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A Regret-Free Marriage

“Everyone has experienced regrets at sometime in his or her life. Sadly enough, they seem to be part of

the cold realization that we all do things we wish we hadn’t done or fail to do the things we should

have. Nonetheless, if we allow regrets to keep our focal point on the past, we are setting ourselves up

for trouble. Someone once said that living with your focus on regrets is like trying to drive a car while

looking in the rear-view mirror; there’s no doubt about it—you’re going to crash.”

One question asked many husbands and wives was to “share some of the regrets they harbored.” Later,

those surveyed indicated that “these feelings have affected their personal lives, and, in some instances,

have had a derogatory impact on their marriages.”

Here’s just a partial list of what some of the husbands and wives said. Please read them carefully—

we’re hoping that we’ll learn from them so we won’t continue to make the same mistakes and

eventually live with the same regrets:

THE WIVES SAID 2

:

• I wish my husband and I wouldn’t have argued in front of the children.

• I’m afraid we got married too soon. We were counseled to wait, but we didn’t.

• I regret not making “our relationship” more of a priority over the children. Now that the kids are

older, I feel like my husband and I don’t really know each other.

• I wish we hadn’t lived together before we got married.

• I would have asked Jesus into my life sooner. I regret the wasted years.

• We should have changed the way we conducted our financial situation. We’re so far in debt, I

don’t think we’ll ever be financially secure.

• I wish my husband and I would have prayed together. Whenever we’d hear someone preach

about having prayer time as a couple, we’d talk about it but never follow through. I feel like

something is missing between us as a result.

• I regret never really enjoying my children. I wanted them to grow up quickly. They kept me

from doing things I wanted to do, got in my way, and drove me crazy. Looking back, I feel

foolish for being so short sighted. I wish I could do some of it over.

1 Anderson, Roger & Ponceti, Anthony – Love is a God Designed Hunger © 2011

2 Hot Topics for Couples: What Husbands and Wives Aren’t Telling Each Other By Steve & Annie Chapman

All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage Page 1 of 3

The Husbands Said:

• I regret raising our children in a spiritually unfit environment.

• I regret buying a house that was too large for our income. The financial stress is suffocating me.

I feel the pressure all of the time.

• If I could change anything, I would have been a nicer person to live with. I regret being so harsh

and mean to my wife and kids.

• I regret hitting my wife.

• I wish I had not had an affair and betrayed my wife.

• I regret straying from the church.

• It makes me sad when I think about how much my wife and I have drifted apart.

We can conclude that husbands and wives aren’t telling each other about the pain from their past. What

they can’t say is:

“I love you and want to show you how I feel. However, there’s a part of me that can’t reach out to you

because I’m holding on to merciless regrets. My emotional paralysis has nothing to do with what

you’ve done. I’m the one who must deal with the pain from my past. As you pray for me and support my

pursuit of God, I’m confident I will find peace.”

Scanning the list we realize:

That all of their regrets could be resolved using three remedies:

1. Avoid the Avoidable

2. Change the Unacceptable

3. Forgive the Unchangeable

Avoid the Avoidable:

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with

the same person. 3

The first remedy is to admit that many of the regrets were actually avoidable. In most cases, the

regretful things that were done by the men and women who responded to these questionnaires were a

product of yielding to temptation. For that reason, the individuals were wearing the “handcuffs” of

guilt.

For example, many of the couples voiced sincere remorse for a variety of ‘sexual indiscretions’ (the

politically correct jargon for the word sin). Some had guilt feelings about living together outside the

bonds of marriage. Others regretted their unfaithfulness toward their spouse. Obviously, all of these

failures could have been sidestepped by better choices.

Yet the sins were committed and the feelings of shame the people feel are very real and debilitating to

their marriages. But as devastating as these downfalls may be, there is hope for all spouses who feel

‘cuffed’ by condemnation. As grievous and horrible as our sins may be, they’re no match for the

boundless love and grace of God, through Christ.”

3 https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/248519.Mignon_McLaughlin

All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage Page 2 of 3

We feel it’s important to remind us all of what God’s word says about His willingness to forgive us:

• 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse

us from all unrighteousness.”

• Psalm 32: 5, “I said ‘I will confess my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.’ I said, ‘I

will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

These are just two of hundreds of verses in God’s word that speak to His willingness to forgive us. So,

if you’re struggling with guilt and can’t forgive yourself, turn to the Bible and begin a word study on

forgiveness.

Change the Unacceptable:

A perfect marriage is one in which “I’m sorry” is said just often enough. 4

Take a few minutes to look over once again the regrets revealed by the husbands and wives. As you

reread them, make a mental note of how many regrets fall under the category of ‘changeable’.

They make an excellent point. Just because you were bad at handling finances doesn’t mean you have

to stay that way. That can change. If you’ve drifted apart that doesn’t mean it has to be that way today.

You can rebuild the relationship.

