It won’t get any better

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Today is National Bipolar Day

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Laughter is good medicine

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Do I have to draw you a picture?

“Well, [pause] yes,” he said. [Pause again] “Sometimes you may have to.” Continue reading

The Struggle In Today’s Church

Editor’s Note: I ran across this post on Writinggomer’s  blog and wanted to share it with my readers. Greg has some of the same issues I have expressed on this blog before about the state of the church today.  Is the church more like a harlot or the Bride of Christ?

By Writinggomer
Published on his website: Believing God Today

How would you like your eggs today, over-easy, scrambled, fried, sunny-side up, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, poached, or shirred?? How about your steak; rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done?? Choice of potatoes? This sounds like questions for a meal in a restaurant right?

Can you relate the above questions to today’s Church? Depending on the meal you choose when eating in a restaurant, you, the patron, sometimes have Continue reading

What’s your WQ–Winning Quotient?

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7 ways to resolve conflicts

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What’s your GQ–your Growth Quotient?

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Failure in 2017

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Banging on the door

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We can’t end racism, stop abortion or save the world for Jesus.

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History’s not on our side.

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Why do abuse victims ignore the warning signs?

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What is the church doing about mental illness?

Nothing.

But church folks can minister to families struggling with mental illness in effective, loving ways. Continue reading

I’m okay. You’re okay. It’s okay. Okay?

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He brought his Bible to church and they thought he was strange

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Why didn’t God just write a “To-do” list for us to follow?

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Detaching to detox

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My response to the tragic murders in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernadino and beyond

Editor’s Note: I wrote this blog post two days before the
police murders in Baton Rouge.

A fellow blogger on Bloggermeetup.com challenged us to write a blog post conveying our thoughts and feelings about the killings in Dallas, Orlando, San Bernardino and beyond. Here I goes . . .

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How do you look at things?

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Letter to Millennials from the Frustrated Church

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The Prayer Cafe

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Go thee into thy closet

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Chained to the past

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“Pick up your mat and walk.”

When Jesus encountered a man who had been afflicted for 38 years, He gave him three commands: Get up; pick up your mat; and walk.

if I make a conscious, deliberate decision to get up, to obey Jesus, to do what Jesus tells me to do, my life will change. It’s a lot easier, and more comfortable sometimes, to remain where we are. To remain in the grasp of a place we don’t want to be, but don’t have the courage, or the faith, to do what Jesus tells us to do.

Like the sick man Jesus encountered, I need to make an effort to change, especially if I’m lounging on a mat of my own creation. I have to want to get well. I need to obey Jesus’ command. The man needed to take action.

Then Jesus told the man to pick up his mat. John 5:9 says, “Immediately the man became well.”

I’d be willing to wager he showed that mat to everyone he met, skipping through the streets testifying to how Jesus had healed him. His mat became his message. God used the man’s 38 years of affliction as his testimony to God’s faithfulness and powers of healing.

Finally, Jesus told the man to walk. It was finally time for him to act. Once Jesus has touched us, impacted our lives and healed us, He wants us to walk out our testimonies. To share our healing with others.

I am a victim of post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. We experienced a homicide in our home November 10, 2013. Following the murder the PTSD set in and it took several months of weekly counseling for me to work through it. When I did, I shared my story in recovery groups, church groups and with others who experienced PTSD. I walked my story out and could tell others, “I know how you feel.” Because I did. I was able to share understanding and compassion with them. And others shared their stories with me as well. We share a bond that others can’t share. But as we walk out our experience, we grow stronger and closer to the Lord. I am forever grateful for all the things God showed me as I lay on that mat.

Maybe someday I’ll write about all that.

If you missed the post, “Get up”, you can read it here.
If you missed the post, “Pick up your mat”, you can read it here.
If you’d like to read about the homicide and the source of my PTSD,  You can read the full post here.

The United(now and then)States of America

why

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Ten excuses for not changing

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“Pick up your mat”

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Come on. Get Up!

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We change our clothes, we change our minds, but . . .

we often fear
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Remember Remember

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On your mark, get set, Act!

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What if atheists and non-believes are right?

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Why did you accept Christ as your Savior?

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A “Yet” Mindset

By Dr. John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

In life we have two choices – we can focus on the bad things that happen or we can focusjohn Ed on how good God is.

