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Showing posts from 2019

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…

The Temptation of a Two-Letter Word

One temptation we may face right after Easter is whether or not we will follow through on the renewal we experienced as we celebrated God’s amazing grace. Easter reminds us of Who has ultimately won the battle. It refreshes our faith and gives us confidence that we can all be overcomers through Christ!
But, what about those fleeting moments of doubt? Lows often come after the highs. Even Jesus experienced the ache of temptation – and not long after He had been baptized by John. In fact, when Satan came to tempt Jesus, he used a two-letter word to accuse Him and try to seduce Him into sin. What was the word?
- If -
Yes, Satan took that two-lettered word and tried to play Jesus. In the Matthew 4:1-11 account of Jesus' temptation, we find these statements:
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.”  “If you will bow down and worship me (all this I will give you).” 
Jesus wasn’t persuaded by Satan’s quick tongue or accu…

Earthquakes & Empty Graves

All over the world, churches are filled with worshipers because there is an empty tomb in Jerusalem.”  - Billy Graham
What an amazing God we serve! He shakes the earth and brings the dead to life. He alone has authority over life and death. At Easter we cry out, “O Death, where is your sting,” and because of Christ’s work on the cross, we do not have to fear death. Instead, we celebrate the reality of an empty tomb discovered over 2000 years ago!
On resurrection morning, God shook the earth with a quake that opened the tomb for all to see. The soldiers standing guard were down for the count while God’s messenger freely shared the good news of any empty tomb! The women who came to Jesus’ tomb were welcomed with both an invitation and a proclamation. “Come and see” for yourselves.“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said” (Matthew 28:6) With mixed emotions jumbling inside they did as the angel instructed. Facing their fear and jumping for joy, they hurried off to tell the disciples…

Being Confident In What We Hope For!

Today was tax day at my house. After wading through all the forms and schedules, I breathed a sigh of relief when no unexpected surprises surfaced. Today was also a day when death came to call. We received a phone call a little after midnight that a dear friend of mine's mother passed away. Her death was not unexpected, but death always comes with mixed emotions and life change.
Benjamin Franklin and others have quoted a saying by Christopher Bullock (from the 1700’s) which is still heard today – and amazingly with minimal variation.
“Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.”
A pretty depressing statement, even if said in jest. Thankfully, the sentiment is SO not true! It is, indeed, possible to be sure of many things, and two amazing and powerful things are found in Hebrews 6:18-19a –
1. God cannot lie. 2. We who have the hope of Christ are secure.
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hol…

Sometimes I Just Want to Sit Down!

Touring a city on a Segway has always intrigued me, but…
1. How much does it cost? 2. How long are the tours? 3. How coordinated do you have to be?
All those questions swirl through my mind as the two-wheeled tourists speed past me on their way to the next point of interest. Maybe another day, another time.
Unexpectedly, the opportunity to ride a Segway recently arrived, and it was an offer I couldn’t resist. “Would you like to go on a Segway tour of the city? Our treat!” Before I knew it, the words flew out of my mouth. “Sure!” But as soon as my excited response escaped my lips, my cautious nature began a battle in my mind. “What have I gotten myself into? It can’t be that hard, right?”
Then, the day arrived. I saw the dreaded beast. Not the Segway, mind you. Oh no! A beast of another sort. I hadn’t planned on the fact that I’d not only have to figure out how to balance upright on this contraption, but all while wearing a bike helmet. Ugh! But ‘Safety First’ does not allow for vanity. So,…

Living Above and Beyond Self-Doubt

When a new project has been set before us, why do we often slip into the default mode of insecurity and self-doubt? Feelings of hesitancy and uncertainty make sense when the challenge is not of our own doing or creative imaginings. But, why do we become timid and self-focused when we are actually moving toward our dreams and goals? It's crazy!
That’s where my mind was earlier this week. I’d had a nudge from God. I’d done all the homework. I’d pondered and prayed about it. I’d even talked to the boss and cleared it with the supervisor. Both gave me their blessings.And then, I simply froze. 
Should I really keep going, or am I simply dreaming? Who do I think I am trying to put this together? What if it doesn’t work, and I get no positive response?
…and then I read this quote from Stephanie Shouse
“Have you ever felt like you were not good enough to do what God was calling you to do? Stepping out to face a challenge often brings out our old fears and insecurities. We worry, we fret, and…

I've Got Your Back!

As I walked down the long hallway, my eyes were drawn to the quotes hanging prominently on the wall. I grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures of these wise words of counsel and witness of God’s grace. But, then I read this statement and it stopped me in my tracks.
Wife - “God has given you the gift of an evangelist. I’ll back you….you travel and preach.”
Husband -“Sheurged me to go.”
(Wow! I wonder if I could have had the courage to say that to my husband – and really mean it?)
Husband – “I’d come home, and she had everything so organized and so calmed down that they all (the children) seemed to love me. But that was because she taught them to.”
(That’s a very insightful perspective on life and marriage, I thought.)
“She taught them to.” Those words show the true character of this dedicated wife and mother. Here she was with several children and a husband that traveled for a living. She was basically living as a single parent, but she was blessed with the long-distance support of …

Sweet Surrender into God’s Way

“Father God, You are leading me on a journey into the unknown. Thank You for the path ahead and the choices You have placed before me. Help me make the right ones. Take control of all that is before me, Lord. It is Yours. As am I.” (JJC)
This quote was taken from a historical novel I recently read, but the words could have just as easily been mine 35 years ago. On a snowy day in March - much like this past week - we ended one life-changing 'journey into the unknown' with our two girls (both under the age of two) and our 90 lb. dog in tow! I have no doubt, we made for an interesting sight as we traveled cross country from the state of Washington to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Oh, we knew where we were supposed to land, and we had traveled over 2500 miles to get there, but that’s almost all we knew.
My husband had been reassigned to a new church. He thought he may have visited once as a boy, but that is the only personal knowledge we had about our destination. Well, that an…

Beat Defeat! Strategies for the Overwhelmed

What's on your 'To Do' list for this week? Are you overwhelmed at just the thought? Or, do you look forward to checking off each task as they are completed?

Do you push the least desirable chore to the bottom of the list - hoping somehow that it might miraculously get done on its own? "Where to start?" is a question that can seem to have no simple answer.

Often when I've felt overwhelmed, I find myself coping by stress eating or binge watching a favorite show. On my better days, I turn my anxious energy into more positive outcomes - while still ignoring my personal To Do's. I take a friend to lunch, pray extra or get crafty and deliver a little gift of love to someone that is having a much harder time in life than I.

And then there have been moments when God sends a great resource my way. A few words in a text or email, nestled within a song or held within a Bible verse like Isaiah 50:7 - "Because the Lord God helps me, I will not be dismayed; ther…