God Does not Withhold His Forgiveness

book

I’m reminded as my kids get older that parenting is about the moments we miss or don’t miss. Changes in our kids hearts, seeing the Holy Spirit work in them, helping them make right choices, helping them become who God has called them to be, it happens in moments, in conversations. While some of those might be planned and exactly as we see them working in our heads, by and large, they just happen.

I was reminded of this recently when our kids made some poor choices for some babysitters while Katie and I were out. As we talked with them and led them through a prayer of repentance, I was reminded that God already forgives us.

It was a great truth to remind my kids, God does not withhold his forgiveness from those who ask it. 

In the church, many say they believe this, but few actually do. We talk about grace and forgiveness with the culture around us, but don’t believe that God will really forgive them if they seek it. We also sometimes harbor bitterness at the idea that God would give forgiveness so freely to someone who would sin so willfully. Yet, we sin willfully. And God grants us forgiveness without reserve.

As we talked with our kids, Katie reminded them of 1 John 1:9 which says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This verse often gets talked about in terms of becoming a follower of Jesus, yet 1 John was written to Christians. Meaning, as a follower of Jesus, you will continue to sin and mess up. You will continue to get it wrong. Which means, you need to continually ask for forgiveness and confess your sins to God. But, that God is faithful and just and forgive us of our sins. I’m blown away that God’s justice in this verse is equated to he forgives us. Imagine that justice. It is forgiveness. Not wrath. Not anger. Not hatred. Not withholding love and his presence, but forgiveness is his justice for a follower of Jesus who confesses his sin.

And…

He will cleanse us of all unrighteousness. He will make us right. He will make us into the person He has called us to be. 

[Image]

Enhanced by Zemanta

The One Thing Destroying Your Marriage That You Don’t Realize

book

On a regular basis I will hear from a parent, “My child is disrespectful to me or to my spouse and I don’t know what to do about it.” Or I’ll hear this from someone, “I can’t seem to connect with my spouse. We don’t connect sexually. We don’t connect emotionally or relationally.”

What is going on? I’m about to pull my hair out. I don’t know what to do.

Your kids reaction to you is a mirror of how they see you react to your spouse.

Here’s an example.

I knew a couple who made fun of each other. It was how, they would say, “joked with each other.” The problem was, everything they said to the other person had a little bit of truth in it. “We’re always late because of this one” (laughter). “Wow, your husband does that, wish my husband wasn’t so lazy” (laughter). “Sweetie, look at what Joe got for Sue. Remember when you got me a necklace 5 years ago” (laughter). “So, you’re the couple that has sex 5 times a week. I’ve heard about couples like that. What’s that like?” (laughter).

Those are real lines that I’ve sat and heard a person say in front of their spouse and a group. Consequently, those aren’t even the worse ones.

Now, each time the whole group laughed (some nervously).

Each time and don’t miss this: There was truth in each statement. 

Couples use joking and making fun of their spouse as a way of communicating truth. Now, this is a destructive and unhealthy way to communicate truth, but nevertheless a powerful way.

The problem is that over time, it is disrespectful, it tears the other down and it does not build oneness in your marriage. Eventually, the only communication that happens in your marriage is nagging, nitpicking and making fun.

Why?

Because your spouse will reciprocate.

If you have kids, this gets magnified.

Your child will see how you tear down your husband, how you make fun of your wife and do you know what they will think? That’s how I communicate to mom or dad.

The respect a child shows a parent will always be less than the respect a husband gives his wife, or a wife gives to her husband. Always. 

So, back to the statement at the beginning.

Every time I hear those statements, my heart breaks. It means people are miserable. It means that the picture of the gospel that marriage is supposed to be is broken to the world around it. It means couples aren’t communicating well. That couples aren’t fighting well.

It also means that as children watch, the cycle will most likely continue. They will see how to relate to their parents (in an unhealthy and disrespectful way). Boys will see how his mom treats her husband with disrespect and condescension and think, “If I want a woman to respect me, I need to dominate her, I need to be rough with her” instead of loving and serving her. Daughters will watch her father disrespect her mom and think, “that is how men treat women, they make fun, they put down, they do not show love and respect to women.”

