Saturday, March 31, 2012

Richard Baxter on the Art of Pastoring

"The whole cause of our ministry mut be carried on in a tender love for our people.  We must let them see that nothing pleases us more than what profits them.  We should show them that what does them good does us good also.  We should feel that nothing treoubles us more than what hurts them."
-- Richard Baxter of Kidderminster

Friday, March 30, 2012

Jesus and Health Care

The Next Christians

I devoured Gabe Lyons' book, The Next Christians: Seven Ways You Can Live the Gospel and Restore the World in two days.  An engaging text that describes an appealing, wholehearted approach to faith and mission.  Lyons describes what I believe about how Christians should engage culture.

Instead of hunkering down in holy huddles, shaking fists in the fight for faith, or weak capitulation to culture, Lyons advocates another way -- the way modeled by Jesus -- bringing transformation through authenticity, understanding, integrity and love.

The "Next Christians", as Lyons calls them, follow the Restoration path rather than Separatist (via fighting or fleeing) or Cultural (via capitulation or appeasement) Christianity.  This rising generation of believers brings a refreshing perspective.  While expressing their faith in genuine, practical ways, they are willing to face the world head-on, filled with compassion, and courageous enough to step into the darkest situations to make a difference.

This refreshing brand of Christianity is marked by being:

1)  Provoked, not offended.
2)  Creators, not critics.
3) Called, not employed.
4) Grounded, not distracted.
5) In Community, not alone.
6) Civil, not divisive.
7) Countercultural, not "relevant."

Lyons unpacks each of these points clearly and compellingly.

My prayer, after reading this book, is "Lord, please help me to live and lead in such a way that I can raise up more Christians like this."

Purchase Here

(A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for blog review.)



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why I Gave Up Trying to Live the Christian Life

Frank Viola shares five reasons why he gave up striving to live the Christian life for Lent.

One Person with Static

After several attempts at hold a District Board Meeting via Skype last evening, we gave up and went back to the land lines.  One malfunctioning computer brought too much static to the meeting, and we couldn't understand each other.

Reflecting this morning, I think that's true of all meetings.

One person, with a critical spirit, carries static that can shut down the entire communication process

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Not to Be Taken Seriously


“If you jump in the ring with 12 clowns to speak seriously, you won't be taken seriously, you will merely be considered the thirteenth clown.”
 --  Keith Drury.

For a few more witty maxims, check out his Tuesday Tweets.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Get a Big Job Done

One person with passion and conviction can accomplish more than one hundred with mere interest.

You have to dream it in order to achieve it.

Nothing can take the place of hard work - but smart work makes hard work go a lot further.

All true leaders are readers. If you read a lot, you will automatically grow.

Reaching a goal loses its fulfillment if you have to run over people in the process. People are more important than processes.

Intentions never get the job done.

Imitations never get the job done either.

Jobs don't finish themselves. You have to finish the job!

The joy is multiplied when you accomplish the dream as a team.

It's amazing what can be achieved if you don't care who gets the credit.

Sometimes plans should change - but not values. Write you plans in sand and your values in cement.

You can accomplish a lot more than you think.

Small changes make a big difference through the power of compound interest!

If you never risk anything, you will never accomplish anything.

Failure is a tremendous growth opportunity. The greatest failure is failing to learn from your failures.

To succeed in life, you need to major on the majors and minor on the minors.

This is It?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Herein Lies the Problem

If missions languish, it is because the whole life of godliness is feeble. The command to go everywhere and preach to everybody is un-obeyed, until the will is lost by self-surrender in the will of God. There is little right giving because there is little right living, and because of the lack of sympathetic contact with God in holiness of heart, there is a lack of effectual contact with him at the Throne of Grace. Living, praying, giving and going will always be found together, and a low standard in one means a general debility in the whole spiritual being.
– Arthur T. Pierson

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tear it Down My Dearest Idol

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
-- William Cowper

Friday, March 23, 2012

Small Town Pastor Cleans Up Abandoned Neighborhood Houses

Kudos to Pastor Dan Lemke, who understands that loving God ought to be translated into practical acts of kindness and community transformation.

Church Going = Good Mood

Some interesting research from Gallup reveals that people who regularly go to church experience more positive emotions and fewer negative ones than those who attend less frequently or not at all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Might Just Be a Baby

Sometimes people have grown-up bodies, but they have never matured emotionally or relationally. How about you? Have you grown up yet?

