One Important Thing Every Christian Leader Needs to Do

Being new leader isn’t very easy.

We get so many things wrong and get so mixed up.  The first day on the job is exhausting for any position, but then to have to perform in front of an audience.

Everyone gets to see us struggle and try remember everything at the same time.

People’s names, and the timing and what comes next and who needs something all the while someone else is telling us that our phone is ringing.

Then suddenly it is over and we are exhausted.

Everyone is so polite and telling us that we did a great job, but really we know in our hearts that somehow we didn’t quite measure up.

Are we naive to think that we could put an event together or stand up in front of a crowd and speak?  Who knew leading an event could be so hard?

Other people make it look so easy.

Why would anyone want to try this at all?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Jesus Christ taught his followers about being a Christian leader.  He didn’t leave the entire leadership team of the  church without any instructions.

In Luke 10, Jesus teaches us one important thing every Christian leader needs to do
In Luke 10, Jesus teaches us one important thing every Christian leader needs to do

 

One of the keys to Bible study is to examine the context of what is written.  I believe that if you study the whole of Luke 10, then it becomes obvious that the parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of Mary and Martha, and the Lord’s Prayer are part of the leadership lesson that Christ was teaching his 72 followers.

 

 

What Jesus taught his Disciples about being leaders

In Luke 10 Jesus sends out 72 newly minted evangelists to go out in teams of two to proclaim the kingdom of God.  Read Luke 10.

He gave them simple instructions and warned them that they would face opposition.

The evangelists returned with great joy.  They were very happy at the success of their work and the authority Jesus had given them over demons.

Then Jesus corrects their idea of leadership.

Jesus tells them that they should rejoice that their names were written in heaven.

They are to get excited that they are saved. Or bluntly, they are to rejoice that Jesus is saving them and God is leading them, rather than being leaders themselves.

Right after this lesson, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, leads them in a time of rejoicing and worship of God in verses 21-24.

Jesus rejoiced in what God was doing.

Can you see the difference?

Christian leaders rejoice in God and not the success of their following or their work.

 

What Luke taught his readers being leaders

Luke records the the story of the 72 followers going out to work as part of a larger discussion on what it means to follow Jesus.

In Luke 10:1-24 is the account of the 72 followers, the leadership lesson and the example of Jesus rejoicing in the Father.  Immediately following Luke records the story of the good Samaritan.

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  or How do I know if my name is written in heaven?  This question links the story of the good Samaritan to the previous leadership lesson.

If I am to rejoice that I am saved, then how do I know that I am saved?

The answer is found in the story of the Good Samaritan.

Is the love and mercy of God flowing out of your life to everyone you meet?  Are you serving the people that you come into contact with?

If Jesus is a picture of the Good Samaritan, rescuing you out of your situation, then are you doing the same for others?

If you are, then your name is written in heaven.

Click here for a Free List of Word and Deed Ministry Ideas in my Resource Library.

 

What Jesus taught Martha being a leader

Then Luke records the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42.

Only Luke records this story of Mary and Martha.  It is one of the most referred to Christian women’s Bible study passages.

Luke records this passage because he is still teaching us about Christian leadership.

The good Samaritan served the man who fell among robbers.  Jesus used that lesson to teach the lawyer about who is saved and has eternal life.

Immediately there is a story about Martha who is also serving Jesus.  But Martha is distracted with much serving.

Martha is a natural leader.  She welcomes Jesus into her home.  She is overseeing the food and arrangements.

But she has forgotten why she is serving. She is anxious and troubled.  Martha has so much to do and wants Mary to start helping her.

In her anxiety she tries to get Jesus to correct Mary.

Jesus gently reminds her. Mary has chosen the good portion.

 

Psalm 16:5 (ESV)

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”

 

It is possible to be so focused on serving that we lose sight of our own dependence on Jesus.

 

What Jesus taught his disciples about sitting at his feet

The very next passage in the Gospel of Luke is the Lord’s prayer.

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray like he did.

