Ministerial Encouragement
written by Kraig J. Rice

This document is for an active discouraged Christian Pastor, a discouraged Christian worker, a discouraged Christian leader, a discouraged pastor's wife, or a discouraged yet faithful minister who has just resigned from the active ministry.

Are you searching for ministerial encouragement? Well, read on and maybe something that I have to say will help you, give you an answer, encourage you, or keep you behind the pulpit. Or maybe one of the articles listed below may help you as well.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." [Jeremiah 29:11]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Two Major Problems In All of the Churches

Encouraging Scriptures

Do You Have An Identity Crisis in the Ministry?

Take Time to Re-examine your call to the ministry

An Article titled Are You Being Persecuted In The Ministry?

An Article titled Maximising Your Life by Rev. Giles D. Stevens

An Article titled The Road to Nowhere by Rev. Jeremy Griffiths

An Article titled Think on These Things by Pastor Bill

Negative Things We May Say To Ourselves and God's Response

An article titled I Surrender by Aaron Spiro

An article titled We Bow Down by Viola Grafstrom

An Article titled God Longs to Say the Word by André van Heerden

CONCLUSION

The best sermon is a good example.

INTRODUCTION

My late friend, Rev. Lenard Griffis, once told me that he resigned his pastorship every Sunday night and had to re-hire himself every Monday morning. What I am saying is that you are not alone in your discouragement. Lots of other spiritual leaders are also. And this is one of the most effective "fiery arrows" aimed at your heart by Satan.

The secret Satanic and witchcraft organizations have one target in mind and it is not you directly. They are targeting your wife. They think that if they can bring her down then they can bring you down also. It is an evil and insidious plan.

If he can bring you down from behind the pulpit then he has won a battle so don't let him. But if this has already happened then don't be too hard on yourself. You may have lost a battle but you don't have to lose the war...

You might think about taking some time off. You might try something else for awhile. Maybe you should relocate to improve your situation. Nevertheless, God willing, re-enter the ministry again when you think you are ready and are comfortable with it. Take the time to heal if you think that you need to. Be true to yourself. The only cure for "burn out" is a long vacation, a lot of rest, or a venue change.

You can tell how strong a person is by what it takes to discourage them.


Two Major Problems In All of the Churches

The two major problems in all of the churches are:
women and money (not necessarily in that order).
So, if you are having church problems then it is a 95% probability that one or both of those issues are the cause. Get the advice of older ministers and your boss in the ministry in order to know how to handle these kinds of situations. Always use wisdom in handling delicate situations.


The Genesis 50:20 Rule: "As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil." (NLT)

Here are some scriptures that may encourage you:

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!
So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."
(II Corinthians 4:16-18)(NLT)

"The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neheniah 8:10)

"Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out one after another, calling each by its name. And he counts them to see that none are lost or have strayed away.

O Israel, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? How can you say God refuses to hear your case?

Have you never heard or understood? Don't you know that the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.

He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak.

Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up.

But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:26-31)(NLT)

"And I say to the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good."
(II Thessalonians 3:13)

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."
(I Corinthians 15:58)

So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.
(Galatians 6: 9) (NLT)


Do You Have An Identity Crisis in the Ministry?

Do you have the same identity as your ministry?

The humanists tell us that what a man does is who he is. But the Bible indicates to us that this is not so. Each of us is NOT what he does. Each of us is a unique individual created by God. So, don't try to be someone else and don't try to mold yourself into some one else's shoes. You are who you are. You have to accept that.

Tie your identity in with Christ, not your ministry. You are His son or daughter by adoption- that is your identity.

The humanists insist that you have no worth if you can't produce. But the Bible indicates to us that this is NOT so. Each of us has worth to God even if we cannot produce anything. Are you a human doing? That's right I did not make a mistake when I said that. Are you a human doing? Your only worth comes from what you can accomplish? For instance, you only have worth if the congregational numbers are high, or if the large church building got completed, or if your missions budget was high, or you were able to start more cell groups than anyone else, or whatever...

And how do you feel when your plans or programs fall through? When everything goes contrary to what you planned, hoped for, and wanted? If you are a human doing, if your worth is tied in with what you do rather than who you are- then you might get discouraged. You might want to quit. You might want to give up the ministry. Right?

