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Ron Edmondson

  • 7 Thoughts for More Effective Prayer

    Hezekiah ruled over Judah and was a good and faithful king.

    Hezekiah often became the target of warring nations. The king of Assyria, which was a much more powerful nation, made plans to overthrow Hezekiah’s kingdom. Throughout the stressful time in leadership, Hezekiah consistently used the same battle plan.

    He went before the Lord in prayer—and—he followed the Lord’s commands.

    Hezekiah relied on prayer to rule his life. This king knew how to pray and he prayed in a way that got results.

    At one point, the Assyrian king launched a huge smear campaign against Hezekiah with his own people. It scared Hezekiah’s people.

    Hezekiah heard about the threat and went before the Lord. God assured Hezekiah everything would be okay, but the Assyrians wouldn’t let up their verbal assaults. They kept taunting the kingdom of Hezekiah, throwing threats towards Hezekiah. Finally, they sent a letter by messenger to Hezekiah, which basically said, “The Assyrians are tough, and they are coming for you next.”

    It was a credible, realistic threat. In a practical sense, Hezekiah had reason to be afraid.

    What do you do when you are backed into a corner as a leader and you’re about to face something bigger than your ability to handle?

    Well, Hezekiah received the letter with all the threats and began to pray.

    We find this account in 2 Kings 19:14–19.

    What can we learn from listening in as Hezekiah prayed?

    Here are 7 Thoughts for More Effective Prayer from a Stressed Out Leader Named Hezekiah:

    Hezekiah got alone with God. There is corporate prayer like we do at church, and there is prayer where a few are gathered. But probably some of the most effective prayer time of your life will be the time you invest alone with God.

    Hezekiah’s prayer was immediate. His prayer wasn’t an afterthought. It was prior to making his plans. We are so geared to react as leaders that it’s hard for us to go first to God. He may be second or third or first when we are backed into a corner and have no choice, but we need to develop a discipline and habit to make God the first place we turn in our lives. Like Hezekiah.

    Hezekiah’s prayer was open and honest. Hezekiah was transparent before the Lord. I love the imagery here in this prayer story of Hezekiah. He took the letter, went to the house of the Lord, and spread it out before Him. I get this visual image of Hezekiah, and this letter—laying it there on the table, and saying, “Okay, God, what now? What do I do next? What’s my first move?”

    Are you in a tough spot right now? You may just need to get you some note cards—write down all the things you are struggling with—lay them out on a table and say, “Okay, God, here are my struggles. I can’t do anything about them. What now?”

    Writing your prayer requests before God is a great idea for 2 reasons.

    a. It helps you remember to pray for them.

    b. It helps you to watch as God answers. We get more answers than we realize if we only ask.

    Hezekiah’s prayer was honoring, humble, and respectful of who God is. Hezekiah knew his place as king—and he knew God’s place in the Kingdom. Hezekiah was king of a nation and that is an important job, yet Hezekiah willingly humbled himself in prayer, because he knew his place before the King of kings.

    Hezekiah’s prayer was bold. He said, “Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD….” Hezekiah had the kind of relationship with God where it wasn’t a surprise when Hezekiah showed up to pray. They talked frequently; probably throughout the day. Because of that relationship, Hezekiah didn’t wonder if God would be there when he came before Him. He knew he could ask God to act on his behalf.

    The more you grow in your relationship with God, the bolder your prayers can become, because the more your heart will begin to line up with God’s heart.

    Hezekiah’s prayer was dependent. In verses 17–18 he prays, “It is true, O LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands.” Hezekiah knew he was out of his league facing the Assyrians. From the way I see that Hezekiah responded to life, however, I don’t think it mattered the size of the battle. Hezekiah was going to depend on God. Every time. In every situation.

    Hezekiah’s prayer was certain. Because it was based on his personal faith and trust in God. In verse 19, Hezekiah prayed, “Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”

    Hezekiah had a faith in God that allowed him to pray with confidence. You need to understand that faith is always based on the promises of God. Some things God has promised to do—and some He hasn’t. God has promised to always get glory for Himself and always work things for an ultimate good. He hasn’t promised to rid everyone of cancer or to heal every bad relationship. Or settle every leadership issue we face.

    (That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pray for everything. We don’t know His will, but we can’t guarantee God to do that which He hasn’t promised to do.) Sometimes we get upset because God doesn’t do something we asked or wanted Him to do, but the fact is He had never promised to do it.

    Hezekiah knew God had promised to save His people. He knew God had placed him in the position of authority over them. He had confidence that God would do what He had promised to do. Hezekiah trusted God to be faithful to His word so he was willing to act in faith.

    What situations are you dealing with today that you know you are helpless to do on your own and you desperately desire God’s answer?

    Are you a stressed out leader?

    Get alone with God, spread your problems out before Him honestly, humbly, and boldly; then, allow His will to be done, as you wait for His response.


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

  • 3 Actions to Communicate Love to My Wife

    Communicating love to a spouse should be considered a never-ending, life-long commitment. If I’m honest, however, my wife is usually better at this than me.

    Partly because of her personality and partly because she has a stronger relational aptitude than me and partly because she is awesome—but, for whatever reason—demonstrating love seems to come easier for Cheryl than for me at times.

    I’m not talking about the quality of the love. I think I love Cheryl deeply. It’s that I’m not as good at “showing” my love.

    I’m a work in progress. (I hope its okay to be honest that way.)

    Plus, I’m to lead others. By example. I’m a pastor and teacher. People are trying to follow me. And, I believe, that should be in my marriage also.

    So, how can I—how should I—communicate love to my wife?

    And just to be fair, I don’t think I’m alone in that question.

    I am actually asked this type question frequently by other men who—like me—sometimes wonder how to communicate love to their spouse.

    That’s what this post is about — communicating love in a marriage.

    For men who want to do likewise with their wives…

    Here are three suggestions:

    Continually learn her. The wife knows when we’ve stopped. All of us are changing. Our needs, wants, and dreams are continually adapting to our experiences, circumstances, and the world around us. We demonstrate love by desiring to know even more the one we love. Great couples ask questions of each other. Routinely. Intentionally. They explore each other’s hearts and minds on deeper levels; uncovering the unspoken desires of the heart. They spend quantity time together, even learning to love each other’s activities.

    Constantly pursue her. All women want a certain amount of romance in the relationship. Many men would never consider themselves romantic, but the good news here is they get great credit for genuinely trying. Strong couples keep dating on a regular basis. They pursue one another, giving no other human relationship preeminence over this one. They avoid sameness and boredom—which is one of the leading causes of marriage failure. They explore together. Try new things. Refuse sameness in the relationship. When men intentionally lead this effort, we demonstrate our concern for the relationship and our intent to keep the spark alive.

    Consistently out-serve her. This one will be hard for most men, but this is a great way to use our competitive nature. Which is strong for most of us. When the goal is to out-serve our wives, we at least make progress towards doing so, and it generates a desire to be a servant leader in our homes. Equally important in serving our wives is to serve them in an area that has the greatest value—not necessarily only the things the man likes or wants to do. It is hard not to love someone who strives to understand you enough to serve you at this higher level of commitment.

    None of those are “easy”—if they are done well—and none of us ever master any of them. Some of us are better than others—like Cheryl. Some of us—like me—keep trying.


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

  • 7 Reasons People are Not Leading Who Could Be

    We need leaders. When Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few…”—I’m convinced—some of those workers should be leaders of other workers. Throughout the Scriptures God used men and women to lead others to accomplish great things — all to His glory.

    But I’m equally convinced, that just as there are not enough people working who should be working—some of the workers who should be leading are not leading.

    Why?

    Here are 7 reasons people are not leading who could be:

    They weren’t ever willing to face their fears. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, and the fear of the unknown are very real fears. But fear is an emotion—not necessarily based on truth. Faith is a substance based on a certain—though unseen—reality.

    They never had the self-confidence to allow people to follow. I know so many people who sit on the sidelines—even though people believe in them—but they just don’t believe in themselves.

    They felt it was self-serving to step into the role of leadership. One of my new favorite sayings (I wrote about it recently) is “Don’t trip over your own humility by refusing to do the right thing.” Yes, leaders can be in the center of attention, and some people are too “humble” to step into that role, but in the meantime, we are missing your leadership.

    They waited for someone else to do it. They had a call—or, at least, they knew what needed to be done, and they could have taken the initiative and made it work—but they never did—hoping, waiting for someone else to make the move.

    They tried once—it didn’t work—and they gave up too soon. Failure is a part of leadership. Certainly it’s a part of maturing as a leader. If you give up after the first try you miss out on the best of leadership.

    They couldn’t find their place—and didn’t make one. Find something to lead! The world is full of problems. Choose one you are passionate about and start leading. We need you!

    They thought they didn’t know how to lead. I’ve been a student of leadership for over 20 years—in leadership positions for over 30 years—and you know my answer to that one? Who does know how to lead? Sure, there are skills to be acquired—leadership is an art to be shaped—but leadership is new every morning because the world is ever changing. Leadership involves people. When we can completely figure them out—we can completely figure out leadership. Until then–watch, listen, read, learn, ask questions. Leaders are all around you. You can learn some skills of leadership if you are teachable. The best leaders are still learning how to lead.

    Are any of these the reason you’re not currently leading—but you know you should be?

    What are you going to do about it?


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

  • 7 Suggestions for Those Studying to be a Pastor

    I have the opportunity to talk with lots of young pastors each week. Another group that has recently started interacting with me are those preparing for the pastorate. I love investing in the next generation of leaders and am thankful for those who invested in me. One of those pastors in training recently asked me, “If you were my age (about 22) and were studying to be a pastor, what would you do?

    Great question!

    If I were studying to be a pastor today, in addition to preparing my heart and mind spiritually, which is still most important, I would:

    Take some business and/or leadership courses – You’ll find more available, especially in the area of leadership these days at seminaries and Bible colleges, but you may have to take some courses online or at another school. Every pastor needs to know some general business and leadership principles to manage a church.

    Build Connections – Just as in the secular world, having the right connections makes the difference in church positions also. It may be to help secure a job or to learn from other churches, but pastors should build a healthy network of peers.

    Participate in social media and understand basic technology – One of the key ways today’s culture communicates is through social media. If the pastor wants to find people where they are, he must at least know the basics of Twitter, Facebook, and blogging. The pastor doesn’t have to be a technology expert, but should know enough to help the church keep up with the times. Whether through a blog, the church website, podcasts, or even the technology required to make Sunday work, these days the pastor needs a basic understanding of the terminology and function of technology.

    Work a secular job – Even if only part-time, at some point in your studies, work among people in the secular world. You’ll learn valuable principles about life, work, and people. You’ll also be better able to identify with the people to whom you are called to minister. (Plus, it will be harder for that person who always thinks, “Well, pastor, in the real world…” to discount your teaching.) :)

    Take a people-helping or counseling course – Let’s face it! Regardless of the size church, a pastor is going to encounter hurting people. Understanding some basic questioning, summary, and counseling skills is critical to pastoring and will make your teaching even stronger.

    Find a mentoring pastor – Early in ministry, or even before beginning, I would strongly encourage a young pastor to find a mentor. Ask a pastor who is older and with more experience to be available to help you through situations you find yourself in where you need wisdom you don’t have. You’ll be glad you’ve recruited this person in advance.

    Embrace accountability - Develop a close relationship with a few other same-sex friends and invite them to hold you accountable to God, your family, your church, and yourself. These do not have to be pastors, but should understand the pressures and demands of ministry.

    Bonus Suggestion: BE A PASTOR – If you are confident God has called you to be a pastor, then don’t wait to get all the training. Keep receiving training, follow these suggestions, but more importantly, get some on-the-job training by finding ways to be a pastor today! (This may be the subject of another post, but you can find places to serve if you’re intentional in your search!)

    Those were my suggestions.

    What would you add to my list?

    You may want to read my post 7 Pieces of Advice for Pastors

  • 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