Comparing Pastors

Below is an article I read on Comparing Pastors from Church Answers/Thom S. Rainer on January 11, 2021. Worth posting. Worth reading. Worth evaluating.


Comparisons of pastors have been around since we’ve had pastors. Paul wrote about it in 1 Corinthians 1:12 “Some of you are saying, ‘I am a follower of Paul.’ Others are saying, ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Peter,’ or ‘I follow only Christ.’”

In the first part of the twentieth century, local church pastors were compared to well-known radio pastors. In the latter part of the twentieth century, they were compared to television pastors. Beginning in the twenty-first century, the comparisons were to podcast pastors.

The Idealized Pastor Versus Our Pastor

Church members can have idealized perceptions of pastors they don’t know. These platform personalities often have charisma and incredible communication abilities. It can be tempting for church members to believe their other pastoral skills are as gifted as their communication skills.

We see our own pastors, however, up close and personal. We see their gifts, but we also see their humanity. We see them when they lose patience. We see them when they stumble in their sermons. We see their family members who, like the rest of us, are not perfect. So we often criticize them for their imperfections.

Our Pastor Versus the Idealized Pastor

But those platform personalities will not be with you in your deepest of valleys. They will not be an embrace when your loved one dies. They will not be there for weddings, funerals, celebrations, and moments of deep pain.

Your pastor knows you. The platform pastor does not know you. Your pastor is there for you. The platform pastor does not know where you are. Your pastor loves you and prays for you. Platform pastors can’t pray for you by name, because they don’t know your name.

It Is Time to Rethink How We Treat Our Pastors

  • It is time.
  • It is time to be less critical and more prayerful.
  • It is time to be less judgmental and more forgiving.
  • It is time to be less expecting and more serving.

The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh patterns and habits.

May some of those habits include loving your pastor more unconditionally, evaluating your pastor less harshly, and praying for your pastor more fervently.

“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God” (Ephesians 1:16-17).

Thom S. Rainer
Founder, CEO, & Lead Coach
© 2021 Church Answers


  • Your pastor is the one standing in the pulpit in your church.
  • He is the one that prays for your soul, your needs, your family, your requests.
  • He is the one that walks along side you when sorrow strikes or when joy comes in the morning.
  • He is the one that God called to lead, the church, you call home…and lest we forget, he is the one you voted for.
  • He is the one that Scripture clearly states we are to honor, provide for, obey and follow because he is the one shepherding and leading God’s flock called the church.
  • He is the one prayerfully, scripturely, leading you because he watches over your soul.
  • He is the one that losses sleep, weeps in distress, and cares more than he will ever tell because he is humble at heart.
  • He is the one that carries the load of burdens when no one else will because he takes his God-calling seriously.
  • He is the one that lives in loneliness, isolation, and questioned or critique because he is constantly second guessed.
  • He is not viewed as educated or acknowledged as professional because often times he is seen as a threat to the pride and ego of individuals who have purposely built a status or facade around themselves.
  • He is not looked at as a friend or someone who truly cares but rather detested or rejected because he is thought to have an agenda. He couldn’t possibly love freely.
  • He is the one that knows the intense freedom and power the Truth gives yet experiences the rejection of man, both believer and non-believer, which tears his soul into pieces.
  • He is the one that rejoices with you, watches your children succeed, learns your history and life, even though you reject his existence, time, effort, and love.
  • He is the one that loves you unconditionally because he cannot do anything less. He loves because he has been loved by His Father, God, first-handedly and it grips his soul in dedication to the One who placed this call on his life; he sees himself as a sinner saved by grace and nobody special.

So, how are you doing? What does your relationship with your pastor look like? Do you have a relationship with his wife, their children? Could you say you know him personally; you could name a few of his favorite foods or color. You know his birthday or anniversary. You know some of his life’s history or sorrows. If you don’t ask you will never find out.

  • When is last time you asked for his counsel or advice…and followed it?
  • When is the last time you showed him you cared?
  • When is the last time you told him what you learned from the preaching of God’s Word…from the sermon just preached? (or were you to busy critiquing him or just not interested?)
  • Do you know your pastor or do you think you know him? He knows where you stand.
  • Do you pray for him?
  • Do you like him?
  • Do you love him as another brother in Christ?
  • Don’t worry about putting on your Sunday front; the cloak is visible.
  • And don’t worry…your pastor will be the first to acknowledge he isn’t perfect. He too is a workmanship created in Christ Jesus, a progress in God’s hands that has said ‘yes’ to the God-call on his life.

We do well to evaluate are own hearts in how we act or react to the man we call, Pastor! God is watching (not because the man is special but because God said so).

Go. Do. Be an encouragement today.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Life Source

https://youtu.be/MTv-kEVY-Mk

In Christ I am SHE (Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.)

Living Defeated or Victorious: That Decision was Given to You to Make.

