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 Things to Do AFTER the Crisis

I have been writing about the times of crisis—especially from the viewpoint of leadership. My hope is that if you are in crisis-mode right now, you are beginning to see the end of the tunnel. I pray God brings you through this time quickly.

You’ll want to read the first two posts HERE and HERE.

It’s important to know what to do AFTER the time of crisis has passed. Many of us miss these important steps.

Here are 5 things to do AFTER a time of crisis:

Rejoice. Be thankful the crisis is over and a time of peace has come. I have many times prayed fervently during the hard times, but forsaken my “God-time” when everything is going well. Don’t follow my example in this.

Share. The Bible is clear that we are to use our struggles to help others in theirs. Often because of fear or embarrassment, we don’t allow people to see our past hurts. This denies God the opportunity to use the experiences He has given us for His glory. (Read 2 Corinthians 1:3–7.)

Prepare. If you have lived long enough, you know that seasons of crisis come many times in life. During the quiet times—when all is going reasonably well—is when we should be preparing for harder times.

Rest. To borrow from the Cheers theme song, “Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.” Many people never enjoy the peaceful times because they are too paranoid about the next crisis that may or may not even occur. We should prepare for times of trouble, but we should never live in a state of worry. Worry is a sin. And it’s never helpful. After a crisis, rest. Recover. Rejuvenate.

Grow. I have grown spiritually more during the hard times than in the easy times of my life. Crisis-mode teaches us valuable insight into the character and heart of God. Use the down times to evaluate your relationship with God, your life, and see how the two connect. Work on the places you are out of sync with God’s will for your life. Work on your skills as a leader. Become a better person. Some of the strongest character is developed only through times of crisis.

It would be nice if you never needed these posts. My sense is, if your life is anything like mine, that some of you will. Maybe even today. I’m praying for you if this is your current situation.


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


5 Things TO DO in Times of Crisis

In my last post I shared 5 things not to do in times of crisis. I am writing this with the leader in mind, but I suspect they may be life applicable regardless of the crisis.

As stated, I began with the negative because in my experience that’s where most people begin when crisis occurs. (Read: 5 Things NOT To Do In Times of Crisis) We often tend to run in the opposite direction from where we should run. Some of the worst decisions I have observed people make (including me) are during the crisis-mode times of life.

Obviously, knowing what to do in these times is equally important. How you respond and what you do will greatly determine future realities after the crisis has subsided.

Here are 5 things TO DO in times of crisis:

Stay. I love Seth Godin’s book The Dip, where he explains how important it is to know when to quit, and that time may come. The beginning of the crisis is not the time. Until you have been able to evaluate the crisis from every angle and you clearly know there is no way out, stay the course. Godin’s book also talks about how those who succeed learn to push through the hard times. Stay in it long enough to know which time it is for you. I share this from very hard personal experience. We sold a business—walking away simply to start over—and looking back, we may have recovered had we suffered through it a little longer.

Stand. Stick to your moral convictions and the vision you have for your life. Don’t allow the crisis to keep you from doing the right things, even if those choices seem to be the quickest solutions. Stand with the moral and personal convictions you had before the crisis began. You’ll be glad you did when the crisis is no longer a crisis.

Glean. Learn from others who have gone through similar crises. Someone else’s past situation may not be identical to yours, but the emotional and decision-making process they went through probably will be. Most people after a crisis can tell you things they wish they had done differently. And most leaders who have led for any significant period of time have either endured through a crisis or, even if they failed miserably, learned valuable lessons they would do for the next crisis.

Examine. I said in my last post not to do this immediately. We tend as leaders to quickly want to blame someone—mostly ourselves. This is never a helpful process initially, but at some point you’ll need to ascertain how you got in the crisis in the first place. If it was a matter of bad decisions, how can you keep from making those same mistakes again? If you keep finding yourself in the same crisis, shouldn’t that tell you something? Sometimes the answer will simply be because we live in a messed-up world or things were out of our control. Don’t be afraid of that answer, but don’t default to it either. We all make mistakes and we have to own them.

Learn. Allow every crisis to teach you something about God, yourself, and others. If you have this ambition and mindset you will be surprised how different your approach to suffering through it and dealing with it emotionally will be. God is always willing to use the hard times to teach us important principles about life, ourselves, and ultimately about Him.

