Friday, May 30, 2008

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ministry Job Seeker Advice - Tips from the Pros

as Pastors this was sent to me, thought this will be great to read, and absorb what the Lord wants for us, as leaders.
Joyce Pillay

*thanks helpmeet*

Pre-Conditions of a Church Leader

If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he's talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry.

He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God's church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap. (1 Timothy 3:1-7, The Message)

Well-thought-of.Is this true of you? Be honest; don’t delude yourself.

1. Committed to your spouse. You may feel totally committed to your spouse, but does he/she know it?

2. Cool and collected. Have you blown your temper lately? All leaders come under pressure at times, but these times can truly test this particular leadership pre-condition.

3. Accessible. Is your office door open or closed right now? What does this tell you?

4. Hospitable. Is it important to you to provide a welcome environment for others?

5. Must know what you’re talking about. Do you faithfully and diligently do your homework?

6. Not be overfond of wine. If this happens to be an area of vulnerability, watch out.

7. Not pushy but gentle. Do you manipulate? Or do you lead?

8. Not thin-skinned. Count your blessings; ignore your blisters!

9. Not money-hungry. Money is never, ever more important than people.

10. Handle your own affairs well. Are any of your personal affairs in shambles?

11. Attentive to your children and having their respect. Don’t place your ministry ahead of your family.

12. Must not be a new believer. You probably satisfy this one.

13. Outsiders must think well of you. What is your reputation in your community?

Helpful Hints & Suggestions
10 Steps in Creating a Good Résumé

1. Choose a target job (also called a "job objective"). An actual job title works best.

2. Find out what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to do that target job.

3. Make a list of your 2, 3, or 4 strongest skills, abilities, or knowledge that make you a good candidate for the target job.

4. For each key skill, think of several accomplishments from your past work history that illustrate that skill.

5. Describe each accomplishment in a simple, powerful action statement that emphasizes the benefit to your employer.

6. Make a list in chronological order of the primary jobs you've held. Include any unpaid work that fills a gap or shows you have the skills for the target job.

7. Make a list of your training and education related to the target job.

8. Choose a résumé format that fits your situation, either chronological or functional. Functional works best if you're changing fields; chronological works well if you're moving up in the same field.

9. Arrange your action statements according to the format you choose.

10. Summarize your key points at the top of your résumé.

good resource: How You Can Live the Lord's Prayer

Whitney Hopler
source: CW

Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of David Timms' new book, Living the Lord's Prayer, (Bethany House, 2008).

The Lord's Prayer is much more than just a model of how best to pray. It's a statement of how to get to know God's heart. And when you live out those words, God will transform you completely.

Here's how you can live the Lord's Prayer:

Our: Realize that the journey to a deeper walk with God can only be fully lived in the company of God's people. Faith is not an individual pursuit; it's meant to be pursued within the context of community. Whenever you abandon the body of Christ, you're abandoning yourself. You can't grow in grace by withdrawing from others. Commit to long-term relationships with people. When you face a difficulty in any of your relationships, don't simply run or battle it out with the other person. Instead, resolve the issue and reconcile. Focus on people over productivity and on relationships over results. Instead of looking at people in terms of what they can do for you, seek to simply get to know them and love them. Don't place people in categories and distinguish between them. Ask God to help you view all people as He sees them -- equally valuable because they're all made in His image -- and to treat everyone with respect and kindness. Remember that you can truly love God if you don't love your brothers and sisters in Christ. Don't let anything divide the unity God wants you to have. Remain committed to each other, living in grace and forgiveness, just as God remains committed to you.

Father: Experience true love and security from your ultimate Father: God. Remember the Gospel's promise of freedom. Don't slip into a lifestyle of worrying about duties, obligations, rules, regulations, expectations, and demands when God wants you live freely. Instead of trying to live faithfully just because you'd feel guilty if you didn't, let your love for God and your gratitude for His grace motivate you to live faithfully. Rather than letting fear guide your decisions, make decisions with the confidence that God will love you no matter what and will always be there to help you.

