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Missing memory cog and thus a late blog post

I spaced.  In the midst of the craziness of the ministry here, I completely spaced and forgot this was my day to post.

So, I’ll be very brief and share with all of you what I share with my congregation every year at this time.

Even non-Christians like to ponder the idea of the “spirit of Christmas”.  I believe it’s good for us to ponder this too.  But as a follower of Jesus and a believer in the bible as God’s Word, I believe we should at least make an effort to define the “spirit of Christmas” in a way that lines up with what the bible teaches.

Here’s what I tell the people in my congregation:

“If you want to really express the “spirit of Christmas”: consider thinking about one or more of these people:

1.  The neighbor who hates you no matter what you’ve done to try to live peaceably next door to them.

2.  The relative who talks negative about you even though you’ve helped that person out financially or by connecting him or her with friends or relatives when they had a need for a job or help in some other way.

3.  The co-worker whose lack of work you covered and yet they still got the recognition for having accomplished the job in such a great manner….and actually got a promotion because of it, a promotion that you deserved.

4.  The thief who would steal from you if they could get access to any of the things you own.

5.  The murderer who would take your life if he was ever given a chance to be a part of your world.

Then, take the money and the time you were going to use to show your love to family and friends, and lavish it upon any one of the people above.

If you actually did that, you’d be approaching the biblical concept behind “the spirit of Christmas”.

This is what our God did in sending His Son, and what that Son taught in the first recorded sermon we have from Him.  Matt 5:43-48

 

difficultpeople

Dealing with Difficult People in the Church

1 Thess 5:14-15 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.

There are just times in life when you are going to have to deal with difficult people. Just the other day my seven year old daughter told me that when she says hi to a girl in her class the girl replies “I don’t like you!” It’s sad because the girl is the daughter of a pastor and you would expect better but as we all know dealing with difficult people can be tough. It is especially so in the church because we usually expect more from others than we do from ourselves.

Paul gives us some tips on the seven types of difficult people that you will come across in the church:

  1. Disorderly: The ESV uses idle which is correct but misses the point here. Disorderly carries the meaning of an insubordinate soldier. These are the people in the church who are out of step with where the church is going. Paul tells us to admonish them. That means we need to come alongside them and instruct them or speak some sense into them. Disorderly people disrupt and corrupt people in the church with their anger which has usually festered into bitterness. It is the job of the mature believers to speak to them.
  2. Worried: Worried is just another word for fainthearted. The worry warts in the church are those who are clustered in the middle of the church working to make the church as safe and secure as possible. They don’t want the church risking anything and will resist any work that might bring persecution in their life. Paul tells us that we need to encourage them to step out in faith. We are not to give into their concerns but in turn push them towards what God wants them to do.
  3. Weak: The word weak here means those who are weak when it comes to temptation. They are susceptible to giving into to it and need people to come alongside them and help them with it. Whether it be a addiction recovery or a mature believer walking with them as they get stronger in their resistance to temptation we as a church are to help them do that. So many people are suffering in silent addiction worrying about judgment from those in the church.
  4. Wearisome: The end of vs. 14 says “be patient with them all.” Paul knows that it is easy to become frustrated with problem people. It is double;y difficult when you have invested time in people and they show little commitment. Paul reminds us to be patient with them. Several times Jesus chided the disciples because of their lack of faith. We need to have endless patience with people.
  5. Wicked:The most difficult people to deal with are the wicked. These are people who purposely try to hurt others, usually through their words. In vs. 15 Paul tells us not to repay evil for evil and to do good to everyone. Simply put we are not supposed to retaliate against them. Although this is the greatest temptation instead we are to repay them with good. Rom 12:20 says that we are to feed them. Now most of us are on board with not swinging back but very few would get on board with having them over for dinner. What this shows is that we are above the hurt that was intended.

I have dealt with these types of people over and over in the church. They drain you of every resource but they can not take your joy. If Christ is our true source of strength, peace, and joy we will consider it a privilege to minister to them.

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Is Allah the One True God?

My city, outside of Afghanistan and refugee camps in Pakistan, hosts the third largest Afghan population in the world (30,000 – 40,000 depending on who you ask).  My home is a ½ mile from Little Kabul – an area of kabob restaurants and Afghan owned businesses.  Four doors down from the church is the Ibrahim Khalilallah (Abraham the Friend of God) Mosque.  The Lord has led CC Fremont into the ministry of Muslim evangelism.

Being involved in Muslim evangelism brings one face-to-face with certain questions.  One question I have always answered in the negative is: Is the God of Islam the one true God?  I have always thought myself justified in my negative response because some of the character descriptions of Allah in the Qur’an, its Unitarianism as opposed to Trinitarianism, and its lack of incarnational mission paint Allah in much different colors than Yahweh in His full Biblical portrayal.  But I think I am changing my mind – and here’s why.

Many who argue that the God of Islam is not the one true God go on to assert that the God of Judaism is the one true God.  And yet the God of Judaism seems closer to the God of Islam than to the God of Christianity.

  • Both Judaism and Islam are Unitarian, not Trinitarian.
  • Both deny that Jesus is the Son of God (and if our theology has a Christological lens, this is devastating).
  • Both deny the atonement.  Islam denies the crucifixion of Jesus whereas Judaism denies the resurrection of Jesus.  (Interestingly enough, Jesus holds a much higher pace within Islam than He does within Judaism).
  • Both deny justification by faith and assert salvation by self-effort.

I don’t see how the denial of Islam’s’ God would not force denial of Judaism’s God.  And if one asserts that Judaism worships the one true God, I don’t know how you could deny Muslims the same status.

Consider also Paul’s sermon to the Athenians on Mars Hill (Acts 17:23).  Upon noting the plurality of their gods, he says,

For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. NASB

Implicit in Paul’s announcement is that they worship the one true God!  They worship Him in ignorance, but He is the object of their worship.  Yet –

  • this does not mean that God is pleased with their worship.
  • this does not mean that this worship rightly relates them to the God they worship.
  • this does not mean that the worship of the one true God saves them.
  • this does not mean that their worship ennobles them.

In speaking with the Samaritan woman, Jesus says:

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.  John 4:22

Grammatical note: in both Acts 17:23 and John 4:22 the relative pronoun HOS is used.  It can be mean who or what depending on context.  It is interesting that, in the KJV, the translators used the word whom in Acts 17:23 and what in John 4:22, both referring to God.  I think it is safe to say that both rabbis, Jesus and Paul, think of God as a who and not a what.  Jesus doesn’t tell the Samaritan woman that she has the wrong God, but that she has a misguided worship.  Paul tells the Athenians that they worship the one true God in ignorance.  Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that she, and by implication the Samaritans, worship the one true God in ignorance.

Jesus said that no one comes to the Father but by Him.

  • Muslims fail to come to the Father for they do not come through the Son.
  • Jews fail to come to the Father for they do not some through the Son.
  • Worshippers of the unknown god fail to come to the Father for they do not come through the Son.
  • The Samaritans fail to come to the Father for they do not come through the Son.

The problem for the Athenians, the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Muslims isn’t the God they worship, but their worship of that God – it is an ignorant worship – not a false God.  Ultimately, their problem isn’t with the Father, but with the Son.

Coming to the provisional conclusion that Allah is the one true God has relieved me of a burden I didn’t know I was laboring under.  There has been in me a desire to speak with Muslims in a way that communicates (ever so subtly) that I have a profound disrespect for Allah.  To compare Allah of the Qur’an and Yahweh of the Bible will yield some interesting results, but will not result in a Muslim being impressed, let alone converted.  I see now that I don’t need to speak with a  Muslim about the misguided notions they hold about God, I just need to speak to them about Jesus!  Through Christ, God comes into focus.  Wow!  What a burden lifted.  When they look at God through a Christological lens, He will come into proper focus.  Any kind of apologetic or polemic that attempts to equate Allah with the Moon-God or any other derivation gets about as much traction as someone trying to convince us that Jesus is the mythical lovechild of Semiramis and Tammuz.  Since Islam knows nothing of God as Father, the focus on Christ is paramount because in and through Christ the Father is known.

