Our church in Michigan was connected with a nearby nursing home. The home was government run and not many of the residents had a lot of money or a lot of visitors. So, each January, our church would receive a list of the residents and birthdays. Each of the ladies was assigned two of the people – and on their birthdays, we would bake a cake for that person. We didn’t visit them, but left the cake at the front desk. (I think there was some legal/health/safety reason we did that.)

Anyhow, we hopefully brought some unexpected cheer into the residents’ lives. Might be something you could think about for your church.


I just got home from Bible study. Our group leader said she had gone to a leadership training seminar this week. The lady who spoke is a psychologist specializing in small groups. (That in itself is interesting.)

Anyhow, she told the Bible study group leaders during the time when people are sharing prayer requests – other members of the group shouldn’t be asking questions. 

 *First of all, to keep on the subject and not get sidetracked.

*Second  – to encourage people to share without feeling as if they’ll be interrogated.


Again – just a thought.


dsc_0859Another thing you need to write down is what you did on what day. I don’t mean every little thing – but every visit to someone’s house or every meeting. Comes in handy.

I think the time Ken was most glad that he jotted everything down on his calendar was the time the man got upset because “no one in this church pays any attention to our family.”

Ken was able to show that he had actually had 100 appointments with the man during the past year. (Yes, 100!)

At which point the man changed his story to: “only the pastor pays attention to us.”

Anyhow, records of things like that are valuable.


Pastors should always keep copies of all correspondence. dsc_0874 This is especially important in this age of e-mails. You just never know when that important piece of information will come in handy.

This can help in several ways …

*Communication between the church and companies can come back to haunt you as is “I know the original price was …” or “I know we paid that,” etc. 

*Counseling communication can be important in case the counselees (I just made up that word) end up in a court of law.

*Letters/e-mails to church members can be important, letters like the one your husband sent to the family who left the church in anger. (Good, to be able to show there was a kind letter saying that he would miss them.)

Maybe you’ll never need that letter/e-mail, but it’s good to have them. Ken didn’t need many of them, but the few times he did, it was good that he could look in his files and pull it out.

In this day of lawsuits, it is even more important.


I actually copied this post from my other blog – it’s not really a devotional motivation, but I did want to share it here to recommend it to any of you who might live in the area and have a chance to see it. As you know, The Screwtape Letters does make you think about our lives as Christians in a unique way.  So again, if you have a chance to see it, do so.

Good times …

Yesterday a friend and I drove down to Chicago to see The Screwtape Letters at Mercury Theater (near Wrigleyville or maybe actually IN Wrigleyville, not sure of all the boundaries, but we were near enough to Wrigley to see Cub signs).
We left early because we weren’t sure about parking and thought we’d eat before the show. So we found a space and then walked around the neighborhood looking for a restaurant.
110_0264I noticed one of those wood-framed, glass-covered announcement boards that had a lot of advertisements on it – and a menu. So I stopped to read the menu, but couldn’t actually find the restaurant itself.  A twenty-something came up behind us and as we moved out of the way to let him past, I saw a blackboard sign with Cafe Avanti written on it in chalk. The sign was in front of one of those brick row houses you see in Chicago – you walk into the living room, then the dining room, and then the kitchen is in back of the house – with a bedroom on the side.
I asked the twenty-something if it was a good place to eat and he told me they had the greatest sandwiches around. So we followed him up the steps and inside and indeed, it was like being in someone’s house.
110_0261Though we were there at an odd time (about two), the tables were packed. The whole place had a kitschy, retro vibe. Several people sat in the living room area and others in the bedroom-area-turned-wifi/chatting area. The lady behind the counter was super friendly, suggesting what we should order and then patiently giving us time to look at the menu. She said their speciality was the roast turkey sandwich, so that’s what I got. Being a lover of fruit smoothies, I also ordered  raspberry/strawberry/yogurt smoothie which was excellent.
We sat at a table in the living-room area. Behind us were two college girls studying on their laptops. The one girl (whose laptop I could see) was looking at a map of the Dead  Sea and looking up verses on Bible Gateway.  At the table next to them was a family: a dad, mom and two kids – maybe 5th grade/middle school. They were deeply involved in a game of Monopoly, picked up from the cafe’s stack of games. (When we left, the two girls sitting down at our table had a Scrabble game in hand.)
Since we were right across the street from the theater, we stayed at the cafe until 3:30 – never did we feel like they wanted us to leave. The studying continued on the country of Israel and the Monopoly game seemed to be getting down right competitive.
We hurried across the street. (That Chicago wind can be biting cold.) And into the theater. 
The production itself was superb. For ninety minutes, Screwtape dictated letters to the unseen Wormwood. Toadpipe bounced around – a character with a small amount of words and a large amount of facial expressions. We heard about a Christian’s church-hopping, temptations, friendships and pride.
They have extended the run of the play until
February 15th – so if you have the chance to see it, do so.


dsc_0341Pastors should have a picture of their wife and kids in a prominent place in the office – so people who are walking in immediately know that this man loves his wife and children. (If your husband doesn’t have a good picture of you – or one you’re willing to have displayed – then take the time to get one taken or do a collage of pictures from a recent vacation.)



I’m not sure how motivational this is … but in response to the weather we’ve had lately, I thought I’d just remind you (and me) that snow is refreshing!


Like the coolness of snow at harvest time  is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him;  he refreshes the spirit of his masters (Proverbs 25:13)