Jesus taught them about how they should pray.  How they should call on the Father to hallow his name, to bring in his kingdom, to provide all that they need.

The disciples were to ask God to provide for them whatever they needed to serve him.

First the disciples were to be like Mary, then they were to go out and be like Martha.

They were to pray and seek after the Father and then they were to serve their neighbours like the good Samaritan.  As they served, their focus and joy was to be on how great was their own salvation.

Read More: 11 Things to Include in a Powerful Prayer Meeting

 

How Mary became a leader

So what happens when people actually do this?  What happened to Mary after she sat at Jesus’ feet?

Mary determined to commit an act of love and service for Jesus.

The answer is in John 12:1 – 8.

There was another dinner and Martha was serving.  Lazarus was there.  Mary took her expensive perfume, anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.

This time it is Judas who is concerned about Mary. “Why was all this expensive ointment being poured out?”

Notice that Mary is still at Jesus’ feet and that she is serving Jesus.

Jesus called her service “a beautiful thing” in Matt 26:6 – 13.  Mary is commended by Jesus and he promises that she will be remembered for all time because of her service.

That is incredible.

Mary, without intending to be, became an example to millions of people.  She led the way and showed us what we need to be like to be true Christian leaders.

Leaders need to be sitting at Jesus’ feet.

 

Mary and Martha

Many Christian leaders reduce the lessons of Mary and Martha into some self-help paradigm to defeat worry and anxiety.

Or worse, they limit this incredible story to teaching time management and priorities.

Luke:10:38 – 42 is more than a lesson for North American women to stay at home and attend church Bible studies.

Some people get creative and spend their lessons trying to embellish the story. But they ignore the overarching context.  They don’t ask the question “Why did Luke put this passage in the Bible?”  Or “What is the context?”

Luke is not teaching us about a passive Mary and condemning a busy Martha.  He is teaching us about the kind of Christian leader that Jesus Christ raises up and uses to accomplish the Father’s will.  That is the point of the story.

Are you that kind of a leader?

What if you started sitting at Jesus’ feet?

And earnestly called out to God in the Lord’s Prayer?

Rejoicing before the Father that your name is written in heaven?

 

When the 72 followers of Jesus came back from their work, Jesus had to help them refocus on the Father.  Mary didn’t need to refocus and was commended for her simple service.

Without intending to, Mary of Bethany became a leader.

That’s how powerful our God is. 

 

 

Now here is the most crazy part of all.

Jesus taught his followers not only how to be leaders, but also how to teach!

 

Jesus sent the 72 followers out with plain instructions about their work.

When they returned he gently helped them to refocus on the goodness of the God.  Then he lead them in a time of praise and rejoicing himself.

Next, Jesus teaches using a parable and then teaches using an ordinary event.

Finally, Jesus gives some formal instruction about prayer.

 

Summary of How Jesus Taught From Luke 10 and 11

  1.  Clear instructions on how to evangelize (verses 1 – 16).
  2.  Gentle refocus reminder to praise God for salvation (verses 17 – 20).
  3.  Led followers in praising God  (verses 21 – 24).
  4.  Parable about who has eternal life (Good Samaritan).
  5.  Used an ordinary event to informally teach (Mary and Martha).
  6.  Formal instruction about prayer (Lord’s Prayer).

 

We are to teach and lead the same way.

We are to:

  • give clear instructions about how to do something
  • help gently to correct
  • be an example
  • use parables
  • use informal life events
  • formally teach

Formal teaching is only one way to be a leader.  Mary became a leader because she was an example.

Maybe you formally teach.  That is great.  Please make sure that you also take advantage of the other five ways to lead.

If you don’t formally teach, then please consider the other ways that Jesus lead and taught.

 

THE ONE IMPORTANT THING EVERY CHRISTIAN LEADER NEEDS TO DO:

Sit a Jesus’ feet and praise God that your own name is written in heaven.

 

I believe that you can do this.

Anyone who is sitting regularly at Jesus’ feet will be used as some kind of Christian leader.

Keep your focus on praising God and seeking him in prayer.

