Don’t Shy Away from the Word Balance

Over the years, I’ve heard differing opinions on the use of the word balance. I’ve learned there are many who actually hate the use of the word. For example, some say the life of a Christian is never balanced because God wants all of our lives. I couldn’t agree more. Others say it’s impossible to balance between work and home because one of them deserves our greatest energy (our home), and yet the two extremes will always compete for our best time and energy. I completely agree. In those contexts, I agree balance should not be our goal. We should prioritize our life around the extremes of life, ensuring that those things we value most receive our greatest attention.

Balance, however, doesn’t always mean things are equal. I prefer to use the term balance to describe how a person responds to the extremes of life. Balance to me means a person learns to stand up…keep their equilibrium, even when things in life are not equal…out of balance. When life is crazy, which it often is, the person of balance learns to juggle each area where over time none of them has to suffer. A balanced person prioritizes his or her life around what is most important, for me, that means first my relationship with God, then my family, then my work and my service to others, and then organizes life in a way where each area receives adequate attention for success.

I realize much of this discussion is semantics, but i believe it has importance in principle also. People who want to achieve success in all areas of their life must find ways to give adequate attention to each area, without neglecting those things/people of greatest importance in life. That requires balance. (The Proverbs 31 woman had balance.) I met with a new father recently and he’s having to learn how to balance marriage, parenting, and his work life, while attempting to be successful in each part of his life. He’s learning balance.

The leaders and people I respect most in life are those I see learning to balance success in all areas of their life…at home…at work…and in the world.

Don’t shy away from the word balance. Just learn to use it well. Gaining a sense of balance is a process that often takes years and even a few stumbling moments to accomplish, but it’s worth the challenge.

What does the term balance mean to you? In what area of your life are you most out of balance?

7 Emotions from the Male’s Side of Infertility

Cheryl and I have often said that one of the greatest trials we have walked through in ministry with people is the hidden pain of infertility. Every time we celebrate the birth of someone’s child we also know of a couple who can’t seem to get pregnant or have recently had a miscarriage. (I wrote about the pain of the childless in a previous post HERE.) Many reading this post will have walked through this pain personally.

One aspect which I may have overlooked is the man’s side of this issue. I knew men struggled with infertility also, but I am not sure I realized the extent of their pain. Recently I was talking to a man who shared his personal and hidden pain during he and his wife’s time of infertility. It opened my eyes to the man’s perspective.

When a couple is battling infertility here are 7 emotions the man often feels:

Helpless – “My wife and I are hurting and I don’t know what to do” is the emotion many men feel. Being wired to fix things, this problem, like many issues in life, isn’t often fixable and the man feels helpless.

Protective – The man, in an attempt to defend his wife may think, “I don’t want you to hurt anymore”, which might lead him to react in ways that make the wife feel he isn’t as interested in having children as she is interested.

Insecure – The man is probably asking, “Am I not enough?” This is a hard one for women to understand, but it’s even Biblical. Read 1 Samuel 1:8 for an example. Men naturally struggle with insecurity, but especially during this issue.

Empty – I knew the woman felt this emotion during infertility, but I am not sure I realized the man does as well. A man who wants to be a dad may feel like something is desperately missing in his life.

Scared – A lot of times the man is thinking “What if it’s my fault?” He may fear that something physically wrong with him is keeping his wife from experiencing the joy of motherhood.

Frustrated – Men don’t understand why this is happening to their marriage, so they may wrongly become frustrated with themselves, with God, and even with their wife.

Inferior – Men dealing with infertility often wonder why other men can get their wife pregnant, but not them. They may struggle with a sense of worth and doubt their abilities in other other parts of their life.

This post is not new information for those of you who have or are struggling with this issue, but, again, I never understood the weight of burden this was to a man’s life. I have always known from experience the pain in a woman’s heart who deals with infertility, and even the weight it places on a marriage relationship, but my friend helped me understand the specific side of this issue relative to men.

Keep in mind, most men are not as equipped to talk about their emotions as women may be. Some men don’t even know they have seven whole ranges of emotions (semi-joking here). Men, if this is your issue, don’t struggle alone. Be vulnerable with your wife and a few other men who can walk with you through this issue.

Men (and women), have you dealt with this issue? What have you learned that could help others?

