Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting to Church

Most people come to church by means the church does not allow, else there would be no need their getting to her at all. . . the operation of the church is entirely set up for the sinner, which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.
-- Flannery O'Conner

A Good Education

"Education is that period of time between cocksure ignorance and thoughtful uncertainty."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Romans 8:28

God is All Loving . . . So He Wants What's Best for Me.

God is All Knowing . . . So He Knows What's Best for Me.

God is All Powerful . . . So He Can Do What's Best For Me.

God is All Wise. . . So He Will Do What's Best for Me.

-- from a semon by belated Baptist preacher, Jack Hyles.

The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God cannot keep you.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's Been a Great 28


28 years ago, Cathy and I were joined in holy matrimony. As I stood, shaking at the altar before my lovely bride, I thought I could never possibly love her more than I did at that moment.

Well, I was wrong. I love her far more now than I did back then.

Our love is far deeper, richer, fuller, and stronger than it was on our wedding day. She is also more beautiful now than the day she first captured my heart.

When you process it right, a lot of livin' brings a lot of lovin'.

We're celebrating by going to a little hideaway cabin nestled in the woods.

I am such a lucky guy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What is Christian?

Rightly understood, “Christian” is not a philosophy or a world view. It is not an adjective to make books, music, and movies more palatable. It is not a political leaning, a Kincade painting, a method of counseling or default birthright. Instead, it is simply the description of a person living in the fullness of Christ’s holy presence.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Creative Solution to the Immigration Problem

In light of my last post, I thought you might be interested in Keith Drury's solution to the immigration problem.

Who Is My Neighbor?

Immigration is one of the most complicated issues of our time. Voices on all sides argue strongly for action and change. Christians find themselves torn between the desire to uphold laws and the call to minister to the vulnerable.

My friend, Dr. Norm Wilson, a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, recently informed me of the upcoming Evangelical Leader's Forum on Immigration, sponsored by The Wesleyan Church, World Relief, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

The event will occur on Friday, September 24, 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at The Wesleyan International Center.

Speakers include:

Dr. Danny Carroll R., Old Testament professor at Denver Seminary, and author of Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible,

Matthew Soerens, co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate

Staff member of World Relief

Dr. Jerry Pence, General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, will serve as moderator.

Indiana U. S. Senators Lugar and Bayh, have also been invited to provide political perspectives.

There is no registration fee. RSVP to Jenny Hwang at advocacy@wr.org or call 443-451-1969.

For more information please see www.nae.net or check out Norm Wilson's blog post.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Building Togetherness in Marriage


Shortly before last week’s wedding ceremony, Frank, the bride’s father, shared the following marriage advice he’d heard a minister say decades ago during a ceremony.

I found that quite amazing, as I’ve always assumed nobody recalls anything the preacher says during a wedding, except “I pronounce you husband and wife” and “you may kiss the bride!”

Frank’s astute remembrance was so profound, I worked it into the ceremony, and am now passing it along to you. Here it is:

“You must have space in your togetherness.”

There is not enough togetherness in marriages today. Couples, working hard to fulfill massive responsibilities, hardly have the opportunity to develop this intimacy.

By default, couples drift towards isolation. Husbands and wives lead such hectic lives, that developing the marriage relationship takes back seat to other, more pressing concerns. This is especially true when there are small children at home. What little scraps of time, left after work and household duties is gobbled up by the kids.

In the face of life’s pressures, parents should consider the following statement: The best gift moms and dads can give their children is their love for each other.

Of course, this is occasionally impossible, due to such circumstances as death, divorce, or distance. Thankfully, God is the Great Gap Filler for those exceptions. He empowers and helps those who must parent alone. This does not diminish the importance of the basic principle, however.

Too many parents, consumed with heavy burdens, fail to model a healthy, happy marriage for their children. As a result, when the kids grow up, they navigate their own marriages poorly

Here are a few secrets for developing togetherness as a couple:

1. Share your best memories together.
Shared experiences are absolutely powerful! Pleasant memories provide rich meaning, drawing couples closer emotionally. On the other hand, when he constantly does his own thing, while she does her own thing, the other person is excluded from these meaningful moments. You can’t share the memory if you don’t share the experience.

