As I type these words, I am a little less than two months into my “retirement.” The reason for those quotation marks is that retirement has not meant that I am sitting on a beach, hiking mountain trails, or going on extended road trips or cruises. At this point, it appears that the Lord may have had another phase of ministry in mind for Donna and me.
The phone will ring or a text will be received. Another preacher – or maybe a preacher and his wife – “just needs somebody to talk to.” He – or they – wonder if one or both of us can and will spend some time with them.
The fact that I am no longer preaching full-time means that it is easier for us to be more available than was previously the case. The fact that we love the Lord, His church, and those who preach means that we are eager to help if we can.
Since I no longer have an office outside of our house, I – or we – have spent time with people in our home; in restaurants or coffee shops; in somebody else’s home; and other places. I really believe that a casual environment, rather than the more formal environment of an office, may be more conducive to what we are trying to do.
What exactly is it that we are trying to do?
We are trying to minister to ministers (and their wives).
I’m wondering if you might be able to join Donna and me in that ministry. There are no special qualifications. You do not have to be a retired preacher. You do not have to be a current preacher. You do not have any special training or wear any “official title.”
All you need to do is realize that, like you and your family, your preacher and his family are people.
Take it from one who knows. A man does not become superhuman merely because he is a preacher. There are limits to his endurance, ability to schedule, and patience.
A minister is not protected by some sort of shield or bubble. Neither is his family. They all live in the same world as the rest of us.
Your minister and his family have the same struggles that you and your family experience. They have the same emotions as you and your family. They have the same desire/need as anybody else to be loved and accepted for who they are; not what somebody expects them to be.
Like you, your preacher tries to make sure that he and his family do not run out of money before they run out of month. They actually do get sick from time to time. They grieve when they lose loved ones. Insults and snubs hurt them just as much as they hurt you.
Do you need somebody with whom you can “just be yourself” and have a good time? Your minister, his wife, and their children (if any) do also.
Do you need a true and trusted friend? Specifically, do you need somebody with whom you can share some very personal things and know that what is shared will stay between the two of you? Your minister and his family need that, too.
If geography, divorce, estrangement, and/or death has separated you from your physical family, do you appreciate those who really make you a part of the church family where you worship? Guess what? Your preacher and his family would appreciate that as well.
Who benefits if a minister has a minister? Obviously, he does. If you understand how important it is to know that somebody cares, why not let your preacher experience that as well? Only the Lord knows how many good men have left a local congregation or have totally given up on preaching because they thought nobody cared for them, their families, or their efforts.
The preacher’s family could benefit both directly and indirectly should you choose to accept my invitation to be a minister in this way. If you choose to “be there” for his wife and/or children, you will be helping them directly and him indirectly. If you choose to minister to him, your efforts will have an impact on his wife and children. You and your efforts could help change the entire dynamic of a family.
Your efforts could also change an entire congregation. It could very well be that the atmosphere, enthusiasm, and involvement would improve because the man who stands up to preach on a regular basis knows that the people love him. He also knows that they know that he loves them. When those times come when he must preach “unpleasant subjects,” they know that he is not trying to “pin somebody’s ears back.” He is trying to touch their hearts.
The “new commandment” given by our Lord was that His followers were to love each other. Not only was that the case, but He also said that others would know His followers by our love for one another (cf. John 13:34-35).
The context of that passage has Jesus washing the feet of His apostles. As many have pointed out in the past, He was doing something that nobody else either was willing to do or had thought to do.
Maybe nobody else is willing to minister to ministers. Maybe nobody else has thought about it.
AUTHOR: Jim Faughn
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On this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah are joined by some very special guests to talk about Lads to Leaders and why we are looking forward to going in a few days.
Below, you will find several resources about Lads to Leaders to help you think about this good program for your family or the congregation where you worship.
Lads to Leaders [homepage]
“How Lads to Leaders Can Help Families” [A Legacy of Faith; May 15, 2015]
“A Tool for Growing Families” [The Colley House; April 9, 2010]
“Five Minutes with Bartimaeus” [blog post about “Bartimaeus” event at Lads to Leaders; A Legacy of Faith; April 6, 2016]
“Resource: Advanced Bible Reader from Apologetics Press” [Advanced Bible Reader can be done as a Lads to Leaders event; A Legacy of Faith; June 29, 2016]
To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free click here.
If you are on a low carb eating plan, or have ever thought about cutting down on carbs in your diet, I thought you might like this little recipe which is one of our favorites. Hope you enjoy it too!!!
LOW CARB TACO BAKE
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup heavy cream (no substitutes)
½ tsp. taco seasoning
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Beat the cream cheese and eggs until smooth.
Add the cream and seasonings.
Grease a 9×13 baking dish and spread the shredded cheese over the bottom of the dish.
Pour egg mixture evenly over the cheese.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before adding the topping.
1 pound ground beef
3 tsps. Taco seasoning
I can Rotel tomatoes (drained well)
¼ cup chopped onion (optional)
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Brown the hamburger; drain the fat.
