Friday, September 30, 2011

Watered Down Evangelicalism

This thought provoking address was delivered by Asbury Seminary president, Timothy Tennent at their  September Convocation, and passed along to us by Ben Witherington:   The Clarion Call to Watered Down Evangelicalism.

Spiritual Aroma in Preaching

"Preaching without spiritual aroma is like a rose without fragrance.  We can only get the perfume by getting more of Christ."  --  A.B. Simpson

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tag Team Superintending

The Nazarene Church recently appointed the first co-district superintendents -- Chuck and Carla Sunberg, a husband and wife team, who will oversee the East Ohio District.

This will come in handy during the second round of knock down-drag out church board meetings.

Religious Freedom Under Assault

My Google-Plus friend, Thomas S. Kidd, senior fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, recently wrote an eye-opening article for USA Today:  Religous Freedom Under Assault.

"2.2 billion people live in countries where religious persecution increased between 2006 and 2009."

This is definitely a call to pray for and stand with our suffering brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You Can Reach Your Potential!

“To make your life small when it could be great is sin and heresy!” -- Elton Trueblood

When babies are born into this world, they are really cute – and they are characterized by helplessness, sensitivity, and unfulfilled potential.

Now, that’s perfectly normal for a baby – but not a grown up.

God gave us all potential so we discover it and live it!

You have to grow to grow up! Maturity means you can’t allow yourself to stay helpless. You can’t let yourself harbor hurt feelings. You must strive to be your best, and refuse to settle for mediocrity.

As the wise old bard once said “The saddest words in tongue or pen are simply these: It might have been.”

What is Potential?

NA + SD + D + P + FOF + WTL

Natural Ability + Self Discipline + Drive + Persistence + Faith Overcoming Fear + Willingness to Learn = Potential!

How do you determine your potential?

P – Prayerfully determine what God wants you to do with the rest of your life.
O – Organize your life around this mission
T – Take time to develop your inner life (to grow, to learn, to reflect, to pray)
E – Embrace setbacks and failures as learning experiences
N – Never settle for small living
T – Take others with you on the journey
I – Increase your capacity with pro-active learning (stretch your mind with new ideas!)
A – Attitude adjustments must be made regularly (check up from the neck up!)
L – Leave the final results to God

“Few of us ever have risen equal to our best vision. The place at the top is only won by the brave; and the average person’s courage leaks out before he reaches the top.” --
A.P. Gouthey

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Go On

"Go on working, freely and furiously.  You will make progress." -- Paul Gauguin

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nick of Time

I recently enjoyed  Nick of Time, an unusual  mystery novel.  Nick Polchak, a quirky, uncouth bug man (forensic entomologist), is preparing to be married to Alana, a reclusive dog trainer -- but everything unravels a few days before the wedding, when Nick finds himself out of town, chasing clues to solve the puzzling murder case of an old friend.

Will he make it back in time for the nuptials?  Will he find the killer before it's too late?  Will he survive the dangerous situation he's unwittingly placed himself in?

This little book is a fun read -- a blend of CSI, sitcom, and Hardy Boys, with a sprinkling of Christian romance.

(A complimentary copy was given to me for review from Booksneeze)

Friday, September 23, 2011

You Lost Me

I really appreciated Scot McKnight's review of Dave Kinnamon's upcoming book, (will be released in October). You Lost Me:  Why Younger Christians are Leaving the Church. 

This is such an important issue, and Kinnamon's research is truly insightful.  I reserved my copy today.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Job of a Church Board

An effective church board will do the following things well:
B --  Believe:  Operate by faith rather than fear.  Prayer for guidance is essential.  When faced with a big challenge, what you do next reveals what you  really believe about God.

O --  Optimize:  Look for ways build up, strengthen and move forward.  Focus on the possibilities, rather than the problems.  No nit picking or circle spinning.

A --  Argue:  Perhaps I should say "argue constructively."  A good board is not just a bunch of rubber stampers.  Nor should it be a collection of cantankerous cranks.  On a healthy board, divergent viewpoints are encouraged and expressed positively.  The best outcomes occur after the various perspectives are weighed.  There's a way to disagree agreeably, keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Of course, this requires humility, love and understanding.

R -- Respond:  Difficult issues come before every board.  The quality of the board is displayed in how it responds to them with wisdom, compassion, courage, and faith.

