Friday, January 29, 2010

Seeking Answers...Numbers 9:8

I have had opportunity to talk with 7 and possibly more persons the past couple of weeks who were seeking answers. Each of these persons articulated their discussions differently but ultimately each were discussing the same point. They have been praying about direction, wisdom, guidance, answers, the will of God, or the call of God. What a complex subject!

Does one really hear the voice of God? How do I know what God is saying? How am I sure this is from God? I feel God is wanting me to do this so do I need to begin doing so and so. What a whirlwind of emotions follow!

As a pastor or pastor's wife the last thing we want to do is misguide someone. I find these times like wading off in the deep yet not being a very good swimmer. I can swim enough to stay afloat yet I am not an accomplished swimmer. In fact I am better at floating and dog paddling. How will I survive the deep?

Today I have lunch with a wonderful young lady needing answers. She isn't looking to me for the answer rather looking to me to facilitate her finding answers. I never take such meetings times lightly. I marvel at the times people want to talk with us about finding answers and God begins nudging my spirit.

Last night was a sleepless night for me. Finally I thought of a couple of words. I wasn't sure if God was giving me these words for me or for those I will endeavor to help -"BE STILL". Upon searching I began to read Numbers 9:8.

As I read Number 9:8 from several translations the Word of God was illumninated to me in a most powerful way.

New International Version (©1984)
Moses answered them, "Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you."
New Living Translation (©2007)
Moses answered, "Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the LORD."

English Standard Version (©2001)
And Moses said to them, “Wait, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.”

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Moses therefore said to them, "Wait, and I will listen to what the LORD will command concerning you."

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Moses answered them, "Wait here until I find out what the LORD commands you to do."

King James Bible
And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

American King James Version
And Moses said to them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

American Standard Version
And Moses said unto them, Stay ye, that I may hear what Jehovah will command concerning you.

Bible in Basic English
And Moses said to them, Do nothing till the Lord gives me directions about you.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And Moses answered them: Stay that I may consult the Lord what he will ordain concerning you.

Darby Bible Translation
And Moses said to them, Stay, and I will hear what Jehovah commands concerning you.

English Revised Version
And Moses said unto them, Stay ye; that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

Webster's Bible Translation
And Moses said to them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

World English Bible
Moses answered them, "Wait, that I may hear what Yahweh will command concerning you."

Young's Literal Translation
And Moses saith unto them, 'Stand ye, and I hear what Jehovah hath commanded concerning you.'

Moses was obviously in conversation and he asked them to stand or wait until he heard from God concerning them. Something leaped from reading these translations...(I guess I needed to read the many translations for it to sink!) Moses was confident that he would hear from God for the people. They needed to be patient and wait until he heard the commandments or direction concerning them.

Often people have questions or feel God calling or leading and want to do something immediately. I recognize a few powerful things in this verse. They discussed with the leader their concerns, the leader took authority and asked them to wait, Moses KNEW he would get clarity on the matter.

This also puts an incredible amount of pressure on leaders to handle people's affairs very carefully. Honestly, Kent and I have failed miserably in this scripture. Too often when people have approached us we allow our "Open Door" policy to hinder. I wonder if we said "Wait" what would be the outcome. Are people willing to submit and wait? All to often people approach their leaders with their minds made up. Of course then there are times like today when a sweet lady is tearful begging for help. She has prayed and isn't sure what God is saying.

God, help me to stay focused on you. I believe thru submission to You all things can be accomplished in the lives of those we are charged to lead.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You are My Shield

I will bless the Lord forever,
And I will trust Him at all times.
He has delivered me from all things,
And He has set my feet upon the Rock.

I will not be moved, and I'll say of the Lord:
You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer,
My Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need.

Whom have I in Heaven but you.
There's no one I desire beside You.

You have made me glad, and I'll say of the Lord:
You are my Shield, my Strength, my Portion, Deliverer,
My Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need.

My very present help in time of need.

My very present help in time of need.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Walking in the Midst of the Storm

"And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." Matthew 14:28

Jesus responded and Peter walked on the water for a while. Then he began to look at the boisterous winds around him. When he did, he began to sink. Then Peter cried out to Jesus to save him.

Peter had the faith to call out to Jesus and ask Him to let him come to Him, and at Jesus' word He stepped out onto the water. When Peter began to sink, he had the faith to call out to Jesus to save him. Peter did not have the same faith in Jesus when he looked at the "storm" around him. We, like Peter, have faith in the Lord to step into the water when we get in trouble. When we begin to sink we have faith in Him to save us. It seems our trouble comes in the "middle" of the storm. That's when we have trouble believing and trusting Him. I trust Him to get me out there, I trust Him to save me when I sink, but can I trust Him when I'm in the storm raging all around me? Do I have the faith to believe that He can keep me afloat? Do I forget Who is with me on the stormy sea?

