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Friday, October 20, 2017

Clergy Appreciation Month 2017: Encouragement


“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV)

October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted the last two Octobers.

To read previous posts in this series, please see:  Clergy Appreciation Month, Clergy Appreciation Month:  Pastor Appreciation Sunday, and Clergy Appreciation Month:Laity Serving.

We are told in the Bible to encourage each other daily, while we still can (see Hebrews 3:13), this includes our pastor.  How are we doing in following the counsel of the writer of Hebrews?  

One area where we can encourage our pastor is in dreaming and or visioning for the church, one of the many parts of a pastor’s job description.  It is here that our pastors seek the Lord, ideally, for direction in leading the church.  For example, it is here that new ministries are born or new formatting for worship is realized.

Dreaming or visioning is simply planning, setting goals for the future.  Without goals churches, like people, tend to aimlessly drift through life.  Dreams or visions help get things accomplished.

Be supportive of those dreams—handling them with care because they are delicate—like soap bubbles.  Many times, those dreams are inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Dreams can be costly in terms of time, effort, and even money.  Yet Holy Spirit inspired dreams can change the direction of churches and of lives.  Holy Spirit dreams can (and have) set the world on fire!  Holy Spirit dreams are still setting the world on fire and making a huge difference in the lives of countless people. 



Personal Photo



What dream(s) is the Holy Spirit giving you?

When the temptation arises to criticize the dreaming and or visioning of your pastor (or anyone else!), recall how it felt to have your dreams destroyed by someone who simply did not understand or simply refused to understand.  How did you feel?  What happened to those dreams?  Please encourage others to not criticize as well.

Encourage your pastor to keep dreaming!  Ask good questions and seek to understand your pastor’s ideas.  In so doing, I believe that you will learn more about the heart of your pastor.  Learning more about your pastor’s heart is priceless!  Deeply consider and pray about how you can help him or her in implementing those dreams, by using your gifts and talents.  

What dreams and/or visions has your pastor shared with you and/or your church?  How can you support him or her in those dreams and/or  visions?

Please join me in prayer:

Dear Lord, we pray that our pastor will find the freedom and courage to dream godly dreams and have the courage and strength from You to follow them.  Bless our pastor in planning for the future ministry of our church.  Help us to support and encourage our pastor to pursue the dreams and visions and not get in the way; encouraging others to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Open us to the ways we can assist our pastor in dreaming and visioning for the church and in pursuing those by the use of the gifts You have graciously given us.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.   

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim


Special Note: Faith Journey with Kim: Growing in Christ Jesus has a Facebook page.  To get to the site, please click on the grayish text above or here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Clergy Appreciation Month: Laity Serving



“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethern, I would not have you ignorant.  ….  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-5 KJV)

October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last two Octobers.

To read the first and second posts in this series, please see:  Clergy Appreciation Month and Clergy Appreciation Month:  Pastor Appreciation Sunday.

In the United Methodist Church the third Sunday in October is designated as Laity Sunday, this year the special day falls on October 15. This is a Sunday in which the ministry of the laity is celebrated.  As Christians—as members of God’s family—we are to be exercising the gifts God has so graciously given us.


Personal Photo


Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift and sometimes a gift mix—a gift that God expects us to use for His glory and the benefit of His people.  Have you taken the time to discover your spiritual gifts?  If you have not done so, please consider doing it soon. 

If you know your spiritual gifts, it is your responsibility to use them.  By using your gifts, you will bless your pastor (and others) more than you will ever know.  One of the greatest gifts you could give your pastor is the voluntary use of your gifts.  You just might make his or her day (and year!), by going to him or her with an idea about how you could help and/or serve.


Image from Pixabay


A couple years ago a pastor stated this regarding the ministry of the laity: “Pastors are always delighted to see laity that takes ownership of areas of ministry.  A good example is leading children and youth ministries and teaching the Bible.”

Remember, there are no bad gifts (see Romans 12:6), just different ones.  Spend some time thinking and praying about how you can serve others as a lay person—lay ministry is not just reserved for specially trained lay leaders or lay speakers of the church.  All laity are to be in some form of ministry within and without the church.

If you know your spiritual gift(s), what gift(s) do you have and how are you using them?

Where do you feel that God is calling to get involved?

What ways are you already serving—giving of your time, talents, energy?    

Remember, the Lord expects us to be salt and light in the world (see Matthew 5:13-14).  The people around us should see something different about how we live our lives and how we interact with and treat others!

Who can you share Jesus with today?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, inspire us to use our skills and our gifts to be a blessing to others.  We desire to serve You humbly, along with our pastor.  Remind us that all gifts are important within the church and Your kingdom; encourage us to use them to glorify You.  Persuade us to not only encourage our pastor but others, as well, in using their gifts for Your glory.  May we all use our gifts for Your glory not ours.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.   