Maybe the Lord has to send some adversity your way to separate you from who you think you are- to separate who you are from what you do.

Well, don't be too hard on yourself. I fell into this common trap and the Lord had to do a little surgery on me to separate the two. I got it all put back together later on and was appreciative to the Lord for the lesson.

It is better to dig for facts
than to jump to conclusions.


Take Time to Re-examine your call to the ministry

When things get tough in the ministry then re-examine your calling. Were you God called or self called to the ministry? I knew a man one time who was convinced that God called him to be a missionary in east Africa. He hitch hiked across America from the west coast to the east coast, then crossed the ocean to Portugal where he hitch hiked to France. He got sick in France and was running out of money. Finally, in desperation, he put out an immediate fleece before God only to find out that he was not called by God to foreign missions. Then he hitch hiked back home a wiser man. His mistake was that he confused a desire that he had with the call of God. My point is that if you are God called to your ministry then you should stick it out through tough times and endure your suffering. You know that God is going to help you some how and some way.

It matters little to others what you do to earn a living as long as it is honest work. If you can make it in the ministry, fine. If not, then try something else. If your calling won't let you then try another avenue within the religious ranks. I have known pastors who had to work a secular job during the week and yet pastored on Sunday. There is nothing wrong with that. Many faithful leaders have had to move, sell cherished belongings, left loved ones, and sacrificed to do God's will. His provision is always behind His call. And if you will do His will He promises you rewards in this life and also in the next life.

It's one thing to compromise work priorities in order to eat in the ministry. Just don't compromise your integrity. As the old saying goes, "You better not compromise yourself, it's all you got."

Are You Being Persecuted In The Ministry?

"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later."
(Romans 8:18)

If your faith is not strong enough to change your behavior, it will never change your destiny.


One minister writes about his persecution:
An Article
Torn, Tattered, Abused...Restored.
I now quote it here:

"The choice one makes to come to service of the Lord cannot be taken lightly; we must realize that in choosing Him we put ourselves last in the process.
"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
(Matt 20:25-28).

"Many say they are in service of the Lord and still do all they can in service of themselves. The common teaching of the day is that when one comes to Jesus, everything is going to be wonderful. We will never have to face another moment of heartache or abuse. This is not so. The moment we choose to truly accept Jesus Christ as the Head of our lives, we place ourselves in the front lines, open to every wicked attack of the enemy."

"There are so many "ministries" that claim to be "serving the Lord" when what they are doing is merely making merchandise of the people of God. Most of these "ministries" stop at nothing to destroy anyone that stands in their way. In my own experience I have been lied about, had a book written about me and my bride, accused of every wicked thing imaginable and it is still going on. The reason for these attacks is simple, I repeatedly told the "head" of that ministry the "he" was not in charge. I told him that God was the head of every true Christian ministry. In so doing, I took a stand for truth and selflessness. As the attacks began, I wondered what I had done wrong. Was God angry with me? After much prayer and fasting the Lord began to show me that we are all called to be persecuted for His Name’s sake. In John 15:20 it says,
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you."

"Note what Jesus says about the servant. We are not greater than our Lord. What could possibly exempt us from being persecuted too? We are all called to be servants of the Living God. To truly serve Him we must become servants. We must give up ourselves and live only for Him. In so doing we will be attacked. Those that attack will do so because they are being convicted by the selflessness they see in our lives compared to the selfishness that drives theirs.

In these attacks we are threatened with being "exposed" to the world. Are we not all "exposed" to the Living God?
Is there something you have been successful in hiding from Him? God forbid, He has heard and seen all that we have ever said or done or even thought about doing, so how can anyone expose you? God knows you. He knows you better than you know yourself and He has not thrown you to the wolves. Why do you fear those who would accuse you?
2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

"The devil is the accuser of the brethren. God does not accuse you; He simply states what He knows. There is no scripture that mandates that we threaten and expose each other."

"Understanding that we will be persecuted, one might ask why? In the book of James 1:2-4 it says,
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."

"The words "count it all joy" refer to our counting all the persecution as an opportunity to stand in the Victory Shout of God. Through the tearing and tattering of abuse we are being tried; we are being perfected for the purposes of God. Imagine that great and terrible day of the Lord is upon us and we are untried. We will be of no use to God. We must be trained in the art of truth and selflessness. Look at the life and death of our King; He was torn and tattered; He was abused beyond recognition; Yet He has overcome. Listen to our Savior...He is calling..."

"The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
(Matt 21:41-44)

"Is it any wonder that we are being broken? God wants us to be broken and humble before Him. We are not called to be exalted or lifted high in this life. We are called to give up ourselves and walk humbly with our Lord. Why is it that God calls us the clay and He is the potter? Clay vessels falling on the Corner Stone will be broken. Many want to be vessels of gold or silver, how can a gold or silver vessel fall upon the Stone to be broken? This is why we are earthen vessels now...Breakable...Moldable...Shapeable...into His perfection and purpose. This why we must be tattered and torn by the wickedness of this world, abused by those that despitefully use us and finally restored by the Hand of our Potter."

The above article came from the web at
http://pgmradio.com/Torn_Restored.htm

These inspirational messages from Giles Stevens are filled with Spiritual truths that will empower you to live in the fullness of God's victory.

An Article
Maximising Your Life
by G.D. Stevens

Here are some more hot tips to help you make the most of life:

Problems are promotion opportunities

look at life or the ministry as a challenge-

"Life is a course of problem solving opportunities."
"Mentality is everything. Attitude determines you altitude. If you see life as a series of problems to upset your comfort you will always be complaining. Rather see you problems as promotion opportunities. If you past this test, God will take you up to the next level. Remember that everything problem that you face, God has promised to resolve for you. Think of David's giant problem of Goliath. Think of Moses facing Pharaoh and all his army. God raised up these giant problems for them so that they could receive a gigantic promotion on the back of them! The bigger the problem the bigger the promotion! Don't let the devil convince you that God is not involved when problems come your way. God is there with all the encouragement, support and grace that you need. With Christ your victory in guaranteed.

Go to places you are celebrated not to where you are tolerated.

It is important to find out where you fit in life. That is the place where you will prosper. You will be like the tree of Psalm 1 that is planted by the river of water, which yields fruit in each season, whose leaf does not wither and whatever you do will prosper. Plant yourself where you are celebrated. Where your services are required. If not move! 95% of the word population live within 20 miles of their birthplace. Be bold enough to make changes if changes are necessary. Somebody is waiting for you to arrive. They will rejoice when you come to town.

Nothing Comes of Nothing

"What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, and if people don't stop doing it, it'll take them to hell?"
.... nothing. Yes that's right,
"Nothing" is greater than God",
"Nothing" is more evil than the devil, and people who do "nothing" in response to God's free gift will go to hell!"

Faith in action is the thing that counts. (That's why years ago I called our ministry FaithWorks). It is not so much about how much you know but about how willing you are to go. So many are constantly waiting to be perfected before they start their life's work. The key with Christianity is that God transforms us on the way. It is only by being on the way that the transforming power starts to work within us. Paul preached Christ "immediately in the synagogues". Immediately after his conversion, he did not wait until he had had his trip to heaven!

Faith starts where ability stops

"Attempt something so great for God that unless He rescues you, you are bound to fail". Now that is faith. Faith not in our power or strength but in His.

"The eyes of the Lord are going to and fro over the whole earth looking to show Himself strong on behalf on him who heart is towards Him."
(2 Chr 16:9).
Faith starts where ability stops. Ability is good. God gives us these gifts to prosper in life. But abilities cannot overcome some of the challenges we face. That's why we need faith. In fact the bigger your dream the more faith you will need. A dream is something beyond your ability. It is beyond your reach and out of your playing field. Faith is the thing that takes you there. Make the plans, set the dates, share your dream. God will put His Spirit under you like the wind under the wings of an eagle and you will fly much higher!

Your future is in your mouth!

"You don't succeed to 10 Downing Street talking like a loser!" We need to remember the power of our words. Our words effect our future. In order to be a good leader you must become an effective communicator. You must be able to express your plans in a way that when people read it they run with it. It must infuse a sense of duty, responsibility and adventure in their hearts. Great leaders are those who know where they are going and are able to persuade others to come with them. Someone once said, "If you look behind you and no-one is following, then you are not leading, you are talking a walk in the park!"

Don't try to make it happen, let it happen...

"By the grace of God we are what we are". All the great achievers for God had many defects but they discovered the key to God's heart- GRACE. Sometimes we are struggling so hard to get on top, that we loose our position in Christ. If you have lost His Peace, then you are outside His Plan. Say a prayer and relax. Don't try and make it happen, let it happen. It is Christ at work within you. It is according to His effective power working in us."

The above article came from the web (from Great Britain) at
http://www.faithworks.org.uk/messages.htm

An Article
The Road to Nowhere

from Pastor Jeremy Griffiths in Australia

"One of the keys to successful pastoral ministry is momentum. I recently asked a youth pastor the reason why his youth ministry had doubled over the previous 12 months, "momentum" was the reply.

It is momentum that enables the surfer to ride the wave; it is momentum that makes it possible for the 500cc motorbike rider to lean the bike almost horizontally around the bend. And momentum in church life and ministry will enable you to break through all kinds of barriers and limitations. If you can ride God’s wave to the full, who knows where it will lead?

But how do you find momentum? What happens when the road leads uphill, when you hit the wall, when the going gets tough, when the wave stops? How do you find momentum when your emotions betray you, when physical weariness overwhelms you, when the fire in your heart has waned and the vision dimmed?

Luke 24 records an incident of two unknown disciples walking the road to nowhere. They were walking away from Jerusalem, heading towards a small town, which is only mentioned once in Scripture. This wasn’t just the road to Emmaus, it was the road to nowhere. They had lost direction, and lost their joy
(verse 17). Their hopes had faded
(verse 21) and their faith had lost its fire
(verse 25). Their lives and ministries had lost all momentum. These people were history!

It was at this point that Jesus joined their journey. We would have written them off, but the Lord wanted to rekindle their fire, restore their joy and renew their call. This was Resurrection Sunday, surely Jesus would have more important things to do than spend a couple of hours walking with two no-name disciples to some two-bit town. But the Lord of the Church has placed a great investment in the hearts of His ministers, and each one of them is valuable to Him.

The faith of these two was so low they didn’t recognise Him and it appears that Jesus went along with the subterfuge. He didn’t reveal who He was and claimed ignorance of the recent events in Jerusalem
(verse 19). Then abruptly the roles were reversed as the seemingly uniformed traveller became the informed preacher, as Jesus began what must be one of the greatest unrecorded sermons of all time,
"Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself"
(verse 27).

If there is a video library in Heaven, this is one to check out. Jesus, preaching on Jesus, from all the Scriptures. Matthew Henry says that you can find Him on every page of the Old Testament. He is there in the prophecies and promises; He is there in the types and pictures; and He is there in Person.

The effect of this on these two disheartened disciples was amazing. Arriving at Emmaus "they urged Him strongly"
(verse 29) to share their accommodation. They later expressed their hearts had "burned within them as He had talked with them on the road"
(verse 32). Realising who He was, "they returned at once to Jerusalem"
(verse 33). By now it was early evening, somewhere between 6 and 7 pm and dangerous to be out on the road. Besides, Jerusalem was eight miles away and the road was all uphill. Regardless of the dangers, physical tiredness, and the lateness of the hour, the two disciples headed back with renewed strength and great joy. These people were motivated! Their hearts were burning, their faith was stronger than it had ever been, the lost momentum of their ministry had not only returned, it now enabled them to run uphill to Jerusalem with the great news, "We’ve seen the Lord!" What changed these men? What fired their faith? What energised their physical bodies? How did they regain momentum? The answer is clear, they had seen the Lord. But when did they see Him? Quite obviously they recognised Him when He broke the bread
(verse 35). But it was while He was explaining the Scriptures that their hearts had begun to burn. Before they saw the Lord in Person, they had seen Him in the Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word. What their eyes saw as He broke the bread, was only a confirmation of what their hearts had already seen as they heard the Word.

Too often we read the Bible with subjective motives. We are looking for sermons, or seeking direction, or wanting answers, when all the time we should be focussing our attention on the One who is the source of all we need. I challenge you, spend some time this week reading the Word. Before you read, pray " Holy Spirit, reveal Jesus to me as I read your Word." Read through Ephesians or Philippians at one sitting. Re-read the gospels, not looking for sermons but for the Saviour.

Only a few people can claim they have walked with Jesus and heard His voice, but every one of us can open His word and see His glory. And when we do, the fire begins to burn, faith begins to rise, the wave begins to roll, and that lost momentum is found. Attend the seminars, read the books, surf the net, but more than all of these things, read His Word and see the Lord.

One of the loneliest roads is the road to nowhere. One of the lowest emotions is the pain of unfulfilled dreams and hopes. One of the greatest frustrations is losing momentum and not knowing where to find it. But you are valuable to Him. While others may write you off, He will come and walk beside you. And when we behold Him in His Word, we learn to walk in victory. Your day will come, God will turn it around, your faith will fire again."

The above article comes from the web at
http://naomi.mountains.net.au/marion/shepherd/shep13.htm


stir up the coals inside of you
it's time to catch fire
"This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you."
(2 Timothy 1:6)

An Article
Think on These Things
A minister's thought life is of paramount importance. Here is a brief article on just how important it is to you and me:

Philippians 4:8 - "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things."

"Paul's message to the Philippians and to us as well is calling for thoughts in the positive, centered in praise. He's rejecting the negative and critical thinking as improper for the believer. "If there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things." is how he concludes this verse. He wants us to get away from stinkin thinkin that permeates society at large.

Here's an interesting thought: Our thought life reveals who we are! Proverbs 23:7 says "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."
"Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you."

We are not what we think we are, meaning that we may think in our mind that we are many things, but we are not. However, our thought life, what we think, can control what we are in our life. Confusing, I know. But bear with me here...you'll hopefully see why what we think is so important.

Why is our thought life and pattern so important to God? What we think determines what it is we say and do. Thoughts give birth to our words, and our words have great power not only for us but in reaction with others. We can speak words into people's lives that bless them, inspire them, and encourage them. Just as equally, we can speak words to them that discourage, destroy, and cultivate hate and hurt. What we are thinking is what controls the words we speak. Thoughts give birth to our actions too, and consider the even more powerful effect of our actions:

Sow a thought,
reap an act.
Sow an act,
reap a habit.
Sow a habit,
reap a character
.

Actions can have an effect on our character, and given birth by...you guessed it...our thoughts! Every act, whether it be of kindness, love, hatred, crime, lust or violence, it's born from our thoughts. No wonder God is so interested in our thought life and what we think about! Psalms 139:23 shows us where the psalmist is asking for God to know his thoughts. God can help us deal with sin by allowing Him to search our heart and thoughts.

How can we tell if our thought patterns are pleasing to God? Paul summarizes the focus of our thoughts if they please God. Paul is giving us a picture of what our mind is to be thinking on as it ought to be. This is a sort of spiritual MRI of the believer's mind, and what it should reveal. Our thoughts should be on the things that are truthful, honest, noble, just, right, good. Our thoughts should be on things that are pure. There is so much impurity in these times that it's easy to dwell on these things, but we can't. Calvin called it "chastity in all departments of life."

In this verse, we see the things that are pleasing to God. Things of good report, and lovely. We should be seeking the best things in other people, rather than focusing on the negative. This is a whole other thing...but forgiveness of others when they wrong us or deal with us in a negative way is a good way to get our mind to the positive in people rather than the negative. And ultimately and most importantly, our thought life should be centered on God, and praising Him for who He is and what He is doing in our lives.

Let's bottom line it...how do we get our thought life to conform to God's will? We touched on this a little bit earlier. Right thoughts come from hearts that are right with God. I remind us of the psalmist in Psalms 139:23-24 who wanted God to search his thoughts and heart. When our heart is right with God, it will bring to us thoughts that are pleasing to God. How else?

1 John 1:9 tells us about if we sin, God is faithful to hear and forgive us of all unrighteousness. This includes the thoughts of our minds and hearts that don't line up with God's will for our thought life. We can go to God and confess these sinful thought patterns to Him and he will cleanse us of that.

Finally, we need to make good choices on the input we take. In other words, what we read, watch on TV, listen to on the radio, etc., will have an impact on our thought life. If we choose good, God-centered material, it will breed good thoughts. Our devotional life, our personal and corporate worship of Christ, the time we spend in the scriptures and other Christian books, will all develop the right thought life. How are we spending our time.

Romans 12:1-2 talks about this too, the renewing of the mind. Read the sermon here called "Time to Wave the White Flag" for more development of this thought.
http://www.noturningback.net/archives/whiteflag.htm

So, if Christ came back today, what would He find you thinking about? Good things? And what will we all need to make changes to in order to bring our thought life into a place where it is pleasing to God?"

The above article was written by Pastor Bill and comes from the web at
http://www.noturningback.net/archives/think.htm

Negative Things We May Say To Ourselves
With God Having a Positive Reply to It
:

You say: I can't do this
God says: "All things are possible"
(Luke 18:27)
You say: I'm too tired
God says: "I will give you rest"
(Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: Nobody really loves me
God says: "I love you"
(John 3:16 & John 13:34)
You say: I can't go on
God says: "My grace is sufficient"
(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: I can't figure things out
God says: "I will direct your steps"
(Proverbs 3:5-6)
You say: I can't do it
God says: "You can do all things"
(Philippians 4:13)
You say: I'm not able
God says: "I am able"
(II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: It's not worth it
God says: "It will be worth it"
(Roman 8:28)
You say: I can't forgive myself
God says: "I FORGIVE YOU"
(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: I can't manage
God says: "I will supply all your needs"
(Philippians 4:19)
You say: I'm afraid
God says: "I have not given you a spirit of
fear" (II Timothy 1:7)
You say: I'm always worried and frustrated."
God says: "Cast all your cares on ME"
(I Peter 5:7)
You say: I don't have enough faith
God says: "I've given everyone a measure of
faith" (Romans 12:3)
You say: I'm not smart enough
God says: "I give you wisdom"
(I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: I feel all alone
God says: "I will never leave you or
forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5)
"I can do all things through Christ who
strengthens me". Phil. 4:13

The above chart and information was found on the web at
http://www.jesuschristismygod.com/i-storiesa.html

An article titled
I Surrender

Author: Aaron Spiro

Scripture References: Luke 9:23-24 Luke 18: 22-23

Verse Text:
23 "Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24 "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."

"I surrender, I lie down, I give up."

"In the world, these words are rarely spoken. We are always taught to fight, to keep trying, to win. In the military, these words declare defeat. In sports, they result in a loss. In illness, they can mean death. In life, they mean failure. But in the context of selfish ambition and the pride of life, these words are the beginnings to true life and intimacy with Christ. God wants us all to die to ourselves, and in this death we can become alive in Christ Jesus."

"I was working on my newest record SING. I was struggling with some lyrics with a song and felt like I had exhausted my resources and my attempts. I had spent days racking my brain, trying to lyrically say something of worth that was original. I was challenged by my producer to get on my knees and cry out to God. I neglected to do so and wasted hours upon hours of selfish attempts. Finally, when I yelled out in my frustration, when I let go of myself, I experienced God. God caught me when I fell. It became less about music and my lyrics and completely about intimacy with Christ. God needed me to give up and surrender before I could find victory. It seems like death is needed before life can begin."

"Has the pursuit of a recording contract or getting your songs heard and recorded kept you from true intimacy with Christ? Has the longing to achieve and succeed robbed you from life? Have you ever struggled in your songwriting because of mixed motives? You must come to the end of yourself before you can begin to find God."

"I think that the purpose of the struggle is to reveal your need for God. The struggle reveals your inadequacy. It reveals how much you cannot do anything of worth without God. When we finally give in and send up the white flag, we find intimacy with Christ. We must let God into our circumstances and our art. Beautiful art causes us to worship our Creator. God is the one who allows a good song or a beautiful painting to enter this world all for the purpose of bringing Him glory. We cannot live and move in this life apart from our Lord. We must crumble into His arms, letting go of all of our stuff. It is all used to bring us to Himself and to teach us that our reliance must be on Him.

Questions:
"To what are you holding tightly?"
"Is there something you are trying to accomplish for selfish ambition or gain?"
"What area has God been asking you to give over to Him that you are reluctant to do so?"

Praise:
"Praise Him for His grace, praise Him for His beauty, praise Him for His pursuit of us."
"Praise Him for allowing us to be vessels for the creative process."
"Praise Him because in His death we have life."

This info comes from the web at
http://www.worshiptogether.com/bibleresources/bibleStudy.aspx?iid=215756

An article titled
We Bow Down

Submission

Author: Viola Grafstrom

Scripture References: Psalm 95:6

Verse Text:
"Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;"

"COME, LET US BOW DOWN IN WORSHIP, LET US KNEEL BEFORE THE LORD OUR MAKER; FOR HE IS OUR GOD AND WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF HIS PASTURE, THE FLOCK UNDER HIS CARE."

