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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Smart Phones and Our Need to Feed

Our worlds revolve around our feeds.

Facebook gives you a feed of your friends’ activities mixed with your interest in groups, pages, with some ads tossed in.

LinkedIn provides the same, but the concept is more professional and less personal.

Even workout apps like Strava, and the like, provide the same.

The joy of our feeds is they keep us connected (at least digitally) and they inform us with news and updates that we choose (for the most part).

But we get lost in our feeding as well, don’t we?  One survey says that up to 80% of smart phone users check their feeds within 15 minutes of waking up.[i]  That’s an amazing stat that might very well be convicting as you consider your own patterns.

The true question is, “Are we better or worse off because of this reality?”

If that question is beyond us, we should at least ask, “Are my phone habits and tendencies spiritually and even physically healthy?”  The answers have incredible impact.  Consider these practical considerations in light of our constant need to check the feed.

Physically, am I doing damage to my eyes and even my brain by my “feeding” patterns?  Do I move less because I’m more attached to my phone’s screen?

Spiritually, am I feeling my soul with information that will encourage me and benefit me or am I filling my soul with data that tempts me to frustration and even jealousy?

Cognitively, am I losing connection with real people in real time by my need to feed.

Wherever you find yourself, choose discipline over being disciplined.  Practically, put disciplines in place where you are choosing to check your phone instead of your phone dictating to you.  Don’t let the need to check your phone function like the need to smoke a cigarette.

If you are in a place of authority or encouragement, like a parent or a doctor, be clear with guidelines that will healthfully instruct others to make good choices.

And finally, take a break every now and then.  Choose an evening or a lunch when your phone is not near you or perhaps even in another room.  Recognize your need to check your phone and suffer through the absence until it feels more comfortable.

Who knows?  You might even pick up a book.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we 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.

 

[i] http://www.adweek.com/digital/smartphones/?red=at

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.