It is sad that we live in a society that has created the stereotypical man and stereotypical woman. While some men and women reflect the societal stereotype, many do not. I cannot speak from a female perspective, but I can tell you a few things about a man.
Many view the needs of a man as simple: food and sex. I actually heard a pastor preach and tell the women in the congregation to keep their men well fed and well bred. It’s not that simple. This is not one-size-fits-all, but here are some things to consider. I welcome some tasteful insight in the comments.
Men want to be respected. If a man feels disrespected, you should expect a breakdown in communication. If a man feels like the one who approaches him is being condescending, he will shut down.
Men want affirmation. If a man does not feel appreciated, he will eventually not want to give his best because he will feel like it is not good enough.
Men don’t want to be nagged. This has some relation to the previous statement regarding affirmation. If all a man hears is what he does wrong or has his every move controlled, he will fight back or internalize his feelings that will eventually lead to bitterness.
Men do have emotions. The men I saw in my family acted tough, but I saw their softer sides. They tried to act like they had it all together, but they were affected by things emotionally.
To the ladies reading this, the man in your life may not seem like what I describe. Every man is different. Find out his love language and “speak it” as he should do the same for you.
I will close with a few resources that I have found helpful:
“The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman
“His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard E. Harley, Jr.
“Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggerichs
Communication is key, so it is necessary for you to know true needs of a man. It is not as black and white as you might think.
It’s 2 a.m. and I just can’t sleep. In the last 3 hours I have seen 3 different pastors post about struggling with discouragement and stress in their church due to bullies. It breaks my heart for them and brings up old hurts from when I had an experience with a bully in church. So I wanted to write about 3 common traits of a church bully and 3 responses for the pastor who finds themselves the target of the bully.
3 Common Traits of a Church Bully
Constant Passive Aggressiveness
A bully rarely comes right out and faces you one on one. While sometimes this can be the case, in my experience the bully will be passive aggressive towards you at church, on social media, and in private communications like texts or phone calls. You see this especially with feigned support or involvement…
In the advent season I began writing Healing the Soul, and I wrote a section called Sins of the Tongue. I did this study to prepare for Lent. Ash Wednesday is March 6th. I am going to use this post to prepare for Lent. I am not going to get discouraged when I fail. I have the rest of my life to change my bad habits. I know that I need continue and not give up. Silence is golden. Knowing when to talk and when to stop talking. I also wrote on silence this year. My message to others is my message to myself.
I was speaking with someone recently who said, “I just don’t understand why all these things are happening to me at once. What have I done wrong that God would allow all this to happen? Have I been that bad?”
Let’s be honest. We have all asked these questions and made these statements. We have this false theology that every bad thing is a punishment from God and that every good thing is a blessing. That is so far from true!
Look at the book of Job. The first chapter says he was a righteous man. In other words, he had done nothing that would warrant the loss of all his belongings and children. Later, his body is covered with boils and his wife tells him to curse God and die. God was not punishing him. God strategically placed this in Scripture so that you and I would know that bad things happen to ALL people both good and bad.
The mature question to ask when you are in the midst of hardships is “What is God trying to teach me through the bad times?” When you remain teachable, God will make you a stronger person who will be able to help others.
I have heard many make the statement, “A Divorced person cannot do premarital or relationship counseling because he or she couldn’t keep his or her marriage together.” Makes sense, right? Or does it? If the opening statement is true, then a womanizing counselor can cheat on his wife who lovingly stays by his side can provide sound counsel? If no one is aware of his cheating ways, the opening statement would “stand to reason”. Or would it?
Many marriages stay together, but longevity does not necessarily equal success. I know many who are miserable in their long marriages. I observe men who constantly belittle their wives publicly and privately or women who do the same. No one sees the horrible arguments behind closed doors and issues that never get resolved, yet people assume they can provide counsel because they stay together. That’s ludicrous!
As one who is divorced and remarried, I can give counsel – not from my successful first marriage (because it wasn’t) but because of what I learned. I do my best to be transparent about my own flaws. I tell people of attitudes and actions that should have been different. I don’t have a perfect marriage now, but the Holy Spirit can fill me to speak just as much as ever before. God used a donkey to speak in the Old Testament, and He can still use them today (take that as you will).
We cannot play God and say what He will or will not use. God can used unlikely people throughout history, and He continues to do so. Never underestimate our great God!
When I was in college and seminary, there was much emphasis placed on leadership. The more I watched and listened to different pastors, the emphasis turned away from service and turned toward being more like a CEO of a business. While pastors and people in authority must be professional, they should never be “above” doing certain tasks.
Tonight, a pastor in the area asked if I would run lyrics for their worship team practice. My past experience has primarily been on stage rather than behind the scenes. Was I too good for that? No! Did it give me a greater appreciation for those who project announcements, lyrics, and other forms of media on screens in worship services? Yes!
As a leader, you will gain tremendous respect from people when they see you are willing to do the same things they do. They respect you when you express appreciation for their service.
At work, I have seen nurses do a CNA’s job. Not one single nurse ever acted like the work was beneath them. Why? They understand that a leader is also a servant. They care about their patients, so they will go above and beyond to provide quality care.
May all of us who hold leadership positions be humble enough to
I must admit that my mind has been clogged for some time. I have countless thoughts that distract me from what really matters. Then there is the struggle of thoughts that really matter keeping me from what I want to do. We often find that we must sacrifice what we want to do in order to do what we need to do.
Paul speaks a little bit about this wrestling match of flesh and spirit in Romans 7. Anyone who diligently tries to walk with Christ fights this. Paul frequently addresses the issue of proper focus in his epistles. In Colossians 3, he tells us to set our minds on things above. In Romans 12, he tells us that our minds must be renewed. I could list many more references.
I love what the songwriter wrote many years ago:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
This is going to be one of those honest posts. Many of you know my story. I am divorced with 3 kids from my first marriage. They live 4 hours away, and I see them every other weekend along with holidays and most of the Summer.
This is a difficult time in the journey. They have lived apart from me for a little over 5 years now. Distance and lack of funds have prevented me from doing a lot of things I was once able to do. They are now 11, 13, and 15. Life is busy for them. FaceTime used to be a priority for them. I’m blessed to get a text or call once a week now. I will often call or text with no reply. It’s a difficult place to be for a dad who was very hands-on when the family unit was intact. I go insane now because their life is busy and my life is busy. I am remarried with 4 other children in the house, 2 of which my current wife and I had together. They are 2 years old and 10 months old. Those of you who are parents know the demands that accompany that age.
Several of those who read have been where I am. Maybe you are the dad who gets his kids every other weekend. Maybe you know how much it hurts to not have the prominent place you wish you had. You are not alone. Some of you do not have custody of the children for personal mistakes while others lost the battle.
As someone who ministers, I know the pain of divorce and separation from my children. I know what others who walk a similar path have been through. I know the emotions that go along with this. Because of that, I don’t look with judgment but compassion. My prayer is that, despite the havoc that divorce brings, children whose father or mother is not the primary custodial parent will know that they are still deeply loved and that God would give peace and understanding to those parents who, by necessity, have to see their children less frequently.
I sit here typing as I look out the glass doors and see the sun. In Upstate South Carolina, it is a refreshing sight after lots of rain. I’m not complaining about the rain, but Karen Carpenter was accurate when she sang “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”
As I have shared before, the Winter months are difficult as seasonal depression hits me. But I look today and think about Spring. In a few short days, Spring will be here. I am already seeing signs of what was dead coming back to life. Yes, the pollen will hit me. I will probably have to pop a Benadryl here and there, but I am thankful to see signs of new life.
I also think about how appropriate it is that we celebrate the resurrection of Christ during the Spring. He was dead, but He conquered death and is STILL ALIVE! Because He lives, we can have life eternal. How awesome is that?!?
I know life is busy, but slow down to see the signs of new life around you. Slow down to take in the breeze. Slow down to view the flowers in bloom. Slow down to listen to the sounds of God’s creation. You will be glad you did.
Tonight, I received a call from a man who called me pastor for almost a year. This man has been a blog topic before and a major source of encouragement.
In the conversation, he mentioned a man in the church who despised me. This man would post derogatory remarks about me and the church on Facebook. Whenever he called me, he never called me “pastor” or by my real name. He always called me “young man”. His negativity drove me crazy then, but I know that he is that way. It is nothing personal.
My friend told me that this man is undergoing cancer treatments. No ill feelings arose. It saddened me to hear this news. I even prayed for his healing tonight. The past is over, and this man needs a touch from God.
You know you have forgiven someone when the name comes up in conversation and you don’t need to walk out of the room or zone out. When you wish that person the best despite what has been done, you have been set free.
If you are reading this and struggling with forgiveness, I do not condemn you. I ask that God will bring healing into your life so you can be set free to love the one who wronged you. Oh the joy you will have!