Wanting to Be Anonymous Even When You Are Hurting

I had the enormous privilege of attending an overnight pastor’s retreat earlier this week.  Present were a group of men who I see only every twelve months, yet they remember my prayers year in and year out.

Each year, new church planters show up, we pray for them, and they are quickly enfolded.

Our music is a ragtag band of talented musicians who play without worry of appearance or fear. The worship is vibrant and soul-churning.

Yet, this year, I arrived and was surprised by how quickly my heart closed.  Recent challenges and disappointments tempted me to remain on the periphery.  As the old saying goes, “Man plans; God laughs”.  I soon discovered that every attendee was assigned to a prayer group of 8-10 men, and there were at least four hours set apart for prayer.

We were promised anonymity, yet I didn’t budge.  A pastor or two shared, and I sat quietly.  Finally, from the Spirit’s prompting, I said, “I don’t really want to share anything with you guys, so I guess that means I need to go next.”  What followed were attentive ears to my pains and sympathetic prayers of care.  The time spent with those men was sweet.

How about you?  Most of you will not have the opportunity to get away for an overnight retreat this week.  Many of you may not have a trusted friend who you feel will keep your concerns confidential.  However, we all are called to move towards intimacy in the church and to offer up our fears and worries with honesty before the Lord.  I Peter says,

1 Peter 5:5 Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

So, friends, if you are weary and burned out, cast your cares upon the Lord, and if you have been burned by the church, pray for great faith and press forward in humility.  Know that at the proper time, God will lift you up.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to move towards greater intimacy with God, Gospel Rich Books offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

 

 

 

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A Monthly Resource for the Spiritually Thirsty

I love coffee.  It is my favorite beverage.  I don’t use cream or sugar.  I just like good coffee.

But I know I can’t drink coffee all day.  If I do, I’ll be over-caffeinated and massively dehydrated.  You see, what my body really needs is water.  Lots and lots of water.  The body just functions better when hydrated, and the body fails when it doesn’t have enough.

The Bible describes our need for God in a similar way as our need for water.  Psalm 42 says,

“1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Because of this, the Christian is in constant need of soul nourishment.  By God’s grace, we have corporate worship, the sacraments, the scriptures, and so many other means of God’s grace.  Additionally, there are a host wonderful resources (books, podcasts, etc.) which help explain and apply God’s word in our day to day lives.

In humility, this is what Gospel Rich Books hopes to provide:  resources that are rich with the Gospel that feed the soul.  This blog is one of the avenues by which we attempt to do this (as is our newsletter), both of which will always be free of charge.

However, we do have a brand-new monthly resource:  the Gospel Rich Journal.  This is a digital journal emailed directly to subscribers.

If you are a subscriber, at the beginning of the month, you will receive an email with your journal, each with articles focusing primarily on three areas:  your spiritual life, your physical health, and your professional life.  That covers a lot.  Examples articles might be:

“Creating a Pattern of Rest in Your Busy Day”

“Prioritizing Exercise Without It Consuming Your Life”

“Practical Applications of Growing in Your Identity in Christ”

“Fighting Loneliness at Work and at Home”

These will be exclusive articles as well as works curated from prior publications.  Every now and then, we might just through in a free digital copy from our Gospel Rich Books catalog.

And to say, “thanks” to our subscribers, we will include a copy of our international bestseller, “Joy in Trials”.  If you have read it before, enjoy it again or even share it with a friend.  All of these things cost only $2.99 a month. You can subscribe here.

If you have ideas or topics that you would like for the Gospel Rich Journal to pursue, just email our editor, Gordon Duncan, at gordon@jgordonduncan.com.

Thanks for walking with us on our journey to know Christ fully and to provide Gospel Rich publications to the world!

As always, you can find a wealth of resources online at:

The Gospel Rich Blog is www.gospelrichbooks.com

The Gospel Rich Amazon Catalog

Thanks again for taking the journey with us!

