The Church

The Church is the Body of Christ

The Church is the Body of Christ

Five Minute Friday . com Prompt

We can sometimes feel that we just want Jesus to return. We need him here with us. But friends, He is here with us. He is within our hearts. And each of us, as the church, are a part of Him. We are His hands, His feet, His mouth, etc. – 1 Corinthians 12:27

How God Confirms His Message

It amazes me when God verifies His message to us from various unconnected sources at the same time. It tells me this is something serious to think about.

So Mike and I watched all three God’s Not Dead movies this week. We didn’t even realize there was a third, but that’s the one that got my attention. After seeing the movies, I sat down to do my daily study of the 7 Feasts of Israel. And the same message was brought out to me again.

What struck me is this…

We, the Church, are not just the temple of God, where He lives but we are the Body of Christ. That means we are His hands and feet. Others see Christ through our actions. So the question is... Are we allowing Christ to love and comfort others through us? Are we being Jesus to others? It’s something to think about.

We want to hold on to the “stuff” we have. We want to hold on to our own rights. But this wasn’t the way of Jesus. He gave it all up for us. And we should be willing to give it all up for Him.

The third confirmation was in a sermon.

What is your greatest treasure?

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

Matthew 6:21

Where is your treasure? Are we storing up treasures in heaven or here on earth? You know, if we have treasures here on earth, they will not last. Treasures on earth will burn up. They will not be of value when we stand before God. The treasures that are stored in heaven are our actions – living like Jesus – Serving others. Those are the things that will last eternally.

we are the church - the body of Christ
FiveminuteFriday.com

Let’s Start Being Jesus.

We need to get our hands dirty. It’s not necessarily, getting our government to do these things.

  • Devote yourself to good works – Titus 3:14
  • Hospitality – Romans 12:1
  • Be compassionate and kind – Colossians 3:12
  • Treating others better than ourselves – Philippians 2
  • Bear with One another and forgive – Ephesians 4:32
  • Do not without good from others, when it is in your power to do it. – Proverbs 3:27

Thees are just a few of the things we can do to “be Jesus”. These are the things that will last.

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

P.S. Matthew West Sings – Do Something

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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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joyful worhip

Worship with Kids Steps Toward a Joyful Sunday

Let’s Get Ready for Easter

With Easter coming up, I thought I might share a few tips on how I made it through Sundays with children. Regardless of how often you make it to church, Sunday worship with kids can be a challenge. Sometimes it can make you wonder why you bother going to church at all. Check out why regular worship is important here.

The day is completely different from any other day of the week and likely the night before was different as well. I remember Sundays when we arrived at church a bit frazzled just from getting ready for church.

Keep Reading even if you have no children, some of these steps all of us can take to improve our worship time.

Start Preparing Early in the Week

  • Check with the church office to see if anything is going to be different this week.
  • Will there be Children’s Church or Nursery Attendants available for your child?
  • Do the children remain in the service for a portion of the service?
  • What are the service times? Some churches change the time on special days.

Saturday Preparations for Worship with Kids

  • Plan a simple breakfast that is easy to serve and clean up. For us, muffins and milk or orange juice usually did the trick.
  • If you have babies or toddlers, clean out and re-stock the diaper bag.
  • Decide what everyone is wearing. Our daughter, by 4 years of age, was pretty obstinate about what she would wear. But we found that if we planned this with her the night before, there wasn’t a fight on Sunday morning.
  • Is everything clean and pressed; down to the shoes. Avoid having to find socks and shoes (or shoelaces) and hairbows at the last minute. When everything is laid out and ready to put on, it takes much less time and aggravation to get everyone dressed and in the car.
  • Lay out everything you need to take with you (Bibles, lesson books, etc) Have them ready to grab as you walk out the door.
  • Get your bath and hair washed. For as many as possible, do this Saturday evening. Especially with large families and/or few bathrooms.
  • Keep Saturday evening sacred. In the Jewish faith, the Sabbath begins at sundown, the day before. I see a lot of good in this because it keeps us from staying out late and being too tired for worship in the morning. So we tried to stick to the rule that everyone gets home by dark. It’s not always possible, but this definitely helps the whole mindset of preparing for worship the next morning.