In the heavens: Developing a cosmic perspective of God will nurture your faith and give you the hope you'll need to get through challenging circumstances. Recognize that the spiritual realm you can't see is just as much of a reality as the material world you can see. Just beyond what's visible lies a supernatural dimension that often intersects with the natural world in which you live. God transcends your human limitations, and He is present in all dimensions. God is as close to you as your next breath, yet as far-reaching as the most distant areas of the universe. Ask God to help you become fully aware of His constant presence with you, and of the work He is doing in the world around you. Change your lifestyle so you're not regularly distracted from noticing God at work. Learn how to be still, focus, wait, and listen.

Hallowed be your name: Seek to honor God by the way you live. Do more than just say words of adoration about Him. Surrender every part of your life to Him and do your best to obey what He calls you to do. Ask God to help you become aware of your own sinfulness. Acknowledge your failures, confess your sins, and repent. Then pursue holiness. Aim for higher standards -- God's standards. Let the knowledge of your sin show you how much you need God's grace and motivate you to draw closer to Him. Acknowledge that it's God's holiness that enables you to be fulfilled. His holiness empowers you to see the shortsightedness of secularism, the poverty of profanity, and the futility of immorality. As you hallow God's name, He confronts everything destructive and poisonous within you. Never allow yourself to become complacent; keep pursuing more holiness every day of your life.

Your kingdom come: Participate in God's kingdom rather than retreating into your own. Invite God not to partner with your life, but to come and rule your life. Let go of your own agenda and pursue God's plans for you, trusting that the One who created you knows what's best for you. Surrender your values to embrace God's values, submit your will to His, and cede your ambition in favor of God's purposes. Ask God to humble you so you can know Him better. Realize that you can't build your private empire and God's eternal kingdom at the same time. So hold loosely to your own achievements and allegiances. Remember that you don't work for yourself or by yourself; you serve God as He works through you.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven: Seek to do God's will rather than your own will when you make decisions every day. Ask God to transform your willfulness into willingness. Remember that God wants what's best for you. Tell Him that you want what He wants, and receive what He gives. Don't worry about trying to discover the details of the future God has planned for you. Entrust all the details to God and simply make a habit of following where God leads you every day. Discard your fantasies of perfect people and situations, and, instead, direct your energy to loving the people you actually know and working out the real situations you encounter. Affirm your desire for God's purposes instead of just your own fantasies. Don't be so preoccupied with your plans for the future that you don't notice God with you in each present moment. As you live in His presence, you live in His will. As you have the courage to pray for God's will to be done, your prayer will help you develop a purity of heart that will transform you into the person God wants you to become. If you're willing to undergo anything to know God more, your passion will lead to wonderful work that God will do in you, through you, and with you.

Give us this day our daily bread: Learning how to depend on God's unlimited power rather than your own limited efforts will draw you closer to Him. Recognize that the spiritual and the physical are inseparably connected, so everything you do in the physical realm relates to the spiritual realm. Whenever you have a physical need, it relates to a spiritual need in some way. No matter what problems you're facing -- from a broken relationship to financial troubles -- you'll find better solutions if you pray than if you if you try to tackle them on your own. Every kind of activity you do can be a spiritual act of service to the Lord -- not just studying your Bible or going to church, but helping a neighbor with yard work or visiting someone in the hospital. Whenever you misuse your physical body (such as through sexual immorality), you experience spiritual consequences. You can always count on God to provide what you need, both physically and spiritually. But you need to develop a habit of depending on Him every day, rather than trying to make things happen for yourself on your own. Give up your attempts to live a self-sufficient and comfortable life, and thank God that He provides all you need -- even the next breath you take. Simplify your demands and expectations, focusing on your true needs rather than extravagant desires. When you present your requests to God, ask for what you need, and be willing to share with others to become part of the answer to their prayers for what they need.

Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors: Nurture a culture of grace in your life by following God's call to forgive the people who hurt you. Choose to forgive, despite your feelings, and trust that God will help you to do so. Remember that forgiving doesn't mean condoning something wrong or forgetting it. It simply means releasing it. In the process, you'll experience freedom from bitterness that can poison your soul. Forgiveness will restore your soul and allow you to move on. Remember how much God has forgiven you, and let your gratitude motivate you to obey His command to forgive others. Keep in mind that grace is the opposite of what you deserve: You deserve punishment, but God has given you blessing; You deserve judgment, but God has adopted you; You deserve alienation, but God has welcomed you. Since you've accepted God's grace yourself, you need to extend that same grace to others. But don't take advantage of God's grace, but confessing your sin in a casual manner or repenting in a flippant way. Take your sin seriously, and express gratitude to God often for His forgiveness. Give God your love and respect, and freely offer to others that grace that He gives you.

Lead us not into testing, but deliver us from evil: Grow in faith and obedience to grow closer to God. Be alert to the possibility that God will test you in various ways, and keep in mind that if He does, the tests will be designed to help you and not to harm you. Constantly seek to deepen your faith. Recognize and identify the different types of evil that exist in your life. Then confront them to break their hold over your life. Ask God to deliver you from whatever sin is oppressing you: anger, lust, greed, jealousy, bitterness, lies, etc. Remember that God alone empowers you to overcome sin, and that deliverance arises from you choosing to obey Him. Trust God to use your failures to help you grow. The only failure that ultimately matters is the failure to have faith. If you do have faith, though, with God's help you can overcome any other failure.

Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory: Abandon your pursuit of control and fame for yourself and focus your efforts on glorifying the God who created you. Pursuing your own kingdom on earth inevitably produces conflict and discontent. But pursuing God's purposes for your life will lead to true fulfillment. Remember that all of history is about God, not just you. Ultimately, only God's power and glory matter. While pursuing your own agenda may temporarily lead to fame and influence, without God, it will all be in vain. Serving God, though, will lead to great and lasting significance. Even the smallest act of service for God is hugely important.

Amen: Live from a position of saying "Yes" to God each day. Look beyond your circumstances to God, and choose to live by faith in every situation, trusting God for the ultimate outcome. Find the hope you need in God's promises, and live with the expectation of Him keeping all of them.

Adapted from Living the Lord's Prayer, copyright 2008 by David Timms. Published by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., David Timms teaches and chairs the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. David has been a church planter, pastor, and trainer of pastors for twenty-five years. His e-zine, In Hope, shares his reflections on Christian leadership and spiritual formation. He and his wife, Kim, have three sons and live in Fullerton, California.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Finding Joy When Life Isn't Fair

Daniel Darling
source: Crosswalk

Editor's Note: In October 2007, we ran Daniel Darling's article titled, "Is God Fair? Maybe Not, But He's Right." This article is a follow-up to that first one. The author writes: "I was surprised at how much reaction [the first] article generated. Mostly people agreed with my assessment that our expectations for life are wildly out of touch with biblical reality. However, there were a few who commented that perhaps the tone of my article was one of bitterness at life's disappointments. 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,' one person wrote. I agree, so I thought it good to write a follow-up on the unexpected joy Christians find in the midst of trials." Enjoy.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning"Psalm 30:5

When you first meet Linda Sullivan, my mother-in-law, you might think she has enjoyed a carefree, easygoing life. You might think she has never endured rejection, disappointment, or betrayal.

But you'd be wrong. As I chronicled in an earlier article, Linda has endured a gut-wrenching series of setbacks in her life, enough to make some Christians consider abandoning their faith.

Linda's not that way, however. Despite her hardship, Linda is full of joy. She has not only kept her faith, she's shared it with countless others. She wears a constant smile and is an encouragement to her family and her network of friends.

I've known Linda for six years and I've never seen her without a pen and a stack of note cards. There is always someone to encourage, someone's burden to help carry, someone to pray over. She has sent innumerable cards, bookmarks, and gifts to those who are hurting. And her cell phone is always dialed up with someone who needs a friend.

Linda's life is a great example of a biblical paradox: joy in the midst of suffering.

The world - and sadly, many in the church - have propagated the myth that happiness is found in prosperity, in promotion, in power. How often have you heard, "If you follow God, all your problems will go away"? Or, "God wants to make you rich"?

That doesn't quite square with Jesus words to his disciples in Matthew 16:24: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."

Thus, American Christians, having been fed a steady diet of false expectations, are not conditioned for the hard times. When something comes along that threatens the good life, we throw our hands up and scream, "Wait, this isn't fair!"

Now is where real faith enters - faith that God knows what He is doing and has our best interests at heart. Faith that nothing we endure is outside of His will. Faith that looks for happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment in a relationship with God.

This is also where real joy begins. Joy in trials. Consider the words of James to the early church, which endured bitter persecution. He said, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (
James 1:2

Paul experienced that joy. Writing from prison, Paul encouraged the believers of Philippi with a letter whose theme is "Rejoice." He spoke as if joy were optional, a choice. Something you choose to do in spite of your circumstances.

Linda has made this choice throughout her life. And because of her testimony, her life has been a light to bring others into the Kingdom. It's akin to the testimony of Job, who said, "Though he slay me, yet I will trust him" (Job 13:15); the testimony of Joseph, who looked at his brothers, who had betrayed him, and said, "What you meant for evil, God meant for good" (Genesis 50:20); the testimony of the prophet Habakkuk, who surveyed his corrupt and crumbling nation and declared, "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17).

The truth is that life isn't fair. You know it. I know it. Things happen that knock us off of our feet. But we have a God who promises to lead us by the hand, to wrap his arms around us, and to work out our life for His glory.

Daniel Darling is the author of
Teen People of the Bible
. Visit him at

The Seasons of Parenting

Dr. John Rosemond
source: CW
There is a time for everything, and a season to every activity under heaven. --Ecclesiastes 3:1

Like farming, raising livestock, gathering maple syrup, and the migrations of fish and birds, the raising of children is marked by seasons. These seasons were established by God; therefore, they cannot be altered at the whim of man.

Each of them is defined chronologically, and just as each of Earth's seasons requires of a farmer a unique set of tasks, so each of parenting's seasons requires a specific parental role and distinct parental responsibilities. A farmer who conforms his behavior to the unique characteristics of each of agriculture's seasons is all but assured a high yield.

Likewise, parents who conform their behavior to the unique requirements of each of the seasons of child rearing will be all but assured a "high yield" of reward and satisfaction out of seeing their children advance toward and eventually claim responsible maturity.

The Season of Service
The first of these, the Season of Service, begins at birth and lasts approximately two years. During this initial season parents function as servants to a child who cannot serve himself and cannot anticipate the consequences of his actions. His dependency and ignorance (not to be confused with lack of intelligence!) require that his parents place him at the center of their attention and orbit around him in a near-constant ministry of surveillance and "doing"--checking, feeding, carrying, changing, comforting, fixing, fetching, and so on.

The purposes of season one are threefold:
• To "root" the child securely in the world--to assure him that he is where he belongs, with people who love him and who will take good and proper care of him under any and all circumstances.
• To provide for the child's fundamental biological needs--put bluntly, to keep him alive and thriving. • To prevent, as much as is humanly possible, the child from hurting himself.

In all cultures and in all times, the mother has been and is the primary servant during season one. (There have been and are exceptions, but they are individual exceptions that have not significantly tilted the historical norm.) The father, even one who wants to be highly involved, stands slightly outside the periphery of his wife's busy orbiting. He is her "parenting aide." Like a teacher's aide's, the husband's job is to assist his wife and fill in for her when she needs a break. Consequent to this child centeredness, the marriage is "catch-as-catch-can" during season one. (To those of you who have noticed what may appear to be an inconsistency between what I say here and what I have earlier said about mothers orbiting around their children and fathers playing the role of "parenting aide," I will simply say [paraphrasing Ecclesiastes 3:1], "There is a time for everything . . . but it is not the entire time.")

Now, an infant or young toddler may not yet have well-developed language skills, but he is highly intelligent nonetheless. He is drawing inarticulate conclusions concerning the workings of things in his microcosm (which is the one-and-only world as far as he is concerned), one of which is that his mother is there to do his bidding and that he has power and authority over her. He verifies this by crying, at which his mother appears and does everything in her power to fix whatever it is that is causing his distress.

Grandma understood that whereas her ministry was a necessary one, she was slowly creating a monster. If she did not bring this first season to a close, she was in danger of raising a spoiled brat--a child who would believe that as his mother was continuing to do, so the world revolved around him. She realized that out of absolute necessity she had caused her child to believe that he had power over her, that she was his gofer; therefore, she had to step up to the plate and correct that impression. And so, around her child's second birthday, as he became more capable of doing basic things for himself, Grandma began to make the critical transition from the first of parenting's seasons to its second. Under normal circumstances, this transition takes about a year. It is, without question, the most significant and precedent-setting of all times in the parent-child relationship, the future of which hangs in the balance.

To bring about this transformation, a mother must begin:
• Teaching and expecting her child to do for himself what she has previously done for him--use the toilet instead of diapers, get his own cup of water and basic snacks, dress himself, pick up his toys, and so on. • Building a boundary between herself and her child, thus limiting his access to her--making him wait before she does something for him, refusing to pick him up (pointing out that she is involved with some¬thing else), instructing him to go elsewhere while she finishes a task.
• Backing slowly out of a state of high involvement with her child and re-establishing a state of high involvement with her husband, thus bringing his tenure as parenting aide to a close.

The Season of Leadership and Authority
As is so often the case when seasons change, this transitional year is marked by storms of protest from a child who wants season one to go on forever. Who can blame him? Who would not want a servant for life? But if the mother stays the course, then by the time her child has reached his third birthday, he will see her with new eyes: once a servant, now a formidable authority figure who is not to be trifled with. Where once he was at the center of her attention, she is now at the center of his. She insists that he do more and more things for himself, that he give her "space' to do what she needs and wants to do (including putting her feet up and doing nothing), and makes it perfectly clear that her relationship with his father trumps her relationship with him. And so begins the Season of Leadership and Authority, during which time the parents' job is to govern the child in such a way that he (1) consents to their government (becomes their willing disciple), and (2) internalizes their discipline and gradually develops the self-restraint necessary to govern himself responsibly.
This is not to say that parents should never serve a child who is in season two. There will, in fact, be times when service is absolutely necessary, but whereas service is the rule in season one, it should be the exception from that time on.

The Season of Mentoring
Season two lasts for ten years, from three to thirteen, at which point a second transition takes place (or should) that moves parent and child into season three, the Season of Mentoring. It is no coincidence that in traditional cultures, early adolescent rites of passage--Jewish bar and bat mitzvahs being extant ex-amples--occur when a child is thirteen. These rituals mark and celebrate a major transition in the parent-child relationship. They acknowledge that the child in question has completed the disciplinary "curriculum" of season two and is now regarded as self-governing. He no longer needs adults to tell him what and what not to do; rather, he needs adult mentors to help him acquire the practical skills he will need to emancipate successfully--how to apply for a job, balance a budget, plan for the future, and the like.

The Season of Friendship
The successful emancipation of the child marks the end of season three, the last season of active parenting, and the beginning of season four, the Season of Friendship. During this last and most rewarding of parenting's seasons, the child's parents are parents in the biological sense only; in reality, parents and child now regard one another as peers. The younger peer may seek guidance from one or both of the older peers, but that is no different from one friend seeking the counsel of another. In season three, guidance was provided largely at the parents' initiative; now, guidance is provided largely at the initiative of the biological child.
Within the framework of this seasonal approach to parenting, children emancipate relatively early. In Shakespeare's time, males were fully emancipated by age eighteen. As recently as 1970, the average age of successful emancipation was twenty.

From PARENTING BY THE BOOK by John Rosemond. Copyright (c) 2007 John K. Rosemond. Reprinted by permission of Howard Books, a Division of Simon & Shuster, Inc.
John Rosemond is a family psychologist who has both directed mental health programs and been in full-time private practice working with families and children. Since 1990. he has devoted his time to speaking and writing. John's weekly syndicated parenting column now appears in some 250 newspapers. Along the way, he's also managed to write eleven bestselling books on parenting and the family. As if that wasn't enough, he is one of the busiest and most popular speakers in his field, giving over 200 talks a year to parent and professional groups nationwide. He and his wife of 39 years, Willie, have two grown children and six well-behaved grandchildren. For more information visit and