Seek first the kingdom of God. Everything else will come.

 

Start today.  Just sit at Jesus’ feet.  Be amazed at what is he doing in your life.

 

Blessings,

Elizabeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Viral Ways You Can Improve Your Prayer Life

 
Do you have a viral prayer life?
How much time do you spend praying? Do you pray everyday?
Are you encouraging other people to spend time with God in prayer?
 
Prayer is a very private thing. It is just you and God.
 
The very private nature of prayer means that we don’t talk about our prayer life. We also don’t see prayer modeled for us very often. If we participate in a public prayer meeting, or witness someone publicly praying then it is a different type of praying than what they pray in private.
 
What a dilemma.
 
Out of sight and out of mind. If I don’t see people praying, then are they praying? So, if no one is praying around here, then why should I?
If I do see someone praying, then is it different than their personal prayer?
 
 
 
We can learn how to promote prayer in our own lives and in the life of our church by learning a little bit about viral social media. Let’s make prayer viral.
 
 
 

1. Do You Talk About Prayer?

 Is prayer important enough to you to talk about? When was the last time you told someone that you were praying for them? Do you ever ask for prayer requests?
 
What books have you read on prayer? Have you talked about the strengths and weaknesses of these books with other people?
 
If you are a Christian leader, talk about prayer with the people in your group. Let the group members see you asking for prayer requests. Model prayer for them by praying with them.
 
Find and promote prayer resources. Make a prayer list for your group. Talk to your group about prayer all the time and at every meeting.
 
 

 

2. Keep Prayer at the Top of Your Brain.

 Social media experts make their quotes easy to share with others and also put visual reminders in their work to help you.
 
We can copy them, by putting visual clues into our environment to remind us to pray and by making it easy for people to pray.
 
Do you have a prayer place? Does your church have a dedicated prayer room and/or prayer closet?
 
You can use prayer boards, prayer walls, prayer art, and even photos around your house or church.
 
Could you use a prayer app on your phone to visually remind you to pray? What about a prayer alarm, so that you can hear when it is time to pray?
 
Fill your environment with reminders to pray. Viral prayer reminders should be found everywhere in your life and ministry.
I made you a simple visual reminder to pray.  You can use the image above anyway you like to help you make viral prayer a reality in your life.
 

 

3. Skip the Theological Language and Use Everyday Terms.

 Our theologians have come up with a tremendous number of lovely words to describe prayer.
There is an idea that as leaders we can teach our groups some theology by using these words. Don’t do it.
The language you use can distance you from your group or it can draw them closer.
 
Words like invoke, doxology, efficacious or sanctification are confusing. Plain and simple speech are marks of thoughtfulness and wisdom.
 
If you feel you must use big words, then define them when you use them.
Viral prayer that is pouring out of someone’s heart does not resemble a prepared text.
Social media experts speak the language of the people that they are talking to. Just as Jesus did.

 

4. Promote Viral Prayer Before, During and After Your Event.

 Have you ever seen a pop-up? Has a website asked you to sign up for something before you clicked away? These tools work to connect people to social media content.
 
Do you have a pre-meeting prayer? Are you gathering people early before the meeting to pray over the meeting?
 
Most of us open a meeting in prayer, but like a website pop-up we can grab the microphone and announce a pre-meeting prayer 15 minutes before a meeting.
 
If you have the pre-meeting prayer often enough, then people will arrive earlier to take part in the prayer meeting.
 
Like internet marketers you can give them a sense of inclusion by calling them a team and give them some instruction on prayer.
 
Pray during your event with the entire assembled meeting. Move from your pre-event prayer meeting into leading the entire group in prayer to open your event.
 
Also, have a post-event prayer meeting. This does not have to be long. Bookend your formal meeting with little prayer meetings with a team. Be sure to announce it to the whole group that you are meeting “Right now” for prayer.
Be loud.  Announce your pre-event prayer meeting over the microphone.
 
