Concluding Pastoral Redemptions…For Now!

Writing this Pastoral Redemption series has been difficult. When I started, I had over 30 stories that I intended to publish. Despite this goal, I believe that some stories are not meant to be shared…For now. In previous times, I did not feel this noble. No, for years I was bitter about many of my church experiences. I did not see God working through them, so I just wanted to play the victim, and felt that when I trash these churches, I am justified. By God’s grace, He never let me write those stories while I was still bitter. Rather, it is only now that I have been able to write any story with two goals in mind:

  1. Write only stories that are humorous
  2. Write only stories that reflect an element of hope and redemption. Remember “God redeems.”

As a result of these goals, some stories I will not share now. Either they are not amusing enough, or they do not display any redemptive qualities…yet. Continue reading “Concluding Pastoral Redemptions…For Now!”

Lessons From Above

Today I had the chance to fly with the Army Battalion where I serve. This flight is not my first, but one that taught me something new. Specifically, I learned to see what God sees, which is a big picture perspective.

See, the picture in this article is one I took from my flight. As I simultaneously looked out the window and reflected on my picture, it occurred to me that this view is a glimpse of how God sees our life. God does not get caught up with all of the stressful details to the point that it robs Himself of the scenic view.

Now, in the picture is a lot of detail. There are trees, different tracks of land, man-made structures, and so much more. All of this detail is not a stress nor does it distract from the pictures scenic beauty. If anything, the details enhance the scene than damage the view. Continue reading “Lessons From Above”

7 & Ways to End Isolation and Loneliness: Part 2

Connection

Today I want to close the post I began on Wednesday on how to end isolation and loneliness. If you did not get the chance to read the first part of this two-part blog post then feel free to read the post before reading the tips below. In my earlier post I mentioned that I believe connecting with others is important. This is because when we know how to connect with others we can also share Christ with those we love and meet. Learning how to connect with others also helps us diminish our loneliness and isolation, which can result in great sadness. Therefore, with these outcomes possible I want to give you my last tips.

5. Continue to Ask Questions

In my last post, I mentioned an interpersonal relationship skill I learned from my Father-in-law. Another tactic I believe he uses is that he asks questions about the others. For years, I have noticed that he attempts to connect with people by showing a genuine interest in them. As a result, when people know he cares they open up and have long conversations with him. They even love answering questions about themselves and when they do my Father-in-law is able to connect with them in multiple ways because he knows more about them. The more he knows the better he is able to connect with them because he is continually learning about them. Over time, he impresses me with how many people love to approach him simply because he connected with them by showing interest in them.

6. You Will Not Always Connect

One of my favorite movie quotes is from Batman Begins when Thomas Wayne tells his son Bruce Wayne, “Why do we learn to fall? So that we can pick ourselves back up.” Face it, you and I are going to fail and its alright. No one is perfect in anything and connecting with people is no different. So, go ahead and admit that you will fail at times, but rejoice when you do succeed. In fact, the only way you are going to get better at connecting with others for the future, is to practice in the present. Remember when we fail its a great opportunity to learn from out mistakes so we can better succeed in the future. You are going to fail and it is all right.

7. Connecting Improves Our Faith

Practically, my advice is to help you reduce any loneliness you may face. Spiritually, this post can also help you become a better evangelist. Often Christians will tell me they don’t know whom they can share Christ with and my response is “THE WORLD!” Christ tells us in Matthew 28:19 that each person who claims Him as Lord and Savior is to

“Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”

His command is not optional, but I believe Christians often fail to share Christ with anyone because we do not know how to connect with strangers, or even loved ones. Connecting with people is not difficult and I think we make it tougher than needed. Therefore, let me urge you to use these tips to improve your social skills and any loneliness you may feel. Also, use these tips to connect with people so that you can share Christ with anyone you meet. Should you not know how to share your faith then inform your pastor that you want to know how to share Christ and I am sure they will train you.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, loneliness is a real issue, but we do not have to remain isolated from the world. We can remedy our loneliness and isolation by applying some simple tips in our lives. The tips may seem scary at first, even if you are an introvert, but over time they will become easier. You will become more successful. Let me urge you to start applying just one tip and grow from there. Remember, the goal is to become connected and sometimes people are waiting on you just as much as you are waiting on them. This is because connection with others has spiritual connections as we share Christ with people. As you share your faith you will feel like you have made a difference in another’s life by making a difference in your own life. Therefore let us embrace these tips so we can feel connected, so we can share our faith, and bless others.

 

Embracing A Nay-Say Free Lifestyle: The Beginning

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Embracing A Nay-Say Free Lifestyle: The Beginning

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin, which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

I won’t pretend that my life is one of the hardest ever lived, but I know that I’ve had a hard life compared to some. This has resulted in me living the first thirty-two (32) years of my life in negativity and anxiety. Recently, in response to my stressful outlook I’ve found the value of placing encouraging people in my life. For example, about a year ago I heard a friend give me some wise advice. He said, “Refuse to listen to the naysayers.” His comment was not for me, but another person whom I was in the room with. However, his comment began a work of God in my life to start eradicating the influence of anxious, negative, bitter, or sour naysayers. I had spent the first thirty-two (32) years of my life around individuals that fostered such an attitude and God convinced me that, enough-was-enough! Since then I’ve began a journey towards a more constructive (some would use the word positive) life by not giving naysayers too much of my energy or time.

As a minister I’ve had the opportunity to work with all kinds of people. For example, in the past ten (10) years I served a congregation that was riddled with bitter naysayers. Now we’ve all had bad days, but these people rarely saw anything that was constructive or positive. They made it impossible to succeed. My response to their cynicism was the deterioration of my health, my relationships, and my general outlook on life. To be fair, even though they had a cynical view of life I still had a responsibility in how I responded to their negativity. I had let them stress effect my life critically and I knew I needed a change.

The change began when God led me to combine experience with the “Naysay Church” and the advice of my friend who later suggested to“ Refuse to listen to the naysayers.” From these two events I realized I did have a choice in how I perceived my circumstances. I also had the choice to no longer tolerate negative naysayers, and I no longer will.

Please know that I believe negative people need to be helped just the same any other type of personality. However, some persistently negative naysayers MAY NOT let anyone help them. Therefore, one must come to a point where the dust is removed from one’s feet and you move on. This is my encouragement today because we must reconsider how to best expend our energy towards people that crave our attention and our help. Too often our energies of zapped by those that drain the life out from us. This is not fair to us and it is not fair to those that would really value our support, advice, and help.

Admittedly, it may seem I’m giving up on negative people, but I’m not. Instead, I want to encourage everyone to not spend one’s time needlessly on someone that refuses to be helped. Also, I realize I still have much to learn, but what I have learned I want to reflect in the next few posts. Some of the topics will cover how to find a balance between helping a person and not letting them become a drain. I’ll also share some hard lessons from where I became bitter towards others and how God has redeemed my error. Other posts will include humor, and the realization that there is a positive in everything if one looks hard enough. I’ll also let you know why I prefer a constructive life than simply being positive.

Ultimately, I desire all people to be helped, if possible. The key phrase is, “if possible.” I’m wiling to do what I can to minister to anyone in order to help one live a more abundant life, hopefully a life abundant in Christ. Regardless of your faith the choice yours if you view your choice as real and “possible.” This is because I believe possibility is what distinguishes a hopeful person from a negative person; the choice is yours.

See you soon!