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Storm Warnings

Over the years in ministry I have personally counselled hundreds of people in various situations. I've dealt with everything from teens out of control to family finances, divorce, death and everything in between. I've experienced time after time giving a person or family advice only to have them turn their back and walk away having to deal with the consequences of their actions alone.

One of the saddest things I've seen is when people allow the stress of their present circumstance to cloud their judgement. They stop seeking Jesus and find comfort in seeking self. "Fight or Flight" impares biblical precepts in handling the every day problems of life.

None of us are immune. The problems of life WILL hit each of us. The tides will crash on the shore and we will feel pain. Dr. Falwell used to always say "You are either in a storm, just coming out of a storm or you're headed for a storm." I've found that to be absolutely true. The question in the Christian life is never about whether or not you will face storms. The question rests around how you will handle them. Do you cling to the Kingdom of God or do you panic and make irrational decisions. Sadly I've found many making irrational and often life-altering decisions.
There are striking similarities to those who do not follow through with wise counsel in the midst of their storms. They tend to find it easier to blame the very people who can best offer support in the toughest times of life. I can't tell you how many people felt that it was better to be bitter.
I'm going to let you in on a (not-so-secret) secret. No matter the problem in front of a person the answer is always the same: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

Problems are nearly NEVER as simple as what people tell you and honestly they are never as complicated either. Eliminating medical issues, most of the problems we deal with in ministries are the problems of the heart. For the Christian the problems come when minds aren't transformed to the thought-pattern of putting Christ first.
It's rare that I've dealt with people in the church to whom I would get a positive answer when I asked about their current relationship with Christ. If we want the best for people we must challenge them to seek first the Kingdom of God.

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Some Examples:

A church member says that they aren't growing in their walk and therefore need to find a new church.

My 'Seek First' questions:
"What are you reading in the bible right now?"
"How is your current prayer life?"
"Do you serve Jesus through serving others?"
"Which spiritual disciplines are you currently involved in?"

A church member complains about their spouse or wants to complain about their spouse not getting to do what they want to do in the church.

The 'Seek First' questions:
"How often do you and your husband/wife pray together?"
"When was the last time you heard your mate lift you up to the King of Kings?"
"What chapter are you and your mate currently reading together?"
"Does your family get self-esteem from what you do publically or from who you are in Jesus Christ?" "Do you as a family care about what Jesus cares about?"
"Is this a biblical problem or a personal problem?"
"Are you blaming others for the consequences of your own behavior?"
"In light of all of eternity does this problem matter?"


A church member is having problems with their teen (rebellion, sleeping around, defiance, talking back, etc.).

The 'Seek First' questions:
"Does your teen see Jesus in you?"
"Are you trying to point your teen to Jesus or control your teen?"
"Have you set the bar high enough so that your daugther knows what a real man looks like?" "Are you praying for your teen or against your teen?"
"Do you demonstrate love the way our heavenly father demonstrates His love toward us?"


A church member complains about their finances (usually relating to why they are being disobedient with tithing).

The 'Seek First' questions:
"Do you start out giving to God or do you 'tip' him at the end?"
"Do you treat finances as if you are spending God's money?"
"Do you pray about large financial purchases?"
"Do you look for scriptural principles of spending and saving?"
"Do you put as much time in learning biblical financial princples as you do with online shopping or knowing the latest Fantasy Football stats?"
"Do you believe that where your treasure is there your heart will be also?"
"If you do, where is your heart?" "Where do you want your heart to be?"
"Why should God bless you with more finances?"

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, February 06, 2008

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