Sometimes there can be a pre-meeting prayer for just the leadership team. This is a great idea.  However, if you want to promote prayer in your entire group and mature more Christian leaders do not neglect holding a pre-meeting prayer for the entire group.
 
 You can start your day and end your day with your own personal prayer times as well. Bookend your own day with prayer.
You will know if viral prayer begins to take over your life and Christian work, when people starting hitting up your phone with prayer requests.
 
 
 
 

5. “Pray Right Now” is Key to Viral Prayer.

 Social media marketers also add a sense of urgency to their request that you share their content. They want your to share their content right now.
 
If you are talking to someone and prayer request comes up. Then use the same technique. Pray with them on the spot. Take whatever their concern is to the Lord right away. Let them see you praying for them and join with you in prayer if they want to.
 
Sometimes leadership responsibilities prevent immediate prayer. So, I will make an agreement with a person to pray with them immediately after I finish.
 
Get in the habit of praying all through the day whenever something you comes up that that you need to discuss with God. Don’t wait for your devotion time. Pray right away. Start a viral prayer for someone.
 

6. Prayer Follow-up

 Many bloggers will sent you a follow up email when you have signed up with them. They know the value of keeping in contact with people.
 
If you have prayed for someone, can you call them or write them a letter to ask how you can keep praying for them? Ask permission to share their prayer request with others if you feel that is appropriate.
 
 
 

7. Have a Personal Prayer Team

 Social media experts work with others to get better at what they do. They have mastermind groups of a couple of other people to support each other in their work. Some use social media groups for support and  to learn.

Who are your personal intercessors? Do you have a couple of people in your life who are praying for you on a daily basis? Are you a personal intercessor for a Christian ministry leader or friend?
 
If you are serious about promoting prayer in your life and ministry start with an intercessory prayer partner. Form a team as God leads.
 
 

8. “Like” Prayer

 Many articles found on the internet ask us to “Like” and to “Share” them with other people. These articles have Like and Share buttons highlighted for us to click.

Have you tried prayer? Do you like prayer? Are you telling people in your network about your experiences in prayer?
 
Telling others about the things that God has done for you is called witnessing. Witnessing includes us talking about how God is the answer to our prayers.
 
If someone were to ask you what you like to spend your time doing, would you say “I like to pray”? Why not? Be bold and “Like” prayer the next time you have a chance.
 
 
 
I would love for you to have contagious prayer in your life, in your church and whatever ministry you do. Which of the eight viral prayer reminders are you going to try first? Pick one. Try it out right now. Don’t hesitate.
 
Can you include one visual reminder to pray where you are? How about a prayer wallpaper on your computer or theme on your phone?
 
Why don’t you pray today and ask God how to know him better in and through prayer?
Go ahead.  Pray.
 
Blessings,
 
Elizabeth

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How to Share Meals Like Jesus and Nurture an Outreach Ministry

Who did Jesus chose to eat with?
 All through the gospel, Jesus is eating with people and spending time with them.  Mealtime was a vital part of Jesus’ ministry.
Are you eating meals with people as part of your outreach ministry?  What type of meals are you eating?
If you looking for some simple ideas to begin an outreach ministry of your own, then why not consider eating a meal with someone.
Yes, outreach can be as simple as eating a meal with someone outside of your comfort zone.
An important part of Jesus' ministry was sharing meals with people. Read about the different types of meals that Jesus had and the people he ate with.
An important part of Jesus’ ministry was sharing meals with people. Read about the different types of meals that Jesus had and the people he ate with.
Let’s see who Jesus ate his meals with.
 

1.  Jesus Ate With His Family

 
Jesus ate with his mother and brothers. Even after he started his formal ministry period, Jesus spent time with his family and ate with them.
 
At the wedding at Cana it is recorded that he attended a wedding feast with his immediate family. Afterward, they traveled together to Capernaum. (John 2:1 – 12)
 
 
 

2.  Jesus Ate With His Disciples

 
There are several recorded meals that Jesus ate with his disciples.
 