Sunday Morning Schedule

  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This keeps you on time even if something goes awry. Children do much better if they are not being rushed. This also give you a few minutes to visit with friends or just get your mind focused on worship.
  • Arise early and enjoy a cup of coffee before you start getting the kids going. Typically, worship starts later than the start of school or work days. Why not rise at the same time to make the morning more enjoyable?
  • Turn on some upbeat worship music. In one home we lived in, we had an intercom. I piped the music through the house. This was everyone’s wake up call or at least notification that I would be coming around to get them out of bed.
  • Breakfast for the children. If you cook something, such as bacon, this could be another way to get them rolling out of bed. I know it works for teenagers. 🙂
  • Get dressed. I never figured out which was better.. dress the kids first or myself. I’ve had that fail either way. LOL! Maybe get dressed and put on an apron! 🙂
  • Assign others to help with the littles. You’ve laid out the clothes so this shouldn’t be difficult.
  • Give a 10-minute “Time to get in the car” call. Start looking over everyone to be sure they are fully dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, etc.
  • Again, leave 15-20 minutes earlier than needed.
Worship with kids
image credt free on Pixabay.com Modified by Mandy

Church Arrival & Worship with Children

  • Use the restroom. Non-negotiable rule. This keeps them from having to get up during the service to use the restroom. This is a no-no in our family. If you must take them out because they are disruptive, do so and get them calmed down. Then return to the service. If you don’t they will learn that you will take them out if they get disruptive. Children CAN learn to be quiet and respectful in church.
  • If you are a regular, watch for newcomers and greet them.
  • Find a seat. I suggest in the front half of the sanctuary. There are fewer distractions. Sit as a family. Another non-negotiable.
  • Prepare your heart for worship. Pray silently. Read some scriptures. The bulletin may have the pastors’ text. Go ahead and read it over to begin thinking about it. If the bulletin has the scheduled songs, meditate on the words of these songs.
  • Instruct your children during worship. They should learn to sing/sit/stand/pray along with the congregation. No toys or coloring during this part of the service.
  • Smaller children can have non-distractive toys or a book/coloring book. Save that container of Cheerios for the last few moments of the service when they are getting restless and the pastor is making his final point or call for decision.
  • Encourage your school-age children to take notes. You could even set up rewards for doing so. As a children’s minister, I created a small booklet for the children to take notes on days we stayed in the service. Such as this one. I gave them a small prize after church if they showed me their work.

After Worship Activities

  • Don’t rush out. Greet those around you, especially newcomers. Go straight to the ones you don’t know. They will leave quickly, especially if no one speaks to them. Your friends will be around and you know how to contact them anyway. If you need to speak with them, give them a quick, “Don’t leave before I talk with you.” greeting and then head to the visitors. If you are a visitor. Wait around a bit. Give people a chance to find you. Or just go ahead and speak to someone near you.
  • Clean up around you. Pick up bulletins, papers and anything you brought with you. Most churches have volunteers that do the cleaning. No one gets paid to do this, so help out and clean up your own mess.

Hope Your Sunday Worship is Joyful

Mandy Farmer
The Rest of God

Book Review: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

the rest of god

A book everyone should read … probably more than once to be reminded of the importance of rest.

Buchanan took a sabbatical to research the subject of the rest of God. And found so much that pricked his own heart about taking too little rest. He noticed that “the harder he worked, the less he accomplished.” and he realized that “the Sabbath was a form of mending”.  There is some renewal that only comes from resting in the Lord and being still.

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church attendance

How to Improve Your Church Attendance Experience

“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”


Hebrews 10:25

Our world is seemingly becoming less concerned with God and more concerned with self. Society preaches being happy at all costs; putting our happiness above all else. When a weekly commitment that Christians are encouraged in the Bible to keep becomes a challenge to us because we do not feel like it, then it may be the time to remind ourselves that church is not really about us…it’s about God. Allow me to expand.


Of course, we receive amazing benefits from going to meeting Together (attending church),

But sometimes we need that powerful reminder that what tops the “Why Should We Go to Church?” list is the fact that the church/meeting together offers us an opportunity to give to God.

I can’t help but think that God is pleased when we give Him our best worship as we stand alongside our church family. #churchattendance Click To Tweet
attendance
free image pixabay.com modified by Mandy

Encountering the Irritating

Yet, in that church family, we will likely encounter people who irritate us from time to time. There comes a time to decide that pleasing God is more important than trying to avoid being offended by someone’s conduct, lifestyle, or personality. (Remember, there are others who put up with us on those occasions when we might be the ones irritating them!)

My Sunday School teacher, whom I happen to be married to, has said, “If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it.” In other words, instead of lamenting the lack of energy, excitement, or enthusiasm, perhaps we are being called to prayerfully initiate it. Instead of considering leaving a church because it doesn’t fulfill our needs, perhaps God is prodding us to stay and be a prayerful part of the solution. Instead of wishing people would change, perhaps God is teaching us to prayerfully change our attitude toward them.

