The pastor seemed sad but determined as we talked. His young adult daughters had recently left the denomination and he was disappointed.
They grew up in Alabama Baptist churches where he had always been their pastor — and now they wanted out. Not out of the faith, not out of church activity but out of Baptist life. It was oppressive and narrow-minded, they claimed.
Their decision hurts their dad more than they know and he challenges them when appropriate, but family discussions on the subject tend to end up heated. So he pulls back. He makes his case, reminds them of the benefits and then loves them unconditionally. They consistently advocate for their position and provide justification — at least justification that makes sense to them.
Opportunity to spar
The dad said he counters carefully and wants to make sure they always feel safe to share with him — and even spar with him. He wants to be their sounding board, no matter how much it hurts.
As he talked, I thought of how my dad has allowed me the same freedom to debate with him as I’ve worked to figure out life through the years. We have agreed on some items and disagreed on others but in every case I knew my daddy’s love for me had not changed.
Each opportunity to articulate the concept being debated helped me clarify my own thinking while also gaining a better understanding of the opposite side, which reminded me to value the other person as a person even if we disagree.
What a privilege it is for those of us who have mentors who don’t try to control our every thought and opinion. They allow us the opportunity to figure out life and faith and where we fit while in the safety of a loving, godly space — even if it disappoints, hurts or scares them in the process.
Finding the perfect balance of helping guide and sharing wisdom while not imposing a top-down, forced directive isn’t an easy skill to achieve. And sometimes conversations do end up heated with lines drawn but if both parties remember the core of their bond, then what better place for those coming up through the ranks to find their way?
I would much rather process and navigate my way through life issues in an environment where I know I’m loved, trusted and respected. And when I make mistakes the recovery rate is so much quicker because of that support system helping me learn and grow from those mistakes rather than leaving me alone and defeated.
And what about all those questions we bounce around in our heads? So many times we need more information to truly understand. Sometimes we need to ask difficult, uncomfortable questions to get there.
Who can you trust?
But finding someone you can trust with the most vulnerable parts of your heart, mind and soul is difficult. Who can you trust to love you anyway, not give up on you, not be harsh and scolding because you asked such questions? Who in your life — outside of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ — can handle watching you wrestle with the specifics of our value system and worldview?
Are we developing ministry leaders, mentors and believers who are secure enough and studied enough in their faith to encourage questions from those searching to find their way? And are we kind enough to embrace the questions as an opportunity rather than shutting someone down for even asking?
Rashional Extras – ‘Stand Firm’
By Shea Lowery
The road was tough, the pain severe, the circumstances horrendous. The strength of one young woman was fading and discouragement was setting in. “Was it worth it anymore?” she pondered. Lisa stood at a crossroads in her mind.
One way meant a great deal of work, sacrifice and perseverance but victory guaranteed. The other road, the most popularly traveled, would certainly be the easiest but would result in little at the end.
The deceiver was attacking Lisa’s mind and quitting suddenly seemed best. She was tired, weary and uncertain of her future. She had almost talked herself out of the path to which God had called her. Why? She was focusing on the circumstances surrounding her journey instead of on the God who had called her to it.
Lisa, quickly realizing she was in the middle of a spiritual warfare, surrendered her thoughts and feelings over to God. As the Lord overtook the young woman’s heart, she determined from that moment on to move forward with her Father, no matter the severity of the path.
At times, we too may find ourselves in conflicting situations. Yet we must remember Satan longs to alter our progress by tempting us to take the easy route or even quit the course all together. However, through Christ, we must learn how to fight the battle of spiritual warfare (see Eph. 6:10–17 NASB).
Pay close attention to the words “stand firm.” They mean “to be of a steadfast mind.” As we support ourselves with God’s armor, we must do so by refusing to waver as a result of circumstances. Trials are going to come. Temptations will frequently persist. Satan will continue to attack until you and I go home to be with the Lord. Yet in God’s Word, He clearly states how to fight the good fight effectively and accurately.
Don’t allow the enemy to sway you back and forth in your emotional stance between circumstances or God. Armor up and stand firm!
From LinkedIn …
When we accept employment, we are entering into a contract to provide work in exchange for income. We must honor that contract by excelling in our assignments.
Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries
What Jesus is doing IN you is more important than what He is doing THROUGH you!
One’s purpose in life determines values and priorities. It determines how one spends his time — our greatest asset — and money.
As I have spent time with older senior adults, especially widows and widowers, I am burdened by the countless hours, days and weeks they seek to fill with meaning and purpose, which seems to have eluded many of them. God tells the Church to minister to widows (James 1:27) and some do so.
Perhaps one thing we can do for our elderly is get them praying. By praying, I mean help them develop an organized, systematic prayer life. They need a prayer notebook/journal with specific people and requests.
If the church could harness the prayer power of our elderly, we would see lost people being saved and revival break out. It also would give them a sense of purpose and usefulness, especially as they see prayers being answered.
“We all die in the end. That’s not what to be afraid of. What’s to be afraid of is getting paralyzed by fear and dying in the middle. We all die in the end. Just don’t die in the middle.”
From “The Sender: A story about when right words make all the difference” by Kevin Elko and Bill Beausay
Don’t love your position in ministry so much that you can’t hear God’s voice when it’s time to move on.
Is it possible our hearts get so filled with the little things of this world that we have no room for the greatest thing which is Christ?
How many people are wishing to be anywhere but where they are now? I love people who can appreciate where they are w/out complaining about it.
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