Gal. 6:6 says, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches.” Bill and I have spent our entire married life in some form of ministry.

couples journey and bible

Around the world are selfless clergy couples who run to the side of others in need to give God’s love, so here are three things you can do to LUV your pastor or the clergy couples of your church (or parachurch) staff:

Listen—then take action: Tune in and get your eyes off yourself and ask honest questions to see if you really know what your pastor and his wife are dealing with personally. Some common struggles of clergy couples are economic distress or pressure; creating uninterrupted time together ; keeping a positive attitude in the middle of handling negative situations, or same stressors as anyone else: a strong willed or special needs child, a prodigal teen, health issues, or life stage drama like mid-life crisis. Be one of the people that surround the shepherd of your flock and offer a listening ear and tangible help. Your empathy and words of kindness and affirmation will also go a long way in helping easy this burden.

Underwrite: Be generous. Give funding to the pastor(s) to for the kind of things that keep a marriage healthy. Send gift cards for dates, pay for a weekend away in a nice hotel or loan out your cabin.   Oftenmoney gift Christian conference centers offer free housing to clergy couples, so even a small church can raise money for the gas and a couple meals and partner with the local Christian Camp to give your clergy couple some time alone together. In the church budget should also be funds for an annual marriage conference for the clergy couples to attend. Also, if there are clergy denominational meetings or conferences, add in a little extra to sponsor the spouse to attend too. Ministry minded marriages that have peers and mentors who they can be authentic with will have people to turn to in times of stress or crisis and this will strengthen the ministry marriage.

Volunteer: If you have a strong marriage, offer to help head up the marriage ministry at yourLifewayLeaderSet church, or at least part of it: offer to run a small group for married couples; chair a marriage retreat committee, be the point person for a couples, date night, or write a blog on marriage for the church website or weekly bulletin. If you want to help, but are short on time, use a DVD driven curriculum like our Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.  If your marriage has survived and overcome a particular challenge, offer to the pastor to meet with other couples who might come to him for the same issue. If your pastor has young children, volunteer to babysit (or arrange the childcare) so they can have a weekly date night. Also offer to be part of a prayer team for the clergy couple or offer to pay for counseling, or the cost of getting them to a ministry minded intensive. (At Love-Wise we have a “Marriage On the Rocks?” resource list of multiple options to rescue and rebuild a relationship).

With a little bit of LUV we can show care for those who care so much for others.

Bill and Pam Farrel

Bill and Pam Farrel

Pam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, relationship specialists, and authors of 40 books, including The Secret Language of Successful Couples, 10 Best Decisions a Leader Can Make and 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make. The Farrels are focused on helping individuals and couples become Love-Wise. (www.love-wise.com)

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How To Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul by Ted Baehr
How To Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul by Ted Baehr

How To Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul by Ted Baehr

Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables, and He would not speak anything to them without a parable, so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:

I will open My mouth in parables; I will declare things kept secret from the foundation of the world.

–Matthew 13:34–35

One day more than 70 years ago, two literary giants in England stood talking about language, stories, and religion. In the middle of the conversation, the taller gentleman blurted to his slightly balding companion, “ Here’s my point: Just as a word is an invention about an object or an idea, so a story can be an invention about Truth.”

“I’ve loved stories since I was a boy,” the other man admitted. “Especially stories about heroism and sacrifice, death and resurrection. …But, when it comes to Christianity . . . well, that’s another matter. I simply don’t understand how the life and death of Someone Else (whoever he was) 2000 years ago can help me here and now.”

The first man earnestly replied, “ But don’t you see, Jack? The Christian story is the greatest story of them all. Because it’s the real story. The historical event that fulfills the tales and shows us what they mean.”

About a week later, Jack—also known as C. S. Lewis, the author of the classic books Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia (among many other works)—announced his conversion to Christianity to a friend. Lewis attributed much of his decision to his conversation with J. R. R. Tolkien.[i] Of course, Tolkien is the author of one of the greatest books of the twentieth century, The Lord of the Rings, which has been transformed into a magnificent movie trilogy by director Peter Jackson. Although Tolkien, a Roman Catholic, didn’t always see eye to eye with Lewis, who was more inclined toward Protestantism, they both understood the truth of the ultimate story.

Storytelling and Mythmaking

As Tolkien and Lewis said so long ago, stories matter deeply. They connect us to our personal history and to the history of all time and culture. Human beings are meaning seekers and meaning makers. We strive to connect ourselves to our experiences and the experiences of others. We are addicted to those “aha!” moments in our lives when we see meaning, purpose, and significance.

Stories help us do this. They bring us laughter, tears, and joy. They stimulate our minds and stir our imaginations. Stories help us escape our daily lives to visit different times, places, and people. They can arouse our compassion and empathy, spur us toward truth and love, or sometimes even incite us toward hatred or violence.

Different kinds of stories satisfy different needs. For example, a comedy evokes a different response from us than a tragedy. A hard news story on the front page affects us differently than a human interest story in the magazine section, or a celebrity profile next to the movie and television listings. While different kinds of stories satisfy different needs, many stories share common themes, settings, character types, situations, and other recurrent archetypal patterns.

Many stories focus on one individual; often a heroic figure who overcomes many trials and tribulations to defeat evil or attain a valuable goal. We identify with such heroes because we recognize that we are each on our own journey or quest. How a hero’s journey informs and illuminates our own journey is significant. We look for answers in stories.

Every story has a worldview: a way of viewing reality, truth, the universe, the human condition, and the supernatural world. Looking carefully at a story, we can examine the motifs, meanings, values, and principles it suggests. By examining a story’s worldview, we identify the cultural ideals the story presents and the emotion it evokes. We also determine the moral, philosophical, social, psychological, spiritual, and aesthetic messages the story conveys.

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Darlene Franklin
Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! How many times do we writers gripe about interruptions to our writing schedules? After reading Darlene Franklin’s interview, I realize how little I have to gripe about. This lovely multi-published novelist manages to be a productive writer, connect to her readers, and maintain a cheerful attitude—while living in a nursing home. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this chat with her.

Darlene, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin

I’ve had forty books published or repackaged, plus another twenty books I’ve contributed stories and devotionals to. February has been an extraordinary month: Barbour released Women of the Bible Devotional and Homestead Brides. I’m also now a hybrid author, so I released My Candy Valentine in time for the holiday, and A Reader’s Journey through Matthew, my first solo devotional, to use for the seven weeks from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday. Read More →

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Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk

Raindrops from Heaven

Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk

Raindrops from Heaven by Twila Belk

Hosea 6:3 says, “Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that cover the earth.”

Raindrops from Heaven is a beautifully designed one-year devotional filled with gentle reminders of God’s power, presence, and purpose. Revel in the rain. Splash in the puddles of God’s goodness. Delight in the deluge of His unconditional love. Let the daily words descend upon you like dew and shower your spirit with the reality of who God is. Read More →

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Janet Perez Eckles

Janet Perez Eckles

Hola from Janet Perez Eckles…Igniting Your Passion to Overcome

Cameron Mills opened the door; the long-awaited delivery truck presented him with the box that contained the representation of success, the symbol of having reached the top.

The ring inside the box proved his champion status as a member of the basketball team that won the National Championship for the Kentucky Wild Cats. Read More →

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