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Ron Edmondson

  • 7 Commandments of a Great Marriage

    I have an advanced degree in counseling and hundreds of hours experience working with couples. I’ve taught marriage retreats for years. I wouldn’t say I’m an “expert” in marriage—because I’m married—and my wife reads my blog. That would be a stretch. Actually, I know more to do than I have the practice of doing. (Isn’t that true for most of us?)

    But I’ve learned a few things. I’ve observed things that work and things that don’t.

    I think there are some necessary ingredients for a healthy marriage. That’s the point of this post.

    Want a healthier marriage?

    Consider these 7 Commandments of Marriage:

    Thou shalt serve one another. A good marriage practices mutual submission. Ephesians 5:21 commands us to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. Marriage is not a 50/50 deal. It’s a 100/100 deal—each willing to surrender all to the other person.

    How are you at serving your spouse? Would they say you strive to serve them more everyday? Are you more the giver or the taker in the relationship? Be honest.

    Thou shalt love unconditionally. Unconditionally means without conditions. (See how deep this blog can be.) I’ll love you if… is not the command. It’s I’ll love you even if not. God commands us to love our enemies. How much more should this commitment be strong within a marriage?

    Are you loving your spouse even with the flaws that you can see better than anyone else? Here’s a quick test: Does the way you communicate with your spouse indicate you have the highest regard for them—always?

    Thou shalt respect one another. The Golden Rule covers this one. Everyone wants to be respected—so in any good marriage respect is granted to and by both parties. And, by the way, I believe respect too is to be unconditional.

    In my experience, this one is sometimes easier for one spouse to give than the other, especially the one who works hardest in the marriage. Respect is mostly given because of actions. But respect is important for both spouses. Most people grant respect only when all conditions are met to be respected. That makes sense, but it doesn’t provide motivation to improve when the other party needs it most. All of us need someone who believes in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves. That’s the grace of respect. When most of us feel respected we will work harder to keep that respect.

    Thou shalt put no other earthly relationships before this one.Let not man put asunder” is not just a good King James Version wedding line. It’s God’s desire for a marriage. Great couples strive to allow no one—even children—even in-laws—to get in the way of building a healthy marriage.

    Wow! Isn’t this a hard one? Yet I can’t tell you how many marriages I have seen ruined because the children came first or the in-laws interfered. I’ve seen marriages ruined by friends—sometimes co-workers—who had little regard for the integrity of the marriage, and so they built a wedge between the couple. As hard as it is sometimes, great couples work to protect the marriage from every outside interruption.

    Thou shalt commit beyond feelings. The Bible talks a great deal about the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:2, for example). The mind is more reliable than emotions. You may not always feel as in love as you did the day you married. There will be tough seasons in any marriage. Strong marriages last because they have a commitment beyond their emotional response to each other. And when that’s true for both parties, feelings almost always reciprocate and grow over time.

    As true and necessary as this is, great marriage partners continue to pursue each other—they date one another—fostering the romantic feelings that everyone craves in a relationship. Sobering question: When’s the last time you pursued your spouse?

    Thou shalt consider the other person’s interest ahead of thine own. Again, we are commanded to to do this in all relationships. How much more should we in marriage?

    Over the years, as couples get comfortable with one another, I’ve observed couples who become very selfish with their individual time. Sometimes, for example, one spouse pursues a hobby that excludes the other one, and more and more time is committed to that hobby. The other spouse begins to feel neglected. It may be allocation of time, in actions or the words used to communicate, but sometimes a spouse can make the other spouse feel they are no longer valuable to them. Are you considering how you are being perceived by your spouse?

    Thou shalt complete one another. The Biblical command is one flesh (Ephesians 5). I’m not sure that’s anymore possible than the command that our individual flesh be molded into the image of Christ. It’s a command we obey in process. We are saints still under construction. We still sin. And that process isn’t completed here on earth in my opinion. So it is in a marriage. We never completely “get there,” but we set such a high standard for our marriage that we continue to press towards the goal.

    There is no better place where “iron sharpens iron” than in a marriage. Cheryl makes me a better person. And, if I can be so bold—I think I do the same for her. There are qualities in her I need and qualities in me she needs to become one flesh. But that’s a process. That takes time, humility, and intentionality. I must allow her to make me better—and likewise for her. But when we do, we are both the benefactors. One question I always ask couples: Are you becoming closer as a couple—or are you drifting further apart? That’s a great question to ask frequently throughout the marriage.

    These are obviously not the “10 Commandments.” They aren’t even necessarily God’s commandments—although I do believe they are based on the commands of God. The point is to take Biblical principles and apply them to our marriage.

    And, what marriage wouldn’t benefit from that?

    Would you pause and consider—are you breaking any of these commands?


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

  • Politics in the Church

    Someone asked, “Why are there politics in the church?”

    Without trying to be condescending I answered simply…

    Because there are people in the church.