When moving from this, when a child disrespects a parent, it is best if the other parent correct the child. Simply saying, “That’s not how we talk to daddy, we talk to him with respect.” If the child is older and responds with how disrespectful you are. Take the opportunity to admit your sin to your child and apologize. Yes, be angry at their sin, but realize their sin is simply from watching you. 

If you are not proactive, this cycle will just continue and that is disastrous to your marriage and family (and one day to the marriage of your child).

If you aren’t careful, this is the one thing that will destroy your marriage (and your family) and there is a good chance you don’t realize it. 

[Image]

If you haven’t signed up to receive my latest blog post every morning in your inbox, you can do so here. I’d love to help you move forward in your life and leadership.

Helping Your Kids Process People Who Walk Out

book

One of the hardest parts of parenting is helping your kids process the people who walk out of their lives. It might be a parent, a friend, or if you are a pastor, someone who used to attend your church.

As Revolution Church has grown, people have moved away, moved to a different church or just altogether decided to be done with church. All of them hurt.

This came up in our home the other night as one of our kids asked about someone who used to be in our MC and if they were coming over to watch the Super Bowl. We said, “No, they go to a different church now.” Our son looked at us and asked, “Why?”

That moment as a parent is hard, especially if that person hurt you as well. You want to be honest with your child, but you also don’t want to give your sin to your child and you want to help your child have a healthy view of that person.

It can be equally hard if you are an adoptive parent and your child asks, “Why am I here?”

So what do you do?

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when you help your child understand why someone walked out:

  1. Understand what is your sin and how it affects you. Every time a relationship ends, there is a death. There is sin on both sides. You may be convinced there is more sin in the other person, and there may be, but that isn’t important at this moment. Your response about this person, to this person, when you talk to others about this person will show if your heart is healed and if you have let go. If you struggle with letting go of people or your past, listen to this sermon Katie and I preached on the topic.
  2. Ask your child about that person. Let your child have a chance to talk about this person. As an adult, you have probably discussed the person and situation at length and may be tired of talking about it, but your child may not have had the opportunity. They may have just realized that person isn’t around anymore or this may be the first time they want to discuss it. Let them talk it out. Also, ask them what they miss the most. This will give you a window into the hole that is in their heart and how it can best be filled.
  3. Don’t lie. Whatever you do, don’t lie. Don’t stretch the truth to make this person look worse. It is easy to do, but that is not helpful (and a sin).
  4. Protect their heart. Don’t go into all the details. They don’t need to know if they are wrecking their life, that isn’t helpful. Don’t give them your jaded view of the person.
  5. Talk about who is still in your life. Switch gears and talk about who is coming over, who is still in our life as friends and family. Ask them who they are thankful for and why.
  6. It is not about the child. Remind them of the hard truth that while it might feel to them as a child that it is about them, it is not. This will be something you may continually have to remind your child, especially in a divorce or abandonment situation.
  7. Be prepared to be disappointed. As a parent who has been divorced or has adopted or has married a deadbeat, you will often have to pick up the pieces for your child and make do. This is part of parenting. You may not have realized it when you signed up, but it is part of it, just like the fun times. Be prepared. Protect your heart. Do not let another person steal your joy and fight with everything you have for the joy of your child.

[Image]

Enhanced by Zemanta

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

bookOne of the books I read as I prepared for our current series at Revolution was Dr. Meg Meeker’s great book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know.

To me, this is such an empowering book for fathers. We often feel unsure, at a loss of how to relate to our daughters, how to treat them differently than a son, or how to feel like we are moving forward in a relationship with them.

This book is about what a daughter needs from a father that a mother cannot give.

Here are a few things I highlighted:

  • What you say in a sentence, communicate with a smile, or do with regard to family rules has infinite importance for your daughter.
  • Friends, family members, teachers, professors, or coaches will influence her to varying degrees, but they won’t knead her character. You will. Because you are her dad.
  • Loving your daughter better might seem complicated to you, but it’s very simple to her. Being a hero to your daughter sounds daunting, but actually it can be quite easy. Protecting her and teaching her about God, sex, and humility doesn’t require a degree in psychology. It just means being a dad.
  • Fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter’s life.
  • Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.
  • Being a twenty-first-century hero is tough stuff. It requires emotional fortitude, mental self-control, and physical restraint. It means walking into embarrassing, uncomfortable, or even life-threatening situations in order to rescue your daughter.
  • Whatever outward impression she gives, her life is centered on discovering what you like in her, and what you want from her.
  • The only way you will alienate your daughter in the long term is by losing her respect, failing to lead, or failing to protect her. If you don’t provide for her needs, she will find someone else who will—and that’s when trouble starts. Don’t let that happen.
  • Authority is not a threat to your relationship with your daughter—it is what will bring you closer to your daughter, and what will make her respect you more.
  • Nothing feels better to a teen or young daughter than being protectively embraced by dad’s strong arms.
  • Do a gut check on your own beliefs, and think of what sort of woman you want your daughter to be. She’ll learn not only from what you say, but from what you do.
  • If you don’t accept the authority that is naturally yours, if you don’t set high standards, if you don’t act to protect your daughter, if you don’t live a life of moral principle, your daughter will suffer.
  • The minute you waffle on your convictions, you lose stature in your daughter’s eyes.
  • Let me tell you a secret about daughters of all ages: they love to boast about how tough their dads are—not just physically, but how strict and demanding they are.
  • When I talk to daughters about their fathers, the conversations are almost always emotionally charged. They adore their fathers or hate them—sometimes they do both simultaneously.
  • Your daughter yearns to secure your love, and throughout her life she’ll need you to prove it.
  • We talked about how difficult it is for parents to be realistic about their own children. Because we want them to make good decisions, we assume they will. We want to believe our kids are stronger, more mature, and better capable of handling situations than other kids. And that’s when mistakes happen.
  • Most parents pull away from their teenage daughters, assuming they need more space and freedom. Actually, your teenage daughter needs you more than ever. So stick with her. If you don’t, she’ll wonder why you left her.
  • Daughters who feel a stronger emotional connection with their fathers feel more attached to them. And the more attached she feels to you, the lower the likelihood that she will be depressed or have an eating disorder.
  • Girls hate feeling invisible.
  • When you show a genuine interest in being with her, she feels more attached to you.
  • If you listen to your daughter attentively for ten minutes every day, by the end of the month you’ll have a completely new relationship with her.
  • Boundaries and fences are a must for girls, particularly during the teen years.
  • Remember that whatever she says, the very fact that you thoughtfully and consistently enforce rules of behavior makes her feel loved and valued. She knows that these rules are proof that you care.
  • Your daughter needs to feel unique and important in your eyes.
  • When fathers don’t teach their daughters humility—that we are all created equal and are equally valuable—advertisers, magazines, and celebrities will teach them otherwise.
  • Girls who have the gift of humility are better placed to have deeper, longer-lasting friendships. With humility, your daughter is free to enjoy people for who they are; she’ll have no haughty desire to cut people out of her life.
  • Happiness is truly found only when it is routinely denied.
  • Protect her budding sexuality and defend her right to modesty. Reiterate to her that sex isn’t a simple bodily function—it is powerfully linked to her feelings, thoughts, and character.
  • Parents are the most important influence on their teenagers’ decisions about sex.
  • Think very seriously about her as a girl growing into a woman, a sexual being. When she is three years old, think about what you want for her when she is twenty. You must, because even when she’s three you give her messages about her body—whether it’s beautiful or chubby. And all these messages count.
  • Your daughter needs you to hug her often. If you are gentle, respectful, and loving, that’s what she will expect from boys. And she needs to know—all the time—that you love her.
  • All girls from eleven years old on feel fat. They feel ugly, pudgy, pimply, and unattractive. Watch how your young teen stands. Most girls slouch if they’re tall. If they’re short, they wear platform shoes. Girls almost inevitably lack confidence in their appearance. So move in and hug her. The effect can be profound.

Here’s the short: if you are a father of a daughter or will be, you need to read this book. As soon as possible. I was so challenged and encouraged by this book in how to interact and love my daughter to become who God created her to be.

To see other book notes, click here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Hug Your Daughter

book

Few dads realize how important hugging is to their daughters, but I’ve heard countless girls tell me they had sex with a boy (not even a boyfriend) simply for the physical contact, because their fathers never hugged them or showed them affection. Her body starves for you to hug her. The need is especially raw during her teen years. Fathers often assume that their teenage daughters want to be left alone and don’t want to be hugged. This isn’t true—in fact, it couldn’t be more wrong. She needs your touch during these years even more than when she was five. I know that popular culture tells you that teenagers “need their space,” that teenagers are tricky and can leave you unsure what to do, that it might seem safer to opt out and simply do nothing, but that’s all wrong. Your teenager needs you. It’s far more dangerous to opt out of your daughter’s life and do nothing than it is to be a close part of her life, and you know exactly what to do. Just be her dad: be confident, defend her and be supportive, and don’t back away from hugging her. -Meg Meeker, M.D.  Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know

[Image]

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Mother’s Heart (From a Husband’s Perspective)

If men are honest, we’d like to understand our wives, we try to, but we are often left scratching our heads as to what they need, what they want and what they are trying to say. While men love to stay in the world of logic and avoid emotions at all cost, women stay right at home in emotions. For men, it rarely makes sense and if you ask women, they will tell you it doesn’t have to make sense.

Over the last month, as we’ve shared with people what is happening in our adoption, waiting to bring Judah Mamush home it has been hard to describe the agony of what it feels like. I told one guy that we’ve discussed putting Katie on a plane so she can go to Ethiopia to be with Judah Mamush until he passes embassy and he said, “Josh, you need to stop trying to control things.” I said the same thing to a couple of Mom’s and they all looked they were going to cry.

While the last month has been hard for me, it has been different for Katie. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about my wife and the heart of a mother that hopefully will be helpful to other men (whether they have kids or not).

Here they are:

  • A mother feels differently than a father. While this is true of men and women in general as I said earlier, when it comes to parenting it is even more true. A mother feels the loss of something different than a father does. I miss Judah. I can’t wait for him to be here, to play soccer with him, teach him to ride a bike, to do things with him. Katie longs to hold him, to snuggle him, hug him and tell him that he is loved. To give him a feeling he has not had in his life, a feeling of safety, of belonging.
  • Be honest with your wife about your heart. While men often get labeled as callous or insensitive because we don’t cry or feel the way a woman does, it is important to be honest with your wife about your heart. A wife always wants to know what you are feeling, what is running through your head and heart. When we left Judah Mamush on our last day in Ethiopia, he was on the ground screaming and crying because he didn’t know if we were coming back, he only knew we were leaving. He doesn’t speak English so we couldn’t say, “We’re coming back.” Katie is on the verge of losing it and I did everything in my power to pick him up and not cry. I couldn’t even talk or else I would’ve cried. I am almost crying retelling this story. As we left and over the last month, it has been important to my wife’s heart to know of my heart, to know how it hurts, to know my longing as a father for my son. To not be the man and just bottle it up and with tough upper lip. That’s why a wife thinks her husband is insensitive, because he holds back. 
  • Distance is easier for men to handle. Men can handle distance in relationships because of how we handle emotions. We are able to compartmentalize things, get busy and forget about things because we are laser focused and don’t multi-task our emotions. I can go a whole day and not think about something that Katie has thought about all day while doing 15 other things. This can create a sense for women that their husbands don’t care or don’t feel. That isn’t it at all, it is just that we push it to the back of our minds so that we can do other things. If I thought about Judah the way Katie did, I would never get any work done. She can think of him, teach our kids, have coffee with someone, make dinner and still think of Judah and post something on Facebook that isn’t related to Judah.
  • Hold a woman when she cries, don’t ask questions. This has been one of our rules in marriage from day one. Katie has told me, “When I cry, just hold me and don’t ask why.” This is just solid advice for a husband, but even more so in the moments of parenting when you as the father can’t fix a situation or do anything about it. I can’t make the Ethiopian embassy go faster or look at our paperwork. I can’t send Katie on a plane to Ethiopia to bring Judah home any faster than it is going and that is frustrating.
  • A mother’s heart is a mystery. While I’ve learned some things, a mother’s heart is a mystery to me and will remain so. It feels and responds in ways I can’t even imagine. It longs in ways that I don’t. It aches in ways that don’t even cross my mind. It is a mystery, and yet, as a father and husband I am grateful for it. It forces me to feel in important ways. I can easily be tough and not emotional, but walking with Katie through this time, meeting Judah and holding him and then the agony of having to say goodbye to him has taught me a lot about being a father and the love God has for me.

My hope with this post was to honor my wife and the beauty and power of her heart as a mother. But to also help men know how to best honor, love, care for and support their wives and the hearts that beat in them. To encourage them to be a mystery, to have emotion and to handle things differently from men.

