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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

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@Jim_Alaska @Salyan Do you think it would be better to close this thread and remove the above long post by whisperingsage?  It seems like there has been quite a bit more personal and specific information has been added and may be turning into a gossip thread.  If anyone else from that church were to read it, they would certainly know about whom this is being written.

Edited by Brother Stafford
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3 minutes ago, Brother Stafford said:

@Jim_Alaska @Salyan Do you think it would be better to move this thread into one of the IFB forums or even close it?  It seems like there has been quite a bit more personal and specific information has been added and may be turning into a gossip thread.  If anyone else from that church were to read it, they would certainly know about whom this is being written.

FWIW, no one else in the church attends this site. Otherwise neither of us would mention much of this. The reason we feel comfortable doing it is because I susect we aren't the only ones going through much of these types of things, and are looking for experienced advice and comments. Not to aire dirty laundry.

 

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11 minutes ago, Ukulelemike said:

FWIW, no one else in the church attends this site. Otherwise neither of us would mention much of this. The reason we feel comfortable doing it is because I susect we aren't the only ones going through much of these types of things, and are looking for experienced advice and comments. Not to aire dirty laundry.

I understand and it has not been too specific until the long post by whisperingsage.  It is my opinion that far too much specific information has been divulged regardless of whether of not they see it.  There is a difference between remaining as vague as possible in order to solicit advice/guidance and divulging the information whispering sage has just included.  If a person releases specific information about another person, without their knowledge and that they would not say in that other person's presence, I would consider that gossip.

It reminds me of a few women I worked with at a Church years ago.  They would say things to me like, "I think we need to pray for Cindy Johnson.  I just found out that she has been cheating on her husband and has gotten pregnant by her lover.  I don't know about you, but I think we should pray for her."

They want to gossip, but know that they shouldn't, so they hide their gossip in the guise of prayerful concern.  I am not claiming that this is what is being done here, but it just reminds me of it.  We don't need to publicly get into nitty-gritty specifics in order to know enough to give counsel.  If a solution really requires the nitty-gritty specifics in order to come to a resolution, I believe it should be taken out of a public forum and into private counsel.

It is my opinion that it is a bad practice and is also bad taste to do so.

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On ‎3‎/‎7‎/‎2017 at 10:08 PM, HappyChristian said:

I have had to learn to deal with myself and my natural tendency to be blunt (very often too blunt and with no tact at all)

 

gasp, Say it isn't so!!!    :4_2_109v:  (the big grin emoticon seem to have gone missing)

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Sorry, I just need to beg for some help because Mike's Sending Pastor died and his other older Pastor soon after, the son left the area, and there are no IFB Pastors around here that we could counsel with. I know it sounds like dirty laundry and complaints, who wants to listen to those? But we are at our wits end. Normally we could resolve long term troubled and roubling people with prayer, but these folks are constantly demanding , constantly texting, wanting rides back and forth from the pot growers house on church day, just yesterday to get to church. They live a block from the church meeting house. But somehow managed to get to the pot growers house OK. I have asked DH to put boundaries on their texting times, say, not before 6 am and not after 9 pm. And please not the Saturday before church when he has to do his lesson. But they just don't care. They just violate their agreements all the time.  I used to be able to drive them when DH was at his secular job, but we couldn't afford the fees and couldn't get my Jeep legal, so I have been grounded since November. Now Dear husband has to waste his days off taking people shopping, or they conveniently demand he take them to their dr appointments. For awhile, they would make these appointments during the week and ask him to take a day off from his secular job to take them. recently they have been making their appointments on his day off, Friday. But still, they like to say they don't do this anymore, but then they do. As a matter of courtesy, we take our charges out to breakfast at least, because we need to eat too, and it would indeed be rude to not feed them. But there is no kicking in for gas or helping out with a tip or anything.

I just see this as abusing Mike's good nature- I did this for YEARS before him ( with many people) and finally, all my patience coupons were used up. The book was empty. And I began to say "No" to people like this. But he still has patience coupons in his booklet. And he just thinks it's mean to say no. He thinks it's unbiblical to set boundaries.

22 minutes ago, Brother Stafford said:

I understand and it has not been too specific until the long post by whisperingsage.  It is my opinion that far too much specific information has been divulged regardless of whether of not they see it.  There is a difference between remaining as vague as possible in order to solicit advice/guidance and divulging the information whispering sage has just included.  If a person releases specific information about another person, without their knowledge and that they would not say in that other person's presence, I would consider that gossip.

It reminds me of a few women I worked with at a Church years ago.  They would say things to me like, "I think we need to pray for Cindy Johnson.  I just found out that she has been cheating on her husband and has gotten pregnant by her lover.  I don't know about you, but I think we should pray for her."

They want to gossip, but know that they shouldn't, so they hide their gossip in the guise of prayerful concern.  I am not claiming that this is what is being done here, but it just reminds me of it.  We don't need to publicly get into nitty-gritty specifics in order to know enough to give counsel.  If a solution really requires the nitty-gritty specifics in order to come to a resolution, I believe it should be taken out of a public forum and into private counsel.

It is my opinion that it is a bad practice and is also bad taste to do so.

3

 

 

No names are being used. In the medical field, case studies are referred to all the time, and not using a name is standard and considered a legal and ethical way to teach about how to approach illness or as a Continuing Ed class, or in medical books.

Edited by whisperingsage
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1 hour ago, Brother Stafford said:

@Jim_Alaska @Salyan Do you think it would be better to close this thread and remove the above long post by whisperingsage?  It seems like there has been quite a bit more personal and specific information has been added and may be turning into a gossip thread.  If anyone else from that church were to read it, they would certainly know about whom this is being written.

This thread is in a private forum within a private forum... the odds of anyone from their church finding it is pretty unlikely (and we'd know they were coming!). The purpose of this section is for encouragement and advice... let's give it without nitpicking how it's being asked for or shaming someone for venting a little. If it bothers anyone, they are free to not view this thread.

Let's move on from this now.

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I'm asking for help. I'm dying here. I thought I had my adrenal and thyroid back on track and because of this stress I had to go back on my Adrenal and thyroid pills. I can't function due to the health issues this stress is causing. It's not a simple matter of me being mean to people. I am a nurse. I was a CNA for 10 years, 8.5 years in one nursing home. Dealing with sick people , stroke and dementia patients is really hard, but it helped me develop character. I know how to deal with difficult people, and I know how to love them. Some people, who are more able, don't want help, and there is nothing you can do with them. They make their choices. But in 2003 I became a Pastor's wife and found out I had no voice. I was 41 years old. I am 54 now. If I don't get some decent advice here, I can get sick again, because it will be internalized. That is a real thing.

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2 hours ago, whisperingsage said:

Sorry, I just need to beg for some help because Mike's Sending Pastor died and his other older Pastor soon after, the son left the area, and there are no IFB Pastors around here that we could counsel with. I know it sounds like dirty laundry and complaints, who wants to listen to those? But we are at our wits end. Normally we could resolve long term troubled and roubling people with prayer, but these folks are constantly demanding , constantly texting, wanting rides back and forth from the pot growers house on church day, just yesterday to get to church. They live a block from the church meeting house. But somehow managed to get to the pot growers house OK. I have asked DH to put boundaries on their texting times, say, not before 6 am and not after 9 pm. And please not the Saturday before church when he has to do his lesson. But they just don't care. They just violate their agreements all the time.  I used to be able to drive them when DH was at his secular job, but we couldn't afford the fees and couldn't get my Jeep legal, so I have been grounded since November. Now Dear husband has to waste his days off taking people shopping, or they conveniently demand he take them to their dr appointments. For awhile, they would make these appointments during the week and ask him to take a day off from his secular job to take them. recently they have been making their appointments on his day off, Friday. But still, they like to say they don't do this anymore, but then they do. As a matter of courtesy, we take our charges out to breakfast at least, because we need to eat too, and it would indeed be rude to not feed them. But there is no kicking in for gas or helping out with a tip or anything.

I just see this as abusing Mike's good nature- I did this for YEARS before him ( with many people) and finally, all my patience coupons were used up. The book was empty. And I began to say "No" to people like this. But he still has patience coupons in his booklet. And he just thinks it's mean to say no. He thinks it's unbiblical to set boundaries.

 

 

No names are being used. In the medical field, case studies are referred to all the time, and not using a name is standard and considered a legal and ethical way to teach about how to approach illness or as a Continuing Ed class, or in medical books.

Why do you keep referring to me as "DH"? Just Mike is fine, everyone knows you're my DW, lol. You make me sound like Kim Jong Mike, "Dear Husband". I'll make you call me that at home now.

 

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2 minutes ago, Ukulelemike said:

Why do you keep referring to me as "DH"? Just Mike is fine, everyone knows you're my DW, lol. You make me sound like Kim Jong Mike, "Dear Husband". I'll make you call me that at home now.

I had to look up what "DH" and "DW" meant.  So, whisperingsage is your wife, Brother Michael?

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3 minutes ago, Brother Stafford said:

I had to look up what "DH" and "DW" meant.  So, whisperingsage is your wife, Brother Michael?

That is correct. She filled in some details I had not. She's fed up. This is why we're looking for some resource that she can use to find answers-we disagree in some asp[ects-not in all, maybe the delivery. We have agreed to back off on trying to, I guess, seem like we're trying to run their lives, and I have turned the care of his wife completely to her husband-I told him that she was not our responsibility, outside of training in the church setting through the preaching of the word, and that it is HIS duty to learn well enough to be her spiritual head. So we are making headway. But while he is still ill, (he is awaiting a surgery for a hiatal (sp?) hernia, and is down a lot, he isn't much able to give her much direction, and she's rather like a child in some respects, as she was kept medicated much of her youth so her mother could get disability for her-so she is a stunted in her maturity, and she runs around like a kid without guidance. That's part of what my wife was talking about with the 'pot house', a family who grows pot in the backyard, (another issue we have here: the legalization of marijuana and the questions that arise from that issue). So our deisre is that she can find some preacher's wives who have been in the trenches longer, who have had to deal with and put up with troublesome believers, people you don't want to remove, who aren't in blatant sin, but are just, hard cases, that you want to help, but are growing weary over. I have the patience, she has a harder time with that. But then, I'm called to be the pastor, she's called to be my wife and help, and I'm enough trouble as it is.

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"And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." Matthew 10:42

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On 3/20/2017 at 1:54 PM, Ukulelemike said:

That is correct. She filled in some details I had not. She's fed up. This is why we're looking for some resource that she can use to find answers-we disagree in some asp[ects-not in all, maybe the delivery. We have agreed to back off on trying to, I guess, seem like we're trying to run their lives, and I have turned the care of his wife completely to her husband-I told him that she was not our responsibility, outside of training in the church setting through the preaching of the word, and that it is HIS duty to learn well enough to be her spiritual head. So we are making headway. But while he is still ill, (he is awaiting a surgery for a hiatal (sp?) hernia, and is down a lot, he isn't much able to give her much direction, and she's rather like a child in some respects, as she was kept medicated much of her youth so her mother could get disability for her-so she is a stunted in her maturity, and she runs around like a kid without guidance. That's part of what my wife was talking about with the 'pot house', a family who grows pot in the backyard, (another issue we have here: the legalization of marijuana and the questions that arise from that issue). So our deisre is that she can find some preacher's wives who have been in the trenches longer, who have had to deal with and put up with troublesome believers, people you don't want to remove, who aren't in blatant sin, but are just, hard cases, that you want to help, but are growing weary over. I have the patience, she has a harder time with that. But then, I'm called to be the pastor, she's called to be my wife and help, and I'm enough trouble as it is.

PArtof the problem is that this isn't just a "women's issue" because the husband is as immature as the wife, he won't read his bible either. (she actually has a better brain and memory- she gets most of the question candy because of this, she just can't/won't apply it to herself). Without reading and study he cannot hope to guide his own home. He is great for  asking questions all during,  and even disrupting service, but the nature of most of his questions shows he has very little understanding of a lot of things. He, for example, thought "humble" meant "prideful".  How do we even attempt to correct something so basic?  If he doesn't understand basic English (and he's a white boy born in the USA) how can he ever hope to understand the KJV? I was homeschooled and taught to read at 3 but there was always a drive to read things beyond my comprehension, and if I understood some of it I was pleased. Most people don't/won't/can't do that today. But he doesn't even really try. He may never be capable. Is it fair to put him in charge when he can't even judge rightly for himself? His best "friends" are foul mouthed older men that appear to use him for labor "paying" him an old piece of junk they were going to throw away. That's the nature of his "work" for them.  That can be a treasure as I have done it myself, but again, he's spina bifida and of a weak constitution. He just can't put in the labor that the average bear can do. It can and has hurt him. When I was his age I was stronger than him. I was stronger than him 5 years ago. But the point is he hangs with bad people, with filthy mouths and doesn't grasp that there is something amiss with that person. We can't be around these people 5 minutes without hearing a slough of curse words spewing forth. And yet the couple tell us no, this man doesn't swear...

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15 hours ago, HappyChristian said:

whisperingsage: I totally get where you're coming from regarding internalizing issues. I'm so sorry for the stress this has put on you. I wish I had a solid "this is what you do" answer, but I don't. However, I do have some thoughts. I'd like to share them, but I don't want them to come across as harsh or finger-pointing in any way...and what I'm saying, I'm saying as a wife. Not as a pastor's wife, but as a wife, since that is what we married women are first (after being Christians, I know).  I see from comments that you both are working on this situation, and that is good and necessary.

This is very likely something you've already considered, Mike, but your wife needs pressure removed from her. I think you've made a good first step towards that by placing the reins into the young woman's husband's hands. But there are a few things that concerned me.

First, the texting/phoning. That has to stop, somehow.  It was mentioned that they don't respect boundaries of when to contact you. Those boundaries have to be reinforced, and held firmly by both of you. If this couple texts or calls outside the boundaries you've set up, I would strongly advise that you ignore them. I know that, as a pastor, your ministry is vital. But your marriage is much more so, and your wife's physical/emotional health as well. 

As a wife, I can tell you that it would distress me if people that I knew were simply using my husband were calling and interrupting his much needed sleep or his sermon prep time. And, yes, I internalize things as well, so I know what happens - even if I work hard at NOT reacting or worrying. Shutting down the response to them will cut down on that stress some. I know that it seems rude or possibly neglecting part of your flock to do that, but your wife NEEDS you to do that. Take it from a wife...

None of what I say is meant to criticize in any way, please know that. I admire both your desires to serve the folks of your church - even when it's people who just can't function well. But here's something else that kind of stuck out to me: the dryer. Yes, I know that wsage has it down as to using it. But your wife needs you to fix her dryer. And this might sound like a heretic speaking, but she needs it before you spend more money on something at church. I don't know that she would ever say that to you - and she might not even realize it herself. But I guarantee that's just more stress on her that she's internalizing. Even if she laughs about it or says it's okay. And I don't mean to imply that she's being dishonest. She's being selfless. And that's admirable. But it can also stress a body...

And if there's any way you can get the folks at church to begin giving - the $$ load needs to be removed from you. Because, believe me, that load is carried by your wife as well, even if she's completely in agreement with where your $$ goes. I'm sure you've taught on giving, and I'm not, again, criticizing. Just mentioning some things that stuck out to me.

whisperingsage, it might be a good idea for you not to interact with this young lady right now. Whether on social media, at church, on the phone, etc. I think maybe she knows that she's able to push your buttons and is perversely enjoying it. Sadly, there are people who enjoy making other people crazy. Saying hello to her at church should, IMO, be the limit of your contact with her for now.  I have asked a much wiser head than mine to contact you privately. I'll be praying for you, sage. 

These are just some thoughts that scattered through my brain as I read this. Again, I hope no-one is offended, as nothing was meant to be offensive.

 

Thank you, this is what we need.

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11 hours ago, Rebecca said:

Whisperingsage, since you mentioned you are on facebook, may I recommend the closed group "Independent Baptist Women of Ministry". Perhaps you may find encouragement and advice there as well.

 

Will do.

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