Tag Archive | Craig Groeschel

Loving The Hurting, Remembering The Forgotten: An Important Challenge To Churches Everywhere For 2016

This morning, I attended a very special All Staff meeting at my church.

We received phenomenal leadership and encouragement about change from our pastor. It was a great time of worship, vision, learning, and community.

While Pastor Craig was sharing his heart, my mind began to come up with so many fresh, new ideas of change for my grief ministry, as my spirit absorbed the wisdom, passion, creativity, and vision God had planned for me.

I have a huge passion for those who hurt, those who feel rejected or displaced, those who deeply grieve, those who feel life can never be better, and those who have turned their back on God and the church. And I absolutely love that my pastor has a huge heart for these precious groups of people as well!

I’ve felt the sting of each of these situations through different seasons of my life, and none of them were a fun place to be. Because of personally experiencing these situations, God has been good to allow me to gain insight and understanding so I could know how to encourage and help in these areas…but today I wondered “is it enough?…am I doing enough?” 

The answer, if I’m honest with myself, is no, not always. 

So another question came to mind, “what can you change?…what needs to change?

Every church cares. Most Christians truly care.

Every church wants people to feel as though they belong. Many Christians go out of their way to show love and acceptance.

Every church truly wants to minister to everyone. There are a lot of staff and Christians who spend many, many hours in ministry helping and equipping others. 

Every church wants to make a huge difference. There are too many ministries to count that genuinely make incredible impacts.

So what are we missing? Also, who are we missing? 

What changes can we all implement to be more loving, accepting, kind, and effective so we can minister, serve, and encourage to the best of our abilities to make the absolute greatest impact?

There are no perfect Christians, no perfect churches, no perfect ministries, no perfect staff, no perfect people, no perfect anything. Perfection is something we definitely pursue, but Christians fall short…all people fall short—regardless of their religious affiliation. Ministries fall short…just like workplaces fall short.

So how do we bridge the gap between the church and people who are hurting…people who are deeply grieving…people who have given up on—or even reject—God and the church…people who have never and won’t even consider stepping foot in a church…people who feel like life is hopeless?

I’m truly excited by what God showed me this morning and the ideas He gave me!

I look forward to ministering like never before, serving more vibrantly, boldly caring, and writing more in 2016.

As you read this, you may not share my enthusiasm. You may even have already thought of past hurts you’ve experienced.

If you fit into any of the above categories, I hope you’ll closely follow my blog and find encouragement. I am so very sorry if you have been wounded or offended by someone in the church…so very sorry if you’ve experienced deep grief…incredibly sorry if you ever felt as though life was hopeless or made to feel that your life was void of value…so sorry if an event happened that made you turn your back on God and the church. Truly, truly, genuinely sorry. If someone has not sincerely apologized to you personally, then I offer my deepest apologies as a part of the body of Christ!

God has great compassion and incredible love for you! You DO matter! Your life IS valuable! Your heartache, grief, and pain DOES count! God hears your heart’s pain and cries…and if anyone on earth failed to hear, understand, or realize your pain or grief (or failed to make it right), that is NOT okay with God…and I guarantee you it truly broke His heart. 

This year, I want to vibrantly continue to help and encourage the grief community, and I also want to pour into people who have felt hurt and offended by anyone in the church.

I look forward to encouraging everyone in 2016…especially with the vision God gave me today!

Rolling up my sleeves to truly make a greater impact is my heart’s desire this year. If you are a part of any church, please join me in this endeavor. It is desperately needed! 

If you know of anyone who has been through deep grief, anyone who is down in life, anyone who has been deeply hurt or offended by the church—whether by church staff or fellow believers, reach out to the offended and the hurting! 

We need to never be so quick to be offended or put off by a person’s disbelief, mistrust or abrasiveness…instead, we ought to look into their hearts and seek to understand the reason behind why they’re hurt, offended, or bitter. There are a crop of people we need to seek to intentionally love back to life! 

We, as the Church, constantly say and promote, “it’s okay not to be okay”…but then when people aren’t okay, or they later become not “okay,” do we as the whole church truly put our money where our mouths are and intentionally pursue the hurting and also genuinely care when others are hurt, offended, or leave?

Church is a family…ultimately one big family…who will ALL be living together in heaven some day. Is it not going to cause us shame when we see Christ and have to explain to Him how we treated some people as unvaluable or, worse, disposable?

Helping others and conflict resolution can be uncomfortable. It can be gritty and messy, for sure—definitely not all cotton candy, unicorns, sunshine and rainbows. It requires sacrifice and selflessness. People are worth it, though. So very worth it!

