How To Date Your Spouse On A Budget

We’re so excited…Episode #1 of the new Hot & Cold vlog is in the books!

If you enjoy this post, please consider leaving a comment below and even sharing it on Facebook or Twitter.  We’re also taking suggestions for future topics.

Lastly, congrats to the winner of the marriage book giveaway!  We announce the winner in this episode AND have a fun, new contest for you.

The new contest runs through Saturday, May 6th.  Details in this video.

Resource:  HomeWord, with Jim Burns & Doug Fields, is an incredible resource to marriages and families.  We cannot say enough good about the amount of helpful information you can find throughout this website.  Check it out!

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(Our son, Garrett, composed & produced the theme music for our vlog. Contact us if you would like to have him produce something for your needs)

INKED with Intent

Tattoos have gained increasing acceptance in our society in recent years.  It used to be only the rebellious outlaw types had tattoos.  Bikers, convicts, etc.

Not so much anymore (although I am secretly rebellious).

If you follow this blog much, you know that I write a lot on leadership and Biblical encouragement.  That said, this post is not going to address any Biblical position about tattoos.  If you are a follower of Jesus and do not think believers should have them I totally support your personal views.  This is not a right vs. wrong post, so please refrain from making it one.

This is simply sharing my personal story surrounding my tattoo.

So, love it or hate it…..here it is!

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The pocket watch | It is slightly warped, as if beginning to melt.  It has typical roman numerals for time, but if you look closely the hour and minute hands have been replaced by the magnet needle of a compass.  There’s lots going on here.  This pocket watch looks a bit different.  The same can often be said of God’s TIMING and DIRECTION in our lives.  As we follow His guidance in faith, His ‘where’ and ‘when’ usually don’t look a thing like our plans.  Can you relate?

The puzzle | If you’ve done many jigsaw puzzles you know that the best method is to start with connecting all the border pieces.  Then you fill in toward the middle.  Notice, my tattoo has no border yet.  It also has a couple pieces laying off to the side…not put in their respective place yet.  Ok, so two things here.  1) God’s way of piecing together our image of Him doesn’t seem logical.  He works from the inside out!  2) Those two pieces off to the side?  Yeah, He’s never really done artistically rendering us.  There will never be border pieces when we allow God to continue working on us.

Conversation | Those who have tattoos have stories behind each one.  They can tell you precisely what it means to them.  For me, the design was meant to hold a bit of symbolism as to create intrigue.  When people ask about it, that’s my window of opportunity to share my story of walking with Jesus.  How it isn’t always easy or clear, BUT that He has ALWAYS BEEN THERE with me every step of the way.

* Minor side note:  This tattoo looks FREAKIN’ AMAZING!

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and God Bless!

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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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Why Churches Should Be In The Habit Of Spilling The Beans

I spilled the beans the other day at work.  No, I ‘literally’ blew coffee beans all over the place while trying to suck them out of the espresso hopper.  What I didn’t realize is that someone had left the vacuum hose attached to the wrong end, blowing beans into the air and all over the floor and counter.  It was quite a scene.

Where certain sayings come from is fascinating to me.  So, I looked up Don’t Spill The Beans and found this popular source of origin.

A popular folk etymology for “to spill the beans” claims that in ancient Greece, applicants for membership in secret societies were voted upon by having the existing members drop beans into a pottery jar. Those who approved of the potential new member would signal an affirmative vote by adding a white bean to the jar. A black bean indicated a negative vote. The story goes that on occasion, when the jar was accidentally knocked over, the beans poured out and the vote was revealed prematurely. Somebody had “spilled the beans“.

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This got me thinking about leadership in our churches.  In almost all situations, we know that God works in the Light and the enemy does his thing in darkness.  Way too often, churches choose to lead and do business in the dark.  This comes in the form of secrete ballots for voting, allowing anonymous notes and emails to affect the staff, holding ‘unofficial’ side discussions outside of official meetings, and ignoring valid concerns of unhealthy trends within the congregation hoping they will eventually go away.

At a very basic level, these things create distrust, worry, and skepticism of the leadership and among the people in the church.

“The more a church can truly be open about everything, the fewer dark places there are for the enemy to succeed in dividing the Church”

Leaders, are there issues that you’ve been keeping from your church people under the excuse of protecting them?  Imagine the new credibility you could gain from them if you were to allow them into the leadership struggles you are facing.  Imagine what might happen if you allowed them to partner with you and the leadership of your church in prayer…together as a real family.

Don’t underestimate the strength and maturity of your congregation.  Their purpose extends far beyond making coffee, paying a tithe, and listening to a sermon.

Open up to your people, spill the beans and watch God do his best work in the light.

 

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Dear Hurting Pastor

This letter is dedicated to every church pastor who has ever felt burned out, been in a ‘funk’ and could not get out, lost the respect of your staff or board, or simply had the passion of your calling to ministry fade away.  

Dear Lead Pastor,

I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for all the 1:00 a.m. phone calls that took you away from you family too often.  I’m sorry about all the ridiculous expectations the church placed on you for so many years. Having to appear at every single event throughout the year.  Making yourself available 24/7 to EVERYONE for absolutely ANYTHING.  I’m sorry for all those anonymous I’m displeased with your leadership notes you found under your office door on Mondays.  I’m sorry you didn’t receive THANK YOUs and HUGS more often for the compassion you poured into people.  I’m so very sorry that your kids witnessed an unpleasant, un-Christlike side of church and ministry while they were growing up.  You probably did not get to witness first hand much of the fruit resulting from your ministry either…I’m sorry for that too.  I’m sorry that no one in your church really knows what it is like being in your shoes.

I’m sorry the church placed you so high up on a pedestal that it seemed impossible to ever step down.  You should have never been put there.  That position is reserved for Jesus.  He’s the only one who deserves to be there…who can withstand the pressures that exist there…and the only one the church needs to see up there.

In those empty, dry, and lonely seasons…I’m sorry no one in the church offered loving accountability to you.  They should have given you a paid and structured Sabbatical.  Offering to provide you with the right counseling, or even find you a mentor.  Now that would have been helpful.  I’m sorry that did not happen.

Pastor, mostly I am sorry that ministry work has put a bad taste in your mouth for the church.  As someone who has experienced this with a handful of friends who were pastors, allow me to encourage you.  The church is made up of flawed people, therefore, it is flawed.  That’s just the way it is going to be until Christ returns.  Pastors do not have direct control over the health of their church congregations, staff, and boards.  But WE DO have 100% control of our own personal health and leadership.

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Have you left the ministry?  Or, have you been thinking about stepping out but haven’t quite taken the plunge yet?

Please hear me on this.  If there is ANY amount of calling left on your life, stick with it…BUT make some changes.  Take charge of leading by example.  Be intentional about resting and recharging once a week.  Empower others (staff and volunteers) to share the burden of hospital visits, speaking/teaching at small group gatherings and Bible studies, and even leading some team meetings.  And for the love of all that is good and meaningful in the world, please find a mentor!  Someone OUTSIDE of your church who is spiritually mature and will speak truth into you as a leader, husband, and father.

If the Lord has truly called you to ministry and others around you affirm that calling, then be obedient.  The church desperately needs healthy pastors.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  – Galatians 6:9

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!