Our tendency is to focus on the negative, but that can play tricks with our minds. The Bible reminds us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Ps. 23:7). Our mindsets govern our actions and attitude.

There is a book in the Old Testament called Lamentations which addresses a negative mindset. In the first three chapters, Jeremiah gives a long litany lamenting how bad things are. His beloved city, Jerusalem, which “once thronged with people, was silent now. She sits like a widow broken with grief alone in her mourning. She was once a queen of nations, is now a slave” (Lam. 1:1).

Jeremiah describes his initial reaction. “I begged my allies for help. False hope, they could not help at all. Nor could my priests and elders. They are starving in the streets while searching through the garbage for an ounce of bread” (Lam. 1:19). “There is no one anywhere to help” (Lam. 1:21).

He continues, “I cried until tears no longer came. My heart is broken as I see what has happened to my people:little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. They cry out, ‘Mama, Mama, we want food’ and then collapse on their mothers’ shrunken breasts. Their lives ebb away like those wounded in battle” (Lam.2:11). Jeremiah describes himself like one who “cannot escape. I am fastened with heav chains. My path has been filled with detours” (Lam. 3:7).

In the midst of this sad litany, Jeremiah changes his way of thinking. The key word is in Chapter 3, verse 21, when he says, “Yet.” I love that word “yet.” It means that change is fixing to take place. He says, “Yet there is one ray of hope. God’s compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. God in His faithfulness, His loving kindness begins afresh each day” (Lam. 3:21-22).

The quality of life we enjoy sometimes hangs on the ability to use that word Yet. Read my blog from July 15, 2015, about the prophet Habakkuk regarding the Yet mindset. Habakkuk knew how to let the Yet mindset govern his thinking and actions. When you get down, get up to the Yet mindset that focuses on His compassions and His mercies and His faithfulness. (Tweet this)

One of my favorite hymns, based on Lamentations, says – Great is Thy faithfulness /Great is Thy faithfulness / Morning by morning new mercies I see / All I have needed Thy hand hath provided / Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me.

This hymn is a great witness of how faithful God is. We discover it every day. The last verse says – Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth / Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide / Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow / Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.

That’s a Yet mindset! It doesn’t deny the fact that things can be tough, but it affirms the fact that God’s faithfulness is stronger than our toughest situation, and His blessings are in the thousands!

We have a choice. A choice determines a consequence. You can choose to live on the negative side – and focus on how bad things are – and you can be completely overcome. Or you can say “Yet” and let God help you change your thinking to the positive side – to focus on how faithful and merciful He is. The Yet mindset makes possible unbelievable results!

Let God help you get a Yet mindset!!

Radical Risks Are Rewarding

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If my people . . .

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Life is lived for a purpose

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Intolerent Tolerence

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Confessions of a former card-carrying Republican

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What Can We Learn?

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Go Forward

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Define Christmas In One Word

If someone asked you to define Christmas in one word, what would you say? Continue reading

Walking Away From God

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Growth Requires Change

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Ministries

Change is always difficult because most of us don’t want to change.  However, thejohn ed amount of growth is often dependent on the amount of change we are willing to make.

My experience with Sunday School at Frazer is an excellent example.  Early in my ministry I put together a visionary group called the Joel Team to help discern God’s vision for the future.  One layperson suggested that Sunday School attendance had to grow in our church.  This bucked the trend because United Methodist Sunday School had been declining over the last 50 years.  Our Sunday School was small, but these creative laypeople began to discuss how we could change that trend.

We discovered that some of the larger Sunday School classes were meeting in smaller rooms, and some of our smaller classes were meeting in larger rooms.  This isn’t good stewardship in the use of the facility.

Let me remind you that Sunday School classes have a tendency to have ownership of their space.  They go to great efforts to upgrade the looks of their classroom.  The window treatments, the altar tables, etc. are oftentimes personally made by members of the class.  One layperson suggested, “Why don’t we look at Sunday School attendance every six months and rearrange the rooms to give the largest rooms to the largest classes.”

Caution!  This is a huge change.  People began to see that every Sunday School class might have to change rooms.  But the question is – do we want to grow a Sunday School or do we want to have business as usual and keep our own rooms?  Change would be necessary.

