Time with God

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Time with God

There are some excellent reading plans available to read the entire Bible in a year or even 90 days. These plans are great, and we encourage you to try one at least once. As a follower of Christ, you need to build a relationship with Him and know Him better. This comes through many venues. You can worship the Lord in praise. You can read about Him in His Word. You can also spend time with Him in prayer. All these require one thing: time.

As a single adult you might have been told “you have more time than married adults, so it is easier for you to spend time with God.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Every human has 24 hours in a day and can use that time as they choose based on priorities. It is a priority to get to work on time, so you do. It is a priority to eat food a few times a day to stay healthy, so you do. But it is the things we don’t prioritize that get shuffled lower on the to-do list and not accomplished. Single adults may or may not have children to tend during the day, and married adults have responsibilities to their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:33-35), but everyone sets priorities.

If you value exercise, you wake up early to work out. If you value TV time, you stay up late to catch your favorite shows. If you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength, you will make time for Him and He will be a priority in your life (Luke 10:27). Time with God does not always have to be reading His Word, although that is how we grow in the knowledge of Him. It may be just meditating on Him for a few moments every day and giving praises to Him for the great things He has done (Psalm 111).

Make time with God a priority as a single adult. If your relationship status changes, this will serve as a successful foundation for your marriage. Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior is the first step. The next step is to follow and know Him better.

What do you do to make time with God every day?

Sunday Single Selection

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Sunday Single Selection

It is Saturday night and you know you should go to church tomorrow, yet you have reservations in your heart about where to go or if you should find somewhere new to go. You want to Worship and hear the Word preached, but the church you go to does not seem to get being single or you can not find a church with a singles group. Many singles have this Saturday night emotion, wanting to go to church for all the right reasons, but still desiring more in community with other singles like yourself.

Many churches don’t have a targeted group for singles, if they even seem to acknowledge they are present. Those that do have singles groups may not feel like they are targeted at people like yourself. While the emotions are valid, your response to these issues should have only one outcome and that is to go Worship with other believers. Worship is not a self serving activity where you get something for doing something. Worship is about praising God for who He is and learning more about Him through that experience. So here are a few encouragements for singles with regards to church selection.

  1. Base your selection on if the church Worships God and honors His Word.
  2. Connect with a congregation close as possible to enhance your ability to participate.
  3. Look for churches with existing singles ministries listed, if none are found it may be time to start a singles ministry in your area. Chances are there are several people like you looking for a place to connect.
  4. Bring or invite a friend to help you select a church, it helps to debrief with someone over lunch after Worship.

Finally, choose! Go to a church where God is calling you, make roots and serve. Don’t spend all your time looking when you could be connected to a church and start building a singles ministry for people like yourself. Your efforts to do so will not return void and God will honor your commitment to serve Him.

 

Marriage isn’t the Finish Line

Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Marriage isn't the Finish Line

The big day is here! Here comes the bride all dressed in white. The groom dressed to the nines in his rented tux stands fidgeting at the front to begin a ceremony that moves even the hardest of hearts to tears. Then comes the reception including a toast from the father of bride of just how proud he is that his little girl found a man, almost implicating that a secret achievement has been unlocked allowing the happy couple to continue in the game of life, side-by-side.

Singles. Get. It.

At the same time you are happy for another couple. Everyone is celebrating a monumental achievement in the lives of your friends. But in fact, is marriage the finish line? Singles often are looking to the next milestone or marker in life. At some point, it starts to feel like the only milestone left is marriage.

But the reality? It is not the finish line of achievement.

For married couples the next bombardment of expectation is kids. And while having a pet or three helped for a while, the next finish line of life is having a baby. Once that is crossed and no less than a day after the first child, there are questions of when the next baby will arrive. After baby two, the next quiz is will there be three. Have four, and comments of birth control fill the air. Then there is college for the kids, jobs for the young adults, and future weddings! The cycle starts all over again.

Here is the point.

The finish line is defined by a relationship, just not the one you may have thought or felt from your surrounding friends and family.