I’ve got one more list to come about the times of crisis. And It’s the one all of us in crisis want to get to eventually. Next post I will share 5 things to do after a crisis.


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


5 Things NOT to Do in Times of Crisis

In my profession, I encounter a lot of people in crisis. Since this is mostly a leadership blog, I tend to think of leaders I know who are currently or have been in crisis. They may be a personal crisis or within a group or organization in which you lead, but the way you respond will almost always determine the quality of recovery from the crisis.

For the next few posts, I want to address this issue with some thoughts on how to respond during these times of crisis in life.

If you don’t need them now, store them away for future reference. In a fallen world, working with people, times of crisis are sure to come.

I will start with the negative, because typically we begin there when crisis comes. This post will be followed by some ideas of what you should do and then finally, I’ll share some thoughts on what to do after the crisis period has subsided.

Here are 5 things NOT to do in times of crisis:

Panic. The word panic means “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior” (Dictionary.com) If you panic when crisis occurs you’ll almost always make bad decisions and cause yourself more pain. Calm down, come to your senses, and think and pray so you can make wise decisions.

Quit. When I was in a business that was struggling, the worst reaction to my situation, which was the one I chose most often, was to run from the problem. I would disappear for hours. Looking back, it never solved anything. Reflecting on those days I wish I had stayed the course, because when I gave up, so did those I was supposed to be leading.

Blame. This includes kicking yourself for being in the crisis. Figuring out who is at fault when you are in crisis-mode is probably not as important as figuring out what to do next. There will be time to analyze later—and that should happen—but don’t become paralyzed with it now.

Refuse Help. I have learned by experience—sometimes when God is allowing a crisis to occur, He is also stirring people to intercede on behalf of the suffering. It’s amazing how it happens. He may have prepared someone else, through their own season of crisis, intentionally so they can help others—people like you. Don’t deny someone their opportunity to be obedient to what God calls them to do, even if it means swallowing your pride, raising the white flag of surrender, and letting them help.

Deny God. People (including pastors and leaders) either run towards God or away from God in times of crisis. You can probably figure out which option works best. This is a time to pray like never before and learn to fully rely on God. He’s never taken off guard or by surprise. He always has a plan. It’s always good. Lean into Him.

In my next post, I’ll share 5 things TO DO in times of crisis.


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


7 of the Greatest Needs of a Husband

I  previously shared 7 of the greatest needs of a wife, based on personal observation and experience working with married couples.

Today I continue with the man’s side of the needs.

Here are 7 of the greatest needs of a man.

Respect – This is number one! I would even be emphatic and say every time. In my experience, men are using a different word that means this if they say it isn’t! Ephesians 5:33 says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God knew what He was talking about. Men want to know that they are respected by their wives above every other person. Every man feels this internal pressure to excel. We need to be successful at least one place in our life. If we can’t feel that respect in our home, we will find that somewhere else.

Ladies, you want your husband to love you unconditionally. Are you willing to respect him unconditionally? You probably aren’t always extremely “lovable.” (I can say that through my blog where I’d be afraid to say it in person—but you know it’s true.) He’s probably not always respectable. Do you want to be loved any less when you aren’t at your “best”? Neither does he in the area of respect.

Admiration – Men want to be desirable to their wives. That’s physically, but in other ways too. Are we strong enough—masculine enough for you? Do we meet all your expectations in a man? If our wife is always commenting on the sexier man in the movies or the more successful man in the world, we certainly will not feel admired. As an example, if a family struggles financially and the wife complains about it all the time, the man hears that as “I’m not good enough.” The greatest assurance of the fact that we have “what it takes” comes from our wives. Men who don’t sense this will often quit trying.

Ladies, if your husband’s success was proportional to your admiration of him—and the communication of that admiration—how successful will he be?

Peace and Tranquility — I get in trouble with this one, but men want their home to be a place to prepare for the world—they want to be able to relax. Men, that is never an excuse for laziness! (Laziness is a sin by the way.) I know this can be an ouch statement, but men want their wives to be their wife, and not their mother! Plus, and this is so important to understand, nagging never accomplishes what the wife hopes it will. It may get done what you wanted done, but not with the heart or attitude you hoped to go with the action. (If you are raising boys, remember this!)

