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12’s in the Bible


November 8, 2019 hepsibahgarden


1. The temple that king Solomon built had 12 oxen as base for the lavers.

2. The length and breadth of the Altar was 12 cubits.

3. The Holy City New Jerusalem had 12 gates and 12 Angels at each gate.

4. The disciples of Jesus were 12 in number.

5. There were 12 tribes of Israel — the 12 sons of Jacob.

6. Moses sent 12 men to spy the land of Canaan.

7. 12 baskets full of the fragments , and of the fishes remained after Jesus fed the five thousand.

8. Ishmael had 12 sons who were princes.

9. The wall of the city of New Jerusalem had 12 foundations.

10. The 1gates of New Jerusalem City were 12 pearls. Each gate was made of a single pearl.

11. The Tree of life brought forth 12 manner of fruits every month.

12. When the Israelites moved from Marah to Elim, they found 12 wells of water.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

Battery Acid

Car battery, Author Towel401 (PD)

The victims of child abuse often wrestle with the question of forgiveness.  Forgiveness can feel like defeat – another surrender to a predator who has already taken so much from us, including our self-respect.

Strength v. Weakness

But forgiveness is NOT a sign of weakness.  Nor is it a warm and cozy feeling.

Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to put the past behind us [1].  That requires enormous strength on the part of victims.  Most of us cannot accomplish it until we have first mourned our losses (a fact those urging forgiveness upon us must not overlook).


Emotionally speaking, unforgiveness is akin to the sulfuric acid used in storage batteries.

Battery acid is a dangerous substance.  It dissolves the skin, causing chemical burns.  Heavy scarring can result.  Contact with the eyes will cause blindness.  Long-term exposure to fumes is toxic.

Like battery acid, unforgiveness eats us up inside, creating scars that further tie us to the past, exacerbating rather than easing our pain.  And the longer our bitterness lasts, the deeper the scars.

Bitterness blinds us to the possibilities before us.  Forgiveness, by contrast, opens our eyes.  It clears our head, and cleanses our heart.  We can once again breathe freely.  The past no longer has power over us.


Forgiveness is NOT salt in the wound, NOT an added stripe from the lash, NOT a final humiliation [2].  Nor is it an argument that predators’ horrendous behavior should be excused away at victims’ expense.

Significantly, forgiveness is not inconsistent with criminal prosecution, should victims choose to pursue that.  Prosecution may prevent others from being victimized.

Instead, forgiveness implies release for the victim…release from bitterness, from anger, from hatred.  From the groundless self-condemnation the abuse to which we were subjected left in its wake [3].

Victims deserve that.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” (Matt. 5: 44).

[1]  Prevention, “How to Forgive Someone Who Hurt You – Even When It Feels Impossible” by Cassie Shortsleeve, 12/13/19,

[2]  NPR, “Why Forgiving Someone Else Is Really About You” by Stephanie O’Neill, 7/30/20,

[3]  This is not to suggest that we were responsible for our abuse.  Children, however, blame themselves for the actions of the adults around them.  Victims carry that misplaced sense of guilt into adulthood.


VIDEO Savory Salt & Brilliant Light – Not Accepting God’s Design WHAT happened?

A service of the American Pastor’s Network

TRANSGENDER IDENTITY: Not Accepting God’s Design WHAT happened?

On May 13, 2016, the Obama administration released a “decree” regarding the use of public bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms in public places and schools. While supposedly being just a list of “suggestions” to safeguard the bathroom, locker room and shower use for the 750,000 gender-confused persons in our society, the non-implementation of these supposed “civil rights” may result in the defunding of public schools or lawsuits against those who do not submit to Washington’s blackmail. (Letter, 2016)

WHY is it happening?

In Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, it says that federally funded educational institutions cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. The Justice Department claims non-discrimination by gender identity falls under discrimination by sex. (Christian Headlines, 2016) This is an illegal argument and a drive to redefine gender on the basis of personal preference instead of birth characteristics.

HOW will this affect my family?

Confusion in gender ideology and the danger it poses to society will destroy the family because it denies the differences in the nature of a man and a woman. “This type of legislation will subject your children and spouse to the loss of privacy, threaten their safety, and sear their conscience in regards to modesty, purity, and appropriateness.” (Mitchell, 2016) This action will give potential predators the freedom to behave in perverse ways with no protection for the young and vulnerable.

WHAT should I do?

  1. Voice your concern and opposition to your local school district. Contact your school district’s superintendent, whether you have children or not. Your Pastor can give you the number(s) to call.
  2. Contact school principals and teachers to make your opposition known. Teachers have an obligation to contact parents.
  3. Attend school board meetings and make a public statement.
  4. Offer alternatives for transgender students. Private bathrooms provide safety and security for them and for others due to potential predators and voyeurs taking advantage of open access to bathrooms and locker rooms.
  5. Encourage local state legislators to reject any legislation attempting to give the transgender community “special privileges” and opening the door for any legal advantages by using “civil rights” laws to force compliance. Write, call, and visit state legislators and ask them to take steps to limit the President from using “budgetary extortion” to push his liberal agenda. (To find your legislators, please visit

Share your concerns across social media, newspaper editorials, letters to the editor, etc. Sign petitions, talk to your friends, neighbors, employer, and local stores about this issue. Let your voice be heard. (Mitchell, 2016)

Justice and Education Dept. Letter, (2016) Justice Department Sues North Carolina to Strike Down HB2, downloaded May 7, 2016 from north-carolina-to-strike-down-hb2.html

Mitchell, Pastor Jamie. (2016). In Response to the President’s Transgender Edict, Unpublished. May 13.

For more information or resources, visit our website: or call 610-901-3607. The American Pastors Network is the largest, national network of pastors who believe in the authority of Scripture, boldly preach the whole counsel of God, and who provide a disciplined application of a biblical worldview to public policy. We are creating a permanent infrastructure of biblically faithful pastors and lay leaders to mobilize congregations, who on a non-partisan basis, will participate in the political process for the good of America and to the glory of God.

Click to access APN-Transgender-Identity-Bulletin-Insert-82316.pdf

FREE RESOURCES to Help You Understand the Transgender Identity Debate

We are in perilous days. It does no good for us to know the truth of the Bible and not preach it and practice it.

This is the reminder that the American Pastors Network wants to emphatically send to pastors and engaged believers, especially as they work to navigate an ever-changing culture, one where once-unheard-of laws and policies about who is allowed behind bathroom and locker room doors are commonplace.

Therefore, in an effort to educate and equip the faith community with the knowledge and tools necessary—especially in regards to complex gender issues—APN has launched an online toolkit that will provide visitors to the website with a white paper, sample letters, and other pieces of information that will arm them with biblical truth.

EXCLUSIVE (FREE) WHITE PAPER DOWNLOAD: Transgender Identity. Not Accepting God’s Design.

Other Downloads

Sermons by Pastors on the Transgender Issue



VIDEO How to Disunite America – Chick-Fil-A, Your Compromise Is Demoralizing

By Ben Shapiro | November 21, 2019

(Photo by PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)


This week, Chick-fil-A, the immensely popular Christian-owned chicken sandwich giant, caved to the cultural left.

For years, the left targeted Chick-fil-A, dating back to the 2012 revelation that Chairman and CEO Dan Cathy supports traditional marriage — and, horror of horrors, that charities given donations by Chick-fil-A support traditional marriage.

This prompted paroxysms of outrage in the media, who quickly demanded that Chick-fil-A toe the Democratic Party line, despite the fact that then-President Barack Obama did not officially endorse same-sex marriage until May 2012.

The rage of the cultural left led to unsuccessful boycotts — Chick-fil-A’s business expanded from $1 billion in 2001 to $5 billion in 2013 to $10.5 billion today — but successful hijackings of local government.

When the cultural left can’t achieve what it wants through public mobilization, it simply uses the power of government to blackmail those it dislikes.

So, despite the fact that Chick-fil-A had never discriminated against gay customers — it would sell a chicken sandwich to anyone — then-Boston Mayor Thomas Menino promised to ban the franchise from the city. Then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel quickly followed suit, pledging to support an alderman’s plan to block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant at Chicago O’Hare Airport. San Antonio recently blocked Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant at its airport, and the airport in Buffalo, New York, followed suit. San Jose, California, pledged not to renew Chick-fil-A’s lease when it ran out.

Chick-fil-A has continued to receive blowback — and the blowback has widened, helped along by a hostile media. So Chick-fil-A decided to back down and announced publicly that it will no longer donate to traditional Christian charities such as The Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth Home. Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos explained, “as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are.”

Well, now they’re clear. They’re chickens.

Our First Amendment culture is endangered when local governments are given the capacity to block businesses from operating, not on the basis of business discrimination but on the viewpoint of the company’s founders alone. That’s precisely what’s happening here. If giving to Christian charities now bars you from opening a restaurant at the airport, our culture is beyond the point of no return.

But there’s something even more troubling going on here. In a free country, of course we get to choose which businesses to patronize. But is it good for the culture for us to segregate our business based on examining the politics of those who own our companies? Do we really want a country where we shop based on political affiliation? Where every decision, every day, is rooted in partisanship?

America’s social fabric is already fraying. Politics has invaded everything from education to sports, from movies to fashion. Should politics now determine where we buy a chicken sandwich? A country that punishes restaurants because its founders don’t openly celebrate same-sex marriage is a country destined to bifurcate. And that’s pretty fowl.

(Ben Shapiro, 35, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of He is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller “The Right Side of History.”)

Chick-Fil-A, Your Compromise Is Demoralizing

Daniel Davis / @JDaniel_Davis / November 19, 2019

Chick-fil-A wants out of the culture war.

News broke Monday that the fast-food chain would no longer donate to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two organizations that hold traditional views on marriage and sexuality. Instead, the Atlanta-based chain will now focus its charitable giving on three causes: education, hunger, and homelessness.

Chick-fil-A says this streamlined approach will provide more “clarity and impact” in its giving. But the company’s president and chief operating officer, Tim Tassopoulos, recently revealed what is likely the real reason for the shift: Chick-fil-A wants access to new markets, and bad publicity is getting in the way.

In a recent interview with Bisnow, Tassopoulos acknowledged that Chick-fil-A had been “taking it on the chin” for years, and that recent headlines made it difficult to expand. Now, he says, they want to be “clear about who we are.”

Amid backlash from conservatives, Tassopoulos said that “no organization will be excluded from consideration” in charitable giving, “faith-based or non-faith-based.” But that’s little consolation since the signal had already been sent: Chick-fil-A wants “new markets” to know it’s made a change.

Chick-fil-A’s expansion efforts have run into obstacles in more progressive parts of the country. Just this year, Chick-fil-A lost franchise deals in San Antonio and in Buffalo, New York, and most recently in England, over its past donations to groups that hold traditional views on marriage.

The reality is unavoidable: Being known as a conservative Christian brand is bad for business in liberal cities.

“When there is a tension,” Tassopoulos said, “we want to make sure we’re being clear.”

In other words: “We’re turning a page. We’re not bigots, so please, buy our sandwiches.”

Not surprisingly, many loyal Chick-fil-A supporters feel betrayed, and they’re letting Chick-fil-A know.


Let’s Remember How Chick-fil-A Got So Big

Support Chick-fil-A Day was a critical flashpoint in all this. The company’s founder, Truett Cathy, had spoken out against gay marriage, and the progressive backlash was fiece. Gay couples staged kiss-ins at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country in protest.

That’s when Chick-fil-A received a groundswell of support from sympathetic customers. Cars wrapped around blocks as loyal supporters, like myself, waited their turn to buy food and express their appreciation.

Chick-fil-A took on transcendent meaning that day. It proved to us, and to the world, that Christian conservatives could band together and help each other succeed in the face of ugly taunts and bullying. It proved that we didn’t have to submit to progressive orthodoxy on sexuality. We could be true to our convictions and still succeed.

Chick-fil-A’s courageous stand earned it millions of loyal customers. That year, 2012, was pivotal for the company’s earnings. Despite the “bad PR,” Chick-fil-A sales soared by 12% and then by 9% the following year.

Today, Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast-food chain in America. It turns out being true to your convictions doesn’t have to be a business killer.

That raises the question why on earth Chick-fil-A thought ditching its convictions could ever be a good idea.

If Chick-fil-A made this decision for business reasons—and that’s undeniably clear from the president’s statements—it reflects an abysmal miscalculation. Chick-fil-A apparently thinks it can part with its convictional past and win the favor of progressives without losing its loyal base.

What naiveté. If there’s any basic rule of the culture war, it’s that the left will never love you if you have held to traditional Christian values. Their affection is fool’s gold.

GLAAD, one of the nation’s leading LGBT organizations, says Chick-fil-A’s new giving philosophy should be met only with “cautious optimism” because after all, it still has a long way to go. Chick-fil-A must fully repent of its sins by “unequivocally [speaking] out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents.”

There is no mercy for bigots. Only perpetual demands for self-flagellation and the disavowal of former convictions.

Chick-fil-A thought it could straddle the culture war. Its naïvete is backfiring.

God and Mammon

Chick-fil-A, like all companies, exists first and foremost to make money. That’s not an evil thing. It’s perfectly valid, and it’s a fact of life. Profit is king in the business world, and any conviction that doesn’t translate into dollar signs inevitably becomes a liability.

Chick-fil-A has reached a juncture where further expansion will have to come at the price of conformity to the values of new markets. That means it will have to choose its master: God or mammon. And as the Scripture says, you cannot serve both.

Chick-fil-A’s choice—mammon—is particularly disappointing because there was no need for it. Chick-fil-A had slain the fast-food dragon. It had won.

What message does its caving to pressure send to smaller, less powerful Christian companies? If Chick-fil-A can’t thrive while giving to traditional Christian ministries, what other business can?

And what message does it send to LGBT activists and agitators? It tells them they can win, if they just bully Christian organizations for long enough.

Also, consider that Chick-fil-A’s decision comes at a time when other corporations are actually going beyond their consumer base and pushing truly radical ideas. Consider Sprite’s recent advertisement that glorifies gender transition.

Or consider Mattel’s recent release of gender-neutral dolls for kids. Or Converse’s new line of pride-themed gear featuring LGBT youth and a child in drag. Or the litany of other companies supporting Pride Month.

I don’t think the market is driving these trends. These companies aren’t chasing the sexual revolution; they’re driving it. The higher-ups in the Fortune 500 world want to out-virtue-signal their friends in other companies, and they’re getting way out ahead of the market to do so.

Why can’t Chick-fil-A be half as bold?

A Dimming Light

To me, and to many other Americans, Chick-fil-A means more than a great chicken sandwich and waffle fries. It means more than sweet lemonade on a hot day, a warm greeting, and “My pleasure” at the window.

Chick-fil-A means that in a dark world, Christian entrepreneurs can make it if they create a good product, build trust with their customers, conduct themselves with honor, and stand nobly by their convictions—whatever may come.

With every retreat, Chick-fil-A will lose a piece of what’s made it so special, and the light it has been will dim.

So, Chick-fil-A leaders: Please, realize what you’re doing. Realize the stewardship role you have in a darkening culture. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. We need you to remain a lampstand in our world.

Chick-Fil-A, Your Compromise Is Demoralizing

What Happens In A Tsunami?


October 31, 2019 hepsibahgarden

When a tsunami strikes, it brings along terrible destruction — uprooting trees, buildings and whatsoever that comes in it’s way. The huge floods of water sweeps the land clean of everything it had once.

Well, we’ve seen or rather even felt the after effects of a tsunami in the natural.

Nevertheless, can you just try and think of how a tsunami of God’s love poured into our little hearts would be like!! It’s just mind-blowing because all those who have experienced the tsunami of God’s love, have failed to convey their feelings verbally♥️ The whole experience of being filled with God’s love passes all understanding and is known as the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The fountain of Living Water that is, the Holy Spirit, sheds His love into our hearts and fills us with His joy. This means when we ask God sincerely for His outpouring of love, what really happens? Floods of revival enters us and we feel completely free and clean inside.

The Spirit of God does a clean sweep of our hearts so we can rebuild our lives in Him. Most don’t understand that and don’t know what to do after the Holy Spirit works in them. What should one do? Forgive all immediately. If you feel you need to ask someone forgiveness, go ahead and ask. Fill your heart with the Word of God so the Holy Spirit continues to work in fullness.

Now is the time of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time of revival for every Christian. Now is the time to build our life in the faith of the Son of God. May God revive, restore, renew and refine us for His eternal glory.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

How Should A King Be?


October 29, 2019 hepsibahgarden

And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? 1 Samuel‬ ‭15:17‬ ‭

This was the beginning of King Saul, the first king of Israel. He began his life well; the aspect of humility being clearly seen in him. Even though God chose and anointed him king over Israel, yet king Saul was unable to maintain this character throughout his reign. He was on the throne for 38 long years but actually reigned for only 2 years.


1. His implicit obedience – Saul is seen implicitly obeying his dad, Kish, to hunt for the donkeys that his dad had lost. 1 Samuel 9:3. Without questioning his father, like an obedient child Saul went in search of those lost donkeys. God desires this obedience in us as well because it was found in Jesus. Philippians 2:8. We have been called to become like Jesus.

2. His humility – Saul did not consider himself as a VIP even after becoming a king. Look at what he says, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? 1 Samuel‬ ‭9:21‬. But the sad part was King Saul could not preserve himself in this character in the latter part of his reign. He became proud and disobedient.

3. His hidden life – When prophet Samuel came in search of Saul to anoint him as king over Israel, Saul was nowhere to be seen. Why? Because he had hidden himself behind the supplies. 1 Samuel 10:22. He was unwilling to reveal himself before others. Jesus also lived a hidden life while He was on earth. As believers, we need to live a life hidden in Christ, that is, dead to sin, world and lust.

4. He held his peace – In the beginning of Saul’s life, when people despised and made fun of him, he simply held his peace. Similarly, we must also hold onto our peace when we are mocked and revoked by others. 1 Samuel 10:27.

5. Did not take revenge against others – This was in the beginning of his career as a king. 1 Samuel 11:12,13Gradually, when he disobeyed God and doing his own will, King Saul was always after David; seeking revenge to kill him. As believers, our revenge should be against sin and all disobedience.

6. He had the nature of waiting – Saul was once a very patient man but lost this nature eventually because of his own foolishness. Before making him a king, Saul had to wait for 10 days till Prophet Samuel have the next command; which he did. But later on he lost his patient nature and his hasty decision of performing the priest’s job, cost him the kingdom.

7. He was made king in Gilgal. Gilgal was the place where the reproach of Israel rolled away. It is a place of healing, where we first meet Jesus. It was also in this place that Saul was anointed to be the king. 1 Samuel 11:14. But towards the later part of King Saul’s life, he lost his kingdom and the crown due to disobedience.

Therefore what does God desire in our lives? God desires us … to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, Deuteronomy‬ ‭10:12‬

Be blessed 💕

Original here

God Is Forgiveness

October 14, 2019 by Jack Flacco

How can one forgive if love is not in the heart? When a person does us wrong, do we curse them and go on our way? This ought not to be. For as God is love, so is He forgiveness. He forgave us when we repented and gave our hearts to Him. In the same way, we ought to forgive others their transgressions so that we might become as God, filled with love, overlooking another’s sin against us.

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)

When we forgive, we have released ourselves from harboring a grudge. Bitterness is poison to the heart, slowly laying waste our most prized attributes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Why would we want to hate someone and lose our souls in the process?

God has given us the greatest example of forgiveness when he gave up His Son Jesus so that we might have salvation. No other event is as meaningful as His sacrifice on our behalf. We no longer carry the burden of sin, for Christ alone carried it for us to the cross.

God not only had forgiven us, but He also sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to help us forgive others in the same way. By this, we would become as He is, loving and forgiving, for God is forgiveness.


God Is Forgiveness

Why Do People Keep Pastors at Arm’s Length?

Ordination can be isolating, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Why Do People Keep Pastors at Arm’s Length?


I’m an Anglican priest. I wear black every day, I wear a collar, and I work in a parish. While many pastors from evangelical traditions opt out of the collar and thereby can get around “incognito,” those of us who wear clerical garb have a constant visual reminder of who we are. This is can be deeply isolating.

While I was preparing for ordination, one of my mentors warned me, “When you start wearing a collar, whether you like it or not, you will be a character in other people’s thoughts and dreams.” The truth of these words didn’t really hit me until I was on my first hospital round after being ordained. Many people stopped me to say, “Hello, Father,” or “Good morning, Father.” They didn’t know a thing about me, but by virtue of my vocation, I became a cartoonish aggregate of all their images of what a priest should be. I played a role in their thoughts, though they didn’t know my name.

I thought to myself, I’m not just Cole anymore; I am always going to be assessed based on whether or not I fit a stereotype of a pastor.

In most people’s eyes, my vocation comes before my person. Even though my clerical garb reveals this in unique ways, it’s true for most people in professional ministry, with or without a collar. Pastoral ministry is a great calling—one I am glad to answer—but it can also leave me feeling cut off from others.

Set Apart

I imagine most of my parishioners would find it odd to learn that pastoral ministry can feel so lonely. While pastors spend their fair share of time alone writing and planning, much of the time we are surrounded by people—not by nameless crowds, but by people we know well. Yet we often feel alone.

To be a pastor is to be set apart, holy, “other”—or so it seems. Whether or not this is in fact the case, it is how we are popularly perceived, and it shapes the way we are treated.

Pastors share a certain affinity with the Levitical priesthood. While the people of God as a whole are called to be “a chosen people, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), some of us are ordained to a ministry of Word and sacrament, trusting that those to whom we minister “will share in all good things with their teacher[s]” (Gal. 6:6).

Without diminishing the differences between the polity of our churches, the scriptural injunctions for leaders in the church are demanding, calling bishops or overseers to be “above reproach” and deacons to “prove themselves blameless” (1 Tim. 3). For all leaders, God’s call demands a high standard of faithfulness because we are in some sense—for good or ill—models to the faithful, knowing that “we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). This is a serious vocation.

And that is to say nothing about the expectations others have of pastors. Many folks think we are either ultra-spiritual gurus or shysters peddling spiritual wares. Until we break down these initial stereotypes, people will engage with us in a superficial or skeptical manner. I notice people’s stares when I’m out walking with my family after work and haven’t had time to change my clothes. They must find it odd to see a priest walking around with two sons and a pregnant wife, and I can’t help but wonder if they think I am up to something scandalous.

Recently, we went to the grocery store as a family right after leaving church. My oldest son announced that he needed to pee, so I took him to the bathroom. I felt compelled to explain to everyone that I was his father, that there was nothing salacious going on. I could only guess what people were thinking in that situation, if anything at all. I left feeling anxious, exposed, and profoundly isolated.

Complicated Friendships and One-Way Relationships

This feeling of loneliness doesn’t only occur in public settings with strangers. Friendships are also complicated. Some of my best friends, especially those I knew before I entered the ministry, still look at me primarily as a friend. But for many others, the boundary between friend and pastor can be quite fuzzy.

In one of our previous churches, my wife and I started to get close to a couple. We had lots in common, and our kids were about the same age. Yet when deep marital issues between them started to surface, the couple asked me to do some marital counseling, which I did happily. But as they aired their dirty laundry in my office, I realized the kind of friendship my wife and I had hoped for wasn’t going to work out. My role had changed from friend to priest.

In situations like that, I often find myself wondering, Are you interested in being my friend or are you interested in what I can do for you as a pastor? I can be happy with either answer, but I want to be clear about what I’m getting into.

Recently a family we know from outside of our congregation moved closer to us and started looking for a church. I recommended they come visit our church for a Sunday. After we talked, I started regretting that suggestion. If they do start coming to our church, our straightforward friendship will grow complicated when I become their pastor.

Craig Barnes notes, “Ordination costs pastors, and one of the greatest costs is maintaining the lonely status of being surrounded by everyone in the church while always being the odd person in the room.” Our vocation separates us from our parishioners while thrusting us right into their midst.

The empathy required of pastors can take an emotional toll, further exacerbating a sense of loneliness. People are often driven to meet with a pastor because of some kind of trouble. It may be news of a spreading illness or issues cropping up at home, but seldom does someone ask to meet with me to share how well their life is going and how much they have grown in the faith. When I see a message waiting for me from a parishioner I tense up because there’s a good chance something has gone wrong.

The pastoral office does, of course, offer moments of joy as well: baptisms, confirmations, and wedding celebrations. But in my experience, people most often reach out to the pastor out of their wounded-ness. As theologian Stanley Hauerwas writes,

There is no question that those set aside to preside at the Eucharist have a particular responsibility for the wounded. We worship a wounded saviour. We follow as a people also wounded. Such a people cannot help but care for one another in a manner that imitates God’s care for our wounds. They must, therefore, be persons who have learned to be in the presence of suffering without resorting to simplistic explanations. When all is said and done, pastoral care requires those who are to be agents of care to be people of deep humanity.

In most intimate friendships, sharing pain and loss is a two-way street: We are there for our friends in their need, and they are there for us. As pastors, we can’t risk the same vulnerability with most in our parish, and the sheer volume of need can be overwhelming. To know the burdens of a congregation, to know their suffering and loss, to know their struggles can leave me feeling cut off from them.

5 Ways to Push Back Against Ministry Loneliness

For those in ministry, loneliness comes with the territory. Though we may not be able to get rid of it entirely, here are five strategies that have proven helpful as I’ve combatted my own feelings of isolation.

1. I Turn off My Phone

Or I at least put it in another room. While smartphone addiction has been linked to loneliness generally, I have found being too connected exacerbates ministry isolation in two specific ways. First, keeping my phone on at all times can steal the intimacy from the few deep relationships I have. I relish the meaningful connections I have with my wife and kids. If I keep my phone turned on by my side whenever I’m with them, I constantly fight the temptation to check my email and dilute those precious hours of deep, in-person relationship.

Second, staying too connected on my phone cultivates shallow relationships over social media. These connections give the illusion of meaningful friendships, but I find them to be more draining than life giving.

2. I Go on Silent Retreats

This may come as a surprise, but silent retreats have been especially helpful for combatting my pastoral loneliness. Unlike leadership conferences or working retreats, silent retreats free me, without excuse, to be present before God. It isn’t natural or easy. At first the silence is uncomfortable, and I find myself constantly tempted to reach for my phone. However, after I’ve had some time to disconnect and sit quietly, my feelings of isolation dissipate, and I find myself attuned to the restorative presence of God.

When I return to my family and ministry life after a few days away for silence and prayer, it’s like someone hit reset on my mind and heart. I am able to engage with others again from a place of strength and rest.

3. I Talk to a Spiritual Director

Whether this person is officially certified or not, I find this sort of relationship essential because a spiritual director is out of the loop of my ministry and church life. Pastors can have a difficult time connecting with their peers for a few reasons. Social events connected with the church can feel like more work, and even though we know it’s unhealthy, feelings of competition often cloud attempts to connect with other local pastors. Talking with someone who is relatively removed from the challenges of everyday ministry has been liberating. I don’t have to worry about what he thinks of me or whether the things I share will change a working relationship.

4. I Make Time for Old Friends

I’m always surprised how effortless it is for me to catch up with old friends. People who have known me since college and earlier have no expectations about how I will live as a priest because our relationship started before I discovered my vocation. My oldest friends know me from when I was an awkward, pimply teenager, and that removes much of the pressure compared to relationship where I’m seen as a pastor or priest first. A shared history can be the catalyst for great conversation, especially as ministry and family life push to the side time for making new friends. Take the advice of Henry David Thoreau: “Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old; return to them.”

5. I Go for a Run

Long-distance running has also been helpful for me to combat loneliness. When I run I’m not thinking about how to be a pastor or how to relate to people. I don’t stand out because of my collar; I look like any other half-in-shape person wearing exercise gear. The mental and emotional benefits of running have been explored at length, and like silent retreats, running refreshes me so I can engage in relationships more meaningfully afterward.

Loneliness and isolation, like most of our problems, feel most overwhelming when they haven’t been properly acknowledged. They loom like a phantom, hovering in the back of our mind. Only by staring loneliness in the face was I able to start combatting it. Honesty with myself, my wife, and God has been a step toward greater wholeness. There is an element of “otherness” to the pastoral vocation that may always keep barriers between us and the people we serve, but just because something is normal doesn’t mean it’s always healthy.

I’ve found it vital to take brief, intentional steps away from places where “pastor” is my defining characteristic. By learning to be comfortable alone before God, without distraction, and cultivating the few deep relationships in my life that have stood the test of time, I am finding a healthier approach to this unique challenge of ministry.

Cole Hartin is the assistant curate at St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Saint John, New Brunswick.

AUDIO Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter: Don’t Hide Your Scars

Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter: Don’t Hide Your Scars



“Scars are a truly beautiful thing,” said Ret. Lance Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the War in Afghanistan and Medal of Honor recipient, in a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.

Carpenter reflected on the genesis of his forthcoming book You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For, scheduled for release on Wednesday.

This book started many, many years before I started writing it two years ago,” Carpenter said. “I was injured by an enemy hand grenade in Afghanistan in 2010. I spent three years recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. … And through that three years, I was forced to search for the silver linings during the long dark and painful nights and days in the hospital.”

Carpenter sought to write a book with broad appeal and expansive applicability.

“After leaving my three years at Walter Reed — and just having an amazing recovery thanks to the incredible staff there, my family, and so many loving and supporting people around the country — I immediately drove out of the gate of Walter Reed, and I drove down to Columbia, South Carolina, and moved into my small one-bedroom apartment there to start my freshman year at college,” recalled Carpenter. “I graduated from college December of 2017 and looking ahead and thinking about potentially starting a book, I just kept getting hung up before even starting because I didn’t want to write a book that only people that have served in the military or that have been to combat could understand. I wanted a book that transcended all boundaries and that anyone could pick up and not only understand but take lessons from.”


The centrality and universality of struggle to the human condition formed the perspective of his book, revealed Carpenter.

“All of these experiences over the years leading up to this book, at the time, they were just that — they were experiences, something that happened,” Carpenter remarked. “There was always the next therapy appointment, next surgery, next college exam, but with time and deep thought, those evolved into life lessons, which then evolved into perspective. And I think we can never have enough perspective. And so, I wrote this book from the angle of struggle because going through these events and these meet and greets, as I was thinking about how I wanted to write this book, people would always come up to me after these events and say, ‘Oh, well, I was never in the military, but,’ and then proceed to tell me their own version of struggle. So that was kind of a light bulb moment for me, like, ‘Oh, of course, I can write about struggle,’ because everyone — physically, mentally, or emotionally — can relate to struggle.”

Carpenter determined, “Struggle is that one common fiber throughout every single person on this Earth, and so, yes, [my book] has a chapter or two about Afghanistan and my injury to give context to my journey, but it’s so much more that. It’s primarily written from the blast on because, like I said, I wanted people to [connect with my story]. … They might have never spent three years in a hospital bed, but they know what pain is.”

Carpenter realized the value of the scars he developed from his injury and subsequent surgeries while trying to minimize their visibility with scar revision therapy.

“While I was at Walter Reed, I couldn’t rush my surgeries anymore than I was, so in between all of those therapy hours and surgeries, a lot of my doctors were addressing … some scars on my face, if I wanted to, I could just come by the clinic and do scar revision therapy,” recalled Carpenter. “At this point in my recovery … I hadn’t really had the deep thought to follow my hospital time and really realize the lessons that I had learned along the way, so I thought, ‘Okay. I’ll try some scar revision therapy.’ I go into the clinic, and not only is it extremely painful, but I come out and my face — I mean, I was unrecognizable. I was swollen. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror.”

“At that moment, I had a few epiphanies, one was: I’m trying to buffer out a scratch on a car that has been completely totaled,” quipped Carpenter. “Both my arms are skin grafted, my right one from — it doesn’t function right — so even if I didn’t have the scars, you would be able to [observe my injury]. I have skin grafts and scars from my wrists all the way to the top of my shoulder.”

Carpenter continued, “So there was that, but on a deeper level, I realized: why am I trying to do this when I’m going around the country and speaking to people and trying to share hope that it’s okay — physically, mentally, or emotionally — if you get injured and if you have scars. I kind of felt like a hypocrite almost.

“Scars are truly a beautiful thing,” declared Carpenter. “Yes, they can be a little ugly on the outside, but scars show that you’re a survivor, that you made it through something, and not only did you make it through, but now you’re stronger and wiser and more educated because of that tough time that you went through. It’s my favorite chapter in the book — Don’t Hide Your Scars, Chapter 13 — and this kind of realization how scars connect all of us and how struggle connects all of us.”

Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor for using his body as a shield to protect a fellow Marine from an enemy hand grenade. His Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

Suicide: Not an Option Nor a Choice

Hey Folks, What’s Up? Hope you all doing well. You may got the assumption of my post, by title of the blog. So I don’t think I should’ve to give more narration about it, Right?

Exactly Right guess, in today’s post I told/explain you, why you shouldn’t commit SUICIDE. But have you any Idea Why people/person commit suicide? As one’s life became more n more stressful/painful – by giving up to situation person chose to Commit Suicide as a last option.

But Really it’s Right Option though? Not at all, Infact Suicide will never be the Right Option/Choice even Not Today – Not Yesterday and Never Ever. By commiting Suicide one may release from those situation which lead them to there, but they forget they lost the most precious thing of World, i.e. LIFE.

But do you know what Life mean by? The person who knew it will never commits Suicide and the person who doesn’t knew will always find Suicide as a Right choice or say right option. But their Right option will turned out to be Blow for their family, a huge blow, which never imagine by other.

“Don’t you think, By committing Suicide – You Just Disrespect the GOD?”

Suicide, the word itself shows its Cruelty. By Killing themselves how can One can said that he/she survived? Infact they don’t kill themselves only, They kills firstly their Confidence, which forced him/her to doing stuffs & face result whatsoever.

They kills their family, by giving them unexpected news of the death. They kills their respective life which is very rare. They just kills the aim of their life.

But really If you born as Human then just Thank to God, for giving you life as human and what do you did if you’ve no courage to face problems or issues of life? Just shorten your life, that’s all? Is it the right treatment to the God Gift?

Of Course, NO. Then what to do if you’ve thought in your mind to commit Suicide? Really, I know when people have no guts to face the world or say left no option to live the life they drove towards it. One should’ve to find the Reason to live the life, & that reason is very clear – Happiness of your Parents.

Just think about it, when you decided to commit Suicide – Remember Your Mother’s Face, Ocean of Million Dreams to see you as Most Successful person of the World & Your Father’s Face, who say less but there’s lot to learn from each n every word of him. Really don’t you think that reason is enough which forced you to think about your Decision regarding life?

“Just Remove Pessimism from You Brain.”

Look Problems, Obstacles, Issues, Defeats and Shame is part of your life cycle. It doesn’t mean you’ve to give up on situations or say you are useless. Let people blame you or whatever they want to do with you. Just stay with yourself.

It’s said that In Bad Time Even your Shadow won’t Stay with you. But I want to say Who need Shadow when you’ve your own Support. Never break down your Confidence. The Day when you starting to doubt towards yourself, Your count down is began of Life.

Do whatever just be hammer will. Never give a shitty chance to others to judge you. Just stay with your Real Personality. Never be Fack, be Original.

I just want to share my funda which help me lot when negative thoughts playing in my Brain,

Always carry a Photograph of your Parent in yout Wallet or Purse & whenever you feel pessimist/negative, Just See it, Believe me You Automatically Gonna Smile/feels Relaxed.

“Just Tell the God, Yes I’m Living the LIFE.”

Really Before commiting Suicide, think Calmly, think Twice, think pros and cons of it and then chose, Is it really Beneficial to others by commiting you Suicide? If your inner soul won’t respond stop there & calls to your close one to whom you can share your Situation.

Suicide is not an Option, Not NOW – Not THEN – Not SO EVER.

So that’s all for the day, if you meet any person who looks broken and left no interest to live the life then help him/her to get out of difficulties. Otherwise one can contact me on follow email ID, I’ll consult you soon.

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