2. Overlook your partner’s shortcomings.
There’s no such thing as a perfect spouse. We all fall short of the ideal. Sometimes, people enter marriage with the mistaken notion that their relationship will be smooth sailing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marriage is hard work. That’s why it’s a lifetime commitment. That’s how long it takes to figure each other out!

Two imperfect people, through wedlock, discover that a wedding ceremony doesn’t make either person more perfect. In fact, marriage often highlights and magnifies our imperfections.

Couples should have their eyes wide open before marriage, and half closed afterwards.

My friend, Lois, recently noted, “Being married is like living in California. When you find a fault, don’t dwell on it!”

3. Go with the flow.
The secret of getting along is going along. You have to go with the marriage flow to experience harmony. This means laying down your personal preferences from time to time.

Which would you rather be: happy or right? Winning the argument but losing each other is a pyrrhic victory.

Modifying the words of the Methodist founder, John Wesley, “There are times you can please your companion, AND please yourself, But there are other occasions, when the only way to please your companion is by denying yourself.”

I’m not too enthusiastic about my wife’s garage sales, but she loves them, and I love her, so last weekend, I put out her signs. It was my way of going with the flow. Likewise, she lets me keep night crawlers in the refrigerator. She detests big worms, but she loves me – and knows I love fishing, so she’s willing to go with the flow in that department, as long as they’re not dead!

4. Do something fun.
Sometimes, when couples come to me seeking counsel, I ask, “When was the last time you two did something really fun together?” Often, I’m met with blank stares, and then the reply, “A loooong time!”

The couple that plays together stays together.

4. Experienced Shared Spirituality.
A shared faith is THE single most significant thing a couple can do to build closeness together as a couple. Sharing common values and beliefs brings strength to the relationship. “Unless the Lord builds the house,” the Psalmist noted, “they labor in vain that build it.”

5. Put Space in Your Togetherness
Good marriages are like old shoes: a comfortable fit with breathing room. You don’t have to smother each other to be together.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Burnout

The man who never relaxes, however religious he may be, is likely to become morose, irritable, impatient, and a source of anxiety and perplexity to his dearest friends; or become melancholy and full of gloom, get into the dumps and doubt his call.

-- Samuel Brengle, The Soul Winner’s Secret

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Patton


Patton: The Pursuit of Desinty, by Agostino Von Hassell and Ed Breslin is my kind of military biography.

Works of this nature are often voluminous collections of irrelevent facts. This book just tells the story of World War II's greatest general, simply and clearly.

In less than 200 pages. Von Hassell and Breslin capture the heart behind Patton's leadership genius and and quirky personal shortcomings. The reader walks away with a deep appreciation for the general's contribution to American history, and a better understanding of his inner workings.

It's an easy read, with ramifications for all who serve in leadership.

Purchase here.
(a complimentary copy of Patton was provided for review by Booksneeze.)

Kudos to Ken Dupin

Wesleyan pastor, Ken Dupin, received a shout out at Huffington Post for inventing the Mobile Medical Care Home for the Elderly.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Glass Houses

They say parsonages are glass houses. If so, then this would certainly make a nice parsonage.

Space in Togetherness

Yesterday, at the lovely wedding of Jeff and Jennifer Cvengros, the bride's father, Frank, shared something the preacher said during a marriage ceremony several decades ago.

I found that quite astounding, as I've operated under the assumption that nobody ever remembers anything a minister says during the ceremony, except, "You may kiss the bride."

Frank's observation struck me so much, I figured out a way to weave it into yesterday's wedding. Perhaps it will stick with somone!

"In wedded life, you need space in your togetherness."

Daughter of Diban

See if you can figure out what this means:

(on Jeremiah 48:18)

Daughter of Diban
where, now, is your crown?
your scepter lies still on the floor.

pompous vanity,
it used to be, but,
no more, no more, no more

faded from glory,
you sit on parched ground --
the place you used to deplore.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pray for Theresa's Family

Please pray for the family of Theresa Anderson, a young wife and mother, who passed away yesterday at the tender age of 27.

Her funeral will be next Wednesday at Hayward Wesleyan Church.

She was a beautiful person -- full of love, faith, and kindness, and will be deeply missed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Bobby Richardson Prayer

The following prayer was delivered by baseball great, Bobby Richardson at a banquet years ago:

Lord, your will.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.
Nothing else.
Amen



I think it would do us all good to pray the Richardson prayer today.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Optimism Beats Pessimism

I once heard my friend, John Maxwell, say, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” How true that is!!

When you boil it down, just about everything in life is related to attitude.

Did you know that a poor attitude is the number one reason why people are dismissed from their jobs? Do you realize that attitude is the primary difference between mediocre football teams and Super Bowl contenders? Do you understand that your success in marriage, work, and living depends largely on your attitude?

Quality of life is not measured by what happens to you - but by how you respond. As Helen Workman said, "It's not what you have to meet, it's how you meet what you have."

A doom -and -gloom pessimist will find problems in every possibility. An optimist will see the opportunities in every obstacle.

A set-back is a dead end to a pessimist. For an optimist it is only a detour.

A pessimist longs for the "good old days", while the optimist believes that the best is yet to come.

Pessimism drains energy and shrivels the soul. Optimism, on the other hand, brings refreshing hope and enthusiasm.

Pessimists criticize and complain about people. Optimists use their words to encourage and inspire.

The pessimist declares, "The sky is falling!" The optimist says, "The sky's the limit!"
In the words of an anonymous bard:

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but think you can't
It's almost certain you won't.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Extraordinary!

Make your life extraordinary!

Too often, we "settle", when we ought to be moving forward. As my friend, Famous Dave, says, "Good, Better, Best -- Never let it rest until the good gets better and the better gets best."

Unfortunately, the extraordinary path is the one less traveled by. It's a lot easier to plod along in the swamps of mediocrity.

Average seems o.k. -- but deep down in our hearts, we know it's not really good enough.

For instance, how do you feel about going out to an "average" dinner at a restaurant? What if your waiter gives you "average" service? Would you be excited about spending good cash on an "average" movie?

No, average isn't good enough.

Why settle for an "average" life, when you can make it "extraordinary"?

Extraordinary living requires a change in thinking and acting. Here's the difference:

To rise above the level of mediocrity, you must:

1. Think beyond what "is" to what "can be". Look for the possibilities! They're like golden nuggets. You'll find them if you go mining.

2. Don't let small thinkers derail you. Most great ideas are opposed by people who don't see the big picture.

3. Capture God's vision for your life. His plan is always extraordinary!

4. Refuse to let trivial things squeeze out the important priorities. You have to guard this constantly.

5. Look for the good in every person and every situation.

6. Use failure as a teaching tool. Why waste your painful experiences, when you can grow from them?

7. Always evaluate. Is there a better way to do things?

I conclude with the words of Quaker theologian, Elton Trueblood, "To make your life little when it could have been great is a sin and a heresy."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wannabe Cool

The Perils of "Wannabe Cool" Christianity

A fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal by Bret McCracken. He says:

If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that "cool Christianity" is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken. As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

O, How He Loves Us

A few weejks ago, as the young people led us in worship, they sang the strangest song about hurricanes, sinking oceans, and a sloppy wet kiss. I struggled to make sense of all those metaphors.

Sloppy wet kiss? Where in the world did that come from? Why were we singing such sophomoric emotings? I scratched my head, and jotted a note for Tuesday's staff meeting -- "No more sloppy wet kiss songs."

In the days that followed, I couldn't get the chorus out of my mind, "O, how he loves us so. . ."

I went online to see if I could find out a little more about the meaning behind the song . . . and WOAH, was I ever surprised. I'd misundertood the meaning and context.

"How He Loves Us" was written by John Mark McMillan, after the death of a close friend. The main point is that even in our pain and anger, through the darkest fog of confusion, God's love breaks through.

The song captures a heart of praise, from the crucible of suffering. Understood in this light, the lyrics are absolutely profound and powerful:

Here's the video:

How He Loves : A Song Story from john mark mcmillan on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Forget The Pizza Parties," Teens Tell Churches

Missional Dog Bakery

I'm conducting a blessing of the pets at 1:00 p.m. today at Sophie's Dog Bakery on Main Street.

In recent years, Jan and Bob, the shop owners, have come into a rich and vibrant faith, deeply desiring to bring blessing to others.

So, in conjunction with some other special events occurring this weekend, Jan came up with the splendid idea of blessing the pets.

When first approached about it, I'm embarrassed to admit, I tried to pawn 'em off on the Episcopalians. Those guys are the "Pet Blessing Pro's. Fortunately, Father Art was unavailable, so the responsibility bounced back to me. I'm glad it did!

The way I see it, this is much bigger than a pet blessing. It's primarily a Pet OWNER blessing!

When people meet my dog, Vin, and love him, I feel like they're loving me too. Blessing pets means blessing those who love them.

It's a blessing for Jan and Bob. They felt led to go through this door, and went for it. They even put their neck on the line and advertised it. The blessing they're providing for others will come back to them multiplied.

I must say, It's a blessing for me, too. As I've never officiated a pet blessing, this is way outside of my ceremonial comfort zone of hatching, matching and dispatching, but it's a good stretch!

I just hope nobody brings a pet porcupine.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Missional Living in Northern Rural America

I swiped this from a great post at TN Rural Church, called "Missional Living in Southern Rural America."

The same truths apply up north too -- so I switched the word "southern" to "northern" and am passing it on to you:

1. Northern Rural Churches must see themselves within the context of a vast mission field.

2. Northern Rural Churches must see themselves as missionaries (not just church members) within their own rural context.

3. Northern Rural Churches must begin to see the growing lostness that exists in their very churched culture. The assumption that most people are saved is just wrong. Many have been exposed to the Gospel, but have not yet made decisions for Christ.

4. Northern Rural Churches must figure out how to invest their resources (buildings, dollars, people, spiritual gifts, etc) incarnationally.

5. Northern Rural Churches must get past their “smallness” and realize thier potential in Kingdom Work. We, by and large, are small. Get over it and get at it! We have vital Kingdom work to carry out.

6. Northern Rural Churches must adapt to their ever-changing context. If you will open your eyes you will see that there is more “city” in the “country” than we would ever care to admit.

Post -Mom


"A Post-Christian World and A Post-Mom Home" -- thought provoking article by Bojidar Marinov.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

IWU Grad Killed By Taliban


Sad news from my Alma Mater.

Cheryl Marie Beckett, who graduated with honors from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2000, was among the 10 medical volunteers who were shot to death last week in Afghanistan by the Taliban. She was 32 years old.

“The entire Indiana Wesleyan University family is shocked and saddened to learn of the brutal death of this courageous young woman,” Dr. Henry Smith, IWU President, said.

More here


So sad. I cannot comprehend a religion that condones such atrocity.

Trigger Moments

My good friend, Wendy Sanders, early childhood college professor and doctoral candidate at at Fuller Seminary recently posted the following on her new blog, Walking With Children:

What we know from brain and psychology research, problem-solving is creative, memory is longer lasting and compassion is triggered by emotion and thought working together, not thought over emotion or emotion instead of thought. Damasio and Immordino Yang call it, "emotional thought."

Mimi Michaelson did her doctoral research on adolescent moral exemplars who have developed far-reaching activities, such as what Ryan Hreljac did in building wells in Africa. She found each of the youth she interviewed had experienced a "trigger" incident--something that caught their attention. In my research on the processes of compassion within children, ages 6-11, I found that an emotional reaction triggered their recognition of the needs of others. In a way, re-writing my dissertation and re-thinking Michaelson's work was a trigger incident for me just this morning.

When we teach, what is our "trigger incident" for the students? Do we bring in a desert tortoise, do we sit around a campfire together, do we listen with all of our heart and mind?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pew Sleeper's Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep.
The sermon's long; the subject's deep.
If he should quit before I wake,
I ask someone, "Give me a shake!"
-- from John Maxwell's book, Everyone Communicates but Few Connect

Monday, August 09, 2010

Taking a Break from the Lord's Work

An insightful NY Times article on clergy burnout and stress.

Brush Piles


While making brush piles of broken branches in the aftermath of the recent wind storm, I recalled the following account shared by former Wesleyan leader, Dr. Oliver G. Wilson:

Driving across the plains of Kansas where there are but few trees, I saw in the distance what appeared to be the outline of one of those scrub oaks for which this particular part of Kansas is noted. As I drew nearer, however, and the object began to take form, I said to myself, “Not a tree, only a brush-pile.”

This started a line of thinking: Just what is the difference between a brush-pile and a tree?

The brush pile lacks two essentials: life and organization.

