The Lord has been working on me and my focus. Many days it seems that I am all over the place with everything that needs to be done.  From the Joshua Nations office, to my personal development, to taking care of my family – I am pulled a million directions every day. None of this is new and I know it is not isolated to me. 

I have never really been one to get a ‘word’ for the year. I know that others have gotten one, but until this year I never really thought I had that one singular word. This year, I got one. It wasn’t an audible voice, but a very vivid word picture. The word was “Targeted.” 

Targeted in what? I really believe God was calling me to bring into focus four specific areas of my life. These areas translate to every believer and encompass every part of our lives. So simply, God is positioning my whole life to being targeted for full blessing.

Blessing? What do I mean by that? The Bible is quite clear when God gives us something He will bless it IF we steward it well. If we don’t steward His gifts well, even what we have will be taken from us. (Matt 25:29 and Luke 19:26) 

Four areas I want to target for blessing:

1. TIME (Eph 5:15-16; Psalm 90:12; Prov 27:1; James 4:13-14: Prov 6:6-8; Prov 20:13; Prov. 6:9; Prov 10:4)

How often do you find yourself saying, “I was going to do that, but I just didn’t have time.”? This could totally be a true statement, but if we are being honest with ourselves, it is usually because we didn’t carve out the time. We made the choice to watch a movie, scroll social media, watch short videos on YouTube or TikTok, read a leisure book, or take a nap.  None of these things are inherently wrong, but if we should be applying our time to something productive, then it can become a serious detriment in our lives.  

Suggestion: Start a time journal. Begin writing down what you do each day, and how much time you spend on it.  At the end of a month add up your time in four areas: Sleep, Work, Leisure, Productivity. The last one would be things like working out, devotional time, cleaning the house, etc.

God has given us a specific number of days. How are you using them?

2. TALENT(1 Peter 4:10; 1 Cor 10:31; Rom 12:6-8)

Each of us has an important role in the church and the world as a whole. God has placed into each of us talents, with a purpose to further His kingdom on this earth. Often these talents are things we find pleasure in doing – serving, hosting, writing, painting, skilled labor, decorating, cooking. Whatever it may be, whatever you do, it should be done to glorify God! Often we want others to recognize these talents for us – why? You don’t need human affirmation, even though that is nice. Just like when Moses was offering excuses to God for freeing the Israelites and God said, “What is in your hand?” and He used the staff Moses carried every day to perform miracle after miracle. 

Suggestion: Find what you love to do and LOOK for ways to be a blessing with it. 

God has given us specific talents. How are you using them?

3. TREASURE (Ecclesiastes 5:10, Deuteronomy 8:18, Proverbs 3:9-10, Psalms 81:10, Luke 11:42)

Oh, this a fun one. Money. Especially in America this is something no one wants to touch – mainly because many times in the past it was abused by the church. I am not going to talk about, “If you give $10 God will multiply that gift with 100X the money.” Guess what? You might NOT receive a financial return. That is not what God has promised us. 

I am so blessed that we GET to worship our Heavenly Father with our financial gifts. As a family, we tithe 10% to our local church. Then from there, we give to other ministries and missionaries. It is an honor to work hand in hand with the local church and the global church to further His Kingdom. We may never receive multiplied financial blessings here on earth, but you know what we will be able to do?  When we arrive in heaven those treasures of worship will be stored where moth and rust can not destroy. Those treasures will be given to us and we will be able to lay them at the feet of our God in the ultimate worship service. Oh! I don’t want my hands to be full on earth only to stand empty handed in heaven. 

Suggestion: If you are not tithing now, start small with anything. Just be consistent. Tithing, but not giving over and above? Begin with a monthly gift to a mission you are passionate about and grow. 

God has given us the finances we need to take this world for Him. How are you using them?

4. TEMPLE (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, 6:19-20, and 9:27; Romans 12:1, Ephesians 2:10)

Money might have been a tough point for some people. If it wasn’t – this fourth point might be. The temple of God is our body. We are given one body to steward in this life on earth. Yes, the earth is a fallen place and sometimes we are afflicted with health issues not of our own making. I get that and I’m not one to say that if you are sick, you are doing something wrong. However! That is not a pass to treat your body however you please. If you are not able to discipline your body to give it the best possible chance of serving our God for more days and to bring more people into the Kingdom, why should our God give you more days? 

A few years ago, my husband and I both realized that we were not stewarding our bodies well.  All while continuing to steward our time, talent, and treasure – we added our temple to that list. This has allowed us to use those other talents to higher degree. It wasn’t pretty when we started, definitely not “Instagram beautiful.” We were sweaty and my husband’s choice of running for exercise started with what we called “the fat man shuffle” around the block. A lot of people ask us how we stay motivated to work out and make wise food choices. We don’t!  Motivation is a feeling. We stay committed and consistent – it is a choice, not a feeling!

Suggestion: Start somewhere – whether walking around the block, going to the gym, finding a workout group, or swimming. Just start and stay CONSISTENT!! You can do it! Find someone to keep you accountable. It is huge to have my husband working out and encouraging me as well.  We push each other to be better!

God has given you one body to use for His Glory. How are you using it?

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Loneliness is a common human experience that transcends age, occupation, and social status. Even in the context of church ministry, where pastors and leaders are surrounded by a congregation, it’s possible to feel isolated and alone. This article explores the unique challenges of loneliness within church ministry and offers strategies that I myself am using to combat it.

The Loneliness Paradox

At first glance, it might seem paradoxical that individuals in church ministry, who are often surrounded by a community of believers, can experience loneliness. However, ministry can be isolating for several reasons:

Role Expectations:

​ Pastors and leaders are often seen as spiritual guides, and there’s an expectation that they should have it all together. This can make it challenging for them to admit their struggles, including loneliness.

Lack of Peer Relationships:

​ While pastors and leaders have strong connections with their congregations, they may lack close peer relationships within their own ministry circles. They often shoulder the burdens of others but may not have someone to share their own burdens with.

High Stress Levels:

​ The demands of church ministry, including sermon preparation, pastoral care, and administrative tasks, can lead to high stress levels. This stress can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Strategies to Combat Loneliness

  1. Seek Accountability:

    Pastors and leaders should actively seek out mentors or peers with whom they can build accountability relationships. These relationships provide a safe space to share struggles and receive support.

  2. Prioritize Self-Care:

    Ministry can be all-consuming, leaving little time for personal well-being. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care, including regular exercise, rest, and time for hobbies that bring joy and relaxation.

  3. Establish Boundaries:

    Set clear boundaries for work hours and responsibilities. Overextending oneself can lead to burnout and increased feelings of loneliness.

  4. Foster Peer Connections:

    Create opportunities for pastors and leaders within your church community to connect and build peer relationships. This can be done through small groups, retreats, or regular meetings specifically for leaders.

  5. Spiritual Discipline:

    Deepen your spiritual discipline. Regular prayer, meditation of the word, and reflection can provide a sense of connection with God, helping to alleviate loneliness.

  6. Professional Counseling:

    Don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling if loneliness becomes overwhelming. Therapists can provide guidance and support to address these feelings.

Loneliness in church ministry is a real and challenging issue. However, with awareness and proactive steps, pastors and leaders can combat these feelings and create a more supportive and connected ministry environment. Remember that it’s okay to seek help and that you don’t have to battle loneliness alone. By prioritizing self-care, seeking peer relationships, and deepening your spiritual discipline, you can find greater fulfillment and connectedness in your ministry journey.

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Let’s examine an important issue in many parts of the Body of Christ. Biblically, “What is the role of women in the church?” As a prophetic reformer, I have an assignment. I’m trying to write my vision and make it plain so leaders can run with it! I’m for church growth, evangelism, and the Great Commission!

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Recently, one morning, I asked the Lord, “What do you want to show me today?” I heard words quoted to me that Jesus had spoken to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb. “Stop clinging to Me for I have not yet ascended to My Father.”

Strange! What could that possibly mean?

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