That Muslims worship the one true God, albeit imperfectly, is a thesis that is making more and more sense to me.  What do you think?  If you disagree, just don’t write and tell me so, tell me why.  Who knows, you may win me over.  I welcome irenic discussion of this.  I am willing to yield to wisdom and good reason.

Finally, please pray for our outreach to Muslims.  So far, I don’t feel that we’re doing a good job.  Pray that the love of Christ would be seen in us and the power of the Holy Spirit would flow through us.

And please, always remember –  Muslims are not the enemy, they are victims of the enemy.

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The Weight of Inadequacy

Many people don’t like Monday’s because it marks the end of their weekend and the start of a new work week.  As a teaching pastor, I have discovered that Monday’s are days where discouragement often strikes.  The day to daydream about the 9-5 sort of job.  The jobs pastors daydream about are sort of funny.  I have heard that Driscoll daydreams about being a bread baker, others UPS drivers, and many others that offer clear work and off hours.  Why are Mondays so brutal for preaching pastors? It is a strange thing really.  I am convinced that this is a reality for most pastors…or I hope I am not alone.

I read “Preaching for God’s Glory” by Alistair Begg the other day (and am currently reading “On Being a Pastor“).  I really liked it and suggest that you as a preaching pastor read it!  There was a line in it that resonated with me in light of this post.  He quoted this from Thornwell, “Any man who has had some glimpse of what it is to preach will inevitably feel that he has never preached. But he will go on trying, hoping that by the grace of God one day he may truly preach.”  This quote nails the weight of our strain so clearly.

The weight of the Word.  We have been given this awesome responsibility to communicate God’s Word to the people in our midst.  Who am I to convey this?  I need to hear it more than I need to preach it!

This awesome responsibility drives us to study, meditate, and to pray about the text.  The pastor who understands his task and his responsibility (notice that we “will give an account” (Hebrews 13:17) to  before God for our people’s souls) to effectively communicate His Word is driven to study the text!

The limited ability to transfer your study to the people.  In seminary, yes I support the value of Bible Colleges and Seminary (good ones that are anchored in the Word of God), a professor made an illustration of the importance of individual study.  He said something along the lines that a mother bird can effectively transfer nutrients by chewing up her food and then vomiting it into her chicks mouth.  Unfortunately, the only real way for one to gain nutrients of the Word is to study and digest on their own.   As a preaching pastor you should have so consumed that text that it permeates all of your thoughts and dreams.  So after seven days of study, you only have 45-75 minutes to transfer what God has taught you from the text.  There is no way to transfer everything, therefore you will always feel like you dropped the ball in your teaching.

Seek to please God in your preparation.  I have been preaching week-to-week now for about five years.  In this time I have discovered that I can walk away from the sermon feeling two things that are not mutually independent: 1) I pleased God with my delivery, and/or 2) I delivered in a technically sound way to the people.  I have discovered that I am most satisfied when my prep time and heart are in the right place with God as I deliver the sermon.  In contrast, I am least satisfied when, regardless of the sermon delivery, my heart or prep time were not pleasing to the Lord.  Each week my goal is to prepare in a way that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t always succeed due to life.

Be yourself and relax!  I can’t tell you how encouraged I was to read Charles Swindoll encourage young preachers to be themselves in their preaching.  Too often young pastors try to be someone other than themselves in their preaching.  God created you uniquely and your preaching style will be unique to your personality.  The sooner you realize you are not Rick Warren, Charles Swindoll, Allistair Begg, Chuck Smith, or David Jeremiah the better off you will be!

Connect with other pastors.  One of the greatest blessings in my growth towards maturity as a teaching pastor is the fellowship I have shared with other senior pastors that are further down the road then myself.  They have so much wisdom to share and understand what you are talking about if you are venting.  I highly encourage you to find a “Paul” in your life as it relates to preaching.

What Is a Wonderful Life?