This devotional clip was written by David Bowden author of When God Isn’t There. You can read more of this devotional through YouVersion titled Rewire Your Heart (I have inserted a few thoughts as well throughout this devotional; they are italicized in brackets).



When times get really hard it becomes so much easier to sin. (The temptations seem to pull stronger, the lure more frequent.) Psalm 37 is about how to persevere during a really hard time.

The Psalmist, David, writes that wicked people are doing terrible things. How should David and the people respond? David says we should respond with stillness, patience, and faith.

  • But how is that even possible?
  • How can we just sit there and take it?
  • How can we be still when everything is swirling around us?
  • How can we be patient when everything is going wrong?
  • How can we have faith when all hope seems to be lost?

(God has filled the pages of Scripture for us to see, learn, taste in the goodness of Him in the land of the living (Psalm 27), but for today we will only look into one powerful verse. Psalm 37:4 is one of the most beautiful, helpful, and we encouraging passages I know.)

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

This verse is so helpful for two main reasons.

1) Perseverance and fighting sin don’t have to be a sad affair. We are called to find delight! But where are we to find this delight in such bleak circumstances? We can’t find them in our surroundings. We can’t find them just by looking on the bright side.

We find (true, real) delight in the LORD…when we delight ourselves in Him.

For us as Christians, (one of) the best ways to do this is by repeating (remembering) the Good News of the Gospel to yourself. Jesus has saved you from sin and death (don’t even forget that). He has taken your punishment…(your rightful place on that cross.) You have been reconciled to the Father (forgiven of it all, justified, redeemed). You’ve been made a temple of the living God (an heir). Delight yourself in all God has done for you (praise Him)!

2) The second reason this verse is so helpful is because we get something (isn’t God so good, not only does He forgive us, cleanse us, make us His child, He also lavishes upon us good things). Not only do we not have to be sad, but…we get the desires of our hearts.

What are these desires in our hearts that we will be given in times of trouble? Well, it is the very thing we have been delighting in.

We will get God!

  • No matter the circumstance.
  • No matter the sin.
  • If you delight yourself in the God of the Gospel you will get the God of the Gospel.
  • Revel in Jesus.
  • Jesus will reveal himself to you.

That is how you fight sin in difficult times. Engage your heart in the fight. Delight yourself in God.


There are so many more verses in Scripture that we could comb through today, but this devotional has been such a good reminder that…

  1. We are not defeated for we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us so (Romans 8:37).
  2. God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
  3. When we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

Engage your heart in the fight. Delight yourself in God…He delights in you!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

What Does God Want?

This devotional clip was written by David Bowden author of When God Isn’t There. You can read more of this devotional through YouVersion titled Rewire Your Heart.


What is God after? What does He want from us? Is He after a song on Sunday or a really good prayer at night? I think we all know the answer is no.

God is after our hearts.

One of the clearest moments in the Bible where we learn this truth is in Isaiah. God is describing through his prophet a siege that is coming upon Jerusalem.

However, no matter how much the people hear of Isaiah’s words and God’s revelation, they will not really listen. They will be like a person who is given a book but cannot open it and like one who is given a book but cannot read (29:11-12).

So why this coming punishment? And why can’t the people understand the visions and warnings from God?

Here is where we get our clear picture of what God is after. Here is the reason.

“Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me” (29:13).

  • God is punishing and blinding His people because they are putting on a show of religion, but their hearts are not in it.
  • They come to God and give Him praise and say all the right words, but God does not have their innermost selves — their hearts.

God wants your heart, not your lips. He wants your affections, passions, desires, and longings. God wants your wants. And he will not be satisfied until he has them.

Why? Because He knows that only when you desire Him will you be desiring something good. And not only will you be desiring something good, in fact the only good, but also the best good. God wants your wants because He wants your good.

And how will He get your heart? Well, how did He plan to get the hearts of His wayward people in Isaiah’s day?

He will do wonderful things (29:14). But these wonderful things aren’t pretty. These are things that bring wonder. Things like punishment and mighty acts of judgement. The reason why people were drawing near to God with their lips but not their hearts was because their fear of God was fake. It was a “commandment taught by men” (29:13).

So God would instill true fear in their hearts. This may sound harsh, but God wanted their hearts. So He would reveal Himself to them in the only way that would change them.

God changes hearts the same way today. He shows himself to us in wonderful ways. And the most wonderful way He has revealed Himself to us is also in judgement and punishment. But this time, the judgement and punishment did not come upon us who deserved it. God’s wrath came upon Jesus, who bore our punishment even though he did not deserve it.

  • Is your heart far from God even though your lips are close to Him?
  • Do you want to change that?
  • Behold Jesus!
  • See how God has revealed Himself to you in Christ!
  • Let the fear and love of God pierce your heart by peering deeply into the truth of the Gospel.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

The Power of John 14

Do not let (allow) your heart be troubled; that is to say do not be afraid or become cowardly. Instead, believe confidently in God. Put everything you got in trusting in only Him.

You ask how can this be? I will tell you how this can be:

  • Believe (eternity).
  • Have faith.
  • Hold onto Christ.
  • Rely on Him.
  • Rely on His Word.
  • Keep believing in Jesus Christ.

Why? Why do this? Why believe in what seems invisible, abstract when I can see, smell, taste, hear everything right here, right now? What is the point in trust? I’ve seen more people use the crutch called God.

This is why. Jesus said!

When Jesus saith, mark eternity, His Words will come to pass. It is bound to happen…people will fail, but it is an impossibility for Him to fail. When God speaks, it is, because He is, and that is guaranteed! Nothing, no one, not even yourself could redirect, change, or deter what God hath spoken. We are human, God is not. We do well to not place Him among ourselves and degrade Him for there is no one more than you could trust.

People form ‘crutches’ God doesn’t.

Jesus continues, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places (mansions). If this wasn’t true, I wouldn’t be telling you so. That is where I am today — I am in process, I am in construction mode preparing your specific homestead just for you. I am overwhelmed with love for you I can not help but build.

Don’t loss hope, one day I am coming back; coming back for each one of you who did not allow your heart to be troubled. Who fought the fearfulness and kick cowardness out of their heart’s door. Who believed in Me confidently. Who trusted Me regardless of themselves, surrounding circumstances, or people because holding onto faith, onto Christ, onto His Word was found more priceless than anything this physical life offered. To you, I will take you home. I will welcome you home and for eternity we shall be together.

Don’t confuse yourself in what I am telling you right now. You know the way because I AM the way. The question is are you going to trust Me or trust yourself? (John 14:1-4)

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Are you the best version of you?

I saw this highlighted paragraph picture several months ago while I was laying in bed with Covid. Last night, I was flipping through my cell phone pictures and was challenged once again…the author is spot on.

(all credit to the author of this book)

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Make Known: YOUR Blessings

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon His name; make known His deeds amount the people! (Psalm 105:1)

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Life: Live it Like Christ

There is no other consideration in the mind of God — ALL LIFE MATTERS. There isn’t a day, an hour, a situation that could change His intense love He has for mankind, the very creation He formed. Because God cannot deny himself…He is love — love is God. As life matters so immensely to God, so it should with us. This Sunday, January 17th is “a day” set aside on our calendar to remember, to take action, to promote or proclaim the Sanctity of Life, (etc.). May it matter just as much on January 18th, 19th, 20th…and throughout the coming year(s).

There just may be a life that is changed forever because YOU chose to live Christ’s love out in physical form. Be that God-change! Live Christ out!

For your information here is the link to the WORLDOMETER — specifically for abortion in 2021 alone. In the time I wrote this blog over 600+ babies died. That is humbling and something worth thinking about.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Where is Courage?

“For the believer, fear is always God—fearful. If God is sovereign and His rule is complete, wise, righteous, and good, why would you fear?”

Paul David Tripp*

Hezekiah, king of Judah, knew in moments like these (Judah’s invasion by Assyria) God’s people were often given to fear; he knew where that fear came from.

Often in moments of challenge the people of God panic because they possess what we call “identity amnesias’. Today, really is no different. We too often forget who we are as children of God and we forget who God is in all His almighty power and glory.

We must not forget Hezekiah’s challenge to his people – listen!

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him…with him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help and to fight our battles

(2 Chronicles 32:7—8).

We may not have the army of Assyria knocking on our door, but we all have an “Assyria” in our life…maybe two!

There will be a moment when you will ask, ‘Where is courage to be found to face what I am facing?

Hezekiah gives us the answer – “Look up and remember YOUR God.” As God’s child, you are never left to battle on your own!

12 I, even I, am He that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; 13 And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. 15  But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. 17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem…” (Isaiah 51: 12–16 & 17).

*A special thank you to Paul David Tripp for walking in the spirit of God and sharing that walk with thousands. In this blog post there have been excerpts from his devotional called: New Morning Mercies (January 9). If you do not have this book I highly recommend that you purchase it. It has been an extreme blessing to my soul and you will be glad you did (he didn’t tell me to say that).

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Share Your Story!

What has God done for you?
Share your story!

“Joshua called for all the Israelite tribes at Shechem and summoned the elders, clan heads, judges, and officials of Israel. They presented themselves before God. 2 Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Long ago your fathers—Terah father of Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates[a] and served other gods. 3 I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates,[b] brought him through all the land of Canaan, and gave him many descendants. To him I gave Isaac. 4 To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and to Esau I gave Mount Seir for his inheritance, but Jacob and his descendants went down into Egypt. 5 “I sent Moses and Aaron, I struck Egypt down with all I did in their midst, and afterward I brought you out. 6 I brought your fathers out of Egypt, then you came to the sea. The Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. 7 Your fathers cried out to the Lord, and He placed darkness between you and the Egyptians. He made the sea come upon them and cover them. Your own eyes saw what I did to Egypt, and you lived in the wilderness a long time. 8 “I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They waged war against you, but I gave them into your hand so that you might inherit their land, and I destroyed them before you. 9 Then Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and waged war against Israel. He called for Balaam son of Beor to curse you, 10 but I refused to listen to Balaam. Therefore he blessed you still, and I delivered you out of his hand. 11 “You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The leaders of Jericho, along with the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, waged war against you, but I gave them into your hand. 12 I sent the hornet and drove out the two Amorite kings from before you, but not with your sword or your bow. 13 I gave you a land for which you did not work, and cities that you did not build. You live in them, and you are eating from the produce of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant. 14 “Now fear the Lord, and serve Him with sincerity and faithfulness. Put away the gods your fathers served beyond the River[c] and in Egypt. Serve the Lord. 15 If it is displeasing to you to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve, if it should be the gods your fathers served beyond the River[d] or the gods of the Amorites’ land where you are now living. Yet as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:1-15 mev).


If you could see me now, I have this smiley smirk on my face that I cannot get rid of. This passage just tickles my soul. As I read through these 15 verses, I cannot help but think…we too have a story to share. Just as Joshua rehearsed Israel’s life up to that point, we need to rehearse ours. Remember, we have been bought with a price therefore we must give Him all the glory (1 Corinthians 6:20).

The same God that was at work in Israel’s life is the same God that works in our lives today.

Israel made a choice that day. They proclaimed to Joshua, “It is the Lord our God we will serve, and His voice that we will obey” (verse 24).

  • Will you choose this day for God?
  • Will you choose what has been given to you by God and bring Him glory?
  • Will you share your God-given story? You know, there is only one you…so there is only one of your story. If you don’t share no one will know.
  • Will you declare this day that you too will proclaim God’s work in you as good?
  • Will you join thousands who have said and lived, “I will serve the Lord, and obey His voice?”

Your story is just that…yours. No one can fulfill, no one can proclaim, no one can decide whether you serve or love; or whether God is obeyed. We have only one life to offer…and yes, it is that seriously grand!

Maybe, just maybe one will join with Joshua and the Israelites and it be said of us, “___________ (insert your name here), served the Lord all the days of his/her life…and others knew of all the deeds that the Lord had done for him/her because of what he/she proclaimed” (read verse 31).

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

Live Courageously, Strong, and Bravely Free

Truly, this alone can One fulfill, that is God. I am bewildered at such great love, such affection for mankind — His children; such care and gentleness our Lord showers deliberately upon us. Purposeful. It leaves me speechless.

What a God of all comforters, giver of strength, hope, courage, leadership, direction and source of all resources…if only we believe, if only we trust. He cannot lie, therefore, we read truth.

To think, God, the encourager of my soul and giver of true life…desires this for us! Read Deuteronomy 31:6 again.

As wonderful and gracious as God is, we have been given the freedom to choose. The freedom to accept His strength, leadership, bravery, courage, We have been given the freedom to choose to trust and rely on Him rather than ourselves or others, therefore, we choose our outcome.

This greatness is within our grasp…the question is will I latch onto it or choose rejection and then continue to live in fear and be afraid?

To realize who we are, what we are, and understand the gravity of who God is…is priceless not demeaning.

This isn’t license to degrade, belittle or bemoan who we are or fester in what we’ve been though, but rather see ourselves with or without God placed in first place; at the helm.

It is true, without God we live defeated, fearfulness grows and takes root. We live alone, afraid, accepting intimation, doubts, and sin as the only way possible.

Today, will you trust in God’s best for you? Will you choose to live bravely, courageously, actively because you have taken the mightiest source available…God’s hand.

Today, will you trust God even against what your flesh commands your mind to think? Will you take the hardest step, the first step, and believe the God of gods, the King of kings, the Lord of lords and give Him your hand, your heart, your mind, your soul, your life?

We choose how we live…it is as simple as that.

Today, I consciously make the decision to trust in the One who gives courage, who gives strength, who gives insight, who gives life, resources and ability. I trust in the One who gives wisdom, bravery even when I don’t feel very brave or courageous. I trust in the One who gives true freedom.

Today, I choose to be courageous, strong and brave because I know He is the only One that can accomplish that in me…that isn’t weakness but strength.

Will you join me brothers and sisters in Christ? I would love to know: follow our WordPress page, like us on FB, write a comments…who is with me? Who is for God?

You are not alone. I am not alone. Let’s stand together in CHRIST!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

I AM THE GOD WHO SEES

It doesn’t matter how much we question. It doesn’t matter how much we doubt. It doesn’t matter how much we wonder. God sees! Trust that!

  • Hagar
  • Ruth
  • David
  • Jesus
  • Mary Magdala

Click Play. Listen & Be encouraged!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

January 1, 2021 = Your Blank Page

Thank you Lord for another opportunity, another year, another month, another week, another day, another hour.
May we fight the urge to grow lacks and set our goals eyesight to only be found faithful til the last page is written.

May this my prayer shall be. I love you, Lord. Yours, Colleen

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

The Opportunity

FB_IMG_1226620990971325763.jpg

I have pondered many things over the past several months; 2020 has allowed such time to ponder; the irony of it all is I haven’t had much to say, known how to write it, or simply watched.

I can say 2020 has flooded our minds with thoughts, opinions, reactions, anger, worry, fear, or spurred on an assurance that God hasn’t lost control.

I know, we have heard it all. We have seen it all. We have felt the effects — media confusion, articles that compel or disgust, arguments that frustrate, lives turned and our souls found in disarray, confusion, doubt, worry, and fear…and some have found themselves in sickness and/or death.

We wonder where truth has gone or what to believe? Where should we turn or go or how should we live? We don’t know what to do and we find ourselves restricted in what once was.

In July, I had the opportunity to be a sponsor at a camp in North Carolina with our two older children. Boy, I was ready! I had my week all planned out and I was ready to go.

Our trip was safe and the girls were settled into their cabins and enjoying life. I headed to my room.

I settled in. My room was nice, clean, and perfect for what I needed for the week, but I quickly found out that what I had planned was not the Lord plan.

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was ready to do my thing, close the world out and focus…focus on God (isn’t that a noble thing?), my business, and blog. Suddenly, sponsor life wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.

For three days, all my plans were up side down. I felt alone and aggravated that the internet was down. I kept asking different people on campus when and how to get internet, but every time I got no where, no answers. By day four, the Lord had done a work on my heart, mind and soul and what I thought was a wrecked week turned into what my soul really needed.

It forced me to sit. To be still. To read His Word. To write with a pen and paper…

Funny how after the Lord convicted my heart of its sin and self absorption He allowed the internet to work. Everything I was looking to do via the internet did get completed by the end of the week…now isn’t the Lord gracious!

He used those first three days to rip the layers of self, pride, and erase the noise that my soul was carrying. He knew what I needed that week and it wouldn’t be accomplished until my soul was silenced.

The past year (2020), the world has vied for our attention, creating combat decisions and warring for our very souls, churches, families and lives. We have listened long, we have listened hard, we have fought, we have grown tired and long for the “good old days” but we cannot forget to recognize that noise affects…even what seems good! It fills our minds, grabs for our attention, swamps our souls and takes over places in our heart that are only reserved for God Himself…and we have slipped into deafness.

Many of our churches have been either shut down, gone remote, or do both. Our Pastor’s and their wives have been thrown into situations and sudden changes that have both given awesome new opportunities along with many great sorrows. The life of God’s church is on a very slippery slope and will confirm spiritual death in the lives of the believers if we are not serious about worshipping God in the storm. I worry for the church. I fear the noise has filled us so much that we cannot see the affects…just like I didn’t!

We have forgotten how noise affects us? Have we forgotten to live Christ over everything — and in that everything we are to do everything to glorify God in that — even standing up for righteousness in our country, to its people, and for the next generation.

I told my husband the other day, hind sight 20/20, I didn’t realize how up tight or wound up I was or how distracted my soul really was until the Lord removed “the good, bad and the ugly” things from me and showed me what my soul looked like — sinful!

  • Are you distracted?
  • Have you forgotten God?
  • Are you filled with noise?
  • Do you live in fear?
  • Are you worshipping God?
  • Are you confused?
  • Do you find yourself filled with everything else, but God?

Let’s take that a step further — why don’t we turn the tide of 2020 by allowing 2021 to ignited us to obey God, to put God first above everything, to trust God, to walk by faith and not by sight, to actually step forward into God’s house and worship Him knowing that God is still on the Throne, able, alive, and calling us!

  • Why don’t we burn with passion to live life for God’s glory with compassion, integrity, rightness, godliness, obedience as the New Testament believers did?
  • Why do we not find ourselves bond to our brothers and sisters in Christ and put off our sinfulness natures and put on Christlikeness…and treat them accordingly?
  • Why don’t we find ourselves in the process of progressive sanctification and give the Light to those who are afraid, scared, and lost?
  • Only you can answer those questions.

Eternity is real. God is real.

Be what the world is not — Christ hasn’t changed in you.

  • Be the love instead of the blackmail.
  • Be the personal sacrifice instead of the extortion.
  • Be the kindness instead of the hoarder.
  • Be the time and care because isolation kills.
  • Be the light in the midst of the darkness rather than complain and act like the world.

The Lord has laid in our laps a fantastic opportunity to grow in Him, live like Him in human form to each other and the world.

Are you living?

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

The Change of God’s Grace

Today’s devotional from New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp was on the topic of change. Funny how timely this is with 2021 right around the corner. Over the years, I have read numerous articles on the topic of “New Year resolutions” – you know the do’s and the don’ts and the how-to’s, but so often that is actually what they are – a list. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not that “lists” are bad – I create them weekly to help me stay focused and accomplish tasks throughout the week – the problem is an unchanged heart. Our root problem isn’t lists, it is my unchanged heart issues. If my heart lingers in the unchanged, no list will help me…or you.

Here are some thoughts about “change” from today’s devotional. I hope it is an encouragement to you as it was a conviction for me.

CHANGE IS POSSIBLE – not because you have wisdom and strength, but because you have been blessed with the grace of Jesus. (Isn’t this comforting?)

Oh, how we cling – rapidly cling to the ideas, thoughts, beliefs that we are stuck; that our lives have hit the “dead end” and there is no hope. We encase ourselves in concrete and choose to live in the impossible. But change is possible. Change is possible even in the places where change seems most hopeless. Why? Because the Giver of transformative grace has made you and me the place where He dwells. Let me say that again, the Giver of transformative grace has made YOU and ME THE PLACE WHERE HE DWELLS! If you need to read that again, do so until you get it. You are His dwelling place – change is possible, my friends!

#1 – There is that work of personal growth in our lives (change) that we call progressive sanctification. This is God’s life—long commitment to actually make you and I what He declares, justified. Did you hear that — God’s life–long commitment. God is committed to you for life, for eternity!

We are declared righteous. Think about it – God is taking every situation, every location, every relationship, everything…EVERYTHING in our life and employs every situation, every location, every relationship, everything as His tools for our transformation by His grace.

  • HE IS NOT RESTING!
  • HE DOES NOT LEAVE THE WORK OF HIS HANDS.
  • HE TAKES NO BREAKS.
  • He is relentlessly working to change me in all that His grace makes it possible for me to be – and He does the same for YOU!
  • HE WILL NOT BE CONTENT FOR ME TO BE A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
  • He will work by grace until I am finally and totally free of sin, that is, molded into the image of His perfectly righteous Son.

#2 – This same zealous Savior, who is full of grace and work, is also a dissatisfied Creator. He is not content to leave this world in its present sin—scarred condition. He will return His world to the condition it was before sin left its destruction. Change really is the zeal, the heart, of our Redeemer. How?

  • Through personal change (Titus 2:11—14)
  • Through environmental change (Revelation 21:1—5)

When you become…disappointed in yourself, when you are grieved at the sin in your relationships, or within yourself; when you are upset with the conditions of your world and you cry out for change…you are crying for something that hits right at the center of the zeal of your Savior’s grace! Christlikeness is taking root.

  • Change doesn’t mean God will give us what we want, when we want, how we want.
  • Change doesn’t mean God will turn the hearts of people around us into who we want them to be.
  • Change doesn’t mean God will make our lives easier, wealthier, or more pleasurable.

Change, the grace of Jesus, isn’t selfish.

Where real change is needed – God will pour out His grace to those who believe it only comes from Him; He will then take, do, accomplish, use what He needs to accomplish – complete His work in YOU!

That is God’s grace!

Read Colossians 3:1—17.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Video

YOUR New Mercies

…because it is worth sharing again.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Don’t forget friend that today is NEW! God’s mercies are new every single day…with YOU in mind, which means today is fresh. It is a beginning. A fresh clean slate. Endless possibilities given to you by God Himself that you didn’t have yesterday.

Today, you have been given a gift…a day; a day in which you have 24-hours to unpack, find, fulfil, and know God’s will, blessing, help, care, love, and live your God-given ability and possibility…if we grab onto it. This gives me goosebumps! Child of God, you are more than a conqueror because of Christ in you!

Happy NEW day!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

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It’s Okay to Run

Sometimes you read something and instantly you know you gotta share it. When I read my friend Carol’s post on Facebook that is actually what happened. With her permission I share it with you now. Thank you Carol.


I was in my upper twenties, living in a southern state, hoping that this “single and satisfied” part of my life would soon be over. Things were looking very positive with my new boyfriend, Frank (not his real name). He was tall, nice looking, very smart, witty, funny, and a Christian. “A match made in heaven?” I wondered.

When my parents came to visit for several days I invited Frank over for a meal. While Mom and I were getting dinner on the table I kept one ear tuned to the conversation in the living room. I heard Dad ask a simple innocuous question followed by Frank’s sarcastic reply: “What a stupid question!” So much for making a good impression on my dad. That tainted the evening for sure and upset me greatly. A few days later I heard Frank go instantly from civil to ballistic while talking to his mom on the phone. That was my cue to exit the relationship with a heart of gratitude to God for allowing me to see Frank’s true colors.

Fast forward four years. I’m in my early 30s, still single, and now living on the east coast. A college-age girlfriend of mine was catching me up on her life. She had dropped out of college to work for a year back home in a western state. She began dating a guy from her church. She was excited when things got serious rather quickly, but then the verbal abuse started, followed by the physical abuse. She fled the relationship to go back to college. The more she told me, the more familiar it all sounded. You guessed it. She had been dating Frank! God had saved yet another girl from him.

I married my John after a storybook romance and my girlfriend married a godly man and has two fine sons. I don’t know what ever became of Frank.

Is there a lesson in this story?

Ladies, if you’re dating a guy who is unkind to his mother and other adults, RUN and don’t look back!!!


All to often the start of this story is far to common, but the end isn’t. Thank you Carol for this crucial reminder and for sharing your story with us! Your John and you are a precious testament of how God’s plan is the best plan; God’s way is the best way!

What I am about to say is easier said and much harder to be done (especially when one is in the midst of such a relationship), but we do well to understand the consequences are real nevertheless; it is better to be single than to marry the wrong person.

Whether abuse is verbal, mental, physical or emotional…it’s core is the very essence of opposite to who and what God is, therefore we will call it what it is SIN!

  • To those ladies who are dating such an individual, say NO! RUN!
    • Don’t accept the abuse.
    • To soften his sin is to accept his sinful behavior/character. Once you accept his behavior you have told him it is ‘okay’.
      • Maybe you have already told him it is okay…don’t think you cannot walk, run, or get away or end the relationship. You are free in Christ and not bond by his sinfulness…though he’d like you to think so. “You are bought with a price, let’s glorify God in our body and in our spirit — which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20)
    • He is not walking in fellowship with God (even if he says he is), therefore, is unable to love, cherish and lead you like the princess you are. You are worth more…God says so!
  • To those men who are dating such an individual, say NO! RUN!
    • Don’t accept the abuse.
    • To soften her sin is to accept her sinful behavior/character. Once you accept her behavior you have told her it is ‘okay’.
      • Maybe you have already told her it is okay…don’t think you cannot walk, run, or get away or end the relationship. You are free in Christ and not bond by her sinfulness…though a controller wills you to think so. “You are bought with a price, let’s glorify God in our body and in our spirit — which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:20)
    • She is not walking in fellowship with God (even if she says she is), therefore, is unable to respect, love and follow you like the way you ought to be. You are worth more…God says so!

Jeremiah 29:11-14 tells us, “For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for peace and well–being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (12) Then you will call to Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you. (13) Then, with a deep longing, you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and you will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (14) I will be found by you,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and I will free you and gather you…’

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You — in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You with hope and confident expectation. (4) Trust in the LORD forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], for the LORD God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages] (Isaiah 26:3–4).

>>>The core of any abuse is from the pit of hell. It is sin. It is against the will and word of God, therefore, at enmity with God therefore we must not accept it or practice it. Abuse isn’t an option. <<<

We are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). “No” is not a bad word. God wants the very best for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

Don’t underestimate the powerful love Christ has for YOU! What the Lord has intended for you is far greater, far deeper, far more beautiful that we could ever imagine or think (Jeremiah 33:3), but it comes with personal responsibility: 1) we must call (seek) Him 2) we must listen to Him 3) we must trust Him (His Word, His time, His plan) by choosing to walk in obedience knowing that God already settled your goodness because He is good. Settle on Christ, not second best!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

New Morning Mercies: the Fruit of Grace

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (YouVersion)

Paul David Tripp

Sin does two very significant things to us all.

  1. First, it causes us all to insert ourselves into the center of our worlds, making life all about us. In our self-focus, we are all too motivated by our wants, our needs, and our feelings, and because we are, we tend to be more aware of what we don’t have than of the many wonderful blessings that we have been given. But there is more; because we are self-focused, we tend to be scorekeepers, constantly comparing our piles of stuff to the piles of others. It’s a life of discontentment and envy. Envy is always selfish.
  2. There is a second thing of equal significance that sin does to us. It causes us to look horizontally for what can only ever be found vertically. So we look to creation for life, hope, peace, rest, contentment, identity, meaning and purpose, inner peace, and motivation to continue. The problem is that nothing in creation can give you these things. Creation was never designed to satisfy your heart. Creation was made to be one big finger pointing you to the One who alone has the ability to satisfy your heart. Many people will get up today and in some way will ask creation to be their savior, that is, to give them what only God is able to give.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Psalm 73:25-26
  • These are the words of a man who learned the secret to contentment.
  • When you are satisfied with the Giver, because you have found in him the life you were looking for, you are freed from the ravenous quest for satisfaction that is the discouraging existence of so many people.
  • Yes, it is true that your heart will rest only ever when it has found its rest in him.

Here is one of the most beautiful fruits of grace—a heart that is content, more given to worship than demand and more given to the joy of gratitude than the anxiety of want. It is grace and grace alone that can make this kind of peaceful living possible for each of us.

Won’t you reach out today for that grace?


Please note: the above is an excerpt of New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp. Source: YouVersion and all credit belongs to Mr. Tripp, writer. This book is available for purchase. You can also find this devotional on YouVersion.


In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Video

YOUR New Mercies

Don’t forget friend that today is NEW! God’s mercies are new every single day…with YOU in mind, which means today is fresh. It is a beginning. A fresh clean slate. Endless possibilities given to you by God Himself that you didn’t have yesterday.

Today, you have been given a gift…a day; a day in which you have 24-hours to unpack, find, fulfil, and know God’s will, blessing, help, care, love, and live your God-given ability and possibility…if we grab onto it. This gives me goosebumps! Child of God, you are more than a conqueror because of Christ in you!

Happy NEW day!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

The View from the Other Half: Pastor Appreciation

{team woodruff}

Pastor Appreciation Month

So, I know we are out a month from October, which many of you have celebrated Pastor Appreciation Month. My original blog was written back in September, but I never posted it. Actually, I thought of deleting it…but here we are. Even though the month has past I will share what the Lord is doing within my heart…

  • I grew up in a very large church.
  • I grew up in a healthy church.
  • I grew up with many wonderful pastors and pastor’s wives.
  • I grew up attending awesome youth groups, camps, and missions trips.
  • I grew up in a family that taught us to respect, honor, celebrate and give thanks for and to our pastors. 
  • I grew up loving, adoring, and wanting to be “just like them” (my pastor’s wives) when I grew up. They profoundly impacted my life for eternity – it is because of them and the working of Christ in my life that I find myself where I am today, serving alongside my husband/pastor.

Being in the ministry for all most two decades now, I still find myself struggling with the month of October — Pastor Appreciation Month. 

I have seen and experienced healthy churches; I have seen and experienced unhealthy churches. In every one I have had the same struggle.

My upbringing, my heart, my love, my God-given duty towards my pastor(s) drives me to want to shout, herald, celebrate — literally from the rooftops and I want everyone else to do the same.

But I can’t — people, the struggle is real! I feel awkward because well, I’m his wife. I am driven by God to support, cheer him on, love and follow his leadership at home and church. I praise him in front of others (he never asks for it) and at home, but this month leaves me with what to do.

  • I don’t want others to think that I am tooting my own horn. 
  • I don’t want others to surmise that I am somehow purposefully conniving to make something happen.
  • I don’t want selfish promotion.

Scripture is clear. Scripture in living. Scripture is real. We are to love our pastor and not muzzle the ox (1 Timothy 5:18; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Corinthians 9:11).

My husband is my husband, but he is also my pastor! I am growing under his godly leadership/shepherding. I love my pastor!

Healthy churches get it (praise God!). Unhealthy churches, if they remain unteachable, they don’t and therefore miss out on God’s blessings for them as a whole (a body of believers).

  • It is hard things to see, yet alone experience, when a body of believers do not want to walk according to Scripture. When they reject the Word and promote such living (yes, there are churches out there like this).
  • It is hard to live within a body of believers who do not want to see the spiritual gem they have been given by God for them (even though they voted for him).

I pondered these things. I have wondered over the years of ministry what God thinks. How it must break His heart when His love for them is so great. Some years, Pastor Appreciation Day has left me questioning what to say or how to respond. It has left me lacking for words (in joy and thanksgiving) and bewildered in sorrow, grieving in silence (I have learned to literally bite my tongue because my flesh is weak and I want to please God). 2020 was been no different. It came once again…  

But this year, something hit me:

Like I said, while growing up our pastors were celebrated — publicly and privately. We gave thanks, showed that thanks and simply it was a blessing. We loved showering them with gifts, money, love, surprises and we enjoyed every minutes of it. It was (is) good to be thankful and rejoice in God’s gift to us. It was good for our pastor(s) to know they were loved, cherished, and thankful for…they need encouragement too. Over the years we found was to be creative but the heart attitude and choice was rooted in Scripture, love and thanks. We also celebrated their anniversaries (wedding and the date/month our senior pastor became our pastor) plus their birthday. It was our highlight as a body of believers.

BUT what struck my heart most this year was this:

  • I’ve been blessed. Truly blessed!
  • I know what it is like to have such a blessings — a pastor and his wife (a godly team) — and reap those benefits.
  • I know that kind of blessing — not everyone does.
  • I’ve been given a gift to share, to tell, to show, to teach, that is biblical, godly, and right.
  • How can I keep it to myself? 

I am nothing special in and of myself, but I have been given this gift of experience, knowing what it is like to “appreciate” your pastor. Today, I am on the other side of that gift…I’m the other half.

The question I have found myself asking is:

“How can I not share?” How can I keep this to myself?” How can I help others grow in Christ, love the brethren so that we can rejoice TOGETHER in the gift God has given to us called “Pastor and Mrs. Pastor, his family” (because they are a team).”

God has given me fantastic preachers in my lifetime and today I celebrate the one the Lord has given to me and to us as a church – today and in the tomorrows to come!

Thank you, Lord for the gift of my pastor. May I be a blessing to him today and throughout this coming new year.

Sincerely, his wife 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}