Is Your Church a Hugging Church?

I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, which as Pastor Rick Warren describes . . . “We’re a hugging church.” So I knew that women attending one of our Woman to Woman Mentoring Orientation Coffees would need welcoming from a “Greeter/Hugger” at the front door.

Some churches starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry question the need for a Greeter/Hugger, until they have an experience similar to the church who shared this story with me:

A helper offered to be the Greeter/Hugger at our Orientation Coffee, but she couldn’t hug a stranger so she would shake hands. We aren’t a hugging church, but since we were following your Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry Coordinator’s Guide where you stress the importance of having a Greeter/Hugger, we decided we would have her help in another area and find someone who would hug the women as they arrived. Then during the sharing time, one woman said she was a newlywed, and shortly after their wedding, her husband deployed overseas. The hug she received from the Greeter/Hugger was her first hug in eighteen months, and that hug assured her the mentoring ministry was just where the Lord wanted her. After the Coffee, the helper who said she couldn’t hug strangers, said she would be the Greeter/Hugger at our next Orientation Coffee.

How Did Church Members Greet Each Other in Jesus’s Day?

God’s design for the church was for believers to be family. Jesus made that clear in Mark 3:31-35:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

We often refer to ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ, and some churches still call each other “brother _______” and “sister _______,” but most have dropped the use of this familiar term, maybe to a detriment. Families hug each other in greeting, so it shouldn’t seem strange for brothers and sisters in Christ to greet each other with a hug.

The early church actually went a step beyond a hug and greeted fellow believers with a kiss. This wasn’t a romantic kiss, but one like Europeans or relatives give to each other, maybe on the cheek. When Paul sent letters to the churches, this is how he told them to greet each other . . .

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” Romans 16:16

“All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” 1 Corinthians 16:20

“Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss.” 1 Thessalonians 5:26

Peter also said, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:14

Why Don’t All Churches Hug Today?

I asked several people if they had a time of greeting in their church, and if so, was it shaking hands or hugging. One man replied that there was greeting prior to the service and if you had a relationship with someone you might hug them, but if there had been some animosity or misunderstanding, you wouldn’t want to hug that person. I thought that was interesting since this is church we’re talking about! But then I had a disagreement with someone, and it was hard to hug that person until we resolved it.

When my husband and I travel and attend churches, we notice that sometimes we’re the only people hugging. One church we attend regularly, the pastor sticks out his hand to shake my husband Dave’s hand, and as Dave gives him a hug, the Pastor laughs and says, “Oh yes, you’re the hugger.”

I don’t remember that many people hugging when we first started attending our small mountain community church where we live now, unless they were already friends, but now everyone hugs! I’m so used to hugging people, I once hugged our new neighbor, and I barely knew her. It just seemed like the welcoming thing to do, although she did seem a little surprised, I did it without thinking . . . because I’m a hugger.

Admittedly, some people are extremely private and don’t like people invading their space. They’re uncomfortable hugging, especially if they don’t know you. I’ve never had anyone take inappropriate advantage of hugging in church, but I suppose that could happen too. And it’s important to caution children to be leery of anyone they don’t know hugging them inappropriately, and be sure your church has a vetting process for everyone working in youth and children’s ministry.

Here are hugging etiquette considerations if you’re a hugger like me, but not sure how the other person feels about hugging:

  1. If it’s a first meeting/greeting, shake hands, especially with the opposite sex.
  2. After several meetings, try a side hug. If you feel resistance or tenseness, return to handshakes.
  3. Be open. Explain that you’re a hugger, and ask if they’re OK with a hug in greeting and honor their wishes.

If you’re uncomfortable with hugs, that’s OK. Don’t feel badly or that you have to explain. A bright smile, and kind, friendly greeting speaks volumes.

“An honest answer is like a warm hug.” Psalm 24:26 The Message

What are your thoughts on giving hugs during greeting time at church?

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Are You The Woman Today You Want Your Daughter to Become?

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’ve been writing, editing, and proofing a new book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Last week, I turned in my final proof edit to the publishers, Leafwood Publisher, as I anticipate it’s September 12, 2017 release. Then I learned the exciting news that this book is now on Amazon ready for preorders! You can order now, and as soon as it’s in stock at Amazon, you’ll receive your pre-release copies. The more preorders, the more they bring in stock. Will you help me get this book into the hands of mentors and mentees, those wanting to know how to be a mentor or mentee, and Women’s Ministry Directors to guide women in all seasons of their life.

This book will guide and equip women from tweens to twilight seasons in how to biblically mentor or be a mentee! I think it’s the first book of it’s kind written for both M&M’S! One endorser has already said every Women’s Ministry Director needs this book in her library. As the summer goes on, I’ll share more tidbits about this book for all women.  So drum roll please . . . I’m unveiling the cover!

The Mothering Season

When I speak to women about mentoring, I tell them that their first mentoring responsibility is to their daughters if they have daughters or nieces. They’re the role model for these young girls and they’re mentoring to them what it looks like to be a woman today: either a woman of the world or a woman of the Word. And then, I ask the question: Are you the woman today you want your daughters to become because they’re watching you, and as much as they don’t want to be like you, they will probably become just like you at sometime in their life.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how during my backsliding years, my daughter wanted to be just like me. I realized some of the poor choices she was making were a reflection of the poor choices she was watching me make.

That was a huge revelation to me that I needed to make some changes in my life. When I did rededicate my life to the Lord and start living a godly life, she didn’t want any part of it. She liked the way we were living more by the world’s standards than by God’s ways. And that’s the story I talk about in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I went down on my knees and prayed Scripture for her daily for six years; all the time showing and role modeling for her the blessings of being a rededicated woman of faith.

I’m happy to say our story took a happy turn and Kim did eventually give her heart to Jesus, and she has done a much better job than I did raising her three children in a Christian household. She’s mentored them in character qualities that her two daughters and son are obviously noticing. For a school project, 3rd grader Sienna was to write why her mom should be in People Magazine. I must admit, I was troubled by this teacher’s choice of a magazine that 3rd graders had no business knowing about or writing an article for, so I was relieved when Sienna said she had no idea what People Magazine was, anyway!

But what did impress me were the character qualities Sienna wrote that she saw in her mom. My daughter is a fitness instructor with a fabulous figure, she’s gorgeous, dresses stylishly, and always looks beautiful. So when Sienna decided to write about why her mom should be on the cover of People Magazine, she easily could have talked about these superficial, outward qualities, but at eight-years old this is what she wrote, exactly how she wrote it, no edits from Grammie:

My mom should be on the cover of the People magazine. My mom’s name is Kim Mancini. My mom is medium height, has brown hair, and her eyes are brown. There are so many reasons why my mom should be on the cover of the People Magazine.

One of the amazing things about my mom is that she is trustworthy. My mom trusts me all the time. My mom does not lie. My mom is trustworthy with my whole family. Now you know why my mom is trustworthy.