Stir in the seasoning and Rotel.
Spread over the crust and top with shredded cheese.
Reduce the oven to 350 and bake another 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Serve with toppings of your choice.
Makes 8 servings @ 2.5 net carbs
Can be frozen.
¼ cup shredded lettuce
1 Tbs. sour cream
1 Tbs. salsa
Switch to Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese and have your version of pizza!
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!
Click the image below for a free printable version of this recipe.
Over the last few months, I have been making an effort to send more cards with personal notes inside. I still am nowhere near as good at is as I need to be, but I’m working on it. (In fact, that’s why I’m writing this post…to hold myself accountable!)
[Side Note: I do have one major excuse for not writing cards, by the way. My handwriting is awful. In fact, the only “C” I ever got in school was in 5th-grade in handwriting. The problem goes way back! In fact, it is not uncommon for me to have someone tell me something like, “Thank you for the card. I couldn’t quite make out all it said, but I say your name.”]
Oh well. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Despite my horrible handwriting, I have gotten some pleasure out of sending cards. Further, my business cards are the type that “open up” like a card, so I can leave a short handwritten note on the inside. I like that personal touch, so it is not just a “dry” business card, but is personal for that attempted visit.
May I encourage all of us to send more handwritten cards? Here are 3 reasons why a handwriten card or note means so much.
Personal. This is a card to you and a note to you. Even if is a short note as you recover from surgery that could be similar (or virtually the same) as one sent to another person, it is still your name and your card. It means the sender sees you as a person and wants this note to be to you. That means something very special.
Thoughtful. The note may be short or long. But you do not commit to writing a card without thinking at least a little bit about what you want to say. If the message is nothing more than “thinking of you and praying for you today,” you know the thought behind that message is real. As much as I write (sermons, bulletin articles, this blog), I will admit that I am not very good at the wording of the cards I write. Still, I will also admit that thought goes into each one.
They Represent Time. I suppose the main reason people do not send cards is that it takes time to do so. It is faster to type out an email (which is not bad sometimes) or tap an emoji to someone. A card, however, takes a little work. The thought, the writing process, addressing the envelope, putting on the stamp, and placing it in the mail. No matter how short or long the note, though, it took time for that person to think of you and send that note. It means a great deal.
As I said, I am not good at this yet, but I am finding that I enjoy it more than I used to. I am still very hit-and-miss on the “types” of cards I send (for example, I will send to some who are sick, but then fall off the wagon and not send to others), but I’m trying to do better. I currently keep a box of these cards on my desk to remind me to get to it!
So…if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be writing a couple of cards today.
How about you?
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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn
Recently I shared some thoughts about “winning.” The major thrust of those words had to do with how those of us who wear the name of Christ relate to those who need to wear that name. It was suggested there that we might win an argument, but not win a soul. [You can read that article here.]
I’ve been doing some thinking about other ways in which this same principle may apply. It seems to me that there are many ways in which all winning is not winning.
For example, I could be the kind of husband and/or father who “wins” by getting my way all of the time. Those “victories” may be due to my overbearing personality, my stubbornness, or any number of other factors.
However, what have I really won if my wife and/or children really do not care to be around me? Is it really a victory if they do whatever they do because they are motivated by fear instead of love? Do I demand their respect or have I earned that respect?
It seems to me that this same principle would apply in the workplace. If I have a position of some authority, am I one of those people for whom those under my authority would “go to the mat” or “run through a brick wall” because of their devotion to me or because they fear the consequences of any semblance of disloyalty?
The areas of my life in which this principle applies are almost endless, but I want to focus on one. That area is very closely related to my first thoughts about winning.
I’ve been thinking that there is a religious application of this besides that of the relationship between Christians and non-Christians. There is also, it seems to me, a real application when it comes to how Christians relate to each other.
Far more often than should be the case, congregations fracture because of a power struggle. An issue arises or a problem presents itself. A variety of ideas or solutions are thought of and suggested.
It is often helpful to explore different ideas, programs, ministries, solutions, etc. I suppose that the practice of “brainstorming” would be what we are talking about at this point.
However, the fracturing could (and often does) begin when sides are chosen and people begin to “lobby” for their ideas, preferences, leaders, etc. All too often, a once harmonious church family becomes collections of warring factions.
Sometimes the factions meet in the same building, but the tension is apparent to everybody; including those people who need to become Christians. Sometimes, the tension is so great and the fractures are so deep that the groups no longer even meet in the same building any longer.
For the sake of illustration, let us assume that the disagreement began over the building itself. Maybe there was talk of some remodeling. Maybe there was talk about an entirely new building and maybe even a new location.
Let’s (again for the sake of illustration) assume that “my side” won the day. The building in which I now worship looks just like I think it should look and is located just where I think it should be located. There are those with whom I used to worship in the old (or older style) building that I haven’t seen in years.
