BEGINNING WITH HIM – JULY, 2003
For those who remember, I use to send out a “Beginning With Him” message for the first message of each month. The “Beginning With Him” message was a collection of odds and ends as well as some information about E-Mail Ministry.
Last month I revived the “Beginning With Him” messages and told you about the E-Mail Ministry computer situation and how the computer I use has been experiencing the effect of its advanced age which has made it increasingly more difficult to keep it operational.
I want thank all of you who prayerfully considered sending a donation to help purchase a new computer. Your response was immediate and very generous. I believe I now have enough donations to purchase a new computer which will allow me to continue this ministry.
If you still want to send a donation, you can still do so. There are always the monthly expenses which need to be met. Donations (checks or money orders only in US funds only – do not send cash) can be sent to:
E-Mail Ministry, Inc.
P.O. Box 6293
Plymouth, MI 48170
As I indicated last month, E-Mail Ministry is a one person operation which works on a very limited budget. Currently, it serves over 20,000 people in over 70 countries. However, over the past few months, donations have been minimal – enough to cover the monthly expenses, but not enough to purchase a computer.
E-Mail Ministry is free to all who request it due exclusively to your
generous donations. I do not accept any compensation for my efforts.
100% of your donations go to the expenses of the ministry.
NOTE: E-Mail Ministry is a United States 501(c)(3) non-profit
recognized organization. Therefore, your donations are tax deductible.
Thank you for your assistance.
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COMPUTER,HIS FIRST AND ONLY LOVE
To my darling husband,
I’m sending you this letter in a bogus software company envelope so you’ll be sure to read it. Please forgive the deception, but I thought you should know what’s been going on since your computer entered our lives two years ago.
The children are doing well. Tommy is 7 now and is a bright, handsome boy. He has developed quite an interest in the arts. He drew a family portrait for a school project. All the figures were good but yours was excellent!!. The chair and back of your head are very realistic. You would be proud of him. Little Jennifer turned 3 in September. She looks a lot like you did at that age. She is an attractive child and quite smart. She still remembers that you spent the whole afternoon with us on her birthday. What a grand day for Jen despite the fact that it was stormy and the electricity was out.
I am doing well. I went blond about a year ago and was delighted to discover that it really was more fun.
I discovered that the household chores are much easier since I realized that you didn’t mind being vacuumed and that the feather duster made you sneeze. The house is in good shape. I had the living room painted last spring. I’m not sure if you noticed it. I asked the painters to cut air holes in the drop cloths so you wouldn’t be disturbed.
Well dear, I must be going. The family is leaving on a ski trip and there is much packing to do. I’ve hired a house-keeper to take care of things while we are away. She’ll keep things in order, fill your coffee cup and bring your meals to the computer room just the way you like it. I hope you and the computer have a lovely time while we are gone. Tommy, Jen and I think of you often. Try to remember us while your disks are booting.
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EIGHT WAYS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR PASTOR
by Victor Parachin
Sometimes pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, the pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.
Paul’s admonition to “serve one another in love” (Gal. 5:13 ) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are eight ways to make their lives better.
1. Cut the criticism
Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of television’s “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” gave an address describing the time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.
One Sunday he was treated to “the most poorly crafted sermon (he) had ever heard.” But when he turned to the friend who had accompanied him, he found her in tears.
“It was exactly what I needed to hear,” she told Rogers.
“That’s when I realized,” he told his audience, “that the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her–and as it turned out, for me too.”
Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a year, clergy are often critiqued weekly after each worship service. It’s not unusual to hear people say “the music was poor,” “the hymn selection was awful,” or “the sermon was boring.” We would do well to remember that most spiritual leaders work hard to make worship a unique celebration each week.
2. Pray regularly
Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love, hope, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage. Pray for your spiritual leader’s maturity and growth in the faith. As you pray keep in mind this wisdom from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “If you treat a person as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
3. Express appreciation in writing
A spoken compliment is always welcome, but a written one can be read over and over again for years. So, when you hear or see something you like from your minister, write an appreciative note.
4. Use your skills to bless
Are you proficient with computers? Help your pastor master the church’s new computer. Are you a mechanic? Offer to service the car free of charge or at a reduced fee.
One pastor I know recalls: “I was pastoring my first church — a small congregation with limited resources. While there, I developed a series of dental problems and could not afford treatment. What a joy it was when a dentist in the church offered to treat me for free. Correcting my dental problem involved nearly a dozen visits. He treated me carefully and cheerfully each time. I have thought of that dentist many times since then and the memories of his kindness continue to bless my life.”
5. Squelch gossip
If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk away. Remember the Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless speech. James 1:26 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” And Psalm 34:13 reads, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from
6. Offer to meet a need
Some people make their spiritual leaders defensive and angry by saying, “You need to _” That approach is seldom welcome and almost always counterproductive. If you see a need, approach your spiritual leader by saying, “I’d like to help by _” If you see an area that can be improved, take responsibility for working on it.
Be an active participant in your church. Get involved by teaching a class, leading a workshop, singing in the choir, feeding the hungry. Ask your spiritual leader where and how you can employ your gifts.
7. Be openly responsive
Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as seeing people respond to the preaching and teaching. Imagine the surprise and delight of a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, when greeting a visitor to his church, found she came because of the kindness of a church member who was her neighbor.
“I’m recently divorced, a single parent and new to this community,” she told the pastor. “To keep up with rent and provide for my three children, I must work two jobs. That leaves me very little time for yard work. I was relieved when the weeds didn’t overrun my yard as I had feared they might. However, when I made an unscheduled trip home in the middle of my workday, I discovered the reason why the weeds had not taken over my yard.
“My 86-year-old neighbor — a member of your church — was on his hands and knees pulling my weeds. I barely knew this man and he was embarrassed to be caught in this anonymous act of kindness. He explained that he heard you preach a sermon on the importance of living a life of compassion and kindness and decided to put that sermon into practice by weeding my lawn.”
One pastor’s heart filled with joy when a group of women in Washington, D.C., responded to a sermon preached from the words of Jesus–“Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matt. 7:1). After hearing the sermon, the women decided to give a baby shower for the young woman who provided childcare while they met for Bible study. She was unmarried, close to going on welfare, and without support from her family or the father-to-be. The young woman was moved to tears by the surprise baby shower.
Later, the women explained to the pastor, “Your sermon taught us that it’s possible to reach out to someone in need — in this case, an unwed mother — without judging or condoning the situation.”
8. Throw away the measuring stick
Don’t expect that your present spiritual leaders will do things the same way their predecessors did. Lay aside personal agendas and preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being used by God to do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will ensure that they will not only be encouraged but will feel appreciated and continue to minister with enthusiasm and energy.
Copyright 1999 by Victor Parchin and Christianity Today.
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NO ONE FALLS IN LOVE BY CHOICE
No one falls in love by choice, it is by CHANCE.
No one stays in love by chance, it is by WORK.
And no one falls out of love by chance, it is by CHOICE.
— Author Unknown
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* If it was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor!
* Shouting to make your children obey is like using the horn to steer your car, and you get about the same results.
* To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.
* The smartest advice on raising children is to enjoy them while they are still on your side.
* The best way to keep kids at home is to give it a loving atmosphere ~ and hide the keys to the car.
* The right temperature in a home is maintained by warm hearts, not by hot heads.
* Parents: People who bare infants, bore teenagers, and board newlyweds.
* The joy of motherhood: What a woman experiences when all the children are finally in bed.
* Life’s golden age is when the kids are too old to need baby-sitters and too young to borrow the family car.
* Grandparents are similar to a piece of string ~ handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of grandchildren.
* A child outgrows your lap, but never outgrows your heart.
* God gave you two ears and one mouth…. so you should listen twice as much as you talk.
* There are three ways to get something done: Do it yourself, hire someone to do it, or forbid your children to do it.
* Adolescence is the age when children try to bring up their parents.
* Cleaning your house while your kids are at home is like trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm.
* Oh, to be only half as wonderful as my child thought I was when he was small, and half as stupid as my teenager now thinks I am.
* There are only two things a child will share willing: communicable diseases and his mother’s age.
* Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.
* Adolescence is the age at which children stop asking questions because they know all the answers.
* An alarm clock is a device for awakening people who don’t have small children.
* No wonder kids are confused today. Half the adults tell them to find themselves; the other half tell them to get lost.
* The people hardest to convince that it’s time for retirement are children at bedtime.
* Kids really brighten a household; they never turn off any lights.
— Author Unknown