Friday, September 25, 2015

Perishing People

Proverbs 29.18  Where there is no vision, the people perish...

The Vision of the House

It is the Pastor's responsibility, with the help of key leaders in the body,  to establish the vision of the house. Each local church has an assignment from the Almighty and to miss that assignment, no matter how many accolades for good and fine things that are done is to miss God's Purpose. Missing God's purpose will also be missing God's blessing.

But how does a spiritual leader determine the assignment (vision) for the house. Earnest Prayer is the only thing that I know will lead a pastor to determine if his church is supposed to be a worshipping center or an evangelistic rescue mission. Is it supposed to be a hospital for restoring spiritual health to those wounded or a discipleship center teaching the ways of God?  Every church has this assignment and the leadership team, and especially the Sr. Pastor is called to catch the vision from God.

Communicating the Vision

Some how the vision has to be communicated. Likely it will need to be communicated in many ways. From the pulpit, through the leadership, on stationary, on websites, etc. It should be clear that the assignment from God was pursued and found. It is necessary, too, that even the leadership see that over and over since there are many good things that can be a distraction from the calling of God to a particular church.

Originally here at CLC we saw ourselves as a worshipping community primarily. Our tag line, meant to communicate that was "Where Worship is a Way of Life". And while we continue to be a church that is worship oriented we also recognized a redefining a few years back. It seemed that God was drawing us into a more mature season of discipleship training. our tag line changed to "Real Faith for the Real World".

Loving Rejection

Not everyone will agree with the vision of the house. Of course, there are many who simply will not understand that you cannot do everything from rescuing folks from sex trafficking to having the greatest Sunday School in the Western Hemisphere. We are very involved in missions and do mission trips around the world. We endeavor to help the poor here at home. We train and educate the newly saved, teach leaders to develop into more mature servants, believe for the miraculous, intercede for lost and broken, develop worship leaders, and a dozen other things here at CLC.

And if we have to part ways with people who need to separate to fulfill their God given call we do it lovingly. Honoring the call of God in their lives. It isn't always easy to understand but we know in whom we have believed.

The main thing for us all is to understand what God's main thing is. And then to busy ourselves pursuing the main thing for his honor and glory.

Friday, September 18, 2015

10 Ways to "Affair Proof" your Marriage

Marriage is an endeavor worthy of our hard work.

1. Watch Your Step.

Avoid intimate situations with people not your spouse. Late night working together, traveling alone with a person of the opposite sex, etc. Affairs begin when people start talking about their personal problems with another person besides their spouse. Never complain to a person of the opposite sex about your spouse. Emotions and attachments can begin in unguarded moments very easily.

2. Date Often.

Establish a “date night” each week and treat this time as hallowed. it doesn't have to break the bank but it should be enjoyable for the both of you. Rule out complaints about the unfinished laundry, the unpainted bedrooms, and the kid issues. Spend time talking about what you love to do.

3. Keep Your Mind Pure

Pornography destroys people and relationships.  Porn creates unrealistic and false expectations for your sexual relationship with your spouse.  It teaches the lie that relationships are all about getting, instead of giving.  Reign in your fantasy life and surrender your lusts to God. Never erase your computer history.  Allow your spouse to hold you accountable.

4. Be Thoughtful and Romantic.

It doesn’t take much to be romantic. A short hand written note only takes a few minutes to write. Flowers for women are always welcome, even if you picked them up from the grocery store on the way home. What is your spouses love language? Respond accordingly.

5. Start A Fire.

Couples who are affectionate with each other stay together. Be spontaneous, touch affectionately, hugs before kisses. Hold hands when you’re out.  Invest in the physical connection. These small gestures will help strengthen the physical connection that every relationship needs.

6. Have Sex Regularly.

If we only have sex when both of us feel like it, it will grow increasingly less over time. Men sometimes stray because their wife is just not interested in having an intimate sexual relationship.  Sex grows infrequent because we are tired, busy, emotionally distant, overwhelmed, etc. Physical intimacy needs to be practiced frequently.

7. Listen Regularly.

Have meaningful conversations with your spouse. After the kids are in bed discuss your day with each other. Talk about your high points and low points. Share your dreams with them. Practice good listening skills by dropping what you are doing, making eye contact, and showing that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. Prayer together is powerful on both the divine end and the human end.

8. The Best Policy.

Simple honesty is often overlooked. Don't get dragged into power games in your relationship. Be vulnerable with honest feelings, be careful how you word your disappointments to as not to indict your spouse but truly share those things that cause you hurt. Pray together over your heart vulnerabilities.

9. Be Kind.

The power of words cannot be overestimated. Words and tones are used to communicate. Every action should be loving and kind toward our spouse. Remember this is the place we practice servanthood and love. 

10. Take Care.

Eat right, exercise and do things that will bring you health and confidence. You don't have to be a super model, just a super you! That spare tire isn't doing you any good anyway. Burn it off. work out at the gym or just go for long walks (2-3 miles) each day. Avoid the fade diets, just monitor intake and outtake.

I'm sure there are more ways. If you have any others let me know.