You just might be a baby. . .
* if you throw a temper tantrum when you don't get your own way.
* if you look for excuses to get out of work.
* if you blame other people for your own mistakes.
* if you wait to be "waited on".
* if you mess up at the same point over and over again.
* if you try to get your own way by pouting.
* if you try to get your own way by shouting and stomping your feet.
* if you can't think of five things you've done for others in the last week.
* if you try to manipulate people to get what you want.
* if you call people names.
* if you "slug" your brother behind "Momma's" back. (i.e gossip)
* if you love to make a mess, but refuse to clean it up.
* if you fight over the trivial.

* if you're too possessive and won't share ("Mine! Mine!)
* if you have to be the center of attention. ("Look at me!")
* if you lie to get out of trouble or to look good.
* if you put off doing what is necessary, because something else is more fun.
* if you are self-centered, and place you wants before the needs of others.
* if you sit around waiting for "Momma" to fix everything for you.

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (I Cor. 13:11)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preaching Secrets of Charles Stanley

Television pastor, Charles Stanley, age 79, shared a few thoughts about preaching with the Christian Post:

  • Preach for impact, not to impress anybody
  • You can't be thinking about yourself and impacting another person's life
  • When preparing for sermons, think about the one thing you want listeners to walk away with
  • Spend time in prayer during preparation
  • Stanley chooses not to reveal what he'll preach on ahead of time to his congregation
  • Make sure everything you preach is clear so when you get to the conclusion, the listeners will be there with you
  • "On Sunday morning, I'm not nervous ... I can't wait to tell what God wants me to say."
  • Stanley preaches from an outline, not a manuscript and he does not memorize anything – "You have looked at it and looked at it and changed it ... by the time it's time to preach, I just have to glance at it. When time comes to deliver it, I'm full of it."
  • Every trial that comes, see it as coming from God and not the people involved – that way, you won't get bitter but see it is all for a purpose
  • "Every test, every trial, every heartache that's been significant, I can turn it over and see how God has turned it into good no matter what."
  • There have been very few times in Stanley's life where he has had to change his sermon on a Saturday afternoon
Read whole article here.

Just Now. . .

After a powerful campmeeting sermon on repentance, L. H. Baker, the evangelist, called seekers forward for prayer.  A refined woman of high social standing responded to the invitation, but struggled to break through spiritually.  She had come forward to give, but not to receive.

The great hymn writer, Mrs. C. H. Morris, quietly joined her at the altar, put her arm around the seeking woman's shoulder, and said, "Just now, your doubting give over."

Hearing this, the campmeeting musician, H. L. Gilmour, chimed in, "Just now, reject Him no more!"

Evangelist, L. H. Baker, added, "Just now, throw open the door!"

Mrs. Morris followed up with, "Let Jesus come into your heart."

The woman found spiritual victory, and a new hymn was birthed that night:  "Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart."

If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

Refrain
Just now, your doubtings give o’er;
Just now, reject Him no more;
Just now, throw open the door;
Let Jesus come into your heart.

If it’s for purity now that you sigh,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
Fountains for cleansing are flowing nearby,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

Refrain

If there’s a tempest your voice cannot still,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If there’s a void this world never can fill,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

Refrain

If you would join the glad songs of the blest,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you would enter the mansions of rest,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Get Your Copy of Filled Up, Poured Out

My book, Filled Up, Poured:  How God's Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose, will be arriving this week for all those who pre-ordered online.

You can obtain a copy via Amazon, directly from the publisher (Wesleyan Publishing House), or pretty much any site that sells Christian books.

Kindle, Nook, IBook will be available in two or three weeks.

Most Christian bookstores will carry it.

In Hayward, you can get a signed copy at the Book Release Reception next Sunday (March 25) in the Fireside Room of Hayward Wesleyan Church.  Copies will also be available at the Hayward Wesleyan Rent-a-Table Sale on March 31 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In a few days, you will be able to check it out from the Hayward Library.

Some have asked how to obtain a signed copy via mail.  Although I really don't want to get locked into the bookselling business, I do have a limited number of copies I'm willing to personally sign and send for $12.00 plus $3.00 shipping.

Theologians Debate Calvinism

Olson and Horton, Go Head to Head Over Calvinism.

Old Guys Rule

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Game Plan Resources

Some outstanding resources for missional church leadership teams can be found here.  Kudos to Tim Roehl on a job well done!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eight Paraprosdokians

Paraprosdokian: "Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in humorous situations."  i.e.  "Where there's a will, there are greedy relatives."