"AT JESUS FEET – THAT IS OUR PLACE OF PRIVILEGE AND OF BLESSING, AND HERE IT IS THAT WE ARE TO BE EDUCATED AND FITTED FOR THE PRACTICAL DUTIES OF LIFE. HERE WE ARE TO RENEW OUR STRENGTH WHILE WE WAIT ON HIM, AND TO LEARN HOW TO MOUNT ON WINGS AS EAGLES. HERE WE ARE TO LEARN HOW REAL WORK IS TO BE DONE, AND TO BE ARMED WITH THE TRUE MOTIVE POWER TO DO IT. TO SIT AT HIS FEET IS INDEED TO BE IN HEAVENLY PLACES, AND TO GAZE UPON HIS GLORY IS TO DO WHAT WE SHALL NEVER BE TIRED OF DOING."
W.Hay Aitken

"One of the words used for "worship" in Scripture means "to bow down." To worship something greater than what we can see is a deep need in all of us. It is true that man is blinded by many things. His thinking has become futile and his heart has been darkened.
(Romans 1:21)

"Many "gods" are being offered to us daily and if we allow ourselves to be driven by a dark heart, we can find ourselves bowing down to these gods. Some of us even end up worshipping ourselves and trusting our own answers to life rather than God’s. Maybe hurt and disappointment has made us stop listening or feeling. The voice inside us that is calling for The True Living God has been quenched and silenced. We find that before we bow to God we bow to ourselves and our own will."

"But God is still calling. Calling us back to Himself. Only in humbling ourselves can we hear His voice of love. Jesus came to serve. He came and humbled Himself by "bowing down" as a man and becoming obedient to death on the cross. Now, He has been lifted up above all He created. He rose again and conquered death and He is ALIVE TODAY!!!"

"Scripture tells us to look to His example– and in doing so, we find that there must be a time of bowing before we can be lifted up. We must come to a place of brokenness in our heart before we can truly find victory. In looking to Christ we see what true worship is. He has gone before us and is our ultimate example of what a life of "bowing down" should look like. He is worthy of all our praise, To Him alone we will bow."

"To truly bow down is to surrender our will, our pride- indeed our entire being- and declare that there is One greater than me. Only One- Jesus."

"Bowing down is a heart attitude that is reflected in our actions. If in our hearts, we are bowed down and reflecting the attitude of Christ in humility, it will show in how we live. We can help someone with their garden, buy someone a meal, give a bundle of hand-picked flowers, put a card in the mail for someone who is struggling..."

"It's about laying aside our will for the sake of God’s – and His will is seen in the life of Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve and give His life away. By bowing down, in due time, we will be lifted up."

This info comes from the web at
http://www.worshiptogether.com/bibleresources/bibleStudy.aspx?iid=215758


Onward Christian Soldier

Like Peter walking on the water, we in the ministry dare not get our eyes off of Jesus lest we sink...
To this effect here is an article on the greatness of our God:

God Longs to "Say the Word"

"A Roman Centurion approaches Jesus to heal his loyal servant. Jesus responds favorably to the centurion's request to heal his sick servant, and offers to go to his home where his servant is lying. Then the Centurion makes a declaration that sends a thrill through Jesus' heart of love and care:

"Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof...
but say the word, and my servant will be healed."
(Luke 7:6)

"Jesus commends the Roman Centurion, by saying,
"I tell you, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel."
(Luke 7:9)

"You see, the Centurion was calling not only on the Healing power of Jesus, but he was calling on the Creative power of Jesus as well- the power where all that was necessary would be to speak, and it would be done. This has to be the ultimate expression of an unconditional belief in God's power,
"Just say the word."

"In my thinking it was because the Centurion had accepted Jesus not only as a man sent from God, but God Himself- Creator, Controller, and King of All. This is the declaration that God longs for from each of His creatures...
"Just say the word."

"This declaration is the indication that the person has unconditionally accepted the Creatorship of God.
"Lord I won't be troubled by my financial challenges, because you will just "speak the word"...

"Lord, I won't allow self-pity or a low self-esteem to overwhelm me in the separating of this relationship, because you will just "speak the word"...

"Lord, I won't let the loneliness I am facing at present discourage me because you will just "speak the word"...

"Lord, I won't worry about the job I have just lost because you will just "speak the word."

"God Sends Reminders of His Creatorship-
This is the talk and the thoughts that God aches to hear from His creatures. He knows that when the Creative power of His spoken word is used as a real and tangible means of strength and support in all circumstances of human life, a miracle happens in the believer's life. A miracle of renewal, a miracle of revival and a miracle of recreation."

"God has gone out of His way to place tokens at every possible point in human life to remind man that He is the Supreme Author of life, of healing, and of love. Although God's creation has been scarred by man's rebellion against God, there is still such incredible beauty and grandeur there."

"The sanctity of human life is endowed upon us by our Creator, who knew us before the universe was created. We are His masterpiece no matter our physical state to be free to enjoy Christ's love..."

This info comes from the web at
http://www.miraclesforyou.com/other/creator/creator.html

CONCLUSION

I hope that something that I have had to say will have helped you, given you an answer, encouraged you, or kept you behind the pulpit for at least one more time.

It is good to "take a sabatical" leave from the ministry from time to time as you need it, especially when you are going through mid-life crisis. Things can get pretty touchy emotionally during this time so take a break if you need to and come back to the ministry again after things smooth out for you later on. I knew a Roman Catholic priest one time who did that and it worked out real good for him to do things that way.

Being in the ministry is not an easy task. There can be a lot of demands made on you and on your family. You and your family, it always seems, are always under a magnifying glass besides being the light of the world. You are always a target of Satan and his imps as well as his undercover agents. You have to give so much that at times you just get tired of giving. And you have to love people. And you have to invest time in other people. And then there are the major problems like money and women. The pressure can, at times, be very great. And you always have to have a good attitude, and you have to have so much continual love-
I understand all of that.

I just want you to know that you are well loved and appreciated and that the good Lord is going to reward you richly for all of what you have gone through and for all of what you have sacrificed for His name and in His calling.

An old Four Square Minister friend of mine by the name of Cal Midgley once told me that after he had retired from the active ministry he had invitations from church leaders come to him from time to time asking him to pastor a church here or there. But Cal said no. He told me that he just didn't have the love for the sheep anymore. So, instead of being a pastor, a sheep burper, he was now going to be an evangelist, a sheep skinner! And he said he liked that a lot better...

Well, each to his own, I say...

For a ten year period of my life I had ordination with my own ministry. I had the power to marry and bury. Some of my friends had ordination for decades, some did not. One friend had it, then resigned it, then picked it up again later. I resigned my ordination after I did not need it anymore because I went to work in the secular field. I still run my ministry as a volunteer, however. I just don't have Rev. in front of my name. A friend of mine once told me that Rev. meant "awesome" in Latin. I don't know if I was awesome or not but I thought it was amusing, nevertheless. I asked my friend what I should call him after he resigned his ordination since he was not a Rev. anymore. He said, "just call me Hey You!"
written by Kraig J. Rice

Save your soul
nothing else matters


www.breadonthewaters.com


You better not compromise yourself
It's all you've got

Do You Have Spiritual Hunger?
Is God Your Partner?
Do You Have Self Worth?
Are You Keeping At Your Work Tract
     If you are a pastor, minister, priest, or Christian worker who is facing persecution, tough times, or
     discouragement, then this is must reading for you.
Encouragement- If you need further encouragement.
Overcoming Discouragement- Tips on how to overcome discouragement.
Testimonies- Here are various testimonies that will help you with your faith.
A Bible Study About Miracles
     Do you need a miracle to happen in your life? God still works miracles. Maybe He has one for you...
A Man Trying To Get Away From God
     Here is a true story about a wounded Christian who threw it all away and how he came back to God. This story
     may give you hope if you need it because God never stops loving and reaching out to those who are wounded.

Sermons For You
Are You Addicted To Religion?
Have You Been Disobedient In Relation To Missions?
Not Seeing Immediate Fruit In Your Ministry?
Are you really committed?
Are You Struggling?
Do you feel like getting away from it all?
It's ok if you don't have all of the answers...
The Book of Revelation Chapters 1 - 4

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As of April 5, 2005