Gospel Rich Books

https://gum.co/thegospelrichjournal

 

Fighting the Loneliness that Accompanies Responsibility

A note of an encouragement from one of our authors, Gordon Duncan…

Work, marriage, parenting, and every other sphere of our lives will be discouraging without support.

My life is busy like yours.  In the past 15 years, I’ve started two churches four businesses, while being married, and raising three girls.  Each one of those privileges is a potential area for loneliness and discouragement.

I think about the beginnings of my churches and businesses.  Each launched with great enthusiasm.  There was an initial idea and call that just wouldn’t go away that I had to act on.  As the structures of each came to place, my hopes rose, and the thrill of the first few interested parties was like their own drug to me.

Getting married and having children were the same.  Initially, my excitement was immeasurable.  The joys were greater than anything I could describe.

But of course, there are challenging, lonely moments.  Church attendance declines.  Sales in the businesses dry up.  Marriage and parenting are hard.  Left to myself, it is tempting to think that no one was interested in me, my mission, or my products.  Doubt crept in, and temptations to give up were frequent.

Thankfully, with good mentors and a supportive spouse, I’ve been able to persevere through those moments.  Some of my efforts have been successful, others not so much.  Even more so, the reminders of God’s grace and the never-ending love of my Savior, Jesus, keep me grounded.

The key, I’ve learned in the midst of the ups and downs is to remain focused on my goals.  For the churches, I knew we were doing good and honoring God.  I knew we were helping people.  I needed to focus on that.  For the businesses, I knew we were providing solid products and helpful services.  Educating my customers about those products and services, while tightening my procedures, were key.

What about you?  Do you ever struggle with the loneliness of your responsibilities, of ownership, or leadership?  What do you do to remind yourself to persevere?  I encourage you to do a few of the things mentioned above.  Remind yourself of your faithful Savior and loving God.  Remind yourself of the good that you are doing.  Double up your efforts to help others.  Pursue Bible studies of your identity in Christ and God’s promises of faithfulness.

No matter what, don’t attempt any of the above alone.  Speak to your pastor or church leader.  Find a mentor or consultant.  Entrust your thoughts to an honest, supportive friend.

No matter what you do, just don’t go it alone.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich BooksAdditionally, Gospel Rich Books offers a host of resources to encourage you.  We have:

Come on Back – $.99 devotionals covering the book of Joel focusing on the people of God returning to vibrant worship.

Joy in Trials – Our bestseller focusing on the book of Ruth with a focus on enduring trials.

God Creates Joy – Finding joy in the book of Psalm 32

 

 

A Practical Resource to Help Men, Women, and the Church Navigate Leadership Issues

Art by Jah Holmes

There are several cultural fires in the church right now:

Politics

Gender Identity

Marital Definitions

The church’s willingness to be clear and truthful without vitriol is key to maintaining a voice in our culture.  Additionaly, another issue of importance is the qualification and structure of biblical leadership.  This issue asks questions like:

Is there a difference between an elder and a deacon?

Must a church have both?

What are the biblical qualifications of each?

Can men and women hold these offices?

Church leadership may very well be the prime one issue presently.  No church can decide its theology, its structure, or engage in the above cultural issues without settling on this one.  Thankfully, 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are gifted to us in the scriptures.  Yet, questions still remain as we look at the book of Acts and the end of Romans. 

Studying these passages is key, even for the layman.  Resting in a biblical conviction enables the believer to rest comfortably in their church’s structure. 

Towards that end, Gospel Rich Books is the proud to present, “Is a Good Man Hard to Find?” by Gordon Duncan.  It is a verse by verse look at the key leadership passages in Paul’s letters.  It is concise, affordable, and a welcome addition to the field of church leadership studies. 

It makes a great gift and is available in both paperback and kindle.  Also, if you would like to explore the Gospel Rich Books catalog further, you can also find them at Amazon 

Get yours today.