Preaching Articles



It seems every day we hear of another big name celebrity, politician, or pastor who has fallen into the temptation of lust and had an affair. I think it is dangerous for any leader to assume this could never happen to him or her. Speaking as a man (I can’t speak as a woman), I understand that temptation is very real. When the mind begins to wander in a lustful direction, it is very hard to control. The failure, I believe, comes more in not protecting the heart and mind. I know that I must personally work to protect myself, my wife, my boys, and my church from the scandal and embarrassment of an affair.

There are a few rules I have in place that serve to protect my heart:

I never meet alone with a woman besides my wife (or mother).

I always take someone along to lunch meetings, and I make sure others are in the office when I meet with women. Also, I never exercise with other women. (If you need explanation, then you’ve never been a guy going to a gym where girls are in workout clothes. Trust me!) I realize this is not popular in these days when men and women are searching for equality in the workplace. Honestly, some women never understand this. I had one woman tell me recently that I “think too highly of myself,” but my family is too important to me not to take this precaution.

I try not to conduct very personal or intimate conversations with women.

I am careful not to compliment a woman on her appearance, unless I feel she needs the encouragement and her husband or my wife is in the conversation. If a woman is in tears, I am careful about prolonging the conversation. When emotions are flowing, people get vulnerable. There are women on our staff and in our church equally or more capable than me to deal with these types of conversations.

When talking to couples, I focus my visual connection mostly on the man and not his wife.

It’s not that I don’t talk to the wife, but I try to place my eyes more in the direction of the man. This is a discipline I have had to practice. Sometimes I see couples from our church in the community, and I often don’t recognize the woman when she is not with her husband. This is not that I don’t care about the woman (or that I’d rather look at a man!), but this is necessary in order to protect my heart and mind from wandering. (Did you ever read 2 Samuel 11?)

I try not to stare at women.

When an attractive woman catches my eye, I try to quickly bounce my attention elsewhere. Yes, I notice a pretty woman in the room…often. God made some beautiful women. I just know my heart and mind too well to allow myself to stare. Trust me…I can’t.

I spend lots of time with my wife.

The best defense is a good offense. The most certain way to protect my heart is to strengthen my marriage. Cheryl and I spend most of our leisure time together.

I try to always remember my boys.

My boys are two of my very best friends, and thankfully, as of right now, they still have tremendous respect for me as a dad and a man. I would never want to disappoint them by being unfaithful to my wife.

I love my church.

I would never want to injure the work God is doing at Grace Community Church. If I were ever tempted to sin against God in this way, I would hope my love for the church would draw me back.

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years of business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been in full-time ministry for over eight years.  

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Priscilla Hammond

commented on Jan 16, 2012

"When Talking To Couples, I Focus My Visual Connection Mostly On The Man And Not His Wife." What? Wow. Maybe women should start covering themselves from head to toe so that you can only see their eyes and won't be tempted. Galatians 3:28 comes to mind when I read this - we are all adopted into the family, all given spiritual gifts, all given equal status at the foot of the cross. Do you think Paul didn't look at Priscilla when Aquila was in the room?

Chaplain Shawn Kennedy

commented on Jan 16, 2012

I agree with Priscilla. What do you think you're communicating to the woman by not equally sharing eye contact? The rest are great but this one can be dropped.

Dr. Raymond Grabert

commented on Jan 16, 2012

I think you misunderstand. As a pastor and a man, Satan will use any opportunity to get us to fall. We must be on guard to protect our hearts. Men are visual, therefore, we must protect what enters our eyes thereby protecting our hearts from the temptation to lust. I agree with Ron. I follow these same practices myself. We are not being degrading to women in the least, just the opposite. I think we are being very respectful to our God, our wives, ourselves, our families, our church, and our witness when we set standards in place in order to avoid problems. Don't go overboard with covering from head to toe, but do dress in decent ways.

Priscilla Hammond

commented on Jan 16, 2012

Dr. Grabert, I don't misunderstand. I have two masters and am working on my doctorate. I am an ordained pastor. It is not being disrespectful to your wife to engage in a conversation with me. And I'm sorry that I didn't note that I was being sarcastic in the comment about covering - I was referencing the practice of those muslims who require women to dress in such a manner, because they do not believe women have anything to contribute.

Rev. James Allen Kelly

commented on Jan 16, 2012

I agree with Dr. Raymond Grabert and these are things that I want to further keep in mind as I minister to others. I think this is a good reminder of how we should respect each other and fireproof our marriages and our churches. Thank you for these wonderful rules of ministry.

Eileen Marshall

commented on Jan 16, 2012

I agree with Priscilla, i think this is over the top, you are making us women think we are there just to temp you men!! If your focus is on the worthiness of Jesus and not on your own worthiness you won't make sin so big and us women such a temptation, of course you need to be wise, we all do and not to put yourself in an awkward situation. One thing I am confident in is that Jesus would look me in eyes and if you have a born again Spirit within you, you have Jesus within, you are a new creation, focus on that and not the sin of temptation and maybe we will then all feel equal at the foot of the cross as Priscilla has said.

Chris Surber

commented on Jan 16, 2012

I have a simpler idea. Integrity. This writer belies the "strangeness" among so many of my fellow Pastors that I often wonder how anyone can take us seriously... He should have kept these thoughts to himself.

Priscilla Hammond

commented on Jan 16, 2012

And 2 Samuel 11 as a proof-text for not making eye contact with a woman when speaking to her husband? Bathsheba was naked! Her husband was fighting David's war. David was the most powerful man in the world. Where exactly do you find evidence that you should not look at me when speaking to my husband who is right next to me? (I agree with protecting your marriage. I've been happily married for 18 years. However, this was not a new list of ways to protect your marriage in the 21st century. Why say avoid looking at me while talking to my husband, but not avoid looking at pornography. Why say avoid meeting alone with a woman, but don't say give your spouse your passwords to your email, facebook, etc. Instead of moving this conversation into the 21st century, you moved it back decades.) Sorry to have so many comments. I'll stop now. But seriously, Outreach editors, what were you thinking?

Tony Myles

commented on Jan 16, 2012

A few thoughts: (1) There is no way affair "proof" your marriage. These are fences that position your focus away from it, but the bottom line is that fences can be broken down with a sledgehammer... or more specifically, if you desire the affair you will find a way to have one. I've seen it happen among peers and mentors, and in every case it was due to what was happening inside of them and within their marriage. So the greater task is to work on your own heart's desire - and if it's too great to control you need to share it. I've told my wife and other trusted men in the church when I felt like I was tempted to enjoy the conversation of a particular woman too much because we got along a little too well. (2) This list is an elementary list... as has been pointed out, you should move past "not looking as much at the woman" to "being able to look at a woman without it creating a foothold by seeing her as a sister in Christ." Perhaps that only comes for a man with time and more spiritual growth, but I think it's worth noting that there is a larger picture than the initial resistance." (3) All of that said, I don't believe women generally take kindly to this kind of discussion. I've had women (when I refused to meet alone with them) feel as if I was treating them as sex objects when they merely wanted counsel. Guys do think of this issue differently and allegedly more frequently, but we likewise have to consider how our desire to not sin doesn't come across as legalism or cold lust issues. (4) An alternative: I tend to include my wife in on the decision to counsel women and give her "quiet veto power." Meaning, if she is uncomfortable with the situation I don't say, "My wife said I can't counsel you" but I meet with the woman somewhere where my wife is near, such as an office at the church building while my wife hangs out with our kids in a classroom that she is "cleaning." (It helps that she's on the church's clean team.) I save those for special occasions, but generally do let women know before I say yes that it needs to be a public place and can't be a regular/weekly meeting - 3 times is the limit.

