! They are very loved, beautiful, valuable and safe!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You're Up to Something Bigger Than Me

Whatever You're Doing by Sanctus Real...it's been speaking to me a lot over the past month or 2.

The other night, at the prompting of a pretty awesome mentor, I sat down and wrote out my goals for 2009. Yesterday I met with her to discuss my goals and hers as well as ways to pray for one another and to hold one another accountable throughout the year. As I was driving back to work just after our lunch, Whatever You're Doing was playing and I thought, what perfect timing. When I got back to my desk, I just played it over and over again and reflected on the lyrics (below). I'm always amazed at the ways that God speaks to me, the channels that He uses to get my attention.

As 2008 came to an end, I thought over and over again, God, what are you doing...where are you leading me/us. As the song describes, we have felt a lot of "chaos". We have fought to remain faithful and have learned much on the journey. I know that He's up to something big. I don't know exactly what but I do know that He's in charge and that He is definitely leading us just exactly where He wants us. So in reflecting on 2008 and creating goals for 2009 I know that it is time to heal, to trust, to move forward, to dream bigger, to grow, to love, to faithfully follow His lead.

Whatever You're Doing

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly

Time for a milestone, Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender...

To whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly

Time to face up Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This *is* something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Something Heavenly
It's time to face up Clean this old house
Time *to* breathe in and let everything out

If you want to listen:

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Right or Wrong?

As Christians I strongly believe that we have an obligation to stand up for what is right....but what does it mean to "stand up for" and when does it cross the line. When is it doing the right thing and when is it being too rigid.

I'm taking an Apologetics class and, this weekend, as part of one of my assignments, I had to write about the obligation that, as Christians, we have to defend that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Hard stance, yeah....does believing this mean that those who don't will go to Hell? NO, believing it doesn't mean that....that reality exists whether you believe the statement or not. It's pretty black and white....you either believe in and follow Christ and enter the kingdom of Heaven or you don't and you go to Hell. No gray...very clear!! Why then is it that some of our Christian leaders have a hard time making that harsh statement?? I understand that many just don't want to be considered as judging people and I fully agree that a persons salvation is God's choice and I dare not question his decision....but, he didn't give us the Bible and tell us the truth about Jesus so that we could let our brothers perish (go to Hell) simply because we refused to take a hard stance and explain to them why Jesus is the only way to Heaven...in fact our "Great Commission" is to do just that!

Anyway, that was a bit more of a tangent than I had intended but, to the point, God is very black and white....so shouldn't we also be? I guess that depends on the question, problem or situation...or does it?? Isn't there usually a very clear right and a very clear wrong? I realize that we receive and should give grace, but that doesn't take away the issue as being either right or wrong, good or bad. Truthfully, I have no idea what the answer to that question is...I have my opinions but I realize that maybe I'm wrong.

I'd love to hear any thoughts??