Some of the meals were informal. The disciples ate with unwashed hands and in grain fields. (Luke 6:1 and Mark 7:2)
 
Some of the disciples were at the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:1 – 12)
 
Jesus ate the Passover and instituted Communion with his disciples. (Matthew 26:21, Mark 14:18, Luke 22:15)
 
 
During a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus, he ate with the disciples. (Luke 24:43)
 
 

 

3. Jesus Ate With His Followers

 
There are two kinds of meals recorded that Jesus ate with his followers.
 
First, there were smaller gatherings of closer followers such as Lazarus, Martha and Mary, and with Peter and his mother-in-law. (John 12:2, Matthew 8:14 – 15)
 
Jesus also stayed at Zacchaeus’ house and (I would assume) ate there. (Luke 19:3-5)
 
The second kind of meal recorded is with large numbers of followers. The feeding of the 5000 is found in every gospel, which emphasizes the importance of the event. Also, Jesus is recorded feeding 4000 men and their families. (Matthew 14:20, Mark 6:42, Luke 9:17, John 6:26) (Matthew 15:37, Mark 8:8)
 
 
 
 

4. Jesus Ate With Listeners and Unrepentant

 
It is recorded in the Bible that Jesus shared meals with people, but they were not saved. (Luke 13:26)
 
Pharisees and lawyers invited Jesus into their homes and he came and ate with them. (Luke 11:37, Luke 14:1 – 3)
 
Jesus even shared the Passover feast with Judas. (Matthew 26:21, Mark 14:18)
 
 
 
 

5. Jesus Ate With Tax collectors and Sinners

 
Many times in the Bible Jesus was ate with tax collectors and sinners. (Matthew 11:18 – 19, Mark 2:16, Luke 5:29, Luke 7:34, Luke 15:2)
 

 
Jesus did not eat with in the presence of the Devil. In Luke 4:2 it says that Jesus fasted when he was in the desert being tempted by Satan.
 
I had not noticed that Jesus was fasting and being tempted at the same time.  Please be careful about opening yourself up to temptation by sharing a meal with someone.
 
 
 

 Parables About Feasting

 Jesus taught some parables about feasting. In the parable of the great banquet (Luke 14:12 – 24), Jesus taught us to invite the poor, crippled, blind and lame to our feasts.
 
Another parable in Matthew 22:1 – 14 teaches us that God scours the highways and roads for people to come to his wedding feast.
 
 
 
If we break down the type of meals that Jesus was eating with people, it looks like there were:
 
  • Family dinners
  • Informal dinners with disciples
  • Formal/feast dinners with disciples
  • Small dinners with followers, listeners and unrepentant
  • Very large meals with disciples, followers, listeners and unrepentant
 
 
Jesus ate meals with all kinds of people, but not while Satan was trying to tempt him.
 

 

Sharing Meals With People With and Without Your Family

There is a belief in some Christian traditions that we need to be inviting people into our homes and practicing an intentional meal ministry.
 
Some of the folks who do this are having very wonderful and blessed ministries reaching out to friends and neighbours of different faiths and lifestyles.
 
In their zeal to promote a family centred outreach, they neglect to teach that Jesus also shared meals without his family present.
 
Jesus accepted meal invitations to the homes of people who were unrepentant and ate with them.
 
Also, Jesus had informal dinners with his followers and shared formal dinners and feasts with his disciples.
 
If you are serious about sharing meals with people in a gospel centered way, then consider all the different types of meals that Jesus shared with people.
Do not limit yourself to having family-centered meal ministries.  Let’s be Christ-centred instead.

Meal Ministry Ideas

 
Some ideas for different types of meal ministries include:
 
 
  • Bar-be-que  meals with your ministry team or as an outreach
  • Meal and church event interaction with a neighbour or friend
  • Drive thru meal/ eat at the park play date with a single or struggling mom or dad and their children
  • Breakfast meal before church worship
  • Bring a meal to someone’s house to share while you minister to them in some practical way (child care, cleaning, repairs, teaching a skill)
  • Have someone over to share a meal while they use your laundry facilities, get some computer help, resume advice, wedding planning
  • Share a takeout meal with someone who is ill or cannot leave their home
  • Eat your lunch at the hospital with a tired caregiver
  • Holiday feasts with your family, friends and neighbours
 
Pray and ask God to show you how your can grow and develop a meal sharing ministry in your life, family, church and neighbourhood. The results may amaze you.
 Eventually you may want to include a Bible study before or after your meal.  This is a great way to introduce anyone to the truth about Jesus Christ.
 