Jim Stow

commented on Jan 16, 2012

May I add my thoughts? It's good to have boundaries in place before you meet with a woman by herself. I really don't like a lot of rules. In most cases, I would rather follow principles. I only speak for myself and I speak as a man. If you relate, that's fine, if not, let my words fall to the ground. First, I want to be real in my comments. Have I had lustful thoughts about a woman that is not my wife? You bet! I was in a church service a few years ago and there was a woman on the worship team that really drew my attention. To me, she was dressed very provocatively. I had to repeatedly rely on the scripture to take every thought captive to the Lord. I had to do this several times because my tendency was to keep looking back at the woman. That was a tough time for me, a real struggle and I thank God for His word that helped me through that time. Second, my wife and I just celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary. I love my wife. There are things about her that I highly honor and appreciate. There are also things about her that really irritate me and those can put me in an unappreciative mood. I understand that I could be vulnerable to temptation to wander to "greener pastures" when that happens. So, I think the Boy Scout motto is extremely important here, "Be Prepared". It's too late to start putting my armor on when I am in the heat of battle. Long before any of the temptations happened, I sat down and thought about what I would lose if I strayed. Well, my relationship with my Lord would be damaged. I would lose my wife if she chose not to forgive me. If she chose to forgive me, there would be that loss of trust and I doubt it could ever be completely restored. I would lose the regard of my family and close friends, as a reasonable consequence. I know restoration might be possible but that can take years and it may never be as strong. I would lose our ministry and that would be by my choice as much as anyone else's. These are all gifts from the Lord and they are precious to me. These are just some top ones, I know there more. So, "Be Prepared". I know that there will be times when I am vulnerable and the evil one loves to allow temptations to "just happen" in those times. OK, if it happens without the evil one's involvement, it is still happening. My wife and I have a female friend. This friend and I have a special bond in the spirit. We can talk on the phone for an hour or more because we are meeting in God's presence and He ministers to both of us when we talk. My wife knows about this and she is OK with it. My friend and I are very aware there can always be pitfalls. Neither of us believe there is a problem but just to exclude possible problems, my friend asked if it would be OK to call my wife and make sure. I felt that that was a good thing and encouraged her to do so. She called my wife and cemented out any romantic possibilities and all three of us felt good about it. This is the only woman with whom I have this type of relationship and I value that too much to try to take it anywhere romantic. I was in secular counseling for a number of years. I left that and my wife and I do spiritual counseling and prayer ministry. The other day, I met with a female client by myself because my wife was not available. I had no thoughts of impropriety (I am that naive at times.) My wife said that I should not do that again because of the appearances that might occur. When she pointed that out to me, I wholly agreed and was so appreciative for her input. So, those are some different cases in my life. As far as not looking at the female, my wife and I have several female clients who come by themselves. So, Ron, would you suggest I stare at the wall or at the floor while we counsel? For me, I need to be girded up before I enter the world outside my castle (and even inside my castle when we counsel there.) It is crucial for me to consider the loss I would be risking.

Michael Durst

commented on Jan 16, 2012

My fear in reading these comments is that we may be missing the forest for the trees. I too have found that some woman don't take too kindly to the reality of male temptations related to females in general. No one is saying that a woman is not of value, no one is saying that we need to follow muslim customs in the way a female dresses. What Christian men who love the Lord and want to honor Him are in deed saying is whether females understand our temptations or not, they can help us in being conservative in their dress and interactions. Of course the male counterparts also have a duty to submit themselves before the Lord continually for His transformation in all areas, especially those areas of greatest weekness. But the heart of the message being given in this article is simply to say that their are practical things we can do to avoid adulterous temptations or situations. If you don't like a particular piece of advice from the article, then ignore it and create your own keys/strategies for protection. May God bless each of you, your ministries and your marriages. I pray God gives me the wisdom, strength and strategy to always protect mine!

Robert Glass

commented on Jan 16, 2012

Remember the 2-foot rule. "Never do anything within 2-feet of a lady. and treat every lady like she was your Sainted Mother.

Charles Reed

commented on Jan 16, 2012

Someone has said, "Ever notice that the whisper of temptation can be heard farther than the loudest call to duty?" Having an accountability partner isn't a bad idea.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 16, 2012

Priscilla, no need to apologize for commenting. I have a couple of thoughts relating to your comments and would welcome your perspective, if you feel inclined to continue sharing. First, keep in mind Mr. Edmondson was quite clear that this is what HE personally does ("There are a few rules I have in place that serve to protect my heart"). He knows his heart more than you or I. What may seem extreme or "over the top" to us may be what is needed for him. And in an area like this, perhaps it is better to be safe than sorry. It saddens me how some on here are making some quite harsh judgements concerning his spirituality based not on actually knowing him and knowing what he goes through, but based simply on one article online. Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of not reading more into what he said than what he actually said. What he said was that when talking with a couple he focuses his visual connection mostly on the man instead of the woman. What he did NOT say was that he avoided looking at a woman when talking with her husband. Those are two different things and I don't think it is fair to accuse him of doing the latter because he said he does the former. One last thing. You wrote the following: "[T]his was not a new list of ways to protect your marriage in the 21st century." But again, that was not his intention. His intention was to share with us what HE personally does. Maybe he doesn't have a problem with looking at pornography. Maybe he doesn't use email much. I don't know why he didn't say a lot of things that we think he should've said. But just because he doesn't say everything he could've possible said on this issue doesn't mean he doesn't believe what he didn't say. Please don't take my comments as criticism. I'm not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to share my perspective, and hoping to understand yours a little better. God bless!

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 16, 2012

Chaplain Shawn, if I knew that that is what I had to do to keep my mind pure, that is what I had to do to "make a covenant with my eyes", to quote Job; then I would be willing to risk the miscommunication to the woman. That may not be what you need to do, and it's not something I personally do--although it's not an idea I'm willing to dismiss too quickly without searching my own heart first--BUT only God knows whether or not that is what Mr. Edmondson needs to do. I'll let him work that out between himself and God and not judge him for the decision he makes. Again, if I know that that is what I have to do to protect my marriage and my family--well, my family is more important to me than how a woman who is not my wife chooses to interpret something I do that is not meant to be offensive to her personally.

John Sears

commented on Jan 17, 2012

Why does someone have to announce his/her education when someone disagrees with them? To me it smacks of pride. I think there are better issues to choose for "equality of sisters and brothers" than eye contact in a conversation.

Trevor Payton

commented on Jan 17, 2012

I think this is an excellent article. If no leaders ever had inappropriate contact with the opposite sex, then I think the guidelines mentioned here would be over-the-top. Sadly, however, these guidelines (or ones like them) are a necessity in today's ministry to prevent inappropriate conduct, as well as the allegation of such. [Gotta love our litigious society!] And I have a great amount of respect and appreciation for my wife, as well as for the women in my life and in my church...but I've gotta say that most women simply don't have a clue how difficult the lust battle is for so many men. No, I do not think that women should be forced to dress like nuns for the sake of men...but I also don't think that a man should be judged harshly because he's taking appropriate care to guard his heart.

Cathy Lewis

commented on Jan 17, 2012

I know for me and maybe I am the only one like this but if I came with my spouse and you focused your visual connecting mostly on him. I doubt that I turn to you for help again. Most likely I would assume that you couldn't relate to women, and you didn't understand their situation. Basically, the eye contact demonstrates empathy and sincerity. The rest are pretty good. The thing is these are behavior changes and it doesn't really address the heart issue behind the character weakness. Proverbs 14:4 New International Version (NIV) 4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. A person can keep women at a distance but like the principle of the verse says, it may be messy but strength comes from the ox. I am not saying be careless or ignorant of the temptation. Avoiding challenge, testing, and pain does not make us holy. Drawing near to God in the difficulty and relying on him. Not just keeping the outside of the cup clean but the inside. Our heart and mind rule our behavior. Controlling our mind and heart is more important than merely controlling our behavior.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 17, 2012

Cathy Lewis, first I want to agree with you wholeheartedly that controlling our behavior is no good if we don't make efforts to control our mind. BUT, we are physical beings with physical bodies that are strongly connected to our minds, and it is impossible to make changes in our minds without making behavioral changes, as well. More importantly, though, I'm somewhat disturbed by something your wrote: "Most likely I would assume that you couldn't relate to women, and you didn't understand their situation." And there's the problem--you're making assumptions. You also wrote: "I doubt that I turn to you for help again." Well, that's probably for the best, but that should not be an indictment on Mr. Edmondson or on his spirituality. I've been a pastor for about twelve years, now, and if there's one thing I've learned it is that no matter how well-intentioned I am, no matter how sincere or empathetic or understanding I try to be, there will ALWAYS be someone who will pick-up on something I said or something I did or didn't do that they don't like and assume the worst about it. I would hope that we as leaders would learn not to judge people so quickly and so harshly based SOLELY on what we assume. Yet, look at how much assuming is being done on this board! The point in question is quite brief, and I think many of us are reading more into it than is actually there. He says that he focuses "mostly" on the man. But what does "mostly" mean? Maybe for him, "mostly" means 60-40 in favor of the man--just enough so that she doesn't feel ignored while he can still protect his heart. But some on here may be interpreting "mostly" as 80-20 or even 90-10. But none of us here KNOWS that! Look, I'm not trying to defend that specific point. And neither I nor the author are commending this point as a practice that others should do. If you can guard your heart without practicing that point, then more power to you. What I can't understand is why so many are so harsh on a guy simply for doing something he feels HE needs to do in order to guard HIS heart!

Andy Collins

commented on Jan 17, 2012

A timely article! Having been involved in too many heart-breaking meetings where things have fallen apart because of an affair or just as bad, somebody has gotten the wrong message that somebody else was interested in them, I have observed that most people start thinking they'd NEVER have an affair, and that it's a huge leap to that ever happening. Things are in place, ideals are intact. However, slowly but surely if we let our guard down, we can find ourselves looking too long, getting sucked into unhealthy relationships and thinking that God is using us. Before long that wide chasm becomes just one small step from "no affair" to doing something that we swore we'd never do. And too many times as marriages and ministries fall apart, I've heard those words, "But we love each other". Amidst all of the unfortunate and unnecessary critiquing of this article, don't ever think it couldn't happen to you. It really is better to be too safe than sorry. One less notch on Satan's bow...

Don Hatch

commented on Jan 17, 2012

Miss/Mrs/Ms Hammond hmmmmm! I used to wonder why Paul wrote what he wrote to Timothy (1Tim.2:10-15) Titus 3:9-11 jumps to my mind so I'll exit. Thank you

Billy Ford

commented on Jan 18, 2012

I've been in full time ministry for fourteen years (senior pastor for seven) and have had to be careful about these issues. Like many here, I agree with most of the points made in the article. But I also found it puzzling that Mr. Edmondson will make little eye contact with a wife when meeting with a married couple. I understand what he's trying to do, and I'm sure that he means no disrespect, but that's not how women will take it. To turn your face away from someone is a pretty universal gesture that says, "You don't matter. I'm shutting you out." Jesus Christ had a way of elevating women and making them feel valued without crossing any boundaries. Surely his disciples can learn to follow in his footsteps?

R.l. Wilson

commented on Jan 18, 2012

Oh man, I'm so glad someone had the courage to write an article on this! Thanks Ron! It seems that since I've been called to the ministry that temptation is coming out of the woodwork! I am a man and men are visual. It doesn't make it any easier working where I work the majority of the employees are women. I know that God is perfecting me while I'm here. Well, that's what the few men here keep telling ourselves, LOL! The best part is that I have accountability partners to where we have a rule that if we are around an attractive woman one of us will say to the other, "nice shoes!" so to divert our eyes off of the woman. Sometimes I have to say it a couple of times because they can get mesmerized and look at me clueless. For the most part, when I was a deacon our pastor told us from his experiences, never ever counsel a woman by ourselves. Thanks again and I pray that this article can help our fellow clergy. God Bless!

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 18, 2012

It's fascinating to me how people keep on harping on this one issue and reading more into what Mr. Edmondson wrote that what he actually says. HE DOES NOT SAY he makes little eye contact with the wife. HE DOES NOT SAY that he turns his face away from them. How is it that so many supposedly Christian people so easily make assumptions about someone and then judge him accordingly. WHAT HE SAYS is that he talks to them. WHAT HE SAYS is that he cares about them. WHAT HE SAYS is that he focuses "mostly" on the man. What does he mean by "mostly"? I don't know. I've never seen him do it. And neither have anyone who has commented on here, so none of us here know. Most of you have offered some good cautions, actually, which I do agree with. Yes, misunderstanding can arise, and we should do the best we can not to cause those misunderstandings intentionally.But can't we offer up those cautions without twisting Mr. Edmondson's words? Can't we offer up those cautions without implying that he's not a good disciple, or that he's doing something inherently wrong and unChristlike? I'm quite sure Jesus would be able to do so. Surely his disciples can learn to follow in his footsteps in this regard, as well!

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 18, 2012

By the way, Billy Ford, you wrote the following: "Jesus Christ had a way of elevating women and making them feel valued without crossing any boundaries." Well, how do you know that those women with whom Mr. Edmondson talks DON'T feel valued. You don't! You're assuming they don't, and you're making that assumption based on how little you assume Mr. Edmondson makes eye contact with them. All I'm saying is that it is difficult to have healthy, constructive conversation when so many assumptions are being made.

John E Miller

commented on Jan 19, 2012

Don Hatch is to be congratulated on quoting scripture. I note the lack of scripture based contributions on these discussions with a great sadness. In Galatians 4:30, on another issue entirely, Paul asks the question, "What does the Scripture say?" In relation to the subject in this discussion, why has no one referred to the words of the Lord Jesus in Mat.5:28? The subject of this article is an extraordinary smokescreen. There is one way and one way only to be preserved from an illicit sexual affair. The Spirit of God lays down the truth in 1 Peter 1:14-25, simply but emphatically. Talk about a woman in the church who "dressed provocatively" is a curious excuse. Walk down any busy thoroughfare and you'll see such a sight many times in the space of one minute.

John E Miller

commented on Jan 19, 2012

One further thought! The Name of Jesus is not mentioned in the article and there is no reference to His advocacy with the Father on our behalf (1 John 2:1). The other source of help and power that has been completely omitted is the power of the indwelling Spirit of God in helping us to "put to death the deeds of the body" (Romans 8).

Billy Ford

commented on Jan 19, 2012

Fernando, you're right ... I don't know how the women Mr. Edmondson interacts with end up feeling. But I can see how his article made some women feel in this discussion board. It may be that he hasn't spoken publicly about these matters very much and if he reads some of these responses he might learn something about how he could unintentionally be coming across. It is difficult being a leader because people constantly misread your intentions. But this is something that leaders must, out of love, deal with. And I would think that something is not right if Mr. Edmondson can't even recognize women apart from their husbands. You don't think that that might make some of them feel devalued?

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 19, 2012

Billy Ford, I appreciate your response. And I, too, can see how what he writes can make a woman feel. I can imagine that if I was a woman my first instinct would be to react the same way. All I'm saying is, let's move beyond our first instincts, let's move beyond our gut reactions, let's look carefully at what he actually says and what he doesn't say--not what we THINK or ASSUME he says or doesn't say--and, then, let's discuss it in a constructive way. I don't want this post to get too overly long, so in another post I will try to present a way to look at the issue Mr. Edmondson brings up from a different angle, in a way that doesn't necessarily agree with the author but still treats the author with respect...