Men, since this post addresses your emotions in this issue, please add your thoughts to help other men. Women, did you ever understand this issue from a man’s perspective?

7 Phrases We Should Never Use to Start a Sentence

In years of doing ministry, through personal experience, and by living life with others, I’ve learned a few things not to say. I’ve seen well-meaning people make proclamations they can’t keep.  What I’ve come to realize is that life has a way of throwing us surprises, so we should be proactive in guarding our heart and life.

With that in mind, I would be careful starting a sentence with the following phrases:

I’m not worried about my marriage because…

I’m not tempted to…

My spouse would never cheat because…

This can’t fail because…

I could never lose my job because…

My kids will never…

You wouldn’t understand because…

Have you been snagged by one of these statements?  Which one do you need to guard against the most?

Addressing a Porn Generation

When I was a teenager, if I wanted to view porn, I would have had to find a magazine. Honestly, even though I may have wanted to, I never had or found a “stash” of porn. I knew everyone in stores where I might have bought some and if my friends had their own stash of pictures, they never shared them with me.

I did some babysitting as a teenager in addition to my grocery store work and I found some magazines at one of the houses where I worked late one night (after the kids had gone to bed). I wasn’t really snooping. They were in the magazine rack, next to the recliner, which I thumbed through while watching Saturday Night Live. (In the golden years of SNL!) Anyway, those images are still with me today. As much as pornography was probably a part of my generation, it wasn’t that accessible to me.

My boys have grown up in a different generation. Since they have been old enough to be curious about such things, access to porn has been readily available if they wanted to look. No, I’ve never had a stash hidden around the house, and we always monitored their activities closely, but our house has always been connected to the Internet and, because of that, pornography has been programmed into their culture. Today’s generation has been saturated with opportunities to experience pornography.  In fact, all of us now have equal opportunity in this area of temptation.

I wish I could tell you this change doesn’t matter, but having sat with dozens of couples whose marriage is falling apart because of an addiction to pornography by one spouse, I have to speak against this part of our culture. Pornography is seldom talked about, but it is rampant and is destroying people and marriages. I consistently talk with young men who have been addicted since an early age. I’m certain that is true for women also, but I mostly have dealt with men about the issue. Pornography causes them to view their wives differently and cheapens the value of sex in their marriage, not to mention the emotional damage it does to the wife, forcing her to question her worth and her husband’s commitment to her and the marriage.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think legalism is the answer, but I believe the church must address this issue.

If this is your issue, before it ruins your life, let me offer a few points of encouragement:

1. Know there is a way out of the hold pornography has on your life if you are willing to find it.

2. Recognize that the consequences of pornography are huge and get help. It’s never too late for God’s grace to rescue you.

3. Get accountability now. You will be embarrassed, but you are not alone in this struggle. (1 Cor 10:13)

4. Ultimately you’ll want to learn to refocus that same passion and attention towards Christ. He is the answer for everything that ails us. Then you can begin to love your spouse as he or she deserves to be loved.

The sooner you start some of these steps, the sooner you’ll break free from the hold pornography has on your heart….and you know you want to be free!

Have you faced this battle? How do you guard your heart here? What should the church be doing with this issue? What suggestions do you have for those in this battle?

Orange Week: Churches Partnering with Parents

It took years before I felt comfortable teaching about parenting. I don’t feel adequate to teach about parenting adult children now, since I’m still doing that, but I feel better about helping parents of younger children. Our boys have become healthy, well-adjusted, God-fearing children.

This week is Orange Week; a ministry of The ReThink Group. It’s a week to talk about the Orange strategy of partnering churches with parents, believing that the combined effort works better than either one of them working independent of each other. I’m happy to participate. Grace Community Church uses and believes in the Orange strategy. If you want to improve your ministry to families, attend the Orange Conference next year.

Cheryl and I owe all our success at parenting to God’s grace, but it’s also true that we were extremely intentional with our parenting. Our boys were early teens when I surrendered to ministry, but they were raised in the homes of committed church members. My boys have been “pastor’s kids” less than 10 years, but we were “orange” parents before we knew the term. The ideal arrangement for us was to be in a church that believed in helping us direct our children towards Christ, but not doing it for us.

I didn’t want the church parenting my children. I didn’t want my boys to learn all the important life principles, even the Biblical principles from the church, but I realized that the church should and did play an important role in the life of my two boys. Some of their best friends were in the church, which helped them make wiser decisions in school. They found mentors in the church, which helped for times they didn’t want to talk with me. Cheryl and I became better people and more committed believers in the church, which made us better parents. The reality of us working with the church in our parenting was powerful and I’m confident it helped mold our boys character to what it is today. For more on my parenting philosophy, click HERE.

Are you partnering with the church to improve your parenting? Are you taking advantage of the opportunities the church offers? Are you being intentional in your parenting? How has the church helped shape your home?

For more information about the Orange strategy of helping churches partner with parents, click HERE.

Free Fridays Book Giveaway: Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Here are today’s winners:





I have a couple more book giveaways coming up soon…stay tuned!

Today I’m super excited to give away four (4) copies of Mary Beth Chapman’s new book “Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope”.

Chapman is wife to singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. In this book, Chapman talks about how her role as the wife of her charismatic celebrity, which was never what she intended or even had planned for her life. Living outside her comfort zone was only heightened when in 2008, the tragic death of their five-year-old daughter, Maria, led to a deep inner heartache. This is the story of one family’s journey towards hope, faith, and love through the high and very low periods of life and about learning how to trust God in the worst of times.

If you would like to win a copy of this book:

1. RT this post with something such as “Free Friday giveaway by @RonEdmondson Details here: “
2. Comment on this post with your name. Make sure I have either a Twitter or email address.

After 9 PM tonight CST I will choose four (4) random winners using from the comments received.

You do not want to miss this book!

Criss Cross: Our Newest Staff Member at GcomChurch

We have a new staff member at Grace Community Church. His name is Criss Cross. He started in the office this morning (and thankfully I’m out of town).

Criss Cross is our children’s ministries new mascot. We realize churches usually don’t have mascots, but we are passionate about reaching children for Christ. It amazes me to watch children get excited about a mascot at a ballgame. Sometimes they don’t even know a game is in progress if the mascot is nearby. I love watching their excitement interacting with a mascot.

Our goal for children is to get their attention, so we can share with them the love of Christ. Honestly, in a sea of entertainment, that’s much harder to do these days. We are hoping Criss Cross will help us attain our goal.

Welcome to the team Criss Cross! Stay out of my office!

What are you doing creatively to reach people for Christ?

Friday Discussion: Internet Matchmaking

(Last week I started a Friday discussion series to address some gray area issues I have to face continually. I appreciate those willing to discuss these issues here.  Last week I talked about using fear as a motivator in the church.  Read that post HERE.)

Today I want to address the issue of online matchmaking.

In the last few years, a large number of the weddings I have performed have been in relationships that started online. Whether through a paid service such as eHarmony or just through random or blind dates connected through Facebook, the numbers of people meeting for the first time via the Internet increases annually. I have never had a problem with this, but apparently some do from responses and reactions I have seen.

Even though the popularity of these is growing, these types of marriages are still not extremely considered “popular”. When I meet a couple that met online, for example, they appear more hesitant to tell me how they met as a couple.

I’m curious of your opinion. Does it bother you to hear that a couple met online? I even have a couple pastor friends who are single considering this as an option to meet someone. Is that okay? Should there be a stigma against meeting online or is it completely normal these days?

What do you think? Weigh in on the conversation and add to the discussion.

(Is there an issue you think I should cover during this series?)

7 Qualities to Look for in a Pastor’s Wife

I receive dozens of emails from pastors each week. This one caught my attention and I asked permission to use it here.  Hopefully others will benefit from my response and weigh in with their own thoughts. I have changed his name.


I hope all is well with you. I frequent your blogs ever so often via twitter, which I do enjoy. the reason for this email is for some direction. It is my belief that the Lord has called me to be a pastor, however I am presently single. I wanted to find out what are some of the qualities one should look for and how should I go about finding a wife as a future pastor. I have been keeping the issue in prayer.

I would love to hear your thoughts.



Dear Mike,

Most likely you will not be able to pick every expectation or qualification you have for a spouse.  I think is is wise, however, to have a goal. You are more likely to reach a target for which you aim.  With that in mind,

Here are 7 qualities I believe make up the ideal pastor’s wife:

Your biggest supporter. You should be hers too, but as a man in your position it is critical.  People will be less likely to support you if your wife doesn’t. Is she able to respect you in public enough not to criticize you in front of others?  Nothing would be more damaging to your ministry.  Ministry is hard on a marriage. Some days are harder than others. You’ll need to know there is one person always in your corner.