Being Complete in Christ is the only relationship that will leave you complete. All other relationships build off of that relationship and running a good race is defined by it. Keeping the faith and living for God is grounded in a relationship with Christ.

Singles, always keep in mind your life not measured by this world, but by following the One who paid our sins in full–Jesus–so we can live life more abundantly.

Not an Option

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Not an Option

When is the last time you made something “Not an Option”? Truly, 100% said to yourself that under no circumstances will I ever ____. Everyone has things that are not options in their lives, such as the clothes worn to work or the food we choose to eat that may cause allergic reactions. Everyone makes choices everyday that make things “Not an Option” in their life.  Yet, somehow, we are still tripped by the same sins.

Jesus, at the Sermon on the Mount, told people to be radical in their actions in order stop from sinning. Though He was being figurative, He suggested it is better to lose a hand than to keep it and continue a life of sin (Matthew 5:29-30). It is better to not have a hand and live for God than to have two hands and not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Single adults have a lot of time alone and, in those alone times, it is easy to slip into temptations. For any of us to be obedient to the Word of God and follow Him, we have to make certain things in our lives “Not an Option.” Doing so will glorify the One who sent His only Son to die on a cross for our sins and allow us to live a life honoring to Him.

What things in your life do you need to make “Not an Option”? Addictions? Gossip with friends? Temptations? Some may think you can’t change or overcome the struggle. That is not the case!

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

God is on your side and will not let you be tempted, tested, or go through trials that you cannot have victory over! He loves you so much that He always gives an alternative for you to choose and make something “Not an Option.”

End of the Rope with Addiction

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - End of the Rope with Addiction

Do you ever feel torn between doing what you know is right, and then doing the wrong thing anyway? Choosing to continue in a sin that you should be able to be free of, yet you keep making the same mistake. We have some comforting words for you, the apostle Paul had this same struggle in Romans 7-8 regarding the Law. The Message translation Bible is not intended to be an everyday Bible, but what it is great at is expressing things in a new light with the same Biblical meaning. This could not be more true of this passage! Here are the phrases Paul uses in his struggle with sin.

  • I need something more!
  • I know the law and yet I can not keep it
  • Sin keeps sabotaging my best intentions
  • I obviously need help!
  • I have the will, but I can’t do it!
  • The moment I decide to do good, sin trips me up
  • I have tried everything and nothing helps, I am at the end of my rope

You should take time and read this entire chapter out loud and hear the urgency and distress in Paul’s voice. Go ahead, read it out loud.

Romans 7 Message Translation

Have you ever felt that way? When it comes to sin in your life like getting drunk, sex before marriage, drugs, lust, porn,and on and on? Have you been at the end of your rope with sin? Do you feel like there is nothing anyone can do for you? Well, there is great news! Romans 7:25-8:1-4.

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

Struggle with your addictions and then give them all to God. Make a stand in your life for sin to be “Not an Option!” Have you reached the end of your rope with sin?

Community after College

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-community-after-college

Graduation day has come and gone. Celebrations of “no more school ever” have faded and college room furniture donated to the next incoming student hopeful for the year ahead. Graduating college is a big day,  the start of a new chapter in your life. Maybe you will move back home with your parents or have found a job in a new city. Wherever this new chapter in your life starts, it will start with new community.

 

Relationships forged in grade school have evolved and in college you found new friends that will be in your life for years to come. However, they, like you, have moved forward and now your schedule is more empty and there’s more  time for Netflix than you care to admit. This leaves you with a question, where is my community? Here are some tips to finding your new community in your new chapter of life.

 

Get out there

You won’t find friends while watching TV or cat videos on Youtube. The starting point for community could be found online, through your co-workers, or a local church. Many singles struggle with just taking the next step, which is any step! For introverts this can be an even bigger struggle than the extroverts who are always throwing a party. Just like our relationship with God where we are called to ask, seek, knock, we have to be willing to go into the world to connect and find community with other believers.

 

Do things you like doing

You already have things you like doing. Bowling, shopping, pottery, hiking, board games, and all kinds of interest. There is something you enjoy doing, so why not do it for the Lord and find community with other Christ followers who enjoy the same things. It is much easier to make connections in a social group when you enjoy doing the same social things as the individuals in the group.

 

Try new things

You already have set yours ways after graduating college more than you realize. By your early 20s almost all of our habits have been formed, from eating to cleaning and social interactions. Maybe you hate tennis, but going to a tennis match with some new friends or even playing a match or two could reveal something you did not even know you liked! It is also a great way to share the Gospel by interacting with new people and experiences and sharing God’s love through it all.

 

This new chapter after college is an exciting one. See it as a way to continue growing and honoring God while engaging in community to become more like Him. Not all community is edifying, so be sure to make up the majority of your community time with those who share the same values as you, and use the rest of your time to share about God’s love. Take the unique opportunity you have now to be involved in community, to lay the foundation for years of community and relationships to come.

Single for a Reason?

table-for-one-ministries-ministry-for-singles-and-leaders-to-singles-blog-sing-for-a-reason_

Through my many years of singles ministry and working with pastors, one phrase is repeated often — “single for a reason”. It is the idea that singles are composed of misfits and odd ducks that are stranger than… married people. Next time you hear this phrase, here are some possible responses:

 

We’re all messed up

  • The false promise of this statement at its core is that it compares married and single adults and deems one group inferior or strange. Would someone not be “single for a reason” simply if his/her marital status changed? It is the same person but with a different marital status and still “odd” or “quirky” in nature. The point is categorizing people as more “together” or “not together” by their marital status should cease. A married adult ministry is filled with the same adults who were once single, and for that reason, we are all the same messed-up Christ followers, in need of the same church family and support.

 

Reject rejecting language

  • When you’re in the presence of this phrase being used, why just stand back, laugh, and lower your eyes in agreement? Ministry is full of people, each unique, and sometimes just plain odd. That doesn’t mean their relationship status is for any reason other than following God’s direction in their life. Let’s stop language that tears down other believers in Christ as inferior and, instead, see ministry opportunities where we are called to love God and love others.

 

Leadership matters

  • Is it really a group of people’s fault when a group declines with individuals who may need extra ministry attention? Pastors, we argue it is vital to have leadership that is following your church’s direction and God’s vision for your community. In singles ministry, nearly 50% of the adults in the group will be married at some point, so by nature, it requires more leadership recruitment and investment than other ministries. However, doing so will lead to a vibrant singles ministry and an adult ministry with leaders on fire for the Lord.

 

The reason you or a group of people are “… for a reason” is not due to a stereotype associated with a marriage status. It is due to a perception we allow to be pervasive in our churches regarding singles. Singles are a whole person. Jesus was single. Paul advocated for singles. We should start valuing our ministry opportunities rather than passing judgment on certain people groups in the family of God.

Fear the Table for One

Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Fear the Table for One

Fear is an interesting word. Its use invokes emotion from all who have known its grip. The sensation of helplessness is all too often the motivator behind fear. After a horror movie, fear comes from thinking about not being able to control things like you saw on the screen from happening to you as you drive home alone. In finances it comes from instability of knowing the future and wanting to control your financial future. In life fear often appears as worry of what is going to happen in the future.

As a single adult there is a lot to fear or worry about. There is sometimes pressure from friends and family to find someone and settle down, worry over finances with only one income, and how to balance a social life that honors God and does not break the bank. Then there is the dating scene if you choose to be in it! What clothes to wear or where to even look for a potential date play a small part. Then you feel pressure to have nice things to impress the other person to make a “good first impression.”

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25 NIV

God’s word tells us all of the worry is completely useless. It takes practice to ground this good habit into your life. But we must in order to show our trust in Him.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

God desires for us to rest in Him and for Him to be in control. There is no reason to fear or worry about a table for one scenario as a single adult. Go out and enjoy life and do not worry about eating a meal alone or thinking you need someone by your side to enjoy life. As a Christ follower you are complete in Him. You have nothing to fear or worry about when you completely trust in Him.

