Great Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts That Encourage Spiritual Growth

Are you looking to give a Christmas gift this year that will have a lasting impact?

Below are a few recommendations for books I have found helpful in ministry.

They’re organized by who would use them (men, women, youth, pastor, etc.).

Hope this helps you find the perfect gift for those you want to encourage in ministry.

 

Christmas List for 2018

Free Retreats for Pastors

Two great vacation destinations for pastors and their families

FREE Retreats for Pastoral

 

Are you on a tight vacation budget? Do you enjoy relaxing in a Christian environment either in the woods or at the beach? My family and I have found two great places to vacation that offer to active pastors and their families accommodations that are perfect get-aways. I just spent four days and three nights at a beautiful Christian retreat center in Williamsburg, VA and thought other pastors and their families would like to know about two very kind offers to pastors serving a church.

Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center   

My family and I stayed in a cabin that was one of the most spacious, clean, and enjoyable camping experiences we have had. The location was close to all the attractions in the historic section of Williamsburg, VA (20 minutes away). The grounds are beautiful with lots to do including a pool in season. On the 300 acre property, there were plenty of easy hiking trails through their private woods.

The Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center offers to pastors and their families two free nights in either their 22 site RV campgrounds (they also have a tent village next to the pool), in the cabins we stayed in that sleeps seven (which are very nice and modern), or in the Oakwood Lodge (which includes a room for four or a room with a kitchenette that sleeps two). If you want to stay for more than two days, like we did, they only charge 50% of the regular room rate per night. When meals are served in the beautiful dining room those meals are also discounted 50%.

Retreat OfficeThey also offer pastor’s a personal rest and renewal retreat for up to four nights in the Oakwood Lodge. This is an excellent place to be refreshed, be alone with the Lord, or catch up on some future studies. Linens and towels are provided and some rooms have a kitchenette if you don’t want to enjoy the meals in the dining room.

Give them a call at 1-866-566-WCRC or look them up at www.wcrc.info.  Here are directions to their Retreat Center: Exit Interstate 64 on #227 and go north on Route 30 for just under a mile. Turn left on Route 601 (also called Barnes Road). Travel one mile and you will find the entrance on the right. Drive down a gray gravel driveway for about a half mile and the office/dining room will be on your left. Their address for your GPS is 9275 Barnes Road, Toano, VA 23168. Tell them Jim Klukow recommended their camping ministry to you. ENJOY!

 

Myrtle Beach Christian Retreat

Here’s another great free stay for active pastors. It’s called Myrtle Beach Christian Retreat. This is a year-round Retreat Center. The Retreat Center is located about two blocks from the beach and is a wonderful place to take your family. The food is good, the location is excellent and the accommodations are relaxing. This Retreat Center has been serving churches for over 65 years and with reasonable prices.Court Yard

Rev Henry and his wife Lynn Brock are Executive Directors who have hearts for encouraging pastors, so they offer pastors and their families a once a year get away. From August to around the end of May a pastor and his immediate family can reserve a room for up to five days and four nights (Monday through Friday) for free. The one exception is during spring break when the Center is booked solid with youth groups.

The rooms are basic (bring all your own linens) and the four-acre campus is tightly packed with buildings (after all it is beach property). They have a great 250 seat main conference center and an Olympic sized pool. The walk to the beach is wonderful. They even allowed us to use one of their golf carts to drive to the beach access. My kids thought that was pretty cool that I drove them to the beach in a golf cart. This Retreat Center is only minutes away from lots of fun things to do and places to eat in Myrtle Beach, SC.

If you want a simple and relaxing time at the beach this is the place to be. There was a youth group at the Center while we stayed there, but we didn’t notice any additional noise or congestion in the dining hall. The staff was very accommodating and it’s always nice to vacation with others Christians.

You can reach Rev. or Mrs. Brock or one of their staff at 843-272-6649 or find them on the web at www.mrcr.org. For your GPS here is the address: 4105 Poinsett St. North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582. Hope you enjoy this great spot as much as my family did. Again, let them know that Jim Klukow recommended their ministry to you.

And, if you are planning a retreat for youth or adults these two locations are perfect!

If you have found a great place for ministers to stay for free please send me that contact and I will visit and write a review.  For ministers on a tight vacation budget, kind people like the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center and the Myrtle Beach Christian Retreat staff can’t be beaten. They were truly a blessing to me and my faour families.

Euangelophobia

The Fear of God in Believers (Yiraw Jehovah) (nine of nine)

A Healthy Fear of God

Believers have fears related to their surroundings, future, or relationships, just as unbelievers do. But, there is a difference in the way a believer fears God from that of someone who doesn’t know God personally.

God's finger upon a person

To know God is to trust him in a personal way. A healthy fear of God is to fear him as your loving father. It might be better to use the word “respect.” One way to distinguish a dreadful fear of God from a worshipful fear of God is to call it the fear of the Lord. In Hebrew, the phrase is “Yerah Jehovah.” Yerah means to fear and Jehovah is the personal or covenantal name of God reflecting his imminence or closeness through tender mercies and love for his people. Faith in God’s goodness is part of what it means to trust him as your Lord.

Euangelophobia

The Fear of God in Unbelievers (Yerah Elohim) (eight of nine)

 The Fear Unlike Any Other

Although unbelievers and believers suffer from similar fears, there is one fear that is dealt with differently between Christians and non-Christians. Let’s consider the unbeliever’s and believer’s perspectives on fearing God.

God's finger upon a person

Most of our fears relate to our surrounding, future, or relationships. But there is a fear, unlike any other fear. It’s a fear of God. The unbeliever has an impersonal fear of God. In Hebrew, it is identified using the phrase “Yerah Elohim” translated “the fear of God.” Yerah is the word for “fear” and Elohim is God’s name referring to his transcendence, great power, and authority to judge. Fearing God more resembles a panic-stricken fear in that it includes the sense of condemnation (Jn 3:18-20). Adam and Eve first felt this fear shortly after they sinned against God. Sin broke their relationship with God and out of fear they hid from God. They were fearful of his judgment, which overtook their confidence in his forgiveness (Gen 3:8, Rev 6:15-17).

Eunagelophobia

The Fear of Being Afraid (phobophobia) (seven of nine)

The Fear of Being Afraid

I know this sounds strange, but can you be afraid of being afraid? Our culture is chock full of fears. Fears enslave. People, religious and non-religious, have sought solutions to overcoming fear. Yet, our fears continue to grow. We are even afraid of being afraid!

God's finger upon a person

Using others to satisfy ourselves is a mask hiding our deepest fears. Some seek to overcome fears by seeing others as their private gas pump. The strategy is to feel happy and fulfilled you must use other people to fill up your emotional gas tank. Once full, you can drive away into the sunset doing your own thing again until the tank runs dry. When on empty you return to others for a fill-up. Fear, in this case, develops a people user mentality and makes mayhem of relationships.

Euangelophobia

The Fear of The Unknown (Xenophobia) (six of nine)

Uncertainty and the Future

From children fearing a bogyman under their beds to adults fearing future employment, the fear of the unknown or the uncertainty of the future are common fears. Doubt feeds on the unknown. Fearing what we can’t know causes irrational fears and behaviors. It produces a prejudice against anything other than what we do know.

God's finger upon a person

Salespeople use the fear of the unknown to sell everything from extended maintenance contracts on electronic to sowing seeds of doubt that a competitor’s product is as good as theirs. The trifecta of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) all relate to each other, thrive in an environment of misinformation, and lead to a gamut of fears from racism to fearing anything unfamiliar.

Euangelophobia

The Fear of Others: What They Might Think or Do to Me (Anthropophobia or Sociophobia) (five of nine)

Replacing Fear with Faith

For many, fear is a constant part of life. Ignoring fears won’t make them go away. Vicarious experiences of fear through watching a horror movie or attending a haunted house don’t quench the fires of fear. The biblical model for overcoming fear is to replace it with something more powerful.

God's finger upon a person

 

Adam first felt fear when God visited Eden to see him after he sinned (Gen 3:10). This is the first mention of fear in the Bible. The first recorded feelings of fear relate to Adam’s disobedience. With fear came shame, and shame wreaks havoc on relationships. Adam’s relationships with God and Eve were stained because trust broke down and fear took over. By the time of Noah’s flood, fear had become rampant over the earth. It had become a dominant part of human existence (Gen 9:1-3).

Euangelophobia

The Fear of Being Rejected or Ridiculed (Catagelophobia and Gelotophobia) (four of nine)

The Fear of Rejection or Ridicule

The fear of rejection is a powerful deterrent to sharing your faith. Thinking someone will ridicule you for standing up for your faith can paralyze evangelism efforts.

These fears take on two forms.

  1. It comes in the form of bullying or teasing.
  2. It is experienced by being ignored by another or ostracized by one or several people.

God's finger upon a person

Everyone feels rejected at one time or another. Prolonged or constant rejection, in either form, is a serious problem when it happens in a close relationship. Feelings of rejection are commonly associated with loneliness, low self-esteem, acts of aggression (passive-aggressive behavior), and depression. The fear of rejection or ridicule can lead to insecurities that manifest themselves in overachieving or social sternness. In the Church, it often produces defensiveness displayed by legalistic behaviors and beliefs.