D -- Decide:  Whatever you do -- do something!  Don't just flap your jaws.  Refuse to be paralyzed by indecision and fruitless hashing.  God has called you to make good decisions -- so gather the facts, make the best decision you can together, then support it and ACT on it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog Comments

I've noticed that as the Facebook (Networked Blogs) Followers have increased at Revitalize Your Church, the comments have decreased.  The interaction has pretty much relocated to my facebook page.

Missional Confusion and the Amway Gospel

A thought provoking post by Jamal Jivanjee:  Missional Confusion and the Amway Gospel.  I'm curious to know your response.  (Respond via Facebook)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living Water from a Firehose

"The thirsty sinner comes, and on bended knee says, 'God, I'm thirsty.'  And sometimes -- let's be honest -- we give them a drink from a firehose."
-- Carl Medearis.    This quote, regarding how we overwhelm new believers, is from Carl's new book, Speaking of Jesus.  It's a great read, reminding us that there's a significant difference between "offering Jesus" and "defending Christianity."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Out of Defeat Comes the Best in Human Nature

"Out of defeat can come the best in human nature. As Christians face storms of adversity, they may rise with more beauty. They are like trees that grow on mountain ridges -- battered by winds, yet trees in which we find the strongest wood."
-- Billy Graham

A Glimpse in the Mirror

Life is a mirror which reflects your attitude.

If you wonder why people are giving you the "cold shoulder" it might just be that you're dishing out ice, yourself.

If a rotten, foul mood, pervades your home, perhaps it's the overflow of your own negativity.

If it seems like nobody is grateful for all you do, maybe you should measure your own motives.

If you want people to be nicer to you, you need to sow a few kindness seeds.

If the folks you meet are unfriendly, it's time to check your own FQ (friendliness quotient.)

If all you hear is "complain, complain, complain", you might just be the biggest complainer.

If your friends are finding fault, turn it around and find some good.

If the situation seems dark, you can light a candle!

If people are always dumping their garbage on you, remember, misery loves company. It is not a compliment to be on the receiving end of a gossipy garbage-load.

If everybody around you is frowning, give 'em a good smile!

Never go fishing with a crabapple for bait

Sunday, September 18, 2011

4 Obstacles to Spiritual Depth

In recent research, pollster, George Barna has discovered Four Obstacles to Spiritual Depth in American Christianity.

1.  Commitment:  Although American Christians say they have made some kind of personal commitment to Christ, their lives do not reflect this priority.

2.  Repentance:  Although they have repented of their sins and asked forgiveness, they continue in the same pattern.

3.  Activity:  Although busy with many activities, they do not engage in such spiritual growth practices as sharing their faith, fasting, solitude, extended time for prayer and medition.

4.  Spiritual Community:  Although they generally find comfort and connection at church, they do not share at a level of vulnurability and accountability.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Ineffective Method of Evangelism

How NOT to do Evangelism:

Excuse me, mister.  I'd like to share the Gospel with you.
You are full of the DEVIL! 
Drop the D, it spells EVIL and that's what you are!
Drop the E and that spells VIL (pronounced "Vile").  You are a vile and filthy sinner!
Drop the V and it spells IL (pronounced "Ill").  It makes me ill just to look at you!
Drop the I and all you have left is L.  That's where you're headed.  Straight to L!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Follow It

"Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, 'This is the real me', and when you have found that attribute, follow it."  --  William James

Friday, September 09, 2011

Where Was God on 9/11?

Heath Davis, our Spiritual Formation Pastor, lost a cousin on September 11, 2011 in the World Trade Center attack.  Check out his moving post:  Where Was God on 0/11 which includes a PBS interview with Heath's Uncle Bernie.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

7 Principles for Every Project

A great post for ministry leaders from Rick Warren:  7 Principles for Every Project

1.  The Principle of Simplification
2.  The Principle of Participation
3.  The Principle of Delegation
4.  The Principle of Motivation
5.  The Principle of Cooperation
6.  The Principle of Administration
7.  The Principle of Appreciation

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

Dear Dad,
$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can`t think of anything I need. $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.
Love,
Your $on


The Reply:
Dear Son,
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.

Love,
Dad


(Thanks to Linda Talboom for passing this along my way.)