Here are eight -- sent to me by my friend, Al Prentice:

1.  Do not argue with an idiot.  He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

2.  The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.

3.  Light travels faster than sound.  This is why some people appear bright until you hear them.

4.  If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5.  Knowledge is in knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

6.  Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

7.  Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

8.  Evening news is where they begin with "Good Evening" and then proceed to tell you why it's not.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Your Passion for Souls

Here is a little video I did for the Game Plan Training Event held earlier this week, under the fine direction of ministry coach and church health director, Tim Roehl:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Prayer Diapers

My book, Filled Up, Poured Out, releases tomorrow! Order your copy today via Amazon, Wesleyan Publishing House, or if you live in Hayward, come get a copy from me, and I'll sign if for you!

I am really excited about how God is going to use it.  So far, from those who have read preview copies, the response has been overwhelming.  I pray this book will be a source of refreshment and encouragment for all the readers -- especially those who serve in ministry.

Here's a brief excerpt from my chapter on prayer:

 Back when we had kids in diapers, Cathy lamented to our small group that she struggled to carve out time to pray. “No matter how early I rise, the baby gets up earlier. It’s non-stop until I collapse in bed, exhausted, with hardly a moment between bottles and battles. Finding time to pray is hard when your whole life is consumed with changing diapers.”

 “Every diaper is a prayer, young lady,” John, a feisty grandpa, asserted. “Anything done for the love of God is prayer, and don’t you ever forget that!”

The spiritual implications of dirty diapers tickled my funny bone, but struck a deep chord with Cathy, affirming her labors and reminding her of God’s special grace for those facing the messes of motherhood. At about 2:00 a.m. the next morning, when the baby squalled, Cathy nudged me and said, “Prayer time.”

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Supply The Caption


Eight Characteristics of Healthy Systems

Tony Morgan wrote a helpful post for church leaders -- Unstuck:  Eight Characteristics of Healthy Sytems:

  1. They empower leaders to accomplish ministry without always having to get permission. Without systems, every decision must go back to the senior pastor, the senior management team, the committee, etc. In his book Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky said it this way, “The more people who lie awake in bed thinking about your idea, the better. But people only obsess about ideas when they feel a sense of ownership.” Good systems will give leaders the freedom to make decisions within established boundaries.
  2. They are embraced and championed by the top leadership. It does absolutely no good for systems to be established that top leadership doesn’t support and encourage everyone to use. If the top leaders can’t endorse the system, you’re not ready to implement the system.
  3. They mobilize many people rather than leaning on a select handful of talented individuals. If your system is “contact Joe for more information”, you don’t have a system. If your system is “go hear Joe teach on the topic”, you don’t have a system. You have a gifted individual. Good systems point people to next steps (processes, tools, resources, etc.) rather than specific people.
  4. They simplify the path. The objective is to create just enough of a framework to make it easier for people. Good systems are intuitive. Typically the fewer the steps, the better the systems. If you want to improve a system, challenge your team to figure out how to reduce the steps required. And, whatever you do, make sure your “customer” doesn’t have to guess where to go next.
Find the other four characteristics here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Your Church is Gonna Die

Someday, your church is gonna die -- so what is the best way to invest a congregation's life?  Hint:  multiplication beats addition any day.

Here are a couple of thought provoking posts from Geoff Surratt. regarding the natural life-cycle of congregations, which reminds us why church planting and ministry multiplication is so vitally important.



(HT Mark Gorveatte)

Game Plan Training Camp

I was invited to make a couple of videos which will be shared at this week's Game Plan Training Camp for church planters and minsitry leaders in Indianapolis.

Tim Roehl has put together a wonderful combination of practical information and personalized coaching.  He's an outstanding leader and ministry mentor.  All who attend this event will be blessed, energized and equipped for greater leadership effectiveness.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Harold Camping Finally Admits He Was Wrong

"God has humbled us through the events of May 21.  We must also openly acknowledge that we have no new evidence pointing to another date for the end of the world."

--  Harold Camping

Called to Controversy

Some people live in black and white; others live in full color.  Moishe Rosen was a full color person -- and then some!

Recently I had the privilege of reading his biography,  Called to Controversy,  penned by his daughter, Ruth.

Over the years, I've appreciated the ministry of Jews for Jesus -- but occasionally felt like like Rosen was "over-the-top" in his evangelistic style and techniques.

This rare glimpse into Moishe's life, however, has shed new understanding and led to a fresh admiration for the man.  When one recognizes the huge adversities Moishe overcame, the exponetial reach and result of his ministry are nothing short of miraculous.  Only God could have done it!

Ruth Rosen presents the unvarnished Moishe -- warts and all.  She writes with respect, yet admits her father's weaknesses and shortcomings, especially when dealing with people and leadership.

My life has been enriched by reading this book.

