Ron Edmondson


Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson serves as the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, and has an impressive history of church planting and church growth. A nationally known Christian leader, he was raised in a Christian home and active in his home church, First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tennessee, serving as a lay leader, deacon, Sunday School director, and teacher. After twenty years in business, including time owning an insurance agency and a small manufacturing company, Ron heard God’s call to ministry.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Ron’s strong theological background guides him to teach faithfully from Scripture. Ron identifies himself as a wisdom seeker and a teacher.

Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about

5 Reasons People Aren’t Volunteering at Your Church

Do you need more preschool workers to serve children? Do you need more greeters to greet? Do you need more ushers to… ush?

If so, you’re in familiar territory.

I’ve never met a church that said, “You know… when it comes to volunteers, we’re good. We’ve got plenty. In fact, there’s a waiting list for the nursery.”

Churches everywhere need to mobilize more volunteers to get ministry done. But before you start signing people up and filling slots, it might be helpful to take a look at why people are NOT volunteering.

Here are FIVE REASONS people might not be volunteering at your church.

You’re not asking correctly. It takes more than blurbs in the bulletin and pleas from the pulpit to move people into volunteer positions in your church. If you want people to serve, you’ve got to learn how to ask correctly.

It’s hard to sign up. Signing up has to be simple and immediate. Hidden tables in the lobby don’t work. Remembering to email so-and-so isn’t a good strategy.

It’s not clear. If you want people to do a job, they need to clearly understand the expectations and requirements. Pull back the veil and show people what’s it like before you ask them to get involved.

You’re not saying thanks. People don’t want to toil away in a thankless role. Just because someone’s reward is in heaven doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear “thank you” on earth.

It’s too hard. The super-committed will do whatever it takes, but if you want to mobilize a bunch of people, you need to make it easier. Take care of their kids, provide food, and make sure they have everything they need to succeed. A little planning on the front end goes a long way.

To learn how to build a larger volunteer base, sign up for the FREE ‘Get More Volunteers’ Event.


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


4 Characteristics of a True Friendship

True friendship is rare.

I have had many friends in my life, but finding one that stands the tests of time—that’s hard.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Those kind of friends—are hard to find.

If you have ever gotten in a bind, had a major failure, or somehow lost your way, then you realized just how rare true friendship really is in our lives. The true friends show up at your doorstep ready to help.

To me, the difference in a true friend and one who calls themselves a friend, but is really an acquaintance is fairly easily identified.

Here are 4 characteristics of true friendship:

Unconditional love - A true friend loves at all times. Regardless of what you do, what happens, or where life takes you, a true friend loves at all times. On your worst day—when you aren’t even fun to be around—a true friend still takes you to lunch. (And likely pays.)

Unwavering support – True friends are in it for the long haul. Even when you’ve fallen—or agree with you completely—a true friend is in your corner. When you call—even when you’re in trouble—they come. True friendships may only be for a season. I have many of those. But if we run into each other again we pick up where we left off. Trust is already established. The relationship is just as strong. True friendships are consistent.

Willingness to challenge – Love and support is not ignoring the words you need to here. A true friendship makes you better. The Bible says “iron sharpens iron.” True friends will correct you if needed. Proverbs 27:5 says, “Better an open rebuke than hidden love.” Friends won’t let you injure yourself or others if they can intervene. They won’t remain silent with what you need to hear—and it will be shared in the deepest of love.

Full of grace – True friendship weather the sometime difficulties of relationships, forgiving when needed, and loving each other even when it hurts. A true friendship isn’t one-sided. Both friends are willing to lay down their life for the other. Grace is freely and generously given.

I have a number of friendship I would consider true friendships. Of course, Cheryl and my boys make the list, but there are others. We’ve been through life together. I can’t imagine my life without them.

What makes a true friend in your opinion?


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


10 Tips to Resolve Conflict in a Healthy Way

Where life involves people—whether among family, friends or co-workers—there will be potential for conflict.

Any disagreement there?

Want to fight about it? :)

In fact, if relationships are normal, conflict is inevitable.

But conflict doesn’t have to destroy relationships. It can actually be used to make relationships better. That takes intentionality, practice—and a whole lot of grace.

In an organizational sense, conflict is certainly a huge part of a leader’s life. Even in a pastor’s life.

It seems to reason that learning to deal with conflict successfully should be one of our goal as leaders.

Here are 10 suggestions to effectively handle conflict:

Understand the battle. Make sure you understand the real source of the conflict. Many times we address symptoms, but we really aren’t even addressing with the real issue. That wastes time, frustrates people, and makes the conflict linger longer. It’s usually a heart issue that is controlling everything being said (Proverbs 4:23). Discovering that is key. Make sure you ask lots of questions and attempt to clarify the root issue of the conflict. (This is where third party help is often needed.)

Find the right time and place When emotions are high is not good timing for dealing with conflict. Personal conflict should not be handled in public. Don’t be afraid to schedule a time to address the conflict.

Examine yourself first. Sometimes the issue is personal to you, and you are only blaming others for your problem. That’s not fair, nor does it provide a healthy resolution to conflict. Look carefully at the “plank” in your own eye (Matthew 7:3–5).

Consider the other side of the conflict. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider their viewpoint (Philippians 2:4). Why would they think the way they think? Is it a difference in personal values or a misunderstanding? What if I were in their situation—how would I respond?

Do not overreact to the issue or overload on emotion. Stick to the issue at hand. When emotions are exaggerated it disarms the other party and a healthy resolution is harder to attain. Control yourself from extremity or absolutes. Avoid phrases like “You always…” (Proverbs 25:28).

Do not dance around or sugarcoat the issue or disguise it in false kindness. Sometimes we fail to address the conflict because we are afraid of how the other person may respond or we are afraid of hurting feelings. The avoidance usually will cause more conflict eventually. Be kind, but make sure you are clear, direct, and helpful (Proverbs 27:5).

Do not allow the small disagreements to become big disagreements. The way to keep most huge conflict (the kind that destroys relationships) from occurring is by confronting the small conflict along the way. Minor conflict is always easier to handle than major conflict.

Be firm, but gentle. Learn the balance between the two. It’s critical in dealing with conflict. (Consider Jesus’ approach in John 4.)

Work towards a solution. Never waste conflict. Use it to make the organization and/or the relationship better. Everyone wants a win-win situation, and sometimes that’s possible. Getting to the right decision should always be the ultimate goal (Proverbs 21:3).

Grant forgiveness easily. Healthy conflict makes relationships stronger, but to get there we must not hold a grudge or seek revenge. That never moves conflict forward towards resolution. Learn the art of grace and forgiveness. It’s a keeper of healthy relationships (Ephesians 4:32).

Conflict is a part of relationships. All relationships. As leaders, we shouldn’t shy away from conflict. We should learn it’s value and how to navigate conflict for the overall good of the team.

What would you add?


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


5 Suggestions for Teaching Children Honesty

When our boys were in middle school, we did not allow them to roam the mall on their own without an adult in the building. I know; call us bad parents, but we believed their safety was more important than their coolness with other children.

Once, when our school system was closed because of snow, one of our boys spent the night with another boy his age. He told us they were going to a gym and would be home afterwards, but before he returned home, we received a call from another friend that had seen him at the mall. He was BUSTED! What was worse for him was when he found out that we would have been fine with him going to the mall because the parent was going also. That was a huge lesson for him in honesty. Years later, when this same son had another situation that required honesty, he told the whole truth and nothing but the truths… so help him, God. As an adult now, I would “honestly” say that honesty is one of his best qualities.

Scripture is very clear for the believer about how we are to approach honesty. We are told to “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Honesty is a value, however, that is shared by believers and non-believers. It’s sort of a baseline moral standard of expectation of society. Raising our children to be honest, therefore, is an important part of our parenting.

With that desire in mind, that is the purpose of this post.

5 suggestions to encourage your children to be honest:

Model it – If your children see you being dishonest, even on the telephone with the telemarketer or with your employer as to why you are not going to work, they are learning bad habits. Be honest with your words and your time.

Teach it – The Bible is full of great stories about honesty. Spend time reading and discussing them with your children. A few suggestions are stories such as Joseph and his brothers, Esther and her situation with Haman, and the story of Jacob and Esau. Obviously, you will need to study them first so you can discuss them with your children. Ask questions to see if they understand and what their values are towards the issue of honesty.

Enforce it – There are some issues that should be handled more strongly than others in parenting. Enforcing honesty is one of them. If you allow even little actions of dishonesty to go unchecked, you are building a negative principle into your child’s life that you will one day see again and regret. Of course, the punishment should always fit the age and the severity of the wrong, but the issue of honesty is one area where zero tolerance should be a part of your disciple plan.

Encourage it – Honesty should become an aspired value in your home. Find examples of honesty around you and talk about them with your children. When you see good news of this value being demonstrated, whether in the news, the church, or community, make sure your children are made aware of the positive effects of honesty. Again, ask questions to make sure they understand the importance of being honest.

