All too often throughout my life I have been part of the problem instead of the solution. I know often times I have been caught up complaining and being negative about things. When I think about some of the ways I have got caught up being negative and tearing others down by complaining I get embarrassed. The more I study the Bible and draw closer to Him I realize it is my christian responsibility to be part of the solution not the problem.
In the church we become protective of our ministries and things. We fight over how others are not doing things the way we think they need to be done, instead of being thankful for those who are serving. We fight over where tables and pictures should be placed, making them idols instead of God the priority. We fight over pews verses chairs, instead of about how we are going to invite others to fill those chairs. We fight over the color of the carpet, instead of focusing on those who will walk on the carpet. Is our goal “to seek and save the lost?” If it is, this attitude of complaining will turn the non-believers away. As Christians we are suppose to be set apart but if we are always complaining in our secular jobs our coworkers will never see Christ in us and want to be part of His family. You can invite them to church but they will not want anything to do with being a Christian if that means constantly being negative and hateful to others.
There are three ways that I have learned to stay positive and focused on making disciples. The first is staying focused on Him. Setting aside time daily to study his word and pray. When I study daily, it is a constant reminder that He needs to be first. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says “Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good character.” So Secondly, I have had to weed out some friends. While I do not sin through drugs, sex, rock & roll, I do sin through my mouth. And often this is fueled but those we choose to spend our time with. Even church friends can be bad for us. When I start to become negative, I evaluate those I have been spending my time with. I often find that I have been spending time with those who constantly complain and are negative. They tend to be the type of people that complain about the littlest things. I don’t cut all ties but I do tend to make them more of acquaintances than friends. Last but not least, I try to be thankful. Every day I try to spend time thinking about the things I am thankful for. How has God blessed me that day? I also try to share thanksgiving with others.
While its hard to over come negativity and complaining it is obtainable. If as Christians we are going to reach the lost we have to change our attitudes and how we interact with everyone in our lives. We must be positive and encouraging. We have to stop fighting over the color of the carpet!
3 Ways to Weed out Complaining and Negativity Today:
- Bible: Read a proverbs a day
- Friends: Evaluate your friends and pray for those who are bringing you down
- Thanksgiving: Make a list of 10 things God has blessed you with and send a card of Thanksgiving to someone
Recently I have been caught up with the hustle and bustle of end of summer and the beginning of the school year. Trying to squeeze in all those last minute summer things before the weather turns and we can’t enjoy the outdoors anymore. But as I get caught up in ball games, school events, yard work, work, etc. I sit here and think about what are my priorities? Has busyness become the American idol?
What is an idol? The Bible is constantly talking about idols. I mean is busyness really an idol? I am not worshipping a golden calf or statue like I see over and over in the Bible. It’s funny how when I read the stories in the Bible I think “man guys get your act together, how could you be so blind?” Then God shows me my life, my idols. While they’re not physical, they are there . An idol is anything that takes us away from God.
In Jeremiah 2 it talks about how Isreal forsakes God, even with all He had done for them. Just like in Isreal’s, time I believe our idols start small. It starts with just missing one Sunday of being with fellow believers to go camping or one Bible study due to being tired from constantly going, going, going. But before you know it, it’s been over a month and you’ve not been in the Lord’s house with other believers. Or those days that are so filled from the time you wake up to the time you fall asleep that it’s bed time and you realize you have not taken anytime today to acknowledge or spend time with Him. It starts with something small, then before we know it, it’s out of control.
I think this is exactly how Satan wants it. We’re not doing anything bad(per se), but our focus is completely off of God. It’s on “when will I have time to make dinner before going to tonight’s game”, or “how am I going to squeeze in making my kids costume this year for Halloween?”
All too often God goes to the back burner. Besides he’ll always be there, right? What if tomorrow your world is turned upside down? Will all those things you’ve been filling your life with matter anymore? What one thing can you take out of your life today to make more time for Him and to just slow down and enjoy His creation?
For years I’ve been told that God only gives you what you can handle, but the more I think about that and study scripture the more I have to disagree.
When I read the scriptures I read about a loving God who wanted to live in a perfect world with us and then we messed it all up. God does not create bad, sin does (just read Genesis). So why do we tend to say “God gives” or if it’s “Gods will?” Death is a result of sin. You see in the scriptures there was no death, no sickness, no suffering until sin.
But there is hope. While God may not create these things He does give us the tools to get through these things. Through study of His word, daily time in prayer, and fellowship of believers He gives us the tools to endure through the good, the bad, and the ugly. God is the light and hope for our future. So the next time you begin to say “Gods will be done” or “God only gives us what we can handle,” perhaps you’ll think twice and cling to him. Ask him to help you through your circumstances and know you have eternal hope and comfort in Him.
Did you know that something as simple as offering to watch your minister’s kids with nothing in return could have a huge impact on their ministries and families? I am sure you are asking how that is?
Often times being in ministry requires extra hours often not seen by others. Wether it’s those late night hospital calls, getting things ready for the next event, or just having late night fellowship in our home. I know pre-kids it was not unheard of my husband and I being at church past midnight at least once a week. We used to joke with one of the elders that was there a lot that we had an apartment upstairs. I love being involved in ministry but once we had kids that made it more challenging, especially in their early years. Don’t get me wrong, we want our kids serving beside us in ministry and believe there is big value in having them there with us. But many of times if someone would have seen it as their ministry to watch our kids for a few hours would have been monumental. It would have helped us to get things accomplished in a shorter period of time, allowing us more time to spend as a family, or do more ministry.