Purchase Here

(A complimentary copy was provided to me by the publisher for review on this blog.)







Friday, March 09, 2012

Pilgrimage

As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.
-- A. C. Benson

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Small Minds vs Large Minds

There’s a huge difference between being large-minded and small-minded, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the size of one’s brain.  In fact, Albert Einstein’s brain, when measured after his death, was remarkably unremarkable.  It isn’t the size of your brain, but the size of your perspective and imagination that counts!

Minds, like muscles, need stretching and exercise.  Without such mental workouts, we become flabby and lazy thinkers.  You’ll shrivel to small-mindedness if you fail to stretch that grey matter between your ears.

Closed minds are often accompanied by open mouths.  Small-minded perspectives are usually the ones that are shouted loudest – especially on radio and tv talk shows.  This reminds me of an old proverb:  “He that thinketh by the inch and talketh by the mile, ought to be kickethed by the foot!”

Small mindedness is marked by negativity and cynicism.  Unfortunately, some highly intelligent people wear it like a badge.  It is possible to be a small-minded genius.

Sometimes, we’re plagued by small mindedness without realizing it.  Here’s how to tell the difference:

 1)       Small minds gossip.  Large minds encourage.
 2)       Small minds complain.  Large minds praise.
 3)       Small minds find fault.  Large minds find the good.
 4)       Small minds focus on problems.  Large minds seek solutions.
 5)       Small minds are selfish.  Large minds are generous.
 6)       Small minds go through difficulty.  Large minds grow through difficulty.
 7)       Small minds belittle.  Large minds build up.
 8)       Small minds say “we can’t.”  Large minds say, “Let’s give it a shot.”
 9)       Small minds see only what has been.  Large minds conceive what may be.
10)   Small minds find bitterness in the sweetness.  Large minds find sweetness in the bitterness.
11)   Small minds give up after a setback.  Large minds bounce back.
12)   Small minds make fear based decisions.  Large minds decide by faith and wisdom.
13)   Small minds struggle to control, Large minds release and bless.
14)   Small minds think in black and white.  Large minds think in full color.
15)   Small minds criticize.  Large minds criticize by doing.
16)   Small minds worry.  Large minds pray
17)   Small minds pout.  Large minds shrug it off.
18)   Small minds are self-absorbed.  Large minds forget themselves.
19)   Small minds see only one method.  Large minds see many ways.
20)   Small minds resent.  Large minds respect.
21)   Small minds are stubborn.  Large minds are flexible.
22)   Small minds ask “why?”  Large minds ask “why not?”
23)   Small minds only accept people who think like them.  Large minds accept differences.
24)   Small minds gripe.  Large minds are grateful.
25)   Small minds tell God how big their problem is.  Large minds tell their problem how big God is.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Grace for the Race

God gives grace to face the pace of the race -- either that, or He slows us down.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Indiana South Pastors

Speaking today and tomorrow for the Indiana South Wesleyan Pastors and spouses at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Bloomington.

 I'm delighted to have this opportunity to share my heart with them -- and am praying that God will encourage and refresh their souls.

Looking forward to seeing old friend, and meeting some new ones.

"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."  Isaiah 58:11

Why Men Should Not Be Ordained

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.

8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.

7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.

5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.

Read the last four reasons here at Tim Stafford's Blog  (List created by Paul Neeley)

Friday, March 02, 2012

Hayward Girl's Hockey

Sadly, the Hayward Girls' Hockey Team fell 4-1 today to DC Everest in the WIAA State Quarterfinal.  Yet, we are truly proud of our team who had such a fantastic season.  Congratulations on making it all the way to State.  The entire Hayward community is proud of you.  

Nickie's Koretelopet Adventure

My dear friend, Nickie Kohler's delightful story of winning her 1974 Kortelopet trophy, was featured on Keetha Broyle's excellent blog, The Eclectic Company.

Keetha and her husband, Greg, came to Hayward last weekend to experience Birkie Fever first-hand.  Some wonderful Birkebeiner pictures from Main Street are included if you scroll down a bit.

Check it out!

Fire in the Pulpit

"The power of Christ's dispensition is a fiery pulpit-- not a learned pulpit, not a popular pulpit, not an eloquent pulpit, but a pulpit on fire with the Holy Ghost... This power is not the mere power of iteration or reiteration of truth well learned or well told, but it is the enabling force to declare revealed truth with superhuman authority. The preacher must have the power given by direction connection with God."
--E. M. Bounds

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Here is Love Vast As The Ocean

In my book, Filled Up, Poured Out, I include the lyrics to the following song, which was known as the Love Song of the 1904 Welsh Revival: