Posted in church life, June 2019

Pastors are People, Too

The life of a minister is hard. It’s a whole lot of work, most of which is on-call, and not a lot of personal glory. It’s often a thankless career but a fulfilling calling. But what about the life of a minister’s wife?

We get a look behind the curtain this week as Brandy sits down with Dottie Thorson, retired school teacher, and Pastor’s wife. Dottie shares the journey she and her husband took as they worked together to build a life of service, dedicated to sharing God’s love and grace with everyone along the way.

Listen to the full episode here

You’ll walk away with a couple of practical ways you can come alongside your pastor and offer support and encouragement.

Topics included: church merge, college ministry, ministering with children, incorporating ministry into every aspect of life, teaching, supporting pastors and their family, daily time with God

You can find us on social media:
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest

Or you can email us directly at roadhometoyou@gmail.com. We’d love to hear about your pastor and the ways they have blessed and encouraged you! We’d love to read your stories on air!

You can also email us any questions, prayer requests, comments or show ideas.

WE LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!!!

Special thanks to James Swanson and James Page for their contribution to our theme song, The Long Road Home, written by Brandy J. Goebel. Copyright 2018.

This episode was recorded, edited and produced at 4G’s Studios in beautiful downtown Sandy, Oregon. 2019. All rights reserved.

Posted in advice, christian living, church life, friendship, Marriage and Dating, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “What is Love?”

What is love? Such a simple question. Not so simple to answer.

This week we explore what ‘love’ actually means. It’s easy to think you know the answer, but don’t be fooled by what you’ve heard over the years.

Listen in as we talk about the many ways love is defined and then narrow in on what we think is the greatest definition of all.

Listen to the full episode here

To read the complete transcript click here

Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest

email us any questions or prayer requests you may have as well as any show ideas.

Posted in advice, christian living, church life, friendship, relationships, spiritual practices

When We Become the Church

“…be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit,
intent on one purpose.”
– Philippians 2:2

It’s never easy, is it, coming to others to ask for help?

What will they think if they know my need is this great? Will their opinion change once they know just how dark my heart and thoughts can be? Or, will they think I’m silly; wasting their time with my needs which seem so insignificant?

I’ve had these thoughts on more than one occasion. Yet, at every turn I am amazed by the response I’m met with when I take a deep breath and share my heart.

Sometimes it’s a prayer need, sometimes a thought I’ve been mulling over for days and need to talk through. Other times it’s a sin that I keep finding myself struggling with. Often it’s the critical thoughts that tend to take up residence in my head, shoving aside God’s words of truth and bring me to tears and of guilt, shame, fear and overwhelm.

Consistently though, God has met me in those places of need as I’ve turned to someone at church and bared my burden. I’m met with encouraging words, reminders of God’s promises and faithfulness, prayer and often a hug.

Likewise, I’ve been met with gratitude for my willingness to be vulnerable and broken in front of others. Because, honestly, that’s just not a thing you see all the time.

These kinds of relationships are born in and grown through fellowship in and around church.

Three years ago, our little congregation of less than 50 merged with another local small church. A majority of church merges fail. Ours has been a story of success. And in that place, I’ve gotten to know a whole new group of people; people I’d never have met otherwise.

Some are well into their grandparenting years, enjoying traveling the world. Others are just starting out, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first baby. And there’s everyone in between. We’ve got nerds, geeks, intellectuals, blue collar, white collar, scrubs, lab coats, graduation caps, Bermuda shorts and button downs with a tie. And every single one of those people has impacted me, whether they know it or not.

You see, going to church is really good. You learn a lot about God. You sing some good songs full of good words and truths. You hear things that encourage you and maybe even challenge you.

But being the church…that’s even better.

Because then you get to rub elbows with people who are just like you and nothing like you at all. You get to see the vast array of people who God calls His own. Sometimes things get a little messy, but hopefully, as Christ stays the focus, even the messy is made clean again.

Being the church you can speak into one another’s lives. You can experience that ‘iron sharpening iron’ accountability and growth that’s talked about in Proverbs 27:17. You become invested in something that is so much bigger than yourself and it reminds you just how incredibly generous our God is.

Going to church is really good. Being the church is the best.

What about you? Do you just go to church on Sunday, letting the message slough off you as you walk out to your car, while the music fades in the background? Or do you take the church with you, presenting Christ to a broken and hurting land, recognizing that left on your own, you’d be just as broken, too?

The choice is yours.

 

 

[Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels]

 

Posted in advice, christian living, church life, Podcast Show Notes, relationships

Finding A Healthy Church

In this week’s episode, we tackle part 2: What a healthy church looks like. To kick it off, we give a brief overview of the churches we grew up in and a glance at some of the churches we’ve attended throughout our marriage. From congregations of thousands to a mere 35 or so, we’ve experienced a pretty wide range.

Listen to the full episode here

Brandy’s upbringing found her in an eclectic mix of people, with a church full of hippies and suits and ties, while Matt grew up in a rather conservative church in a conservative town.

But how do you know if the church that you’re considering attending is healthy? What are some hallmarks to look for as you consider returning to or attending church for the first time?

Join us as we talk about the importance of God’s word being honored and taught, the value of authenticity of believers and the very real need that we all have to find a place where we can serve others.

We also talk briefly about overcoming when you’ve been hurt by the church. We recognize that there are some wounds that are incredibly deep, but also encourage our listeners to seek counsel in order for those wounds to heal.

Scriptures we reference:
2 Timothy 3:16
John 1:1-5
Acts 2:42-47

Read the full transcript here

Join us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram

email us here for show ideas, questions or prayer

Intro and Outro Music: “The Long Road Home to You” Written by Brandy J. Goebel; Arrangement by James Swanson; Performed by James Page; Copyright 2018

Posted in advice, christian living, church life, Marriage and Dating, mental health, relationships

Healing Happens at Church: A Lesson on the Importance of Corporate Worship

It had been years since I’d stepped into a church. If not literally, then certainly in my heart. I’d been apart from God for a long time, rejecting Him and His word at every turn. Living life on my terms was way more fun.

Until it wasn’t.

When my lies finally caught up with me, I could see my surroundings more clearly. I hadn’t been living large, I wasn’t in control and all my feelings of grandiosity and self-assurance were just a facade for the absolute fear I felt. Fear of being found out, fear of my own depravity, fear of who I’d become and fear of the dark and lonely pit I found myself in.

But there I was. At the threshold of a new start. Beyond those double doors was a world that I’d known and grown up in but somehow seemed foreign and frightening.

Church.

It was a new church. A big church. One where I could get lost in the crowd. I didn’t want to be seen, even by strangers. I was certain that my sin was palpable; that by merely looking at me, people would know immediately that I was among the worst of the worst. In Old Testament times, I’d be stoned to death for my sin. And though it was 2010 AD, I was pretty sure, the response I’d get from others wouldn’t be far from that Old Testament notion.

Beyond that, what would God do to me, a sinner, a harlot stepping foot onto holy ground? His holy ground. I’d never heard of anyone getting struck down by lightning for walking into a church, but it seemed possible.

With a deep breath and holding the hand of my daughter, I walked in, my husband and son by my side. No lightning. Not even the rumble of thunder in the distance. So far, so good.

My daughter, upset by the fact that we weren’t going to be returning to our old church, the only one she’d known, had been given the important job of choosing our seats. Somewhere in the back seemed good. That way, I wouldn’t have to make eye contact with anyone and we could leave the second the service was done.

Nope. My sweet baby angel decided that we needed to be front and center. And I do mean front. And center.

With a little coaxing, we managed to get her to move one row back. So now we were second front and center. Right in everybody’s line of sight. And I mean everybody.

Thousands of people come to this church every week. They had no less than 5 pastors on staff at the time, in addition to the worship pastor and the youth pastor. And there I was, with my sin oozing out of me, right where everyone could see and point and judge and either feel pity for or be repulsed by me. But my daughter wouldn’t budge. We were not moving seats when I’d already made her move to a new church.

Okay. If sitting there would make my daughter feel better about life, I’d do it. I’d just keep my head down and try not to draw attention our way.

Then the music started. Piano, guitar, the rhythm of the drums. It all came together into a beautiful melody of praise, making much of Christ and His great love for us, sinners through and through.

I don’t remember what songs we sang. I didn’t know most of them. What I do remember is the worship pastor, sitting at the piano and looking at me as he sang about a God who loves his people, who calls us His sons and daughters. He sang about God’s goodness and glory, his redemption, and grace. And it seemed to me, his eyes never left my face as the tears streamed down my cheeks.

The house lights were low, the stage lights bright. It’s entirely possible that he didn’t see me at all, but everything about that moment pierced my heart and dropped me to my knees.

I was a wretch. I was broken. I’d hurt the people I loved the most and lied to them for years. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. But here was this man I didn’t know, singing God’s word over me, assuring me of His love and forgiveness.

And I began to heal.

Every week we returned to those same seats. Every week we sang and praised God. Every week my husband and I cried out to God asking for His grace to wash over us and to heal our brokenness and save our marriage. Every. Single. Week.

And He did.

God met us right there. He met us in song and in the teaching. He met us in the people we started to meet. He met me at the Bible studies and recovery groups I attended. He met me in the kindness of a stranger offering words of encouragement. He healed us. He restored us. He turned our ashes into garlands of praise and redeemed our days.

And it all started with a small step. It didn’t take much to get my foot over the threshold of that church, and yet, it took everything. It required that I admit that without God, I am a mess. I can’t do life apart from the Creator of life. I need Him desperately, especially when I think I don’t need Him at all. Left to my own devices I will wreck havoc on myself and everyone in my path. But with God, anything is possible.

He can even take a broken, messed up, guilt-ridden sinner like me and create something new.

Go to church, Beloved. You need it. Trust me.
-Brandy

Posted in advice, christian living, church life, friendship, Podcast Show Notes, relationships, spiritual disciplines, spiritual practices

Show Notes: Episode 5 “Why Should I Even Go to Church”

Whether you’ve been hurt by the church (or it’s people) or you simply feel like church isn’t really your ‘thing’, this is the episode for you.

Read the full transcript here

Matt and Brandy dive into many of the reasons people aren’t going to church and then talk about why it’s a good idea to be there. The goal here is not to make anyone feel guilty or shameful about not going to church. Hey…we’ve been there, too! There have been years where our church attendance was sparse at best.

So, come along and let’s talk about why it’s sometimes hard to get there on a Sunday morning and why it’s important to try.

Read Sam’s blog post here

Statistics that are listed:
* 4 out of 10 Americans have been to church in the last week.
* 59% of Millenials who grew up in a church have dropped out at some point.
* More than half of the Millennials haven’t been to church in the past 6 months.
* “Regular attenders used to be people who went to church 3 or more times a month or even several times a week. Now, people who show up once every 4 to 6 weeks consider themselves regular church attenders.”
* Three reasons Millenials cite as why they’re not going to church (split evenly): believe church is irrelevant, full of hypocrisy, sick of the moral failure of the church’s leaders.
* Of Millenials, 2 out of 10 feel that God is missing in church
* Of Millenials 1 out of 10 feel that legitimate doubt is prohibited
* Of adults that believe church is important they cite two major reasons: to be closer to God and to learn about God
* 22% go because it’s taught in the Bible
* One in 10 go to find community, despite a growing epidemic of loneliness
* Across age and denomination, 40% say they feel God elsewhere, outside of church.
* 35% say church isn’t relevant to them personally.

The following are just a few of the resources I found (and used) through the larger church we began attending. Churches have countless resources for you to address whatever needs you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Study on Codependency

The Genesis Process (I’m not sure why the pricing on this is so steep. There are any number of churches that offer these Genesis groups and I highly recommend them. If you find a group through a church, I can assure you, it likely won’t cost this much!)

Anger management book

Scriptures we looked at:
1 Corinthians 12:18-27 (this is the extended version)
Proverbs 7:17
Acts 2:42-47

This is the first part of a 2-part discussion. Next week, we’ll examine what a healthy church looks like.

Find us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

email us your questions or comments

Intro and Outro Music: “The Long Road Home” written by Brandy J. Goebel, arrangement by James Swanson, performed by James Page