Challenge, Issues of the Day, Marriage

The Making of an Affair; A Private Conversation Overheard

I could barely believe the conversation that was going on in front of me.  It was impossible not to hear.  The international airline lounge was packed with weary travelers and I needed to stay put while waiting for my flight. I’ll get back to this story later and tell you about the specifics of this conversation, but first let’s consider a hard question.


How committed are you to your marriage?  I mean, what would it take to distract you from marital fidelity?  That’s a terrible question to consider isn’t it?  But, perhaps in this day, it’s an appropriate question.  If the opportunity was presented (and it just might one day), what boundaries do you have in place for your marriage and how would you fend it off?


As you consider that question, let me take you back to the intimate and inappropriate conversation I was overhearing.


It all started innocently enough with, “Who do you work for and…where are you flying to?”  It progressed with similar lines of conversation and politeness.  But somewhere in the middle of their conversing, the tone of voice underwent a change and the questions became more personal and intimate as they ‘tested’ one another.  Each question became closer to the edge and somewhere in this diatribe, it just started to become more relational and motivated with questions like, “I’m married, how long are you married?” And then the other replied, “I’m recently divorced.”  I noticed their bodies physically began to turn toward one another in order to have eye-to-eye contact.  It wasn’t long until I heard her say, “I don’t normally do this, but here is my card with my personal contact information on the back.”  The middle-aged man replied with, “I wouldn’t normally take your card, but there have been some struggles in our marriage…”


I was stunned and speechless and wanted to scream, “Run, oh silly man…what are you doing right now to yourself, to this woman, to your family?  Come to your senses and close your heart to this.”


Please go back to the question above and answer it for yourself. Discuss your boundaries with your spouse and a means of accountability if you find yourself coming near this situation. Acting on the offense versus being caught off guard is an appropriate present response.


Keep a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…At the end of your life you will groan…Drink water from your own cistern…But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. (Proverbs 5:8,11,15 & 6:32)

Challenge, Leadership, Prayer

Locating, Growing and Incorporating Intercessors for Your Ministry

Incorporating those who pray over you and your vision for ministry seems like a no brainer. But how do you identify these persons and better yet, how do you keep them praying?

When asking someone to pray for you concerning a specific mission, often the response is to receive a yawn, then a look in another direction and finally a nonchalant response like, “Uh, yeah, ok.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way. My wife and I were on the lookout for a small band of persons who loved us, loved what we were called to and wanted to know more about that call. It was also advantageous for them to have a heart to pray for us. We watched and waited and soon discovered there were such persons in our lives. We approached them with the question, “We really appreciate your personal interest, your questions about what we’re doing and your heart to even mention praying for us, would you be interested in joining a team of intercessors?”

You have identified them and you approach them. Rarely have we had someone approach us. Most persons do not even think in those terms, but when you define the prayer ministry description and how you will not inundate them with daily email, they normally respond with a resounding yes. We ask for a one-year commitment only. At the end of each year, we approach them and ask if they would like to continue to serve in the intercessory role for another year.

Obviously this person loves to pray as well. You know they have a committed relationship to God and are mature enough to not be seeking information about your personal life, but rather long for you and your vision to succeed. These are persons whom you have not just met at a first time gathering, but are persons who you have a track record with and you’re aware of their faithful heart.

We will email prayer requests that are both personal and ministry oriented. We have that level of confidence in our team. Speaking of confidence, we ask that everything we share remain confidential – between them and their heavenly Father only. Normally we email them twice a month with a brief as possible prayer update. Please note, these email prayer requests, updates and praises need to be consistent from you to them or you will send the message that the intercessors are an afterthought.

We tell our intercessors we are not looking for return email unless Holy Spirit speaks something to them and they are compelled to respond with a scripture, a prophetic word or an encouragement. Otherwise we have no expectation of ongoing email conversation.

Some persons we know meet face-to-face with their intercessory team, but our team is spread all over the USA and that simply is not possible. When we can, we will meet individually with intercessory team members. We also pray for them and regularly thank them for voluntarily being a part of the ministry. 

All in all, we take confidence in the Father calling these persons to us, having developed a heart for prayer and we find reassurance through the protection in offensive and defensive personal prayer for our travel, our speaking and our oversight ministry. You can enjoy this same reassurance in the Spirit with a team of intercessors. Start with one committed person and grow a team from there. You’ll immediately be aware of the benefits.

Challenge, Issues of the Day, Marriage, Postmarital

Are You in an Emotional Affair?

Individuals are “hooking up” at the workplace, on social media and along the sidelines of their kids sporting events. We tend to have an insatiable desire for understanding and a listening ear and when we receive that from someone other than our spouse, we are walking on shaky ground.

Dr. Gail Saltz psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital said this concerning affairs, “Many people convince themselves so long as there is not sex it is not an affair, but it is. It has to do with secrecy, deception and betrayal and the emotional energy you are putting into the other person vs. your partner. The most difficult thing to recover from is not sex, but the breaking of trust. Those involved in an emotional affair are often in denial. They do not think they’re having an affair at all. The denial keeps them guilt free and they tell themselves, ‘It’s just a friendship.’”

So, how do you know you’re in an emotional affair? Dr Saltz shares ten warning signs:

  1. When your meetings are kept secret from your spouse.
  2. When you say and do things with someone you would never do in front of your spouse or you would feel guilty if your spouse happened to show up.
  3. When you make it a point to arrange private talk time with this person.
  4. When you share things with them that you do not share with your partner.
  5. When you avoid telling your partner how much time you may be spending with this person.
  6. When you are stating things about your marriage that you should not be telling another, opening a window to your heart and unmet emotional needs.
  7. When you begin discussing your marital dissatisfaction.
  8. When you tell this person more about your day than you do your partner.
  9. When you “ready your appearance” in anticipation of seeing this person.
  10. When there is sexual attraction spoken or unspoken between you.

What to do:

  1. Pray, confess to God, ask for forgiveness and repent.
  2. Treat an emotional affair like any other affair – cut it off fully and completely (stop calling, stop email, stop texting, etc.). If you do not end it, you will not rebuild trust with your mate.
  3. Stop flirting; stop daydreaming about it.
  4. Realize that you cannot even remain “friends” with this person.
  5. Turn your heart away from it and toward your marriage relationship.
  6. Put your emotional energy into healing yourself and your marriage relationship.
  7. You must take responsibility. You got yourself into this mess, you need to own it.
  8. Become trustworthy in order to work at rebuilding trust. Be accountable with your whereabouts, come home immediately. Do not allow questioning or wondering on your mates part with thoughts of “where is she?” or “how long could it possibly take for him to go to the hardware store?”
  9. Be open with your internet use and cell phone use, hide nothing.
  10. Look long and hard at why you did it, how you found yourself in this position.

You cannot redo anything, you simply must move forward. You must walk in honest confession and humility. Humility keeps you from becoming defensive and blaming another.

You must forgive one another and yourself. There is no greater answer than the forgiveness of God through the love of His Son. You must remain accountable. Accountability is a huge ingredient because marriage infractions always take place in an environment of deception.

Get outside counsel and direction as soon as possible. Do not try to do it all yourself. Re-attach yourself to your mate. Most likely you have moved away from one another in some areas of your relationship. Pray with and pray for your life mate. Finally, you must learn to rest in the redemption of your Savior.

Challenge, Leadership

An Interesting Job Description That Few Desire

There is a job description that reads somewhat endlessly: Counselor; encourager; prayer warrior; evangelist; healer; teacher; preacher; visitor of the sick and shut-in; visitor of the incarcerated; visitor of the lonely; tending the sheep; Sunday School teacher; camp counselor; wedding performer; funeral arranger/speaker; mediator; janitor; maintenance worker; trash hauler; fiscal operations manager; overseer; meeting coordinator; leader of leaders; etc., etc., To top it off, the person in this position is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

These are some of the expectations of your pastoral leader, even as many of those persons also work other jobs for needed income in support of their family. Our expectations are high of this position and we hold them to a level of accountability and integrity, along with scrutiny, we do not often hold ourselves to. We can’t believe they’re mowing their lawn on a weekday afternoon, while every “normal” person is working. We can’t imagine they need another Sunday off or away, because…”didn’t we hire them to work Sundays?”

Rarely do we concern ourselves with their pay and benefits support. Few, if any, ask their pastoral leaders how they are doing financially. Few, if any, ask when they last managed a day off or if they have a vacation scheduled. We mostly desire to know they area available to us when we need them.

These things said this is a scriptural position in which the Bible gives us some clear guidelines of support. Here are some of those instructions:

I Timothy 5: 17-18 reveals to us that we are to give “double honor” to those who preach and teach and to not “muzzle the ox” as “The worker deserves his wages.” How many of us have asked our pastoral leaders to our home for hospitality and/or asked of them how they are doing personally? Even further, have we asked them how they are doing financially or if they are struggling with debt?

I Corinthians chapter nine gives us some interesting guidelines as well. To paraphrase some of the things the Apostle Paul writes, he asks if it is right for a soldier to be a soldier at his own expense? He illustrates that if this leader has sown spiritual seed in our life, shouldn’t he/she be able to reap a material blessing from us? He clearly writes that those who preach the gospel are entitled to support and that support should be at least at the median income level of the congregation…if not higher. Why higher? The scripture above declared, “double honor.”

Let us honor God, by honoring our leaders who love us, pray for us and care for us.

Encouragement, Issues of the Day

Resurrection Life

What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, mean to you?

When I was a child it meant dressing up in a suit and tie with my newest pair of stiff penny loafers making my feet hurt. My sister adorned her new Easter dress and hat, an annual ritual. My mother drove us to town in her six-year-old 1954 four door yellow and white Buick. We walked through the huge red wooded doors, fit for a castle, to a room I remember her calling the Narthex…whatever that meant. It smelled old.

There we heard the story of God sending His only Son who would live three decades and now we celebrated his excruciating death on a cross with nails and a spear and blood. What a scene being described to a young boy sitting uneasily on an old wooden pew.

But it was Sunday and somehow the huge stone was rolled away and somehow the broken, bruised and dead Savior was now alive. His grave cloths were folded neatly and an angel was telling two women to not be afraid. I’d find myself imagining an angel that was large enough to move a gravestone was large enough to be crazy fearful of – yikes!

Today I see a totally different picture. I love how Luke writes about these events in the book of Acts, chapter thirteen. He describes the resurrection as a, “…fact that God raised Him [Jesus] from the dead never to decay,” quoting Isaiah fifty-five and Psalm sixteen. He goes on to share that since this Jesus is alive we now have forgiveness of sins, justification and eternal life.

Have you encountered the resurrected One? What does this “fact” mean to you?