I would avoid eating a meal with anyone in a situation which is a temptation to you. Leave that particular ministry to another person in the body of Christ.
What is holding you back from eating a meal with someone?
Invite someone out for a burger or a coffee.  Laugh with them and enjoy their company and really listen to what is on their mind and heart.
If you are too nervous to witness to someone while you are eating with them.   Then ask if you can pray for them.
Demonstrate you faith in the power of God to answer prayer by telling them that you will pray.  Ask them what is holding them back from praying?
Let me know how your new outreach ministry works out.  I would love to hear about it.
Blessings,
Elizabeth

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Behind the Scenes at a Successful Soup Kitchen

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a successful Christian ministry?
 
Would you like to know what their biggest struggles are?
 
Are you curious about what their major successes are?
 
I am.
 
Today, I am pulling back the curtain and giving a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at a soup kitchen.
If you have volunteered at a soup kitchen once or twice you have probably no idea that these things are going on.  I can assure you that they are.
 
 I have been working with a soup kitchen Christian ministry that has been around for many years. Since I started, the number of meals we serve has gone up from three times a week to eleven times a week at the main location. (Five breakfasts, four lunches, two dinners and special events.)
 
We are now in an incredible position of growth. We are sending food out to satellite churches so they can have a soup kitchen ministry.
 
The lead team is also planning a daring new Christian ministry this year that may change the lives of hundreds of people. God willing, the new Christian ministry may start functioning this spring and I will let you know about it when it starts.
 
I am not telling you this to make myself feel good or to make you feel bad.
 
The point of this article is to let you know how ordinary and mundane our struggles are. I am also writing because I want to let you know what the ‘real’ struggles are of a Christian ministry.
If you are thinking about starting a soup kitchen or any other outreach Christian ministry, then please learn from our experience.
When I started working at the soup kitchen the things that I thought would be the biggest problems weren’t.
 
Planning healthy meals, finding volunteers and raising money are concerns, but not the major ones.
 
I had a huge learning curve.
 
Can I tell you the biggest joys and sorrows of a veteran soup kitchen staffer?

The 7 Biggest Problems of a Christian Ministry Soup Kitchen

 
 

1. Spiritual Warfare

 I. Had. No. Idea.
 
Coming from a conservative Presbyterian background, I was very unfamiliar with spiritual warfare.
 
Dr. David Chotka teaches that when financial crisis, team quarrels, uncommon illnesses and petty arguments come together it is a spiritual attack.
 
Since hearing Pastor Chotka’s sermon, I have experienced these things. At one point, every single one of the permanent staff was undergoing a serious, unusual crisis. It was an intense spiritual attack on our Christian ministry.
 
The other part of spiritual warfare that we face is from the spiritual attacks suffered by the people who dine at the soup kitchen.
 
We pray that all evil spirits would be barred from our building and that the diners would be free from their influence while they are with us.
This has made a major difference in the atmosphere of the dinner and worship.
 
 
 
 

2. Prayerlessness

 
For a short time we had a retired pastor working with us as a staff member until he relocated for family reasons. Pastor Ed started an intercessory prayer team for our Christian ministry.
 
As soon as the prayer ministry started there was a change in the soup kitchen ministry. All the good things that were happening started happening more and more often. Suddenly, we had more changed lives, more people hearing the gospel, more volunteers, and more resources.
 
Since I became part of the intercessory prayer team, I have experienced what unity with Christ plays in any Christian ministry. Without it, we can do nothing.
 
 

3. People Not Getting Along

 
Dissensions, bickering, backbiting and gossiping between diners, volunteers and churches is everywhere.
 