Isn’t this exactly what God did for each of us? I am forever grateful to those who loved me back to life and those who intentionally invested in me. Because they took the time to genuinely care for a broken, hurting, mess of a young lady years ago, my life was spectacularly changed! Now, all because of their love and concern, 200 million users on YouVersion have an opportunity to read the Grief Bites reading plans, and people in 110 countries receive grief encouragement weekly on my blog. None of this would’ve happened had certain people not seen me as someone valuable enough to care about. I had plans to be an atheist and reject God and the church…but I saw—and truly experienced—Christianity in the most pure, loving, amazing, kindest form. And it made all the difference in the world!

Who else in the world needs to experience the love of Christ? And what amazing spiritual gifts are hidden behind each hurting or hardened heart?

Sometimes, people have hearts that have had a lot of mud flung their way. Who is willing to accept the challenge to use their Christ-like love to water and nurture these hearts so their true heart can shine through?

People who have been through major grief, life challenges, or tough circumstances in life, they all have hidden treasure locked inside of them…each has their personal life story that can help others. What stories are not being shared due to not being nourished and nurtured? Like Pastor Rick Warren says, “Who better to help the grief community than someone who has been through grief? Or the atheist community than a former atheist? Or the addiction community than one who battled addiction?” There are a wealth of amazing people out there who are being lost in the shuffle and it’s up to the church to love, help and encourage them. If they were once plugged in and left a church…and no one cared…that falls on each of us.

Every person has great value and has the amazing ability to create lasting change inside and outside of their church. Ask God to use you and ask Him to show you where…and with who…He wants you to begin!

We have 11 1/2 more months of 2016 to see what God is capable of doing through this challenge. Let’s seek to obey Him with everything we’ve got!

Make the incredibly important decision to love the unlovely, encourage the hurting and grieving, and to go after the ones who have left or abandoned their faith so they know someone cares…so they know that God and the church truly does care.

I know this will be some of the best time we’ll spend this year in service and devotion to God!

Be His heart…be His hands…be His feet!

So who is up to this challenge?

I hope everybody!

Every single day, ask God to show you someone to encourage, and ask Him to bring to mind those who have left the church or who have abandoned their faith.

May God richly reward and bless you as you love people back to life and shine the brightest light possible for Him this year!

Gratitude and many blessings,
Kim

©2016 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

If what you read was helpful, please feel free to share it❤️

For more encouragement:

Best decision of your life: http://peacewithgod.net

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
2. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 
3. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 
4. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️

Suicide…10 TIPS to make a difference

80% of all people have thought about suicide at one time or another.

50% of students feel suicidal right now this very minute.

15-18% will seriously consider suicide as a viable option.

8% will attempt it.

Suicide for me is a topic that hits home.

Several years ago, one of my friends killed herself…a few years later, another friend who attended the same Bible study with me killed himself…in 2007, a friend who changed my life committed suicide…this year, a friend of my husband’s and mine committed suicide…then a treasured loved one attempted suicide.

Yesterday, Robin Williams sadly took his own life.

Suicide is a devastating permanent decision that is made while in the trenches of a personal & temporary emotional hell.

Suicide doesn’t discriminate.

It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, if you have a genius mind, what nationality you are, if you have a ton of friends or none…it can tempt anyone.

It is carried out by the mentally ill, as well as the mentally fit…it is carried out by people who have very loving parents & families, as well as those who lack familial support & love…it beckons the lonely bullied kids, as well as those who are popular…it has nothing to do with God, as well as everything to do with God.

How many people do each of us know who are silently at the brink of potentially quitting life?

It starts with every person because each one of us has the incredible capacity to make a difference in the lives of others!

I thought of 10 things that may make a difference. This certainly is not an exhaustive list. People hurt for many different reasons. This list is just what I consider helpful.

10 TIPS FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION~it starts with each of us

1. CHOOSE TO BE A NICE PERSON

Be kind to others. You NEVER know what people are dealing with on a day-to-day basis…things that you have no idea about. Your words have the power to uplift someone or to destroy a part of someone’s heart.

You’d be surprised how many people are literally one unkind word away from doing something regretful. “One” thing someone says could very well be the “100th” thing that was said to them during the week or month. Unkindness has a layering affect that eventually builds up. Use your words to be kind.

2. BE A GOOD REFLECTION

If you see that someone is struggling–or they are being bullied, outcasted, or rejected–or if you see someone who is making poor decisions–choose to be the ONE person who makes a difference in their life. Some people have no idea that they have VALUE.

Maybe God wants to use YOU to help uncover their value to where they gain the ability to CLEARLY see it for themselves.

Problems have a way of clouding the way we see ourselves in the daily mirror of life. Be a good solid mirror in the lives of others so that when they talk to you, they see a good reflection. People truly need that. If you see something good in someone, tell them. Give people genuine praise and words of affirmation. You may be the only good “mirror” they will see themselves through until they gain the ability to see the good in their own self.

