Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Tuesday Week 1

Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Monday Week 1

Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Sunday Week 1

 

“When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. Luke 1:12-13

Lesson Verse Luke 1:5-25

Introduction

Key Points

Zechariah & Elizabeth just like Abraham & Sarah

Like Abraham’s son, Zechariah’s son ushered in a new age

Time is not a factor with God

 

Time & our lack of it causes a tremendous amount of fear for women during Christmas. We worry we will not have enough time to accomplish all the things we believe we must get done. How can we calm our fear over a lack of time? How can we keep faith that we can accomplish our tasks?

Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas Advent Series Introduction

We may not associate fear with Christmas but it’s there nonetheless. We are so afraid we won’t get everything done, we might forget something, we might mess something up, and on and on and on. We want everything to be perfect while knowing that we can only do so much. No wonder our stress level goes through the roof as we prepare for Christmas!

This year, I want to help you enjoy Christmas more. I know God didn’t send His Son to cause any of us stress. He wants us to celebrate the birth of His Son with great joy in our hearts. To help you accomplish this, I have created a new Advent series. Fear Not! Finding Faith in the Stress of Christmas is designed to help you eliminate the fear that spoils your Christmas and help you fill your life with faith and joy.

Each Sunday, I offer a detailed lesson for my daily Advent lesson that accompanies the lighting of the Advent candle of the week. Each of these Sunday lessons is taken from the birth story, the four times an angel brought a message of hope to an individual and the world.

To help you strengthen your joy during the week, I am offering a brief daily podcast, on this channel, sharing a verse to help eliminate your fear and offering my thoughts on the daily verse.

I LOVE Christmas. I also know, however, how incredibly stressful it can be for women. This season, let’s celebrate together, strengthening one another in faith and joy!

Mentoring New Leaders Part 4: Train

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Your mentoree has watched you in action. You have explained to them how you do things & answered their questions about your techniques. You have given them the opportunity to try to do it themselves & had them tell you about the experience. Now it is time to train them to do it better.

I would like to differentiate between teach & train for the purposes of this material. When I talk about teach someone, I’m referring to more of a lecture type situation. You explain a subject in detail & take questions from the students. At this point, they may have no practical experience on the subject. Training comes after the student or mentoree has had the opportunity to apply the lessons they have learned through your teaching. Now they have practical experience however, they need their abilities refined. They are more apprentices than masters in the field. To give a broad example, medical school teaches students about medicine. They have the opportunity, through internships, to test what they have learned. Eventually, they move on to a residency where they receive more detailed training to refine their skills & abilities.

When the disciples would return from the mission trips Jesus sent them on, Jesus would take time to debrief them. He listened as they told Him what worked & what didn’t. They told Him about any problems they had. This debriefing is more for the mentor than the student. It gives the mentor the opportunity to discover areas that need more focus or topics that are confusing. It also helps the mentor understand things that simply don’t work anymore. If the mentor has been doing a task for years, there may be a newer or at least easier way to do it nowadays. You always need to listen carefully to your student. Your task as a mentor is to turn a job, position, etc. over to them. Unless you want to keep on doing it until you are gone, you need to help them discover the way that works best for them. That means combining your way & their way.

Training allows you to break bad habits before they begin, strengthen good habits & help your student discover the best way to do it for themselves.

One more step in the process & you’re ready to beg

Mentoring New Leaders Part 3: Test

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The second biggest mistake mentors make, after not mentoring new leaders at all, is failing to test them. We tend to be too quick turning things over to the newbie before we are certain the are prepared. Offering them a short period of time to shadow you & then giving them only a bit of teaching before handing over the reins is worse than no mentoring at all.

When we drop everything into the newbie’s lap too soon, they may become frustrated when things fail to go well. Even worse, they may become embarrassed, believe THEY are to blame for their lack of success when the mentor is the one responsible.

Rather than quickly giving them the responsibility of their new assignment, take time to make certain they are ready. And the best way to do this is to test them. No, not a written exam! Instead, give them responsibility for an assignment while you are still there to offer guidance & advice.

Early in their training, Jesus sent the disciples out into neighboring towns to do ministry. He sent them out in pairs so they could support & encourage one another & to hold each other accountable. When they returned, Jesus talked to the disciples about their experience. What worked? What didn’t? Where did they have problems?

These mission journeys gave the disciples to practical experience, like an internship. They were able to fail on a small scale while Jesus was still available to offer them guidance & advice.

Nothing discourages a new leader faster than failure. It takes less time & effort to retrain them to overcome their mistakes & weaknesses than it does to start all over with a new person when your current new leader quits in frustration.

Take the time to do the job right!

Mentoring Leaders Part 2: Teach

The disciples first had the opportunity to watch Jesus talk to large crowds & smaller groups, seeing Him share His message. These moments gave the disciples the chance to see Jesus model the behavior He wanted them to imitate & to hear the lessons He was sharing as He spoke to the public. This, however, was not enough. Jesus needed to be sure the disciples understood the lessons so they would be able to teach them later.

For this reason, Jesus always sat down with the disciples after these events & asked them if they understood the lesson He had taught. He would go over His message in detail, answering their questions until He was sure they not only understood but would also be able to share the message later.

It’s important for the new leaders you mentor to watch you perform the work they will need to continue when you turn it over to them. It is also very important that they understand the work they are supposed to do. For example, they may think an aspect of the work is minor without realizing how vital that small step is to the whole process.

A woman once spoke to me after I finished teaching a Bible study to a large group of women. She lamented her inability to do what I did, minimizing the gift of hospitality she had been given. Every week, she & her sister stood at the door, greeting every woman that came in & giving them a hug to make them feel welcome & at home. They performed this same task every year during our huge women’s conference. I told her I would probably be speaking to an empty room if not for the warm welcome she & her sister offered women every week.

If a new women’s ministry director had taken over without know the importance of this seemingly small task, she might overlook inviting the sisters to greet during Bible study & the conference. This task might seem small but it set the tone for every event the women hosted during my time working with the ministry.

New leaders must not only see the process in action, they must have it explained to them so nothing, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is overlooked!

To Find Peace, Look

Answer Your Call

I have a confession to make. If my phone rings & I don’t recognize the number, I don’t answer. I listen to the message right away if one is left & I return calls quickly. And I do answer the phone if I know the person calling. I don’t feel compelled to answer the phone when I don’t know the caller.

Let me tell you though. If caller ID told me God was calling, I would answer right away! Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you be curious to know why God was calling, what He wanted? Wouldn’t you answer right away?

Now I know how silly this sounds! God doesn’t use cell phones to call us. I just want you to consider for a moment how quickly you would respond if there was a chance,even a slim one, that God might use a cell phone to contact you. I think most people would quickly answer even just to satisfy their curiosity.

Yet many of us hit “Decline” button when God calls us. And believe me, He does call each & every one of us that believes!

The quote on the graphic above is taken from the story of Samuel being called by God. Samuel lived with Eli, the high priest. Samuel’s mother, Hannah gave her son to Eli to be trained in service to the Lord. Hannah had promised her son to the Lord if the Lord would only bless the childless woman with a son. When the Lord blessed her with a son, Hannah kept her end of the bargain, taking Samuel to Eli to stay once Samuel was old enough.

Eli had 2 sons that were also priests. Scripture tells us the sons were “scoundrels.” The Lord was not willing to let scoundrels take over the ministry of Eli. Plus, the Lord was very upset with Eli because he did not correct his sons. So, the Lord called Samuel.

One night, Samuel heard a voice call his name. Naturally, he assumed Eli was calling him. Yet when he went to Eli, the old man said he had not called. This happened a few more times. Finally, Eli told Samuel it must be the Lord calling his name. When it happens again,say, “Here I am,Lord!” And that’s just what Samuel did! What a difference that made in the life of Samuel! And in the lives of Eli & his sons!

How do you respond when God calls you? I know,you’re looking at the screen & telling me, “God never called or calls me! Why would He call ME?”

If you go to the passage in 1 Samuel, you’ll notice Samuel did not stand in Eli’s room arguing aboutwhether or to the Lord would call HIM! He simply accepted what Eli said & went back to his room to await the Lord’s next call. Samuel didn’t even doubt the fact the Lord would contact him again. What faith!

We all need to be open to God’s call on our lives. As Jesus said, the harvest is great & the labo

Goals, Not Resolutions

I really don’t like resolutions. Well, it’s not that I don’t LIKE them. I just don’t think they work. They remind me of my college days. As soon as I told myself that I needed to pull an all-nighter, I became incredibly tired & needed to go to bed. I found those words worked wonders those few times I couldn’t sleep! Anyway, there’s something about resolutions that make them almost impossible to keep. Perhaps it has to do with they open timeframe. A resolution implies an ongoing process with absolutely NO END! It just stretches on forever & ever! Sigh!

Rather than making a resolution, I like to set goals. Goals usually have a specific destination built in. So, rather than creating a resolution to eat healthier, I would rather set a goal to give up soda for a week. Or set a goal to include more fruits & vegetables in my diet, naming a specific number for each day. Goals seem more user friendly.

Throughout January, I plan to take about setting goal for the new year. However, this week, I want to talk to you about making a few resolutions. I know, I just went on & on about my dislike resolutions & now I want you to make a few. Hmmm. Ok, let me explain.

Sometime there are goals we set that are ongoing & somewhat vague. The 3 resolutions I am suggesting this week are not necessarily vague but they are questions you need to consider over time. These questions are:

  1. Am I called by God;
  2. How can I serve God;
  3. Am I called to by God to lead.

Let’s set these resolutions & then we c