Marriage Advice from Minister’s Wives

By the age of five, many a little girl can define romantic love: a flawless prince whisks his beautiful princess into happily ever after.

As we grow older, we realize there’s more to love than magical feelings and fairytale endings. Even so, many women have starry-eyed expectations when it comes to marriage and their wedding day. Pinterest, an online social media scrapbook, says that around 70% of its users create wedding boards before they’re even engaged. With about half of all marriages in the United States ending in divorce, it seems that we may be putting more thought into the idea of love than we are how to nurture our marriages.

Whether you’re married, soon-to-be married, or just hope to marry someday, the advice that follows is for you. Ten minister’s wives share their words of wisdom for a happy wedding day and a solid marriage. May you be blessed from their insight as much as I’ve been! :)

Marriage Advice from Minister's Wives | She's Intentional

Simple Extravagance Photography by Sarah Hodge

Cindy Wofford, Bible College Instructor/Minister’s Wife, Lufkin, TX

Welcome to the arena that is the “hope” for our world. You have chosen this amazing and beautiful path called marriage that God instituted just for us, so long ago. Cherish it, fight for it, never give up on it, and if God wills, hand it down to your children—for strong marriages are the hope for our world. Preserve yours. And on a simpler note, always talk, have fun, never forget how to laugh, and always kiss your spouse goodnight.

Misti Ferguson, Pastor’s Wife, Eastland, TX

I’ve only been married for 14 years, but it’s been an exciting ride. The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that spouses have to treat each other with respect at all times—even more so than love, surprisingly. I’ve seen couples be affectionate but then say and do cruel, hurtful things to each other. The hurt always outweighs the hugs and kisses.

It’s important that couples see themselves as a team—a gang of two united against anyone and everything else in the world. I’ve always got my husband’s back, and he always has mine–when our daughter tries to play us against each other, when someone is snarky toward me or him, when family members try to interfere too much, etc. His goals are my goals, and my goals are his. We help each other reach them because when one wins, we both win.

Juanita Terrazas, Pastor’s Wife, Paragould, AR

My first piece of advice is this: Men cannot read our minds. No matter how hard or uncomfortable it is, you have to tell your husband how you feel. As women, we want our guys to know what we are feeling or thinking, but they don’t have that ability.

Equally important is this: No matter how bad things get from time to time or how angry you feel, you must always have “How are we going to work through this?” in the back of your mind, never “We won’t make it through this one.”

No matter the fight, no matter the problem, if you stick with it, things will get better, and the good always outshines the bad. If there’s ever a time to be stubborn, it’s with your marriage. Have the unwavering mindset “WE WILL MAKE IT, no matter what!

Barbara Westberg, Author & Minister’s Wife, Cushing, OK

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

My husband usually includes this scripture in any wedding ceremony he does. If newlyweds would practice this verse, divorce rates would take a nose dive.

She's Intentional | Marriage Advice from Minister's Wives | KB Photography

KB Photography

DeAnna Sibley, Pastor’s Wife, Castroville, TX

Wedding day advice: It is YOUR wedding; make it what YOU want it to be! Keep in mind that no matter who is there or not there, and no matter how many or how few candles are lit, etc., the thing that will matter most are the words you vow to that young man and to God.

Marriage advice: Learn to make compromises on the unimportant things like how the toothpaste is squeezed, if the toilet paper should roll under or over, and which brand of orange juice is the best. But make up your mind to never compromise on the things that do matter, like how often you pray together, how often and where you go to church, not speaking lowly of your spouse or criticizing him publicly, and always avoiding questionable situations in order to protect your marriage.