By the way, the “side” I’m on doesn’t really matter. I may have been on the “this building looks just fine the way it is” side. On the other hand, I may have been on the “we need to update, expand, or rebuild” side. Either way, my side won – and that’s what really matters.
Really? Is that what really matters?
Before I “take my stand” on something, I need to consider some things. I need to consider whether or not what I’m so concerned about is a doctrinal issue or a personal preference. I need to consider the impact my “stand,” my course of action, and my attitude will have on my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I need to consider how I will be consistent as I appeal for unity to those outside of Christ.
As I consider those things, I need to also consider what my Creator thinks about those who help to foster disunity among His people.
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
(Prov 6:16-19, ESV, emphasis added)
AUTHOR: Jim Faughn
One of my favorite ways to relax is to read a good book. It is my way of escape from thinking about lesson plans, IEPs, laundry, and many other seemingly mundane tasks of daily life. When I read, I am guilty of totally leaving my current surroundings and the people there. That is one reason I mostly read at night!
I have recently been re-reading a series of books written by Lynn Austin based on the reigns of several Old Testament kings. In the books, Austin freely admits that much of the storyline is fictional, but she has researched life in that time and part of the world and added that to the Biblical record to make for some thought-provoking novels. For one thing, it makes the reader want to go back and re-examine the Old Testament to see which parts are fictional and which parts are factual!
In Among the Gods (Chronicles of the Kings Book #5), I came across this quote that really made me think:
All of us would like to believe that we could accomplish one brave, selfless act for God and for His kingdom. But it takes greater courage to faithfully accomplish the daily, thankless tasks of everyday life for Him— being a father to our children, a good husband to our wives, building His temple one laborious block at a time.
I fear that I am so guilty of this! I want to do something great for God, but am I doing great with the jobs He has given me to do in my daily life? Am I being the Christian wife the Bible tells me to be? How am I doing in raising my children for the Lord? Am I shining God’s light to those around me at work? Am I loving my students in a way that will make them want to know what makes me different?
Instead of looking for something big or amazing to do, maybe I should just get busy doing what God has given me to do in an amazing way that brings glory to Him.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might …” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Colossians 3:23)
AUTHOR: Amber Tatum
Literally my whole life, I have been around preachers’ wives. My mom was one for more than 30 years. My sister is one. And, of course, I am married to one. I have also had the privilege of being around many other preachers and their wives throughout the years, and these couples are some of the finest people on earth.
Being a preacher is wonderful, yet stressful. But being the wife of a preacher carries a weight that few can imagine (I guess, maybe, elders’ wives can relate, but that’s about it).
Today, I want to share with you some of the things that precious lady carries on her mind constantly, so that you can pray for her and encourage her. I would venture to say that most preachers’ wives ask themselves the following five questions almost daily.
“Am I Doing Enough?” Very few, if any, preachers’ wives do not ask this question constantly. They are wondering if they are teaching enough classes, helping with enough programs, hosting enough people in their home, and so on. While few other ladies stop to ask this, the preachers’ wife wears this question on her shoulders with every decision. She does not want to disappoint others, but she is also weary from what she is involved in.
“Are We Going to Have to Move?” Even if they have been in one location for 10 years or more, this thought goes through her mind. Because she’s heard all the stories of preachers who were fired “out of the blue,” even after many years at a congregation. She loves making her house a home, but she lives with the constant thought that one decision, one influential member’s hurt feelings, or one change in the eldership could mean she’s packing it all up…again.
“What Do People Think of Me as a Mother?” Trust me: if your preacher and his wife have children, she wonders what you think of her. She is thinking that every decision (to take the child out and spat his little hand or not; to homeschool or to send to public school; to let kids play ball or not) is going to be critiqued, and those who do not agree with the decision will think less of her. Whether or not this is true, she carries that with her the whole time the kids are under her roof.
“When is Our Time?” Preaching is demanding on time. He needs to prepare sermons and classes, of course, but “ministry” also needs to happen, and it’s not always 9-to-5. Sometimes, that’s in the evenings. Other times, it is late at night or early in the morning. She knows where her husband is, but she sometimes wonders how long he’s going to stay out. And while he’s out, she carries the responsibility of the home, and a feeling of loneliness.
“Can I Have a True Friend?” You may not think this is a real concern, but it is. Many preachers’ wives are worried about getting too close to anyone, for fear of how others might perceive it. She thinks that if she is close friends with one person, then someone else will feel slighted. Also, she wonders how much she can share about the stresses of her life without sounding like she is whining, or without coming across as a gossip.
I am grateful for preachers’ wives. I am grateful to be married to the finest one on earth, but I also know the struggles that come with that role. While it is not an official position, many people place expectations on the preachers’ wife nonetheless, as if there were some handbook somewhere that she is to follow.
For each lady who stands beside her husband as he faithfully proclaims the Word of God, I thank you.
And to my wife who supports me in prayer, thought, and action daily…I love you.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn