2 Things I Did Not Expect This Week At Orange Conference

And no, I’m not talking about things like hitting every green light on the way to work on a Monday.  (although those days are pretty epic)

My wife and I attend Orange Conference every year as volunteers, serving and assisting one of the regular speakers.  One of the things I have enjoyed most is the networking with other leaders.  Some are well-known and have significant platforms.  Others don’t necessarily have the same level of influence, but their contribution to Kingdom work is still very notable.  I learn from all of them!

So, here’s what I DIDN’T expect while at Orange Conference.

 

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Soulcare Praise – About a year ago, I had the privilege to speak at another Children’s Ministry conference in Kentucky. We ran into a young lady in a local coffee shop who was also attending the conference.  We were able to listen and pray with her about the challenges she was facing in her ministry position at the time.  Well, we just happened to cross paths again this week.  Among over 8,000 attendees, my wife spotted her across the lobby.  We learned that she had taken a couple of ‘nuggets’ of encouragement from one of my conference talks last year and really worked hard to implement them.  She shared with us that she is doing so much better as a leader now.  Amazing, and Jesus gets all the praise!

The Praying Caterers – I know what you are thinking.  The food service workers made it a practice during the conference to ‘Bless’ each person’s food before they sat down to eat.  While that would be quite cool, it wasn’t the case.  You see, my wife was getting dinner in the volunteer green room area and was simply asking about the menu over the next few days.  I’m having gall bladder surgery next week and she has been helping me be to be careful with my diet.  The caterers (all 6 of them) just happened to also be believers AND all attend the same church!  They gathered around Cailey and I and prayed over me and the surgery.  Can I just say…I really miss the Southern Hospitality in the South.

My takeaway?

“Jesus will often interrupt our journey of ministering to others so that OTHERS can minister to US.”

 

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How To Listen When God Begins To Speak

I’m just being real with all of you here.  In the past 5 days, God has intentionally placed the same passage / theme right in front of me.  Different messages.  Different devotional books.  Some might chalk it up to coincidence after 2 or even 3 times.  But FIVE?

I wrote about it just a few days ago when it first hit me.   Have you been there before?

When God sends me multiple signs, speaking the same thing to me over and over…..my natural instinct is to work hard at trying to figure out WHAT and WHY behind the message.  But I continue to learn that this is not usually effective.

Here’s what I AM learning, though still not perfect.

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  • God rarely yells.  He whispers.  What do you and I tend to do when someone is whispering at us.  We cup our hands next to our ear, turn our head toward them, and try hard to block out all other distractions to decifer what is being communicated.
  • God’s timing is NOT going to accommodate our need to know now.  We try to figure out what God is saying and then get frustrated when we don’t understand right away.  He reveals whatever it is to us at the right time…NOT the desired time!

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3 Effective Ways To Conquer The Giants In Your Life

What are the giants in your life?  We all have them.  They simply have different names.  Marital confrontation, financial stress, worrying about my kids, and following God’s direction in incredible uncertainty have been just a few of mine.

For David, his was Goliath.  At church on Sunday, the message revolved around this incredible true event. As he spoke, something caused curiosity in me that had not been there before.  Have you experienced this, reading a familiar passage and having something  jump out and grab your attention is such a way that you can’t let it go?

I began digging in to this passage of scripture a bit deeper.  I had just started a 24 hour Sabbatical, so the timing was perfect.  Here’s what ‘bothered’ me in this passage.

David collected 5 smooth stones (1 Sam. 17:40), BUT only used one stone to hit his giant in the forehead!  There is so much in this.  It sent Goliath crashing to the ground, allowing David to use the Giant’s own sword to finish him off.

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I thank God that his Spirit stirs curiosity in me like this.  Here’s what I discovered.

  1. Be ready to face the giant that is right in front of you.  In other words, don’t be caught off guard.  Recognize the giants in your life as the enemy that they are and that God will deliver you from them.  You and I typically view our giant like the Israelites did, terrified and avoiding it as long as possible.  The truth is that we should be sprinting toward it with bold confidence (v. 48) screaming a battle cry that actually causes our enemy to question their own intimidation.
  2. Arm yourself and prepare for related attacks that are to come.  This is speculated on why David chose 5 stones but only used one.  Additionally, he only had one in his hand when he approached Goliath (v. 49).  It would have been more logical to have had multiple stones in his hand to allow for quick reloading in case he missed the first time.  The remaining 4 backup stones were likely reserved for Goliath’s 4 brothers (2 Sam. 21:15-22).  Knowing that family sticks together and that one or more of these brothers might be close by, David was prepared with one stone for each of them.
  3. Be bold in proclaiming who your God is and what He is able to do.  David said to King Saul, The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (v. 37)  David remembered the times God had been there in the past, and he knew God would continue to show up in the future.  You and I must have the same approach with our giants! 

What would you add to this list?  I’d love it if you would leave a comment below.

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2 Benefits of Keeping our Blessings in Mind

I’m creating a Praise Challenge for the entire month of December.  Follow me on Instagram and Twitter to stay in the know each week.

I don’t know about you, but I have a TON to be thankful for.  The majority of 2016 has been extremely challenging for me.  The Lord, however, has his hands in all of our ‘challenges,’ usually in ways we are not immediately aware of.

Take a quick look at these two scripture passages:

My soul, praise the Lord,
and do not forget all His benefits. – Psalm 103:2
and
Rejoice always!
Pray constantly.
Give thanks in everything,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The issue of Praising Him in everything has been on my mind lately.  It’s been in my devotion time, and it was the topic of our Chapel time at work this past Friday.

Here are just 2 benefits to keeping our blessings in mind every day.

  1. Our challenges and needs become less pronounced as we go about our day when we intentionally try to identify all the different blessings that we do have.
  2. It can change our attitudes.  Our entire outlook on life can do a 180 turnaround when we realize that we really do have many more blessings in our life than we do hardships.

So, do you want to experience less anxiety caused by the things that worry you?  Would you like to have more of an optimistic outlook on life?  If so, start counting your blessings and praise the one who is the true source of all that you and I have to be thankful for.

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If you are interested, here’s the Praise Challenge for all of December.  Every Monday identify 5 blessings in your life.  Then, simply pray over them and praise Jesus for them each day of the week.  If you want, you can even post them on social media to encourage others to jump in too.  If you do, please remember to use #PraiseChallenge on each post.  Each Monday we will identify and share 5 new blessings to praise Him for.

How does that sound?

This December, may you be blessed in your search for all the ways Jesus really is actively taking care of you.

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Who I’m Voting For…And Why!

If you’re like me, you are completely fed up with all the negativity and immaturity that has saturated this Presidential campaign.  Sometimes I feel like America is the laughing stock of the rest of the onlooking world right now.  But worrying ourselves crazy about things that you and I have absolutely no control over does nothing to remedy the problem.

There is a plethora of highly opinionated bashing and slanderous commentary on Facebook and other social media platforms about this election.  It’s nauseating!  And this isn’t even where we should be focusing our attention.

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. – Ephesians 6:12

Did you hear that?  Our ‘battle’ is NOT against any particular political candidate or party.  It is ONLY against the spiritual forces.  Our personal conduct, posture, and prayer life will ultimately determine not only the direction of America, but the validity of our witness of the name of Jesus to those around us.

For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.  So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18

What is temporary?  This ridiculous election.  And what is unseen?  Our Lord Jesus and the spiritual battle that has ALREADY BEEN WON!

Watch this music video by Rend Collective.  “Worship is our battlecry in the midst of the fight.  At His name (Jesus) every giant will fall.”  So who is YOUR giant?  Is it worry?  Clinton?  Trump?  The unknown of tomorrow?

To all of us who call ourselves ‘Believers’ and truly follow Jesus, I challenge us.  Vote well and with a good conscience.  But pray harder, and intentionally reflect the character of Jesus throughout this entire election.  Stop the negative posts and comments online about how you ‘feel’ about a candidate.  In stead, post a prayer for America.  Reflect hope, integrity, and faith in a way that highlights Jesus and not this political circus.

Who am I going to vote for?  Well, my ballot will reflect one of the candidates.  But my vote ultimately goes to Jesus.  Though I do not put my trust in our President, Congress, or Senate, I do trust that God is in control and I will pray for those elected to office whether I support their political agenda or not.

Will YOU accept this challenge?  Please leave a comment below.

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7 Most Common Excuses Men Use For Not Leading Their Families

(Disclaimer) I have personally failed at this one more than I have done well.

The list below came from meeting with families in the church for over 20 years.  And if I’m honest, many of these have been my own excuses as well.  Do some self-evaluation with these.  Can you relate to any of them?

  1.  I do!  I lead my family by working hard and providing for them financially.
  2.  That’s my wife’s job.  She’s home with the kids more than I am anyway.
  3.  What if I fail?  Things are OK now…why risk messing it up?
  4.  I’m afraid that if I begin praying with my family and leading spiritual discussions it will be viewed as insincere.
  5.  I wouldn’t even know where to start.
  6.  I’m not spiritually mature enough to lead them.
  7.  It was not modeled for me as a child.  My father didn’t lead us spiritually, so I don’t even know what this looks like.

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Now, experience tells me that if you are a husband or father reading this at least one of the above excuses describes where you’re at on the topic of leading your family spiritually.  Am I right?  Numbers 4 through 7 were mine for many years, and I still wrestle with them now and then.

The good news!!!  

You can begin leading your family today as their spiritual guide…and you don’t have to get it perfect right from the start.  Ha…those perfect moments are far and few between.  But I’ll tell you this, its more about effort, heart, and obedience to our calling than perfection.  If you can be OK with that mindset you can do this.  Trust me!

Note: If you are interested in receiving personal coaching on this topic, feel free to contact me at BrentDumler@icloud.com.  I’ll custom taylor something to fit you and your family.

 

5 Ways To Ensure Getting Fired From Your Church

I’ve been in ministry for a long time, and thankfully I’ve never been fired from a church position.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been fired from any job.

That said, I’ve witnessed numerous friends/co-workers over the years lose their jobs.  Some did not deserve it.  Others, however, should have been let go but were not.

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Here are 5 things that can lead you to losing your position at your church:

  • Disregard for policies and procedures | Most people really hit the Student Pastor hard on this one, but I’ve seen all levels of leadership turn their nose up at P&Ps that they don’t personally agree with.  They simply do their own thing.  But it’s only a matter of time before this one bites you in the butt.
  • Poor time management | Some of us need to work on this more than others.  Nevertheless, this can be viewed by some senior leadership as laziness.  When we fail to manage our time well tasks tend to get done last minute and often poorly.
  • Lack of good people skills | We are in the people business.  Church is made up of people.  So, whether you work in pastoral staff or administrative support, knowing how to deal with all kinds of people and people issues is critical for all of us.
  • Disconnection with the mission and values | This is really big!  Honestly, this is something we must consider and pray about before ever taking a position on a church staff.  Mission and values ‘should’ be what guides and molds the direction of the church and all of it’s ministries.
  • Not a team player | Church really is a team sport.  And churches that have individual ministry silos operating on their own with zero regard for what the rest of the church is doing……well, these churches become ineffective in achieving the Great Commission.   They don’t have  a Kingdom work mindset.  Competition with other churches, as well as with their own church ministries, becomes commonplace.

There are MANY more things that can get us canned, but these are some of the most common that I’ve seen.  What would you add to the list?

Leave a comment below.  I love hearing from my readers.  Thank you!