Ron Edmondson

  • The Biggest Mistake of My Life

    One of our boys has always been such a deep thinker. When he was 3 years old, watching a movie with him was a chore because he would analyze every aspect of the plot. We would try to explain to him it was only a cartoon without a ton of hidden meaning, but it was never enough. Even today he’s the analyzer of life. He asks the deep questions.

    Personally, he takes after me (although he’s more fluent at it than I am). I’m a questioner too… and believe it’s been a help to me in life, ministry, and leadership. The best questions get the best answers.

    So it was not surprising when one day, when he was an early teenager, seemingly out of nowhere, Nate asked, Daddy, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in your life?”

    I didn’t have to think long. We had owned a very successful, fast-growing business. We stood to make lots of money in the years ahead, and we sold that business to buy another. It was devastating. If it could go wrong it did. Although it’s a very long story and we felt we were doing the right thing at the time, it proved to be a very painful five-year experience until we sold the business, basically walking away with nothing.

    I told Nate (we call him Nathaniel) that selling one successful business and buying that business was obviously the biggest mistake of my life.

    Nate countered quickly, “Yea, but you’ve said you probably would have never surrendered to ministry had that experience not occurred.

    You’re right,” I replied. “I was too busy chasing a dream. God worked it for good. But that was definitely my biggest mistake in life.”

    As I said, I’m an analyzer too, so several days later, while I was in a time of prayer, Nate’s question came to my mind. I decided to ask God about it. In my prayer, I said, “God, why did you allow me to make the biggest decision of my life. I would have followed you if you had made it clear. Why couldn’t you let me do it another way? That was such a difficult time in our life.” (It was one of those pity parties I had with God.)

    God seemed to interrupt me before I could continue. Now please understand, I have never heard God audibly. And, I’d love to say He speaks to me everyday. But there have been a few times where I am certain I heard the impression of God on my heart… where I know God “spoke” clearly to me. This was one of those times. (As a side note, they always line up with truth from God’s word.)

    I sensed God say, “Ron (I’m so glad He knows my name), your biggest mistake was not buying that business.”

    I was surprised. I figured it must not be God to hear such a reply. So, I snapped back, almost as if I was sarcastically speaking to my own false thoughts, “Oh really? Well, then, what was the biggest mistake of my life? Because I can’t think of one bigger.”

    God interrupted again…

    “Ron, your biggest mistake was following your will for your life and not mine.”

    And God was silent. Point made. Point accepted. I had no more questions.

    The truth is many had seen what God was doing in my life, including my wife, but I had ignored them… continually replying that we are all “called to ministry”… and I resisted the surrender to vocational ministry for many years.

    God’s counsel that morning has proven true so many times, as I reflect back over my life and the decisions I have made. The greatest failure in my life has always seem to be a result of when I do what I want to do rather than what God wants me to do.

    Here’s hoping someone learns from my mistakes.


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

  • 7 Ways I Have Learned to Focus

    I’m fairly productive as a person, but the truth is, I get distracted easily and have a hard time staying focused at times. If I didn’t have notes when I was preaching, I would totally get off track. My mind wanders too much.

    Thankfully, there are a few things that help me focus. Or, at least, they help prepare the conditions to keep me focused. It’s still a discipline on my part, but these things help.

    7 things that help me focus:

    Rest – It could be a 10 minute walk or a nap, but taking a break from what I’m doing helps me better focus when I return to the work. And being well rested when I start my day helps me face the day with a clearer mind so I can begin to focus. The more tired I am the more restless my thoughts become.

    Deadlines – I work better under pressure. I know—that sounds strange, but it’s true. And many people do. I sometimes set my own deadlines. If I put a task on my calendar or if I schedule the steps to completion, I’m more likely to discipline myself enough to meet the deadline. Checklists are my friend.

    Passion – If I’m passionate about a project—I mean really passionate—I’ll invest the energy and stayed focused to complete the task. That’s true about most things that grab our passion. Without passion I give up quickly. If it’s something I know I have to do, I even ask God to give me passion and enthusiasm. I return to the roots of where my passion began. I review the purpose of my calling.

    Encouragement – It may seem petty, but sometimes one well-worded email can break a period of distraction and push me to focus on the task. It reminds me why I need to discipline myself to move forward. That’s why I keep an “encouragement file.” Basically, anytime someone emails me an encouraging email I set it aside. When I need to focus better, especially when doing things I don’t enjoy as much, nothing redirects my energy any quicker than reviewing this file.

    Success – Following a big “win” I’m motivated to work for another. Honestly, it’s usually a short-lived window of opportunity, but if I strike “while the iron is hot” I can better “seize the day.” This is one reason celebrating success is so important. It motivates you to focus on another moment like this one.

    Exercise – I’m less disciplined, less motivated, and less content when I’m out of my exercise routine. Actually, I’m less happy overall. I recently had some health issues keeping me from running. I could feel the drain of focus. I had to figure out some new exercises to do. Exercise gives me the stamina to do the things I need to do.

    Systems – I’m not a rule follower. I don’t like a lot of structure. However, if there is a system in place, I’m more likely to stay focused to completion. The old saying goes “if you want something repeated—systematize it.” The same is true for completion. You’ll be more focused for progress if you develop a system to get you from start to finish. If fact, if someone tells me focus is a problem for them, I almost always encourage them to first look at their system of doing work first.

    Do you have a problem with focus? What helps you stay focused?


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

  • What My Ants Taught Me about Following God

    My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words. Psalm 119:139

    The Psalmist who wrote this verse was excited about God! So excited, in fact, that he apparently wore himself out with service! There were so many enemies of God, that kept the Psalmist so busy! Oh that we would be found so faithful!

    That reminds me…

    I am marveled by ants. I know what you may be thinking, “What an awkward transition and how can anyone make a Biblical illustration with a bunch of ants?” Bear with me. Ants are fascinating.

    Several years ago, when we still lived in the house where we raised our boys, if the weather was nice, I would sit on my back patio, drink my coffee, and read my Bible in the morning. For a period of months, I was captivated with a trail of ants that began on one side of my patio, and ended on the other side…a distance of about 30 feet. The ants marched in a straight line, two ants going one direction, two going the opposite direction. They were spaced no more than an ant’s distance apart from each other. All total, there were hundreds of ants on my patio at any given time.

    Now, I have to be honest. When I first discovered there were ants on my patio each morning, I was not very excited. I tried spraying them with ant killer. I tried washing them away with the garden hose. I tried stomping on them. I even got creative by trying to place obstacles in their way. (Perhaps you can tell I was starting to have fun with this project.)

    My attempt to rid the patio of ants went on for over a week. Guess what? THE ANTS WERE STILL THERE! Oh, they would disappear for awhile. I was very good at getting rid of them temporarily. I felt successful everytime I tried, but before I knew it, the line of ants was back again… bigger, stronger, more determined than ever. I actually decided I kinda liked those ants. They became my ants!

    As I have watched the life of an ant, and spent time in my morning devotion, it occurred to me that just as they are diligent in their labor, so should I be in mine. Just as the Psalmist was diligent in serving God, I should be in my work. He pursued God’s enemies as the ants pursued my patio, as I should pursue God’s call on my life.

    If I am called to serve a mighty God, I should serve Him mightily!

    Even when I’m distracted.

    Even when obstacles get in the way.

    Even when the work is harder than I think I can do.

    If I am asked to work for a God who is steadfast in His love for me, then I should work for Him steadfastly!

    My ants taught me a lot about following God.

    What are you learning about God these days?

  • 10 Suggestions for Healthy Grieving

    Part of my work is helping people grieve. Or at least learn how to grieve. It’s not one of my favorite parts because it always stems from the reasons why they need to grieve. It means hurt. Brokenness. Pain. Disappointment. That never feels good.

    Yet the fact remains… part of living in a fallen world… is living among the thorns. We must learn to grieve because there will always be reasons to do so.

    As much as we need to know how to grieve, however, I continually meet people who either don’t know how or refuse to allow themselves to grieve. I’ve even met well-meaning believer who believe they shouldn’t. The Scripture is clear. We do grieve. We simply don’t grieve like the rest of the world.

    So, here are 10 suggestions for healthy grieving:

    Don’t deny the pain – It hurts. Admit it. Be honest with yourself with others and especially with God. If it’s anger… tell it. If it’s profound sadness… say it. You’ve got to grieve at some point to move forward, and you’ll grieve sooner and better if you’re honest about the need.

    Learn to pray – Grieving can draw you close to the heart of God. See that as one blessing in the midst of pain. The Scripture is clear… draw close to God and He will draw close to you. He is close to the broken hearted. Use this difficult time to build a bond with God that you’ll never regret having.

    Remain active – You may not feel like being around people, but if you’re normally a very social person, discipline yourself in this area. Granted, some people were never very social, even before their grief. We shouldn’t expect much more from them in grief, but even for them, community matters. Don’t shelter yourself from others.

    Stay healthy – Eat well and exercise. Sleep as regularly as you can. Stick to a schedule. You’ll need the strength to carry you through this time.

    Help others - There is a special blessing that comes from serving others that can help you recover from your own pain. Serve at a soup kitchen. Deliver toys to needy children. Find a way to give back and you’ll invest in the health of your own heart.

    Journal your thoughts and feelings – One day you’ll be glad you did. You’ll see the process God has taken you through and the healing He has allowed you to experience. You’ll need these reminders again some day.

    Give it time – Grieving doesn’t complete itself in a day… or a week… or even a year. The depth of the pain always is relative to the time of a sense of recovery. And some pain never leaves us. We simply learn to adapt to it. We learn to find contentment and even joy in the midst of sorrow and loss.

    Share your story – You help others when you allow others to see you share and understand their pain. When you hide your story, you deny others of the privilege of healing through your experience.

    Get help when needed – Don’t suffer alone. There are times all of us can use professional help. Don’t be ashamed to seek it.

    Remember hope – If you are a follower of God… the best days are still to come. Even in your darkest days, remember, one day… every tear shall be wiped from your eyes.

    You can get up, recover, and move forward again even stronger than you were before, but please don’t fail to grieve. It’s necessary. Vital. Healthy. Natural. Even Biblical. (1 Thessalonians 4)

    Praying for you who need to grieve.

    What suggestions do you have for healthy grieving?

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)


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

  • About 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