Christmas should be a time of joy and a celebration of life, love and family. It should be about His presence in the earth and in our hearts.
To the retail world it’s about people spending money often on things they don’t need with money they don’t have.

I grew up in South Africa and we didn’t call him Santa but Father Christmas which I’m grateful for because as a child I saw a man with a beard, often my dad, with a red bag of gifts for the children and my memory through the eyes of a child was a father who wanted to bless his children and that’s what Christmas is about. It’s about the love our Heavenly Father has for his creation. If we want to bless our earthy children with gifts how much more does God want to shower blessing on us.

We do however need to learn to receive those gifts.
One gift we were given in the late 80’s was an understanding of the gift of Righteousness. Rom. 5:17 says, to as many as receive the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one Christ Jesus.
We receive this gift because of His love for us. We don’t deserve gifts at Christmas we get to give them and receive them. Well we did not deserve the gift of righteousness.
Jesus paid the price for our righteousness or right standing with God.
2 Cor.5:21
He became sin that we might become His righteousness.
Seems too simple ? We over complicate the Bible as though we need to go to bible college in order to be a witness in the world.

Once we understand who we are in Christ, our identity in Him, we cannot help but want to speak of what we have seen and heard concerning the Word of life.
1 John:1 .

The Gospel is a revelation of God’s righteousness. It’s the power of God in His Word to change a life, transform a heart bring hope into hopelessness.

Rom 1:16:17
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation first for the Jew then for the Greek. In it the ‘righteousness’ of God is ‘revealed’ from faith to faith.

Let us all become more like Children who simply trust their Father to provide.
Jesus said that we should become as little children then we would see the Kingdom. There are many that don’t see the Kingdom because they have yet to understand the simplicity and power of the cross. They are awaiting His second coming but not fully embraced His first.

Christmas is a time to become like a child and receive from our Father with child-like faith and trust so that we can go out and share the good news of the gospel with everyman in every place.
People need to see love in action so let us all be mindful of preferring one another, loving our neighbor and honoring our Savior because if we make room for Him, He will make room for us.


A Godly example for others is NOT AN OPTION in ministry, however many times we show anything other than a Godly impact on lives that are watching our every move.

Sometimes it is so easy to laugh at another’s sick joke, or criticize a man or woman of God because they do things differently than we do or we might complain often of our ailments or problems with our children and family. Are we the example that will enhance their lives or are we like the blind leading the blind?

What we may be showing others is “Don’t follow me, I’m lost too.”

What about ego? Are we always bragging, building ourselves up as we crave for attention?

Serve from Godly motives, not to feel good about yourself….or to be praised, accepted, or in control.

May each of us look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:4 ESV

Are we always considerate of others?

Do we strive to be on time….?

Do we answer phone calls and text promptly?

Do we answer messages with a pleasant message other than a yes or no?

The power of our example of the way we live either has a negative or positive influence on others.

“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Romans 12:10 ESV

What about sharing our interest in movies, TV or other media outlets? Do we show interest in TV shows that are knowingly secular, violent, witchcraft, promoting sexual perversion and other worldly interests or is it our ultimate goal to help others become imitators of Christ so not to open our eyes, mind and spirit to these evil pursuit’s ?

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 ESV

Do we show and live by example, that our spouse is our best friend (after Jesus Christ) .and that he or she comes before anyone in our congregation or otherwise?

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

Improper communication could lead to conflict, however, you cannot
resolve conflict without proper communication (Eph. 4:29) Let no corrupt
communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the
use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

What is Conflict: A state of opposition between ideas or interests;
a clash or disagreement; a quarrel or a difference of opinion.

Three things that displeases a woman/wife that could
lead to conflict
* Constantly operating in “fix-it mode”
* Not balancing your hobbies and personal life well
* Please don’t compare her with other women

Three things that displeases a man/husband that could
lead to conflict
* Constantly criticizing or correcting him in public, and
especially in front of the children
* When you expect him to read your mind
* Please don’t compare him with other men

 Relationship resolution: Operating with contrition
* P.S. – Personal Surrender
P.E. – Personal Expression
* Confess your faults (James 5:16)
* Pray – “Father, thank you for showing us …….”
* Make praying together a lifestyle
(ASAP-Always Stop And Pray)
* Make Eph. 5:33 and 1Cor. 7:33-35a a life application