The Joel Team, consisting of people from all age groups, said that our core value is to grow our Sunday School. To do that it would be necessary to place the largest classes in the largest rooms.  It was voted on and passed unanimously, because the core value did not center around the inconvenience of change but the vision of growing the Sunday School.

Every six months the average attendance of each class is recorded and the rooms are assigned accordingly.  The Sunday School grew to three sessions each Sunday morning.  Each room is used three times.  If you go to Frazer today you will see no permanent Sunday School class names on a door.  There are actually three slots for 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 Sunday School.  Each class has a nameplate that they can slide into that slot.  The classrooms change accordingly to average attendance and the size of the room.

It has also created a bit of competition.  If you want to keep your Sunday School room, you need to be inviting people and growing!

Another layperson suggested that the best way to grow our Sunday School is to start new classes.  Because the tendency to give a new Sunday School class a room that is not being used (because nobody else wanted that room) you design defeat for the new class.  The Joel Team suggested that we give the best classrooms to the new classes.  That was a big mindset change for Sunday School classes.

All of these ideas passed our governing body almost unanimously.  Because the Joel Team had representatives from every age group in the church it was not a case of “they” making a decision for radical change, but it was a “we” are a part of that deciding body.

If these proposals had been my idea, I would not have been retained as pastor very long!  But this was the vision of the laypeople.  When laypeople have ownership, vision becomes reality.

What was the result – Frazer grew a Sunday School that became the largest Sunday School attendance of any United Methodist Church in America!!  The amount of change dictates the amount of growth.  Vision became reality when people were willing to change.

John Ed’s blog posts appear on For His Glory each week.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org

See Any Stirrups Lately?

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The Challenge Of Change

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The Times They Are A Changin’

By John Ed Mathisonjohn Ed
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Bob Dylan’s classic song “The Times They Are A-Changing” was written years ago, but it is so appropriate for today. He sang, “Come gather round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown – and accept it that soon you will be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth saving, then you better start swimming or you will sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changing.”

The times are a-changing. The water is growing. The people that are not able to figure out how to swim are sinking like a stone. Businesses, churches, and organizations that are successful know how to figure new ways to swim to navigate the change.

One example of change is the cell phone. How many of you used a cell phone 15 years ago. Some of us still have trouble with them today. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that there will be 7.1 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2015. This is up from 2.2 billion in 2005. Remember that the current global population is about 7.2 billion.

Six years ago one of the most popular cell phones was the Blackberry. I remember debating as to whether I should get a Blackberry or an iPhone. I picked the iPhone because I was told it was easier to use. Seven years ago Blackberry accounted for roughly half of the smartphones in the North American market. Blackberry didn’t change with the times – today it accounts for just 0.6%. Using new tools like the cell phone to live in today’s market does present challenges. The overwhelming use of the cell phone has prompted “cell phone loss anxiety” which is referred to as “nomophobia.”

According to a report, 73 percent of people said they panicked when their cell phone was misplaced; 14 percent responded that they become desperate; and 7 percent said they become physically sick. Change can be helpful, but it can also be challenging.

Cell phones have changed the way I do things. I travel most every week and stay in a lot of hotels. The way I pack my suitcase has changed. Because of noise in hotels, I always packed a noise maker, an alarm clock, a legal pad for making notes, a Dictaphone, a flashlight, and a camera. Now I don’t have to pack any of those things because they are all on my iPhone. It has changed the way I travel.

The cell phone has enhanced the use of social media. It has changed the way we do a lot of things. A few years ago people dressed up if they were going for a special picture at graduation, a wedding, an awards banquet, etc. Today you better be ready to have your picture taken anytime, anywhere, by anybody.

Businesses and organizations are relying heavily on social media to get their message out. So much of business today is done online. How well are we willing to use social media in the church? How willing is the church to change to current opportunities to expand the gospel?

The change in today’s culture among young people is very noticeable in the use of video games. It was recently reported that this year video games will bring in more money ($92 billion) than films ($62 billion) and recorded music ($18 billion) together. Is there some way that the church could utilize the immense popularity of video games to communicate the Good News?

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” points to the situation today. There is an answer! It is in another song we sing in church which says “Change and decay is all around I see, Oh Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
Contact: JAM Executive Suite 4,4131 Carmichael Road, Montgomery, AL 36106 Phone: 334-270-2149 Email:info@johnedmathison.org