    Where people gather…things will often get political

    Special interests. Personal agendas. Group platforms. Jockeying for position, power and influence.

    Sounds like politics to me.

    Sounds like church.

    We shouldn’t be surprised when politics appear in the church. Frankly, I would be more surprised if there wasn’t and I grow a little suspicious of what is being hidden when there isn’t.

    Just being honest and speaking from experience.

    Remember James and John…two of Jesus’ closest disciples? (Mark 10:35-45)

    Sounds somewhat political to me. Jockeying. Platforms. Agendas. Special interests.

    How did Jesus reply?

    Jesus knew that the desire for position was normal. He didn’t scold them. He validated their position as disciples. He also didn’t give into them. He helped them understand their greater role as servants and redirected their attention to what was more important. He used the political opportunity for a greater Kingdom purpose.

    Don’t be surprised at the politics in the church. In fact, expect it. There are people involved. Don’t be led by politics. Find ways to redirect attention, refocus energies, and point people to the greater good.

  • 7 Disappointing Reasons People Leave the Church

    One disappointment I have had in ministry is watching people come to church, get excited for a time, then disappear. You spend energy and heart on people, grow to love them and get excited about them, and suddenly they are nowhere to be found.

    The biggest disappointment is not people who transfer to another church. I’m okay with that if it helps them better grow in their relationship with Christ. I’m talking about people who quit going to church altogether. They are in one day—out the next.

    What happens to them? Why do they leave?

    I’ve found there are often similar reasons that are repeated continuously. Perhaps you have seen this, too.

    Here are 7 reasons people disappear from church:

    Burn out - These people came out of the gate too strong in the church. They showed up, got excited, and signed up for everything. They got so busy doing church they failed to enjoy being the church.

    Injury - People inside the church can be cruel. I hate when that happens, but it’s true. These people experienced some of those people, and they couldn’t move past it.

    Distractions - These people got distracted by seemingly good things. They were playing travel ball, loving the fast life, traveling every weekend. Over time, their lifestyle of attending becomes the habit of not attending.

    Life change – These people had a lifestyle change, such as divorce or re-marriage—or they move to a new community—and never re-connect with a church.

    Mistakes - These people messed up! They made a mistake that may be public—or at least they feel that it will be known—and the place that should dispense grace appears either refuses it or they feel that it would. Many times when a person feels that way it is more perception than reality, but the way a person feels about themselves may determine whether they remain committed to church.

    Power struggle – These people had an agenda. They were pursuing an issue—or a position—and when their demands weren’t met and they couldn’t overpower the system, they left.

    Lack of connection – These people never connected with others on a deeper level. As a result, they never felt really a “part” of the church.

    Pastors, have you experienced these walking with people in ministry? How do you address these issues?

    Obviously, we need to do all we can to help people become disciples. Knowing why they leave may be helpful. We can’t address some of these issues—maybe most—much of this is out of our control. But the more we understand the more we can help people as they experience these.

    I think there is also a word here to the one who has disappeared or is on the verge. Beware. If you feel the need for the church in your life—or if you understand the Biblical mandate to be a part of a Body of believers—then guard your heart for these. And help us know how to be a better church. In fact, come help us be a better church. Here’s one pastor (and I know so many others) who is listening.

    What other reasons would you add to my list?


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

  • 7 Commandments of Leadership

    Commandments: A divine rule. A rule to be observed strictly.

    The 7 Commandments of Leadership:

    Thou shalt protect thy character. Who are you when no one is looking? Is who you claim to be who you really are? In my experience, true character is eventually revealed in leadership. Every time. When stress mounts—when pushed in the corners of life—when power rises—when opportunity creates itself to take advantage of others for the benefit of self—true character is revealed.

    Thou shalt empower thy people. Delegation is not only necessary to be effective in leadership, it’s a necessity in order to truly be a leader. You’ll either burnout, control people until they burnout, or simply stall everything—and then a leader is no longer needed.

    Thou shalt continue to learn. When a leader ceases to learn he or she ceases to grow. Before long the leader has nowhere new to take anyone. And nothing anyone would want to follow.

    Thou shalt remember thy purpose. Zig Ziglar once told me that if you understand the why, the what or how won’t matter as much. I believe he was right. Our purpose fuels us for excellence. We must cast the vision—for ourselves and others—often. Daily even.

    Thou shalt embrace healthy conflict. Ain’t it a shame? You have to have conflict to be healthy in relationships. It seems counter-productive, but conflict is really for the good of everyone. A good leader learns to use it for the betterment of the entire team.

    Thou shalt persevere. Through good times and bad times, a leader holds the banner high. Press on!

    Thou shalt celebrate. Leaders are for progress—but part of progression is appreciating the achievements of days gone by—accomplishments already made. As much as it is a leader’s job to keep things moving forward, people won’t stay motivated unless we recognize they are currently making a difference and have in the past.

    Obviously these are man-made commandments, not God-made, so I appreciate your input.

    Any you would add?


    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