3. DEVELOP DISCERNMENT & MERCY

Don’t believe everything you hear about people. If you do hear something negative, choose to be the type of person who gives others MERCY & the benefit of the doubt. Everybody has value and everyone has the potential to do great things with their life. EVERYBODY.

Even if something said is true, people can and do change.

Give & be the mercy today that you would hope to receive tomorrow.

Treat others how you would want to be treated in the same situation.

Everybody has the capacity to make a really poor decision. It is never a good idea to be so prideful to think that we are the exception. Please use discernment and give others MERCY.

4. DON’T PLACE BLAME

Don’t blame or judge the parents, spouse, or family of the person who tried to commit suicide or succeeded in commiting suicide. If a person commits suicide, it simply means that they did not like how the circumstances of their life was going, they lost hope, or an event was excruciatingly painful, or the pain in their life became too great to handle. It does NOT (& should NOT) reflect on the family of those left behind.

The family left behind needs your love, support, COMPASSION, & encouragement more than ever. Don’t shun or avoid them and please DO NOT make their situation a topic of gossip. They feel terribly heartbroken and traumatized about it already. Please do not add to their pain.

Don’t blame the person. They were in a lot of pain and they simply got caught up in a very dark moment and felt like the options ran out. They weren’t trying to be selfish, hurtful or unthoughtful…they were in the darkest depths of their life and didn’t know how to swim to the surface. They felt as though they were drowning and got tired of treading the waters of “life”.

If you know of a hurting family member or friend, please don’t judge their pain…please HELP & LOVE THEM!

Many times, outside people do not have all the facts to know the totality of a story of what went on inside the life of the person who committed suicide. Everybody has a story…and not everyone is an open book. Please be compassionate.

5. CHOOSE TO BE A HOPE GIVER & ENCOURAGER

There are some people in life who have a way of infusing hope in the darkest situations of life. CONTINUALLY FIND WAYS TO BE ONE OF THEM! Seek to let everyone you come in contact with know that life is good regardless of any life event they are going through. Encourage those who God has placed around you.

INFUSE HOPE, LOVE, AND ENCOURAGEMENT INTO FAMILY & FRIEND’S LIVES!

Although suicide or attempted suicide can be a source of gossip, don’t be so quick to believe that someone who attempted suicide is merely a depressed mess. 

Many times, after a suicide attempt, a person will learn very deep life lessons. Many will develop compassion towards others who are hurting. Some of the best encouragers I’ve ever met have been those who have been affected by depression or suicide.

After my attempt, I found how to be an encourager. If you want to be a great encourager, think of the struggles you have had in life…then look for others who are going through a same or similar struggle, and encourage them the way you wished someone would have encouraged you.

It can make a big difference!

6. DEVELOP AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE & A LIFE PURPOSE THAT BECOMES GREATER THAN PERSONAL PAIN

It is so important to understand how to have an eternal perspective…and to genuinely understand that EVERY life matters. There is a huge need for people who are able to EFFECTIVELY communicate this truth: Everybody goes through bad situations in life…and every situation in life is redeemable. EVERYBODY has a life purpose that needs to be fulfilled…and ONLY they have the ability to fulfill it.

With so much judgment in the world, it is easy for people to feel constantly discouraged. We need to reverse our judgments and turn them into something that helps others…and find tangible ways of caring for others. When people are down…and there are a lot of situations that can bring people down…who can they trust to help lift them out of the pit? It’s not enough to say, “I care”…everybody cares…our families and friends may need more than that. They may need to know that someone ACTIVELY CARES and are willing to invest in their life. If you see someone struggling…ask how you can help. Let them know they have great value and that there is an Answer to anything and everything in life. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THAT THEIR LIFE PURPOSE IS GREATER THAN ANY PAIN THEY EXPERIENCE. Pain in life is temporary…a life purpose is eternal. IT HAS AN ONGOING LASTING IMPACT & LEGACY. 

I suffered greatly with depression until I found my life purpose. Everybody has an incredible life purpose…once you find out what your own unique purpose is, it breathes new life into your heart. It truly fills your heart with HOPE!

There is purpose in every pain we all go through and it is often there to develop & refine our life purpose.

To find out your purpose, go to http://www.chazown.com and also http://www.purposedriven.com

I HIGHLY recommend two books:

  • Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? This book has sold more books than any other nonfiction book except for the Bible. It is an incredible book that has the ability to change lives!
  • Craig Groeschel’s book, Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life Craig Groeschel is a skilled communicator. You will truly enjoy his style of writing and wit!

7. BE A GOOD EXAMPLE TO YOUR CHILDREN

We, as parents, can fool ourselves into believing that our kids are automatically or naturally born “kind” people.

Character & kindness are CAUGHT, not TAUGHT. We can tell our kids to be kind all we want but if they do not see it in our lives, they aren’t going to buy it.