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 19, 2012

For the record, that particular point does appear to be quite extreme to me as well, especially since he wrote that "often" he won't recognize a woman from the congregation without her husband. I do agree with you that that might make a woman feel devalued. But if the Bible teaches us anything about sin, it is that we can't be fooling around with it. The cross is the most extreme reaction to the problem of sin. God himself being crucified by his sinful creation--what could be more extreme than that? How could I not be willing, then, to "pluck out my eye" (figuratively, of course, as illustrated in this case) so that my whole body is not cast into hell? We cannot deal with sin by asking, "What's the minimum I can do to keep myself out of trouble." Sin must be dealt with in the most extreme way that God calls us to. So the question, then, isn't whether Mr. Edmondson's practice is too extreme, whether it goes to far. The real question, rather, is whether this is how far God is calling me to go. Now, after much prayer and meditation, I may decide that God does not call me to go that far; but that doesn't give me the right to judge Mr. Edmondson because he believes that God DOES call HIM to go that far. After all, it's his soul, not mine. At this point, it is important to remember, as an earlier poster mentioned, that extreme changes on the inside are useless if not accompanied by equally extreme changes on the inside--in the heart and in the mind. And, as many of you have argued quite validly, there is a risk involved if this is how far God is calling me to be. Woman can misunderstand what I'm doing, they can feel devalued, and I should do everything possible to avoid this. So, perhaps, if I sincerely believe that this is something God wants me to do, if this is how far God wants me to go, maybe I shouldn't be involved in pastoral ministry. Maybe that is another extreme I'd have to go to to save myself and my family.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 19, 2012

CORRECTION--The following sentence should read: "[E]xtreme changes on the *OUTSIDE* are useless if not accompanied by equally extreme changes on the inside..."

Pastor Herbert W. Roshell

commented on Jan 20, 2012

Wow! What a debate! I've only been a Pastor for seven years and in deep, deep need of instructions and guidance from a group of Senior Pastor. That why I join this page. Hoping to fine usable dialog that would help me as I mature in ministry. Sadly; I been in this area of misunderstanding... and had a minister trying to counsel a young lady and his good intentions... cost him His license and problems in his marriage. Just a question... "no rocks or stones needed"! If I get up from the right side of the bed and my friend gets up from the left... which one of us is right? Isn't it what works for the (each) individual. Wouldn't we be better off by giving (the writer) ways that worked for us during our experiences? Helpful dialog! Oh; my first question was before any of us responded, did we do what the word say? To "seek the Lord"! For the word says "not for debate"! We must edify (?build up? morally and spiritually)God in all things and in all things God be glorified! We can all give are in-put... but in 1 Cor. 13:13, where is the love in what we say to one another? All I'm saying, take a look at 1 Cor. 13:4! Lets be kind to one another! Love you all... Pastor Roshell!

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 20, 2012

Pastor Roshell, I appreciate your comments. I'm not sure if your remarks concerning debating and speaking to each other in love were directed at specific people, but at least for myself I would like to clarify that everything I have written in these comments, I have done so with the utmost respect and love for the others who have commented. If in anything I have written I have come across as unkind or unloving, I offer my apologies, as this has never been my intention! This type of communication has so many limitations that I try to give people the benefit of the doubt as to their sincerity, as I hope people give me that same benefit of the doubt. Personally, this conversation has been quite beneficial and edifying in helping me to process some of these issues, especially in terms of our interactions with those of the opposite sex. Actually, you mentioned something quite key that has not been brought up, yet: the misunderstandings can go the other way, as well! Just as a lack of sufficient eye contact can lead some women to feel devalued, too much eye contact--even if unintentional--can lead some women to feel that perhaps you are interested in them. I had a friend in college who was very attentive towards women, made a lot of eye contact with them, and many of them thought he was interested in them. He wasn't, it was just his personality. But he lead a lot of women on. It's probably a good thing that he didn't become a pastor! But, there's the struggle. How do you strike the right balance between too much attention and not enough? It's not an easy task, and everyone of us needs to wrestle with the for ourselves.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 20, 2012

John E Miller, I wasn't going to say anything, and I'm quite sure I shouldn't say anything, but I'll say it anyways. Last year when you publicly attacked my beliefs--which had absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the article we were commenting on, you brought it up completely out of the blue--I offered you several substantive, scripturally-based posts in defense. You did not respond to any of them. Wether it was because you did not have the integrity or the scriptural knowledge--or both!--to respond, the point is that I offered you scripture, and you simply dismissed me, put me in a little box that you labeled "cult", and decided that I wasn't anyone to be taken seriously. It was much easier for you to do that than actually to wrestle with the Scriptures that I offered. So forgive me, but your so-called "sadness" at the "the lack of scripture based contributions on these discussions" sounds quite hollow coming from you. You come across as someone who is more interested in using the authority of God's Word to clothe your own preconceived ideas rather than actually wresting with and submitting to that Word.

John E Miller

commented on Jan 21, 2012

Fernando Villegas, I have no antipathy towards you. I have already stated that I do not intend to debate the beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in a discussion such as this. The doctrines and beliefs of your church are well documented. If you want to submit an article outlining them in detail I will be more than willing to respond, but not here. The subject here is Mr Edmonson's ideas about "affair-proofing" his ministry. I will not respond again to your comments. Your tendency to act as a Moderator in discussions has already been pointed out elsewhere. If you feel that is your appointed task I wish you every success.

Fernando Villegas

commented on Jan 23, 2012

John E Miller, if you will address me on this issue one more time, I will no longer keep bugging you about it. Please reread the comments on the article from August 29 of last year: "Prepare Yourself for the Four Points of Attack on Leadership." You wrote the following two days ago: "I have already stated that I do not intend to debate the beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in a discussion such as this." Your public comments on August 29 say otherwise. If you were Perry Noble, and our conversations then and now were on youtube, k b would be all over you! Let me summarize. You google my name, and then YOU asked me if I was a Seventh-day Adventist. I replied with a simple "Yes." Then I posted asking if there was a reason for why you had asked me. At that point, if you really had no intention of debating my beliefs, you would've simply said something to the effect that you googled my name, found someone named Fernando Villegas who was a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, and you were just wondering if that was me. That's not what happened. You quoted an Adventist professional journal, and then YOU asked, "Is this your belief." I responded to your question. Then you quoted something from my response, and YOU asked, "Could I ask you to elaborate on this..." I did so, using Scripture. And instead of responding to Scripture, you wrote about having "grave reservations" about our beliefs, while twisting and mischaracterizing those beliefs. I attempted to clarify what you had mischaracterized. But you disappeared. Now, all of this is out in the public. The point is this: YOU were the one to bring up me being an Adventist. YOU were the one who kept asking questions, keeping the conversation going, and proving that despite your plea of innocence two days ago, YOU did in fact intend to debate my beliefs. And when I gave my defense from Scripture, YOU were the one who was unable to refute me from the Scriptures, and instead had to resort to deflecting and mischaracterizing. Now, this isn't about my church's doctrines and beliefs. I know that you disagree with some of my church's teachings, and that's fine. I could care less, because I know that what I believe is on solid, Biblical ground. This is about character, and whether you have any. So, if you are a man of integrity, answer me this one question, and I will be content to leave it at that. Why did you initiate a debate with me, leave me hanging after disparaging and twisting my beliefs, and then lie about having had no intention of debating me? Just answer me that, and I'll leave you alone.

Dana Gatewood

commented on Jan 25, 2012

I really appreciate this forum of being able to react to these great articles Sermon Central post. Ron, thank for addressing ways to reduce moral failure in the life of pastors. Whether we agree or disagree with your ?guidelines? we need to be thinking of our own professional boundaries. It might be beneficial to hear the response of a wounded church member whose spouse had an affair with the pastor. What would they add to this list? Thanks again Ron

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