Obedient to the call of God regardless of the costs. Is she willing to walk by faith?  It will be required many times.

Visible and active in the ministry and/or church and looking to partner with you in ministry. I don’t believe the pastor’s wife should be everywhere, especially at the expense of her family, but the church should know she is a real person facing life’s struggles like the rest of the church.  Serving together because of a common love for Christ and a combined vision for ministry will help protect your marriage during difficult days.

Friendly and welcoming personality. Do people like her?  Does she have a genuine love for people, even those who at the time are harder to love?  This will be tested.

Completes you by filling in your weaknesses. Your ministry will be strengthened as “the two become one” and God uses each of your strengths to  blend a stronger team. Do your strengths compliment each other?

Less concerned about the material things of the world and more concerned about things eternal. This is a critical test for the life of a pastor’s wife. It is many times a life of sacrifice. This does not mean you can’t have or even enjoy nice things, but the source of real joy should come from the things money can never buy. There may be seasons of ministry where God calls you to real faith-testing and strengthening experiences with your finances. Will she remain faithful and committed during these times?

Loves Jesus more than you. If you need this one explained you may be in the wrong profession.

The easiest way for me to put this is that you should pick one like mine.  Cheryl is the perfect pastor’s wife. Of course, she is not available, but at least you have my standard for which you can set your ambitions. Praying for you as you have spiritual eyes and discernment.

As to where, that’s a tough one.  I don’t think location is as important as the heart with which you approach the search. When that is right it seems God will be much more willing to be in tune with the process and give you eyes to see. Perhaps my readers will have some suggestions.

Where’s the best place for singles (especially single pastors) to meet people today?

And, do you have any qualities you would add to my list for “Mike”?

Should Pastors Perform Marriages for Couples Living Together?

Drew Snider is a pastor at Gospel Mission in Vancouver, B.C., Canada and a reader of my blog. Recently he asked me a question online about performing marriages for those who are living together and I thought it was worth asking here, so I asked him to guest post about it. Here’s Drew’s post:

Ron very kindly offered me a guest shot here, to get some feedback on a puzzle that’s bugged me for some time.  What does a pastor do when a man and woman who have been Living Together come in and say they want to get married?  I’d been thinking about this ever since my stepdaughter and her fiancé ran into turbulence when his family’s priest balked at doing the ceremony because they were “living in sin”.

Their decision to live together came after they had determined they were committed to each other for life.  Moreover, they had also started taking those delightful, positive steps towards discovering Christ, inspired partly by the young man’s spiritual journey and partly by her mother’s return to the Lord; she’d only been water-baptized in the year before.  But this feeling of rejection nearly put them off Christianity, which is the last thing one should want.  So I started looking through Scripture for the answer to a basic question: where is it specified that the wedding ceremony is required before a couple can live together?

I can’t find it.  Maybe I’m missing something.

We’re not talking fornication here.  As I interpret the word, “fornication” means the wanton pursuit of fleshly satisfaction, not a man and woman who have found their life mate but have not solemnized that union either before God or under civil jurisdiction.  In the absence of Scriptural foundation, are we not dealing with a principle of man, which often works at cross-purposes to God’s word?  Consider:

  • Do we not run the risk of driving away people who may be about to decide that Christ is the way, but feel judged, rejected or unworthy?
  • Does this not go against the principle of Grace?  Shouldn’t we rejoice that they want to bring their union under God, and not impose conditions?
  • Theoretically, a long-time womanizer who suddenly decides to propose to Miss Right Now has a greater chance of being married in a church.
  • In their zeal to find a church, the couple might go “church-shopping” and wind up with a church that makes compromises in other areas that are addressed in Scripture
  • What about an older couple in their 40s or 50s, say (I have one in mind), who are finally coming to the Lord?

Which should be the priority: a principle of man, or God’s will that all should know Him?  As Ron pointed out in his reply to a comment of mine on this blog, many couples opt for civil ceremonies these days and thus deny themselves Christian pre-marital counseling.  I would add that that also denies them the opportunity to learn what their individual roles really are according to the word of God, rather than what they’ve heard second-hand from The World.

So over to you-all: what’s your take on this?