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Hello, anybody home?

How to listen to your family, even when you don’t feel like it

“You never listen to me!” The words came choking out through Andrea’s tears. I suddenly felt off balance. What was happening here? I’d been Andrea’s dad for 15 years and a psychiatrist for eight. I was a professional listener trained in reading nonverbal signals, hearing between the lines, giving undivided attention and offering empathetic responses. Read more

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Live with your strength, visit your weakness

Tips on sermon presentation

To become a confident communicator, you would be wise to accept the following statements:

  1. Not everyone has the same presentation style.
  2. No single presentation style should be elevated above another.

Your presentation style is directly influenced by your temperament and personality. Read more

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Someone I know is gay or lesbian

A guide for relating to friends and congregation members who experience same-sex attraction

Our society and its view of sexuality has rapidly changed in the past 50 years. We live in a country that is struggling to determine the legal definition of marriage. Parents are wondering how to explain to their children why a playmate has two mommies or two daddies. Prime-time television shows feature homosexual characters. God’s plan for sexuality is no longer the prevailing world view. The church is being challenged and pastors are being called to answer questions. Pastors cannot escape the question of how to deal with homosexuality within God’s framework. Read more

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Rethinking conflict in the local church setting

“One of the first steps leaders can take to develop a safe environment in the midst of change is to recognize the value that conflict holds for them.” – Rendle, G. R

The tendency towards forced termination of church leaders is epidemic in North American. Ken Sande (2003) declared that all the reasons for forced exits can be summarized in one word: conflict. Read more

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Transference and the pastorate

We have an unofficial open door policy at work. One day, excited about a project idea, I went to my supervisor’s office only to find her door closed. Dejected, I returned to my office thinking, I don’t want to share Mommy with anybody else. What? I suddenly asked myself. Share who? Mommy? I laughed out loud! Here I go again, I thought, turning my boss into my mother!

My reaction is a common phenomenon known in psychology as transference. Read more

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The 10 self-assessment questions pastors should ask

“When it stops being fun, find another sport.” That was the advice my wife and I gave our two sons when they played hockey. They looked at us with incredulity when we first gave them this advice. They couldn’t fathom not enjoying hockey. In fact, our words of caution were almost offensive to them. But as time went on, we could see their interest in playing hockey begin to wane. Read more

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It’s all about grace

It all began innocently enough. As a teen, I was interested in photography and picked up a black and white glamour photography magazine – beautiful nudes, faceless, graceful forms. My father spotted it in my room one day and shook his head at me in disgust: “What’s wrong with you? This will put you on the road to hell!” Read more

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Four keys to tackling sexual sin

You can occasionally mention Christ-like “purity” in your sermons. You can very carefully, in the most gentle manner possible, say the four letter word “PORN”, but please make sure you come up with words that sound like PORN, such as “born” or “torn” so that you can play dumb when approached after the service. Read more

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Facing weakness

I’ve been thinking of a small section of Scripture lately. Right after the killing of Stephen, we read in Acts 8:1:

“. . . On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.”

These believers did not respond to persecution as the old heroes of faith did, by willingly laying down their lives. No, they ran! Read more

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Facts on depression

We receive a lot of calls from pastors who struggle with depression. Here are some common symptoms of depression, plus guidance on what to do if you suspect depression has invaded your life. Read more