When Peter was sinking, Jesus asked him why he doubted. In other words...why did you doubt that I would take care of you while you were out here? We must learn to trust Him while we are in the boat, when we take that first step out of the boat, when we are sinking... and while we are going through "boisterous" times.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I've Been Through Enough

I woke up from a long afternoon nap with the following song rolling in my head. It ministered to me and maybe it will minister to you, too. Enjoy!

When I first began to walk with the Lord,
I did not really trust Him,
How He longed for me to understand that I could
So thru the valley, He lead me, afraid as I could be,
Until I felt His loving arms, embracing me

I've been through enough to know, He'll be enough for me
He's come through too many times
That puts my mind at ease, for good
I'll stake my very life, He's gonna take care of me,
Cause I've been through enough to know, He'll be enough for me

How could I ever doubt a God whose hands hold the universe,
Why would I ever question His ability,
There's no place that I can go, where He doesn't know,
The things that trouble me
He's always aware of where I am and what I need

I believe Him now, after all these years,
He's been so faithful He's proven to be true,
Nevermore will I doubt or question why
Cause I've seen them all before and I know what God can do

I've been through enough to know, He'll be enough for me
He's come through too many times
That puts my mind at ease, for good
I'll stake my very life He's gonna take care of me,
Cause I've been through enough to know, He'll be enough for me

Monday, January 11, 2010

Encouraging Scriptures

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8 (AMP)

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22 (AMP)

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6 (AMP)

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7 (AMP)

The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. Nahum 1:7 (AMP)

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ministry: What it has encompassed for me

Wanted: Adult female to serve without pay. Must be able to function without complaint as secretary, music director, nursery worker, janitor, auxiliary president and fund-raiser. On call 24 hours a day. Cooking abilities a plus. Good sense of humor helpful.

In many churches, this is the unpublished job description of the pastor's wife--perhaps the only profession that has no real job description but is deemed vital to her husband's success. Lawyers do not depend on their wives to defend clients. Doctors don't need their wives in the operating room. But in many churches, a pastor needs his wife in the ministry.
-- The Baptist Standard

In our early days of ministry often I was asked "Do you sing?" Then "Do you play the organ?" Since I did neither an awkward moment of silence followed. The pastor or pastor's wife asking grew quiet. I wasn't certain the reason for the awkwardness. Was it they couldn't believe I wasn't going to woo the crowd before my husband preached; or did they expect me draw people to the altar at the close of his message if his preaching atempts failed. Finally, God inspired me or I became brave probably the later. I began to replace the awkward moment of silence with "I don't do either but normally I pray and worship".

From the very begining I felt that I was apart of Kent's team. Never once did I feel I wasn't wanted, needed, or have anything to contribute. My role was much different than playing the keys or becoming a team player with a microphone. My role seemed to be more of an encouraging voice, a friend, and a companion to my preaching husband. My roles in serving others have always been more like the one mentioned by the Baptist Standard. I have served where I was needed regardless of my abilities.

Our first full time position was in Shepherd, Texas in 1985. I was 22 years of age. While sitting in one of our first services the pastor peeked thru the door and called me out of service. As I walked into the office there sat the financial secretary whom I had not met. Pastor informed me the secretary and his wife were moving and would not be back after that service. I was told to sit in the office and be trained in ONE service for the postion. While I had been employed for the Department of Defense Contract Auditing Agency and understood much about accounting principals I'm not sure I was qualified for the position of financial secretary. Little did I know this was one of the greatest experiences of my life for many reasons.

A later full-time position included the role of Kent being principal of a christian school. I found my self teaching first and second grades and high school grammar. I certainly did not have the qualifications needed for much of this duty. Again this was a great experience that equipped me for later needs. During this tenure I dealt with several disgruntled parents, watched as church members felt their children needed special treatment, etc. God used this time to prepare me for later.

Thankfully, in early days of ministry I learned to be able to talk with people despite my shyness and pray in the altars. Both of our positions prior to pastoring required that I work along side my husband. What a preparation for pastoring!

As a pastor's wife I have filled many positions. I have been the sole Sunday School teacher, Sunday School Director, and then teacher again under other's leadership. I have been a praise singer, choir member, and solo singer. The first year of our christian school I served as secretary, teacher, lunch lady, and administrator simultaneously. Now I serve as an advisor to our administrator and fine staff of 12 or 13 persons. In early days I was the only janitor. Later we were a family on the cleaning team. Now I serve as overseer to an outsourced janitorial crew. I have been the financial secretary and now assist when needed in our financial office. I have taken neighborhood children in my car to church, driven the church van, became captain of a bus route, and now oversee 2 busses and a van. Prior to a youth group I worked with the youth and would have them in our home weekly to play games. Now we have 3 separate groups for student activities - Kidz Klub, Stand Student Ministries, and Impact.

Currently, I go to the office with my husband Monday thru Friday. I have a small office (closet) with a corner computer desk in Kent's office. From that tiny 4 foot by 4 foot work space much is accomplished. We have a wonderful administrative assistant, school secretary, and financial secretary, assistant pastor, and school staff. I endeavor to be available to support them. When my intercom isn't buzzing, the adminstrative assistant isn't asking me a question, or someone isn't texting me I find time to study, write encouraging notes or cards, or even take personal time for Facebook or reading blogs. I am not required by my husband nor the church to go to the office but I go because I love the place God has called Kent and me to serve. Ocassionally, I skip out for a couple of hours to shop or meet a friend or family member for lunch.

