- 2014Nov 04
Volunteers take time for their busy schedules to serve in your ministry, organization, or church, because they are passionate about your cause. They want to see single moms encouraged. They want to feed the homeless. They want to honor the Lord with their talents and skills. While most do not do it for any type of recognition, it is always important to honor those who are sacrificing their time away from family and friends.
Take a volunteer to lunch. It’s such a simply gesture, but so powerful. Taking the time to get to know a volunteer and using personal time, such as your lunch break, to do so, not only let’s them know you appreciate their service, it gives them the gift of your time.
Pray for your volunteers. The best way to honor a volunteer is to stop and pray for their specific needs. Believe God with them that their child will be healed, their finances will improve, or their path will be made clear. Whatever the need, taking that few minutes to pray is worth it.
Hold an honor banquet in their honor. Banquets don’t have to cost a ton of money. Set up a nice dinner at your home. Take a moment to share something special about each honoree.
Write a card or letter. Who takes the time to do this anymore?! What a neat surprise for a volunteer to receive a handwritten note from you telling them how much you appreciate their service.
People often gravitate to places where they are celebrated. While none of these suggestions will break the bank or even amount to much of your time, they can go a long way in encouraging your support team to keep on keeping on. Most support groups, ministries, and churches couldn’t survive without the commitment of faithful volunteers. Celebrate and honor your volunteers today.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker whose own redemptive story of hope has encouraged many. She describes herself as an ordinary girl who loves an extraordinary God. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.
- 2014Nov 03
I was raised in a small, conservative, more traditional church. It was common to talk about God and Jesus, but rarely did we discuss the Holy Spirit. I always perceived the Holy Spirit as kind of "too spiritual" maybe "too unknown" or "too scary", so I just didn't talk much about it. Our church sometimes talked about wanting the Holy Spirit to show up, but I often wondered if we feared that it actually would! In fact, if I'm being really honest.... I would often go to church with a friend of mine, because I felt the Spirit moving there far more than at my own home church.
Soul Ties is one of those subjects that didn't get mentioned much in my church as I grew up, if at all. I found that myself and many of my Christian friends didn't discuss the things unseen, spiritual impact, or the warfare that takes place every day -- even though the Bible talks clearly about it. As I began deeper work with singles and single parents in the church, I learned the topic of Soul Ties was a must-teach for that special group.
Have you ever heard of Soul Ties? Admittedly, it was a new term for me in my early Christian walk, as well. You will not read those words in the Bible necessarily, and I haven't found it to be a frequent discussion in churches. But the simplest definition for a soul tie is spiritual tie. Spiritual connections/ties are often referred to in the Bible.
Okay, so here are some of the ways a Soul Tie is developed:
* Sex (Eph 5:31)
* Close relationships (as in with Jonathan and David in 1 Sam. 18)
* Vows & Commitments (such as "I will always love you." "You and I will be together forever." And so on).
As you can see, Soul Ties can be really cool, as with Jonathan and David and the close friendship they had. I've had amazing spiritual ties with friends in the ministry, long-time friends, and others that God brought across my path. Soul Ties can be life-giving, empowering, and equip us to do ministry better.
Soul Ties also exhibit the closeness and importance of sex inside marriage, outside of just the physicality of it, but rather the spiritual aspects. However, Soul Ties can also be detrimental, such as when we have sex outside marriage, a marriage fails, we pursue an unhealthy relationship, or we speak eternal vows that tie us (such as telling a boyfriend we will always love him and then telling that to ten other boys through the years).
Soul ties are dangerous when you have had sex with multiple partners, verbalized eternal commitments to others, pursued close unGodly relationships and friendships, or had a failed marriage. It's important to recognize who you are tied to, before you can break free from the tie.
Maybe you've struggled with this and didn't even realize it was a soul tie. Are you a single mom who has struggled to move past the hurt from your ex? Do you struggle with commitment to a new friendships or relationship due to past hurt? Do you find it hard to end a relationship that you know is bad for you? Or maybe you feel like an ex has some type of "hold on you"? Have you struggled with sexual sin? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you have most certainly struggled with soul ties.
