One last post about setting goals and starting anew from Bridgette Tomlin's website, Sanctuary: Ministry to Ministry Wives. Bridgette will be our guest speaker at Refresh Breakaway 2017. This post gives us a little different perspective on making choices that help us to thrive in this abundant life God has given us.
Post from January 9, 2017 by Samalee Allen
There is a better you on the other side of a better choice.
The challenge is not to fail, but to thrive. Abundant life is what Jesus offers us. A better choice. We as Sanctuary and ministry wives know this, all too well, when our hubby-pastor calls for an all-church fast and collective congregational groans ensue. These pew-warmers may choose to see fasting as a restriction from food instead of freedom to make a better choice--that choice being a thriving, deeper relationship with the Lord.
It takes a renewing of the mind to see the better choice...read more
Last week we were asked, "Where are you going in 2017?" In keeping with this new year's theme, we have asked Jerry Harris to help us find our way. Rev. Harris, a big proponent of setting goals, gives us sound reasons why we should set goals, and practical, reasonable action steps to get those goals accomplished. It's with pleasure we welcome Rev. Harris to Refresh.
guest post by Jerry Harris
“He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.”
(Proverbs 12:11) NIV
This scripture tells us to “work our land.” What is our land? The writer was referring to the plowing and sowing of their land so they would have plenty to eat. They didn’t have a local grocery store to stop by and pick up some milk on the way home. They had to plant and plan so they would have food to live on. This was vital to their well-being and existence. If you didn’t plan ahead, you would be begging in harvest time.
“A sluggard does not plow in season; so, at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.”
(Proverbs 20:4) NIV
If we want to get ahead and stay ahead of the game of life, we must develop a “working our land” attitude. Since we are not farmers, what is “our land?” Remember that the land was vital to the farmer’s well-being and existence. What is vital to our well-being and existence?
If these things are vital to me then how do I prepare or “work” my land? There must be an intentional attempt to make my land better. Just hoping for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but desperation. Just praying for it to take place won’t accomplish anything but frustration...God won’t answer my prayer! He doesn’t care about me!
“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12) KJV
The “number” means to weigh out, to allot, and to prepare. How do we do this? By examining each area of our life and setting goals for the future.
1. Why must we have goals?
Because it is just as difficult to reach a destination you do not have, as it is to come back from a place to which you have never been. In other words, you can’t hit a target you don’t have. A person without a goal is a ship without a rudder. He will drift and float. He will likely end up on the beach of despair, discouragement, frustration and defeat.
A goal is a faith statement! I can’t see it but I believe it!
2. Why don’t more people have goals?
a. Most people have never been convinced they are important.
b. They don’t know how to establish them.
c. They fear they won’t reach their goals and consequently, are embarrassed.
d. They don’t take time to set them.
I would rather attempt to do something great and fall short, than attempt to do nothing and succeed.
3. What are the characteristics of a good goal?
a. Will I be able to know when I’ve reached my goal?
b. With God’s help and a lot of effort on my part, is it within reach and within the time period I’ve set?
c. When I achieve this goal what will be the benefit to me or to others?
Our problem is not the lack of time, but the lack of direction (focus). Our problem is not the lack of time, but our failure to effectively use the time we have.
We must not confuse activity with accomplishment, and we must stop counting our hours and start making our hours count. Consider how Jesus lived His life.
He knew what he had to do and he did it!
“My food (well-being and existence) said Jesus,
is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work.”
(John 4:34) NIV
He knew He only had so much time to do it, so he did it!
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me.
Night is coming, when no one can work.”
(John 9:4) NIV
You’ve got to start sometime to give direction to your life.
Use the Adjust My Daily Life, Lord worksheet. Now is the time!
Rev. Jerry Harris is Director of Church Planting for the AG Southern MO District Council, and President of Inner City Ministries of St. Louis and Reach Missouri Network. He and his wife, Lisa, have 35 years of pastoral experience, leading churches in rural, metropolitan and city environments.
Yes, it’s already mid-January, but how exciting to think that God has some amazing possibilities lined up for each of us - yes, even for you. Do you believe that? You should, because God says so in His Word. Consider the words of Paul:
"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:12-13)
Could it be that part of ‘working out your salvation’ includes setting goals to accomplish what the Spirit may already be speaking to your heart?
I've not always been good at writing down my goals. I've had to learn why I should set goals, how to set them, and how to reach them. More importantly, I've had to learn how to reset goals I may not have met and how to not let discouragement keep me from reaching the purpose God has designed for my life. Yes, that has happened more times than I would like to admit!
There's a lot of information to be found in books and online about goal-setting. Here is what I've found helpful in setting goals:
Yes, January is nearly over, but it’s never too late to seek God’s purposes for your life. Whether we are wives, mothers, teachers, bus drivers, or youth pastors, God has given to us purpose: unique, special, life-changing purpose. As you determine your purpose, consider your gifts and strengths. Ask yourself these questions:
What will accomplish good for the kingdom?
What areas do I need to adjust in my life - spiritually, relationally, physically, and socially?
I encourage you to give it a try. You might be surprised to see what happens!
This is Advent. We celebrate a coming. We celebrate an arrival. The arrival of a baby boy born in a stable. A baby, yet a king. The arrival of new life to a young, bewildered couple. The arrival of new life for you and me. The arrival of a new kingdom.
The Arrival of Grace
Grace is here. Grace came down, in the form of a baby, not only to Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, but to you and me. Today.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Luke 2:40 “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”
Read the rest of this Advent devotional here.