While many of the things I have listed are of the 'physical roles' my most fullfilled moments come from the 'spiritual roles'. Nothing is more satisfying than praying and working with people and watching them overcome or grow spiritually. I enjoy praying for people in the privacy of my home, with people in service, or even meeting with people at night or away from church to pray. Outreach is something I fill God has anointed me to do. I find it very easy and rewarding to bring people to church and work with new converts. Last night while visiting with a new family who comes as a result of our busses I felt overcome with a burden for them. Several was standing around. I asked Kent if would could pray with this couple. I can't explain the faith and excitement I felt as we prayed in our church foyer.

Being a pastor's wife has not been all fun and glamour but its rewards have far exceeded the problems. When the work becomes mundane and the pressures great I attempt to find something or someone where I can make a difference. Yesterday was one of those days. I dealt with a couple of situations that were less than pleasant. After lunch I returned to the office and needed to do something positive. I quicky began moving around greenery, decor, etc. In a few minutes time Deadra and I had refreshed the ladies bathroom, 3 offices, my space, and our church foyer. I'm not sure anyone even noticed last night at church but I sure felt better!

This entry will continue over the next few months. It will not be my sole subject but while attempting to help the ministers wives of CUPC (more than 10 of them) I thought others may enjoy my thoughts. This is not one of my lessons but rather a look at what ministry has been to me...

Monday, January 4, 2010

HELP....sincerely, I NEED help!

I'm working on a project and would appreciate any and all input from all readers. Please leave for me a BRIEF job description of what YOU feel is the role of a minister's wife. This isn't a joke. I'm not setting you up I need this for a project.

Often I receive comments and even more personal emails from readers of this blog thanking me for being an encouragement or a help. For once, I'm soliciting your help.

Thanks for helping me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 - A Year of Growth

Some things will simply transpire in 2010. We will have pastored CUPC for 19 years in March. I will turn 47 in June. Kent will turn 49 in June. Calah and Trent will be married 2 years in June. Kent and I will be married 28 years in July. Redonia will turn 24 in August. Trent will turn 23 in September.

Other things don't transpire so naturally. These are the things that I must diligently work towards. Many things I will endeavor to see come to pass are spiritual while others are simply physical. I am a firm believer in establishing both physical and spiritual goals. While these goals are often separate in a real sense they are quite connected. I don't believe our spiritual person is ever separated from the person we really are.

This year I plan to spend much time on myself. Before judging me harshly allow me to say I can never be to God or others anything I am not to myself. I want to begin this year being true to myself. I want to see the person I really am and not the person I want others to perceive me as or the person I wish I were. What a task!

Next I want to spend time and energy investing in others. While I certainly do not have all the answers I do believe everyone has something to share with others. Hence, the more time I spend on myself the more I should be able to share with others.

This year I intend to spend more time in prayer for my children. I intend to see a break through in each of their lives. I'm blessed with wonderful children but I anticipate seeing them become even greater persons. Last night as I settled into my bed this 'motherly feeling' griped me. I told Kent that I had a burden for my children. The past two days I have worked on some ways that I can help each of them. I hope in the next few days to have a prayer meeting in our home with our children. Will it be the first? Absolutely not. However, this year I hope to have more family prayer meetings. I hope I can lead others in doing the same. It doesnt' matter that my children are grown I still believe a family who prays together stays together.

The past few weeks I have had a few minor health issues. I know these situations are a result of my body being tired and stressed. This year I plan to work on many plans to overcome a tired and stressed body. Before I receive comments that I do too much let me clearly say in 2010 I don't plan to back off of anything. In fact I plan to do more. I just intend to be more organized than ever before. I am a lister and a planner but I plan to work smarter.

Becoming debt free is a goal we have established. The economy isn't the greatest and when your income is tied directly to the livlihood of others I believe it's wise to work on outgo. Kent and I have begun working on this in ourselves and in our church. We endeavor to be good and wise stewards.

A church does not grows naturally rather it takes much planting, fertilizing, and working the ground and the crop. Likewise, I plan to work for continued revival.

This year Kent and I are committed to training in the local church. We want to get people positioned within the church where they are not overloaded with responsibility. I truly believe this is fundamental to growth within the various departments of the church. While many serve in various capacities in the church because they have much to offer it is our goal to get each person serving in places where they will truly offer much. This is a very delicate situation to handle within the framework of ministry. Again, this requires everyone being true to themselves. Some areas require much more work than others. Some positions make it easy to handle multiple positions while other positions require hours of work.

Growth must be the goal every event, department and person. Growth is not necessarily numbers. Personal growth and growth within a department doesn't mean multiplication but many times enlargement of ourselves. I look forward to 2010 being a year of great growth!