Books on Adoption & Parenting

I’m often asked about book recommendations when it comes to parenting or adoption. Everything from how you get your child to eat the food you give them to organizing your day to not go crazy and everything in between. Below are some of the books that I have found to be the most helpful and useful, with a little bit about each book so you know which ones to get for your family.

Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families by Jayne Schooler & others

A great book with an overview perspective on parenting traumatized children- less of a how to and more of a why things play out the way they do. MANY books are referenced, and there is an extensive appendix of additional resources and support groups/aids. There is an honest look at extreme abuse/trauma cases but doesn’t talk through cultural/language differences or more mild cases- though I would assume it is much of the same. There is a good section on how adoption affects the “original” family; including siblings already in the home.

Just Take a Bite: Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges by Lori Ernsperger

As a mom of a resistant eater this book covered many things that don’t apply to our specific situation ie. a healthy son who refuse to try new foods, but is has some great ideas to help include a wider variety of foods into a resistant eaters diet. The book provides a middle ground that I could not see- not acquiescing to whatever your child will eat and not forcing them to eat which can promote negative attitudes toward new foods. There seemed to be many ideas for kids with special needs who need help developing a wider diet.

Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child: From Your First Hours Together Through the Teen Years by Patty Cogen

For a soon to be adoptive parent of an international child this book is a must. It gives so many practical tools and games to connect with a child who needs help bonding and also gives clues into what your child is feeling based on the type of play that they are engaging in. The book uses a few “stereotyped” kids to talk through typical reactions for different personality types and coping methods for kids from hard places. This book does not need to be read in one sitting, but can be read incrementally because it is written in chronological fashion.

A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul by Holly Pierlot

This has nothing to do with adoption, but I know that a solid routine for kids from hard places is very helpful. This book is written by a mom, who gets at the heart behind a schedule- namely mortification- self-discipline to promote Godliness.

Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control: Volume 1 by Heather Forbes

Is a how-to book in dealing with specific issues experienced in adoption. The premise of parenting from a place of love instead of fear is very freeing. I think that this book is a good first step to many of the behaviors addressed, but I would guess that there needs to be a certain amount of self awareness from the child to be able to have the discussions used as examples in this book. The biggest take away from this book is that children are not trying to be manipulative, but their behavior is the only way they know how to express what is going on inside.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim Payne M.Ed., & Lisa Ross

Again, this book is not about adoption, but deals with… simplicity in schedule, stuff, and making sure that there is a solid connection and grounding for children. The thing that was an eye opener about this book lies in the introduction; the author talks about how he was doing some work at a refugee camp in Africa and was treating kids with PTSD, then after that he started a private practice in the states. Through his practice he started to see that children in the US were exhibiting some of the same behaviors as the children from the refugee camp… mainly because of the pace and disconnectedness that so many children grow up with in their homes. My fear is that many children are adopted out of their original culture, and then through another environment do not give them the connectedness and grounding that they need, so the underlying issues are not addressed just masked.

The Connected Child : Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn Purvis

This is one that I am planning to read along with the workbook by Karyn Purvis; found here http://empoweredtoconnect.org/created-to-connect-study-guide/.

Rex Ryan: The Model Father?

book

This past Saturday, Rex Ryan, head coach of the NY Jets caused a stir in New York City by skipping out on the last day of cuts and going to see his son dress for a college football game at Clemson. His son is a walk on for that team.

If you aren’t familiar with “cut day” for the NFL, it is when all teams must get their rosters to 53 players. This day was Saturday, the same day as the Clemson football game.

According to one NY reporter, “his trip to watch his son play is ‘big F.U. to all of the players,’ that coach was going to watch son play…Ryan shirked his professional responsibilities for personal ones.”

Did he shirk his professional responsibilities for personal ones? According to ProFootballTalk, “Ryan had permission from the Jets owner to attend the game.”

Let’s say it is true and he had permission to attend the game. The question becomes if it was a wise move.

From the perspective of a father, the answer is yes. They didn’t decide who was being cut that morning. Those cuts were in the process all week. It isn’t like Rex Ryan could not be reached if something came up.

How many times does your son dress for his first college football game? Once. You can’t replace that. I still remember my first college soccer game that I dressed for. I was so excited about it and my dad surprised me by driving 5 hours one way to see it. Right when the game was over, he drove 5 hours back because he had to work the next day. And I played 0 minutes in that game, but he was there to see me dress. I had accomplished one of my goals and he didn’t miss it.

