Your primary goal as a Christian is to draw as close to Christ as you can and to reflect him in all you do. This is especially true of those in ministry. Some of the most difficult challenges a pastor must face are those in his or her personal life. Properly dealing with these issues — with spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health — will form the foundation for strong relationships with God, family, congregation and community.

Abortion's Lies

The abortion of my baby was a decision I would later deeply regret. And eventually taking responsibility for my past decision included examining the lies that had influenced me.

Behind the Mask (part 1)

Ever feel like you wear a mask to cover up who you are as a pastor's kid? Do you feel like you have to hide the real you? Growing up in a minister's home, I felt like I was always smiling through the pain or putting on an attitude to please the people of my father's church β€” but not necessarily my God.

Behind the Mask (part 2)

Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?

Big Story, Your Part

We love to hear stories because they mirror our lives. They present choices, surprises, mystery and adversity. Each moment of a story is like a moment in our lives, a little part of our larger story, one that we're constantly reinterpreting and replaying.

Butterflies and Self-Esteem

Life is seldom full of butterflies. In reality, there are times when we face conflict, reproach and the ridicule of others. It is painful and detrimental to our self-esteem. How do we break free from this stranglehold?

Can Adultery Be Committed Online?

The Internet is changing the way people shop, communicate ... and trash their marriages. Although there isn't a meeting of bodies, there's a meeting of souls, which is really what Christ was getting at, in some sense, of what adultery is all about.

Can Debt Ever Be Good?

Debt-free living is a nice ideal, but for most of us, it's not very attainable. The issue, then, is to make sure the debts we have are "good" debts.

Chasing the Mirage

We fixate on getting to the next level in our lives; we tell ourselves that when we get there, we will have accomplished something good. The irony is that Christians can become entrapped in the deception of success in a sincere effort to accomplish good things for God.

Come Away or Fall Apart

We talk about how we are out doing great things for God. Yet it’s rather arrogant to think that He needs us. What I really learned was that God did not care what I did for Him. Rather He cared who I was and what I was to become. Was I to become more like Jesus, or just do lots of stuff?

Confessions of a Repeat Offender

I'm a repeat offender. I admit it. I have offended people — at home, school, work, even church. It's not that I try to offend. It's just that where there are relationships, I've offended and been offended. No matter what the offense or who the offender is, rush to make things right.

Confessions of a Survivor

I'm a survivor. No, I didn't win a million dollars by outplaying, outlasting and outwitting contestants on a reality TV show. A decade ago I survived a different jungle: clinical depression.

The Cross at Ground Zero

September 11 forever changed the way the world would define terrorism. As the hours passed, a stunned nation attempted to comprehend how the greatest superpower in the world could be so vulnerable. Words failed us. So we just cried and attempted to comfort one another. And we prayed.

Dancing on the Edge

You think it won't happen to you, can't happen to you. You think, "There's no way. Not me!" Think again. I thought it was innocent at the time. She was a church staff member, so we spent a lot of time together.


Though doubt can feel like a bully that presses us into a corner, it can be a friend when we allow it to drive us deeper into the arms of God for the answers to our questions.

Driving Yourself Crazy

"My parents make me mad! My children drive me nuts! My spouse makes me insane! Managing my emotions would be easy if others would stop pushing my buttons!" You may not be able to control your circumstances; however, you can control what you think about your circumstances.

Early in the Morning

Each day I live with expectation and in amazement of God's interest in my family and me. So much of that begins in the morning when I surrender myself and my schedule to His will.

Earning a Footnote

One of the driving forces throughout my entire life has been a search for significance. I want to leave my mark. I want to be remembered. And I don't think I am alone.

The External Aspect of Holiness

The concept of holiness conjures up different images for different Christians. It's pretty abstract to some and as clear as a stone to others.

Fathers Who Bless Their Children

Father's day, and pastors as fathers.

Feeling Trapped?

The first step to getting out of debt is simply recognizing how you got into dept in the first place. Three common financial traps are easy to fall into: the Can't Wait Trap, the Comparison Trap and the Commendation Trap.

The First Lady of Civil Rights

Coretta Scott King, known as the "First Lady of Human and Civil Rights," passed away at the age of 78 on the evening of January 30, 2006, after suffering a serious stroke and heart attack in August, 2005.

Following the Eagle

The sight of its flapping wings over the suburbs captured me. Just a bird flying toward snowcapped mountains in the west — and I was riveted.


A vast number of people struggle to forgive someone. They understand the importance of forgiveness, but few have been taught how to do it. Here are five points to consider in the process of forgiveness.

Getting Ready for Tax Time

Dreading tax time? Even with all the exemptions and deductions that seem to make filing taxes confusing, pastors can breeze through the process — if they take some practical steps to track and organize important records.

Getting Started

One of the appeals of watching a sunrise is that God seems to say to your soul, "Here's another day, a fresh start some raw material with which you can work. Take hold of it, let your imagination run with it and make something of it."

Handling the Holidays: Denalyn Lucado

How a Pastor's wife handles the holidays.

Hassle-Free Hosting

Pastors often have the responsibility and privilege of having people visit their homes. Whether you think you're a great host or not, here are some ways to cut down on the stress of holding events and meetings in your home.

Have You Lost That Lovin' Feeling?

After dearly loving the "sheep of our flock" for some 25 years, my husband and I were unknowingly hurt by some when they deserted the church for what I considered trivial reasons.

I'm Exhausted!

Ever feel tired? For most of us, it's a normal occasional occurrence. But for others, managing stress and exhaustion is a full-time job.

Icons in the Attic

My grandfather was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church, and I know that icons are not the graven images my Sunday school teacher implied. These pieces of art are visual aids, reminding worshipers of how God has intervened in the lives of his people. These pictures open a window into the presence of God.