Forgive the Unchangeable:

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. ~Ruth Bell Graham

While changing the unacceptable may be achievable in most cases, to forgive the unchangeable is a

goal that may require more strength than a person feels they possess. Yet it can be done. Because the

events or issues that cannot be altered are often the regrets that seem to do the most damage to a

relationship, it is worth the effort to gain resolution. And sometimes, accepting the unchangeable means

accepting God’s forgiveness.

Matthew 6:9-15 Matt 6:9-15 (ASV)

9 After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us this day our daily

bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And bring us not

into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your

heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will

your Father forgive your trespasses.

If any of you find yourselves stuck in a place of not being able to forgive yourself or your spouse or

don’t feel anything can “change” for the positive, I recommend you seek the counsel of a neutral third

party. It can be a pastor or Christian counselor, or maybe just another couple whom you both trust and

feel they have the understanding and compassion to help you through a difficult place in your marriage.

The key here is to not let any issue or problem in your marriage just “sit there” like the proverbial

elephant in the living room—everyone knows it’s there and making a mess, but nobody does anything

to get rid of it.

We pray you’ll start today to un-harbor the regrets of your past leaning upon Christ as your guide. Do

this as a love gift to the Lord and also to each other. In doing this your marriage will bring honor to

God in every way. And as you apply yourself to this huge task, we are “confident of this, that He who

began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

4 https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/248519.Mignon_McLaughlin

All Pro Pastors A Regret-Free Marriage

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Reaching the Lost with the Gospel

Jesus final command was “Go Ye” into all the world.  We have to be careful we don’t practice “Sit Ye”.  Jesus was pro-active when it came to the harvest.  He was forever empowering and sending.  “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”  (Luke 10:1-2)  Jesus held the shortest “School of Evangelism” in history.  First He “Appointed” them, then He “Sent” them, and finally He told them to “Pray” for the harvest. This appointment was so important that Jesus, for the rest of His earthly ministry, never went to one city or place, but that His front teams from Luke 10 had gone before Him to prepare the way. We know what they did, by what they reported.  “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.  And He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.’”  (Luke 10:17). When we go, we release His authority!  When we sit, we watch Satan take over nations.  Jesus came into the world to “manifest” two things.  First, the power to take away our sins, for He was sinless.  Second, to destroy the works of the devil.  The first is evangelism, the second is discipleship.

1. What is the need?  Jesus said there was only one TRUE sign on earth before His return.  “When this gospel of the kingdom is preached in all the world, unto all nations, then shall the end come”.  Matthew 24:14 We can hasten the coming of the Lord by finishing the harvest.  Jesus, by the way, said he will not return until this is done.  Kinda threatens our eschatology views doesn’t it?  

  1. Where do we stand in completing this mandate from Jesus?  The JOSHUA PROJECT gives us the best global reports on the progress of the world harvest.  I quote directly from their front page of their website:  Number of people groups in the world… 16,584.  Number of unreached people groups… 6,733.  Percentage of unreached groups 42.2% of world population.  The world’s population is currently 7.39 Billion.  The world’s unreached population is 3.11 Billion.  A people group is defined as a “dialect” or “Nation” in Matthew 24:14.  “Unto all nations” means “distinct dialectic people group”.
  2. What is Action Evangelism doing to make a difference? We have been working the harvest of the nations for over 40 years.  Nations like the Philippines, Romania, Singapore, India, Africa, etc. have all been hotspots for Action Evangelism. Not only have I traveled to those nations, but have set up our Kingdom Life University remote mission campuses to train nationals to help finish the harvest.  They are doing a magnificent job!  Nations like Northern India have seen 132 churches planed in remote villages.  Some churches running into the hundreds.  

I will be sharing, on Pastor Paul Pickern’s request, a monthly article outlining the need for your church to mobilize for the world harvest.  We have some practical ways you can partner with us, or if you like, do it on your own.  

https://vimeo.com/pioneersusa/unreached

Video of the need… well done!  

Dr. Jerry Brandt   Founder of Action Evangelism/ Kingdom Life University, WATV network  

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Heart to Heart from a Fellow Pastor

I am honored to be writing an article as a Pastor for Pastors to encourage and inspire.  I have been a full-time Pastor going on fourteen years and one of the best things that has ever happened to me was when I joined a “Champion’s Table” through the ministry of All Pro Pastors.  Paul Pickern really encouraged me to join a Champion’s Table as I attended the All Pro Pastors’ events but I kept putting it off.  Paul never gave up on me and even personally called me in regard to joining a Table.

When I really started to consider it, and pray, I felt inspired by the Holy Spirit to follow through with joining a Champion’s Table. Paul set everything up for me to introduce myself to the table and I’ll never forget that it was at McDonald’s in Valrico.  After that initial meeting, I was then accepted at the table and it has been truly life changing ever since.  It takes time to get to know one another and at this time we really do know each other.

One of the challenges that all pastors face is accountability and friendships outside the church. When I Joined the Champion’s Table, I was blessed to be able to have accountability and friendships.  Being a Pastor can truly be a lonely place where you cannot relate to a lot of people because of your position. Pastors are not perfect and there’s a lot of pressure when people put you on a pedestal.  When I come to the Table each week, I get to vent and truly pour out my heart with whatever is pressing me.  Being at the table allows me to be a better listener and not being the one who does all the talking.  I find it interesting that Yeshua had His last supper at a table with His disciples in Jerusalem before He was crucified and I get to meet my friends every week at a table.  I look forward to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb when we can all sit at the same table with Yeshua our Messiah.

 

Pastor Nick

Beit Tehila Congregation

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Blind Side

 

In a study I read in relations to a personality profile test, that there are 4 aspect of a person’s life. Most in which only the first one gets revealed in the test. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, I believe that small group relationships can actually touch all 4 of these aspects. Most people tend to grow more wholesome in a small group of close friends.

(Proverbs 18:24 ISV)  A man with many friends can still be ruined, but a true friend sticks closer than a brother.

There are friends, then there are friends that are close. Also in these four aspects of a person’s life I can see 3 core basic needs that man needs that is desired to be meant. I believe God put them inside of us causing us to search for Him. They are LOVE, SIGNIFCANCE and SECURITY.

By defining 4 aspects of our live, I hope to show how we need each other – and how seriously considering joining a Champion’s Table can be a benefit to some pastors who need close friends.

First there is the arena persona. It’s the public you. It’s the part of you that you know and others know. When we first meet all you see is the “arena” me – But there is more because we have that…“I need people who really know me. Who knows what going on inside”. All of us have a part inside of us no one else can see. We need someone that knows us.

We all have a need to feel a sense worth. We have a need for significance.

Next is the mask – It’s the aspect of “What you know about you and others don’t know”.

(1 Corinthians 2:11) “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?”

We all have stuff no one else knows about except God. You are not safe if you are the only human being that knows about that thing. Adam walked with God and God said “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:28). The enemy wants you isolated in your issues so he has a better chance in causing you to be defeat through it.

Here is another reason why we need someone else who knows what’s behind the mask. God forgives our sins, specifically in this case, those that may have caused physical sickness. Nevertheless, the prayer of a righteous man, a spiritually passionate for God kind of man, has great power. His prayers have the power to heal the condition that sin leaves us in.

James 5:16 MKJV Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.

Like verse 17 of James 5 signifies, that man can have his own issues, but still zealous, passionate and true to the things of God. That only means that you need each other.  It is good having friends whose prayers are available in the sight of God. This is friends who know the truth about what to prayer, because God only works in truth.

You don’t have to particularly go to an All Pro Pastor’s Champion Table, but you better have someone who knows what’s behind the mask. The Champion’s Table is a place that you can find those kinds of friends. I’m not saying the first week at a Champion’s Table the mask is going to come off. But hopefully after several weeks you feel safe enough to reveal what behind it.

We wear masks to protect ourselves, or to hide some undesirable truth. But God intent is that we protect each other. We need people who will protect us, because we have a need for security.

(2 Corinthians 4:2 MKJV)  But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the Word of God, but by the revelation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

In layman’s terms “We refuse to wear masks and play games.… rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open…”Your life will be better and you will be free from the control any habitual thing/sin.

“You know that thing that you don’t want to do but you do it anyway. Yeah, that thing”. (Rom 7:15-18)“You say that Jesus’ job – Nope – He will forgive you. If you confess your sins to God He will forgive you, but He will not be the one who makes sure you don’t do it again. He will only forgive you for it because He has already given you the grace not to do it.

(I John 1:9)   If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(James 5:15)  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he who have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

(James 5:16) “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

People’s prayer cannot forgive your sins but can get you to healed and delivered from the condition of your situation. I personally believe it’s because of accountability. Lack of accountability (revealing what’s behind the mask) is the number one reason pastors fall and men fail as husbands and fathers.  

A Champion’s table of men also is a hedge or guard to help protect us from our vulnerabilities and that thing that you struggled with and no longer do. Apostle, Arch Bishop, Bishop, Pastor we all are vulnerable so we have a need for security, which brings us to the next aspect of our lives.   

Blind spots – Blind spots is when “you don’t know or see it but other know and see it of you”.  It’s like having spinach in the teeth, or your fly is open and you are putting on your arena persona.  

Once I yelled out to my wife from across the house that I was running out to the grocery store. So I put on this really nice golf shirt I had been wanting to wear. I strutted through the store greeting and smiling back at people while styling my new shirt. I went on through the checkout line, only to get home and my wife telling me that my shirt was on inside out.

Who protects your blind side? Who do you have around you that loves you enough to be honest with you? We need people who will be honest with us.  

We have that need for love and protection.

Your Greatest Vulnerability?

Have you ever seen The Blind Side?  It’s the story of  Michael Oher, and how he came up from high school, through college then to play in the NFL. The position he plays is left offensive tackle. One the highest paid positions and highly valued positions in the NFL. Left tackles in the NFL are called silent millionaires because they are sometimes the highest paid position after the QB. Why is the left tackle so critically important? It’s because he protects the quarterback’s blind side.

Most quarterbacks are right handed, so when they drop back to pass, they can’t see pass rushers coming from their left sides. That is why it’s called the blind side.

In 1985, Monday Night Football, it was quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskin verses the NY Giants and Linebacker Lawrence Taylor.

Lawrence Taylor beat the Skins left offensive tackle, broke free and snapped Theismann’s leg like a breadstick, ending the quarterback’s career.

As a quarterback, you need a world-class left tackle covering your blind side, your greatest vulnerability. As husband, as a father, or pastor, you need a world class friend to protect your blind side. If you get blindsided too much, you not only lose the game, you might lose your career. Just like a professional quarterback, as a husband, father, and pastor, you are crucial and incredibly valuable to the team. You are valuable to your family, your church, the Body of Christ and to God, and just as important, to yourself. 

Like a quarterback, you have a blind side that must be protected at all costs. So, who or what protects your blind side? Your left tackle could be a trusted friend, who keeps you informed, covers you and stands with you when things gets tough. OF course you can also serve as someone else’s left tackle when that person is distressed. Whatever or whoever you choose to be your left tackle, you need one.

When your blind side is protected, you have a foundation to stand upon. You have the love, significances and security necessary to take risks to be the champion that God made you to be.

We have to earn the right to say certain things to people. That’s really only to those who I believe really love me. If I think that you really care, I’m going to listen to you.

(Proverbs 27:6 NKJV) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

We all need someone who has our back…to stop us from going over the edge.

Potential – it’s the aspect of “I don’t know and you don’t know”.  

Who knows? God knows! The potential He knows that we have is always far greater that what we could ever imagine or think.

So what could that have to do with Champion’s tables? God has devised a plan for us to find our potential through us getting together with other believers.

(Proverbs 27:17 ISV)  Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens a friend’s character.

You will never realize you full potential alone…not ever. You will always hit a ceiling that’s never close to your potential. It’s a whole lot more when you connect with a team.

Proverbs 15:22 RV Where there is no counsel, purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.

We all need a place where we can realize our full potential because it’s not going to happen for you us alone. The real motivation is for you because it’s going to help you to go farther. The more you connect to the body the stronger you grow

(James 5:16) “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

Who can benefit greatly from a Champion’s table? Those who have…

  • Those who has a blind side and are vulnerable
  • Those who have ever been disappointed – Lost trust –have been hurt
  • Anyone who has or had “you know… that thing. (Rom.7:15-18)
  • One who doesn’t have a Barnabas to come along side of them mutually sharing love, significances, and security when you are dealing with that thing.
  • Desire to maintain a strong marriage

As pastors we all know that we cannot do everything or just can’t commit to another thing.  Nevertheless there will always be a lot of thing things that is urgent,   but there are a few are critical. The critical being the most important.

Luke 10:41 ESV But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

Whatever you do first affects the rest.

(Hebrews 10:25) “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

There are pastors who have struggled, stumbled and fell. Many have left the ministry because of discouragement. Plenty has lost their families, and some have even taken their own lives. Most of whom I believe loved and honored God and did the best that they could. But I am convinced that the baseline of their demise were the lacked the LOVE – SIGNIFCANCE – SECURITY and knowledge of their God given POTINIAL that would come through a relationship of a close friend or brother in their life. We need a friend that sticks closer than a brother, one born for harsh conditions.

(Proverbs 17:17 ESV)  A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

These words that I have written come from personal observation, experiences, and truths that are in my heart. They are without intentions to generalize anything or anyone.

-Pastor Don Rhone Sr.-

Bridge of The Bay Community Church.

 

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Who Cuts the Barber’s Hair?

Who cuts the barber’s hair? Who pastors the pastor? Who shepherd’s the shepherd? Who do I go to when I need council or advice? I can’t go to my staff, they look to me for leadership. Sometimes, a staff member could be the cause of my stress! I don’t want to burden my wife with every problem in the church because she didn’t marry her pastor, she married her husband. What’s a pastor to do?

Last Saturday I took my grandson to the barber shop. Sitting there I noticed that all these young barbers had neat looking haircuts, some shaved and some styled. I thought to myself, they must cut each other’s hair. I asked the young man, hey who cuts your hair? He replied Oh, he does, he’s cuts everybody’s, He’s the best barber here. Ah ha, I said to myself. I need to find a pastor better than me, or least longer in the ministry, who can impart to me guidance, advice and wisdom.

The Champions table was never intended to be a Bible study, I know the Bible. It was never intended to be a church growth seminar, the Lord builds his church. It was created to be a safe haven for men who just happen to be pastors. My table is a place where I can unload weekly on my brothers, my co-laborers. It’s a place where love and encouragement meet. A place of respite and refreshment is how I would describe my weekly trip to my ministerial barber shop however it takes place in our local I.H.O.P.

Pastors, fellow laborers in the Lord’s work, get sharpened weekly by joining a Champions table near you. It can make you a better husband, father, grandfather and it may just spill over into your pastor role.

Blessings,

Pastor Rev. Fred Harrold AAed, BAom, MAbs

One Accord Church, Plant City, Fl. USA

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Empowered for Transformation

We jumped in head first with faith of a mustard seed and have been amazed every step of the way how our Lord blesses. We also realize how it takes continuous fertilizing for that seed to grow.

Paul and I are overwhelmed how Pastors and wives are clutching onto this calling of “ALL PRO PASTORS” and how much they are craving to be the men and women God called them to be—-as individuals, husbands, wives and parents, becoming a blessing for their ministries.

Unless you have been there it’s hard to understand

Why is it that we find it difficult to sympathize with others if we haven’t walked in their steps? As the wife of a pastor, she feels like others can’t imagine what she should deal with daily.

I hear the wives saying:

I work all day and come home with the phone ringing off the hook……

They expect me to be there for every meeting, occasion, shower, funeral,        births, dinner….

He is never home when we need him….

His mistress is the church…

He is too tired when he gets home to play with the kids, missing their games and activities….

If only we could get away for a weekend together without feeling guilty….

I have no one to share my REAL feelings, pain and thoughts with….

Who can I really trust?……

I MARRIED THE MAN…………NOT THE PASTOR!

 

Hopefully, if your husband is NOT already in a CHAMPIONS TABLE—-He soon will be!

Be sure to look at our website “ALLPROPASTORS.ORG”, if you are not familiar yet with all the All Pro Pastors is doing, I am sure it will give you some encouragement.

We are witnessing some remarkable changes in MEN who happen to be PASTORS, and because of those changes we can’t help but to notice some very HAPPY wives.

Ladies, I urge you to pray with your husband. If he hasn’t already initiated it you may have to do it for him.

We are in a WAR ZONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We need to pray for our husbands before they walk out the door in the morning.

He needs that FULL ARMOR on so that he can tackle each problem, temptation, and only heaven knows what else during the day.

Yes, ladies he needs our prayers more than ever before to have the wisdom and courage to stand up to what God has called him for. I PROMISE-you will see the MAN that you married real soon!

Please contact me if there is anything I can do or help you with.

Your Servant,

linda

 

 

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How to Complete Your Call when You’d Rather Quit

What makes a pastor rejoice and become thankful? When a pastor sees personal and organizational progress. Progress is when a pastor observes people’s lives being changed, church service attendance increases, spiritual commitment deepens, and finances increase—then the pastor has the freedom to expand serving and evangelizing others and hire the right staff and compensate them properly. I am humbled by the truth that 95% of Senior and Lead pastors whom I coach with the Holy Spirit’s help see an immediate increase in people saved, healed, and delivered as well as solid, responsible stewardship and financial growth. This has created thankful pastors who spread the word around about my ministry and leadership coaching programs.

 

What makes a pastor frustrated? The opposite is true: personal and organizational stagnation. Lack of spiritual hunger, decreasing conversions, attendance plateau or decline, frayed relationships, waning discipleship, and financial struggles. I cannot tell you how many leaders prior to receiving coaching told me that there were days, weeks, or just a few months away from quitting. In fact, many confessed they considered quitting every Monday.

 

Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord,

that you may fulfill it (Colossians 4:17).

 

Are you in a season of progress, stagnation or decline? Progress is the constant movement toward your God-given dreams and goals and a better life. Let’s look at the Three Turnaround Strategies that will help you increase your pastoral intelligence so you can move forward and fulfill your ministry assignment.

 

Strategy 1 – See it as it is.

 

The first strategy of turnaround leadership is not to just “be positive.” One of my megachurch pastor clients thought if he would just keep thinking positive, problematic ministry leaders would change in his church. I told him, “If I were you, I would quickly fire some of your disgruntled employees,” and I named a few. He did not listen to me and the negative staff, along with the congregants they influence, actually ran him out of his church after he had started the church and pastored there for thirty-seven years. You can think positive thoughts about your church all day long—but negative things will continue to fester.

 

Tell yourself nothing but the truth.

 

If you want to be successfully effective, you have to start telling yourself the truth. Refuse living in denial. If you are not progressing, then realize that what you have been doing is not working. There is nothing wrong with having a problem…unless it’s the same problem you had last year.

  • It’s hard to admit your church is not growing because your sermons are only “good” simply because you are not spending the time necessary to preach “GREAT” messages.
  • It’s hard to admit that your church is not growing because you have not equipped 100 or more highly qualified leaders in your church, and you have been pastoring 5, 10, or even 20+ years.
  • It’s hard to admit that your church is not growing because you don’t have the leadership skills necessary to lead a church the size of God’s dreams for your church.

 

On the other hand, it’s easy to blame the economy, your geographical area, and your church members for the lack of spiritual, numerical, and financial growth. As I am sure you have preached to others, “The truth will set you free.” Increase your Leadership Intelligence (LQ) by memorizing this:

 

NOTHING CAN GET BETTER UNTIL YOU ADMIT SOMETHING IS WRONG.

 

Strategy 2 – See it better than it is.

 

Great pastors have trained themselves to look beyond “what is” and have learned to use their God-given imagination to see what “could be.” Great pastors only tolerate the present and live in the future. Everything created was actually created twice—first in the mind then in the realm of the physical.

 

Refuse to see things worse than they really are.

 

Some pastors see a thing worse than what it is so they have an excuse for not doing anything about it. It’s time to cut your excuses in half and double the actions you take as a pastor. I don’t know how often I have seen pastors get stuck because they are afraid to either fire a person who is underperforming or too afraid to make the one change they know they have needed to make for a long time.

 

I graciously encouraged one pastor to fire a poor-performing children’s church pastor. He said, “If I fire this person, he will start another church, and I will lose 50-100 people.” After an entire year of working with the disgruntled, lazy associate pastor, he finally fired him. Nobody left the church, and the children’s church doubled in size in four months.

 

I lovingly told one pastor he preached too long. He said, “If I preach for only a half hour, almost everybody in my church would leave next week.” When he finally decided to take my advice and told his leaders he was going to preach for half an hour, the entire team stood up and applauded. By the way, his church started growing after that, and he broke the 1,000-member barrier.

The number one responsibility of a leader is to see. Jesus said you are the blind leading the blind and the blind lead everybody into the ditch. Point people in the direction of a bigger, brighter, and better future. See things ten times better than what they are!

 

WHAT IS SEEABLE BECOMES BELIEVABLE AND WHAT IS BELIEVABLE BECOMES POSSIBLE.

 

Mandate 3 – Make it the new way you see it.

 

The third strategy of turnaround is do whatever it takes to make what you see on the inside manifested on the outside. You need some TRACTION—a TRAC to take ACTION on. In order to turn your ministry dreams into reality, you need a detailed strategic plan to give you the TRAC you need to run on. I have coached some leaders who have notebooks full of plans, but they fail to execute the proper action steps needed to move their churches and ministries forward. It’s of the utmost importance that you get a successfully proven M.A.P.—Massive Action Plan!

 

A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan. –T. Boone Pickens, Texas billionaire and successful businessman

 

A DREAM WITHOUT A STRATEGIC PLAN IS A FANTASY, AND A DREAM WITHOUT TAKING MASSIVE ACTION WILL BECOME A NIGHTMARE.

 

Smart leaders leverage the advantages of a personal consultant or coach. Don’t try to make the changes alone. Don’t rely on your own wisdom. What got you “here” will not get you “there.” Proverbs 15:22 paraphrased says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers [coaches, consultants, mentors] they succeed.”

 

Avoid the biggest lie: I cannot afford a coach. I have seen this lie paralyze several ministry leaders. However, I have witnessed with my own eyes Senior Pastors who have stepped out in faith and hired a leadership coach and the process propelled themselves to the next level…and beyond.

 

Look at the biblical teams that God put together who changed history: Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, Deborah and Barak, David and Jonathan, Esther and Mordecai, Jeremiah and Baruch, Mary and Joseph, the apostles, Paul and Silas, Priscilla and Aquila, etc. You can’t afford not to team up!

 

It’s time for progress. It’s time to move forward toward your ministry dreams. It’s time to enjoy being in the ministry again!

 

About Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson is known as one of the premier speakers on the subjects of Christian leadership, confidence building, and strategic planning. For the past 16 years, his messages, books, and leadership coaching has helped some of the largest and most prestigious churches in the world to experience spiritual, numerical, and financial growth. Keith is an amazon best-selling author and recognized by other leaders as America’s #1 Confidence Coach.
http://KeithJohnson.tv/Helping-Pastors

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The Lord’s Leader: The Cloth of Service

I finally decided to go through my wallet and pull out some items with the hope of making it smaller. Since I have two daughters, I never have to worry about having any cash but the collection of receipts, business cards, and the like seem to make the wallet a bit unmanageable as well as uncomfortable. As I begin the process, what started out as a simple task became an interesting “spring cleaning” adventure. I decided to dump out everything in the wallet and “start fresh” with what was just needed for the day to day journey. As I finished, I felt the wallet and it was then that I discovered a long lost treasure. It was not a 20$ bill (remember, I have two daughters) nor a coupon for a free burger (just used that one) but an old torn, worn, piece of dingy white cloth. I hold the cloth between my fingers and remember when I placed it into the wallet. I placed the cloth into “service” in June 2006 when I spoke at a men’s breakfast at Turkey Creek First Baptist in Plant City, Florida. The “Cloth of Service” event was from John 13:1-16 where Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, took off his outer garment and picked up a water basin and a towel and began to wash the feet of the disciples. Here was the Creator of the universe stooping to pour water over dirty feet and lovingly and tenderly dry them- even the feet of Judas, the one to whom Jesus knew would betray him hours later. It was a powerful picture of what we are called to do as a “chosen people and a holy priesthood”. I challenged each of the men to take a small cloth that had been cut for them and commit with me to live a life of service that is worthy of the “washing of the feet by Jesus”. It is a commitment that I have tried to hold true since that day and the little cloth in my wallet is a steady reminder of that promise. As we enter into this journey of leadership through the All Pro Pastors’ newsletter, we will learn that Godly leadership comes not from the positon we hold, but the person we become. It is also not just about the experiences we will have in life but how we “Express God” by the simple acts of love throughout our life. I want us as Pastors and Ministers of the Gospel to make a commitment to be willing to figuratively wash the feet of more than each other (fellow Christians) but to be willing to wash the feet of those that despise you, persecute you, and even hurt you. You see, the cloth is more than a piece of fabric- it is an article of clothing that requires a commitment and cost. Jesus said in John13:13-16, You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” I desperately desire to not only be blessed by God; I want to be a blessing for Him. Will you join me?

Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks

CEO, Chaplaincy Care, INC

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Practical Tips on Listening and Speaking in Marriage

(1) Listen to what is being said rather than planning the next statements you intend to make.

(2) Eliminate distractions such as loud noises, the telephone, the TV, or computer.  Also pray first that God will lead you to a proper place and proper time.

(3) Repeat what has been said. This helps your spouse know you have truly understood what she/he said and meant.

(4) Ask questions if you need something clarified, such as, “Would you like some advice or do you want me to just listen?”

(5) Stay on the issue being discussed rather than making it personal. Refuse to have a mindset of getting revenge. I Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) declares that love keeps no record of wrongs. That means a loving spouse does not bring up old arguments or issues to use in an attack. Statements such as, “There you go again!” or “You always…” only create hostility and defensiveness.

(6) Remember that love always hopes for (assumes) the best (I Cor. 13:7 AMP). Assume that your spouse is concerned about what is best for the relationship. Always show love and think right towards your spouse.

(7) Use “I” centered messages. Make statements such as, “I feel discouraged, “rather than “You make me so mad!” Center upon your own emotions and feelings, but remain on the real issue. The use of “you” during an argument may cause the listener to be defensive and feel personally attacked.

(8) Remember that love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4, Hebrews 10:35-36, James 1:4). Wait for the most appropriate time to bring up an important issue. Introducing a big issue when your spouse first comes through the door from a long day at work, or after a hectic day of running errands is simply not a good idea.

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SMALL CHURCH or SPECIAL FORCES

As a pastor you are often asked what is the size of your church?  A question which for years made me question my leadership and the health of our church.  I would find myself making excuses for the size of the congregation or follow the question up by explaining how we are going to grow in the not so distant future.   Walking away wondering what is going on.

Then it hit me!  We may be small in numbers, but we are mighty in our passion and desire to serve the Lord.  I started looking at the church in a different light.  Maybe we are small for a reason.   And that reason doesn’t have to be a negative one.  Maybe God, who said He would build the church and the gates of Hades couldn’t overcome it, had a special mission for our small group.  That’s when my military background birthed the idea that maybe we are like the Special Forces!  That’s right, the Green Beret.  The Green Beret’s motto is “De Oppresso Liber,” which is Latin for “To Free the Oppressed”.  WOW!  Isn’t that our purpose, to free the lost world from the oppression of sin.

Now a new way to look at what the world calls a small church.  Not mom and pop, but rather a tight knit group of believers on a special mission to reach the lost with limited resources and support.  That’s right, we are in the trenches fighting the battle behind enemy lines and completing the mission with the resources the Commanding General in Heaven has given us.  

Today I am thankful to be an officer in God’s Special Forces!  I look forward to every opportunity I have to serve with such a dedicated group of Spiritual Soldiers!   HOOAH!!

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Stay In The Trench and Do Not Flinch

It has been said that pastoring is not a job, it’s a calling – and I could not agree more. One man once said, “If you think that you are called to pastor, but you also think you may desire to do something else, go do the something else.” Why the directness? Because if you are not truly called by God to pastor, as the pressures mount, you will gladly take any exit ramp possible to alleviate and eradicate the pain.

So for those who are truly called by God to this noble, yet servant leadership (John 13) role of pastoring, how do we press on, day in and day out, in the midst of the struggle? The following are 7 keys from God’s Word that I pray will encourage you, embolden you, and stiffen your spine as you valiantly soldier on in obedience to the LORD:

  1. Remind yourself daily Who called you: The old phrase rings true: “If God brought you to it, He will see you through it.” God doesn’t make mistakes and He has a plan for His glory and your good, yes even in the midst of the challenges and pain that you are facing today. The apostle Paul proves how powerful the call of God is when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” Regardless of what others say about you, remember Who called you.
  2. Remind yourself daily to have calloused knees: The preacher’s power is not from standing in the pulpit, but by helplessly falling on his knees in his prayer closet. Contrary to the world’s thinking, our power is not from ourselves, but when we are on our knees it is of God. If we are not seeking the face of God in all things, we have failed before we have even started. “ 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
  3. Remind yourself daily to wash yourself in The Word: If we are not anchored to the Voice of Truth, we will anchor ourselves to the other voices that are jockeying for our allegiance. Therefore, it is crucial that we daily mine the Scriptures, bind the truth around our necks, write God’s wisdom on the tablet of our hearts, and hide His Word deep within the wellspring of our soul. As Psalm 1:1-3 tells us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Daily bathe in God’s Word and your roots will become deep in the LORD, allowing you to withstand the storms of life.
  4. Remind yourself daily to stay Gospel focused: It the midst of the battle, it is relatively easy to completely lose sight of what we are fighting for. The war is not about physical life, but everlasting life. When this mission is constantly top-of-mind, we are more apt to press through the dry seasons of ministry as we rely through desperate dependence upon God to carry us each step of the way. Because the Gospel is potent beyond human thinking, we must cling to Paul’s words in Romans 1:16 when he declared with confidence and fervency, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
  5. Remind yourself daily that suffering for the Gospel is inevitable: Jesus did not mince words when he warned us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The key here is that we would recalibrate our hearts and minds to be in Christ (in Me Jesus says) for peace in the midst of the suffering. And yet, as we rest in Christ during the challenges, we must also remind ourselves the cut-to-the-chase promise that Paul gave to young Timothy when he said in 2 Timothy 3:12, “ Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
  6. Remind yourself daily that the battle is spiritual: Satan desires for us to be deceived into thinking that we are wrestling against flesh and blood. Why? Because if we are focused on overcoming flesh and blood, we are focused on the wrong enemy as the real enemy will seek, steal, and destroy us. Paul poured this deep truth into the Ephesians 6:10-12 when he said, “ 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Keep your heart in-tune with the reality that Satan is not some little guy in a red suit, with a pitchfork, a goatee, and eyebrows gone wild. No, as the spiritual battle rages on, he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he
    may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
  7. Remind yourself daily that the battle belongs to The LORD: Praise be to God for this reality, because if it was up to us, we would be in big trouble. At the end of your day, no matter challenges we face, when we are in Christ and under His righteousness, we can and must rest in the soul-satisfying fact that the battle belongs to the LORD. You notice I said that we “should.” Of all the 7 keys to adhere, this is the one that I struggle with the most. Oh wretched man that I
    am, who will deliver from this body of death (Romans 7:24)? God will! As we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), may God grant you His perfect peace in the midst of the struggle. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7

Be encouraged in the battle pastor, and count it all joy when the enemy assaults you with his fiery darts of deception and slander (James 1:2-3). Don’t bend, don’t buckle, don’t break, and don’t waver regarding God’s call on your life. Keep your hand to the plow and don’t look back (Luke 9:62). Drive a stake in the ground today with great resolve that even if God doesn’t go your way, you are still going His way (Daniel 3:16-18). Contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3), and do not lose heart. Stay in the trench and do not flinch!

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“How to Heal the Body”

As Pastors we often separate ourselves from having TRUST for anyone! WE put ourselves on an island guarded by a moat of hungry sheep! Sometimes our spouse and family are farther away than the sheep. The enemies SATAN and FLESH has caused many to buy into a culture of division! Pastors compete with each other so often while our enemies wreak havoc! Please continue. 

 

In America there are more than 250 Denominations recognized by the IRS(The World has many thousands). Throughout the “Church” in America the differences of Denomination, Doctrine, Race, Culture and Social Status has caused great division. According to the many Pastors as a group and particularly within the same denomination do not Trust one another. Sadly the Body and “Pastors” also still struggle with Racial Prejudice and Segregation. As Pastors we are taught how to build a “Castle”, more commonly called the Local Church.

IMG_3034.JPGThe Simple Solution:

Diligently Strive to Transform our Differences into Wholeness in the Body! (One Body with many parts working together to grow the Kingdom) Develop a “Kingdom Culture”! This is the culture when Pastors in a community agree to attack the enemy as one Army and one Body in love, trust and power! It is the mindset of bringing the Lost to the Kingdom and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct them to the right “Church Fellowship”. Pastors Need each other! We must find Pastors to establish True Relationships of Trust, Accountability and Encouragement across all barriers and walls. We suggest that every Pastor make a commitment to find Three other Pastors-different denomination, race, and culture “if possible” and meet with them EVERY WEEK for about 1-2 hours to talk as real men about real issues.                                                                                                                                    20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20 NAS

The Results: The Body is quickly Healed! More lost will be brought into the Kingdom of God. Communities will see what being “Christian” really means. Your “Church Fellowship” will benefit because you get refreshed and re-fired every week. Many Pastors say that their “Messages” become more powerful. Your Wife will be Thrilled because she will be spending more time with her Husband and not her Pastor. You will develop trusted friendships to share things that only another Pastor can understand. You will finally have a place to unload without fear of betrayal. You will personally grow because you have embraced accountability. You will learn more about the “Body”…… a lot more! As we build these Friendships with Trust and Encouraging Accountability the Body also comes together and is held tightly together by this bonding also! The community will become shaken. When Pastor’s come together publicly and regularly in love and relationship it overflows to congregations and communities. Note: Pastor’s Marriages, Ministries, and Lives have been saved by starting these weekly Champion Tables! (Just ask Me)