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Special Note: Faith Journey with Kim: Growing in Christ Jesus has a Facebook page.  To get to the site, please click on the grayish text above or here.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Clergy Appreciation Month 2017: Pastor Appreciation Sunday


“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;” 
(Romans 15:30 KJV)

October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year too!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last two Octobers.

To read the first post in this series on Clergy Appreciation Month, please see Clergy Appreciation Month.

Today, Sunday, October 8, 2017, is Pastor Appreciation Sunday.  Some churches honor their pastor(s) on this Sunday with a special service; while others prefer to have a typical service.


Personal Photo

 
A variety of ways exist to honor our pastors—it does not have to be flashy or glamorous.  It can be something as simple as a short presentation during the service or a simple potluck after the service.  (Be sure to include children and youth!)  The idea is to let your pastor know that they are loved and appreciated.  Of course, this appreciation should happen more often than in October!

Have you ever stopped to consider how much a pastor does during a given day or week?  Dedicated pastors work far more than 40 hours a week.  Likely their work week is closer to 60-70 hours!  Discover your pastor’s day off each week and guard it!  They need some down time to care for themselves.  

Being a pastor is a huge and demanding job; something that can only be done through the strength of God and much prayer.  How often do you pray for your pastor(s)?  It is only right that we pray for our pastor; after all, pastors pray for their flocks. 

To get an idea about “a day in the life” of a pastor see Thom Rainer’s article A Day in the Life of a Pastor


Personal Photo

 
Pastors truly need and deserve all the support and encouragement they can get.  Recognize and affirm the sacrifices they make—do it orally or in writing.  Do not forget how meaningful, the seemingly small things can be!  Share your appreciation from your heart.  It will mean far more than you will ever know, this side of heaven. 

Be sure to pray for his/her family, as well; do not forget the many sacrifices they make!  The families of pastors make far more sacrifices than we will ever know.  How many family meals or special gatherings do you suppose pastors miss?  Even pastors without a family make many sacrifices in serving their congregation.


HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR PASTOR TODAY?  J

How will you show appreciation to your pastor this week?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that You will strengthen and encourage our pastor.  Help us to pray effectively for our pastor and family each day.  Lord, please protect our pastor and family from the attacks of the enemy; we plead the blood of Jesus over them.  Grant our pastor the wisdom to guide and care for us.  Thank You for all of the sacrifices pastors and their families make in service to You.  Reveal to us how to best show our appreciation to our pastor.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Friday, October 6, 2017

Clergy Appreciation Month 2017


“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be ye at peace among yourselves.”  
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 KJV)

October is here; therefore, it is a good time to look towards appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge. October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted the last two years.

Clergy Appreciation Month was started in the early 1990s by a lay person, who saw a need.  He realized that there were months and days honoring people and groups but nothing for honoring pastors.  Pastors are human and need encouragement like everyone else—it can be something quite simple—such as a pat on the back, a word of praise, or simply being attentive during services.  At times pastors seem to take more than their fair share of criticism, so words of praise are even more important.  Pastors (and their families) need our prayer and support, not our criticism.  Show your appreciation publicly, even if you think they may be embarrassed; knowing how much they are loved and appreciated will do more good than we can begin to comprehend. 

    
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Remember most pastors work incredibly hard, putting in extremely long hours to care for the flock they love.  (And by the way, they work more than just on Sunday!)  This means they miss time with their families.  They also neglect their own needs at times.  Therefore, they need to be reminded they are loved and that they are making a difference in the lives of others.


Personal Photo

We see pastors being encouraged in the Bible, such as the support Aaron and Hur gave to Moses during the battle with the Amalekites (Exodus 17:10-13).

How is your pastor being encouraged by the members of his/her congregation? Who holds up your pastor’s arms?  What are you doing to encourage your pastor?  


Photo Credit P. Whitlach


Do not forget to encourage your pastor’s family; they are an important part of the ministry too! The pastor’s family is a vital part of his/her ministry.  They are expected to make many sacrifices that many in the congregation would be unwilling to make.

One great way to encourage your pastor and his/her family is through prayer! Let them know that you are praying for them.  For some ideas to direct your prayers see:  How to pray for your pastor

Throughout the rest of this month and in the months ahead, think about ways to affirm the work of your pastor and his/her family.  Keep in mind that our pastors should be appreciated and affirmed twelve months a year, not just in October!  Remember the times that someone has expressed their appreciation of you.  How did you feel?