If you feel that church is missing something, maybe you are supposed to bring it. #churchattendance Click To Tweet

Think of the possibilities

If our church is a Gospel-preaching, community-reaching, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-receiving church, but there are some other aspects that we see as negative, just think what our positive, prayerful approach could possibly accomplish!

Lord, help me become excited about the wonderful opportunity of regularly attending church and being part of a church family. Help me to see and be thankful for the blessings I receive when I go to church, but to be even more concerned about the blessing I can be to others in my church family, as I put the focus on You and Your love. In Your name, I pray, Amen.

See you in Church!

Gwen

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.

Pastors Are People Too

We tend to forget that pastors are people, too. We put them up on a pedestal that no one can live up too, thinking that they have it all together spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It is assumed that they never get hurt or tired. They never get in a spat with their spouse. As a pastor’s wife, I’m here to tell you that pastors are people, too. They are real human beings just like you and me. And they have strengths and weaknesses. All of them need love and especially grace.

Regardless of whether your church is in search of a new pastor. I’d like to challenge you to take a step back and lower the pedestal that you have him on and look at him as a real person. Someone that has life challenges and emotional struggles, just like you. Someone who may not have it all together as much as you think. And then love him just the same.

A Book for Every Church Board Member

I recently picked up a book with an intriguing title, Pastors Are People, Too: What They Won’t Tell You But You Need to Know by Jimmy Dodd and Larry Magnusan.  Jimmy heads up a wonderful ministry for pastors that your church should opt into, called PastorServe. PastorServe offers counseling for pastors, retreats for pastors and their spouse, and also, will come alongside the church to help your church be the most supportive congregation.

If you are in search of a pastor, it’s a great time to access how you have been supporting your pastor and this book will guide you in making adjustments to serve him/her better. But even if you have a great pastor, this book can help you adjust the benefits you have set up and remind you to be sure that your pastor is taking advantage of all that you offer him. Many pastors do not feel it is their place to ask for a raise or even take a vacation that is coming to them. You must insist that they do these things for his and the church’s benefit. On that point, when is the last time you gave him a raise? Would you be happy if it has been that long since you received a raise at work?

Pastor Benefits and Appreciation

This book will most certainly help you realize all the areas in his life that you have assumed are in order for your pastor.  To name a few:

  • Debt Management
  • Time Management
  • Personal Finances
  • Marriage enrichment
  • many of the things we all need more training in

What About the Spouse and Children?

Now personally, while many spouses do not feel the same, I feel called as a pastor’s wife as much as my husband is called to be a pastor. However, there is no training for being a pastor’s wife. But many churches expect her to play the piano, to teach a certain class, to lead the women, open her home to the people and the list goes on. Some spouses work outside the church often to provide insurance and extra funds to live on. They  may be called to something other than just being there for the church.

Honestly, at little love and care on the pastor’s family goes a long, long way. They give up a lot because of the position their spouse/dad holds. More than you know, trust me on that. And a pastor will work hard for you if you will just love his family.

Appendices

Don’t skip the appendices in this book. They are of the most value. In fact, it will take you far to read just the last chapter on how to deal with conflict (good for anyone to learn) and the appendices.

A – A Vision of a Healthy Church

B – Praying for your Pastor (includes 30 days of prayers)

C – Thirty-Five Practical Way to Lovingly Support Your Pastor. (I wrote my own post on this a while back)

As a retired pastor’s wife, I urge you to pick up this book today. Maybe get a dozen of them for the church board.

Still serving Christ,

Mandy Farmer

Are you a Pastor or spouse dealing with hurt from the church?

Join my FB page, Joy in the Wilderness for a little love and support from others in the same position. Click the image below to join.

joy in the wilderness pastor

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commision if you click through and make a purchase. These funds will be used to keep this website going. Thank you.

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

Pastor appreciation

UNAPPRECIATED ~ 3 Actions to Change Your Heart

A Bottle of Bath Wash.

Who doesn’t enjoy the wonderful smell and the softness obtained from using it?

But it seemed precious little payment for the hours on end that I spent learning and perfecting the wedding music chosen for this wedding and the entire weekend my husband and I gave for rehearsal, decorating, flower deliveries and, of course, the wedding itself.

Have you ever felt unappreciated?

It’s easy to fall into the trap. We work hard to do our best and no one notices, maybe they even criticize our hard work. I’ve experienced that before!

But, remember my pastor’s wife, Charlotte, who taught me so much in the beginning? She brought home the truth one day while we were talking. She did it gently by suggesting that I make the time and hard work my gift to the bride and groom.

The truth of the matter is that it was my attitude that needed adjusting.

The big question is, “Who am I serving?”

God’s Word says,

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

You see, I had my priorities upside down.

I wasn’t doing all that preparation out of love for the couple (or God). I was doing it for my glory. To receive praise or a few dollars. And when it didn’t pay off, I was upset. No wonder I felt unappreciated.

It was time for an attitude adjustment. I needed a heart transplant. My heart of self-service needed changing out for a heart of service.

As we come to the end of October (Pastor’s Appreciation Month), perhaps some of us are needing a heart transplant. Maybe we feel unappreciated this year. It is possible we feel what was given was too little and too late causing us to wonder if it was all quickly put together at the last minute.

pastor appreciation
photo credit: Canva modified by Mandy

Here are a few ways that I have found to make an attitude adjustment.

Three Steps to Avoid Feeling Unappreciated

Look Up

Look up to God Realize how much He loves me and does for me. Thank Him for all the blessings He has given me even when I don’t deserve it.

Look Around

Look around at all those who are serving with me. This would include associates, widowed pastors/spouses, retired ministers, and their spouse. Send a handwritten card or note expressing your appreciation for them and what they do. Remember that joy comes in giving more than in receiving.

Make Pastor Appreciation Month truly a Pastor’s Appreciation of Others.

Look Back

Remember those who have paved the way for me. Write a note to the pastors and wives in my life that have encouraged me along the way.

Also, don’t forget the leaders above me. In our church, there is a District Superintendent that guides all the churches in our state. I’m sure he would accept a little appreciation, as well.

Next year, try entering the month of appreciation doing these things. I think you will find a greater feeling of joy over your situation.

Feeling Grateful!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA
Love your pastor all year long

How to Love Your Pastor All Year Long

Does your Church Have a Special Day for Pastor in October?

I’m hoping that your church does remember the pastor(s) during Pastor Appreciation Month. If not, I hope that you remembered to reach out to him personally. If you haven’t, it’s actually not too late. The truth is, we really should love our pastor all year long. Pastors are usually far from home and family. They need you to be their family and friend.

The truth is, we really should love our pastor all year long.

Pastors are usually far from home and family. They need you to be their family and friend.

Four decades of pastoral ministry is a pretty good perspective from which to share some thoughts with you on how to love your pastor all year long. You might think, “Hey, we had pastor appreciation day. Isn’t that enough?”

Isn’t Pastor Appreciation Day Enough?

Now, anytime is a good time to express appreciation for our pastors. You and I know; however, that unless we put some things on the calendar, they just never seem to happen.

So, someone did just that by designating the month of October as the time for local churches to show their pastors that they are appreciated.

Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures today.

Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move.

They are expected to

  • have ideal families,
  • be perfect people,
  • always be available,
  • never be down and
  • of course, have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward.

Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet

most of us are disappointed when a pastor

  •  becomes overwhelmed,
  • seems depressed,
  • lets us down
  • even preaches a bad sermon or
  • subsequently, completely burns out.

That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17 NJKV).

It’s always a good thing when church boards plan a special day for pastors in October for the entire church.

Believe me, this means so much to pastors!

Here are a few meaningful ways you can Love Your Pastor All Year Long:

  1. Love his family. Remember their anniversaries and birthdays. Not only his birthday but his wife and children as well. This should include the anniversary of his arrival and other events such as his ordination.
  2. Make his family part of your family. Whenever you have something happening in your family, include the pastor’s family. Invite them to special family events. Invite them to your family reunions, graduations, etc. This is how you will build a friendship and cause them to feel loved and important.
  3. Get to know him and his family personally. Establish a real friendship. Invite them to join you for lunch or other activities. Your pastor is a person, too. He would love to just get out and play golf, or go to a ball game. Many pastoral wives and children are very lonely. They feel like they have no friends. When they are out among others, they feel separated because “They are the pastor’s wife/kid”. Try just being a friend. You might find you like them! 🙂
  4. Give words of encouragement. Send a card or make a call occasionally when you are inspired by his sermon or are impressed by something he does. It would surprise them if you just called to see how they are or just to chat.
  5. And discourage any negative talk about him. When you hear others cutting him down, stand up for him or at least stop the negative talk.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, pray for him and tell him you are praying for him. Your pastor has troubles and needs prayer just like you. Pray for him often. Pray that God will bless his studies, his preaching, but also pray for him emotionally, financially, physically, personally. He has the same issues in life that you have.