Candace Crabtree, Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
In the middle of a busy day, I found myself having a mental “conversation” in which I was telling off a member of our congregation. Can you relate? I was angry, defensive and offended over a comment he made. This member was bothered that our pastors were allowed to wolf down a meal at our Wednesday night fellowship supper without paying (before running on to complete a 16-hour day of ministry). He even tried to “Jesus” up his criticism by equating our pastors to the sons of Eli the Bible says cheated God’s people. It was eating me up. A situation that did not even concern me was rattling around in my brain, creating all kinds of unwholesome emotions and distracting me from what was my actual responsibility.
Imagine how costly a lifetime of allowing this kind of mess to accumulate and take root could be.
Over the course of a life devoted to ministry, there are bound to be more than a few perceived offenses. But I’ve learned that allowing them to build up in our hearts can render us bitter, paranoid and ineffective. In the middle of this moment of growing resentment, I was reminded of a proverb that spoke directly to my heart.
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
The inner part of us—not our eternal spirit, but our inner individuality of mind, will and emotions—can have a huge impact on both our physical and spiritual well being. Emotions are powerful. They are not sinful in and of themselves. They are merely a response to stimuli. But it’s never good to just let them run wild. This proverb reminds us that this three-fold inner world (mind, will and emotions) can be regulated. This allows us to be able to use our will to rule our emotions and not the other way around. It’s done by surrendering our will to the truth.
The problem is that we don’t always have the truth in file folder number one in our minds. Instead, we keep this relative, subjective, emotional information in the top drawer ready to be perused and mulled over all day, every day. These patterns of dwelling on the negative can become ingrained. The result is weakness, instability and loss of self-control. In other words, it either consumes us from within or propels us into an outburst. Both are counterproductive to our calling.
What is called for is a daily renewal of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We need to recognize these mental patterns and immediately take them captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We need to reload file folder number one with information that is true and worthy of our meditations (Philippians 4:8). In other words, take your mental focus off that one knuckle-headed remark, and set it firmly on the truth of God’s Word and what He is doing all around us.
This proverb speaks of “taking a city.” Plowing over a city or a person, even if it is just in your mind, is far inferior to ruling your spirit so that you remain Spirit-filled and accomplish what God has for you. Let’s be reminded of the spiritual discipline of ruling our spirits through renewal of our minds. It will make you more mighty than an army!
How do you fight to become slow to anger?
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak"
As I read Isaiah 40, I’m preparing to finish one of the biggest projects of my life. This season has been hard, and the work has come about with great sacrifice, determination, and if I’m honest . . . assistance from others.
I’m not sure why, but the older I get, the harder it is to ask for help.
Why is that?
As women we need help, but often fail to reach out and get the support we need. When times get tough, our instinct is to hunker down and weather the storm, rather than making ourselves vulnerable by asking for help. As I reflect upon my journey, here are a few common themes I’ve noticed:
Reasons I don’t ask for help:
I lose control.
When we ask for assistance, we surrender our ability to solely shape and direct the vision. Our personal plans and designs must bend to accommodate the input of others. Asking for help means I am no longer the sole architect of this endeavor.
People will think I can’t do it.
If we admit weakness, we become vulnerable. People might think we’re weak, that we can’t cut it, or that we weren’t as good as our predecessors.
It’s quicker if I do it myself.
If we ask for help, we’ll have to explain how to do something. Explaining takes time. And even after its explained, it may not get done the way we wanted. Or, it might not get done at all.
I’ll feel inferior.
If we ask for assistance, we’ll feel like we failed. That small voice in our heads will say, See, I knew this was too much for you.
The list goes on, but no matter the reason, asking for help is important. As ministry wives, we can accomplish the things that God has called us to do. But we are not meant to do it all. As you work to accomplish goals, dream dreams, and embrace new visions; I encourage you to keep these principles in mind.
Work should be joyful.
It’s true that God has called and equipped us to do great things, but our work should be a joyful experience. As we model a healthy work ethic to younger women and those around us, we should remember to rejoice in the work of our hands. How often are you smiling as you complete your tasks? Are you remembering to laugh? If not, some adjustments may be needed to your to-do list.
Our work is God’s work.
Whether you work in or outside the church, what we do reflects the character of Christ. When we burden ourselves to the point of exhaustion, we fail to emulate His character. Genesis 1:28 demonstrates that God did create work for mankind, but He also modeled rest on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3). Jesus also modeled rest during His earthly ministry (Luke 8:24). Remember, your work is God’s work, but rest should be part of the equation.
Remember the greatest commandment.
When we’re working to accomplish goals and meet deadlines, its easy to forget what really matters. The primary objective of Christian life is to love one another. Remember that your work best honors God when it is rooted in love. Take time amidst the business to express the joy in your heart, and the love He bestows daily.
You were chosen for this day and this time, but you were designed for relationships. God desires your work to be fruitful, not solitary.
Take time today to examine whats on your plate. Are there areas of strife, and frustration? Consider how you can ask for assistance in these areas. What is draining you might be a wonderful possibility for growth and development for someone else. When God directs our efforts, the very things that tire us may energize and empower others. Today, allow yourself the freedom to ask for help.
This article and others like it can be found at Her Green Room.
Where do you go to learn about being a minister's wife?
It is our desire here at Refresh to see that each woman has a positive experience in partnership with their husband in ministry.
Bloom wants to provide guidance, support, connection, and encouragement to wives new to ministry through a connection with a seasoned and trained minister's wife using a Connect group created specifically for you. We'll use books to guide us in our conversations about the challenges, issues, benefits, and rewards of being a minister's wife.
We believe when women are strengthen, our families and churches are strengthened, and the ministry of the gospel is strengthened.
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Let us hear from you. Next group starting April 2018.