May God grow the fruit of the spirit in us and save us from ourselves.
 

 

4. Unruly Minors

 
Individuals under the age of 16 having many legal rights and few legal responsibilities. Among minors there are some skilled liars and manipulators who abuse the legal system to their advantage.
 
If a minor chooses to be disruptive there is very little that a volunteer can do.
 
Please call the police and do not put yourself or your ministry at risk.
 
Do not speak to a minor alone for any reason.
 
 

 

5. Lone Rangers

 
The Long Ranger makes a wonderful story, but it is awful to have to work with one.  Christian ministry is not a one man show.
 
God has designed Christian ministry to work best in groups or churches. Whenever someone loses sight of the accountability and responsibility they have as a team, interpersonal friction develops.
 
If allowed to continue, interpersonal friction can shatter friendships and ministries.
 
All of us are sinners and every Christian confesses that. The Long Ranger will never confess to a specific sin. They may be sorry you are hurt, but they will not acknowledge that their words or actions are at fault.
 
A Lone Ranger is completely blind to who they really are and the destruction they leave behind.   They see themselves as the solution to the problem and cannot admit that they sometimes cause them.  Please pray for them.  Don’t forget that Lone Rangers can be female too.
 
 

6. Princesses

 
We all want to be special. Some of us can take that desire to be special and elevate themselves to be a Princess.
 
The great humility that is present in so many godly leaders is the opposite of self-centredness of the Princess.
 
In contrast to godly leaders, who have chosen to honour Christ instead of themselves in all that they do, the Princess wants to be the centre of attention.
 
Princesses are the first ones to complain. They need praise and expect recognition. The hallmark of the Princess is to have many special needs and demand special treatment.
Please don’t be the Princess on your ministry team.  Princes exist as well and act the same as Princesses.
 
Sometimes our diners can act like Princes or Princesses.  Be fair, firm and consistent.  Let everyone know how much you care and respect them, but don’t let the Princesses get away with unfair demands.
 
Treating some people preferentially is noticeable and can cause hard feelings if the special treatment is unwarranted.
 

 
 

7. Consistency and Reliability

 
Some people are never on time. They are cannot be counted on and they break their own word.
 
My co-worker and I are always the first people on site and the last to leave.  We notice when we must clean up other people’s messes or doing their scheduled jobs for them.
 
It is frustrating to arrive and have other people’s dishes to wash or their mess to clean up first.
 
If you are serious about serving God in ministry then be reliable and consistent in your work. Be on time and be prepared.
 
 
 

 The Joys of Working at a Soup Kitchen

 
Some of the biggest joys were a complete surprise for me too.
 
When I started working at the soup kitchen, I thought it would be great if dinner turned out to be delicious, or if someone donated a lot of money or food. (These are good things, but now I know that there are much better things!)
 
 

Now I get so encouraged and joyful from the successes and victories of the regular diners and volunteers.

 
 
  • Seeing so many people in mobility devices who make an effort to travel in a Canadian winter.
  •  Individuals starting to take an interest in their hygiene and appearance.
  • Watching families pulling together through hard times
  •  Observing parents stepping up to love and care for their children.
  •  To see people finding employment and working for a living.
  • Hearing how estranged relatives are being reunited.
 
 
The biggest joys and sorrows of working in a soup kitchen is not the food or money. Nope.
 

The people at the soup kitchen are the greatest source of both joy and concern.

 

All those problems I mentioned cannot compare with the the one joy of seeing people experiencing resurrection in their life.
 
On Saturday night I will be at the soup kitchen, because God is working there too.
 
 
Blessings,
 
Elizabeth
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How to Have the Best Marriage Ever

Marriage is a huge part of our lives.  Who doesn’t want to have the best marriage possible?

We all do.

There is a terrific amount of advice floating around about having a good marriage.

Before we get married we hear advice such as:

“Be sure to attend marriage counseling before you  marry.”
“Stop dating and practice courtship.”
“Develop a friendship with your partner.”