Your pastor needs to be loved throughout the year. Be sure to think of him all year long, not just in October. Put a monthly reminder on your calendar if needed.

Thanks!

Mandy Farmer

Check out this Facebook page that will send you daily prayers.

pastor's Wife

How to Be the Perfect Pastor’s Wife

Becoming a pastor’s wife is a very daunting event for some of us.

I became a pastor’s wife at the age of 28. Unlike most pastors’ wives, I did not meet my husband at college while he prepared for ministry. We didn’t date and plan our lives together to become pastor and wife. I met my husband AFTER he had already been in the pastorate for 14 years.

We were introduced by my own pastor’s wife.

You see, Michael lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. My pastor’s wife decided that he needed a new wife AND that I was her!

In short, she pestered me until I finally agreed to go to her hometown and meet this minister. I figured I would go and she would quit bothering me about it. She did …

Four months later, we heard wedding bells!

As a result,  I had many, many things running through my mind during those short months. Thank the Lord, Charlotte didn’t leave me to my own defenses. She sat me down and gave me a few words of advice to help me transition from laymen into the pastor’s wife.

Charlotte’s advice has been very helpful over the years, so I want to share it with you.

FIRST OF ALL, BE YOURSELF.

It’s easy to get this glorious picture of a wonderful pastor’s wife. All these lofty ideals out there tell us that as a pastor’s wife we need to look and act in a certain way; however, God has already built-in you the perfect pastor’s wife.

You may have a pastor’s wife in your life that you desire to imitate, and it is good to have these aspirations. But those qualities seen in that person are not the same qualities that God has instilled in you. You must use the gifts and talents that God has placed in you.

If you attempt to be a reflection of her, you will live in frustration.  You must only attempt to reflect God’s image. I look up to my pastor’s wife, Charlotte. She is an amazing woman with joy that I have never seen in anyone else. But I can’t exude joyfulness, like Charlotte. I have to allow the characteristics God has given to me to shine through my life.

Possibly, you know a pastor’s wife that is a wonderful speaker who stands up and speaks with eloquence side by side with her husband. But if you are not a speaker, you will find yourself in total frustration if you take this on as an expectation for yourself. Find your own way.

Find your own passion and follow it. It could be that you best compliment your husband by going to work and being a bread-winner. You may find that you are a behind-the-scenes person or a prayer warrior supporting your husband quietly from the rear. Any of these personalities make an awesome pastor’s wife.

The perfect pastor's wife is already created inside you. #pastorswife Click To Tweet

Additionally, don’t let your congregation put their expectations of a pastor’s wife on you. At our first pastorate together, the people told me that the pastor’s wife had always taught the senior adult Sunday School class. Being a children’s worker, this scared me out of my mind. My quick response, “Well, not anymore!”

Also remember, It’s Not All “Eating Bon-Bons Like a Princess”

It’s more like what Forest Gump says,

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

Forest Gump

At times, we can get in our heads that certain professions are just smooth riding. All glamour and no nitty-gritty. Every lifestyle has its ups and downs. It’s good and bad. It benefits and disadvantages.

At the outset of ministry, there is great excitement about leading people to Christ and encouraging people to live a life close to God. But then, reality will set in. Tough times will come. And they will come sooner than later.

The scripture records that believers should expect to have trouble. (John 16:33) What I’m driving at is that we need to prepare for the worst and be surprised by the best. Like choosing that piece of chocolate from the box. You may get a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffle, or you may get a mouth full of coconut. Be ready for both!

In ministry, be ready for the worst and surprised by the best! #pastorswife Click To Tweet

And Finally, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.

In the end, it’s all small stuff. As in life everywhere, stuff happens. And to put it bluntly, “Get over it!”

Every moment that we are sulking because someone hurt our feelings is a moment that God cannot use us for the kingdom. Click To Tweet

 Trust me on this one, my friend. Someone WILL say something derogatory about your kids, your husband or YOU. Don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve, they will only get crushed.

Consider the source and whether or not there is truth to be found. If there is truth there, accept it and correct it, if possible. If there is no truth, then brush it off. Maybe the person was having a bad day/week/month/year. Most of the time in life, a bully is hiding their own painful truth. Reach out to them in love and see what happens.

In conclusion, just remember that attitude makes all the difference. Meet with God at the beginning of each day. Take Him with you on your journey. He’ll work out the details.

Becoming Perfect In Him,

Mandy