Comforting Women in Crisis- What to Say/What Not to Say

“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 NLT A friend just told you she is getting a divorce. What do you say? A woman at your church just found out she has cancer. What do you do? Do you feel like you want to help, but don’t know how? Here are a few sobering statistics about the women in crisis around us: 40% of marriages end in divorce (the rate is the same for Christians and non-Christians) 1 in 6 women have been the victim of a sexual assault 1 in 4 have been a victim of domestic abuse. 1 in 8 will have invasive breast cancer 1 in 3 women are depressed Now picture the tables of women sitting at your event or Bible study this month. One woman at a table of eight may have invasive breast cancer. In a room of thirty women, five have been the victim of a sexual assault. At an event of two hundred women, fifty have experienced domestic abuse, and over sixty-six are depressed. There are a lot of women in crisis around us. And as ministry leaders and friends, we are called to comfort them. To say and do the things that will bring them comfort. But do we really know how? A few years back I was leading a large women’s ministry and was asked to help write a book called Comforting Women in Crisis. I interviewed women and asked them to share their experiences with rape, infidelity, domestic abuse, and miscarriage. As I sat and listened, cried, and later wrote...

Build Your Team With Unqualified People, Jesus Did

I love this verse about Peter and John as they are standing before the high priest, elders and teachers of the law: Acts 4:13-14 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. These were the men that Jesus hand-picked to be his posse. When I am looking for team mates in this ministry, I admit, I’m not thinking, “who is least qualified?” But Jesus shows me that I should at least not rule out the unqualified. Jesus found His crew working, fishing and living real life. He didn’t look to the learned. He didn’t look to the synagogue. He didn’t look for experienced disciples. He looked for men who were willing to drop their nets and follow Him. Let’s look at what this verse tells us about the choices Jesus made when forming a team: 1. Courage The men were obviously courageous. They told everyone what they believed because it wasn’t just a textbook theology to them. It was life and truth and they were willing to stand up for it boldly. I would call this passion. 2. Unschooled, Ordinary The power in the words of these men did not make sense to the religious leaders. How could they speak with such authority? They were fishermen! Fishermen were the ones who basically flunked out of Bible school. They didn’t spend their upbringing learning the Scriptures...

Casting a Vision for Your Ministry

© Anatoly Tiplyashin | Dreamstime.com RF-LL It’s the beginning of ministry season again. Kids are getting back in school, families are starting to get in the swing of the routine after the summer and ministries are gearing up for events and activities to meet the needs of the people at their church and in their community. You have carefully planned your ministry plan and now it is go time. The excitement is brewing not just with you but also in your church and now is the perfect time to cast a vision for your ministry. Whether you are starting a brand new ministry or running the same one you have for years, it is always good to take time to share with the church and your ministry team your ministry’s vision. Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. Proverbs 29:18 ESV According to Dictionary.com a vision is “the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision; the vision of an entrepreneur.” Let’s take a few minutes to go over the “Who, What, When, Where, and Why” of casting a vision for your ministry. Who do you want to cast vision to? Whether it is from the stage at church during the announcements, in a team meeting, or in an email to potential volunteers, you should always be ready to share with others what the vision is for your ministry. You never know what God might be up to when you are obedient to sharing what He’s called you to do....

Praying Like Jesus

My husband and I arrived at church earlier than usual one Sunday morning because of his security team obligations. As I waited for our small group to begin, I sat and listened to our worship team practice. On Thursday of that week one of the members of our worship team had messaged me saying that she was not even sure she was supposed to be up on the stage leading worship. She felt discouraged and unsure of her calling because she just did not always ‘feel’ the words she was singing. After the team finished practicing, my friend and ministry partner, Kristin, came over to me and confided in me that she was not sure she should even be leading the worship team. Now understand, Kristin has a voice that is out of this world. She has recorded, sung for governors and all manner of dignitaries; she leads worship at many events where I speak. Kristin is the bomb as a worship leader and here she was telling me that she wasn’t even sure she was supposed to be up there leading worship at church!!!!  I sensed warfare in the air. In just a few minutes, one of the other worship team members, Sarah, came over to where Kristin and I were talking. Sarah is an energetic young woman who loves Jesus, has a beautiful voice and plays keyboard. She looked at Kristin and me and said that she felt like there was some disconnect in the worship team that morning. Umm, well yeah! Two of the four vocals were feeling like they might not be serving in the...

Share A Mentor of Your Time?

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12 (NIV) Several years ago, as I looked around my thriving metropolitan church, I noticed that few elderly people were in our midst. The thought occurred to me: How can we expect to grow in wisdom as a church without the very people who are able to model it? Since then, I have seen intentional efforts to diversify our young culture with people of all ages. One Sunday at church, I was thrilled to greet three beautiful seniors to my left and my right. I told one of the ladies that her blouse was gorgeous, and her eyes lit up the sanctuary. Whether we are single and waiting, menopausal, getting our AARP card in the mail, or somewhere in-between, each of us has a valuable place in the Body of Christ. We, at any age, can be a Godly mentor and can be mentored as well. Without that diversity in our friend circle, our spiritual lives will be sorely malnourished. If I hadn’t been mentored by someone growing up, I would not be the same today. Lost in the middle of a broken, devastating childhood, the odds were against me having a thriving spiritual life. But my grandma, my great aunt and several women at church took the time to build faith into my life. In my high school years, I had one family in particular that took me under their wing, taught me how to cook,...

Who Has God Called You to Lead?

If you are like me, you have opportunities daily to go in about 38 different directions in ministry. So many needs, yet we must narrow down the call and focus on what God wants us to do today. How do we do that? With the masses of those that need our love and lessons, how do we hone in on the ones Jesus called us to? When I read this, I’m overwhelmed with who to seek and who to feed: Matthew 18:12-14 NIV “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. Who is the lost sheep I am called to go looking for? What about the ninety-nine: who will care for them? Once again, God uses a distracted moment in my day to teach me something profound. I’ve recently taken up Zumba. It’s a dance fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. The program combines Latin and international music with dance in an effort to make exercise fun.  I love it, but I’ve always loved dancing. When I started the classes, I was lost. Not like the lost sheep. I’m sure the sheep was darling. I was anything but...

Welcoming Newcomers: Why Being Friendly Isn’t Enough

Amy’s going to walk into your women’s ministry this fall. She’s a newcomer, but she may have visited last year too. Do you remember her? It’s mid September, the tables are set, the buffet table’s filled with delicious food, and each table hostess is in her place. Amy’s nervous, and more than a little anxious as she arrives. Who will she talk to? Will anyone want to talk to her? It’s her first time attending a women’s ministry event at your church and she doesn’t know anybody. It soon becomes clear that nobody knows her either. Women greet each other warmly, chat about their families, and let Amy wander alone to find an open seat. The table hostess says hello and gives her a nametag, then returns to a focused discussion with her friend. As Amy goes through the buffet line she greets the women nearby and they reciprocate, but she is still unable to break into their conversations—and no one invites her to. The knot in her stomach tightens as a feeling of rejection begins to grow. She is grateful when the speaker starts talking and contemplates sneaking out the door. It seems obvious that no one will notice, and certainly they won’t care. But she stays until the end, walks to her car alone, closes the door, and then the tears begin to flow… Amy’s the outsider, the newcomer, and the unknown one at your first get together this fall. Do you remember her? I do, because the story you just read is about me. I was Amy that September about ten years ago, and yes, I...

Are You a Rope Holder?

Are you in a position of leadership? Think before you answer. Most of us are leaders whether we recognize it or not.  CEOs, managers, supervisors, teachers, pastors, parents, grandparents, day care workers, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, law enforcement officers…..these are just a few of the leadership positions that you might occupy. Earlier in my life, I worked as a mid-level manager in a healthcare organization. I viewed one of the important parts of my job as helping those I managed do their jobs better. It was up to me to give them the training, tools, guidance and encouragement they needed to do their jobs, then step back and let them soar. I did not try to micromanage, but was always available should they need me. I tried not to be a rope that held my staff back from accomplishing all they could for the good of the organization and for the advancement of their career. It would have been easy for me, a professed and now-recovering control freak, to take the ‘if I want it done right, I’ll do it myself’ attitude.’ When my staff did something wrong, I could have said, “Why in the world would you do that? That was dumb.” I could have pulled them off the task and given it to someone else without giving a second chance. I could have been the rope that held them back from being all they could be. In the Bible, Eliab was the rope that tried to hold David back. Eli-who???  Eliab, King David’s oldest brother.  When Jesse sent David to the front lines to check on...

World Vision Bloggers in Bolivia

This week we are continuing to follow our friends at World Vision as they travel and minister in Bolivia. Please join us in praying for them. Saturday, July 30th, a team of 8 packed their bags and began the long trek to Bolivia. Lindsey writes… My morning started at 3:50 am, that’s the time my first alarm went off. Three alarms later, I rushed to get up, panicking, thinking I was already late for my first flight. I quickly showered, finished throwing in last minute items into the suitcase, grabbed a bottle of water, then I was out the door. By 6:30 am, I was through the long, dreaded security line, took my trek to the gate, and boarded my first of two flights for the day — this one at Sea-Tac airport, the next in about four more hours at Dallas Fort Worth international airport. Dallas welcomed me with 92 degree heat. I was certainly not in Seattle anymore. And Miami must have known I was coming, too, because it’s still 90 degrees outside here, even at 7:45 in the evening. Now I’m just waiting for Ms. Elizabeth Esther and Ms. Nish Weiseth to arrive in the next hour or two. We lucky west coasters are staying the night here before everyone else arrives in the morning. Then, in the next 36 hours, I’ll complete my five-airports-in-two-days quest, landing in Cochabamba, Bolivia as our final destination. Only 11 hours ago, I said goodbye for the next 1o days to my dear husband and sweet puppy. But most of our team will be saying goodbye to their two-year-olds and...

Boldness, Bloggers, & Bolivia

We here at Internet Cafe Devotions are honored to partner with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. On July 30th a team of eight bloggers from all around the country are headed to Bolivia to experience firsthand the work of World Vision. Over the next two weeks here at the Ministry Counter we will follow this team as they minister in Bolivia. Would you join us in praying for each member of the World Vision Bolivia Team, their families, those they will come in contact with, and the possibility of becoming a sponsor to a child in Bolivia? Today Lindsey Talerico-Hedren from the World Vision shares about the Bolivia team.   What does it really mean to be bold? To actually exert boldness? It so often seems to me that “boldness” is one of those characteristics that you aspire to have, but maybe very rarely take the opportunity to exercise. It’s an easy thing to run and hide from behind a curtain of doubt and comfort. “Boldness” is one of those words you’d use to describe someone heroic, who can look fear in the eyes and take it on headfirst. Characters in the bible like Joseph or Noah or Daniel – they were bold. But boldness is not just about the heroism or the bravery. It’s about those who take steps of faith… bold steps of faith. In a few days, seven bloggers are taking giant, bold steps of faith leaving everything they know to take...