It might be that at one time this brush-pile by the Kansas highway had been a beautiful tree. It may be that it produced shade and possibly food for weary travelers who chanced to pass that way.

What had caused the change? Something had destroyed its life and had broken down its organization. At one time it had been symmetrical and beautiful. Now, it was a mass of tangled sticks.

There are individuals whose lives have become nothing but brush-piles. There is no great central purpose directing their activities. There is no glow of divine life.

It is to be observed that one characteristic of brush-piles is that they become hide-outs for all manner of creeping things. Should a hunter prod around for any length of time, it is highly probably that animals of many varieties would run out into the open. And a life that is a brush-pile becomes a den of ugly, vicious things. There will be jealousies, evil speaking, envies, hatreds and every evil work.

Further observation reveals the brush-pile to be in the process of decay. It will become smaller and smaller with each passing year, while a tree will expand and grow. The brush pile is a nuisance, while the tree is a blessing. The brush pile is ugly, while the tree is beautiful. The sun and rain that destroys the brush-pile feed the tree and cause it to widen its influence


The contrasts, Wilson observed, are paralleled in the life of the person who lives by faith in God, and the one who does not.

“He who is living for God will expand and grow and produce fruit under the grinding influences of life. The person who is sinful in heart will become bitter, censorious and hateful under the hard things of life.”

Are you a tree or a brush-pile? (Boundless Horizons, p. 105)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Metanarrative

Here's a fabulous statement regarding the grand story of Scripture from my good friend, Mark Jalovick, director of Wisconsin Wilderness Campus.

From Genesis to Revelation, God is seeking to rebuild his kingdom through obedient servants for the purpose of world redemption.

And here's the translation by Jeremy Mavis, our Children's Pastor:


The Bible is about God continually working to fix this world through his kind of special people in order to make his kind of world.

Serious Business


Joy is serious business! It is the natural state of the soul. Joylessness is like a toothache, which indicates an internal cavity -- or worse.

When we discover that the joy has evaporated -- it's time to do some inner heart examination. Where did the joy go? What poisons have entered my soul, resulting this negativism? What do I need to do to re-capture the joy? Leaking seems to be a part of the human condition. We're all a bunch of "joy leakers!"

One lady tearfully prayed, “Please fill me with joy again!" Her husband, overhearing her request, prayed, "Don't do it Lord! She leaks!"

It might be a good idea to patch up the holes. Perhaps, a spiritual root canal?

Holding a wrong perspective towards life will drain the joy right out of your heart. As the hero in Red Badge of Courage stated, "elfin thoughts made cowards of us all."

The ancient desert fathers spoke of "logismoi", the dark thoughts -- the false thoughts and desires that lead us to despair.

If you want to rekindle the joy, you have to declare war on "logismoi!" What false thoughts have been hammering your mind? How have dark thoughts clouded reality? The truth will set you free!

Gordon MacDonald, in "Monday Morning Restoration", spoke of the "Seven Deadly Siphons. These are the things that drain our positive energy, faith and joy.

1) Words without action.
2) Busyness without purpose.
3) Calendars without a Sabbath.
4) Relationships without mutual nourishment.
5) Personality without self-examination.
6) Natural giftedness without spiritual power.
7) An enormous theology without an adequate spirituality.


From such things, Oh Lord, deliver us, and help us plug the leaks!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Personality Set for Life By First Grade

Can You Join Us?

Little Micah Greene is having major surgery on Monday. His family has asked if we can cover them in a blanket of prayer.

Clouds Without Water

Yesterday, I worked on a book chapter entitled, Empty Pastors: Clouds Without Water.

In it, I explore the reasons why ministers end up running on empty, when the Gospel they carry is so rich and FULL of life, joy and peace.

Pastors Run Empty. . .

1. When Responsibilities Exceed Energy.
2. When Pretentions Exceed Reality.
3. When Pleasing Exceeds Shepherding.
4. When Outflow Exceeds Inflow.
4. When Serving Exceeds Loving.
5. When Duty Exceeds Delight.
Healthy Families, Religious Involvement Reduce Risk for Adolescent Substance Abuse

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Church Exists by Mission

"The Church exists by mission, just as a fire exists by burning. Where there is no mission, there is no Church."
— Emil Bruner, The Word and the World (1931)

HT Pat Hannon

Holy Complications

Sin will complicate your life in unholy ways. The blessings of God will complicate your life in holy ways.
-- Mark Batterson

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Politicians

"Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed regularly, and for the same reason." -- unknown

(Discovered this little gem on Rich Avery's facebook status.)

