Challenges

Hi, My Name is Amber, and I’m a Recovering Sinner.

I know this may seem strange for some people, but there are times were I find myself addicted to my past. Unable to let go of the sins that God has already forgiven me for; running back to my vomit, and I don’t know why I expect anything to feel different than the last time. Has anyone else felt this way? Like no matter how deeply I know I’m forgiven, I keep looking back to that time and reliving the hurt? God gave me a word about that and I thought I’d share it here with you this morning.

For me, I’m going to have to look at myself like I’m in a recovery program. Almost like a rehab for Christians who have a hard time letting go of the past. So I’m going to slightly adapt the Twelve Step Program to work for the Recovering Sinner: Sinner’s Anonymous.

1. We admit we were powerless over sin—that our lives had become unmanageable.

I will admit that only God has the power over sin, and that my life is a mess when I try to do His job…

2. Come to believe that God can restore us to sanity.

I will to stop doubting that God can and will do a miracle in my life.

3. Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.

I chose to turn over all of my past, good and bad, to God. Trusting Him with my life and my well being.

4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I will take stock of all the junk I keep picking back up and hold it up to His revealing light.

5. Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I will finally confess that I have a hard time forgiving myself of my past and I will find someone I can call on to help me to remember that I’m a forgiven child of God.

6. Be entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

I will be open and cooperate with God as He heals my heart.

7. Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.

I will acknowledge that I am flesh and ask God to remove the thing that is in me that causes me to doubt His forgiveness.

8. Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

I will make a list of all the people my repeated doubt has hurt and apologize, as well as try to make things right.

9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

I will be aware of anytime my doubt hurts someone and immediately apologize and try to make things right.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

I will continue to be aware of my feelings and doubts, asking God to forgive me as soon as I do.

11. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

I will continually seek God’s will for my life and the power to carry out His will through prayer and meditation on His Word.

12. Have had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to sinners, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I will grow closer to God and Jesus through this process and reach others with His message of hope for the lost, and I will continue to practice these steps throughout my walk.

I have to believe that I’m not the only one who feels this way, so if you’re struggling with this too, know that you’re not alone. Reach out and quit trying to do this by yourself. That’s what the kingdom is all about, a support system. Lean on other strong Christians so you can grow strong enough to be leaned on one day…
x,
Amber

“God’s Purpose in the Storm” by Dr. Charles Stanley

Believers have a choice about how they will respond to life’s “storms.” Either they can cast blame while becoming resentful and bitter, or they can turn to the Lord and ask, “What is Your purpose?”

Since recognizing God’s purpose and plan is the way that faith grows, Christians have the right to ask “why?” Like a child learning new concepts, we see that when x happens, God does y, just as He promised. If we could choose the number of difficulties we want to face in a month, most of us would pick zero. Yet, God sees value in difficult times.

For instance, in the Old Testament, King David made destructively wrong choices for which God allowed cleansing storms into his life. The leader of the nation had wandered off the right path, but painful experiences drove him back to the center of the Lord’s will. We might consider the divine method cruel, but David would disagree. He wrote, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word. . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:67, 71).

When a storm rages into our life, the Lord is already planning how to turn destruction into good. Just like David, we need to seek His objective and learn to work with Him to achieve it. We must believe that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28). The promise of that verse is that we will reap blessings from our losses. Through the Lord’s mighty power, He uses trials to accomplish His plans–to grow us from children into mature disciples of Jesus Christ.

1. One purpose God has for us is a growing intimacy in our relationship with Him. But He knows we struggle to put Him first over our interests. Many of us place higher priority on family and friends than on companionship with God. For others, finances, work, or even personal pleasures interfere. When the Lord sees that our attention is drifting away from Him, He might use hardships to draw us back so we’ll refocus.

2. Another reason God allows difficulties is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Pain is a tool that brings areas of ungodliness to the surface. God also uses it to sift, shape, and prune us. The sanctification process, the building of Christlike character into our lives, starts at salvation and ends with our last breath.

3. A third purpose for stressful circumstances is to reveal true convictions. Our faith is tested in tough times. It’s easy to say, “God is good,” when life is peaceful. But when everything goes wrong, what do we believe about Him? Do our words and actions reveal an attitude of trust?

King David endured much heartache: a disintegrating family, personal attacks, and betrayal by close friends. But through his trials, he gained deeper intimacy with God, stronger faith, and more godly character. Won’t you let God accomplish His purposes in your present situation?

Returning believers to right fellowship is only one of God’s purposes for a season of trials. Some difficulties are meant to blow away all distractions so we can focus our attention on the Lord. Other “storms” break our worldly mold so that we can be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Our personal pleasure is not the top priority. God’s primary concern is to shape a wise and obedient follower who loves Him.

“New Life in Christ” by M. Larson

Maybe I should have that dead thing cut down, I thought.

Then one day I heard the mockingbird sing. Going out into my backyard, I saw him perched on the top of the highest branch of the dead apple tree, rendering his melodious repertoire to cheer the neighborhood.

No, I can’t have that tree cut down, I decided. That makes too good a bird perch. And whatever birds sit up there, I can see clearly and learn their different songs! So I continued to enjoy that tree. Though dead, it lived in a new way.

According to God’s Word, all of us are dead in sin before we are made alive with Christ by God who loves us (Ephesians 2:1-5). In that dead state true peace escapes us. We long for what we do not know. Some of us may even consider killing ourselves because life seems too chaotic and hopeless.

But when we call on the Lord to save us for Jesus’ sake, He reaches down and lifts us up and gives us a new life. Second Corinthians 5:11 tells us that when we are in Christ, we are new creatures. Old things are passed away; all things become new.

Even though we have been resurrected to new life in Christ, we sometimes fail to appropriate the benefits of that wonderful new life by not staying close to our Lord. Yet the good news is that our Lord is always near, and we can always get right with Him.

In God’s Word, David said it this way: “Lord, restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). And God did.

Some of those benefits of the new life in Christ are:

JOY. King David, in deep repentance, asked the Lord to restore to him the joy of His salvation (Psalm 51:12). Jesus promised to give us His joy, a supernatural experience that lifts our hearts to the heavenlies and puts a smile on our lips (John 15:11). It is within and is not dependent on our outer circumstances.

Peace. Jesus also promised us “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), a peace that gives us strength through the severest trials.

Love. Jesus puts a love in our hearts, even for the unlovely, that shines out to others for Him and makes it possible for us to forgive others. (See 1 John 4:7-8).

Power. Jesus promised His followers the power of the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 1:8). King David, after asking for restoration, said, “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you” (Psalm 51:13). This power transforms us into soul winners.

Comfort. When we are right with the Lord, we are assured of the comfort of God in Christ whenever we need it. (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

Assurance. When we’re walking with Jesus, we experience surety of this truth: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11).

Prayers answered. First John 5:14-15 says, “…If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. and if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”

Provision. The Apostle Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, assured the dedicated Christian at Philippi, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Father God, Restore to me the joy of my salvation today. Amen

Questions: Are you experiencing the power and the joy of the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you worried about your situation? How can one turn from worry to being thankful even in dire situations?

“A Psalm 143:7 Kinda Feeling” by A. Miller

Have you ever had a time in your life where you looked around and said, “Ok God, help me outta this funk or else I swear I’m gonna go bonkers!” Well, sitting in my dark living room at 3am, I find myself saying something along those lines; praying God will show me the purpose for all the trials and straight up funk going on all around me in this time of seasons greeting and holiday joy…

Psalm 143:7 says, “Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die.”

This verse couldn’t put it any better! Lord, I need an answer. I know I have no business asking for one, but I need it just the same.

With everything I’ve been through in my life here on earth, (the death of my father, my wreck of a marriage, my repentance and rocky road to recovering my wreck of a marriage, and a few life changing surgeries… Not to mention being a mom to three awesome and high spirited kids,) and all of it has given me my own personal perspective and relationship with my Lord.

I see God as a Daddy, I always have. It’s how I tend to interpret His Word and how I respond best to Him. So, every once in a while I find myself sitting in His lap, on His throne; the worlds problems put on hold, while He listens to my tearful complaining. The entire time He’s listening so intently, understanding in His eyes, gently rocking me in His arms.

He may or may not ever tell me His reasons for the trials and the pain, but I know He’ll always love me enough to stop the world just to hold me when I need Him to.

Thank you Lord, for loving me in a way that You know is perfect for me.

XOXO,
A.

“A Real, Honest Confession” by A. Miller

As I’m waiting in my car for a break in the rain so I can sprint into the school, I find myself reflecting on my crazy life and the current trials The Lord has seen fit to bless me with. I know they are for my benefit, to strengthen me. Now here comes the real, honest part; I am beginning to get a little tired of it. And I know I’m not alone in this. If Christians would stop worrying about how they look to other Christians and tell God the truth about how their feeling, they’d tell you the same thing!
Sometimes it’s okay to tell your Father that you’re tired. That you’d appreciate a brief break from all the drama, fighting and craziness of life as a Christian warrior and just enjoy being a child of the King once in a while!

Now before you think, “Oh my, she’s gone off the deep end and is doubting Gods power/will for her life!” Just stop. I haven’t, I’m just expressing my emotions about things that we all feel. I love my Father and trust He’s in control, I’m just opening a line of communication about the truth that life is hard and bottling up how you feel about your testing/trials only hurts you. God’s a big guy, He can handle your venting!

xoxo

“Dealing With Difficult People God’s Way” by Jack Zavada

Dealing with difficult people not only tests our faith in God, but it also puts our witness on display. One biblical figure who responded well to difficult people was David, who triumphed over many offensive characters to become king of Israel.

When he was only a teenager, David encountered one of the most intimidating types of difficult people—the bully. Bullies can be found in the workplace, at home, and in schools, and they usually frighten us with their physical strength, authority, or some other advantage.

Goliath was a giant Philistine warrior who had terrorized the entire Israelite army with his size and his skill as a fighter. No one dared to meet this bully in combat, until David showed up.

Before facing Goliath, David had to deal with a critic, his own brother Eliab, who said:

“I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” (1 Samuel 17:28, NIV)

David ignored this critic because what Eliab said was a lie. That’s a good lesson for us. Turning his attention back to Goliath, David saw through the giant’s taunts. Even as a young shepherd, David understood what it meant to be a servant of God:

“All those here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47,NIV).

While we should not respond to bullies by hitting them in the head with a rock, we should remember that our strength is not in ourselves, but in the God who loves us. This can give us confidence to endure when our own resources are low.

Dealing with Difficult People: Time to Flee

Fighting a bully is not always the right course of action. Later, King Saul turned into a bully and chased David throughout the country, because Saul was jealous of him.

David chose to flee. Saul was the rightfully appointed king, and David would not battle him. He told Saul:

“And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds, so my hand will not touch you.’ “(1 Samuel 24:12-13, NIV)

At times we must flee from a bully in the workplace, on the street, or in an abusive relationship. This is not cowardice. It’s wise to retreat when we are unable to protect ourselves. Trusting God to exact justice takes great faith, which David had. He knew when to act himself, and when to flee and turn the matter over to the Lord.

Dealing with Difficult People: Coping with the Angry

Later in David’s life, the Amalekites had attacked the village of Ziklag, carrying off the wives and children of David’s army. Scripture says David and his men wept until they had no strength left.

Understandably the men were angry, but instead of being mad at the Amalekites, they blamed David:

“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.” (1 Samuel 30:6, NIV)

Often people take their anger out on us. Sometimes we deserve it, in which case an apology is needed, but usually the difficult person is frustrated in general and we are the handiest target. Striking back is not the solution:

“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6, NASB)

Turning to God when we’re attacked by an angry person gives us understanding, patience, and most of all, courage. Some suggest taking a deep breath or counting to ten, but the real answer is saying a quick prayer. David asked God what to do, was told to pursue the kidnappers, and he and his men rescued their families.

Dealing with angry people tests our witness. People are watching. We can lose our temper as well, or we can respond calmly and with love. David succeeded because he turned to the One stronger and wiser than himself. We can learn from his example.

Dealing with Difficult People: Looking in the Mirror

The most difficult person each of us has to deal with is our self. If we are honest enough to admit it, we cause ourselves more trouble than others do.

David was no different. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband Uriah killed. When confronted with his crimes by Nathan the prophet, David admitted:

“I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13, NIV)

At times we need the help of a pastor or godly friend to help us see our situation clearly. In other cases, when we humbly ask God to show us the reason for our misery, he gently directs us to look in the mirror.

Then we need to do what David did: confess our sin to God and repent, knowing he always forgives and takes us back.

David had many faults, but he was the only person in the Bible God called “a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22, NIV) Why? Because David depended completely on God to direct his life, including dealing with difficult people.

We can’t control difficult people and we can’t change them, but with God’s guidance we can understand them better and find a way to cope with them.

“Inspiration vs Defeat: Which Will You Choose?” by A. Miller

Many times in my Christian walk I’ve tried to do something different and unique for the Lord.  Something no ones ever said, done, or created.  Most of the time I find myself in the same place, but everything’s already been said, done, or created…  How can I ever say or do or create anything so inspired that it reaches people for the Kingdom?  Who am I?  I’m a nobody, with no influence, and with no formal education in anyway.  Once in a while I’ll recognize that as a lie from the enemy, his sly little ploy to trap me into doing nothing.  Right where he wants me, ineffective and not a threat to him and his plans.  But what does the Word say about being inspired?  As I went on a hunt for the Truth about His plans for the talents He’s given me, I wasn’t prepared for what I’d find.  Or what would be laid on my heart…

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

In other words, I need to start listening to the Holy Spirit and quit listening to the lie that I’m not good/old/wise enough to serve my God.  I am called to serve Him faithfully, considering all the great things He’s done for me. (1 Samuel 12:24)

“For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

This verse blows my excuse, “I don’t know what to say/do/create” right out of the water.  I know this scripture is talking about prophecy, but I know everything has been produced by God; including the seed He’s planted in my heart.  So why would I put a limit on His power to complete the work He’s started in me? (Philippians 1:6)  Or believe that He hasn’t equipped me to do it? (2 Timothy 3:17)

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Now that I know God has a plan and a purpose for my life, all there is left to do is to figure out what it is and DO IT!  Pray and fasting and reading His Word are always the way to go, but sometimes we find ourselves in the company of other Christians.   (I know, it’s amazing right!  That there are other people living in this same world, reading the same Word, crazy right?!)  While encouraging each other, remember that people are fleshy beings and once in a while you’ll run into someone who’s had a bad day or isn’t fully committed to this walk.  Avoiding ‘heathens’ can seem easy, but remember to keep your eyes out for wolves in sheep’s clothing too.  (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22) (Hebrews 13:5-7) (Hebrews 10:24)

 

Bottom line:

God’s will is simply that we live today for Him, giving our lives sacrificially to Him, and He in turn gets us to where He wants us to be and uses us as it pleases Him. We are to pray seeking God’s will and making ourselves available. If we have the desire to teach or even be a pastor or missionary….we should seek to determine if we have the God given ability. Then we wait ready for God to open a door or means to use the talent. If it is God’s will…the door will open and the means to use our God given gifts will present itself.

Finding the will of God is as I said in the beginning…it is quite simple. Finding God’s will comes when one lives his life daily for the Lord. It comes or is revealed as we obey God. That is God’s will…that we obey Him daily trusting in Him. We need to address our lives and through self examination determine is how we are living is in accord with the Word of God. It there is any sin or unfaithfulness in our lives we are to confess it and in repentance turn from it unto the Lord.

We should not concern ourselves with seeking God’s will in the sense of trying to know the future, but rather seek to obey God, and thereby be in His will. Ecclesiastes 12:13 after looking at all the follies and short comings of man says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

We need to realize that God rarely lets us know the future and He has a reason for doing so. If we knew the future….it would be our natural reaction to work toward accomplishing it. But God does not want us to accomplish His will for us in the flesh and in our human power, but rather being dependent on Him….let Him bring about that will in our lives. Then what is accomplished will honor the Lord and He will be able to use us to reach others for Christ.

 

 

 

 

“How To Strengthen Your Faith” by Steve Fuller

Need to strengthen your faith?

You might feel like you are the only one.  But you are not.

This side of heaven — every believer has times when his or her faith is weak.

What does weak faith feel like?  When I’m weak in faith –

  • I can doubt God’s forgiveness.
  • I’m not sure God loves me.
  • I don’t believe God is in control.
  • I am tempted to pursue sin more than Jesus.
  • I worry about the future.
  • I feel discouraged or blah.
  • I lack spiritual motivation.

And when faith is weak, we can feel like nothing will ever change — that we’ll never again be strong in faith or feel close to God.

But there’s good news

The good news is that no matter how weak your faith, God has the power to strengthen you.

You can see that in –

  • Mark 9:24 — where a man prays “I believe, help my unbelief.”
  • Ephesians 3:16 — where Paul prays that God would strengthen the faith of the church in Ephesus.
  • Luke 22:31-32 — where Jesus prays that Peter’s faith would be strengthened.

The One who spoke a Universe into existence, who raised Lazarus from the dead, who brought Jericho’s walls down — He can and will strengthen your faith.

But how?

It’s not that we try to be good enough to earn strong faith from God — or that we try to be positive and raise our spirits.

Neither of those are taught in the Bible.

But in the Bible God invites us to take steps which He will use to strengthen our faith.

First — pray and ask Jesus to help your unbelief.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

How did Jesus respond?  He answered the man’s prayer.

So don’t think you need strong faith before Jesus will listen to you.

Turn to Him just as you are — with your weak faith — and cry out to Him for help.

Confess that your faith is weak.  Ask Him to forgive you through the Cross.  Ask Him to strengthen your faith.

Because of His death on the Cross, He will welcome you, love you, forgive you.

AND — He will strengthen your faith — especially as you then take this next step –

Second — hear the word of Christ.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  (Rom 10:17)

Paul teaches that as we hear the Word of God, God will bring His power upon us and strengthen our faith.

Open to a passage which is full of God’s love and faithfulness and promises in Christ.

And prayerfully read over that passage, asking Jesus to strengthen your faith, so you see and feel that His promises are true.

Here’s some passages I have found helpful to pray over –

  • I John 1:9 — that if I confess my sins, then because of Jesus’ death, God will surely forgive me.
  • John 6:35 — that if I come to Jesus and trust Him, He will fully satisfy me in Himself.
  • Heb 13:5-6 — that God will certainly meet my financial needs (not that I’ll be rich, but my needs will be met).
  • 2Cor 4:17-18 — that God plans every trial to bring me even more joy in Him forever.
  • James 1:5 — that God will give me all the wisdom I need.
  • Psalm 50:15 — that I will experience God’s deliverance in every trial.

So pick whichever one of these fits your circumstances — and pray over it, think deeply on it, and pray over it some more — until you feel God strengthening your faith.

This might happen quickly — or not.  But you can trust God’s timing.

And He WILL — in His perfect timing — strengthen your faith.

You will feel the Holy Spirit changing your heart, making Jesus more real to you, satisfying your soul, strengthening your faith.

 

Accountability Partners: Are You Ready to Grow?

Accountability partners are two or more people committed to holding each other accountable for one or more items related to Christian growth.

For example, you and a fellow church member may commit to checking in with each other on a weekly basis for the next three months about serving in a ministry group or even staying with an exercise routine. The following are my suggestions regarding accountability partners:

1. The power of two or three. Ecclesiastes 4:12 teaches that where two or three are working together there is great strength. It is not strange for people to be inspired by powerful preaching and helpful teaching.

However, when a person does not have to talk about or be accountable to anyone about his/her commitment then it easy to fall by the way side (say “amen” – smile). On the other hand, commitments are more likely to be kept when you have to check in with one or two others on a regular basis about carrying them out.

2. Being equally yoked. Accountability partners work best when you all are compatible with one another. You all don’t have to have identical commitments. However, you all need to at least be inspired by a desire to live in obedience to God’s will.

You and your partner(s) should have personalities that don’t clash. Some people simply don’t have good chemistry with one another. It doesn’t mean one is bad and the other is better. It simply means, sometimes you are better off with someone else.

Make sure you and your partner(s) are serious about carrying out your commitments. You don’t want to waste someone else’s time. And you don’t want anyone wasting your time.

3. Covenant. The covenant or agreement should include at least what each person is committing to doing, the frequency of the check-ins, and the length of time for this partnership. I highly recommend that you write this stuff down and both of you all sign it, after praying about it.

For example, you may commit to being more demonstrative in worship. Your partner may commit to being friendlier towards others. You all may decide to check-in weekly for three months.

The covenant can be much more detailed. However, it should at least include these bare bones. And again, I believe putting things in writing insures a certain level of seriousness about what is going on.

4. Prayer. You are duty bound to pray for your partner on a regular basis, ideally, everyday. Pray that God would give your partner the wisdom and strength to carryout his/her commitment. Your partner is duty bound to pray for you in like manner. I strongly suggest that you all pray for one another, as a part of your check-ins.

5. Check-ins. This is simply a time of talking with one another. It can be over the phone or in person. It can be for as little as fifteen minutes. I don’t recommend a regular e-mailing to one another. You all should agree on how much time you will spend doing a check-in, especially, if it takes more than thirty minutes.

Check-ins should focus on how you all are doing with carrying out your commitments. It is often helpful to talk about joys and concerns that are being encountered, in trying to carry out the commitments. It is important to listen when it is time to listen and to talk when it is time to talk.

Encourage one another to keep going, instead of excusing one another for poor reasons. There are times to adjust commitments. However, many times we are better off by simply continuing to press on.

6. Adjustments. There are times when adjustments in both commitments and partners have to be made. Sickness, injury, financial hardships, and family crisis are just a few reasons that adjustments might have to be made.

And then the commitments may have been underestimated. You may have to lower your expectations or give yourself more time to do what you committed to doing.

And then there are times when your partner is simply not serious enough. He/she may not be helpful enough. God forbid, he/she may not be confidential enough. Whatever the case, there are times to make adjustments.

Try to work it out. If it is simply not going to work, be as nice and as wise as possible, but don’t waste time continuing to do what is not working.

7. Key areas. In most churches, there are three key areas for accountability partners. There are new church family members. It is not strange for people to join but have very few supportive relationships.

Thus, accountability partners can help newer members stay in church, instead of walk out the back door. Not only stay in church, but accountability partnerships can help them to grow.

New leaders like ministry managers and teachers would do well to have accountability partners. When the focus is on skills and confidence and one partner is viewed as more authoritative than the other, this is actually more of a mentoring situation. However, peer to peer accountability partnerships are helpful also.

And then there are those who have made a recent commitment to something. It may be a commitment to grow in giving, to do more personal evangelism, to have regular personal devotionals, to exercise more, to paying off credit card debt, or any number of things.

In summary, accountability partners are helpful for those who are serious about growing in the Lord. Being equally yoked and in a prayerful covenant with one or two others is very powerful. If the check-ins are not helping then sometimes adjustments have to be made. Be sensitive to newer members, new leaders, and those who have made recent commitments.