Two of my favorite Christmas time movies (or plays) are It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. You’re probably familiar with both productions … I watch them every year for entertainment and inspirational purposes.

The message of each is similar. A man’s life is evaluated by its effect on others. George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life) sees that his life IS worth living, though it seems to him like he’s made a royal mess of it. Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) sees the end that his calloused, hardhearted ways produce. His “bah humbug” attitude about generosity, Christmas, and all things good has got to change, or else.

As a result, both men gain a new and strong motivation to live and think differently about the true purpose and goal of life. They will never be the same again.

I love this stuff. I’m motivated by it. I want to live a life that matters, I want a wonderful life, and I want these things on God’s terms. In other words, in whatever ways God defines a wonderful life that matters, that’s the kind of life I want to live. I’m quite sure that almost every pastor feels the same way.

Certainly, our Lord Jesus lived in view of these things.

John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

John 17:4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”

Paul the apostle sought the same sort of life.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

Thankfully, each and every true believer has the same opportunity to discover the essence of his/her life.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In my own life, this passion or goal is challenged constantly … challenged by my flesh which is lazy, incorrigible, and wholly unreliable; it’s challenged by the enemy of our souls: who becomes alarmed when we start to center in on God’s purposes for us; it’s challenged by the world which wants a tame sort of pastor, one which it can control.

Today (December 11) would have been my 35th wedding anniversary, had not my first wife ended the marriage in 2006 to do her own thing. Of course I was struck down by that chain of events (I wouldn’t wish divorce upon anyone … it’s a horrible experience).

But I was also desperate … desperate to know if God’s purposes for my life had been derailed. Even though the divorce was based upon Biblical grounds, it was still a faith test for me, for I’d always thought that the whole of my life would be consumed with the ministry of God’s Word.

Please allow me to regress a bit. It all started back in 1976, when I attended the communion service of a charismatic Lutheran church in another city (no one knew me there, and I knew no one). As I knelt and received the bread and cup from two of the church elders, one of them told me he was having a vision concerning my life. He then went on to share about a tree, a tree with no foliage, bare branches, and no visible fruit. But underneath the ground, he saw a large and extensive root system developing. The interpretation was that the Lord was doing a work in my life, establishing me, rooting and grounding me in the faith (Colossians 2:7).

To this my spirit bore witness. I was at that very time in my life involved in an extensive study of the book of Romans—a book I somehow knew would be foundational for me as I grew in the Lord. I could feel happening in me what the vision was picturing.

Well, a year went by, and I decided to go back to that same service. Again, communion was served as I knelt before two elders. Once again, one of them had a vision of my life. This time, there was large tree with full branches and lots of fruit; in the branches were many birds and small animals, and under its shade were many people and larger animals. The interpretation of the vision was that the Lord was making me into a pastor, and that He would bear fruit through my life. As a result, many would find nourishment and protection under the ministry He was giving me.

My spirit once more bore witness. I had already begun pastoring a vigorous and lively home group of 40-60 people, and was sensing the Lord’s hand upon my life. So this vision was confirming to me. Freshly sensing God’s call, we boldly stepped out in faith, moved to another part of the state with $125, some furniture, clothes, and two VW bugs—to start our first church. That happened, and after 27 years of fruitful ministry, my marriage ended.

So back to the question: had God’s purposes for my life been derailed? The Lord Jesus was very gracious as He answered me. “No, they are not,” I heard Him saying to me. “Human choices cannot stop My purposes for your life.” Not only did He remind me of my original calling, He also continued to use me … and each time He did so, I felt like He was kissing me on the cheek. If I love Him, I’m to tend and feed His flock. I’m so thankful for that.

Soon after my divorce the Lord was mega-gracious to bring to me a woman (Sheri), a former missionary who not only loves and serves the Lord but who also loves me. Like me, her previous marriage ended on Biblical grounds. And like me, she believed that God’s purposes for her life could not be thwarted by human choices. As a result, we came up with the following conclusion:

When God’s Plan A for our lives didn’t work out (an ongoing, long-lasting marriage until death do us part), He didn’t create a Plan B; He just made another Plan A! 