In Debt Distress?

It's far easier to get into debt than to get out. You feel emotional pressures from your debt. If you ignore your bills, feel anxious about your debt or fight with your spouse over money, you're probably in debt too deep.

Innocent Gossip?

An occasional hour of gossip with the girls isn't so bad -- or is it? I'd never given much thought to gossip's harm. In recent years, an unusual circumstance brought the subject of gossip into a different light.

Instant Expectations

How is it that prayer, Bible reading, meditation, fasting and worship can become so "dry" that we avoid them? Intimacy in any relationship takes time and patience, two rare commodities in our culture of instant everything.

It Could Happen

Pastor Bob was doing fine. In many ways, he had never felt closer to Christ in over 20 years as a believer. This was his third successful pastorate since seminary.

Let Not Your Walk Be Lonely

The issue is not so much whether we will become lonely. That is a given. It happens to us all. The real question is what do we do when we are lonely?

Loving God's Way

Take a few minutes to think over the last few weeks through a relational lens. Did you take the time to ask your spouse and children, "How are you doing?" Did you, by your words, actions and deeds, express an unconditional love?

The Marathon Twist

A clergy couple finds more than health benefits from marathon training. It seems easier to understand why Paul so often used the metaphor of running a race when exhorting us to remain steadfast in our calling. And if a little of our marathon experience will rub off on our ministry, all the better.

The Maze of Debt

For many families, getting out of debt is like running in a maze β€” it's easy to get in but not to get out. It is possible to get out of the debt maze with hard work and a few tough choices.

A Mother's Secret

I suspected there was more to my mother's arrangements with Mrs. Mers, our ironing lady, and Mrs. Grubb, our cleaning lady, than I grasped at the time, but I never quite got it. Until recently.

Music, Music Everywhere

There are as many kinds of music as there are people. Each has its place, whether it appeals to many or just a few. This diversity of musical styles makes it possible to reach the wide variety of people that make up God's creation with His unifying message of love.

A New Kind of Fast

In the evangelical churches I attended, fasting was seldom, if ever, mentioned. And all I knew about Lent was that it was somehow connected to Mardi Gras. I had no idea what a powerful pathway to spiritual growth Lenten fasting could be.

The Only Way to Freedom

I have a confession to make. Although I have been in the ministry for most of my life and have been a missionary for many years, I have struggled with the sin of lust and pornography. I hate what it has done to me.

Personal Stewardship for Leaders

While it is true that we should always be good stewards of the physical and natural resources God has given us, I have discovered that we must first be good stewards of the greatest resource of all the temple in which God resides.

Pornography: A Very Real and Troublesome Problem

Pornography may be the most epidemic problem that those in ministry face. How can someone face this addiction and conquer it?

Real in My Father's Love

As a pastor's wife, I take it as a compliment when people tell me I'm real. However, I often think that if people knew my real thoughts about God, they would probably leave the church in disgust.

Room for Dessert, Pastor?

Pies. Cakes. Potlucks. Picnics. How can the minister even consider staying healthy?

A Safe Place

When I was a young child, I heard someone say that everyone should have a safe place, a secret location where they could go to get away, relax and reflect. It seemed like wise advice, so I set out to find one for myself.

Spamming the Globe

Nearly every American has at least one e-mail address β€” most have several. And each of them knows that unsolicited e-mail is becoming a tremendous problem for businesses, churches and individuals alike.

Straight From the Heart: A PK's Memory of How Her Dad Reflected God

I wasn't sure how the words would come. I had been awake all night, trying to figure out how I was going to explain to my parents the thoughts that were running through my brain.

Sweating It Out

Exercise and proper nutrition are key for healthy balance, but they often fall by the wayside amid the urgent and the simply routine. When you eat and exercise well, you think well. Taking care of your body lifts your spirit.

Take Control!

If you desire to exercise financial restraint and have more influence over your finances, you will need to create two pieces of financial information: a net worth statement and a spending plan.

'Tis the Season to Be Healthier

Breaking bread together is something God's people have done since, well . . . Abraham was a boy. But this season of cookies, candies and baked goods does not have to thwart your healthy diet!

Tongue ... Be Thou Loosed!

I'm a recovering addict of church speak. Yes, friends, for years, I suffered from an acute addiction to the compelling lure of church language. Its grip on me and my tongue was so tenacious that it could emerge at any time.

The Truth About Trials

However crises come to us, they will surely come. Knowing this simple reality beforehand is a big part of the solution.

The Two-Step: Change Your Thinking About Money

Say yes to buying things that matter most, and say no to less-valued things that create debt and distress. Each time you say yes to a decision to spend money one way, you say no to spending that same amount another way.

Understanding Pornography

The Internet and pornography are a powerful combination in temptation. Is this your story?

Vacation Relief

Why do pastors need vacation? Vacations restore perspective, rejuvenate passion and revitalize personal relationships. That adds up to powerful ministry potential on the return home.

What Idols Taught Me About God

As I encountered Taiwan's idol worship almost daily, I began to grasp the true nature of idolatry. In the process, I gained surprising insight into my own worship.

When We Need Reshaping

We all have failed at one time or another or have wondered if we were really adequate to carry out our God-given assignment. As the potter reshapes a pot from clay that became flawed, so we need reshaping at times too. The key is to surrender.

Who Needs the Rules?

These two topics - freedom and rules - may be two of the most misunderstood aspects of Christianity. Each of us was once a slave to sin, but Christ's death and resurrection brought freedom. Now that we're free to obey God, do we understand why He demands certain actions and attitudes from us?

Why Do I Need to be Right?

How a pastor deals with expectation and insecurity.

You Have My Word on It

Broken promises affect us in varying degrees. And when we break a promise, our words and actions are at odds. Trust is compromised, and our reputation is questioned.