Reward it – When your children are found being honest, reward them. Our boys were told consistently that if they told us the truth we would respond much differently than if we had to figure out the truth on our own. Make being honest a big deal to them, even something to celebrate.

Working to establish honesty in your children early will help ensure they live honest lives as adults. Even though honesty is a shared value, most of us would agree, our level of trust in others has diminished in recent years. As parents, we play a large role in raising the level of honesty in our society, one family at a time.

What tips do you have for teaching children honesty?


10 Ideas for Raising Children to Become Generous Adults

I have had conflict most of my life between what I think I want and what I really need.

Most people share this conflict with me.

That conflict also appears in our children as well.

We don’t have to teach children to struggle with determining between wants and needs. It’s a natural response to life. And, if they need any help doing so—they can easily learn the struggle from us.

As parents we are the primary shapers of our children’s attitudes towards money, things, and desires. Our children will either be “givers” or “takers” in society, and that will be greatly influenced by the life they live in our home.

How do we raise generous children?

How do we help our children (and ultimately ourselves) be people who genuinely enjoy living sacrificial lives—considering the interest of others—being givers rather than takers as the Bible commands us to do?

Here are 10 tips which we tried to practice in our own home. It has been amazing to watch our boys, now young adults on their own, having developed generous hearts towards others. They are far more generous than I was at their age.

And let me be clear. The fact that they turned out that way is all grace. God has blessed us greatly. But we have been intentional to live out Biblical principles—and we have learned that they work when applied “generously”.

Here are 10 ideas for raising children to be generous adults:

Have fun and be generous parents.

The story is told of Jesus and the disciples attending a wedding. The party had been going for a while when something tragic happened. They ran out of wine. That was a serious problem to the host of the party. It was a huge cultural embarrassment to run out of food or wine. Jesus took some big barrels of water and turned them into the best wine the people had that night. The people were overwhelmed.

The Bible says that was the very first miracle Jesus ever did. As culturally important as weddings were in those days, it still sounds like God met a want, rather than a need.

It is very clear that God is not trying to keep us from having what we want or from having fun in life. God is not opposed to blessing us with things we want, but may not even need. We should not be afraid to do the same with our children. If we can afford to, and if our children are living within the boundaries set for our home, we should not be afraid to give them gifts they simply want, but may not even need. (I thought I would start with an easy one first.)

Help children understand the difference between a need and a want.

It is understandable why it is difficult to raise children who understand the difference between a need and a want when we as parents struggle with the same issues. This will take a lifetime of teaching.

As much as God wants to bless us with wants, if we study the Bible, God seems far more interested in helping fulfill our needs than He does in giving us everything we want. In fact, God never promises to provide our want list, yet He does promise to meet all our needs (Philippians 4:19). Granted there are some that take verses like this out of context and teach that God gives us everything we ask for, but that doesn’t line up with the rest of Scripture.

The problem from a Biblical perspective is that we have a messed up system of determining need versus want. That thing inside us that chooses good over evil, better or best, need versus wants, is broken.

When we apply Biblical understanding, most actual needs go beyond just enjoyment for today or even just for me. For something to fall into the category of need, it should provide some lasting value to society or at least to my own character. Needs, beyond basics such as food and water, become things like righteousness—and love, and joy, and peace, and contentment.

We can even ask ourselves, does this “thing” benefit someone more than just me? Does it add value to someone’s life or to my own character? A true need, in this context, almost becomes something that money cannot buy.

We should consistently invest Biblical principles into our children—helping them understand the things that matter to God. Helping children develop a hunger for things they need—as much as, or even more—than things they want.

Provide needs. Bless with wants.

It is important that parents consider their system of meeting needs versus wants. Of course, that begins with a proper understanding ourselves of needs versus wants.

Consider this question: Which gets more attention in your home?

Does having the latest technology take a bigger role than teaching children to be good citizens and to generously love others?

Does being the best on the traveling soccer or dance team have a higher priority than finding ways to serve others?

Either answer is your choice—you’re the parent, but if a goal is raising future generous adults—you may have to consider some of the places you spend your energies and resources. When it comes to encouraging generosity, consideration should be given to use of time and money.

Our boys never did without basics needs. And by needs here I’m even referring to housing, clothing, food, etc. They had plenty. But there were probably things they wanted that they didn’t have. In how they spent their time, we let them choose what they enjoyed doing, but we also limited the number of outside activities our boys could participate in at one time.

And we looked for opportunities where we could give back to others. We prioritized our time. And we prioritized our “stuff.” We didn’t try to keep up with everyone else in terms of the “toys” they had. Having to wait until a birthday or Christmas for something they really wanted wasn’t unusual to them.