Often times the minister’s family gets put on the back burner because they want to see the church succeed and grow. They may have a lack of time to spend together due to the demands of the church or lack of funds to hire a babysitter to make their marriages a priority. If someone in the church would make it a part of their ministry to watch the minister’s kids for a few hours so they can spend time as a couple could also be huge. This would help the couple to refuel and refresh. Once they feel refreshed and refulled their ministries will reflect it.
For those of you in this situation we are praying for you and that someone in your congregation would find you (and this post 🙂 as part of their ministry.
So my challenge to you who are not in full time ministry is to find a time you might be able to spend just a few hours with the ministers kids and offer to watch their kids or perhaps pay for a babysitter so they can have a night out. Or if you know a big event is coming up carve out time to bless their family in ways they aren’t expecting.
We all have those days where we feel nothing we do is right. Well, ministry is no different. All too often we have people coming to us with different views or ideas on how to do things: what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing, how you should be doing it. I have to laugh at some of the things we get caught up on. Often times their non-ministry related. You’ve all heard those comments (if we’re honest many of us have made them ourselves). Over the years I have let many of these comments discourage me and make me feel inadequate. It’s easy to jump on that wagon of feeling defeated. Feeling like we’re not making a difference.
During these times I like to remember. Remember why we joined the ministry. Remember why we’re here. Remember who we serve. We are here to serve Christ and make disciples of all nation. We’re here because we love people and we love serving in God’s church. When we’re doing what God has called us to those little things don’t matter. I have to remind myself that I serve God not man. He loves me and in His eyes I am more than enough. God never said it would be easy. I think about Paul and Peter and their ministries. It was not easy. Honestly it was full of challenges and trials.
Then I think of myself on that boat in that storm. Having my eyes on Jesus and stepping out on faith. Then I begin to look around at the storms of life, those comments, those distractions and I begin to sink. I look back to Jesus and he pulls me up.
I would encourage you the next time you start to get discouraged by the comments of others to remember: remember why you’re here and refocus on Him.
I know many of you are thinking, how can ministry be lonely? I mean your one of the most sought after families in the church, people are always loving on your kids, there is always someone to talk to, really how can you be lonely?
Whenever I meet someone new outside the church I always dread that question: So what does your husband do for a living? Part of me wants to stand proud and say my husband is a minister, but the other part of me remembers the stigma that has been put on ministers. I don’t want you to treat me different because my husband is a minister. I am human, I want to be treated just like you would treat anyone else. Yes my family may act different than yours but that’s not because my husband is in ministry, it’s because we’ve been transformed by Christ and are striving to live it out in our everyday lives. Yes, we mess up, just like everyone else, we’re not perfect and will never claim to be. And if you would give us a chance I think you would see that we’re just ordinary people.
Most people that go into ministry love people and thrive when others are around, but over the years I’ve found that unless we’re doing the inviting we aren’t getting invited. Don’t get me wrong we’ve had that handful of people over the years that have had us over and we are ever so greatful for them, but that’s not the norm. I love going to ladies bible study to hear a group of ladies who have gotten together for lunch to find you weren’t invited. Those moments I could just curl up in my shell and hide. Those akward silent moments when you walk up and the conversation dies. Most families in ministry just want to be a part of something, to feel welcomed and loved, but too often that stigma stands in the way.
When we were in youth ministry, I remember longing for adult relationships. Just a friendship. Someone to talk with and do girly things with. But when your in youth ministry the unwritten rule is that you must hang with the youth at all church functions. Why is that? Why is the youth minister a bad person if he’s not hanging out with youth 24/7?
When I start to feel those lonely feeings I am reminded that Christ is sufficient for me. Earthly relationships dissolve but He is eternal. So if your in ministry know you are not alone. He is faithful and will bring you comfort and strength during those seasons of loneliness. I would encourage you to find a network of other preachers families and learn on them during those seasons.
And if your a member of a church, I would ask you when the last time you asked the ministers family over or to do something outside of church? Chances are if your not, others aren’t either.
Over the last 11+ years in ministry I have heard all the excuses as to why your not at church or can’t serve. I could tell you about how I am a single mom on Sunday mornings having to get two kids ready alone. I could tell you about how my kids are at church for 3-4 hours every Sunday morning. I could tell you how my family eats and runs on Sunday mornings. I could tell you about how we’ve missed spending so many holidays with our families. But I won’t. What I will tell you is that I’ve heard all the excuses and often could use the same excuses if I allowed myself to but then I remember. Remember the sacrifice that Christ made for me. The sacrifice that I don’t deserve but made all I do worth it. He said it wouldn’t be easy but he called me to deny myself and follow him (Mark 8:34). And that’s what makes all those sacrifices worth it. I do the things I do out of an abundance of love for Christ. I can’t imagine my life without the church. I can’t imagine my kids not being at church on Sunday’s. Too often we put other things in front of Christ and his church. We’re too tired, we have a game, we have family visiting, it’s time for the new generation to step up, etc. My question is if you die tomorrow is what your doing making an eternal difference? What’s your excuse? If Christ were sitting next to you would you tell Him that? Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you serving?