When Sheep Bite

All of us have been on the receiving end of harsh words. But what happens when those harsh words come from people that are a part of your ministry? And how do you heal from wounds caused by people who should know better?

In When Sheep Bite, Stacy Hockenbury shares how devastating it can be when church members verbally attack.

Even if you have never found yourself in a similar situation, Stacy’s transparency regarding dealing with emotional wounds is encouraging and inspiring. You can find this interview and more on the Silently Bleeding YouTube channel.

When God Calls

We are excited and honored to have Susan Pippin, writer and Presbyter for Credentialed Ladies for Pen FL, share this guest post with us today.

Ladies, did you know that God has created a specific purpose for your life? The calling He has placed on each one of us is unique and vital, and it is our responsibility to follow where that calling leads.

God’s plan for our lives and our ministries will not always be easy.

“If I say, ‘I will not mention Him, or speak any more in His name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”

Jeremiah 20:9 ESV

Sometimes we may be tempted to give up – just like Jeremiah was in the above passage – but God’s call on our life can give us the strength we need to keep pressing on.

According to Acts 2:17, we are all called – male and female, old and young. We may be tempted to think that as pastors’ wives and female pastors that we have a lesser call, but it is important for us to understand the equality of the call. God designed it so that we can work hand in hand with our male counterparts – whether that be our husband or other pastors on our ministry team.

And ladies, we are pursuing that call! The number of female pastors in our mainline denominations has doubled over the past ten years.

Yes, ladies, we have been given an inheritance and we must fulfill that call.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

God has given each one of us women unique abilities for ministry in His kingdom work, and your voice matters!

What is God calling you to today?

Following A Legend

In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus shared the importance of being faithful in the little things. He showed us that when we are obedient to follow God’s leading in situations that seem unimportant, He rewards that by bringing us to bigger responsibilities and blessings.

In Following A Legend, Dr. Teresa Conlon shares how God brought her and her husband from a small church in Canada to Times Square Church in New York City. She explains what it was like working with a legend like Pastor David Wilkerson (author of The Cross and the Switchblade) and his wife Gwen, and revealed how God opened doors of opportunity for herself and her husband as they walked in obedience to God’s will.

I am so grateful for Teresa’s transparency in this interview, as well as her ability to display so clearly how God works in and through us, all while maintaining an attitude of humility. This woman is the real deal.

You can find the interview with Dr. Teresa Conlon here. Remember that you can listen to the interviews on Silently Bleeding while you cook, clean, drive, etc.

Time to Hit Refresh

In yesterday’s post, Goal Setting 2021, we discussed setting goals that are realistic and measurable. This is an important part of living life with intention, but sometimes we already have goals in place that need a little attention.

Have you ever been looking at a webpage and it didn’t load correctly? What did you do to fix it? Most likely you hit the refresh button in the browser’s toolbar.

Sometimes we need to “hit the refresh button” on our goals.

This time of year is the perfect time to examine the goals we already have in place, assess what worked and what didn’t, and decide how and when those goals need to change.

In this video, I share how I am refreshing my goals as we head into the new year.

Do you need to hit refresh on your goals? What does that look like for you?

Goal Setting 2021

Hello, my friend!

This crazy year is finally drawing to a close. And even though a new one won’t bring change on its own, there is something motivating about a fresh start.

Many people set New Year’s Resolutions each year, but those have a tendency to fizzle and die within a few weeks.

Years ago, I was one of those people. I came up with resolutions because it was the popular thing to do, but rarely did I stick with them.

It may seem an issue of semantics, but while I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, I do set goals. So what’s the difference?

Goals that are well-crafted are more likely to succeed because they are realistic and measurable. I don’t mean don’t pursue your dreams – reaching for the stars is important too.

Realistic, measurable goals allow us to take the time we need to complete them. Like they say with losing weight, “you didn’t put it on overnight, you won’t lose it overnight.”

It’s important to keep track of progress – all progress. Even the things that seem unimportant or silly. Write these things down or save them in a note on your phone. Not only does this solidify what you’ve already done, but you can also go back to these things for motivation when you’re struggling.

Good goals are not set in stone. They grow with us. Allow for necessary adjustments.

Humans fail sometimes. That’s okay. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. True failure only comes when you give up. Leaving room for mistakes is not justifying making a poor decision – it’s acknowledging that messing up is not failure. Realizing that you can take a breath, and then start again.

Stay the course. Keep making progress toward your goals – even if you are taking baby steps. Sustainability is key here. Set a pace you can keep up with. You can always speed it up later.

Finally, write your goals down. This is part of them being measurable. Keep them where you can see them – on the fridge, on your mirror, next to your bed, wherever is best for you.

As we step into 2021, what goals are you setting?

Inadequate

Have you ever asked, “Why me, God?” Most of us, if not all, have asked Him this when we’ve faced hard times in our lives. But what about in other areas?

Maybe God placed you in a ministry that felt a little like playing dress up in someone else’s clothes – exciting and fun, but also intimidating because you have big shoes to fill.

I love being in ministry. Preaching and teaching from God’s Word gives me great joy. Speaking into the lives of others – especially women – thrills me to no end, but it can be challenging too.

So many times I have been preparing to speak for a conference or retreat – or even a single service – and I find myself asking, “Why me, God?” I don’t have my husband’s education. He has a Masters of Divinity in Christian Education and Biblical Languages! I have only one year of Bible college, a few correspondence courses, and my personal studies in God’s Word. How can I even begin to compare?

We know that women all over the world struggle with feeling enough. We are bombarded daily with messages telling us we need to be more. And when you add the high calling of God, it can be overwhelming at times to feel like we measure up. We feel inadequate.

If you are struggling with this today, please know, sweet woman of God, that you are not alone. We have all faced this struggle from time to time. Even Dr. Jodi Detrick, renowned author and speaker, has struggled with feelings of inferiority. She shares about this (and more) in the video below.

Bi-Vocational Ministry

Image by DanaTentis from Pixabay

Do you find bi-vocational ministry challenging? You are not alone my friend. There are many pastors and wives that have purposely chosen this route because the church can’t afford to pay them, or because they have chosen not to accept pay.

My husband and I have never served as bi-vocational pastors but after talking with a couple of friends who have and doing research, these are some thoughts I’ll share.

Balancing family, work, and church life seems to be the most common issue among bi-vocational ministers. God called you to your family first. You must be intentional about taking time with your spouse and children if you want them to be happy, healthy, and whole. In Mark 8:36 Jesus says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” In a similar way, what if you reach a community for Jesus but lose your family? I would suggest that you put date nights and family time on the calendar. Stick to it unless a dire emergency comes up, and when that happens, reschedule your date night or family time immediately. Your spouse and children deserve to know they are your priority.

One person recommends that you teach your congregation to take responsibility in the ministry. Encourage them to get involved. Let them know you are in this together. You can’t and shouldn’t do it alone.

One of the joys of bi-vocational ministry is working among people that might never darken the doors of your church. You have the possibility of reaching them through your secular job. My sister said that while her husband sold insurance as a way to help provide for their family, he never missed an opportunity to share Jesus. Some of his clients became born again church members over time.

My friend Rodna shared that her husband Greg had many witnessing opportunities while working a secular job. This also gave him a better understanding of the working man. Before Greg worked outside of the church he didn’t understand what it was like to clock out at 5:00 and then need to be at church at 7:00 on a Wednesday night, or get involved in an outreach ministry on a Saturday, possibly his only day off.

In the video below, Rodna shares how she and Greg went through six years of bi-vocational ministry. She talks about things they learned and what they would do different if they could go back in time.

What are some tips you have for other bi-vocational pastors/wives?

A Creative Way to Encourage Others

Are you looking for creative ways to encourage others?

One of the things I’ve been doing for the last few years is sending recorded prayers through texts. This has really come in handy with the Covid-19 season we are in.

How do I decide who to send a prayer to? So glad you asked! I ask God who needs a recorded voice prayer today and then I call up that person’s name on a text and record a heart-felt prayer for them. Sometimes I send a prayer text to one individual and some days I send out as many as 10 to 12 prayer texts.

I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in praying for each individual. There are times I know exactly what someone is going through and I pray about that. Other times I have no idea what someone is facing and I pray however I feel led to pray.

The interesting thing about this is … I am the one who is blessed. I am able to have a great prayer time and I have encouraged others at the same time, which in return encourages me.

The responses I’ve received have been so encouraging. Sometimes it’s a simple “Thanks.” Other times, it’s “Thank you so much, that was a timely prayer.” Or “How did you know I needed prayer?” One thing I’ve heard from many, “That was such an encouraging prayer. How did you do it?”

In the video below I show how to record a prayer on your cell phone and how to send it through a text.

What have you been doing lately to encourage others?

A book on prayer that I recommend is Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney.

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Can’t Get Far on Empty

Do you struggle in your daily time with God? You are not alone my friend. Satan knows your power and wisdom come from spending time with Jesus. He will purposely distract you and convince you that you don’t have time to study the Word, let alone pray.

Just like your car, when you are running on empty, you won’t get very far. I have to fill up my “tank” every morning. I like to get up and have a cup of coffee and breakfast. That gets my brain going. Now I’m ready to study my Bible and read my Bible plan on YouVersion. After that, I play soft worship music and pray. I have a prayer list that helps me stay focused. Some days I send voice prayers to whoever God puts on my heart. Sometimes I walk around my house talking to God and singing to Him. You’ll need to figure out what works best for you.

If you are already having a daily time with God, but are looking to enhance that time, I’d like to recommend a couple of books that have challenged and encouraged me:

The Jesus Hearted Woman by Jodi Detrick

Inside Out by Rich & Robyn Wilkerson

It’s easy to become legalistic when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ. We convince ourselves that we are somehow not enough if we don’t meet a certain standard.

We can’t grow closer to Jesus without spending time with Him, but God sent His Son because He wanted a relationship with us – not for us to be slaves to a set of rules.

If you want to have wisdom and strength, spend time with Jesus daily. He will lead and guide you. I can’t think of a better way to start your day.

Feel free to watch the short video below.

What do you do to keep your “tank” full?

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Amazon affiliate links have the potential to earn me a small commission. Thank you so much for your support.

Jesus Changes Everything

Have you ever felt unworthy? Sometimes our experiences make us feel we should be excluded from being used by God. However, often these are the very things God allows to prepare us to encourage and minister to others.

Julie Seals, an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, faced many tough situations. She overcame spina bifida, a 17-year addiction to crystal methamphetamine, alcoholism, the amputation of her left leg, and a life sentence in federal prison. What should have been a death sentence became a source of hope for others when Julie surrendered her life to Jesus.

Julie’s greatest desire is to share her relentless passion for seeing people set free from darkness and boldly live out the call of God upon their lives.

Julie and her husband are currently on staff at Calvary Assembly of God in Orange Park, FL as Outreach pastors. Her husband is a full-time prison chaplain and Julie ministers to female prisoners and often speaks at retreats, conferences, and church services.

In the video below, Julie shares how God used her experience to encourage her husband.

For more information about Julie go to: julieseals.org