My mom is the most honest person in the world. She is honest with me. She once said, “Do not be scared that’s not real.” My mom is honest with my grandparents. There is no doubt, my mom should be on the People Magazine because she is so honest.

My mom is so helpful. My mom helps me when I am hurt. My mom helps me with my homework. She helps me get ready for school. My mom should win an award for being the best mom ever. My mom is the best mom in the world.

By Sienna

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Sienna’s mom, is trustworthy, honest, and helpful. Later she wished she had included hardworking. Isn’t that what every mom wants all her children, not just her daughters, to say about her?! Good job Kim.

What would your kids write why you should be on the cover of People Magazine?

The Mancini family. Sienna is next to her brother

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10 Ways to Change Our Culture

When it comes to making a change in our world, we often feel . . .

  • Who am I to make a difference? I’m only one person.
  • What does it matter what I say? Who listens to me anyway?
  • I don’t have a platform. How would I get my voice heard if I did try to make a change?

Have you had similar thoughts? I did. Twenty years ago, I wasn’t thinking about making a difference in the world’s culture—just in my world. Then during the journey of starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and watching lives changing—one woman at a time—I realized I was making a difference. These mentors and mentees were making a difference. One woman mentoring another woman was having a ripple effect out into the culture.

You too can make a significant change in our culture today. God never forces us to do anything, but He created us with gifts and a purpose, and when we use our God-given talents for His glory, things change—for the good—in our circle of influence, our platform.

In the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16), Jesus tells us to shout the Good News to everyone who will listen. That means in our jobs, activities, sports, shopping, playing, parenting . . . whatever we do, wherever we do it . . . joyfully let others know that God is at the center of our lives. Someone is noticing. Someone sees a difference in how we live our lives, and that changes things.

Celebrities, Sports Stars, and Politicians

Movies stars and entertainers have changed the culture mostly in a negative way by making it fashionable to have babies with whomever they’re dating, normalizing living together without getting married, wearing revealing clothes, swearing and using vulgar language—both men and women—doing things in movies we would never let them do in our living rooms. They have influenced our culture by lowering the moral and sexual standards for society. And in today’s volatile political culture, the majority of them are liberal progressives, and those who aren’t are blackballed.

Gospel-sharing movies are beginning to get some traction at theaters, many started by grassroots Christians who want to make a difference in today’s culture. We need to support them. It’s upsetting to hear Christians armchair criticize other Christians who are stepping out to make a difference for God, especially when the critics aren’t trying to make a difference themselves!

Sports figures and teams have become idols. We recently watched one football player dishonor our National Anthem and young high school football players followed suit. Time Magazine included him in the most influential people of the year! 2016 Olympic swimmers lied and falsified an assault story in Brazil, and yet one of them ended up on Dancing with the Stars! Instead of being good role models, again we see the culture influenced in worldly, ungodly ways, while sports figures honoring God are ridiculed. Still it was refreshing to hear many Olympians praising God.

People don’t trust politicians. Many will change the culture for good, but others make changes that starkly contradict our Christian beliefs and values. The media blasts and tries to silence politicians who agree with a conservative agenda because the vast majority of culture today is liberal.

We’ve seen the liberal agenda invade the Federal and local government, and we feel helpless watching the sanctity of life and marriage destroyed by laws legalizing sin. We cry out to God and to each other at the atrocities; but we hang our heads thinking we can’t do anything. But that’s when the real work begins. There’s more to changing culture than just voting in our candidates! We still have control of where we spend our money, our time, and how we use our voice and influence.

You Can Change Culture

It’s time for Christians to step up, speak out, and seize opportunities to defend God and change our culture back to one that respects and honors virtue and morals. We need a revival, which doesn’t start in government, it starts in the church with the people sitting in the chairs and pews. That’s you and me!

Christianity has come under attack by the media, the government, and the entertainment world for several generations, so today’s generation has formed prejudices and perceptions based more on the worldly lies of Satan than on the truths of God. We need to proclaim the Good News of Christ because many have only heard the distorted lies of Satan.

10 Ways You Can Help Change Our Culture

  1. Speak Up

Today, society marginalizes, neutralizes, and denies God—forgotten by a culture forsaking him. Wherever and whenever you hear someone speaking disrespectfully of God, kindly let him or her know you’re a believer and explain why and what you believe, and would they please speak respectfully of the most important person in your life.

  1. Mentor—

I receive so many stories from women of all ages desperate for someone spiritually older to share their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. They’re begging for mentors as Titus 2:1-8 instructs spiritually older Christians to help spiritually younger men and women learn how to navigate life and make choices that honor God. If more Christians became mentors, we would see less violence, rage, poverty, divorce, single-parent families, abuse, abortion . . . the list goes on. Titus 2:5 says we mentor so “no one will malign the word of God.”

  1. Use Social Media

As an author and speaker, I have a large social media presence, and I boldly comment from a Christian perspective. A young mom approached me at church and thanked me for my Facebook posts. She said I always wrote something on my timeline just when she needed it or when she needed perspective on a current topic.

Then I received an email from a mom saying she found my tweets, Facebook messages, and blog posts helpful in her life. The list goes on. I have no idea how many lives I may be touching and changing through social media, but I try to always include something about God in today’s culture, and hope it sounds doable to my readers to duplicate.

Pick one form of social media, establish a following, and get a dialogue going for cultural change.

  1. Blogging—

I also write a weekly Monday Morning Blog. Not everyone likes to write, but a blog reaches multitudes. Whatever your passion is—sports, gardening, building, cooking, parenting—write about it and add something in your post to help the reader make positive cultural changes in his/her life or environment.

  1. Parenting

Your children are the future of our country and will define the culture for decades. They look to you for guidance and direction to set their moral compass. Talk about the difficult issues they face. Know what the culture is saying and doing and teach them how to identify twisted doctrine and counter it with the truth. Give them the tools they need to be change agents in the culture. Help them be leaders, not followers.

  1. Teach Sunday School or Help in Youth Ministry

One of the most important roles in the church is teaching and training the next generations. These children and youth are the future who will determine if the church remains true to God’s Word, the Bible, or casts it aside to accommodate the falsehoods of the culture. They must go into the world not only knowing about Jesus, but also knowing Him in a personal relationship they wouldn’t give up or give away for anything.

  1. Support Business that Champions Christian Values—

Businesses are succumbing to the liberal cultural pressure to market and financially support the LGBTQ agenda. We have a choice where we spend our money and our time. If you know a business supports something you don’t agree with, don’t spend money there. It’s that simple. There are plenty of other places to eat and shop—especially those owned by Christians.

If a movie is full of violence, sex, and vulgar language . . . don’t see it. Go to opening weekend of a Christian movie. Businesses, television, the movie and sports industry . . . notice when revenue declines.

  1. Run for a Local Office

We need more Christians and conservatives in government! If you feel called, run for office and be the voice in the wilderness in your community that fights for the sanctity of life, morals, freedom of speech for all, and laws that honor God and the Constitution.

  1. Remember God’s Goodness

When we remember how good God has been in the past, we share it with others. Today’s millennials, and those younger, don’t know a world where you can openly pray, talk about Jesus, and take your Bible to school. When “gay” meant joyful, and the rainbow only stood for God’s blessings. Where marriage was only between a man and a woman, and kids didn’t have two dads or two moms. It’s our job to tell them that the culture we’re living in today is not God’s way, but we can find our way back to His ways.

  1. Prayer—

God hears the prayers of His people: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Jesus changed the culture, and He was only one man, whose fame came after his death, but he left a band of followers to keep up His work of changing the worldly culture.

“As Christians, God calls us to live holy lives: separated to God, separated from the world, and separated for God. Our responsibility is to help a generation that thrives on conforming, want to conform to God’s standards! Don’t think you can’t make a difference. You can. Sure, you can’t transform the whole world, but you can make a difference in your world.”*

*Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

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Some Women Are Still Like Eve: Listening to the Serpent

Have you ever wondered why Satan approached Eve and not Adam in the Garden of Eden? Why didn’t he go up to Adam and start challenging him about whether or not God really said they shouldn’t eat from the tree of wisdom? Let’s review Genesis 3:2-10 NLT:

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

When the shrewd serpent, AKA Satan, showed Eve how beautiful and delicious the fruit was, and she wouldn’t need God, Eve caved. Husbands want to please their wives. Since that day, the Devil has made it his mission to get women and men to choose evil over good, Satan’s ways, not God’s ways. Already owning the world, Satan goes after the Christians he loses who turn from their evil ways, repent from their sins, and choose to follow Jesus Christ. Not deterred, Satan still dangles that forbidden fruit in the form of lies, sin, temptations, pride . . . anything that makes us feel we don’t need God, just like when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10).

Jesus used Scripture to fend off Satan. If we’re not grounded in God’s Word, we’re easily deceived and distracted by the Deceiver, the Ruler of this world. Mothers have a huge influence over their children’s beliefs: what they watch on television, the video games they play, the amount of time they spend on electronics, the friends they keep.  A real and present danger is the lure of the secular world on women, and thus goes the next generation.

Since November 8 when the progressive liberals lost the presidential election, they have desperately tried to delegitimatize Donald Trump’s presidency. Refusing to accept defeat, they plotted a “Women’s March” in Washington DC the day after Inauguration Day. Supposedly, these women were marching for “women’s rights,” which were never clearly defined.

The rally featured speeches from activist Gloria Steinem, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Democrat Elizabeth Warren (a fierce supporter of Hillary Clinton wearing a Planned Parenthood scarf) Madonna, actresses Ashley Judd, America Ferrara, and Scarlett Johansson, and director Michael Moore, among others.

Michael Moore . . . what does he have to do with women’s rights? Nothing! Then a group of largely women senators and other politicians took the stage.

In an article by Meghan Keneally, Good Morning America, titled “Politicians, Activists Rally Crowd at Women’s March in Washington,” Keneally noted: “With the timing and sheer number of people involved, it comes as little surprise that there are various causes attached to the march, which was largely billed as a demonstration in support of women’s rights and civil rights but for many has clear political undertones connected to the inauguration of Donald Trump.

This was obviously not a march for all women’s rights, since they barred all Pro-life groups!

This was also not a grassroots movement by a grandmother in Hawaii like the fake news media would have you believe. This was a well-planned Democrats’ attack aimed at President Donald Trump. So only Satan, the father of lies, could lure women, many bringing daughters, into marching for “women’s rights,” when it was actually political activists needing a big crowd to support their own agendas.

Even when asked why they were marching, most women quoted political election rhetoric, liberal media points, or didn’t have a clear answer. Satan’s trademark is confusion.

Women were the pawns of political interest groups, while supposedly protesting Donald Trump’s treatment of women. Ironic!

Maybe the women missed the fact that Donald Trump appointed Kellyanne Conway as the first woman presidential Campaign Manager and now Counselor and Advisor to the President? She broke a glass ceiling.

Some said they marched because of something Trump said over eleven years ago and publically asked forgiveness for and I wrote a blog about. Instead of granting him forgiveness, they knitted pink hats as idols to memorialize the vulgar word they’re protesting, and now demeaning slang words for women are freely rolling off their lips, yes including their young daughters. And Satan laughs!

So hypocritical when many at the march were yelling vulgarities, had obscenities on signs, and were listening to someone like Madonna give a profanity-laced, vulgar talk saying she thought about blowing up the White House. Does anyone see the dichotomy there? These women brought their daughters to hear Madonna who demeans women as sex symbols in her songs and costumes, has a filthy mouth, and talks of bombing the White House! She is a disgrace to womanhood and not a role model for our daughters. And the liberal anti-Trump Hollywood “stars” act in R rated movies exploiting women, participate in explicit sex scenes with other actors, and use vulgar language in movies and call it “art.”

Maybe they think President Trump is a racist? Really, what has he said that’s racist? He wants to help the inner cities and protect America from terrorists and illegals invading our country. He has many black pastors advising and supporting him. Were they marching against that?

Oh maybe they were marching against possibly losing the right to murder their babies, even up to the day before delivery? Ah Satan the tempter again: Did God really say life starts at conception? Did God really say thou shalt not kill?

Abortion never was or will be a woman’s right. Sex is a right and a choice, but it is not a right or choice to kill an unborn baby for convenience, pleasure, or wealth. Only Satan would tell a woman abortion was a right. But every unborn baby does have a right to life!

Could they be marching about losing Obamacare, because they might lose free abortions or birth control while the cost is skyrocketing and strapping families, businesses, and doctors are overwhelmed with paperwork? There will be a replacement for Obamacare and there are safe clinics that help women get medical checkups and provide help with pregnancies. It’s Satan’s lie that women will lose health benefits without Planned Parenthood.

Exactly what real “rights” were they marching for?

Women love getting together for a cause and climbed on planes, buses, and vans, but listening to them shout obscenities, wave signs with vulgarities, and denounce a newly inaugurated president wasn’t unifying. It isn’t God’s way. It is Satan whispering in their ears: God’s ways don’t work in today’s culture. Your rights are more important! God’s irrelevant in 2017. You don’t need Him. It’s all about you.

And that brings me to my heartbreak: I know Christians were marching.

The liberal progressive activists, who sponsored that march, stand for everything that opposes the Bible and God.

They didn’t open or close in prayer. There was no praise music. Not one pastor spoke. They only mentioned God’s name in vain. Instead they promoted hate, creating unrest, division, disruption, disunity, and denouncing a freely elected President.

Christians don’t support abortion of precious babies, the liberal progressive agenda of same sex marriage, the demonizing of Christian values, the denial of male and female genders, the removal of God from the public square, or the denouncing of Israel  . . . so what would draw a Christian woman to a march like this?

Here’s what Christian women should grab their sneakers and their daughters and hit the streets to march against: sex trafficking, child prostitution, childhood cancer or any cancer, selling drugs to youth and drug addiction, bullying, abortion. March for Pro Life, to help single moms or for women in countries who really have no rights because American women have amazing rights!

I believe that anyone who would turn out for the liberal “Women’s March” is looking for role models and mentors in all the wrong places. They are listening to the mainstream media and following the culture. The church needs to step up and provide mentors, guidance, and the Truth from the Word of God not from the world! Why are Christian women listening to Hollywood? Madonna? Gloria Steinem? Michael Moore? The same serpent that deceived Eve?

President Trump cannot turn America back to God. It’s time for the women of the church to get involved. How many of you know a woman who marched who you could have counseled? Wake up Christian women. God is calling you to get involved!

I hope you will share this post and pray about how God is calling you to be part of a revival. The doors have opened with President Trump’s and the conservative platform’s victory. Now we must do our part because the battle has just begun.

Brandon and me

I want to close with a personal story to share with any who think abortion is a woman’s “right.” I praise God every day that the 15 year-old Hispanic birth mother of my amazing twelve-year old grandson never went into a Planned Parenthood clinic. Yes, he was her second baby, so they would have eagerly advised her to get a quick abortion and head back to school to continue with her life. But praise God, she chose to give Brandon the right to his life, and blessed a childless couple by choosing them to become the forever parents of this precious gift of God. That young girl did continue with her life knowing she chose to cherish life and will never suffer the haunting nightmares of so many women who chose to sacrifice life.

Read more of Brandon’s story in Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey

If you have had an abortion or know someone considering it please read: Prisoners of Choice.

Another confirming article written by a woman about how women were pawns in what was really a political activists march: Billionaire George Soros Has Ties to more that 50 ‘partners’ to the Women’s March on Washington.

March for Trump

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Why Aren’t All Christians Extending Grace and Forgiveness to Trump?

praying-for-trump

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it means to be a saved, forgiven Christian, granted grace and mercy when I was so undeserving. Our Couples’ Group is studying Pastor Tony Evan’s Victory in Spiritual Warfare and he used a term I’d never heard before: “unsaved, saved person.” I realized that was another term for backsliding, which I did for seventeen years—saved at a youth camp at the age of eleven when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and then living an ungodly life from my late twenties until early forties, a backslidden believer. Saved but living like an unsaved person, until I rededicated my life. I write about this time in most of my books—it’s my testimony—of how God redeemed me and has used me About His Work since the day I gave my life fully back to Him.

God forgave me for my sins as a “born again” young girl on fire for the Lord, and He never withheld His love or protection, even as He watched me do things that broke His heart and were so unworthy of someone who knew better. It was as if for seventeen years, I had blinders on, until Pastor Greg Laurie asked at a Harvest Crusade if I was ready to die that night. I wasn’t. God had been gently bringing His prodigal back to Him, as I had recently turned my dating life over to God and was dating the man He had picked to become my husband.

I’m so grateful I was attending Saddleback Church, which welcomes sinners and seekers and offers restoration, hope, and forgiveness for those who are willing to repent, ask for forgiveness, turn from their wayward ways, and follow Jesus’s biblical ways. I married my godly husband Dave, blended our two families, graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary, quit my secular job, and started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry as a rededicated, divorced, remarried woman. I always was shown love, grace, mercy, support, and encouragement at seminary and Saddleback Church.

I felt so unqualified and ill equipped, but my church gave me the tools I needed, as I took a huge prayerful step of faith. I was the least likely woman to start such a ministry . . . many churches might not have let me serve. But I said, “OK” when God called me to “Feed my sheep,” and He did the rest. As a result, twenty years later, Woman to Woman Mentoring is an international ministry blessing thousands of women in Titus 2 mentoring relationships.

Dr. Charles Stanley’s wrote in “Faith Barriers,” In Touch Magazine October 13, 2016:

When we are called to serve, our strength, skill, and wisdom do not matter. Rather, it is the Lord who does the work through us. He doesn’t seek out the most qualified person for a particular job, but instead calls men and women who are willing to surrender themselves to Him. When His strength works through their weakness, it is obvious that only God could have achieved the result.

A Disturbing Lack of Forgiveness Among Evangelicals

Trump has always said that as a child he was a saved Presbyterian, but I think he was probably an “unsaved, saved” backsliding Christian, like I was, most of his adult life. Michael Anthony on Godfactor.com shares part of an interview with Dr. James Dobson about Trump’s recent salvation this past summer. Dr. Dobson has seen a change in Trump and only God knows the condition of his heart, which is true for all of us. Anthony also explains how we all mature in our faith at different degrees: some are like microwaves—the change is instantaneous–others are like crockpots.

Anthony and Dobson both called for prayer for the new  “baby Christian” Trump, but I’ve not seen or heard much prayer for Trump, who represents the conservative political agenda in this election. Instead, I’ve seen more stone throwing and rock slinging at him from evangelicals for his past transgression, right along with the progressive liberals. Many Christians who are so distressed when called “deplorables” and “haters” by the liberals, have called Trump–their own candidate–terrible, unkind, slanderous names.

I can only wonder how many new believers would last if we treated them all that way? And why are Christians doing that, when evangelism is all about sharing the forgiveness of sin and grace of Jesus Christ?

In a political move, tapes of vial things Trump said over eleven years ago became public and many Christians and prominent ministry leaders reacted as if he said them yesterday. I’ve seen tapes of him surrounded by the many Christians he has on staff as he prayed for forgiveness, he asked publicly for forgiveness during the debate, and yet, so many Christians are unwilling to grant him forgiveness. Why?

If he is saved, God forgave him and wiped the slate clean from all the things he did before, just like He did for each of us when we became Christians. And God forgives each of us when we mess up and ask for forgiveness, but many evangelicals pulled their support and backlashed him, refusing to show any grace or mercy.

How would any of us feel if that is how our past sins haunted us as new believers? Badmouthing Trump and not looking at the real issues in this election, is just what Satan wants us to do. Letting Trump’s past transgressions divide us, another score for Satan.

Trump is a flawed man, as has been, and will be, every president, but he’s the first one I’ve seen who actually chose a born-again Vice President who told his testimony in the VP debate. He has Christians like Ben Carson on his team mentoring him, who see the bigger picture of the Supreme Court picks that will make decisions that will affect our religious freedoms for the next thirty years! Which will determine whether we as evangelicals can voice our faith publicly in the future in a blog post like this!

With men like that surrounding him, if not saved, he’s certainly a seeker, and aren’t we as evangelicals supposed to help draw seekers to Christ?

We Need a Refresher in Forgiveness

Christians are forgiven by the grace of God, and we need to extend that same grace and forgiveness to others, including Donald Trump: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

Yes, that would apply to Hillary too, but so far, she has only made excuses for her bad behavior, justifies supporting the things God detests, and puts political spins on her lies. Her agenda is anti-Christian and anti-God. I haven’t seen her sincerely ask forgiveness for anything, but she does need prayer to repent. Wouldn’t that be a wondrous miracle of this election!

4 FORGIVENESS MYTHS

MYTH #1:  Forgiveness must be quick like God’s forgiveness

TRUTH:  Forgiveness is a process

MYTH #2: If I forgive, that means that the offense was “ok.”

TRUTH: Forgiveness doesn’t turn sin into good. Sin is always wrong.

MYTH #3:  If I forgive the person gets off the hook.

TRUTH: Sin always has consequences.

If Trump, really accepted Christ – and has asked for God’s forgiveness—it’s important to understand and apply 1 Timothy 1:12-16 and the apostle Paul’s own words about himself:

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

Let’s start showing grace, mercy, forgiveness, and pouring out prayer for Trump. He was not my first choice, but he is the candidate for the conservative platform. This election is not about a person, it is about the platform, but God cares about every person’s eternal life. Instead of helping to feed the media beast, let’s pray for a flawed man who is being:

  •  made publicly accountable for past sins
  • humiliated and humbled
  • attacked and assailed
  • refined, renewed, and reformed

He could just be the unlikely person who becomes the future leader of America and allows us to put God back in the public square for generations to come. God could do that!

If you’re not clear on the difference between the two political platforms, Franklin Graham has it available.

To check out Lance Wallnau’s Facebook Page for a Spiritual Warfare Guide to the 2016 election.

To read a passage where Jesus saw the good in someone who wanted to serve, but the religious Pharisees only saw her as a sinner read Luke 7:36-50.

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5 Tactics Satan Uses to Invade Your Church

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Twenty years ago, when the Lord led me to start the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, I left the business world to go into full-time lay ministry. It was a delightful surprise to discover people would donate their time without expecting payment in return. I expected it to be easy leading Christian team members who would all agree and serve willingly and peacefully.

It was a crushing blow realizing that Christians don’t all agree and get along peacefully, and many of the same divisive issues I encountered in the business world, prevail in the church. I had much to learn and pray about as a ministry leader, and it still disturbs me. The enemy tried to invade and destroy Woman to Woman Mentoring, but praise God it’s still going strong in thousands of churches around the world today. But I had to learn how to identify the divisive tactics of the enemy and how to fight against him. I went straight to the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18, where versus 10-12 instruct Christians to . . .

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:17 says the only weapon we have against Satan’s invasion is God’s Word, the Bible, the Sword of the Spirit. So it’s no surprise that Satan has managed to remove the Bible from schools, and recently, some pastors have devalued God’s Word saying it’s outdated and irrelevant to today’s culture. Yet, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

Since the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s sole purpose has been to destroy God’s kingdom on earth and overtake the world with evil, and his tactical invasion is succeeding, not just in the world, but also in the church. Satan has methodically and effectively:

  • Changed God’s definition of marriage. Certain denominations embrace gay marriage and gay clergy, and it’s dividing their churches.
  • Legalized the killing of unborn babies and selling their body parts—many of whom might have been Christian leaders, presidents, pastors, evangelists, parents, had the cure for cancer, and loud voices in the wilderness.
  • Removed God, prayer, and Bibles from schools.
  • Eliminated God from the public square.

And what has the church done to stop any of this? Very little.

Instead of the church influencing culture, the culture is influencing the church.

So is it any wonder that in this current election battle, we see Satan zeroing in for a strategic blow: destroying unity in the church body and causing bitter divisions among evangelicals and conservative Christians.In Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I warn of Satan’s impending invasion of the church if believers, who comprise God’s church, don’t take a firm stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:18):

Satan won’t like you making a concerted effort to remember God. Satan wants you to forget God’s goodness. Let that sink in a minute. If you forget God and his role in your life, then Satan has you just where he wants you. Satan’s target is believers. He doesn’t care about those who love the world because he already has them in his grip. He focuses on luring believers to love something else more than they love God. Satan wants to break God’s heart. Unfortunately, he seems to be succeeding in many areas. If he can get believers to look to the world’s ways, and forget God’s ways, Satan smirks.

Five Tactics Satan Uses to Destroy Churches by Invading Holiness with Worldliness.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” —John 10:10

Secularism

In a Washington Post article, Michelle Boorestein quoted Pastor Rick Scarborough, who has spent 20 years trying to politically mobilize evangelical voters: “Evangelicals are so divided….It’s because we are living in a growing age of secularism that is forcing itself on people who hold traditional values . . . . Some frame the split as Christian pragmatists vs. Christian idealists.”

No one, not even Satan, can “force” secularism or pragmatism on people who hold traditional values. It’s a choice.

Satan is hijacking high-profile liberal pastors and several mainline denominations who expound that: the Bible isn’t inerrant or relevant, God is a myth, Jesus is a legend, and the church needs to catch up with the culture. Culture never trumps Scripture. Even if you’ve been a member for years of one of these denominations or churches that now succumbs to this unbiblical, satanical teaching—run—leave immediately, and take your family with you.*

These “liberals” defiantly ignore Jesus’s warning that Christians are in the world, but not of the world. And Jesus didn’t come to conform to the culture; he came to reform the culture.*

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. —Romans 12:2

Selfishness

The center of all divisiveness is selfishness and pride. We want things our way, the way we think is right. The church often doesn’t agree on what Christ wants for His church.

Adults in churches usually divide into groups such as seniors, empty nesters, young adults, singles, marrieds, which is fine for small groups or Bible studies; but when those groups think more about their own wants and needs than what’s best for the church and the future of the church, it’s selfish. The church laments that they’re losing the youth, but are they willing to make the selfless effort to save them?

The church is failing to reach out to the next generation with a message relevant to the world they live in today; but the secular world is ready and waiting for them. The next generation is falling away from the church in droves or erroneously choosing a pseudo-gospel of compromise and feel-good theology. Today, even children from Bible-believing homes may not have the tools or fortitude to equip them to face a liberal world drifting away from the God of the Bible.*

Many churches don’t want to change the way they’ve always done things. Selfish pride is at the root of arguments, dissension, hurt feelings, gossip, complaining, refusal to change . . . and God hates pride, which means that Satan loves it.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.—1 John 2:16

Sin

How many in congregations today are living a sinful life without feeling any pangs of remorse because the church isn’t confronting them? How many pastors are afraid of retaliation if they call homosexuality, living together, adultery, abortion, lying, or cheating a sin? Satan is the father of sin and he has done well when the church cowers in fear of being called judgmental, haters, prejudiced. Why did Jesus have to endure the painful cross for forgiveness of our sins, if the church now refuses to call sin, a sin?

Jesus loves all people, but he hates sin—that’s why he went to the cross. Not so we could keep on sinning, but because, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). If a church doesn’t understand how to love the sinner without embracing the sin, it may either abandon the sinner, or avoid confronting the sin and thus condone it.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!Matthew 18:7

Scandal

Many pastors, church leaders, and prominent Christians succumb to moral or financial failures. Churches don’t always have, or enforce, a system of accountability and mentoring at every level of leadership. Or some church staff may think they’re safe and above needing such protective measures, and that’s right where Satan wants them with a target on their back.

When one of these Christian leaders, or someone in their family falls, the media, and many Christians and fellow pastors, are quick to voice opinions and denounce them publically. The church may not respond biblically, which is why nonbelievers characterize Christians as the only group that “eats its own.”

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.—Galatians 6:1

Social Acceptance

Many voices are screaming louder than the church, which in its attempt to be culturally relevant, may widen the road that Jesus said is narrow. Political correctness and ideological inclusiveness, overshadows biblical truthfulness. The church should only seek the exclusive acceptance of, and answer to, the Head of the Church—Jesus Christ.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.—John 15:19

Sensationalism

Cultural Christianity creates an entertainment church, emphasizing popular people more than Holy God. Churches try the latest trend rather than leading from the Holy Spirit. Parishioners often want a pastor who doesn’t challenge them. Concert-style worship can detract from the purpose of musical worship—inviting in the Holy Spirit and drawing close to God, an atmosphere Satan hates. But Satan loves it when earplugs accompany the bulletin, little children plug their ears, and only those on stage sing because the music is so loud parishioners can’t hear themselves or each other.

Many churches today are dark inside, pitch black with a few strobe lights. Bible verses project on a screen because it’s too dark to read a Bible, so many people don’t even take a Bible to church. Oh how Satan loves that because he knows they’ve put down their swords—the Word of God.

Repeatedly, the Bible tells us to come out of the dark and into the light. Underground churches have to meet in the dark, and maybe only have one Bible to share with everyone; but we own Bibles and we can still lift the blinds, throw open the windows, and let the Son shine in so others can see us coming back to the heart of worship.

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. —Eph. 5:8-9 NLT

What Should the Church do to Combat Satan’s Divisive Tactics?

Believers must agree to stand together united as the Christian church—led by Christ and based on biblical truths—and fight Satan using prayer and the Sword of the Spirit—the World of God—as our battle plan and strong fortress.

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. —Jude 1:17-21

Otherwise, If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25). “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor. 1:10).

How do you see Satan using these tactics in your church?

*Excerpts from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten

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Support National Mentoring Month

Januray Naitonal Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month logo, designed by Milton Glaser

As I prepared to write this week’s blog post, I opened up my new 2016 calendar and there was my reminder that January is National Mentoring Month! I only became aware of this designation recently, even though it has been a nationally endorsed month since President George W. Bush proclaimed it in 2002. While the focus is on mentoring youth, as Christians we know we’re also to mentor those spiritually younger than us. The verses best known to motivate us to pour into someone else are Titus 2: 1-6:

Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives. The Message

In my new book releasing February 9, Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I quote the above passage from The Message as a reminder that it is our job as Christians to reach out to the next generation and help them set a moral compass that leads straight to the throne of Christ. I often wonder how many Christians actually take this command from the Lord to heart. How many realize that the fate of our nation depends on the spiritual maturity of the next generation in our families, our churches, our neighborhoods, our communities, our schools . . . ? If we’re not mentoring, who will do the job? Answer: the secular world!

As much as we complain about the current administration, and I agree there is much to be concerned about, President Obama has continued to endorse National Mentoring month, as has both chambers of the United States Congress. The campaign’s media partners have included ABC, CBS, Fox News, and NBC; Comcast; the National Association of Broadcasters; Time Warner; and Viacom.

Shouldn’t we, the united body of Christ, also support National Mentoring Month?

Here is an excerpt from this year’s presidential proclamation recognizing January as National Mentoring Month:

At the heart of America’s promise is the belief that we all do better when everyone has a fair shot at reaching for their dreams. Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans of every background have worked to uphold this ideal, joining together in common purpose to serve as mentors and lift up our country’s youth. During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.

By sharing their own stories and offering guidance and advice, mentors can instill a sense of infinite possibility in the hearts and minds of their mentees, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, nothing is beyond their potential. Whether simply offering a compassionate ear or actively teaching and inspiring curiosity, mentors can play pivotal roles in young peoples’ lives. When given a chance to use their talents and abilities to engage in their communities and contribute to our world, our Nation’s youth rise to the challenge. They make significant impacts in their communities and shape a brighter future for coming generations.

I smiled when I read this proclamation, both for the championing of mentoring and that the President of the United States used the word “mentee.” When I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry and wrote Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry, many people told me mentee was not a word. I think Woman to Woman Mentoring put mentee in the dictionary!

Thank Your Mentor Day

Thank you mentor women

As part of National Mentoring Month, a day is set aside to celebrate Thank Your Mentor Day. This year, it’s January 21, 2016. A day to thank and honor mentors who have encouraged and guided you, and had a lasting, positive impact on your life.

In Forsaken God?, I encourage readers to remember spiritual mentors and the way God used these men and women to shape their lives and then to imitate those mentors by mentoring whoever God puts in their path:

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

Here are some ways the National Mentoring Month Campaign suggests for honoring your mentors:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media.
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

To add a spiritual component to National Mentoring Month, consider:

  1. Start a Mentoring Ministry in your church.
  2. Become a spiritual mentor to someone spiritually younger, not necessarily chronologically younger.
  3. If your church has a mentoring ministry, serve in the ministry.
  4. My next book is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Honor your mentor or mentee by sending me a story about your mentoring relationship to include in the book. info@womantowomanmentoring.com.
  5. Pray for God to send you a mentor.
  6. Every month in About His Work Ministries’ Newsletter, we feature a Church Mentoring Ministry. Send me something you would like to share about your mentoring ministry to help other churches. info@womantowomanmentoring.com
  7. Start 2016 being a spiritual mentor, or finding a mentor.
  8. Remember that mentoring is part of parenting.

I’m looking forward to what God will have me share with you and perhaps mentor you in 2016. My “job” in About His Work Ministries isn’t to have a following, but to point others to Jesus.

Happy, Healthy, Blessed New Year

Another post you might enjoy reading is How to Mentor in a World Forsaking God.

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Overcoming the Naysayers in Your Life

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Hubby and I just returned home from a month in sunny Southern California. We had a great time visiting with friends and family and worshipping in Idyllwild Bible Church and Saddleback Church. Both of these churches hold dear spots in our hearts and as do the godly pastors gifted in leading their congregations to a closer relationship with God. Last week, I shared a message we heard at IBC from John Holesclaw. Many of you commented on how God has been calling you to Go Beyond the comfort and calm of your daily life as God calls you to follow a new vision.

Today, I want to share with you some thoughts from Pastor Rick Warren’s message of Ignoring the Naysayers that might come out of the woodwork when you start following that vision.

As I listened to Pastor Rick preach, I was nodding my head the entire time because I had experienced every one of his naysayer points when I started Woman to Woman Mentoring. In fact, when I train churches on starting Woman to Woman Mentoring, I always warn them to beware of the naysayers and then I tell them how God helped me overcome them to push through and start a ministry that God has taken around the world for the past twenty years.

If you have a vision that’s bigger than you . . . that only God could bring to fruition . . . you’re going to experience naysayers. Here are a few points from Pastor Rick’s sermon with an example from my own experience. I would love to hear about some of your experiences.

Naysayer: “A person who says something won’t work or isn’t possible; a cynic who habitually expresses pessimistic views.”

How I Defeated the Naysayers in Starting Woman to Woman Mentoring and You Can Do the Same in Your Life.

  1. Remember That They Are Not God!

The fear of human opinion disables; but trusting in God protects you from that. Pr. 29:25, The Message

“The bigger God’s opinion in your mind, the smaller the opinions of others.”—Rick Warren

Naysayers don’t know what God has said to you so they don’t understand your dream or vision from God. It’s not their “call,” it’s yours! They are not God.

We can’t seek the approval of men over the approval of God. It doesn’t matter if others don’t agree with us. Don’t worry what other people will think; worry what God thinks.

When I was starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, I heard things like:

  • Somebody tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work.

Me: Might have been wrong person or wrong time. I’ll find out what they did that didn’t work and do the opposite. I’ll also try to locate the women who were interested in mentoring at that time. God definitely wants a mentoring ministry at Saddleback now, and he’s told me I’m the one to start it.

  • Twenty years ago, Saddleback was a seeker church and the average age range was 25-45, so people said I wouldn’t find women old enough or spiritually mature enough to be mentors.

Me: Well someone who accepted the Lord six month’s ago is spiritually older than someone who is seeking and who better to relate to a seekers questions and hesitations. We wouldn’t look at Titus 2:3-5 as chronological age, but spiritual age. We might not have large age or maturity ranges, but we would have women who had walked longer with the Lord than someone else.

  • I’d never been involved in women’s ministry before so who was I to start a ministry?

Me: I won’t be influenced by how things “have always been done.” I’ll be open to listening to the Lord and taking my direction directly from Him. My personal writing and speaking ministry became About His Work Ministries.

Ask yourself: Who am I allowing to play God in my life?

  1. Don’t Get Distracted by Negativity

So I replied by sending this message to them: “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Four times they sent the same message, and each time I gave the same reply.—Nehemiah 6:3-4 NLT

“Every opportunity comes with opposition.”—Rick Warren

Billy Graham quoted Neh. 6:3-4 when he was doing crusades in London and the journalists were harassing him. He was too busy saving lives to take the time to go down and answer the journalists’ taunts.

Rick said that naysayers’ distractions come in the form of: ridicule, rumors, threats, and endless discussion to slow you down.

I experienced all four of those attacks when starting Woman to Woman Mentoring, I even had a mutiny on my original team, which later became the imputes to write The Team That Jesus Built and Face to Face with Euodia and Syntyche: From Conflict to Community:

  • You should have teas not coffees.
  • “Mentee” is not a word.
  • Who are you to start this ministry?
  • You’re only writing about this to make money.
  • Woman to Woman Mentoring is only for our church not others, so you shouldn’t be writing resources for other churches to start the ministry.
  • You could never match M&M’s simply by prayer.
  • Women won’t come.
  • You can’t match two strangers
  • How are you going to find two women to match in such a large church?
  • And so it went . . .

Ask Yourself: How is negativity distracting you from accomplishing your goal?

  1. Never Attack Back—Leave It in God’s Hands

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.—1 Peter 2:23 NIV

“I’m most like Jesus when I stay silent under attack. Bless them instead.”—Rick Warren

The best way I found to deal with naysayers was to not engage them. Don’t waste your time and emotion trying to convince them they’re wrong, or getting into endless discussions. This is hard to do because we want to defend our position and get them to agree with us, but I learned to simply ignore them and not give fuel or energy to the negativity. A ministry was being birthed that was clearly God’s will and that’s the only opinion I valued. A successful ministry blessing the women would prove the naysayers wrong.

Ask Yourself: How am I wasting time and energy trying to defend my goal and vision?

  1. Stay Focused on God and His Promises

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?—Psalm 118:6 (NLT)

“The size of your God determines the size of your goals.Rick Warren

To do a mighty work for God, we need to remember that we don’t need the approval of others to be happy or successful; we’re only seeking a “well done” from God. I knew that I had received a Feed my Sheep call from the Lord who had revealed that the feeding meant mentoring and the sheep were women. I had said yes to that call and that was the only thing that mattered.

Somehow, someway, my Great God was going to use me to start a ministry that would change the lives of women for years to come. My role was to not be distracted or dissuaded by naysayers, listen closely to the voice of God and do what He said to do, and give Him all the glory for doing something only God could do.

Ask Yourself: What “call” has God given me that He promises to fulfill, if I let Him?

I would love to hear how God speaks to you about overcoming the naysayers in your life.

You can leave a comment below, or if you receive this by email click here.

Portions of this blog are from Pastor Rick Warren’s message “Ignoring the Naysayers” at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, November 1, 2015.

*Rustic Blooms is a new sign making venture of my daughter Kim Mancini. I’m sure she had a few naysayers along the way (not me), but she’s making beautiful creative artistic signs as the orders pour in and I’m so proud of her.

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Losing My Job for Living Out My Faith Was the Best Thing That Could Have Happened to Me!

Why call me LordDaily we hear of people fired or sued for standing up for their Christian beliefs in a culture that is no longer Christian-friendly or God-honoring. As I read about the case of the Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, fired for publishing a men’s devotional book for a Baptist church group on his own time, God reminded me of how He changed the course of my life in a similar way.

In Cochran’s book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” he addressed issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and premarital sex from a biblical perspective.

Cochran has been a firefighter since 1981 and was appointed Atlanta’s fire chief in 2008. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as U.S. fire administrator for the United States Fire Administration in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he returned to serve as Atlanta’s fire chief.

The controversy with his book began in late 2014, when gay activist groups caught wind of the literature and demanded that Cochran be dismissed. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed then acted to suspend Cochran and ordered him to undergo “sensitivity training.”

In the United States of America, Americans should not have to choose between keeping your job and living out your faith,” Cochran told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. “And that’s the position the city of Atlanta actually has taken—that I have to have a choice to live out my faith or to keep my job.”

Cochran’s story took me back to December 14, 1995, when something very similar happened to me.

My Unjust Demotion Was A Divine Moment

Many of you know that the Lord called me into ministry when He told me to “Feed my Sheep.” You can read more of my story on my website. At the time, I was running a successful branch of a national insurance company and had been attending Fuller Theological Seminary at night and on the weekends for a year.

I joined the insurance company in 1987, while still in my worldly, backsliding, single days, and worked my way up from an insurance agent to a Division Manager. In the summer of 1992, I rededicated my life to the Lord at a Harvest Crusade with Pastor Greg Laurie, and that December I married my godly husband Dave. My life took a radical change and I no longer participated in many of the “social” activities of the business, and I was open about my faith and my rededication to Christ.

My boss heard about me attending seminary and on December 14, 1995, he called me into his office. For some reason, I sensed I might need a witness, so I asked one of my District Managers who worked for me if he would accompany me. This gentleman and his wife were fellow Christians and we had become friends as couples.