(Developing Message Discipline)
1. What is effective communication? It is sending and receiving information with
understanding. It involves talking and listening with one purpose and one
pleasure. It is the gift of yourself. A great marriage results from great
2. Three forms of communication:
A. Verbal – Spoken words/language
B. Non-verbal – Posture, body language, eye contact, etc.
C. Para-verbal – Tone and pitch of words; the attitude of words
3. Family Circle Survey of 100 Women: What makes marriage relationships last?
59% …………………………….. Good communication
36% …………………………….. Good times
5% ………………………………..Good sex.
Barriers of Effective Communication
1. Failure to listen – Ready to fix the problem. Effective communication is a
heart thing, not a head thing.
2. Making assumptions – Making a judgement without the facts
3. Lack of sensitivity to emotions
4. Distractions/Interruptions
5. Time pressure
6. Jumping from topic to topic
7. Not acknowledging a person’s feelings, emotions, and desires
Strategies of Effective Communication
1. Make eye contact
2. Stay on the topic
3. Focus on understanding the other person and not on winning the
4. Smile or nod
5. Don’t monopolize the conversation
6. Arrange for privacy
7. Show interest

The Word of God says in 2 Thes. 5:18, In everything give thanks, for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Rom. 4:17 says even God calls those
things that be not as though they were. You may not be there yet; however,
you must be determined to grow. In Job 22:28 it says, whatsoever you decree
and declare, it shall be established unto you.
Father, we extend most holy faith as we invite you to work in our marriage.
We thank you for improving our communication; we communicate well, we
listen well, and we are growing in empathy. Father, we thank you for
showing us how to handle conflict biblically and scripturally. When there is
conflict, we refuse to act immaturely. We refuse to sleep on the couch, we
refuse to sleep in the other room, and we refuse to leave the house, because
we are mature. We refuse to say hurtful words, we refuse to go out and
spend money unnecessarily, because we are mature and we talk things out.
Father, thank you for improving our money-managing skills. We are
cautious spenders, we are prudent, we are wise, we are savers, we are
investors, and we are givers, for when we give bountifully, we receive
bountifully. Thank you for developing discipline in our lives.
Father, thank you for showing us how to be intimate with one another, how
to please one another, and how to be sensitive to the needs of one another.
Father, thank you for delivering us from selfishness (which is the opposite
of love), for we know that selfishness takes, but love gives and never, never
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Family Focus Ministry
Pastors Jesse & Brenda McNeil
Every person is worth understanding!

The Difference Between!
(As It Relates to Love and Respect-Ephesians 5:33)
Love and Respect are two of the greatest needs for the husband and wife. The husband is
energized by respect, coupled with love, and the wife is energized by love, coupled with
respect. Marriage is a wonderful plan from God, and it should never be taken lightly, but of
course, it is also challenging. Nevertheless, our God has given us everything we need for
success. It is important that we live our lives with an attitude of seeking spiritual growth so
that Christ, the one who died for us, may be glorified and honored. My friend, this special
information is not for condemnation, but observation for transformation, coupled with
prayer, patience, and walking in love.
 A spirit-filled husband will love and lead his wife (Ephesians 5:25); a carnal husband
will rule or dominate his wife.
 A spirit-filled husband will compliment (praise/flatter) and encourage his wife; a
carnal husband will tear down or depreciate his wife (Ephesians 4:32).
 A spirit-filled husband will complement (fulfill/please) his wife; a carnal husband will
compete with his wife (1 Corinthians 7:33).
 A spirit-filled wife will esteem and empower her husband; a carnal wife will
devour/belittle her husband (Galatians 5:15).
 A spirit-filled wife will submit or come under her husband’s leadership; a carnal wife
will dominate her husband (Ephesians 5:24).
 A spirit-filled wife will complement (fulfill/please) her husband; a carnal wife will
compete with her husband (1 Corinthians 7:34).

Pastor-Husband vs Secular men
James 3:1-3 NKJV: My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing
that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
No one knows better than the wife of a Pastor, behind closed doors and knowing his restraining actions.
What about his PRIDE and EGO?
Is he MATERIALISTIC to a fault?
Does he share THOUGHTS with his wife?
When his wife make suggestions, does he SHUT HER OFF?
Sometime does her WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT offend him or maybe he takes them the wrong way?
Does he jump to his OWN CONCLUSIONS at his wife’s comments, suggestions?
Does he put his wife’s INTIMATE NEEDS before his own or does he TAKE FOR GRANTED that she has
been as satisfied as him?
When SHE CLAMS UP, does he try to understand why or EVEN CARE WHY?
Does he ASSUME she is criticizing or complaining OR does he TRY to see and hear her point in a truly
caring way?
Does he put her FIRST, after GOD, (at home, on the pulpit, out in public)?
Do the MEN in the congregation want to be just like him?
Does the congregation see his efforts of striving for EXCELLENCE as a husband?
Do his son’s WANT to be the kind of husband he is to their mother?
There are many wonderful men in the world (JUST LIKE MANY PASTOR’S) who make super mates for
their wives, the only difference is that he IS A PASTOR!
As a leader in the KINGDOM OF GOD, are you, THE PASTOR satisfied to be just like those other men, OR

The recovery process takes a minimum stay of 100 days. In February of 2016 I had the honor to be a friend’s companion during her recovery after a bone marrow transplant.  She had to follow the strictest of regimens and doctors instructions.  Selecting the proper donor was a tough process because her son ultimately was the donor.  

Definition of rejection

  1. 1a :  the action of rejecting :  the state of being rejected b :  an immune response in which foreign tissue (as of a skin graft or transplanted organ) is attacked by immune system components of the recipient organism

The purpose of the 100 days is to make sure her body doesn’t reject the tissue.  The numerous doctor’s appointments and labs were exhausting.  Every function of her body was monitored and constantly examined.  To date she is cancer free and getting stronger and stronger.  PTL

As pastors and pastor’s wives we see people rejected and beat up all the time.  Our quick responses of prayer and encouragement to them are part of the things we do to serve the local body.  It is Out of obedience to the Lord in our calling.  

What happens when we experience rejection?  I have been in ministry now for almost 25 years and I have had a lot of rejection.  In the definition of rejection; the second definition made me think of the local church.  The local church is where I see the body of Christ in action.  Sometimes my local body is not very kind or loving.  I feel rejection.

As pastors we try not to take things personal, but everything we do is personal.  As a servant to the ministry I have to invest and love and care!  When people leave the church it hurts.  When you pour into people’s lives and they don’t want any more to do with you, it hurts.  My prayer almost daily is, “Lord keep my heart soft and my skin thick.”  

Who was the most rejected person, Jesus?  He was perfect and yet rejected.  When I received my salvation I took on the very being of Christ.  This very thing I must remember.  Jesus kept His eyes on the Father.  His identity was in God.  I find in some of my biggest disappointments in people that have rejected me, I was looking to them for approval.  It is very easy to try and people please.  Looking to the Father and asking what He thinks of me changes my perspective on rejection.  My approval must come from Him and not man.

In ministry I’ve had to learn to get over things quickly.  This comes in the form of forgiveness.  Early on in my ministry a very precious women mentored me in the area of forgiveness.  She told me I had to learn to forgive and forgive quickly.  This is not always so easy, is it?  I found hanging on to unforgiveness made be bitter towards the people who had rejected me.  That was only hurting me.  I knew I had to lay that down.  It has changed my ministry.  I have a greater dependence on the Father.

I heard a pastor recently say, “I am going to let man’s rejection be God’s redirection in my life so I can move forward to something better!”

When I was saved, I received the bone marrow of Christ.  I want to live out my days following His orders and direction for my life.  I don’t want to go into rejection of who he made me to be.  Today I will stand in the fullness of His approval and operate out of love.


2 Corinthians 13:5
For self-examination, observation and
transformation, not condemnation.

1. Do you speak to your husband in a condescending “put down”
manner? For example:
A. “What’s the matter with you?”
B. “Anybody could have done better than you did.”
C. “My Dad would have never done that.”
D. “Can you do anything right?”
E. “What you just said is ridiculous!”
F. “You old fool!”
G. “You’re too slow, I’ll do it myself.”
(It’s better to live in a desert land, than with a contentious and vexing
woman (Proverbs 21:19).
2. Do you treat your husband in private as respectfully as you do your
pastor, your neighbor, or your friends in public? Honor all men, love
the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King (I Peter 2:17).
3. Does your countenance show disrespect by angry looks, looks of
disgust, crossed arms, rolling of the eyes, etc.? Then the Lord said to
Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen
(Genesis 4:6)?
4. Do you compare your husband unfavorably with other men? For I
have learned to be content in whatever state I am (Phil. 4:11).
5. Do you respect your husband’s requests by trying to do as he asks, even
if it doesn’t seem important to you? For in this way in former times, the
holy women also who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, being
submissive to their own husbands (I Peter 3:5).
6. Do you listen carefully to your husband’s opinions, trying to
understand him? Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to
take offense and get angry (James 1:19).
(Page Two)
7. Do you inappropriately contradict your husband in front of others?
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:12).
8. Do you bring up your husband’s shortcomings to others? Her husband
is known in the gates (Proverbs 31:23).
9. Do you try to intimidate or bully your husband by making threats,
verbally attacking him or in some other way manipulating him to
have your way? The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears
it down with her own hands (Proverbs 14:1).
10. Are you obeying God by being respectful to your husband? Let the wife
see to it that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33).
“Final Thoughts”
 Respecting your husband is not an option if you are going to be in the
will of God, where God’s blessings will pursue you and overtake you
(Deut. 28:1-2).
 You may be smarter, wiser, or more gifted than your husband, but you
must still respect him and the position God has given to him.
 If your husband is not a Christian, he is still to be respected because of
his position (I Corinthians 11:3, I Peter 3:1-2).
 If you are disrespectful to your husband, your children will likely
acquire the same attitude. It will be much more difficult for them to
honor their father if you are belittling him and speaking to him in a
harsh, sarcastic tone of voice.