Here are a few questions each of us should ask ourselves for personal accountability:

(IT STARTS AT HOME!)

Do your kids see you being kind to your spouse, your other children, & others? Do they see you talking bad about other people to your friends? Do they see you maliciously gossiping, belittling, or insulting others? Do they see you actively befriending others or do they see you being overly critcal & picky with whom you choose to befriend? Has someone reached out to you to offer friendship and you snubbed them? Have you been arrogant or exclusive? Have they witnessed you being “two-faced”…nice to people when they are around but talk poorly about them later?

Parents are children’s main blueprint & role models for how to treat others. I think sometimes, we can all minimize or forget that.

We want to blame others instead of looking in the mirror. We ALL do it…harsh but true.

We want to think that it is always “everyone else” who will fix societal issues. We each need to honestly self-reflect to see if we are truly part of the problem…and how we can be part of the solution.

We, as parents, need to realize that kind parents produce the next kind generation. The hand that rocks the cradle has the power to influence and rock the world. Make sure you do everything in your power to ensure that your children will rock the world with kindness and compassion as adults.

If you’ve made these mistakes (and we ALL have), go to your kids and ask for forgiveness. It is never too late to become a kinder person and to open up important conversation with our kiddos about being kind to others..even if they are now adults. We are all works in progress, none of us are perfect.

When you know better, you then have the ability to do better.

Now that you know, change life up & make kindness a priority. Teach your kids to be kind by example.

8. INFORM OTHERS OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT WANT TO HELP THEM

Post a phone number of a suicide hotline on your facebook page today and tell your facebook friends that they are valuable. You may want to simply say something like, “If you’re feeling depressed or like there’s no reason to live, PLEASE go talk to someone. I care about each and every one of you and want you to continue being in my life.”

People need to tell their family & friends that they are cared about. It DOES make a difference!

By the way, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline‘s phone number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Suicide hotline is 24/7, free, and confidential with a nationwide network of crisis centers.

Another good organization with a free hotline is The Focus on the Family Help Center. Counselors are available to listen and pray with you, as well as provide initial guidance and resources to help. Arrange to speak with a licensed Christian counselor at no cost by calling 1-855-771-HELP (4357) Monday through Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Mountain time).

9. CALL PEOPLE OUT

If you see that a family member or friend has been behaving differently, has made drastic changes to their appearance or lifestyle, has appeared depressed or hopeless, or has mentioned “life sucks” or has said life is “not worth living”, CALL THEM OUT ON IT…ASK if they are okay. Tell them you care about them and that you love them. Let them know that you are always there for them and they can call you anytime…day or night. Better to offend a friend than to have regret.

10. REACH OUT TO YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS IF YOU ARE HAVING A HARD TIME AND SEEK GOD

If you are feeling depressed, reach out to your loved ones. Society tells everyone that they need to be strong…but we ALL will have times in life where we feel weak or depressed.

Don’t bottle it all in. Seek out a TRUSTED family member or friend and get the help you need.

It helps to get another person’s perspective about situations and hardships in life. It helps to know someone cares.

If you are feeling depressed, make wellness a priority…even if you don’t want to.

Pray, seek God’s heart, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and rest, and do things in life that you previously enjoyed…especially when you do not feel like doing any of these things.

It takes time to fix what has been broken. It takes time for God to work the details out to make something good come out of the painful event you are experiencing.

Get the help you need today so you have the ability to help others through the situations they are facing tomorrow. YOU are going to be ABSOLUTE JEWEL to someone in the future who will be going through a similar heartache!

I hope all of this was helpful. If it makes a difference in even one person’s life, it was worth writing. Please know that you have VALUE! Life is worth living! 

Yes, 8% will attempt suicide. I pray that those 8% will find the HOPE they are seeking from ONE person. Their life purpose is unfolding. I sure hope someone cares about them today so they have a renewed ability to live out their life purpose tomorrow.

Be the ONE.

Each one of us knows someone who is going through depression or someone who is going through a tough time.

Let’s make the commitment to pick up the phone TODAY & call the people we love and tell them how much they mean to us. If we know someone is down, we need to check on them and make sure they are okay. Encourage family & friends this week!
Compassion is so needed in this world..everyone needs to know they matter.

If you have gone through the heartache of losing a family member or friend to suicide, I am so very sorry. I know that every time suicide is a topic in the news, it can bring intense grief back up to the surface. Praying for every family going through this tonight!

If you are having thoughts of suicide or you are going through deep depression, DO NOT wait to get help. There’s no shame in getting help! If you broke your arm, you’d seek out help. How much more important is your heart & your mind!
Please seek out help for depression…especially if you are having suicidal thoughts!
YOU MATTER!!!!!

http://www.griefbites.com ©2014