We’re living in God’s Plan A right now. Because of God’s grace, we have the chance to live lives that are worth living, that will bring glory to the Father, and that will be abundant and wonderful.

I share these thoughts with the hope that others may be empowered by grace and God’s Spirit to move beyond their pasts, and to experience a truly God inspired wonderful life.

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For Church Planter or Pastor’s Wife – By Lynn Fusco

Hey everyone, Daniel here. So about a week ago, I walked into our bedroom and my wife, Lynn, was furiously typing on her computer. When she finally looked up, she said, “I am writing an article for the wives of church planters.” Then she proceeded to return to her furious typing. Lynn has been involved in the three churches that I have had the pleasure of seeing launched. We got married when Calvary New Brunswick was very young. She was integral to the launching of both Calvary North Bay and Calvary San Francisco. In both plants, she first started the children’s ministry and then after turning them over to capable leaders proceeded to start the women’s ministry (which she also started in New Brunswick). She did all this while we had small children. Not to mention that we got married not for her ministry prowess but to be companions in this life (which she has excelled at). It is fascinating for me to read about these things from her perspective. There’s a lot of road-tried wisdom here from my beloved bride.

Hello Ladies, if you are reading this than you are among the many that the Lord has placed warmly on my heart. Over the years I have watched my husbands joy at encouraging men with hearts to serve the Lord in church planting. I have rejoiced in my own heart at his articles knowing that any information and encouragement goes a long way. Recently, it has been coming to my spirit the brave women who stand beside their men. YOU. Some of you out of obedience to the Lords calling, some with the same heart as your husbands for the area and some because they married into an early church plant like I did. My desire is to share with you things from my personal flight over the last 8 years as a church planters wife with the heart that you will be strengthened and encouraged.

1. Plow hard, reap later

In a church plant, you generally have to start from nothing. You find a building to hold services, if you are lucky you find someone to lead worship, and you make sure you purchase your own coffee pots :) Starting from nothing generally means that there is A LOT of hard work involved that may last for a couple of years, so get ready! My role has always been to get the children’s ministry up and running and then later the women’s ministry. That generally means teaching every Sunday, or doing nursery every Sunday. I remember here in California I did the nursery and kids church at the same time for a year as my son was the only child nursery-age there. I remember balancing the two simultaneously. As I taught the lesson, frequently, I would hear one of the children from kids church say, “OBADIAH!! Lynn, he’s at it again!” as Obadiah (my active two year old) joyfully dug in the large potted plant in the room we were renting.

As I look back over all those years and then again more recently with our church plant in San Francisco, I can see how the seasons change. In the beginning years you have to work really, really hard. This may mean that you are in charge of teaching Sunday school every week even when you are sick, it may mean that you are trying to find the balance of leading 2 ministries at the same time, it may mean that you “feel” like you are doing everything except preaching the message! IT WON’T ALWAYS be this way!! A season will come when God will bring nursery workers, a team of kids church teachers so you aren’t teaching every Sunday. Men and women who feel called to those very positions that you were working so hard in. You must plow through the hard ground before the seed can be sprung!

2. Show up! Show up! Show up!

One of the many exciting things about a church plant is that you NEVER know what God is going to do! You may have Sundays where its just you and your husband having church together in a big empty room. Or, you may have Sundays where the room is full. In church plants there is usually an ebb and flow in the congregation.

There will also be mornings where you just don’t want to go. Your mind, or body will say, “no one will really miss me today”. I have found from experience that on the days that you show up when you don’t feel like showing up, God generally has “something special” planned. It could be a conversation with a woman who just had a really bad week and just needed someone who cared to share God’s love on her or it could be that you bless your husband’s heart with out even knowing it because he just needed the support of knowing that his wife was in this just as much as he is.

Commit yourself to going and lean on God’s amazing GRACE when you are weary.

3. Be a Servant First

I will never forget the experience I had on our 2nd church plant here in Mill Valley. We had moved to California leaving our New Jersey church family behind. The NJ folks had adored my 2 year old son Obadiah. They had watched my tummy grow round with child and then came and celebrated his arrival. It was the usual custom after church for Obadiah to take turns asking some one in the church family to pick him up, so that he could reach the donut holes that everyone always brought. We left our NJ church as “the beloved” pastors family. I didn’t realize how much I took that for granted, nor how much I expected that to be the same in our next church-plant family. I was surprised and hurt when several of the ladies of the church did not like my son because he was so active. Many made a point to tell me how to mother and then went on to talk about his “behavior” to others. My heart was bruised. I went to the Lord and said “OUCH!! HELP!!!” (among other things in that conversation!)

The verse the Lord ministered to me was, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (phil 2:5-8)”

What He was sharing with me was to be a servant first. Our family had a beloved reputation in NJ. Here in this church plant, I was to look at any area that needed help and then I was to jump in and work at it with all my heart and not expect anyone to love me, or my sweet family because of it. I was to do it all to please God’s heart for He saw me and was well pleased. Knowing this was my greatest reward.

4. Check it at the Door

I had to learn this lesson very early in our New Jersey ministry. As a pastor’s wife your role is to be there for people to talk with, rejoice with, cry with and encourage. In order to be available to the public YOU MUST check your own emotions at the door. What this means is that any un-resolved conversation, conflict, situation that you had at home or on your way to church, you need to give it to GOD. You need to “leave it at the door” before you walk into church so that you can be available to others. I remember countless times in New Jersey where Daniel and I would get into an argument right before we left for church and I would be FUMING inside when we reached church. Often times replaying the argument or conversation in my mind. I would “smile” at those around me but inside I felt down, angry or whatever the emotion inside me was. At those times I saw I was unavailable to minister because I was too consumed with my own thoughts or feelings than to engage with others.

You must leave your own “stuff” behind and trust that GOD will give you the grace you need to be available to others and the grace to resolve the issue that you are bothered with. He cares and loves you.

God understands the weight of the role He has called you to and wants to fill you with grace to move in it. But first you must leave it with HIM.

5. Obedience first, Heart later

The year and half spent on the San Francisco church plant was a tough year. I remember a couple of months before we opened the church to the public, the Lord had given me a vision. He revealed to me kind of warfare that we were going to encounter by planting a church in San Francisco, He did this to prepare my heart. The months to follow were rugged with personal warefare. Feeling beaten up by life, and having just handed the childrens minstry coordinator postion over to a young woman in the church, I was tired and my spirit run down with the battle.

That month the Lord started to gently speak to me about starting the women’s minstry. He was gentle. A loving poke here. Another loving poke, poke there. I ignored it. “I can’t Lord” I said. “I’m struggling as it is, let alone leading another ministry, I just can’t”.

The women who had approached me with the desire to start a ladies ministry, bonded together and hosted the first women’s ministry event. The attendance and joy in the air was abundant. On my way home from the event my heart burned with this desire. I kept crying out to the Lord “if there is going to be a ladies minsitry, it has to have MEAT for the girls to chew on!!” Again I felt the “POKE!”. “ALRIGHT!!!” I said. Was it easy? NO. Did I want to always show up? NO. But I KNEW I was called. I KNEW that I was doing what God had asked me to do, and I had my husband’s support. Even though I was in a rough season personally, the Lord gave me a heart for the ladies. I loved them and when it was time to turn the ministry over, I was sad to say goodbye to their hearts.

At times God is going to ask you to do something, maybe lead a minstry, maybe support your husband in the ministry even though you don’t feel ready for it, or something else….but you will find that if you obey and do what you know He is asking, He will eventually give you His love for the service HE has called you to.

There is nothing greater in my heart than knowing I did what I knew I was called to do, even if I didn’t think I did the greatest job of accomplishing it. I obeyed my FATHER.

6. Understand the Ministry that you are called to

I remember when I began the Ladies Ministry in Mill Valley, the Lord had given me a picture in my heart of the kind of women’s minstry he wanted. For this season He wanted a time where younger women and the older women study the Word and pray together. Through this example the younger women would learn by being surrounded by the older women of the church. My heart had such peace at this picture. However, I had one lady who did not like this “type” of ladies ministry. She used to call me often and tell me her strong opinions. Being younger than her I questioned myself, some times stressed that I wasn’t doing the right thing, etc. However this is what I learned: When God has called you to lead a ministry, ask Him for his vision and upon receiving it, stick to it.

You will have MANY women come to you with “great ideas” of how you “should” lead the ministry, and “great ideas” of the kinds of events you should host, but with an open heart you always need to go back to the Lord, and ask if these support HIS vision for the ministry He has called you to.

7. Know your Personal Weakness and put your armor on

We ALL have a personal weakness(es) in our characters that if left un-checked can be harmful to the minstry. Examine your heart and know what they are!! These areas will be the first areas that Satan will go after and try to use to derail your minstry and your husband’s mininstry. Whatever your weakness is, you must find a way to put your armor on so that it’s put into check.

8. Your Children

Church planting with young children can be very challenging. Obadiah was 2 years old when we started the Mill Valley church plant, and 5 and a half with the San Fransicsco church plant. Maranatha was 2 and a half years old. I would find I would come home from the church day tired and worn out, just wanting to put on a video on and not think which can not be the case when you are a mommy. You are on til they go to bed :) Give yourself and your children grace. Acknowlege often that its a season in life just like having a baby. Takes time for the baby to grow before it needs you less.

One practical solution that we found was to hire a babysitter to watch our children during the fellowship time at church. This way our children could do laps around the hall under a watchful eye, freeing me up to minister to the body uninterrupted.

9. Find a “Seasoned” Pastors Wife and ask her to mentor you

As wives we want to share everything with our husbands. We want to ask them for their opinions, their thoughts, their ideas. This isn’t a bad thing. We are their wives after all! However, the enormity and weight of responsibilty that your husband carries in a church plant is unfathomable. I believe the Lord is the only one who truly understands this enormity.

Our husbands don’t want to spend extra brain space having to come up with ideas for another ministry. He has asked you to lead this particular ministry so that he doesn’t have to think about it. This is why it is so important that we seek out another pastors wife, who has been there “before”. Someone who you can run ideas with, someone who will teach you what has worked for them, someone who will encourage you in the new rode that you are on. Ask God to lead you to this woman. Remember God WANTS to help us!

10. Find a Prayer Partner

Whether its once a week, or once a month, find another woman whom you can share your heart with. Someone who is NOT in the church body. A woman who you can be yourself with and feel the freedom to be raw with when you feel down or discouaged. This special friend needs to be someone who has a heart for the Lord and will commit to pray with you. I know that these friends are SO hard to find. Ask God to reveal the right person for you. Some times this person will be the LORD HIMSELF until the time he brings you another.

11. You are in a Spiritual Battle

Its soooo easy in the midst of plowing hard, for your mind and heart to get discouraged,and apathetic. We forget to look at the whole picture. The picture being that we are doing is work for THE KINGDOM through faith. The enemy doesn’t like KINGDOM work. He HATES it and will try to detrail you, discourage you, give you a spiirt of apathy, anything to have you stop showing up for God. Saturday afternoons and nights in our home are generally not too much fun. Its the day of the week where marital fights brew, the car breaks down, the children won’t stop aruguing or you get sick. Do you get the picture?? And if your husband teaches a mid-week, its the same the day of the midweek. WE MUST LEARN how to wear our armor properly and to put it on every day.

12. Cast your cares on God for HE cares for you!!

Most importantly, guard your private time with HIM. A dear friend of mine recently shared something with me that the Lord shared with her. God told her to “measure the worth of her day by how much time she spent with Him in prayer and in His Word”. WOW right?! We NEED GOD!! We are NOTHING without Him. HE sooo much wants to fill us, help us, love us, make us laugh and smile, give us gems to give to others. He wants us to bring and lay down our burdens at HIS feet so that He can make us whole. He wants to impart HIS wisdom and His nature to us. Give Him that chance ladies! MAKE TIME for your Savior!!