The power of prayer has changed the world many times! The Bible has countless examples of men and women who seek God on their face and on their knees and entire nations would crumble or be restored. Prayer is mankind’s expressed way to reach up to God. The children of Israel time and time again when they disobeyed God and strayed away from serving him always found his arms open when they humbled themselves and sought his face and prayed!

Have you ever prayed about something and it seemed that God is nowhere to be found? Does it appear that your prayers sometimes have NO Power at all? It is very easy to assume that all prayers are equal and each of us have the same connection with God, however you and I both know that this is not true. Some people pray for healing and it is done others pray for miracles and they are done and sometimes demonic oppression and possession is cast completely out from someones word/prayer of faith! Why do some people have great power when they pray and others do not? Why are some prayers answered and others are not? Some of this has to do with faith. Some has to do with obedience. Some has to do with intent. Some has to with knowledge. And some of this has to do with relationships! There are many reasons prayers go unanswered and some would say the answer could be NO but when we pray according to God’s Word the outcome is always fairly certain.

Today we are going to focus on one simple way to double your prayer power. Now let’s qualify this. This is for married couples. Married couples at the time of their union become one flesh according to God. The two shall come together and become one. When God says that we become “One” he takes this very seriously. From that moment on we enter into a new relationship with him. He looks at us as a unit or you could say a team of two,  one team called Family. When a husband and wife are at odds with one another, fighting with one another, criticizing each other, and looking for pleasures outside their marriage, God cannot bless their every action or request. Sure God hears you and will answer your cry for help or intercession for another but without oneness and unity in your marriage, which is sin, your prayers will hit a brick wall.

Think about this. If you and your wife make a whole, then when you are divided you are half of what God put together. You are not nearly as powerful in prayer as when you have wholeness in your marriage.

Dear friends, if you have a breakdown anywhere with your wife, if communication is strained or if you have a stagnant marriage your prayer life is suffering and thus your life is suffering. It is your responsibility to make it right, no matter how hard this may be.

Do you want to double your prayer power? Then include your wife and above all be sure that you have given NO place for the devil to reside in your marriage.

Pray together everyday and the enemy will flee and the walls will come down. Guaranteed!!

Calgon, take me away! When do I get a break? How can I get away to be refreshed? I can’t take weekends off! I tell my friends why I don’t own a boat…because I work every weekend. My ministerial life revolves around Wednesday and Sunday. I don’t work a regular 8 to 5 job, Monday through Friday. My TGIF is thank God I’m forgiven.

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. Luke 8:22. Jesus recognized the fact that he needed to get away. He and his disciples needed a short break from the throngs of people. He said, “Hey, let’s take a break, let’s get away. Dr. Vance Havner was quoted to have said, “Pastors, if you don’t come apart, you will fall apart”. We all need some time of respite and relaxation. We all need time to get refocused and revived.

The story goes the rookie tree feller cut down more trees than anybody on his first day on the job. He arrived early and stayed late chopping down trees. He even worked through his lunch hour while everyone else was resting in the shade. When Friday came, he was called in and fired. He was indignant and angry over this news, Why he asked? His supervisor stated, “Do you know what the rest of the crew was doing on their lunch hour while you were chopping down trees? No, he replied. They were sitting in the shade, eating their lunch, resting their arms and sharpening their axes. When is the last time you sharpened you axe? Not all week, I’ve been too bust cutting down trees. Pastor, don’t become so busy oiling the machine, you forget to take time to find rest for yourself. Your congregation needs you to be as sharp as you can.