Guilt-Free Prayer Life

Many years ago, I began a habit of praying for my Sunday School students while I was at the dentist. It was a positive way to spend 20 minutes of my day while confined to a small space. In fact, one of my more challenging high school teens was the subject of many prayers from my dentist's chair. He is nearly 40 years old now, and he still gets prayed for every time I go to the dentist – and this week was no exception. 
Unexpectedly, a consult with a specialist turned into an on-the-spot root canal! For over two hours, I tried to refocus away from what was happening to me and instead use my time wisely. I prayed for my family, my friends, the dentist, the church and even that special young man!
What’s amazing about prayer is that there is not one specific way that it has to be done.
Standing, Sitting, Laying Lifting Hands or Looking Up Pounding Chest or Head Between Knees All these ways, and more, are in the Bible.
All around our world, there are many different prayer practices that may…

Are You Seeking Hidden Treasures?

“I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.” Psalm 119:162 (NLT).
Did you and your friends ever hunt for buried treasure as kids? Swords, pirate gear – complete with eye patch – and a treasure map! Imaginations were larger than life and elaborate tales were role played in backyards, school yards and damp basements. The proverbial X was to mark THE spot, but thankfully most searches ended before any of the neighbor’s yards were dug up and left with gaping holes. What’s strange is that I have no recollection of ever discovering anything resembling a hidden treasure. Did you?
While I have no memory of how those explorations ended, I do now love to find hidden treasure in God’s Word. One such treasure was uncovered recently while I was doing a study of the Book of Nehemiah. As I began, I assumed that I would just be revisiting the rebuilding of the wall surrounding Jerusalem. However, I soon discovered many fun facts about that massive renovation project. It is a great …

Choosing Our Words Wisely

In our early months of ministry, my husband lovingly pointed out a couple of my ‘rough edges’ that would likely create an issue for us. What was strange about these requests is that he’d never had a problem with my behavior prior. I wasn’t offended by the request, but I was a bit surprised when this hint of duty surfaced simply because I now carried the title, Pastor’s Wife. His gentle nudging and final request in one area of potential conflict went something like this –
He - “You really have to stop saying that.”
Me - “But that word just fits perfectly sometimes.”
He – I know, but it’s just not wise.”
And so, I submitted to his wisdom and years of experience dealing with church leadership.
What was the issue that made him so uncomfortable with his new bride? My ‘colored’ vocabulary. Gasp! Yep, me. The good girl that my parents raised had retained a pet word even after I rededicated my life to the Lord. I was not blind to the fact that this particular word was definitely not something that…

In All I Do, I (Hope) To Honor You!

As I knelt down to layer the towels needed at the edge of the baptismal pool, I heard these words playing over the sanctuary sound system - "In all I do, I honor you." (Wow. I wasn't expecting that this morning, God.) I was just doing my 'Martha' duty and had a 'Mary' moment. How cool is that!
In that brief moment, my outlook for the whole day changed. I went from having a good attitude – no problems to speak of, just a normal Sunday morning – to having a God-honoring attitude. Instead of just doing what needed to be done, I was awakened to the opportunity before me. I chose to honor God, no matter how menial the task.
Yes, towels needed to be put down to soak up any excess water.
But, more importantly, towels needed to be put down – to honor Jesus!
I’d like to think that I live my life in the attitude of the song that was playing that morning - ‘You Are My King’ by Chris Tomlin. But, I need to rethink that. Oh, I have my good days and my not-so-good days. I…

Whoa! Did You Know That My Pastor Knows How to Mow Grass?

It’s that time of year again when the grass grows, the rains come and the sun shines down. Then, the cycle begins again. Green grass. Wet grass. High grass. All summer long, the cycle continues in many places and it is not unlike its indoor counterparts – laundry and dishes. Clean. Dirty. Clean. Dirty. Round and round we go!
While we know that the pastor’s family is just like any other family who needs to mow their lawn, clean their clothes and wash their dishes, some in our churches don’t ever see us doing ‘normal’ daily activities. No wonder we can sometimes be given an elevated status in some people’s eyes. Assumptions are made, and we end up being viewed as some type of ‘heavenly royalty.’
One fun memory that uncovered this disconnect from reality happened a few years ago. My hubby was sweating away in 90 degree heat while mowing our lawn. As he dutifully directed the mower first one way and then the other, he took notice of a car that passed by. He raised his hand in a friendly wav…

The ‘Unemployed’ Pastor’s Wife – Part 2

In the current generation, it is rare for the church family to assume that when they hire a pastor they are getting a “twofer” – as in two for the price of one. In many interview situations, the wise pastoral candidate communicates clearly that “If you choose to offer me the position, you will only be hiring me." Gently setting the ground rules is a healthy way to eliminate unintentional disappointment or conflict when any unwritten expectations are not met.
When both the church leadership and the church family are able to embrace their pastor’s wife as a fellow team member the pressure to perform is greatly lessened. Whether a volunteer, or an actual employee of the church, every pastor’s wife has a variety of unique dimensions within her world. Last week we looked at five different perspectives unique to the pastor’s wife. They were –
1. Ministry - God has given you talents and spiritual gifts to be used for His glory! 2. Distinction - Focus on helping to carry the load that is …

The 'Unemployed' Pastor’s Wife – Part 1

Quite often the pastor is the only individual in a family who is actually – and officially - employed by the church. About the time I married my pastor, 30+ years ago, there was a tremendous shift happening in what was automatically expected of the pastor’s wife. Long gone (for most) are the days when a church family welcomed you and assumed you’d be the new pianist, children’s ministry leader and serve as the hostess for all events held on the church grounds and off site. 

When both the church leadership and the church family are able to embrace their pastor’s wife as a fellow team member the pressure to perform is greatly lessened. Even in the more rare situations when a pastor’s wife (or their adult children) is employed by the church, a healthy understanding of authority and expectations is invaluable. Learning and living within healthy boundaries is vital to sanity and success as the demands of life and ministry ebb and flow. 
Whether a volunteer, or an actual employee of the churc…