That’s choosing what matters.

If you are a dad, you have professional responsibilities and personal responsibilities. Everyday is a balancing act of those 2 worlds. There are times you won’t be able to get back. The “first” experiences your kids have of anything is one of those. Being at games, recitals, plays, concerts, don’t come around again. As a father, every choice you make with your time and your family has enormous implications for years to come. Every adult can look back on their childhood and see the absence or presence of their father and know this is true.

I would say, as a father, Rex Ryan made the only choice that should have been on the table.

[Image]

The Sins of a Pastor || The Pastor’s Family

book

Pastors, like any person sin. While this may be surprising for some people as they put their pastors and their wife on a pedestal, it is true. Because of the nature of being a pastor and the life they live, their sins are often not obvious and ones that no one will ever know about. In fact, some of the most hurtful and dangerous sins are ones that a church and elders can unknowingly encourage. These sins are not in any particular order, just the order I wrote them in.

So far we’ve covered:

  1. Your Bible is for more than just sermon prep.
  2. A pastor being untouchable.

The third sin that many pastors deal with is the sin of the pastor’s family and the view they give.

The blame for this sin sits with the pastor, his wife and the church. Often equally.

First, many pastors and their wife feels the need to be perfect. They feel that they are on this pedestal and must always appear happy, put together, growing in their relationship with Jesus. No flaws can ever be seen in their marriage, parenting or life. Often, church members want this. They want their pastor and his wife to appear above the struggles they have. Consequently, a pastor and his wife always feel like they are putting on a show, unsure of who they can be real with, unsure of who they can let their guard down around. What quickly happens is anger, frustration, sadness stay pent up until it becomes bitterness and rage that is let out at the worst possible moment.

This gets past on to the kids of a pastor. They feel that they have to behave perfectly, almost like little adults. I remember when we first started Revolution and after a service all the kids, read that again, all the kids in our small church plant were dancing on the stage and jumping off. A woman came up to me and said, “Is it a good idea for your kids to be on stage dancing and jumping off the stage? I’m not sure a pastor’s kid should behave like that?” Notice, there were 12-15 kids doing this. My kids at the time were a little over 1 and 3 and a half. I looked at her and said, “I can’t think of a better thing for my kids to do be doing right now than acting like little kids and having fun.”

This one is difficult because when expectations don’t match up, fights and division occur.

As the pastor, you have to lead on this one. In your home and in your church. You set the tone.

For me, I have friends I can vent to. Friends I can be myself around. Friends I can blow off steam with. Friends that when I get angry at someone, am hurt or frustrated will listen and then challenge me with the gospel. Friends who don’t expect me to be perfect.

Your wife also needs to have friends like this.

As a pastor, you must give your wife permission to be your wife and a church member. We tell the wives of our pastors, we expect you to act and serve like any other mature church member at our church. We think mature Christians will serve and use their gifts, have a quiet time, raise their kids if they have them. This changes with life stage. There was a time when my wife did nothing but help to lead a missional community with me. I had some people ask why she didn’t do other things and I explained our philosophy, Katie’s gift mix and the age of our kids. They were unhappy and left our church.

Your reaction to that last line pastor will determine if you will find a healthy balance in this.

If you are a church member, expect your pastor to live out the qualifications of an elder, but don’t expect him to be Jesus. Your pastor did and will not die on the cross for you and rise from the dead. He cannot be Jesus. He doesn’t need to be Jesus, we already have a Jesus and he is perfect and amazing and worthy of our worship. Not your pastor.

Here are a few more things to do:

  1. Ask your pastor and his wife how you can pray for them. Don’t look for gossip, just to pray for them.
  2. Give them a gift card to a restaurant for a date night as a way to bless them. Don’t expect anything in return, you are blessing them.
  3. Expect their kids to be kids and act their age. If they have teenagers, expect them to make boneheaded teenager moves like every other teenager. If they have little kids, expect them to tear things up like other little kids.
  4. When you hear someone say, “My old pastor did this or my old pastor’s wife did this, why doesn’t this pastor or his wife do that?” Gently but firmly explain this and then tell them, “If you liked it so much, maybe you should go back to your old church and your old pastor.”

[Image]