Cherith Williams, Assistant Pastor’s Wife, Brookhaven, MS

Giving out marriage advice makes me grin. Because real life is just that—it’s very REAL. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter may portray perfection: the date nights, the couple selfies, and the “just because” flowers. You won’t find pictures of the dirty socks on the floor or the pile of candy wrappers that weren’t cleaned up. In reality, there is always a struggle with two people starting a life together and then keeping their marriage healthy as the years pass. I’ll share a few tips from my heart:

  • Be open and honest with each other. Always.
  • Don’t complain about or tell intimate details of your marriage to anyone.
  • As a safety measure, always make sure your spouse knows your whereabouts.
  • If you must make a negative comment, end with a compliment.
  • Nagging is a no-no.
  • Learn that a quiet answer turns away wrath. Don’t forget it.
  • Pray with and for each other.
  • Find out the little things that make your spouse happy and try your best to do them.
  • Read The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman.
  • Remember that love is a choice.

Cara Farhat, Music Director, Youth Pastor’s Wife, Westlake, LA

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I came across this little quote several months ago. It may sound cliché, but it was life-changing for me, so here’s my advice:

Stop comparing yourself or your marriage to others. Someone will always have a nicer, tidier home. Someone will always have a shinier car. Someone will always have the family that looks perfectly put together in EVERY. SINGLE. Instagram photo they post. So what! Love yourself. Love your husband and your family. Cherish each and every thing God has blessed you with. Love deeply, and be thankful. Life goes by so quickly. Don’t waste your days comparing.

Sarah Simmons, Pastor’s Wife, Hutto, TX

First, be patient. It takes time for God to mold you as a new couple. Second, forgive. Don’t make things bigger than they really are; forgive and move on! Be yourself and contribute to the relationship the same as you did while dating. Keep loving and caring for each other. Find out how your spouse loves, and let him know when you yourself feel loved.

Last but not least, figure out what your mission is as a couple and then work at that mission until you die. There may be twists and turns, but even if your dreams don’t come to pass like you envisioned, the love you have for each other will carry you through anything.

Marriage Advice from Minister's Wives | She's Intentional | Skeens PhotographySkeen’s Photography

Tiphanii Meadors, Metro Missions Pastor’s Wife, Philadelphia, PA

Being married to my best friend pushes me to want to be a better person, and that’s the way it should be. Even after 6+ years of marriage, I find myself thinking daily: What can I do to be a better wife? What can I do to show my husband that I love him? And also, what can I do to make myself more lovable?

Randa Chance, Author, Speaker, & Minister’s Wife, San Antonio, TX

  1. Build up your man in front of others, including your children. Affirm him, praise him and compliment him in public, even when you want to knock his head off. If you have a problem or disagreement, take care of that privately. Never tear him down in front of others, even as a joke. Even the smallest jokes in front of others can cut deeply and be hurtful—and he will remember.When you thank him for being a good husband, or tell him how handsome he looks, or show appreciation when he takes out the trash or does little things around the house, you make him feel like a king—and he will remember that too. How you treat him is an excellent example to others of how you treat the people you treasure.
  2. When you have problems in your marriage (physical, emotional, financial), seek counseling and do it quickly. There is no stigma in getting help. People go to doctors for physical and emotional issues, and marriage is the biggest contract of all. Talk to your pastor; find a Christian marriage therapist or counselor. Focus on the Family has many resources to find the right counselor. Get the help and skills that may not have been modeled for you growing up so that you can strengthen your relationship and have a successful marriage with the person God gave you. This is a lifelong commitment. The better prepared you are to face life together, the more you will enjoy it together and understand each other.
  3. This last one is important: Make physical intimacy a huge priority. Flirt all the time with him. Lots of intimacy = happy, confident husband.

Do you have any advice you’d add to the list? Comments are welcome!

Redeeming Failure: A Better Way to Look at Mistakes

Redeeming Mistakes: A Better Way to Look at Failure | WordSmith Blog

This post originally appeared on Dainty Jewell’s She’s Intentional Blog. Image: DollarPhotoClub

In my early twenties, I became obsessed with sign language. I didn’t know anyone Deaf, I just loved the waltz of my fingers and hands. I had been studying sign less than a year when my pastor told me we would have a Deaf visitor and asked if I’d interpret. Thinking I shouldn’t decline a ministry opportunity, I agreed.

That Sunday I was a knot of nerves. I knew I was barely skilled enough to hold a conversation with a Deaf person, much less interpret a sermon. Another potential problem was that I was studying Signing Exact English (SEE), not American Sign Language (ASL). While SEE mimics the facets of the English language down to articles, prefixes, and suffixes, ASL has nothing to do with English; it is a language of its own. I didn’t know which our visitor used.

Sunday night came, and the Deaf guest arrived.

Disaster trailed behind her.

I was so unconfident about my skills, I couldn’t look her in the eye, which, along with being rude, is poor signing technique. My translation was spotty at best, and — oh yes — she used ASL, not SEE.

Less than ten minutes into the sermon (after telling me thanks and that I was doing a great job–ha!) the young lady and her Hearing friend left.

I melted into my pew, wishing I could melt into oblivion. Mortified as I was, I was also secretly relieved that their departure had put us all out of our misery. After that experience, I continued to practice sign for a while, but I never again tried interpreting.

Almost a decade later, I have a lot on my plate, and none of it includes sign language. Sometimes though, I think of what a shame it is that I invested so much time learning something I don’t use. I allowed one mistake — agreeing to do something I was not ready for — to bring my signing ambitions to a halt. While I considered my brief stint as an interpreter a failure, the true failure was that I refused to shake off the humiliation and forge through to success afterward.

Until recently, this incident was banished to the basement of my mind with a collection of other embarrassing memories. I thought of it recently while reading John Maxwell’s book Failing Forward. He points out that people think of failure as a single event—but it’s not:

“Growing up, I thought that failure came in a moment. The best example I can think of is taking a test. If you got an F, it meant you failed. But I’ve come to realize that failure is a process. If you flunk a test, it doesn’t mean you failed a one-time event. The F shows that you neglected the process leading up to the test.”

Just as success is a journey rather than a destination, so is failure. We fail when we see our mistakes as the end rather than as a step necessary to achievement. We fail when we give up. People who succeed don’t see setbacks as failures; they recognize that three steps forward and two steps back is still one step forward.

She who has never made a mistake likely hasn’t led a very remarkable life. Handled correctly, mistakes propel us toward growth, becoming in turn blessings in disguise. Some of the most notable men in the Bible (Abraham, Moses, Peter, and Paul, to name a few) made colossal mistakes. Imagine how different our world would be if any of them had used their blunders as an excuse to crawl under a rock and disappear.

I write this for someone who feels like a failure — someone who is thinking of giving up on what you know in your heart God has called you to do.

Press on.

Galatians 6:9 reminds us to keep doing good, for we will reap the harvest of our efforts if we do not give up. Those who overcome great adversity become the most successful people.

Be intentional about perseverance! One mistake . . . two mistakes . . . ten mistakes do not make you a failure. Failure happens only when you give up.

Wisdomantics: A Game Review and Giveaway

Wisdomantics Game: A Review and Giveaway
My family recently had a chance to try the new Wisdomantics game by Kingdom Games Enterprises, LLC. We were glad for the opportunity! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a chance to win the game ($29.95 value) for your family.

The Game

For 2-4 players | Ages 12+

Wisdomantics — New King James Version (NKJV) is an interactive DVD board game for players of any faith who desire to gain the vast wisdom of King Solomon. Wisdomantics — NKJV utilizes the proverbs of Solomon and blends chance, knowledge, and strategy to create a  fun experience while you learn. The game’s intent is to bring individuals together to learn how to cope with numerous situations in a fun and relaxed environment. Inside the box you’ll find 2 interactive DVDs with 400 questions, score cards, blessing cards, and more.

Purchase now.

My Thoughts

Wisdomantics: Game Review & Giveaway

The instructions of this game are very similar to Monopoly. You travel the game board trying to collect enough tiles to build Solomon’s temple, receiving a free gold tile after passing the Sabbath (Go) and missing a turn when sent to the Detention Chambers (Jail). A player moves ahead by correcting identifying the missing words of a scripture from the Proverbs (NKJV).

Wisdomantics: Game Review & Giveaway

My husband and I played it together. My son is too young, but he loved the idea of his mommy and daddy hanging out on the floor! The biggest challenge of the game was keeping him from deconstructing our Solomon’s temples. :)

I enjoyed the time I spent playing the game with my husband, but there were several things about the game both of us thought could be better.

I liked the scripture-based aspect of the game, but identifying missing words from just the Proverbs, especially when so many have similarities, got a little old. I personally would have enjoyed the game more if it were Bible-trivia based — though I’m sure the makers of Wisdomantics were trying to create something original, and there are already plenty of Bible trivia games out there.

You do have to have convenient access to a DVD player wherever you play the game:

Game Review & Giveaway: Wisdomantics

Another thing my husband and I weren’t sure about were the blessing cards. They seemed extraneous. Technically they were supposed to be used for bartering for more tiles to build temples, I think, but we both collected so many of them, they seemed unnecessary.

All in all, we enjoyed playing the game as a family, and I hope this experience motivates us to do it again in the future. :) If you’re interested in winning this game for your family, don’t miss my giveaway below!

Wisdomantics: Review and Giveaway

Disclosure (in acordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

The Giveaway

It’s easy to enter for a chance to win: just leave a comment saying you’re interested along with your email address. I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, December 20th at random. You will have three days to respond to my email to claim your prize. Best wishes!

(If you can’t find where to comment, click on “comments” under the title at the top of the post.)

Updates

WordSmith Blog Updates: December 2014

Image: DollarPhotoClub

Wow! What a wild ride of a year!

Today I finished the last of a write-these-as-fast-as-you-can batch of assignments, and my head is still swimming. Even so, I have that relieved, almost giddy feeling I get after finishing a long-term assignment. I thought I’d take a moment (while my child is distracted) to just breathe and reflect.

When I look back over this year, it amazes me what all has happened. I met my goal of semi-finaling in Family Fiction’s Short Story contest. I did a lot of writing for P7 Bible Clubs. I started writing for Link247. I started blogging for Dainty Jewell’s (best job ever!). I started blogging for Lean Labs (most unexpected job ever!). In addition to blogging, I started a couple of non-writing-related jobs with Dainty Jewell’s that I absolutely love. So for those who’ve noticed that my giveaways and book reviews drastically diminished the last half of this year, there’s why. :)

I feel so blessed from all that’s happened in 2014–so thankful . . . God really does give His children the desires of our hearts.

It’s funny, because two years ago when I started this blog, I was bound and determined to (finally) finish my novel — ASAP! But starting this blog led to me writing for a different venue, which led to me writing for yet something else. . . And now I go weeks without even thinking about my book. Where I used to experience heart pains at the thought of not finishing it, I now just feel . . . released. Not as if I no longer care to finish it; Lord willing, I will. But even though I’m not writing fiction, I’m doing what I love. I’m writing. And it’s fulfilling. And wonderful. And fun. And exciting.

And mind-numbing. And eyeball-straining. And frustrating.

I mean it when I say this: I would NEVER suggest that someone make writing his or her career ambition. It’s not for those who want (1) an easy job, (2) to get rich, or (3) free nights and weekends. Throw a toddler, a husband, and church music-director responsibilities into the mix, and you’ve got about three full-time jobs! All that being said, I’m blessed beyond measure, and this really is my passion.

Now that (I think!) I’m finished with 2014’s major writing projects, I hope to read, read, read . . . And some of that will mean more giveaways for my regular blog followers. So if that’s you, stay tuned! And for all who took the time to read these ramblings, I hope you and your family have an amazing Christmas — and that 2015 is full of only the best. :)

 

The Christian Lady’s Attire: More than Just a Fashion Statement

The Christian Lady's Attire

“Wherever you go, represent Jesus.”

I heard this statement at a ladies meeting I attended recently. The speaker went on to say that as daughters of God, we should be intentional about how we represent Him. As we run errands, perform daily tasks, attend school and go to our jobs, we should be aware that how we look reflects Jesus to everyone else.

As I listened, I was reminded that representing Jesus in our attire involves more than just modesty, which is what we often focus on. Modesty is essential, but you can dress modestly and still not be a good reflection of Jesus. [Read More…]

Book Review & Giveaway: Destiny Defied by J.A. Marx

Destiny Defied: Book Review & Giveaway

The Book

Destiny Defied | Book One in The Destiny series.

A dramatic shipwreck emancipates Riki Hammad, but the island where she finds refuge is compromised. Unless she finds a power truly great enough to defeat her dark past, she will choose death over returning to captivity. Lord Vétis, high priest of a cultic underground, will stop at nothing to reclaim their chosen one. Using black magic, he manipulates Riki and her four self-assigned bodyguards, triggering a battle that consumes the entire island. The underground will never allow Riki to live out her dreams of a normal life . . . something she has never known.

My Thoughts

I enjoy Christian YA fiction, so I was excited at the chance to review this book.

The book tour announcement said fans of Frank Peretti would enjoy Destiny Defied. I think it’s more accurate to say fans of Ted Dekker would enjoy it. Frank Peretti usually writes “man-against-the-spirit-world,” while Ted Dekker merges the physical with the spiritual so much that it’s hard to tell which is which. :)

The book was half what I expected and half not —

I liked the story in and of itself all right . . .

Though the book is classified as young adult, I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable setting my teen loose with it. It contained descriptions of violence and witchcraft, as well as some detail about sexual abuse. The sexual content was really what I was most uncomfortable with. I wouldn’t consider it appropriate content for a teen or young adult to dwell on . . . It’s not that I think Christian material should NEVER contain references to these types of situations; it’s just that because of the average youth’s overexposure to sexual content, I like to see Christian material that is discreet in handling sexual content OR that covers it in a healthy, wholesome way. Some of the scenes could have been handled differently, in my opinion, for a better overall effect. To be fair, the author did temper these descriptions more than what they could have been.

The story line was intriguing: five teenagers on a remote island battle the forces of spiritual darkness. I liked how the Christian young people in the book automatically knew to turn to God when frightening things started happening on the island. I liked the emphasis put on purity, loving others, and trusting Scripture.

The plot of the book moved along well, and if anything bugged me about the mechanics of the story, it was that some of the teenagers were easily able to trust a weird, creepy stranger lurking on the island over Riki, the heroine of the novel. It didn’t always make sense. I also thought they all five had quite the advanced vocabulary for a group of college-age kids. :)

This book isn’t for everyone, but as I’ve mentioned, those who enjoy Ted Dekker’s novels will like this one.

In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, please know that the publicist, on behalf of the author and publisher, has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Visit J.A. Marx’s website.
Visit the Blog Tour Page.
Follow J.A. Marx on Facebook and Twitter.
Purchase a copy on Amazon.

About the Author

J.A. Marx, Author: Book Review & Giveaway

J.A. loves writing embattled spirit novels — adventure and suspense with supernatural undertones. On the side, she dabbles in non-fiction articles and e-zine editing. J.A. owes many thanks Jerry Jenkins and the Christian Writer’s Guild for their support and education.

GIVEAWAY:

Welcome to the series launch of J.A. Marx‘s Destiny series. Book one, Destiny Defied, is a chilling tale of freedom from oppression and the Light that overcomes the dark.

J.A. is celebrating the launch of her series with a Kindle giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on December 2. 

destiny-400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Destiny Defied by J.A. Marx.

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 12/2. Winner will be announced at the Destiny Defied Facebook author chat party on December 2nd. RSVP for a chance to connect with J.A. Marx, to chat about the book, as well as to win some great prizes!


destiny-enterbanner

{NOT ON FACEBOOK? ENTER HERE.}

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 2nd!

A Can’t-Miss Black Friday Deal from Adventures in Odyssey

oacbf

Christmas time is nearly here, and excitement is in the air! I’m looking forward to this holiday season, and I hope you are, too.

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a huge Adventures in Odyssey fan. I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey, and I am beyond grateful for the high-quality, wholesome entertainment they provide for families — and thirty-year-olds who don’t mind housecleaning because it means listening to Odyssey for a while. :-) I am more than happy to promote AIO in any way I can.

For that reason, I bring you this Odyssey Adventure Club Black Friday special:

Rather than waking up before the sun on Black Friday to fight the raging crowds, get a special Adventures in Odyssey gift for your kids and grandkids: a subscription to the online Odyssey Adventure Club (OAC)!

Offering 24/7 access to 25 years’ worth of Adventures in Odyssey episodes, the club is a safe and fun environment where children can explore, create and imagine, all while developing their faith and learning biblical truth.

When you sign up between 11/26 and 12/1 (promo code: BLKFRDAY), not only will you receive a special introductory price of $5.00 for your first month of club membership, you’ll also receive a special gift worth $50, including:

  • Imagination Station #12: Danger on A Silent Night book (mailed to you in December)
  • A Family Christmas Volume 1 of Timeless Classics on CD (mailed to you in December)
  • Radio Theatre: A Christmas Carol digital download
  • Radio Theatre: Traveling Home For Christmas digital download
  • 101 Surefire Ways To Strengthen Your Child’s Faith ebook

Membership provides:

  • 24/7 streaming access to more than 750 Adventures in Odyssey episodes (a $1500 retail value).
  • A new, members-only Adventures in Odyssey episode every month.
  • A subscription to Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse Magazine delivered to your mailbox.
  • A web quest of video stories and online activities reflecting the biblical theme of that month’s episode.
  • On-the-go access with the OAClub mobile iOS app.
  • Growing access to Odyssey books, a daily devotion, access to select Radio Theatre dramas and more.

A portion of each Odyssey Adventure Club membership benefits Focus on the Family partner relief organizations such as Operation Christmas Child and Compassion International, providing parents with an opportunity to teach children about the value of giving and serving others.

This Christmas, give a present that will not only entertain throughout the year, but will provide a lifelong spiritual foundation.

Book Giveaway: “The Fragrance of Geraniums” by Alicia Ruggieri

The Fragrance of Geraniums by Alicia Ruggieri

Need something to read over the holidays?

Enter to win a copy of Alicia Ruggieri’s book The Fragrance of Geraniums  newly released today! Contest runs until November 26th; use the Rafflecopter form below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Book:

Told from multiple perspectives, The Fragrance of Geraniums is a powerful story of three women – of the threads of mercy that connect them – and of heart-wrenching sorrows alchemized by the Heavenly Father’s overwhelming redeeming grace.

Rhode Island – 1934

A GIRL
Grace Picoletti has nothing going for her – but she’s determined to succeed in life, nonetheless. Born to severe destitution, she claws her way up from the pit of family shame and secrets. She avoids close friendships – even with the likable, persistent Paulie Giorgi…

A WOMAN
Despite her own agonizing emotional pain, childless Emmeline Kinner reaches out to a young woman so far beneath her. She could never have known whom else God would set in her path through her friendship with Grace…

A MOTHER
Long ago, Sarah Picoletti resigned herself to a loveless, abusive life – and she believes that her daughter Grace must inherit the same fate. Yet Sarah’s own soul cries out for the blessed peace and hope of which the radio minister speaks…

Purchase the book on Amazon.

About the Author
Book Giveaway: The Fragrance of Geraniums by Alicia Ruggieri

A fourth-generation New England native, Alicia G. Ruggieri writes stories about the possibility of redemption for all things through the Cross and the cost of true mercy. With a degree in Communications and History, Alicia loves spending her days researching, writing, and caring for her family, and she avows that every life would be enriched through the addition of just one more dog.

Learn more about Alicia and her writing on her blog: http://www.abrighterdestiny.blogspot.com.
You can keep up with Alicia on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri or on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/aliciaruggieri.

So You Want to Be in Ministry

So You Want to Be in Ministry

I grew up going to church at least four times a week; I’ve attended two Bible colleges; I’ve always been active in my local church. Living in this environment has given me ample opportunity to hear sincere Christian young people make statements such as

“I feel a call to ministry.”

“I’m tired of wasting my time on a secular job. I want to be in full-time ministry.”

“I can’t wait to start my ministry.”

There’s nothing wrong with these statements, but when it comes to ministry, we often miss the point.

“I feel a call to ministry.” 

All Christ-followers are called to minister.

Ephesians 2:10 says we’re created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Mark 9:35 says we should be servants to all. Matthew 28:19-20 instructs us to teach the whole world Christ’s commandments. These scriptures are about ministry, and they aren’t directed toward pastors; they’re directed toward Christians.

Most of us are familiar with these scriptures and may even be able to quote them from memory. Though they’re embedded in our brains, however, introspection may reveal these passages aren’t embedded in our hearts.

We know the word minister means to attend to another person’s needs. But how many of us actually view ministry that way? When we think of ministry, do we imagine ourselves reaching for the hand of a homeless man who hasn’t bathed in weeks, or do we see ourselves standing in front of an audience with a Bible? Do we think about spending an afternoon with a lonely elder, or do we see ourselves chaperoning the youth group’s trip to Six Flags?

The day-to-day functions of ministers’ and youth pastors’ jobs are important. The Word is vital, and it must be taught. But ministry is so much more than presenting a Bible lesson to a group of churched people in a comfortable building.

Ministry is service, and service is selflessness.

And whether or not a Christian feels a call to “ministry,” the call is there.

“I’m tired of wasting my time on a secular job.”

The purpose of living a Spirit-filled, Christ-centered life is not to escape eternal punishment (though that’s definitely a benefit!). Christianity is a new way of seeing and experiencing the world while we’re here on earth.

Think of a butterfly on its first flight of freedom from the cocoon. Can you imagine how different the world must look outside the dark confines of its former existence? That’s the difference in perception and vision we should have after being spiritually resurrected. We don’t view life the same as everyone else does. Our values aren’t the same; the bigger picture is different. We aren’t given new life so that we can selfishly revel in it until death do we part; we’re supposed to share our hope and joy.

Some think sharing the gospel is preaching to everyone whose path intersects theirs. A spoken testimony is powerful, but how much more is a consistent, Christ-like lifestyle and attitude? The workplace gives plenty of opportunities to reflect Christ: cursing customers, pouting coworkers, power-happy bosses, hurting people . . . If someone’s line of work brings him in contact with living souls, he has opportunities to minister.

I love this passage from Rob Peabody’s book Citizen, which I’ve quoted from before:

“Are we artists, baristas, teachers, electricians, engineers, students, or factory workers who also just happen to be citizens of the Kingdom? Or are we, first of all, citizens of the Kingdom who happen to serve vocationally in these ways? . . . When this lens is used, we can clearly see that a job as a banker can be just as glorifying to God and just as Kingdom-focused as the life of a missionary out witnessing every day.”

Working a secular job is not a waste of your time (especially if you have bills that need to be paid!). For some, it’s a larger, hungrier mission field than what many full-time pastors will ever see. If you view your encounters with customers and your exchanges with coworkers as opportunities to shine God’s light — to exemplify godly living, Christian attitudes, and the fruit of the Spirit — then you can go to work each day planning to put in a full day’s ministry.