Help children make wise choices with their own money.

One of the primary reasons children should have access to their own money is so they can learn the value of it. Our children were always more careful spending “their” money than they are spending ours.

Talk with them about how they should spend their allowance, birthday, or even money they have earned on their own. Help them learn what the terms budget—and savings—and investment. And tithe is still not a bad word either. Ultimately, they should give some to God, save some, and spend some for things they need or want (based on the system you have for meeting these in your home).

We also freely discussed our own finances in front of our boys. We allowed them to know things like when things were tight financially and when we were giving to others.

Consider the “big picture” of your child’s life.

As a parent, we are a primary molder of our children. The choices they make in life—what they desire most—will largely be impacted by us early in their life. Their desires in life will be greatly shaped by the life they live in our home. (That’s a scary thought—isn’t it?)

I heard a statistic once that children these days get 90% of everything they want in life. That doesn’t seem like the statistic for most of our adult want lists, does it? I can’t verify the statistic, but it sounds about right for most children I know—probably even for our own. The problem this creates is that somewhere children are going to face a stark reality in adulthood—when we seldom have all that we “want.”

We have all heard stories of children of privilege who got everything they wanted in life, but who cannot seem to stay out of trouble as adults. They have no real sense of direction—no set of values to guide them—because they got everything they wanted in life, but nothing that they really needed!

We kept these principles in mind as we parented. We were raising them to be adults. That one thought changed our paradigm many times.

Spend more time, energy, and attention meeting needs than wants.

At Christmas time, birthdays, and other special occasions we ask children what they “want.” There is nothing wrong with that.

Most of the time we already know what they need. We don’t have to ask them if they need to be honest people. We don’t have to ask them if they need to have character, love others, or be generous. We do not need to ask them if they need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We know they need those things.

We need to ask ourselves if we are spending as much time and energy helping them get what they need as we are trying to buy them what they want. Let’s be honest, providing for a want is more fun sometimes. But we must be willing to sacrifice even what makes us feel good as parents in order to do what is best for our children long-term. We need to give them what they need.

It’s much more fun to give them wants, but it is far more valuable to give them needs.

Model healthy personal choices between needs and wants.

I think we teach our children to value the need more than the want by first modeling it for them.

We cannot ask children to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. Children are smarter than that. Today’s generation is far more interested in truth and integrity than earlier generations. This generation despises hypocrisy.

If children see parents saying one thing and doing another, they will reject that as being truth. We need to model and teach our children the proper concepts concerning money. Ultimately teach them that we are to be responsible with what God has allowed us to have. (When we had to use our credit card for purchases, for example, we usually explained to them why and that we would be paying it off quickly.)

Children need to see their parents giving sacrificially of their time and resources. Volunteering at a soup kitchen may be a better activity for an upcoming special occasion than opening a bunch of gifts.

Keep children properly grounded in a material world.

Children need to know that the universe does not revolve around them. Our world as their parents may revolve around them, but the rest of the world thinks otherwise. Children need to have created times in their life where they have to wait for something they want. Teach and model for children a life that puts others needs and wants ahead of their own.

Don’t give children everything; even if you can afford it.

If children are encouraged by example to have a love of money—a love of stuff—chances are they will never have enough possessions in this world to be satisfied. (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10.)

Plant within them a love of God, a love of people and a love of life and they will want to bless others—and the joy of their life will be much greater.

Regardless of how wealthy a family is, children should not be so “privileged” that there are no longer any items on their “want” list. When this happens the child has a hard time developing a heart of giving, because they are often too consumed with acquiring more “stuff.”

We have to model simple living sometimes for our children. IT IS OKAY TO SAY NO TO YOUR CHILD! In fact, that may sometimes be the exact thing we need to say. Every trip to the mall should not produce a new toy! (Okay, I know number 9 hurts!)

Teach and model a love for God.

Above all else, perhaps the greatest thing a parent can do to help children be generous people is to help them desire the things of God more than the things of this world. God is a generous God. The more we know and love Him, the more generous we become.

Parenting is hard. And we all make mistakes. Here’s a prayer your way. Be intentional. We need great parents. We need generous people.


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


25 Life-Giving Statements Jesus Made

I only read one statement of Jesus, but I couldn’t go any further in my reading.

It was a statement I had read hundreds of times before, but this time it hit me differently. Deeper. More impacting.

I love when that happens.

I realized I often take a statement like that from Jesus for granted.

Jesus—the Son of God—said something. Something so profound, so life-giving, and yet it has become so familiar to me that I almost gloss over it when I read.

This time I stopped.

I stopped and thought about the many other truths Jesus shared—often in a single sentence—which are life-changing.

Perhaps some of these will be meaningful to you.

Read through the list—memorize a few of them (you probably already have many of them). But don’t read them as familiar quotes that are usually written in red. Let them soak deep into your heart and mind. Let them add life to you. Be better with truth.

25 life-giving statements Jesus made:

“Take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37)

“Go and learn what this means ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice'” (Matthew 9:13)

“Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2)

“Ask and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7)

“If the Son has set you free you are free indeed” (John 8:36)

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30)

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14)

“Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)

“The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

“Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)

“I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:7)

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

“If you love me you will obey what I command” (John 14:15)

“Your give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37)

“A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit” (Matthew 7:18)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8)

“This people honors me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” (Mark 7:6)

“You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8)

“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink…” (Matthew 6:25)

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do to them” (Matthew 7:12)

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29)

“It is finished.” (John 19:30)

I realize some of these can be misunderstood if out of context, so feel free to read the context of each of them. But the fact is these are things Jesus said.

The Son of God—who is God—said them. Spoke them. Revealed truth to us.

And every word He said has life-changing value.

I wonder, if we really understood the magnitude of these words of Jesus and believed them—if they would change the way we lived our life? The confidence we have? The assurance in which we find hope?

Which of these do you most need to apply to your life today?


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


7 Ways to Better Enjoy Reading the Bible

I’ll never forget the day a young college-aged girl told me recently that she didn’t enjoy reading her Bible and asked if there was an alternative book.

At first, I didn’t know what to say. Then I realized she was very serious.

“Well…no!” I thought, but didn’t say.

The Bible is THE BOOK!

There is no substitute. There are plenty of great Christian books, but none compare to this one.

That wasn’t a new concern. I’ve heard similar concerns many times. The Bible intimidates many people; even those who are avid readers of other books.

I did suggest this girl could listen to the Bible on a CD or mp3. YouVersion will even read the Bible to you. But then I told her I’d give her some more suggestions.

That’s what prompted this post. The reality is I think we need to figure out how to enjoy reading God’s Word. Part of maturing as a believer is to fall in love with the Bible.

Here are 7 suggestions which may help:

Pray – The Bible is not like any other book. You need God’s Spirit to help you understand and process it. You should always pray before and as you read it. Ask God to help you understand what you’re reading—even to help you enjoy it. Good news here! This appears, in my experience, to be one of God’s favorite prayers to answer.

Version – Pick a version easy for you to understand. I would suggest you read a more literal translation primarily, but the paraphrase versions are good for casual reading. I suggest HCSB, NIV, or NLT for a more literal but very readable version; ESV or NKJV if you want a most literal translation; or for a paraphrase version, that’s extremely readable, try The Message Version. I read some of each of these for my studies and casual reading. (I wrote a post on how to select a version HERE.)

Sharing – It brings Scripture to life when we can share it with others. Find a small group. That’s what church is great for at providing. Or find a group of guys or girls at a coffee shop or a couple of people from work. Studying the Scripture with a community helps energize you as you learn. When you talk about what you’re reading, it helps you value it more. (Read Philemon 6 for an example of this.)

Journaling – Writing about your time in God’s Word will help you process your thoughts and keep a record of them. It’s exciting to go back over time and remember what you read before. It fuels your enthusiasm to study even more.

Timing – I love the idea of reading the Bible through in a year. I’ve done this many times. I think it’s more important, however, that you benefit from what you’re reading. I sometimes meditate on a few verses or a story for a day—or a week. I also recommend people start with an easier book to understand and move to more difficult passages from there. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John are good places to start. And find the right setting. A comfortable chair, an open field—morning, noon, or night—what works best for you. And for as long as you can. Don’t put a time limit on it that adds more burden to the experience.

Clarify – It’a best to have a study Bible for this part, but there are plenty of free online tools also. Look up words you don’t understand. Learn to use Bible dictionaries and commentaries. Use the table of contents. No shame. Look up passages which aren’t clear, cross-referencing verses with other similar verses using footnotes. For some people, having a Bible study to work through along with reading the Bible is helpful. And when you aren’t certain, ask someone you trust who understands the Bible.

Relationship – The best way to fall in love with God’s Word is to get to better know it’s Author. It’s cliché now, but read it as a love letter written to you. If someone writes you a love letter, you’ll read it continually until you figure out what it means, and maybe even memorize parts of it along the way. If you can’t figure out something, you’ll consult the author.

The greater your love grows with God, the easier Bible reading becomes—and the more enjoyable. You may even someday say it’s “fun”!

What would you add to my list?


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


7 Suggestions When God is Silent

Elijah had been used of God to hold back rain from the people for over three years, because of their sins. Obviously, he was not well liked as a preacher. I can imagine the stress he experienced during those years.

Something strikes me, however, that seems to further complicate Elijah’s situation.

Consider 1 Kings 18:1:

“After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”

According to a couple New Testament passages, this “After a long time” was actually three and a half years. The famine was three and a half years long. For three and a half years, the people apparently continued to sin, Elijah continued to hold on by faith, but God said nothing. God was apparently inactive… not speaking… even to His great servant Elijah during this time.

Have you ever been there? Has the silence of God in your life ever been eerily strong?

Imagine you had been faithfully serving… God is using you… you are in constant communication with Him… and then suddenly… everything is quiet. You have to wait.

The separation must have seemed unbearable. Elijah is not liked and unpopular. He’s an outcast from the people and the One he trusted most was seemingly absent.

God would soon do a miracle through Elijah… one he couldn’t even imagine… certainly not script, but during this period all Elijah could do was wait.

If you have been follower of Christ very long, you have had periods where it seems God is nowhere to be found. We often call them periods of spiritual dryness. Sometimes I refer to it as being in a spiritual funk.

What should we do during the times of silence, before the miracles of God come through for us?

If you are like me, you can figure out how to celebrate a miracle. You don’t need much help doing that. The tough part of life is figuring out what to do during the years of silence… during the years when miracles are seemingly nowhere to be found.

What do we do during the spiritually dry periods of life when we don’t hear clearly the voice of God?

Here are 7 suggestions for those times:

Don’t ignore the silence – Some of the biggest moves God has made in my life have come after a period of spiritual dryness… when it seemed like God was doing nothing in my life. Stay very close to God and watch for Him to eventually display His power. He will in the fullness of time.

Confront known sin in your life – This wasn’t the problem of silence for Elijah, but the problem for the Israelites was that they were chasing after other gods and living lives in total disobedience to God. Sin may not be the reason you don’t sense closeness to God right now, but if you have known sin in your life it will affect your intimacy with God.

Go back to what you know – Get back to the basics of the faith that saved you. You’ll do it 100s of times in your life, but you must remind yourselves of the basis of faith… which is the very character and promises of God. God is in control. He really is… even when it doesn’t seem that He is anywhere to be found.

Make a decision… Choose sides – You can’t adequately serve God and the world. (Consider Joshua 24:15.) Something happens in life, often sin, busyness, boredom, or a tragedy… but if we are normal, we have periods where we grow away from our close relationship with God. God hasn’t moved, but if you’ve shifted in your obedience, get back securely on the right side.

Trust More… Not less – Times of silence may be filled with fear, but ironically, these times require more faith. Times come in our spiritual life when our enthusiasm isn’t as real as when we began our walk with God. That’s not an indication to quit… it may be that God is using that time for something bigger than you could have imagined… but whatever is next will most likely require a deeper level of trust.

Listen and Watch Closely – Some day God is going to make His plans known to you. Don’t miss them. He may come to your personally, through His Word, circumstances, or another person. You’ll need to be in a position to know that God is moving. (Read THIS POST if you need help discerning God’s will.)

Get ready to receive – God will break the silence some day… and when He does it WILL be good. If you mope around in your sorrows, you’ll be less prepared to receive the good things to come. Not because of your circumstances, but because of your faith, clothe yourself in joy as you wait for God to bless you after the period of silence.

Are you in one of those periods of silence today? How do you handle these periods of time?


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


A Guaranteed Way to Have the Best New Year Ever

Do you want to guarantee your success in the new year?

If you could figure out a way, that’d be worth it, right?

Here’s a Biblical example of how to have the best year ever.

The Lord said to Abram:

Go out from your land,

your relatives,

and your father’s house

to the land that I will show you.

I will make you into a great nation,

I will bless you,

I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,

I will curse those who treat you with contempt,

and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Genesis 12:1–3 (Emphasis mine)

The secret, for lack of a better word, for any success Abraham would ever have would be found in moving from his will to God’s will—allowing God to shake his direction and the outcome of his life.

When the “you” comes after the “I” rather than before, we’ll always guarantee our success.

Here’s a guaranteed strategy for the new year to be a success:

  • Drop your agenda—and join His agenda.
  • Get off your path—and get on His path.
  • Release your ambitions—and embrace His ambitions.
  • Set aside your will—and live His will.

Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


Why Christmas?

But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2 NIV)

Why do we need Christmas? Have you ever thought about that question? Probably not! If the truth be known, you, like me, are just so busy “doing” Christmas, and enjoying it too, that you haven’t stopped to consider the reason for the celebration.

Now, I am not talking about the “reason for the season.” You have no doubt seen and heard that. People have been wearing pins with that on it for two weeks and you know that it is to celebrate the birth of a Savior, but why did He need to be born?

Here’s why (and, please, don’t miss this point this Christmas season): We need Christmas because without it we are going to Hell! Now you’re thinking, “What does Hell have to do with Christmas?”.

Without Christmas, without the baby in a manger, the virgin birth, the shepherds in the field at night, the presents wrapped, the bills to be paid, the parties to attend, the expanded waistline…. Okay… you get the idea… without all the neat things that make Christmas what Christmas is, we would be eternally lost. See, all of us are lost, without hope, because we all have sin in our life. We are born into sin and can do nothing to rid ourselves of the sin habit.

God is Holy, as you know, and so He cannot tolerate any sin. None! He will not hear us through our sin, and so, if we remain in our sin, we remain forever separated from God.

But then there is Christmas, Praise God! Jesus did come on that dark night some 2000 years ago! He came so that through Him we can be saved, completely forgiven of our sins, and enter the presence of a Holy God!

There is a Christmas! We need Christmas! Thank God for Christmas today!


Check out our Christmas Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LuvChristmas.


10 Ways to Overcome a Sense of Christmas Loss

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. As the song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But, for some people, Christmas can be a miserable time. Many have lost a loved one, suffered the end of a significant relationship, or even had a severe personal loss of income or health and Christmas is a just another reminder of what they no longer have. If we aren’t careful, the joy of Christmas is covered over with the emotions of loss, and rather than appreciating what we have or looking forward to what’s to come, we find ourselves in Christmas misery.

In a recent Christmas message, I shared some suggestions for dealing with the emotions of Christmas loss. I consulted with two professional Christian counselors in our church Jennifer Degler and Elizabeth Ellis. With their advice and some of my own, I’m offering some practical ways to overcome that sense of Christmas loss.

Ideally, Christ is the answer (and in the message I make that clear). Apart from Christ there is no Christmas and there is no peace. These are not designed to take the place of that truth, but rather to give some practical things to help you deal with loss at Christmas.

Here are 10 ways to overcome a sense of Christmas loss:

List your losses – Death, divorce, injury, finances… children moved out this year… whatever they are… write them down. I’ve personally found journaling to be helpful. Admit the pain… write them down.

Share them – Certainly with God, but with a close friend or with people who have experienced your loss. Don’t be ashamed to see a professional counselor. Find support in a Bible study group or prayer group. We were designed for community, especially for times like this.

Grieve the loss – Every loss must be grieved. The intensity of the grief may be determined by the intensity of the loss. Some form of depression is a normal response to grief. We’ve almost created a culture where we think suffering is abnormal. Don’t be afraid to grieve… even publicly at times. It’s okay to be human.

Resist falling into despair – That’s where you live in a false reality that all hope is gone. It’s not. By the way, you don’t do that by ignoring them.

Take care of your physical body- Eat well, exercise, and get adequate rest. It’s more important during a sense of loss.

Be aware of negative thinking – Catch the negative thoughts and replace them with thoughts that are positive and true. See Philippians 4:8.

Do something for someone else – There are many opportunities during the holidays to help people. Helping other people reminds us that loss is universal and that other people are struggling with you.

Force yourself to participate in social activities – You won’t feel like it, but social support is critical in recovering from loss. No one benefits by becoming a recluse. In fact, you actually increase the likelihood you will become clinically depressed.

Avoid the comparison game – Don’t compare your losses to other people’s losses. Significant loss naturally makes us focus inward, but that never works. And it’s dangerous.

Honor you losses with new traditions – Begin some new family rituals that will help you reflect on the good things you experienced with the person you have lost or will help you remember happier days to come.

I shared one more suggestion, one I believe is the most powerful of all, in the Christmas message. It’s this: We have to learn to worship in tears. Obviously, Christ is the peace of Christmas, and He can fill your brokenness. You can trust Him. This Christmas, let the Christ of Christmas fill the void and loss you have in your heart and life.

You can find all my messages on my Vimeo page at vimeo.com/ronedmondson. This message is titled Obstacles to Christmas Joy: Loss.


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about


7 Suggestions to Have the Best Christmas Ever

It’s Christmastime again. Seems to come every year about this time. The most wonderful time of the year.

There’ll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There’ll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

(That could almost be a song. Wait a minute—I think it is.)

But, if you’re like many of us, Christmas will be over before you took time to enjoy it. You might even get past Christmas, realize how fast it passed, and so you set some new year’s resolutions to slow down and—maybe—enjoy Christmas more next year.

What if you could do that this year? Why not? Sounds like a good goal to me. Enjoy the celebration of Christmas. The birth of our Savior. Relish the time with family. Savor every moment.

Here are 7 suggestions to make this the best Christmas ever:

Set a limit on expenditures. Something happens when Christmas becomes more about the value of the gifts than the value of the season. More, more, more only produces energy in a direction that can never really be sustained. (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10) Start with a budget. Be realistic. Stop comparing. One problem for many of us is that we are trying to compete with everyone else. Obviously, if you have more money you can spend more money (and less—less). But make it your goal to invest more in people this year than in things you can buy. And don’t feel obligated or pressured to buy gifts you can’t afford for people. It will only be a temporary satisfaction and produce a lot of guilt in the new year when you see those credit card bills start arriving in the mail. (And, usually, the guilt starts as soon as the cashier hands you the receipt or you push the purchase button online.)

Set boundaries in relationships. This is especially true for younger couples and families, but really for most of us. You can feel pressured by extended family and friends to be a dozen different places. Remember, you aren’t responsible for pleasing everyone; in fact—you can’t. It’s impossible. (Some have a harder time with that than others.) Don’t let everyone else determine your Christmas schedule. You may have to have some difficult, but direct, conversations with relatives or friends. Again, be realistic. You can’t be everywhere. There are some places you can’t (or shouldn’t) avoid, but, as much as possible, control your schedule rather than having it controlled by others.

Plan and prioritize your time. This is similar, but also includes how we spend our own time at Christmas. There are usually more demands for our time than time for our demands. Just as you did in creating a money budget, create a time budget. Set aside some time for you to celebrate Christmas as an immediate family—or in a way where you best celebrate. Then build around that time. It’s okay to say no. (Do you need to read that sentence again?) If you don’t, you’ll run out of time before you feel you ever really celebrated. It’s hard, but again, you’re trying to actually celebrate Christmas—the birth of baby Jesus. That’s hard to do when you have lost all control of your time.

Lower your expectations. That you have on others and on yourself. Sometimes we set very unrealistic expectations on what others will buy or how they will respond to what we buy. We look for the “perfect” gift—to give or receive—and our enjoyment of Christmas is based on that search—rather than the real joy of the season. We also set unrealistic expectations on relationships. We watch too many Hallmark Christmas movies where everything works out in the end to the perfect holiday celebration, and when it doesn’t happen at our house quite like that, we get disappointed. Remember, we aren’t characters in a movie. We are characters in real life. Real life is almost never perfect. Learn to enjoy your celebration with all the quirkiness that makes your family unique from every other family. (Because ever family is quirky in some way—in real life.)

Practice health disciplines. Sometimes in the name of “celebrating” we over do it only to have guilt about it later. Don’t overeat or over-indulge. You will occasionally—it’s part of the season—but be reasonable. Keep exercising. Sample rather than eat full portions. You’ll feel better and have fewer regrets after the holidays have ended.

Serve others. Find and establish a Christmas tradition of service. Whether it’s serving at a food kitchen, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, or just picking up trash along the side of the road, you’ll better appreciate Christmas when you serve. The real meaning of Christmas is based around serving others. The baby born at Christmas came to be a servant. The best way to celebrate His birth is to give back expecting nothing in return. You’ll be the bigger recipient when you do.

Remember the reason for the season. Yeah, I saved the best and most important for last. On purpose. It’s simple—even cliché. But it’s true and it’s powerful—if you do it genuinely. In the midst of the madness, rediscover the miracle of Christmas. A Savior—who is Christ the Lord—has been born to you. Establish a tradition that helps you best identify with the true meaning of Christmas. You could take time to explore a character of the Christmas story you’ve not considered previously. Research elements of the setting and culture. Read the major passages in Matthew and Luke repeatedly through the season. Listen to only Christmas music. Attend special Christmas services. Whatever works for you. Be intentional to practice celebrating the real joy of Christmas.

Not all of these will apply to everyone, but my guess is if there are a couple here you need to work on—to better celebrate Christmas—you already knew it. As we begin the rush of the Christmas season, pause right now, take a few deep breaths, and let’s make this the best Christmas ever. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.


Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about