Let's talk about some ways to break free from soul ties:
* One way to break a soul tie is confessing sin, when applicable. If you have had sex outside marriage, you have formed a spiritual tie to that person. You have to confess the sin and repent.
*If gifts were given in an unholy relationship, GET RID OF THEM. Don't hold on to a shirt, a teddy bear, a letter, etc., given to you in an ungodly relationship. You're inviting trouble into your home and head.
*If you have made a rash commitment to someone, (I will always love you. There will never be another man for me.), then renounce it and repent of it, aloud. And...be careful to not keep doing it!
*Breaking Soul Ties also means forgiving the person. This is a tough one for single parents who have been hurt by an ex or who are still seeing a struggle with the commitment the ex has to your children (or lack of commitment). But if you don't forgive, you don't move on. He/She will have you captive to the past from now on. Release it.
*There is power in the name of Jesus. If you discover Soul Ties in your life and recognize you need to break them, renounce the tie in Jesus' name, aloud (even if you aren't comfortable with it and feel a little weird).
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker who travels the country sharing her personal story of homelessness, abuse, and teen pregnancy. She is founder of the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom, and has appeared on countless radio and television programs. For more information, visit http://www.jennifermaggio.com.
- 2014Oct 21
The holiday season is a time of thanksgiving and gratitude. It is a time to reflect. We gather around fires and giggle with family. We host parties, give gifts, and drink hot cocoa. We visit friends and tell old stories. We roast chestnuts on the open fire. (Has anyone ever actually done that?) We thank God for our blessings and often look for ways to bless others.
1. Sometimes, that blessing comes in the form of financial giving. It is a vital part of giving back to others. It is important that we understand that God often works through us to bless others. Maybe you think you don’t have much to give. It’s ironic how God uses what we deem to be insignificant to change the lives of others around us. I am sure that the little boy whose mom prepared his lunch of five loaves and two fish in John 6 didn’t receive his lunch and exclaim, “Wow, Mom. What a blessing!” He likely grabbed it and went about his day. He had no way of knowing that later that day his little contribution would become a blessing that not only blessed thousands that very day but many for generations to come.
2. Be faithful in your tithe to your local church. Do it because your Heavenly Father has already given you everything. May I challenge you to take it even a step further?
3. Go above the tithe and bless a charity, organization, missionary, or family this holiday season. Do it even when it doesn’t seem like much. Your little bit put in the hands of the more-than-enough God will be stretched further than you could ever imagine.
Beyond financial blessings, some of the most valuable blessings come through those who bless others with their time. To me, there is nothing worse than walking into a women’s Bible study when you do not know anyone. Okay, maybe there are a few things that are worse, but that ranks pretty high on my list. Walking into a new environment, convinced everyone has been lifelong friends and you are the only outsider, is like some type of ancient Chinese torture in my book. Nothing can make this girl feel more awkward and self-conscious. You stand there, unsure if you are in the right building. They stare. And then…it happens.
4. Be that one woman in the group - that one kind, friendly, smiling woman - to arise warmly and welcome others into the bunch. It makes all the difference.
Just like the smiling woman who greets a first-time visitor at a ladies’ Bible study, your time means something to someone else. For years now, all I’ve wanted for my birthday or Mother’s day was simply to spend time with my family. Having two teenagers who would much rather spend time with friends than family right now, their time is so valuable to me. An undistracted conversation with them (sans cell phone) is worth more than gold to me. And guess what? Someone feels that way about your time, too.
Working with single mothers, many of whom are financially stretched, they often have a heart to serve and want to know how they can do more, serve more, and bless others who have blessed them.
5. My response is always “your time.” Give of your time. They are thousands in nursing homes desperate for a chatty visitor. There are neighbors who need a cup of coffee with a caring friend. There are grandmothers who would love an unexpected visit from grandchildren, widows how need a hug. Read a book to a child who may not otherwise get that time. Spend uninterrupted time with your own children. Your time is a blessing.
Blessings to others come in a variety of packages – your time, talent, and treasure. What can you do to bless others this season?
** Article first appeared on ibelieve.com.
Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single moms’ and womens’ issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who has a God-given passion to see women walking in total freedom. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and has been featured in countless media venues.