Ladies, is your home a place of peace and tranquility? Someone said the wife/mother is the thermostat of the home? If that’s true, how comfortable are we living?

Commitment – Yes, men want this too! They want to know they are number one with you. Men don’t want to see their wife looking at other men or hear them commenting on how wonderful another man may be. They want to know you are faithful only to them. (Can you women tell we have shallow and fragile egos?)

Ladies, does your husband know he’s number one to you—that no man could ever take his place?

Acceptance/Participation – Husbands aren’t really looking for a wife who will try to change them. Granted many men need changing, but the Biblical way to do this is through prayer and modeling change for us. Men also want our wives to appreciate our hobbies and interests, since it is so much a part of who we are as men. You don’t have to love golf, but to know that the lower score is the better is a great plus when we come home after a good game. He’ll need to brag to someone. He’s hoping that someone is you.

Ladies, would your husband say you’re his biggest fan?

Be able to lead – Most men want to lead in their home, but don’t really know how. The wife should allow her husband to make some mistakes and not criticize us when we can’t do something as well as you can (which we know is many things!). If we take the effort to fix the bed, don’t go behind us and straighten the comforter (or at least don’t let us see you doing it). If we find we can’t compete in an area, we just quit trying. Applaud what we do right, and we’ll try harder to please. We really do want to succeed!

Ladies, are you allowing your husband to sense your satisfaction in his abilities to lead? If you want him to lead, ask yourself, are you willing to follow if he does?

An emotional release – I saved the hardest for last. Most men do not know how to function in a highly emotional context. So, when our wives are upset, we panic. We move into a “fixing” mode, which is usually counter-productive. When you are emotionally upset, for whatever reason, and you know it isn’t his fault, it’s helpful if you can just let him know the two of you are okay, he didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, it’s not his fault, and there is nothing he needs to do to fix it.

Ladies, does your husband ever feel responsible for your emotions that are completely out of his control?

Men, that is my list. What would you add?


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


7 of the Greatest Needs of a Wife

In my years of counseling and ministering to married couples, mostly in distress, I have learned some principles that run fairly consistent within each marriage. Couples really are not that different from each other. There are common needs most men and women bring to a marriage in order to make the marriage the best it can be. We may use different terms, but the needs remain relatively similar from marriage to marriage. While this is based on my observations they seem to resonate with many couples.

I’ve also learned that understanding the needs is the first step in addressing them. We only know what we know. Here’s to a better understanding of each other’s needs. Be sure to read the husband’s greatest list HERE.

Here are 7 of the greatest needs of a wife:

LoveEphesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” How did Christ love the church? 1 John 3:16 “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

Men, do you love your wife above everything else in your life (apart from your Christ relationship), including your work, your hobbies, your friends, family, and even the children? And, more importantly, do your actions prove your words?

Attention – Wives want to be listened to (even when the television is on) and know that we believe what they have to say is important. Our wives would prefer to talk with us over other women, even though another woman might better understand.

Men, are you truly listening to what your wife is saying? Again, do your actions prove this?

Protection – Wives want their husbands to be the defender of the family; not just against the strange sounds in the night, but against all the threats in society. They want us to take the ownership in leading our family spiritually and in teaching our kids how to defend themselves and stay strong in an evil world.

Men, are you working to protect your family—from all threats?

Security/Commitment – The wife wants to know you are going to be there forever. Wives often see their visually stimulated husbands looking at other women. Does she know you won’t cheat on her? Are you going to be faithful always?

Men, can she trust you? Do your actions build that confidence?

Appreciation/Value – Wives want to be valued for who they are as much as for what they do. Wives want to know we see them with value beyond just what she does to keep the household running. Is she more important than the stuff she does? Is she still beautiful?

Men, do you regular tell her what you admire about her? Do you genuinely compliment her—not just what she does?

Compassion – The Bible refers to women as the “weaker vessels.” Of course this doesn’t mean they are less than men, but that men and women are different. Women are going to respond differently to situations. They may cry easier, take longer to resolve things emotionally, feel tired quicker. Also, wives want a little romance in the marriage. (For most of us, if we’ve been married over a week they already know that’s not going to happen with you.) We can all, however, be kind, loving, and occasionally romantic. We usually get good credit here just for honestly trying.

Men, do you understand that your wife is not wired like you? Are you patient with her, allowing her to process things differently than you? Are you still attempting to be romantic at times—pursuing your wife—like you did before you were married?

Partnership – Wives don’t want to do life alone. They want their husband’s participation in raising the kids, making decisions around the house, and, yes, sometimes even picking out paint colors. They want someone to do life with them, not live two separate lives in the same household.

Men, would your wife say you are truly her partner? Are the two of you becoming one more everyday?

Ladies, that’s my list. Again, it’s from personal observation. What would you add to the list?


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


A 4-Step, Simple Strategy to Destroy Your Stress

Are you ever stressed?

Silly question, right?

We can never remove all the issues of our life that bring us stress. We have to somehow learn to navigate our lives through stress.

I have some easy suggestions. I have shared this strategy so many times. I hope you find it helpful.

Let me warn you: This isn’t some deep, researched system. These are simple. But, in my experience, they are powerful suggestions.

Here are 4 steps to a less stressed life:

Get a set of index cards. Write on each one what you are most concerned about in life right now. Only one concern per card, but use as many cards as necessary. Everything you’re concerned about—worried about, if that’s your word—goes on a card.

There is something cleansing about writing out your concerns. It is a therapeutic exercise. (Insider information—you’ll find some of the things don’t merit a card once you have to write them.)

Place cards. After you’ve completed your cards, lay them face up on a table in front of you. This is a bare-your-soul moment. Now, share them with God. He knows them already—better than you—but do it anyway. It is freeing to give your recorded burdens to your Creator.

Pray. Pray something like this: “God, this is what I have before me which I can’t handle. I’m asking You as my Father, who loves me more than I can imagine, to give me direction, success, wisdom, patience, and understanding in every area of my life. Lead me along the path you would have for me. I’m trusting completely in you. If this season is a success in my life, it will depend on You. I love You Lord. In Jesus name, Amen”.

Do the best you know how to do. And then leave the rest in God’s hands.

Please understand this is not a formula for success. I don’t believe those exist.

And this isn’t simple. I used the word simple earlier, but that was just to keep you reading. There’s nothing simple about walking away from your right to control your outcome and leaving things in God’s hands. Even though we ultimately have very little control over the way things turn out in our life—we still naturally want to try. Worry often comes easier than faith.

Also, understand God is certainly not defined by our prayers. God will do what is best for us and His will—even when that disagrees with what we think we want.

This “system” is, however, Biblical—in my opinion. I based it on Hezekiah’s actions in response to receiving a letter that threatened his entire kingdom. (Talk about stress.) Read that story again in 2 Kings 19:14–19.

I have tried this numerous times, and God always responds to my humble attempt to surrender my fears, stress, and concerns to Him.

Sometimes this response has relieved me of my stress. Most of the time, however, this process helps me refocus and feel a sense of calm among my circumstances knowing my God is ultimately in control.

Try this and see what happens.


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


7 of the Most Dangerous Church Cultures

I was talking with a couple of pastors recently about leading in church revitalization and growth. Both of these pastors are seasoned church leaders—having far more experience in total than I have in vocational ministry.

Mostly, I listened to their stories. Both are currently in difficult pastorates. One of them serves in a church that has a history of very short-term pastorates. The other is in a church that has seen a roller coaster trend in church attendance—every time they get in a season of growth, it’s followed by a season of decline—sometimes rapid decline.

Frankly, I prefer to have conversations about opportunities and possibilities than about challenges and frustrations. But get a few pastors in the room, and there will be some war stories. Leading towards health in a church can be a battle sometimes.

Just like it’s been said numerous times—leading people is easy if it wasn’t for the people.

I tried to encourage them in their call and offered a few suggestions for them in their current situations. But the conversation stayed on my mind for days afterwards.

A few days after this conversation, I was talking with another pastor friend reflecting on what I had heard in the previous conversation. I didn’t share names or specific situations, but it led us to a discussion about church cultures.

Every church has its own culture.

Both of the pastors in the original conversation just seemed to find themselves in some very bad church cultures.

I’ve seen lots of different cultures while consulting and working with churches for over a decade.

Regardless of what some believe—there are some healthy churches.

And there are some who are not so healthy.

It always breaks my heart to encounter a church that is ready to implode. Frankly, some churches live in that tension continually. Some cultures are dangerous—toxic even.

Why do some churches seem to have such a hard time keeping church staff for any significant length of time? It usually has something to do with the culture of the church.

Why are some churches more resistant to change than others? It will almost always reflects back to the culture of the church.

Why do some churches have a history of church splits? Culture.

This friend in the second conversation said to me, “There’s a blog post for you. You need to talk about some of those dangerous cultures.”

Sadly, according to numerous statistics, more churches are in decline or have plateaued than are growing. Certainly, not all growing churches are healthy. I would never define a “healthy” church exclusively as growing church. I do believe, however, most healthy churches will eventually grow.

Some of that health in a church depends on the culture of the church. How do people respond to church leadership? How do they respond to each other? How do they react to change? How are decisions made? What upsets people most? What is the atmosphere—the mood—of the church during the week and on Sunday? How does the church treat vocational staff?

All those are usually relative to and indicative of church culture.

So, I decided to post about some of the more dangerous church cultures I have observed. Most likely you’ll have some of your own to share.

Here are 7 of the most dangerous church cultures:

Selfish – Some churches are filled with people who just think they have to have it their way. And they fold their hands—and sometimes hold their money—until they get it.

Prideful – This is a culture that is proud of their heritage—which is a good thing—but is resting on their laurels. They refuse to realize it’s no longer the “good ole days.” Their pride in the past keeps them from embracing the future. They resist any ideas that are different from the way things have always been done.  

Rigid – A rigid culture would never kill something—even if it isn’t working. These churches do tradition well. They don’t do change well. Try to change—and it’ll be the death of you.

Cliquish – I’ve heard this from so many people who felt they just couldn’t break into the already established groups within the church. In this culture, it takes years for people to feel included, find a place of service, or begin to lose the “new person” label.

Bullying – Sometimes this is disguised and called church discipline, but in some of the stories I’ve heard I would tend to call it legalistic. If it’s a “one strike you’re out” culture or people are made to feel they can’t be real about their struggles for fear of retribution—the picture of grace that Christ died on the cross to provide is diminished. People are encouraged to put on masks to hide their struggles.

Stingy – In this culture, there is a greater concern that the balance sheet look attractive than meeting the needs that God brings their way. This church rarely walks by faith because that seems too irresponsible.

Depraved – This one may in some ways be a summary of the previous six—because there is sin in all of these cultures—but I wanted to expose it on its own. If the Bible is left in the rack attached to the pew and no longer the foundation guide for the church—the culture will obviously suffer. Church culture can begin to decay whenever the focus is more on things like money, programs, buildings, even worship style—as good as all of those can be—rather than on living our lives as children of God for the glory of God. Whatever distracts us from the very core of the church—our Gospel mission and calling—will injure our church culture.

Those are from my observations.

What dangerous cultures have you seen?

I should mention again—especially to those outside the church, those who have experienced pain from these type churches, or those entering into the ministry in whom I may have raised caution—there are healthy churches. There are healthy church cultures. There are no perfect churches, but there are some who have staff with long tenures, where change is manageable, and where people truly live out the Biblical model of church.

And as someone who loves the local church, that’s where I hope to lend help through this blog in the majority of posts I share.

In a future post I will try to expand on some thoughts and experience I have in helping to change church cultures.


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


7 Ways to Make Bad Decisions

I’ve made lots of bad decisions in my life. That includes my time in leadership—both in business and ministry, but I’ve also made plenty of bad decisions in family and personal situations. None of us set out to make bad decisions, but sometimes the way we make them can significantly increase or decrease the chance the quality of our decisions.

Granted, I’ve learned from every bad decision I’ve made. And I’ve even repeated a few of them a few times—and still learned something. But, as much as I can, I want to make better decisions—the first time.

In my experience, there are a few common factors that lead to me making a bad decision.

Here are 7 ways to make bad decisions:

Make them too fast – I’ve learned that haste does indeed make waste. I make lots of decisions each day. I would be a poor leader if I couldn’t make most of them quickly. I’d always be stalled from my potential. When the potential outcome is significant, however, the more time I can give to it the less likely I am to make a mistake—certainly the ones that could have been avoided with more thought. Learning when to wait, seek God, the counsel of others, and for better personal discernment is part of maturing, but can help us avoid some of the more costly bad decisions.

Make them too slow – Equally true, there are times when a fast decision is easy; even prudent. If I know the right answer—if it has a Biblical basis, for example, or my conscience is clearly convicted—but it is simply hard to implement, I’ve learned that waiting seldom makes the decision easier and often only complicates the process. I’m more likely to make a bad decision the longer I wait.

Make them to keep people happy – The right decision is seldom the popular decision. People pleasing as a decision motivator rarely accomplishes matters of worth. It often makes the worst decision of the options available.

Make them when angry – I don’t know about you, but I don’t think clearly when my emotions get in the way. If I’m angry—or emotional in any other way—I tend to overreact or under react. Emotionally based decisions, especially immediate decisions, are often ones I tend to regret later.

Make them alone – “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22) A part of leadership involves standing alone at times, but rarely are we really alone. We should always walk in the counsel of God’s Spirit, and, in my experience, even when I have to make the decision seemingly alone—if I’m making wise decisions—it’s not really that I’m alone. I’m just ahead of where others know we need to go, but haven’t yet been willing to go. Building a collaborative environment as much as possible helps me avoid bad decisions.

Make them reactionary – Ultimately we want to work from a plan. We want to make decisions before the decision is needed. We want proactive decision-making. That’s obviously not always possible, but in my experience, I’m more likely to make a bad decision when I’m reacting to a situation, rather than having thought about the scenario and my response beforehand.

Make them out of fear – We are called to walk by faith, yet fear is often a more powerful initiator. But I’ve learned, when I decide because I’m afraid to—or not to—do something, I almost always make a mistake. Following my faith gut, even when afraid, is part of leadership. And part of life.

I’m sure there are many other ways to make a bad decision. These are some of my personal examples.

Which of these get in your way the most in making good decisions?

What are some ways you end up making bad decisions?


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


5 Reasons God Might Put Someone in a Miserable Environment

I have the opportunity to speak to dozens of pastors each month. It’s one of my favorite things to do in leadership. Often I will share parts of the conversations I have with my wife Cheryl. She’s a great sounding board and always helps me form a more relational context around the situation.

Recently, I was discussing a young pastor who is in a difficult church environment. He is a mid-level staff member and feels God may be opening the door to another opportunity. The problem is—from my perspective—he may be entering another difficult church environment. I said to Cheryl, “It could be miserable for a while.”

Cheryl knew all the principles I’m about to share, but they didn’t resonate before her immediate response.

Cheryl asked, “Would God really call someone into a miserable environment?”

Well, of course, He might. Consider Jonah. What about Elijah? Ever heard of Nehemiah or Noah or Daniel or David or Paul?

Here are 5 reasons God might send someone into a miserable environment:

The Gospel is needed. That’s why Jonah was being sent. People needed to know the Living God. They weren’t yet seeking. They were very wicked people. That’s why Jonah didn’t want to go. But God was seeking them. He wanted to use Jonah to reach them.

People need renewed hope. And that’s a Gospel issue, too. Imagine the “atmosphere” among the Israelites when Moses showed up to offer deliverance. They were frustrated, scared, oppressed, lonely from lack of interaction with God. But Moses was being used as the deliverer from suffering into a renewed hope.

To show people a better way. It was probably a tense moment when Peter first arrived to the brothers after his time with Cornelius. Good disciples didn’t hang out with uncircumcised men like him. But Jesus had brought a new message—one of grace—not one of rules. Peter was a messenger of grace.

We learn to trust more. We develop more in environments of tension. Abram left all that he knew to go to a strange land. He went without a good plan—certainly not one he could see very far ahead. That must have been miserable. Yet, God was using Abram to become Abraham—father and example of our faith. Faith is always going where you cannot see. Without Genesis 12, Abraham would have never been ready for Genesis 22.

God gets the glory. Who gets the glory when the credit goes to us? But when we are in a miserable environment—and God shows up—who gets the glory? Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery. He was eventually thrown into a prison cell. Miserable existence for someone who had tried to do the right thing. Yet, God raised Joseph to a seat of honor. Who gets the glory in that story?

I’m sure there are many other reasons God would send someone into a miserable environment. I should be clear, it’s not at all that God loves to see His people miserable. That would be absolutely contrary to everything else we know about the character of God. I do believe, however, that God is very purposeful to work things for good. And sometimes the best good comes from the most miserable—when the power of God is at work.

His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)


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


4 Important Principles You Need to Learn from the Book of Esther

I love the story of Esther. If you haven’t read it lately, you can do so HERE.

Here are the four principles I’ve observed from the story of Esther.

1. God has a special plan for your life.

Esther was placed in a royal position, not by chance, but for a purpose.

Reminds me of one of my favorite verses. Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plan’s his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

God didn’t make a mistake where He has you today. I think we spend too long in our life trying to figure out where God wants us to be or wishing we were somewhere else, instead of just allowing God to do something with our life where we are, while waiting for more to come.

2. Sometimes you will have to go against common sense, against what others advise, even against what you want to do in order to follow God’s plan.

Esther would have to approach the king, though she didn’t have permission. This could have meant certain and sudden death for her, since it was even against the law to approach the king. Esther’s response: “If I perish, I perish!”

Sometimes God’s will makes perfect sense, as you examine your experience. (I wrote about that HERE.) That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be required to take risks for God. The best things in life often come with the greatest risks. The degree of difficulty is not an indication that God is not in it. In fact, the opposite would be closer to truth.

3. The time to follow God’s plan is now.

I find Esther 4:14 interesting:

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

We mostly consider that last part of the verse, but notice the “Who knows?” It’s a question. They weren’t sure. They knew she was in the position as queen. She had opportunity to see the king. They knew God wanted to save the people. They knew for whatever reason Esther had been made aware of the plan. But did they know for sure that’s what Esther was supposed to do? Apparently not! They went without being 100% certain. Who knows?

There will be times in your life when you’ve gathered all the information you can, you’ve prayed as well as you know how, you’ve sought Godly counsel; whatever you are doing is not sinful… but there is something inside of you that’s still not sure. You can sleep on it. That’s something I always do. Esther waited 3 days, but at some point you just have to muster the courage to move forward. Without all the answers, are you ready to step out and walk by faith? Don’t be afraid to allow God to determine the outcome.

4. Trusting in God completely brings great rewards.

In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them. (Esther 8:17)

Esther saved a nation. Her obedience saved God’s people from destruction! The reward for obedience was even better than expected. Esther went before the king prepared for the worst case scenario… she got the very best! Many people became followers of God! The people were inspired by the faith of one woman and one man that everything changed in that nation.

It will always prove profitable in the long run to obey God. When others see us living in radical obedience—obedience that makes no sense—they’ll want some of what we have. The world around you is looking for answers, trying to figure out how to make life work. We may not have all the answers, but we know about a God who does.

When was the last time you asked, God what do You want to do through my life? Are you ready to walk by faith?


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


7 Words of Wisdom for Navigating through the Disappointments of Life

I have the opportunity to sit with many people who are experiencing disappointment in life. Many times, even when we are doing the best we know how, we find ourselves disappointed with where we find ourselves in life at the time.

Life happens. It could be tragedy or a minor set back, but it hurts. Pain is always relative to context. And if we don’t know how to respond we can have a very hard time recovering.

Having faced disappointment many times in my own life, I’ve learned a few things about navigating through these times. I hope some of my wisdom gleaned through experience can help you.

Here are 7 pieces of wisdom for the disappointments of life:

Keep your heart close to God. That’s important always, but especially during times of disappointment. The Psalmist said, “God is close to the brokenhearted.” God is most likely at work in ways you cannot presently see or understand. Often disappointment ushers in some of the greatest seasons of God for your life. Don’t miss it by not listening to Him.

Wait for your emotions to heal before you make major decisions. Recall how the prophet Elijah was ready to die during a difficult period (1 Kings 19). Yet God still had great plans for his life and ministry. We tend to make irrational decisions immediately following times of disappointment. Let some time pass and make sure you are thinking rational again before you implement major changes in your life.

Don’t quit doing what you know to do. While you shouldn’t make major changes, an equally dangerous tendency to give up or stall until the next opportunity arrives or life gets “easier.” You may need a resting period, but keep your mind and hands busy doing what there is to do today. It will help protect your heart and mind from the attack of fears and doubts. And do things that keep you alive and healthy. Eat, sleep, exercise.

Don’t allow a disappointment to determine your sense of self-worth. Read many of David’s psalms (22, 69, and 121 are a few of my favorites.) You can read his despair—then as He reminds himself of God’s love and faithfulness—he is restored. Be restored in who you are as a child of God. Beloved. Let God and the people who know you best help determine your worth. It’s monumental worth. Yes, even today! You don’t have to be defined by your disappointment. 

(And be on the lookout for signs of severe depression. Things like withdrawal, constant feelings of despair, severe worry, not eating, dark fears or thoughts, etc. Don’t resist professional help.)

Remember, you are not alone. Even though it may feel that way. Back to the story of Elijah, he couldn’t see it at the time, but God had reserved an army of supporters for him. Disappointments are a part of everyone’s experience. There is likely someone who has experienced the same type disappointment. Don’t be afraid to find them and let them walk through this period with you. (This is not a time to remove yourself from the church community—this is a time to find real, life-giving community.)

Learn everything you can from this period. No one welcomes disappointment, yet most who have experienced them learn some of life’s best lessons during those times. Even failure can be a great teacher. Don’t miss the value of experience.

Move forward when opportunity presents itself. Too many people become paralyzed after a period of disappointment, refusing to ever move forward again. Living an abundant life requires risk-taking. Dreaming again. Loving again. Ultimately, to be obedient to God’s call on your life, you will have to walk by faith again. If you ever hope to escape the moment of disappointment—when the time is right—and you’ve grieved your loss or disappointment sufficiently—get on with life.

Learning how to handle disappointments will make your life better. Eventually, God will—if you allow Him to—grant you the privilege of helping others who experience disappointment.

What wisdom have you gleaned from times of disappointment?


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


7 Ways to Tell if This is a “God Thing”

And without faith it is impossible to please God… Hebrews 11:6

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. 2 Chronicles 20:12

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Corinthians 1:27

God calls people to seemingly impossible tasks. It gives Him glory when I can’t do something, but He can. I can do “all things through Christ who strengthen me,” but often what He calls me to do can seem foolish to attempt (at least to others—and sometimes me) at the time. Imagine what the friends of Abraham, Moses, and Noah must have thought when God called them to what appeared to be impossible assignments. God calls people to walk by faith into the unknown.

If you know God has called you to something, don’t be dismayed if others can’t quickly identify with your calling. In my experience, God is often raising up others with the same heartbeat, but you can’t always see them at the time; so there may be periods when you have to stand alone on God’s calling. That may be for a season, but at times it could be for years. (Consider the case of Noah.)

With that in mind, what are some indicators what you are experiencing might just be of God.

Here are 7 ways to tell it may be a God thing:

  • Everyone says it can’t be done. There’s no way. It’s never been done before.
  • You feel you aren’t qualified. You don’t have what it takes. You’re scared. Overwhelmed. Under-prepared.
  • There aren’t enough resources available. Not enough money. Not enough people (or so it seems). You don’t have the building, or the location or the perfectly mapped-out strategy.
  • It makes no rational sense. Seriously, who in their right mind would do this?
  • People are questioning your intelligence. Or asking if you are “sure you know what you are doing.”
  • Accomplishing it would give God all the glory. There would be no other explanation.
  • It honors God and is true to His Word.

I’m not saying this post confirms what you are attempting is from God. It might. It might not.

What I am saying is that you should not dismiss the call you believe God has placed on your life because it doesn’t make sense to others around you—or to yourself at times. God things seldom do. Read a few Bible stories if you need some inspiration—or confirmation of what I’m saying.

Are you in the midst of a God-calling?

Has God called you to things which made no sense at the time?

What would you add to my list?


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