Pushing Through

Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Pushing Through

At times God places a vision inside your heart, or permits some difficulty into your life for your own good, or tells you to move to an unknown land (Genesis 12:1), or tells you to sacrifice your eldest son (Genesis 22)? (Well, not you. Abraham in this case, but you get the idea). Yeah…my instructor did that.
I like the instructors that tell me how many reps or sets I have left, the ones that scream encouragement the entire time. Oh, and when I get really close to quitting, my favorite instructor will shout over the loudspeaker, “Don’t quit! Hang on in there! Summer is here! Remember your goals!” as though she can see me about to give up. I always make it through those workouts with no problem.

A new instructor, however, explained the exercise but didn’t tell us how long we had left, nor how many total were in the set at the beginning. She merely demonstrated the exercise, and said, “go!” The next thing I know, the music started to play, and I started moving. I went, and went, and then I got tired. And when I got tired, I started to rethink the activity.
I entertained the idea of quitting. “I can’t do this! If I stop, my muscles would stop burning. I could breath easier…oh, and the water!” Stopping sounded great. This instructor didn’t scream encouragement. She just said, keep going. What I really want is for her tell me how long I have left. Tell me how many reps. Tell me the time is up. Tell me something.
She didn’t though, and just when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore, she told me I had 30 seconds left.. then the activity was over.

When I arrived home, tired after the hard workout, I thought about God’s relationship with the Israelites. He led them out of Egypt (Exodus 13:18). Next, Moses led them through tough situations, but each time, they did what I did, or rather, I did what they did. Moaned, groaned and whined the entire time.

Moses, we are tired of eating this bread! Moses, where is God? We are thirsty! Why did He bring us out here to kill us? Exodus 16:2 (_____) Moses, Moses, Moses! Numbers 14:12 (Paraphrase mine) version)

In that gym class, I didn’t shout, “Moses!” I just stopped, which is likely worse. When the Israelites shouted their complaints to Moses, God’s anger “kindled” against them (Numbers 32:13).
Yikes. The anger of God is not something I want to experience. Fortunately, it looks like I don’t have to because Jesus accepted all of God’s wrath against sin on the cross. The thought of wrath is sobering. It communicates God doesn’t like grumbling. He doesn’t appreciate constant moaning and groaning in spite of the difficulty. In the face of physical, emotional, or mental distress, God prefers we simply trust, endure to glorify Him for His faithfulness. Then thank Him.

Even when He doesn’t tell us how much longer we have in the difficulty, or what the entire staircase in the climb looks like, when we just move forward in humility, in the light of His love, in respect of His sovereignty, He is glorified.

When the hard workouts of life hit, and you are being moved from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:12), remember God’s goodness and His previous display of love every step of the way, for He will deliver you from them all (Psalms 34:19).

Be An Adult

TFO - Table for One Ministries- Ministry for Singles and Leaders to Singles - Blog - Be An Adult

http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/27/dont-wait-for-your-wedding-to-buy-a-kitchenaid-and-other-ways-to-embrace-adulthood/

So when do you become an adult?

Is it when you get keys to your first car at age 16?
At 18 when you can make your own legal decisions?
At 21 when you can legally drink alcohol?
When you move away from home?
When you get your first job?
When you can pay all your own bills?
When you get married?

Defining adulthood is nothing short of impossible. The idea that an age, ceremony, or responsibility defines adulthood gives no target of what it means to be an adult. So we find adults of all ages acting like children and youths acting like adults. So maybe the best way to define being an adult is to say it is a mindset.

Paul, while talking about love, speaks to knowing true love by laying down the things that made him a child and acting like an adult. James reminds us that we are but a vapor in this life and time is short so we need to ask the Lord what is His will for our life. (James 1:13-17)

Maybe adulthood is what Paul asserts happened when we realize this life is a vapor as James explains. A mindset of adulthood embraces the reality of time (1 Corinthians 13:11). Time that has passed and is passing and will not always be present. One way to see this is by decision-making.

What was it that made you say “I’m an adult now”?