Neither of us could have imagined what would happen next. To this day, my friend says he witnessed a “divine moment” and he has told the story many times as a testimony

My boss started the conversation by saying he’d noticed a difference in me. Something to the effect that I wasn’t “all-about-the business anymore.”

I told him my priorities had shifted to putting God first, then my family, and my job in that order, but I was still maintaining all my sales numbers and fulfilling my management responsibilities. I had a great team working for me and our sales remained high.

He responded: “In a perfect world, that might work; but in this world [he named the insurance company] must be your god and the company must come first in your life! So I’m demoting you from Division Manager and you’ll now work as an agent again out in the field under …” and he named a person leading a division an hour away from my home.

Division Manager had been a high-paying, high-profile job with lots of prestige, independence, and success. But now, it was as if Jesus was standing behind my boss’s chair asking me who I was going to serve: the company or Jesus?

Easy decision. I prayerfully resigned and launched the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, completed my Masters of Arts in Christian Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary, and started About His Work Ministries, my writing and speaking ministry.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.—Matthew 6:24

I Could Have Sued

With today’s anti-God culture, I’m not sure I would have a legal case against my boss and the company, but 20 years ago I might have had one, and I had a witness who was more then ready to take an oath to all that he had witnessed.

This wasn’t the first time I’d been harassed by this same boss. While supposedly interviewing me for a training video, he first started asking questions about my sex life in front of the camera crew. When I quit the company, the camera crew came forward and said they would gladly testify to what they had witnessed.

I prayed about both situations and realized that I should thank this boss for helping me make a hard decision. When you’re comfortable and making a good living, even though you know it’s not where God wants youit often takes something like this to plummet you into doing the right thing.

The Lord reminded me that vengeance was His and that I was not to waste my time, energy, or money on a lawsuit. God would take care of it…and He did. I later heard that this boss was fired from the company over similar misuses of his position.

Using My Talents and Gifts for God

As a Division Manager in the insurance agency, I gave daily presentations to recruit new sales agents. I was often one of the top recruiters in the company, and I had been a successful agent too. I found that sales came easy to me. Over the years, I had given the same recruiting presentation so many times, I could think about other things simultaneously. So one day as I gave the rote presentation, I heard God’s voice saying to me, “What if you were as good at winning souls for me and doing something you believe in, as you are at winning recruits for a business you don’t believe in as much?”

God planted the seed, but I wasn’t ready to take such a huge risk and quit my job even though I knew I no longer belonged there. My husband and I were blending a family, we had a mortgage, car payments, lived in expensive Southern California… couldn’t I just go to seminary and then wait to see how God wanted to use me when I finished?

That would have been the safe, comfortable, easy way, but that day in my boss’s office, God was asking me pointedly, “Who will you follow … right this moment? Man or Me?”

Jesus“I Envy You!”

As I was packing up my office after I resigned, one of the other Division Managers who had recently become a Christian came over to take some of my supplies. He had a large family, lived an expensive lifestyle, and knew about our boss’s misuse of his position, but he felt trapped. He said, “I envy you. You’re getting out.”

My happy ending didn’t tie up neatly in a bow. I continued going to seminary and started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry in my home in January 1997, but in March of that year, my husband was laid off from the job that was supporting us. Still God whispered, “Where I guide, I will provide.” And He did … our lifestyle changed drastically, but the mentoring ministry was spiritually maturing and winning women for Christ. You can’t put a dollar value on that!

And today, God has taken Woman to Woman Mentoring around the world and thousands of women have experienced the blessings of growing together in Christ through resources I wrote to help churches start their own mentoring ministries.

On my website, I tell the story of how this was the time where About His Work Ministries got its name.

Choose Today Who You Will Follow—Man or The Messiah

It’s not popular today to take a stand for God in a world turning away from God’s Words and His ways. You’ll be rebuked, unfriended, called names, maybe even spit on …just like Jesus was. It would be easier to remain silent or not voice the Truth that you know in your heart. The risk might be too high you say. What if I lose my job? My friends? My standing in the community?

But what is anything worth without your integrity and the peace of knowing that you did not deny Christ in your heart, your words, or your actions. God will honor your loyalty to Him … He guarantees it.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.—Matthew 16:25-27

What if I hadn’t quit that insurance agency? What if I had fought for my just rights in the company and in court? Woman to Woman Mentoring might never have been birthed.

God had a plan, and while I didn’t know what it was at the time, I knew it would be big because He was giving me a big testimony to share. My husband and I have never looked back from that defining moment in our lives, when God so clearly asked me, “Who will you follow: man or Me?”

  • Where do you need to take a risk for God today?
  • When have you been silent and you know you need to speak up?
  • Who is watching how you live out your faith?
  • What changes do you need to make to live out your faith more boldly?

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What’s Your Story?

Little girl praying

As many of you know, I’ve been writing the past three months on a new book which will be out March, 2016, How Good is God? I Can’t Remember … Creating a Culture of Memories.  I hope you’ve enjoyed all the guests who have enriched this blog with posts on many varied topics. I’m blessed to have so many talented and gifted author friends and I know you enjoy hearing from them.

I was surprised when several people asked me if I thought this would be my last book? I wasn’t sure why they would ask that except for the fact that we were under great spiritual attack and duress while I wrote on a topic that the enemy hates–remembering God in a culture that is quickly forgetting God.

But that would never stop me from writing and speaking for the Lord, until the day He decides to take me home. My ministry is About His Work Ministries and I plan on being about His work until my last breath. So it might not surprise you that I’m gearing up for the next book. I gave you a glimpse into it several months ago when I asked for stories, but I switched plans when the How Good is God? book had such a short deadline. So now I’m back to the mentoring book and I need your stories.

Do You Have a Mentoring Story?

If you follow me, you know that my passion is mentoring—Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s faithfulness. Since I wrote Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, and Maintain a Mentoring Ministry in 1997, God has been starting mentoring ministries in churches all over the world, and mentors and mentees (M&M’s) have been experiencing the blessings of mentoring.

Over the years, many ministry leaders have sent me stories about starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, and many M&M’s have sent me their stories too; but I also know there are many untold stories that would bless my readers. Will you help me write this book?

I Need Your Help

The working title is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Here’s what I could use:

  1. What would you want to read about in a mentoring book about the seasons of a woman’s life?
  2. What would encourage you to be a mentor or mentee?
  3. If you’ve been in a mentoring relationship—either as a mentor or mentee or both—would you tell me your story? Even if it didn’t go like you planned.

If you would like to share your story, please leave a comment and how to contact you. Or go to the contact page on this website and leave me a message with your email address and I’ll give you more details.

Generation to Generation

FullSizeRender-2My 9-year-old granddaughter Katelyn asked if she could have one of my books for Easter, which made my heart swell with joy. I decided she was not too young for us to do a Bible study together, so I gave her Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ.

An important aspect of remembering God, is helping the next generation know God. It’s our job description as Christian men and women!

Together we can reach, encourage, and teach what we’ve been taught to the next generation.

 Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

Titus 2:1-6. The Message

 

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