 

Then, once you get married the advice continues:

“Make time for yourselves, plan a date night once a week.”
“Traditional marriage roles and being a stay-at-home mother lay a strong foundation for marriage.”
“Leave your family planning to God.”
“Do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“Don’t bring up past mistakes.”

 

I am sure that this advice is given with good intention and some of it may actually be Biblical.

What about the people who became Christians after they got married?

The couples who broke all the rules despite being brought up in the church?

How about the folks who were untaught and weak of faith early on and now are growing in the Lord?

What do we tell the couples who are into their third marriage and way past children?

Is it too late for them to have amazing Christian marriages?

NO!

Here is one thing that the Bible teaches that applies to every Christian marriage

Old Testament Teaching on Marriage

Way way back in Genesis 2, God told Adam that he was to work in the Garden and to keep it.  Then, God created Eve so that they would do the work God gave Adam together.

Adam and Eve were to work together.

I have yet to find any marriage advice that tells me that I am to work with my husband.  Just like Eve was to help Adam in his work, we can help our husbands in their work.

This is contrary is much modern thinking.  Husbands and wives spend time together relaxing and raising children, not usually in work.

But wait, it gets better.

New Testament Teaching on Marriage

In the New Testament, Jesus taught in John 15:4-6 that we are to abide in him.

Also, Paul taught in Ephesians 5:31-32 that a married couple will be one.

He also taught that marriage is a mystery and pictures Christ and the church to the world.

So, there is to be a union between Christ and Christian believers and a union between a husband and wife.

Jesus in John 15 instructs that we need to keep his commandments just as he kept his father’s commandments.

Jesus’ example and teaching was to work at kingdom building through a word and deed ministry.

The early disciples also laboured in word and in deed to grow Jesus’ kingdom on earth.

In Ephesians 3:8, Paul wrote some instructions to the church about the qualifications of Deacons.  The instructions also include qualifications for deacon’s wives.

Deacons and Their Wives

Deacons were established by the early apostles in Acts 6. Seven men were appointed by the early church to work among the early Christian believers to relieve suffering and perform acts of mercy.

Paul continued the office of Deacon in Ephesus.

A plain reading of 1 Timothy 3:8 – 13 implies that the deacon’s wives were helping them in their work.

8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.  (1 Timothy 3:8 – 13 ESV)

 

So here we have a man and wife working together in the church in ministry.

Ananias and Sapphira also worked together under the direction of Timothy and Paul at Ephesus.

Married Couples Working Together in the Church

An important side effect of working together in ministry, is a great marriage!

So, don’t have a date night with your spouse, where you relax and focus on yourself. Instead have a ministry night with your spouse where you work together and focus on Jesus.

 

 

A lot has changed since Genesis 2, but marriage has not.  We are still to work together in the garden of the Lord.

Now, you may not be able to work for your church in paid position.  But do not let that hold you back.  There are many volunteer ministry opportunities available to build up God’s kingdom.

People who cannot pass the Deacon requirements or a volunteer police screening still have a role in building up the church.

Everyone can pray. We can all be prayer intercessors for others.

If you able, you can stack chairs, sweep floors and run errands. Some people I know hand out little cards with their testimony on it.

Just do this ministry as a couple.

If you need any ideas for establishing a Word or Deed ministry then sign up for my Free Resource Library.

The ministry team that I work with at the soup kitchen is composed of married couples.  When we are looking to add to our volunteer base, we include both spouses as part of the team.

Please consider the natural and spiritual gifts of both marriage partners.

What are your spiritual gifts and talents?

Can you think of a ministry would make the fullest use of both of your gifts and talents?

You can work together to be reaching the same goal, but you don’t have to be doing the exact same thing.

Don’t let one spouse to remain at home watching the children, while the other goes out to volunteer.

How do you have the best marriage ever?

Find a Word or Deed ministry that you and your spouse can labour in together.  Don’t leave your spouse behind, when it comes to Christian ministry.

We are strongest when we work together as one.

 

Blessings,

Elizabeth