burdens lifted

Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary

Too often we carry our burdens around by ourselves. I heard a preacher say that we live in a DIY society and it’s true with our Christian lives as well. We try to Do it Ourself. But God says we should bear one another’s burdens.

Do you know that 2 horses can pull three times the weight of one horse? So with us, if we share our burdens with one another the weight is much much lighter.

Not only that, If we share our burdens with Jesus, the weight is even lighter for he says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Hymn of the Week: “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”

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Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

fa from god

Feeling Far from God?

God’s Faithfulness

“I have heard all about You, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us.”-Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

Too many times, we feel far from God.

We know He is there. We know all He has done and will do. But sometimes there is a distance between us. If we really examine ourselves, our hearts, our intentions, our motives, we will often find that it was not God that moved away from us. Quite the contrary. Continue reading

Glenae Atchison

Glenae Atchison is a native of Indiana, and a long time resident of Mississippi. She graduated from Asbury College in 1983 with a BS in Music Education. She and her husband, Skip have been married for over thirty years. They have two married children and three grandchildren. Glenae is active in choir, two group Bible studies, United Methodist Women, and is a certified lay servant in the United Methodist Church. Her favorite activities include singing and playing the piano, sewing, quilting, and making Swedish weave blankets.

Search for a perfect pastor

In Search of the “Perfect” Pastor

Pastors are People, Too

Our church has just begun the adventure of searching for a new pastor. It’s a daunting job when you look for the perfect pastor. Basically, because there are no perfect pastors because pastors are people, too.

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Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

pray for believers

Pray for the Believers

Introducing Glenae Atchison

May I introduce my college friend, Glenae Atchison as a contributor to this website. You may recognize her name if you have been to my Facebook page, Leaving a Legacy. She posts there on a regular basis.

Glenae AtchisonGlenae is a native of Indiana and a long time resident of Mississippi. She graduated from Asbury College in 1983 with a BS in Music Education. She and her husband, Skip have been married for over thirty years. They have two married children and three grandchildren. Glenae is active in choir, two group Bible studies, United Methodist Women, and is a certified lay servant in the United Methodist Church. Her favorite activities include singing and playing the piano, sewing, quilting, making Swedish weave blankets, and, of course, spending time with her grandchildren.

As you will see she is ‘made from the same cloth” as I. And now her first post on the subject of prayer. Continue reading

Glenae Atchison

Glenae Atchison is a native of Indiana, and a long time resident of Mississippi. She graduated from Asbury College in 1983 with a BS in Music Education. She and her husband, Skip have been married for over thirty years. They have two married children and three grandchildren. Glenae is active in choir, two group Bible studies, United Methodist Women, and is a certified lay servant in the United Methodist Church. Her favorite activities include singing and playing the piano, sewing, quilting, and making Swedish weave blankets.

How Hannah Prayed

Two Lessons from Hannah’s Prayer

10 Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.

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Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

1 Samuel 1:10-11, 18 (NLT)

When I read about the anguish in Hannah’s heart, my own heart is pricked.

Do I Pray with Deep Anguish?

First, while I had a great desire to have children, I don’t know this kind of pain of waiting years to be blessed and seeing others around me having children when I did not, however, I do know about pain of a different kinds=. I have actual pain from my chronic illness, I have aching pain for family members that are far from God, I know the pain of rejection.

But I wonder at times if my pain has been deep enough for me to cry out to God in “deep anguish”. I wonder if I have ever fallen before God begging him to work in my life or in the lives of others. Do I fall prostrate before God, asking and fasting while I pray for Him to intervene?

When we say that we are praying for someone, do we really pray for them or do we just hope that things will get better for them? Do we actually take the time to stop and focus on God and ask Him to intervene?  I have recently made an effort to always place the person’s name in my prayer journal app. (See Prayer Popper) I don’t say I will pray unless I place them in this journal. This brings them to my mind occasionally and I do lift them up in prayer for a moment. But I still wonder if I am praying or just wishing and wanting. Do I get serious about intercession?

Secondly, Do I Believe God will Answer?

After Eli blessed her and asked God to grant her request she “went and ate with her family and was no longer sad.” She accepted with confidence that God would now answer her prayers. She was no longer distraught over her situation. She left it in God’s hands.

When we are distraught over our situation, do we take it and lay our concern on the altar and then go away “no longer sad”? Or do we pick up our concerns and take them with us?

Are we content to trust Him no matter what His answer may be?

Hannah was able to leave her request at the altar. She went home and was happy. She had not received her heart’s desire yet but she now found joy in her God. Her faith held her up.

Our hope should be in God not in our desires.

Are we devoted to God regardless of whether God has met those desires? Are we willing to give back to God the very things for which we are praying?

I challenge you to lay your burdens on the altar of God and leave them there. Remember, he promises to give rest to our souls if we bring them to Him and let Him do the work.

 

 

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

Fully Alive Book Review

Book Review: Fully Alive

NOTE: I received this book at no charge in exchange for writing this review. These words are my own opinion and I have not been compensated to say them. 

Dare to Hope again

Have you been losing your hope lately? What is it that is pulling you down into

despondency?

Dare to Hope Fully Alive

Susie’s Larson’s new book

Sickness?

Fear?

Guilt?

Worry?

Grief?

Discouragement?

Insecurity?

Selfishness?

Look up because there is AlWAYS Hope in Jesus.

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Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

Why Still Sick

If God is my Healer, Why Am I Still Sick?

“For I am the Lord who heals you.” – Exodus 15:26 NLT

Why Am I Still Sick

Have you ever wondered why so many people struggle with illness and weakness? You would think that since God is a healer that He would reach down and heal his people, especially those that are believers.

It’s a question that has been asked down through the ages, I would guess.  And many have searched to find the answer. I have learned there are many reasons why God may leave us in our sickness, disability, or weakness. Continue reading

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

Pastor appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

Having been in the ministry, I have conflicting feelings about Pastor Appreciation month. On the one hand,  it is a very good reminder to the people to take a moment and let their pastor know how much you love them. On the other hand, it can be a very depressing time when a pastor hears about all the things other churches did for their pastor and your church did nothing at all to show that they love & appreciate you!

Now that my husband has retired from full-time ministry, I’ve decided that it wouldn’t be self-serving to remind everyone to take some time and really show your pastor that you appreciate him. Church members, you don’t have to wait to be prompted by your board to do something, do it on your own or at least remind the board members so they don’t forget. Get some personal ideas here.

Maybe you don’t realize the sacrifices made by pastors AND their families.

There are many.

  1. Pastoral families have left home and family to come and serve your church. They may be 100s or even 1000s of miles away from home. On top of that, they are seldom able to go home to see their families. They may even miss important events, like reunions and funerals, due to their service to you.
  2. In many cases, pastors are paid a minimal salary which barely meets their living expenses, even when a parsonage is provided.
  3. In order to get a degree and ordination in ministry, a minimum of 4-6 years is required at a private Christian College. Many times pastors are in serious debt before they even get started. They probably met their spouse at college, so they both have a lot of debt to pay on that minimal salary.
  4. Many pastors have a compassionate heart and they give much to the church financially and time-wise.
  5. Pastors are on call 24/7. They have missed many a family meal and their kid’s ballgames due to a need within the church. I have known many, ourselves included, who have canceled vacations, even after they left home, due to a need in the church.

These are just a few of the sacrifices made by your pastor and why you should show a little appreciation, personally and corporately, once in a while.

So …. maybe you are wondering,

pastor appreciation

photo credit: Canva modified by Mandy

I’m glad you asked!

I did a little survey of all my ministry friends. I asked them, “What is the best thing a church has ever done for you?” and here are their replies…

Top Ideas

  1. Cash is always good.  Cash helps pay a few bills that they might be coming short on. Also, since Christmas is just around the corner, it may help them provide a nice Christmas for their children.

Cash can be given in the form of a bonus check (one week’s pay?) from the church board, or a love offering from the members. Give it in a nice card or something creative, like a money tree. You could tell your church in advance so they can all participate and bring their own handwritten notes with cash in them.

Cash offerings for special needs is great too. Our church raised over $1,000 when they heard I would be going to Mayo Clinic.

This is a good time to consider a salary raise. In our denomination, the suggestion is every time giving is increased by $1000 a month, you should consider a raise or  bonus for your pastor. Board members, how about bringing the issue up every time you get a raise yourself? At least consider a cost of living increase every year.

2.  Laymen Sunday.  Surprise him by taking over the service and have a special service all about him. Have members read poems, do skits, give/write words of encouragement, give awards or certificates, sing songs. Follow this up with a nice lunch in his honor. Don’t forget the spouse and children. They have sacrificed much as well. At least give the spouse some flowers.

Simple but Helpful

3. A Month of Meals. Have the parishioners sign up for a day in October. Each one can do whatever they like: a) invite the pastoral family to their home for dinner b) gift cards to restaurants  c) bring in a hot meal d) take him/he & his wife/the family out for lunch.  This is an excellent way for the pastor and his family to get to know all the people.

4. Food Pounding.  Now I’m not talking about the “clean out your pantry” type food pounding. One of our churches came to me and had me make a list of grocery items. The  board had me write down all the normal food items that most of us probably purchase every week. They didn’t stop there; but, instructed me to write down those food items that we liked and would buy, “if money were no object.” You know, those things that we like to treat ourselves and our children to occasionally.  They told us to make a nice long list. Then the church members selected items and purchased them for us. It was an amazing food pounding. We had a freezer and a pantry full of food. My grocery bill dropped significantly for several months. Now that was a blessing!

Don’t Foget Childcare

5. Dinner for Two and Childcare Provided. What couple wouldn’t love a romantic date night with no cost to them? Find a 5 star restaurant and get a gift certificate. Then arrange for someone to take care of the children. (And take away his cell phone. Let the board members take care of any issue that arise during that time.)

Ways to Promote Getting to Know Pastor

6. Photo Album with pictures and handwritten notes from everyone. This sounds like a wonderful thing to do at the beginning of a pastorate. What an awesome way to start making face connections with the people.

Something Extra Special

7.  All Expense Paid Getaway. Every pastor and wife can use a break now and again. They often don’t take the vacation time they are allocated. This could be a weekend getaway or a week or two long trip. Your pastor will return refreshed and ready to serve the church even better than before. There are many choices here … a) retreat centers for pastors. Many places give discounts for pastors.  b) a Bed & Breakfast c) a mountain cabin d) a beach/lake house e) cruise f) trip to Hawaii or Israel g) It could be that someone in your church has a vacation home somewhere they would share or offer at a discount.

Fringe Benefits

8. Pay Student Loans.  One couple reported that their church made their student loan payments for over 12 years while they served there. What a huge blessing.

9.  A Car. You might have to have some connections with a local car dealer. We knew a pastor who received a new car every year. Think about it … no church wants their pastor to break down in an old clunker trying to get to the hospital to be with a church member. This would be a way to keep that from happening.  [Just as a benefit, even allowing him/her to drive the church van would be awesome. It keeps the van in good driving order. And it’s advertisement for the church while he drives it around town.]

Remember Special Occasions

10. His and Her Watches. I hadn’t heard this one before but this is a very nice thoughtful gift, especially for a special year such as 25 years in ministry or serving your church.

11. Special Gift Items. Listen closely and learn the interests of your pastor and wife. If you listen, you will get some great gift ideas. Items that they are really wanting but cannot afford. What are their hobbies? Even if you can’t provide the item, you may be able to give a gift certificate towards it. Do they like to golf? Give a membership to a country club. You get the idea. Giving them what they need to take breaks is a benefit that reaps rewards.

PASTORS ARE PEOPLE, Too!

Remember that just because you are giving a gift to a minister doesn’t mean it has to be religious in nature. He probably has all the Bibles he needs. A nice picture for the living room is nice, but it doesn’t have to be a picture of Jesus or a church. Pastors are regular people too! Of course, that doesn’t mean he might not enjoy a new notepad computer to preach from either. 

12. Please don’t ignore the pastor’s wife and his children. They are part of the ministry whether she is working elsewhere or not. She has given many sacrifices and she has done more than you know for the church. Something small goes a  long way…. maybe flowers or something for her hobby. A toy or game for the children or maybe a few dollars depending on the age. If you love the spouse and children, your pastor will be more than thrilled and the church will reap the benefits.

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click above to print the list.

 

2 Things to remember:

  1.  If at all possible, don’t wait until the last Sunday in October to plan your special day. Do it early and he will be more surprised. When you wait until the last week, it kinda feels like your forgot and pulled something together at the last moment.
  2. Remember your associate pastors too. They may be bi-vocational or not, but they put in a lot of unknown hours to work with your teens, create awesome worship, or whatever ministry they do.
  3.  Don’t forget any retired pastors or widows of pastors. A small token gift will go a long way for those no longer in ministry. Sometimes, they feel completely forgotten even though they have served for many years.

Have fun with this. Remember that a little appreciation and encouragement goes a long way. Click here for another post on “Ways to Love Your Pastor all Year Long!

 

Mandy Farmer

Suggested reading, especially for church board members.

This is an affiliate link. IF you click thorugh and purchase this book, we willl receive a small portion of the sale price which helps us keeps this website running. Thanks.

 

 

Mandy Farmer writer/speaker desires to support you in whatever storm you a facing. She has “Been there done that”. Like the Farmer’s Insurance, “We know a lot because we’ve seen a lot”. Mandy married a widowed pastor with two pre-teen boys. She became their mom and then they added another son and daughter to the mix. A 21st Century kind of family. Mandy served as children’s minister for 25 years followed by serving as women’s minister for 5plus years. In 2011, Chronic Pain became her constant companion which led to job loss for both her and her husband. Then this led to home loss and financial loss. But God is faithful and has brought them through these storms. Mandy would like to come alongside you to encourage you, help you, uphold you. Deut. 31:6

Lies I Believed About Buttering Up God

 I believed several lies about prayer and buttering up God.

Over the course of the last three years, we have experienced some hard “stuff” both professionally and personally. We would unanimously use the word “robbed”.  Robbed of co-workers through their untimely deaths.  Robbed of time with our daughter.  Through those experiences, I believed the lie that I wasn’t praying “good enough”. From that standpoint, I began “buttering up God” by using more flowery words, going on about His greatness, increasing the time spent in prayer.  However, the more things spiraled downward the less I felt heard, the more I felt the need to “butter up”.   Finally, in frustration with seeing very little change, I decided to give up on prayer.  Prayer was obviously not working the way I was praying.

I would ask myself questions like…

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Dropping By For A Visit

Don’t you miss the days when people would visit and sit for a spell?

visiting on the porch

2014 Dawson family reunion

I do. I think that is why I want a front porch so badly. I miss the days of sitting on the porch with friends and family just resting and sharing time together.

These days we never drop in on people and thus our lives remain lonely and we never learn from one another. No one is a close friend anymore. We are all just acquaintances.

Remember When?

Even our families no longer stop by for a visit. I remember going for a drive and stopping in on my mom’s aunt and uncle. I don’t know how she did it but Aunt Mary must have had a 6th sense that someone was coming by because it seemed about 5-10 minutes after we arrived, she presented a delicious cake. Besides for the delicious cake and good conversation, we gained the chance to actually know our cousins. If we had not stopped in occasionally, I would never have known my mother’s cousins, nor my second cousins.

I remember that our family friends would take turns having everyone over after the football games. These were all high school friends of my parents. Of course, they all had kids the same age as my siblings and me. Boy, did we have a grand time together?

As an adult, many of us would head out to a restaurant after Sunday Evening Worship. We seldom to that either.

We Are Too Busy

The truth is, we have become so busy that we never slow down long enough to just visit with anyone. The Bible instructs us to practice hospitality. The Book of Hebrews suggests that we should not forsake meeting together.  This scripture is usually used to encourage church attendance, but the early church met together in homes also sharing meals and encouraging one another. This is where we really get to know one another and share in each other’s lives. We can attend church, come in and go out, without truly interacting with people. But meeting in our homes and eating together, that is when we become more than acquaintances.

Here’s the Challenge

So, when was the last time you had a visitor or dropped by on someone unexpectantly? When is the last time you invited someone into your home? We may need to make a concerted effort to fellowship together.

Meeting Around the Table

A few years ago, a new Women’s conference erupted into the scene called IF Gathering. They have developed the idea that encouragement comes from around the table. They encourage us to have a once a month meeting around the table. Invite 5 or 6 people to share a simple meal and have a real conversation.

They feel that this is so important that they provide menu ideas and questions to ask each other. It’s called IF: Table. You can Check it out here.

Table games are an excellent way to increase comradery. Try this awesome game with some friends called Life Stories. You will have a great time learning new things about one another.

You can learn more about mentoring around the table with this book written by a friend. Coming Alongside: Blessed to be a Blessing

I’m ready for a visit. Come on by! I’ll make a pound cake.

Mandy Farmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I participating in Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Fridays where we take a prompt and write for five minutes.

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.