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4/15/14

CONFESSIONS OF A PASTOR

I read a story of a pastor (fictitious, I believe) that went to the train station every afternoon, watched the train leave the station, and went on his way.  Finally, someone asked him, "Pastor, why do you come here every day, watch the train leave the station and go on your way?".  The pastor answered, "I just want to watch something that's moving that I'm not having to push".

That may seem ridiculous to you, but not to me.  Sometimes, as a pastor, I feel like nothing would move if I wasn't pushing it.  Doesn't matter if that's true or not, if that's the way I feel, then that's the way I feel.  It's a pastor thing.  And, these are Confessions of a Pastor.

In reality, I battle that.  I realize it's a strategy of the Enemy.  He tells me that everyone is standing on the sidelines cheering for me and telling me they're praying for me and that I'm doing a great job and keep up the good work...but, no one is helping push.  It's not completely true, but it's still a struggle.

Nothing delights the heart of a pastor like when he sees someone pushing the train.  Sweet!

4/4/14

IWANM.....Listening

Q: As a man, it is very difficult to understand and ONLY listen to my wife.  How does a man get better at not trying to fix her problems and just listening?

A: This is a great question and really illustrates one of the biggest differences between men and women.  Men are by nature fixers.  We like to fix things, build things, find solutions.  We find satisfaction in problem-solving.  We also have word quotas that are much lower than our female counterparts.
     To tell a man to be quiet, listen and DON'T  solve the problem is like telling a bird not to fly or a dog not to chase a rabbit.  It just cuts totally against everything that comes naturally.
     Women, on the other hand, don't run on factual fuel as much as emotional fuel.  They feel loved, not by their spouse ignoring the facts and solutions, but first and foremost by their spouse validating their feelings and emotions.
     Husbands, when you simply problem-solve, that makes perfect sense to us, but what it says to our wives is that their emotions and their feelings don't matter, aren't valid, and aren't really worthy of your time and attention.
     Guys, if you're like me, you sometimes wonder if you even HAVE feelings, much less understand someone else'.  I just want to say, "OK, listen.  Here's what you need to do.  1....2....3...."  I remember one time I did that with Susan.  I thought I gave her some great advice and it took a lot less time my way.  So, I was blown away when Susan looked at me and instead of saying, "Thank you honey.  That was just what I needed", she said, "Gee, if I needed a dad I would have just kept the one I already had".  OUCH!!!
     Understand, guys, that doesn't mean you have to become a girl and just get all touchy-feely and sit there and listen.  You're a guy.  Go ahead and fix.  Problem-solve.  But, first just shut-up and listen.  What she needs most from you is to know you love her enough to listen to her and by doing so, to let her know that her feelings are OK, valid and normal.  WARNING: You may have to actually develop an Emotional Vocabulary beyond happy, sad, mad and hurt.  That's not going to take you too far.
     And ladies, let Mr. Fix-It do his thing.  If he can't problem-solve, you might as well cut off his hands.  If you don't want solutions, you should have married a girl.  Not suggesting that.  But, since you married a man...let him be a man.  You can ignore his solutions if you want, but at least listen to them.  It's what we guys do!

4/1/14

IWANM...Abuse

Q:  Can God fix a marriage where one spouse is physically abusive?  What does the Bible say?

A:  First of all let me begin by saying this is definitely more than one question.  Let me address them separately.

Can God fix a marriage where one spouse is physically abusive?  Absolutely.  God can do anything.  Easy.  No-brainer.

What does the Bible have to say?  It has a lot to say.  Which subject were you concerned with particularly?  If you just need to know what the Bible says about God's ability to heal a marriage...or anything else for that matter...it says He's able.

If you're wanting to know if God expects you to stay in an abusive marriage, the answer is absolutely NOT!  God never DEMANDS or EXPECTS or even DESIRES that anyone would divorce.  But, He also makes allowances for it in certain circumstances.  I believe those circumstances include (but, are not limited to):
Adultery
Abandonment
Addiction
Abuse

My word to you would be that if you are in an abusive relationship, GET AWAY FROM IT!  I did not say GET OUT OF IT.  I said GET AWAY FROM IT.  God can still heal it.  God is able to change hearts and minds.  But, you need to have enough self-respect to refuse to put up with abuse.  LEAVE. NOW.