How are you honoring your pastor and his/her family?  How have you showed appreciation (as an individual or as a church) in the past?  What about this year?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all those who were and are obedient to Your call on their lives and became pastors to shepherd Your flock. Prompt us to know how and when to encourage our pastors; may we use our words with care—building up rather than tearing down. Father, thank You for our pastors and their families; pour out Your blessings on them, may they experience the fullness of Your presence in their daily lives. In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Note: There will be an additional post on Sunday on the topic of pastor appreciation. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Daddy's Arms



Note:  Since it has been several weeks since I posted here, I thought it was time to let those who come here that I am still alive.  My time away is not being wasted (to get an idea what I have been up to, please see my previous post).  While I have more to study on the Holy Spirit than I should at this point; time is not being wasted as I work towards less clutter and better organization (there may be a post or series on this in the works).

Now for this week’s post:

What I am sharing below the Scriptures is quite a departure from my normal writing style—my thoughts are that it is Holy Spirit inspired.  During my early morning prayer time on September 19, 2017, the first few lines came to mind and would not go—I knew I had to sit down and write.  As I wrote more and more came to me, that is why I believe it is inspired.  During the process of typing my handwritten words, I did a bit of editing and adding of words.  My prayer is that what I wrote from my heart will touch the hearts of others who read it. 

My own daddy passed away before I was a year old and my mom did not remarry, therefore, I have struggled at times with the idea of a father or a daddy.  In the last few years, I have learned a bit through observation, talking with others, and from my own experiences with my spiritual dad. 

  • For those of you who had a close relationship with your earthly dad what did you experience with him that helps you understand our Heavenly Daddy’s role in our lives?


  • For those of you who did not have a close relationship with your earthly dad or perhaps like me did not have a dad to provide love, direction, support, and encouragement how do you find that experience in our Heavenly Daddy?

Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
 (Psalm 10:14 KJV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  ….  The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah (Psalm 46:1, 11 KJV)

Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.  From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  (Psalm 61:1-2 KJV)

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.(Psalm 68:5 KJV)

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
(Psalm 103:13 KJV)

The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
(Psalm 146:9 KJV)


Daddy’s Arms
Strong—safe and secure
Daddy’s Arms
Safe—protector from the world
Daddy’s Arms
Love—assured
Daddy’s Arms
Warrior—defender
Daddy’s Arms
Provider—care
Daddy’s Arms
No need to fear
Daddy’s Arms
Always there—no abandonment
Daddy’s Arms
Daddy’s Arms
A safe, secure sanctuary to run to when the world goes crazy, out of control
Daddy’s Arms
Run to Daddy—find love worth the wait, the longing
Daddy’s Arms
What are you waiting for?
Daddy’s Arms
What are you waiting for?
Daddy’s Arms
Run into Daddy’s Arms and find pure love—unconditional—Daddy’s Arms
In Daddy’s Arms you’ll find what your heart and soul have longed for
Daddy’s Arms
Daddy’s Arms love indefinable expressed in intangible ways, only in Daddy’s Arms do we find true love, acceptance and protection.  Daddy’s Arms
What are you waiting for?
Run, run into Daddy’s Arms
He’s waiting for you—His arms are wide open, welcoming, beckoning—“Come home, dear one, come home, you are wanted, welcome, and loved.”
Daddy’s Arms
Daddy’s Arms

I encourage you to listen to this song by Sanctus Real, Safe in the Father’s Arms




Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Abba, Father, thank You for being the best example of who a daddy should be and the characteristics he should exhibit.  We know our earthly daddies are frail human beings who many times fail to provide what we need as their children.  Help us to not apply what our earthly dads did or failed to do and thus negatively impact how we see You.  You are the only one who is completely trustworthy—we can run to You and find a love that is beyond all description.  Provide comfort to those who deeply desperately need the comfort only a daddy can give—letting them experience that love so deep, so indescribable, that it is truly beyond words.  Supply us with the necessary words to share with others Your love, and to encourage them to run to their Daddy to find what their hearts are longing for.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim




Friday, August 4, 2017

Letting Jesus Remove the Clutter: Revisited


For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...  
(1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

Another note (summer edition):  Yes, I am sharing a post that I shared earlier this year, because I felt some nudging through the Holy Spirit to share this post this week.  My hunch is someone “needs” to read this.  It seems somewhat appropriate as I work on sorting through information for the Holy Spirit series—some might call it clutter—I call it research.  Additionally, I am in research mode for a sub-topic for my Sunday school teaching responsibilities (spiritual gifts a sub-topic of sorts as we consider the bigger topic of Heaven).  Just this week, I did a small amount of purging of “stuff” that simply needed to go into the garbage.  Honestly, it is freeing once the anxiety goes away.    

Note: This post is from January 29, 2016.  As I was praying and preparing this week, I felt the Lord impress on me to post this message again (possibly with some editing).  Moreover, I am feeling some “nudges” to develop more posts with this theme.  Just know that I am “preaching” to myself as much as I am to those who read this post!

