Questions to Use in Premarital Counseling

Premarital Counseling is very important to those planning to wed. Marriage is a complex concept and if we’re going to do it well, we need guidance from someone with the training and knowledge to help us. These questions help facilitate these goals. Some or all can be used for these purposes.

With the couple before me, I have them fill these questionnaires out separately and then we discuss them together. Marriage brings people of diverse experiences and teachings together and these questions help them see what they know and whether they’re truly compatible.

In doing so, we can steer them to Scripture and give them spiritual guidance along the way. However, many of these questions are of a practical nature and cover subjects most couples never consider before their nuptials.

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#counseling, #marriage, #ministry, #premarital-counseling, #wedding

In turn: Matthew 14.19 VOTD

“Then he instructed the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.”

Matthew 14.19

Even during his earthly ministry, Jesus often used his disciples to mediate his blessings to people, as he did during the feeding of the five thousand.

How does the Lord observe this principle today, of using his people to bless others?

#ministry #VOTD #mediation

Amazing smartphone statistic

Since it concerns me personally in our location, I found this to be an amazing statistic as far as global comparisons. And I don’t even have a smartphone.

About the time the state phone company got their public phones on just about every street corner in Brazil a few years back, mobile started growing and taking over. (It threw away millions because it couldn’t see the trend coming.) Now it’s hard to find a Brazilian without a smartphone.

And now it’s hard to have a conversation (or a worship meeting) without a smartphone turning up to interrupt.

There are downsides but advantages, too. See the link above for more.

#brazil, #ministry, #technology

Of God and man

The Lord Jesus Christ kept his balance between seeking the Father and serving people. He did not let the demands and needs of others keep him from time alone in prayer and meditation. Neither did he neglect proclaiming the Father’s word to both crowds and individuals by escaping by himself to a mountain.

Every saint needs this same balance. Spirituality and ministry are not either/or options, but both/and necessities. Without the Father, service is mere social improvement. Without the practice of faith, spirituality becomes nothing more than another form of consumerism.

#ministry, #spirituality

We got clergy in the Lord’s church

Ron T. has an excellent article that deserves a close reading, “Dismissing the preacher for a change in direction.”

What Ron describes is a symptom of a larger problem, it would seem, of treating preachers (and preachers considering themselves) as employees.

You hear and read it all the time, that a man is a “preacher for” such-and-such congregation. Language betrays. Profound restoration is needed on this point.

In the 2017 FHU Lectureship book, a contributor wrote about “lay” preachers. Editors let that go.

What is the opposite of laymen? Clergy.

#clergy, #ministry, #preachers, #preaching

Good for me, good for you?

Some things one does for one’s own spiritual benefit, as is right and necessary. If by chance those things benefit others, as they often will, so much the better. Growth in the Spirit is not a lonely nor selfish proposition. Of course, one must take care that such benefit does not become the end-all and do-all of ministry. There is that service that is undertaken solely for the benefit and need of one’s neighbor. The overflow of my benefit to the other cannot be the main service provided for another. The additional blessing to others that comes from one’s own efforts toward growth can never substitute the teaching, evangelism, edification, and benevolence given to others. But when the additional blessing occurs, blessing indeed it can be.

#benefit, #ministry, #service, #spirituality

Ministers and finances: Content with little?

An evangelical group’s survey found “bleak state” in these results of ministers’ finances:

The survey reveals that 30 percent of pastors have student loan debt averaging $36,000; 33 percent have less than $10,000 in retirement funds; and 29 percent have no retirement savings.

The survey also revealed that a minority received financial orientation in their ministerial studies.

Makes one wonder how evangelists, preachers, missionaries, and elders supported by our people are doing financially.

One suspects that many are, like the apostle to the Gentiles, learning the secret of contentment with little, Php 4.12.

#ministry #finances #money

Where do we focus most of our energies?

Our mission is the whole world

Where do we put most of our time, energies, and money?

Do we talk mostly to ourselves? Is our preaching, teaching, and writing directed largely to the saved? Do our offerings get spent on keeping the saints secure and, perhaps, comfortable?

Yes, we must edify the brethren. But if our time, energies, and monies were easily measurable, would we discover that they are devoted more to ourselves than to the lost?

Some even doubt the need to evangelize. Not a few are willing to let the rest of the world enter perdition with no effort to save them. Others have little sense of the church’s Main Mission.

God wants to save everyone. Nothing is clearer in Scripture than this. Equally clear is that he has put his people in the world to proclaim his salvation to all. That is their task.

God does not do what he has given us to do. He may raise up a faithful people to do it. His providence is still at work. But we are right that he will not appear in visions or dreams to preach the gospel.

God has give us the task of mission, and he fully expects — and equips — us to do it.

Mostly, the church of America dabbles in missions. Will the Lord of the harvest not hold his people accountable for their failure?

#america, #ministry, #mission, #offering, #time

From deviation in the slightest degree to divine rejection?

Do you agree with the following statement by Oswald Chambers?

Any goal we have that diverts us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being “approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15) may result in our rejection from further service for Him.

Why or why not? I’m mulling this over. Not looking to wallop anybody over an opinion on it. Just looking for perspective.

#ministry, #service-to-god, #spiritual-goals

Kick back or jump forward?

Some people use holidays to kick back and rest brain and body. Three servants of God are coming to visit tomorrow from São Paulo, since it’s a municipal holiday for Corpus Christi. They want to talk about Bible study, ministry, the church in Brazil, and the family of God’s workers. One may work full-time with the church, I’m not sure. The other two do not, for certain. They’re taking precious time to learn how to be more effective servants.