When Swarmed by Annoyances

While watering my new planted grass the other day, a swarm of mosquitoes decided to attack me. I ended up on the losing end of that altercation, though I jumped, smacked, flailed and flapped around like a maniac. I’m pretty sure the neighbors wondered why I was break-dancing with a garden hose.

Annoyances are like a swarm mosquitoes. They’re everywhere, come at you from every direction, attack when it’s least convenient, and usually they come in swarms. Everybody has to deal with them, as they’re simply an unpleasant part of life.

Why do we expect life to be trouble free? No person in the course of human history has experienced a trouble free week, so why should this week be any different for you?

Some troubles are huge and life altering. Most, however, are just pesky annoyances that get under our skin and bother us.

Here are a few thoughts to help when you’re swarmed by these annoyances.

1. Look for the blessing in it.
When faced with annoyances we have a choice. Are we going to focus on our frustration or look for the bright side. Negatives are always accompanied by blessings. For every problem, there are a hundred positives. It pays us to seek those out and remember them. There’s a silver lining behind every cloud, and we always have a choice.

The other day, as a result of storm damage, our big picture window leaked. I had a choice. I could either gripe about the leak, or I could thank God I had containers big enough to catch the water, and a friend talented enough to fix the problem.

Last week, I had a severe headache. I also had a choice. I could grumble about how bad my head hurt, or I could be thankful that someone invented Tylenol.

A while back, somebody didn’t follow through on a commitment, and I was stuck with an extra load of unexpected work. I had a choice. I could resent the person who failed to keep a commitment, or I could be grateful that I had the ability to work under pressure and accomplish the task.

“In everything, give thanks,” the Bible reminds us, “for this is God’s will concerning you.” We are hardwired to look for blessings, and when we do so, we find encouragement to face the daily stresses.

2. Look for the lesson in it.
Think back over the course of your life. When have you learned the most? I’m almost certain it was during the difficult times.

Someone once wrote:
I walked a mile with pleasure,
She chatted all the way.
It left me none the wiser,
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she.
But oh, the things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

James 1:2 says to “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds.” Why? Because hardship is an excellent teacher, who, readily and willingly shares life’s most valuable lessons.

3. Look for the humor in it.
Sometimes, the best thing to do in the face of adversity is to throw back your head and laugh!

“A cheerful heart,” says Proverbs 17:22, “is good medicine.” This has been proven by science.

Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan, of Loma Linda University, have researched the effect of humor on the immune system. Their studies have shown that laughter lowers blood pressure, increases muscle flexion, raises disease fighting proteins, releases endorphins, and produces a general sense of well being.

Laughter not only brightens our day, but it improves our mental and physical health as well. Just think - - a good laugh is absolutely free!!

If faced with an overwhelming swarm of annoyances, here’s a good prayer to say, “God, help me to see the funny side of this.”

Give me a sense of humor, Lord
Give me grace to take a joke,
To get some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folk.
-- Chester Cathedral

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Honoring Your Leader

Steve Furtick recently shared the following thoughts regarding giving honor to the person who is over you in leadership:

1. What is your leader’s favorite way to communicate?-Adapt to it. Even if it’s not your favorite way to communicate.

2. What makes your leader’s day?-Do it.

3. What does your leader dread?-Nuke it before it ever gets to them.

4. What is the thing you can do for your leader that only you can do?-Keep doing it and do it better.

5. What sets your leader back?-Do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t happen.
John Piper Explains His Method of Sermon Preparation

The Preacher's Job

  • Realize God has called and prepared you for it. (Jer. 1:5)
  • Feel insignificant? That's insignificant. The Lord is your significance. (Jer. 1:6-7)
  • Awareness of God's helping presence takes care of fear. (Jer. 1:8)
  • The anointing delivers the message. (1:9)
  • An anointed message uproots, tears down, destroys, overthrows, builds and plants (Jer. 1:10)
  • Look for lessons in almond trees and boiling pots. (Jer. 1:11-16)
  • Sermon preparation begins with preparation of the preacher. (Jer. 1:17)