Many people struggle with clutter in their lives:  inner and outer.  I face struggles in this area, yet there is a degree of order to the “mess” (in other words, I can almost always find what I am looking for).  There may be a method to my madness…or not!  At the same time, I realize that God likely has a different perspective about my clutter.


Image from Pixabay


Holding on to objects—whatever they may be—of our past, a past the Lord has led us away from is likely far more counterproductive than we realize.  Whether or not we realize it, we are weighed down, hampered, kept from the future that awaits us; the future that is created especially for us by Jesus our Savior and Lord.  This is the future where we will find a happiness and a contentment that comes from being where we are needed and doing the things the world most needs us to do.  This reminds me of a quote from Frederick Buechner:  “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”[1]



Letting go of the “stuff” gives us freedom for the future—openness, space, margin for the Lord to work and for us to work too.  When we are free of this “stuff”, perhaps “stuff” that haunts us, we can become the person we were meant to be all along!  All this “stuff” that we think we need only distracts and hinders us (this is at least partially true for me). 
To be sure, the “stuff” is not always bad; it may have served a good and worthy purpose in the past.  If the “stuff” is truly a thing of the past; a past that is no longer the path God wants you walking down, why cling to it, as if it has the power to save?  This is what I have talked to myself about in the past and even just this week (as of the writing of this post in January 2016).  At the point God made it clear to me that the path I was on was not the correct one, I was so overwhelmed that it did not occur to me to start parting ways with the objects that had occupied hours of my life for many years, and stuff that I had spent a sizable amount of money to acquire.
Over the past several years, the Lord has been freeing me more and more of the files of paper, projects that were a significant part of my past.  Since the beginning of the year (2016) I have gotten back to work—it is work but it goes amazingly fast.  It is also completely overwhelming at times; mostly it feels great!  Now in 2017, I am beginning to see the deep need for even more work in this area. 

Image from Pixabay


Our God is a God of order (as can be seen the Scripture above).  He created order.  Therefore, order pleases Him—order in our lives, order in our churches—makes a difference, a difference that might just makes others take note.  God brings order to our disorder, if we allow Him.  As we depend on Him to remove the inner and outer “clutter” we find freedom.  This freedom gives us the necessary space to think, to create, and to simply live. 

Jesus also addressed this in His Sermon on the Mount:  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV). 

Where are you storing up treasures? 
I am working towards an increasing desire to store up treasures—the most important treasures—in Heaven; a work that is in progress.  These are the treasures we should all desire.
In some way, releasing all this stuff, the baggage of the past—tangible objects and people may well be a type of “pruning” (see John 15).  I invite you to check the archives of the blog for some posts from last year on abiding (and pruning).
We can depend on God to help us in our weakness.  He is kind and gentle with us, yet He does not allow us to stay—growth, change happens and is expected.  I am thinking my releasing of this “stuff” will take me places I have never dreamed possible.

What do you need to do with the “clutter” in your life?

How is Jesus helping you with the “clutter” in your life?

Please join with me in prayer:
Dear Lord of Order, We confess that our lives are out of order; we need your help in regaining order.  Enable us to see our living and working spaces with Your eyes, so that we can address the piles of “stuff” that weigh us down.  Likewise, we need Your love, grace, and power to clear away our inner “clutter”, providing the necessary space for You to do Your creative work within us.  Remind us to be loving, caring, and gentle with others who struggle, as well as with ourselves.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Friday, July 21, 2017

Worship Time: Studying the Word


Sing unto the Lord, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the people are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
Glory and honour are in his presence; strength and gladness are in his place.
Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The Lord reigneth.  
(1 Chronicles 16:23-31 KJV)

In an effort to keep things moving along, as well as to let everyone know that I am still alive, I thought it would be a good idea to create a worship post for this week.  My study for the Holy Spirit series is a daunting task (and a task that has hit a bit of a stand still); however, it is one that if I diligently apply myself to the work the outcome will bless all concerned. 

For time being, I want to invite you to worship the Lord through encouraging the reading of His amazing Word and through songs that speak to the hearts of many.  You are invited to listen and immerse yourself in the following songs.  My prayer is that the music speaks to your heart in a way that will bring healing and comfort to the deepest part of your being.


Great is the Lord




I Exalt Thee




Shine, Jesus Shine




You are My All in All





Please join with me in prayer:

Precious Lord, thank You for the gift of music that helps us to worship and praise You and for those who compose music that touch our hearts.  As we journey through the long hot days of summer, continue to lead us back to You and to the heart of why we are to worship, as well as who we are worshiping.  May our worship be pleasing to You.  While we worship we desire to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in worship and in study of Your Word.  Open to us new avenues of giving You all of our praise and adoration.  We love You Lord.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

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