I’m going to treat them for lunch at the pie store close to the office. (Think chicken pie and palm-heart pie.) Then, if they have time, I’ll bring them home for The Missus’s homemade brownies and coffee. We’ll sit at the table on the back porch and chew the fat. Continue reading

#corollaries, #divine-providence, #ministry, #transgenderism

Evaluating ministry to God

From this denominational article comes this list of questions to help one evaluate one’s service to Christ. I have only slightly adapted them. Continue reading

#evaluation, #ministry, #service-to-god

Good story to illustrate why it’s important to serve within the church

Here’s a neat story called “A Growing Church” that was passed along to me in an email. The email originated with a brother named Dave Hart, but the illustration itself was marked as “Author Unknown” so I don’t have any other “credit” to pass along for it. Also, the word “bus fare” may be a little “dated” or “out-of-place” depending upon where you live but it can be updated or changed easily to make this a very applicable illustration for any congregation today when it comes to church growth and the importance of serving our brothers and sisters in the church:

An elder called on a member of the church for a social visit. The conversation turned to the work of the church. They talked of the progress that had been made and how the Lord had blessed their efforts through the past years. Yet both agreed that other things were needed.

“It seems to me,” said the member, “That the church is always needing something. Every time we meet, there is a plea for more giving and more workers.”

“You are right, my brother,” replied the elder. “The church is always needing something. I had a little boy who needed something. One week it was shoes, another clothes, then lunch money, bus fare, spending money. I thought he asked too much. He hasn’t asked for anything for years now. He quit needing anything from me. You see, he died one night. And there are times when I would give anything to hear him ask for something just once more. I realized after it was too late, how much happiness I found, even in his begging. Perhaps you have never missed the church. It has always been there when you needed it, and you have taken it for granted. Frankly I confess I did not know how little I did for my son until it was too late.

So it is with the church. As long as the church stands, it will have needs. When it quits needing something, it will be dead. A dead church cannot offer a living hope to a dying world. The church that has no needs fills none.”

#church, #church-growth, #illustration, #ministry, #service

Job or Ministry?

Here’s a neat little article that compliments something that I posted the other day. I found it in the Findlay church of Christ bulletin. It was labeled as “Author Unknown” but it sounds like whoever wrote it had some experience for the most part.

JOB OR MINISTRY?

Some people have a job in the church. Others involve themselves in ministry. What’s the difference?

  • If you do it just because no one else will…it’s a job. If you do it to serve God…it’s a ministry.
  • If you quit because someone criticized you…it’s a job. If you kept on serving in spite of criticism…it’s a ministry.
  • If you’ll do it only so long as it doesn’t interfere with other things…it’s a job. If you’re committed to staying with it, even when it means letting other things go…it’s a ministry.
  • If you quit because no one ever praised or thanked you…it’s a job. If you stay even though no one notices your efforts…it’s a ministry.
  • If you do it because someone else said it needs to be done…it’s a job. If you do it because you know it needs to be done…it’s a ministry.

It’s hard to get excited about a job. It’s almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry. An average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great and growing church is filled with people involved in ministry!

#article, #job, #ministry, #serving

Six Things Young Preachers Need to Know

youngman

When young men go into the ministry, they are ambitious and hopeful. They dream of saving countless souls and inspiring brethren immediately to become passionate and obedient.

However, reality soon sets in, and they learn that working with humans is more complicated than they realized. These aspiring preachers learn some harsh lessons in the meantime and struggle until they gain some experience.

When we embark into a new career, we need copious amounts of guidance, patience and grace until we know what we are doing. With that in mind, here are six lessons that young preachers may not be told in school or when they are in training.

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#churches, #congregation, #lessons, #ministry, #preachers, #preaching

Set aside to minister

In Deuteronomy 18:1-8, we have the record of the priests and Levites being set aside to the service of God and the people. I do not know with any certainty that God intended this situation to be a type of the position that Christians occupy in the world. However, I do believe that we can draw some important lessons from the circumstances of the priests and Levites with God.

• The Levites were to receive no inheritance in the land. I am reminded of this portion of a well known song: “This world is not my home, I’m just a’passing through.” The men and women of faith declared that they were seeking a country, but it was not on this world (Heb. 11:13-16). Brothers and sisters, we have no inheritance here (Heb. 13:14. If we lay up treasures here, there will our heart be (Matt. 6:19-21).

• Their inheritance was the Lord. I know that through God’s blessings, we live pretty well here on this earth. But we do not belong here. We do not fit here. We are wanderers waiting to arrive at ou “long home” (Heb. 10:36-40). Men on this earth, even some in the church, will “think it strange that we do not run with them to the same excesses” (1 Pet. 4:3). A faithful Levite did and a faithful Christian does “set his affection on things above” (Col. 3:2). Our inheritance is the Lord in every way:

  • We are his adoption (Gal. 4:5-7).
  • Our life, by choice, is hid in him (Col. 3:3)
  • Our path, our very footprints are found inside of his as we step where he stepped (1 Pet. 2:21-25; 1 John 1:7).
  • For us to live is for Christ to walk the earth once again (Phil. 1:21; Gal. 2:20)
  • Our purpose in life is His (Luke 19:10; Matt. 20:28).
  • We strive so much to be him in our earthly life that he will bless us to be like him in our glorified body (1 John 3:2-3).

Brothers and sisters, the plight of a servant is indeed blessed because He in our inheritance. Make me a servant, Lord, make me like you.

Mike Glenn

#christian-inheritance, #levites, #ministry