“I can’t wait to start my ministry.”

We shouldn’t wait to start our ministries.

Ministry opportunities are all around us: at the grocery store, in rush-hour traffic, at the office, on the jogging route . . . None of us has a good reason to delay ministry. None of us has an excuse to be afraid of ministry — to be intimidated by our own shyness, or our lack of Bible knowledge, or any other excuse.

Ministry is service, and service, while sometimes requiring sacrifice, usually isn’t confrontational or in-your-face. It usually isn’t really all that hard.

But it is selfless.

It is mindful of others.

It is rooted in a faithful walk with God.

It is a product of being sensitive to His voice.

It is loving people — and then loving them some more. Even — and especially — when you won’t get recognition for it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Image: DollarPhotoClub

I often write about what God’s been dealing with me about, and today’s post is no exception. The purpose of this post is NOT to undermine the office of a pastor or to say that young people shouldn’t aspire to that honorable position. Pastors, preachers, teachers, and evangelists are SO important — and often underappreciated. I just want to point out that we should examine our motives for wanting to be in ministry, and we should be careful that in our pursuit of “ministry” we aren’t ignoring the needs of those around us.

Review & Giveaway: “Growing Up Social” by Gary Chapman & Arlene Pellicane

Book Review & Giveaway: Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman & Arlene Pellicane

The Book

Children today are no longer playing hide-and-seek outside or curling up with a good book — instead they’ve been introduced to a world of constant digital entertainment through television, video games, and mobile devices. And while technology has the potential to add value to our lives and families, it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child’s emotional and social development. 

In Growing Up Social, Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane will empower you with the necessary tools to make positive changes…starting today. Through stories, wit, and wisdom, you’ll discover how to take back your home from an overdependence on screens. Plus, you’ll learn to teach the five A+ skills that every healthy child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.

Now is the time to equip your child to live with screen time, not for screen time. No phone, tablet, or gaming device can teach your child how to have healthy relationships — only you can.

My Thoughts

I kid you not; I feel as if God placed this book in my hands. In attempt to prune back commitments, I didn’t originally plan to review this book. When a second opportunity came, I decided to take it. I’m so glad I did! Of all the parenting books I’ve read over the past three years, I’m convinced this was the best.

Growing Up Social was not only challenging, inspiring, and empowering in its content; it was also a fun read. The 209 pages went fast because the information, stats, and anecdotes were so interesting. The back of the book explains what it is about: screens have hijacked many of our children’s lives as well as our families’s togetherness in general. As parents, it’s up to us to lead our children into a lifestyle that is healthy spiritually, socially, emotionally, mentally, and intellectually. When you really think about it, it’s scary that an excess of technology can negatively influences a child’s life — permanently — in all these aspects.

This book helps parents make good choices about how to handle screen time in their homes. It also challenges them to look at their own technology consumption. In addition to explaining how you can raise a socially competent child, this book highlights healthy skills that every child needs to master: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.

I marked many things in the book that stood out to me, but putting them all here would make this a very long blog post. You’d benefit to just get the book and read it. :) You won’t regret it! (Be sure to enter the drawing for a copy of this book at the end of this post.)

I give this book 6 out of 5 stars. (And if you keep up with my book reviews, you KNOW that’s never happened before!)

Purchase the book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Authors

Arlene Pellicane Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman is an author, speaker, and counselor — and has a passion for people and for helping them form lasting relationships. He is the bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages series and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. Gary travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. For more information, visit 5lovelanguages.com.

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She has been featured on The Today Show, The 700 Club, and Family Life Today. She formerly served as the associate producer for Turning Point Television with Dr. David Jeremiah. Arlene lives in Southern California with her husband, James, and their three children. Find out more at ArlenePellicane.com.

GIVEAWAY:

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. An email address is required but will be used only in the event that you win the prize. I do NOT retain email addresses, and I will never send you an email without your permission. Drawing is Wednesday, November 12th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway