Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm Still Pastor Thomas' Wife!

Written Dec. 24, 2008

Although I have been preaching for the last 9 years, a month ago I officially received my license to preach the Gospel. Although for seven years, I fled from the call, my lifestyle and walk has reflected the call for well over a decade.

Rewind back 7 months–In May 2007, twelve women were selected by my Pastor to begin a special training course for women called to preach. For the next 10 months, we would meet weekly and be trained in our area of ministry through classes where we were not only instructed by also given homework assignments. Then, in March 2008, the nine of us that remained were presented to the church and from that day forward we sat with the other ministers in the designated area and were allowed to serve just as the other male ministers of the church.

Since March, I have sat with the ministers, and sometimes I would sit where I always sat prior to my “coming out”—in the pew designated for Associate Pastors Wives. After all, I’m still Pastor Thomas’ wife.

On a Sunday after receiving my license, I went to sit in the area reserved for the Associate Pastors wives. When I got to my seat, a member said to me “I was surprised that you came here to sit.” She was making reference to the fact that I am now a minister, and from her tone, she led me to believe that I had changed. My response to the woman was “I may be a minister but I’m still Pastor Thomas’ wife!”

Years ago, when I began walking in my call, I inwardly changed. The licensing certified publicly what had already taken place privately. The woman’s comment made me ponder two self-evaluating question, “What has changed between now and my acknowledgement of the call?” and “What has not changed between now and my acknowledgement of my call?”

The latter of the two was easier to answer. What HAS NOT changed:
I’m still Roline ThomasI’m still married to Pastor Thomas.
I’m still a mother.
I’m still a grandmother.
I’m still a friend.
I still love the Lord.
I still love to preach.
I still love serving others.
I’m still actively involved in several ministry of my church.
I still love gumbo.

So, what HAS changed? That’s tough, because the license came years after the call. Has my attitude change? Has my relationships changed? Certainly each day my relationship with God has changed—I’m closer to Him today than I was yesterday. But really what has changed? Perhaps those closest to me can help me with that answer. Ahhhh, the lightbulb goes off—-It’s not me that has changed it’s the people around me that has change. Why?—their perception of me has changed. The way others view me has changed. With the call becomes change—perhaps a change in you, but watch out for the change in others. They are the ones who begin to look at you differently and treat you differently. Be careful that their changed view of you doesn’t change you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ugly People

By Roline Thomas

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. —Psalms 13:13-14 (NIV)

Recently, I was watching the television broadcast of a popular evangelist. During the delivery of his message, the man of God commented and poked fun at the physical looks of two well known entertainers. Focusing attention to their facial looks, the evangelist casted a plethora of adjectives describing the entertainers in a very unfavorable manner. At first, I thought the lesson was for me as a preacher— never make fun of people while preaching. You’ll never know who is listening and who you will offend. That was a pretty good visual lesson for me as a preacher, but then I realize there was a deeper lesson that the Holy Spirit would teach me.

I don’t know if the mentioned entertainers are saved, but as a casual observer, I view their lifestyles as worldly. Excessive drinking, fornicating, drugs, foul language has been publically displayed by both. However, as I watched the insensitive preacher and his audience burst out in laughter I was convicted of my own wrong doings. I have made fun of the very same individuals. In casual conversation with friends, I have poked fun of their looks. Regardless of how they live and regardless of how they look, these entertainers were created by God.

I began to ponder as I watched the preacher on television. I wondered how would the entertainers feel if they were watching the show— were they encouraged or offended? I wondered if seeing the man of God making a mockery of their outer beauty would influence them to want to serve the loving God he was preaching about. Then, I wondered how was God feeling about the preacher making fun of His creative work. Finally, I wondered how does God feel when I label some his creative work as “ugly”.

An old proverb states, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Unfortunately man defines beauty by the world’s superficial standards. If we are to view God’s creative work as beautiful, we must realize that “Beauty is in the eye of the Creator.” God as Creator set the standard for beauty. When it comes to critiquing a person’s physical unique features, remember it is God’s creative work and He does all things well. Every individual is a work of art— fearfully and wonderfully made. So what is ugly?— The act of speaking ill of God’s handiwork.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pulpit Crimes: The Criminal Mishandling of God's Word

Great Read for Preachers:
Pulpit Crimes: The Criminal Mishandling of God's Word
By: James Whiite

James White brings his clarity to the issue of the vague and ambiguous preaching. He addresses the crimes that are being committed and seeks to revive courage and committed to the truth. Timely reading, Pulpit Crimes is must reading for the homiletics student and the seasoned preacher.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Misleading Advertisement

And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.—Like 15:15

While ministering in Nairobi, Kenya mission team had the opportunity to rest and relax at a resort in Naivasha, Kenya. From the brochure, the resort looked very inviting. The ad boasted of horseback riding, restaurants, computer, shops, and other activities. The rooms would be an upgrade from the Nairobi facility which we were residing.

The drive to Naivasha started out pleasant, but, as we neared the resort the road to the resort became horrible. Our van’s driver maneuvered through giant rocks, dirt, bumps, and potholes which covered 15 to 20 miles of the route leading to the resort’s entrance. As we traveled onward, the dust and dirt from the road crept into the slightly cracked windows of our van. When we arrived at the resort, staff members were kind enough to supply each of us with moist towels to wash off the layers of dirt that settled on our faces, and arms.

Eleven of us shared a nice five bedroom, five bathroom unit. Only one of the showers produced hot water. For a greater part of a day, we were without electricity and water.

My husband and I walked to the resort’s clubhouse only to discover that it was nearly deserted. The shops were closed. The restaurant was closed. The pool was closed. There were no other guests on the grounds. The computer was down and WHERE’S the HORSEBACK RIDING?! Unfulfilled promises! I was feeling like a castaway on a beautifully landscaped deserted island. I remember returning to our room, looking again at the advertising brochure, and becoming overwhelmed with a great sense of disappointment. I wanted to go back to our living quarters in Nairobi. I was better off in Nairobi.

Like the prodigal son, many of us have been lured by the advertising of the far country. I’ve journeyed to the far country. The Trickster advertised it as easy living. My days consisted of drinking, clubbing, making a dishonest living, and doing much of what I would later regret. When I came to myself, I discovered that I’d been living like a filthy pig. I was homesick and couldn’t believe I left Kingdom living for this!

The world says “Have It Your Way” and “Just Do It”. No matter how good the other side looks, it’s better to stay in the father’s house than to go out into the world. You’ll end up losing so much more than money. You’ll lose your joy, peace, dignity, moral values and possibly your good reputation. The grass may look greener on the other side but when you get there you’ll discover it is artificial turf. The world can only offer a cheap worthless imitation of abundant living. As with the resort’s brochure, the world issues misleading advertisements resulting in unfulfilled promises. What the world has is not real.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marriage Event

Church Info

New Life in Christ Fellowship Church, 6888 Goodman Rd. Suite 120, Olive Branch, MS 38654, Phone: (662) 890-8970

Preparation for Powerful Preaching

Are you guilty of studying…
1) to prepare for what’s next (your next assignment)?
2) in case you get called on in a Bible Study class?
3) to meet the requirements of a class/group (Seminary, Master’s Life, Ministry School)?

In a class a teacher said, "The first casualty in a busy preacher’s life is his devotional time."

A look at the preacher:For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. —Ezra 7:10

Ezra…1) Studied the Word so he could……2) Live the Word which qualified him to….3) Teach the Word.

As preachers we must pray to God and study God's Word so that we can live according to His Word. We can't stand before the people to effectively proclaim his Word if we don't spend regular consistent time with God.

Look at Matthew 17:14-21 (also see Mark 9:14-29). Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Why could not we cast him out?” In this passage the disciples failed. They could not cast out a spirit which Jesus gave them authority over. In Luke 9 Jesus gives the disciples authority and power to heal diseases and cast out demons. Yet, in the passage, the disciples were powerless.You can have authority but no power
  • Power is not self-manufactured but divinely imparted through the Word of God.
  • The Holy Spirit is with you imparting power into you. This comes from studying the Word of God.
  • So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. —Romans 10:17
The disciples "hung out" with Jesus, yet they had no power. As ministers of the Word, beware of just hanging out with Jesus. How is this done?--- Hanging out at church services, ministry meetings, musicals, revivals, feeding the homeless. Beware of being absorbed with doing the work of the Lord that you don't spent quality time with the Lord of the work.

Develop a time of personal devotion:
1) Set a time - and be consistent. Clear your calendar & turn off the cell phone.
2) Decide on a place - atmosphere is important. Don't set yourself up in a dark, depressing setting.
3) Have a plan - decide what you will read.

Pray to God so that He will hear you. Read His Word so that you will hear from him.

Preaching Tips - July 2010

A dear friend asked me offer constructive criticism of her preaching. I got the idea of sharing preaching tips I have learned from those I have witnessed. I am not a "great preacher" but I do learn from others. Here are the tips I shared with my friend:

1. If you are a person who moves a lot when speaking, make sure you grab hold of the mic when first standing to preach. The congregation cannot hear you if you step away from the mic. Don’t ever assume that you speak loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. Most of the time, people in the rear can’t hear.

2. When preaching, only ask rhetorical questions. When teaching, you can solicit answers to questions, but not when preaching.

3. Be careful of giving too much information and very little revelation. Your audience needs to hear application.

4. Be specific when using application. People can relate better when you are specific. For example:
  • Good: There was a time when I did not depend on God. I tried to do things on my own without Him.
  • More Impactful: There was a time that I depended on the money I made instead of God. I had a good job making great pay and thought I was secure because I had extra money in the bank.

5. Preach for results, not reaction. Don’t be discourage because people aren’t shouting and/or “talking back” (encouraging) you. The results of the Word proclaimed manifests in transforms lives. Anyone can produce a reaction (shouts, “amens”, etc.).