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Showing posts from August, 2012

5 Great Questions to Discern Life Change

How do you know if you're making the right move?  Bill Blankschaen shared the following 5 questions to discern a life change:

1.  Are you centered on what matters most?
2.  Are you clear on your calling?
3.  Are you growing where you are?
4.  Are you running from ____________?
5.  Are you willing to move forward?

Read the entire post here via Ed Stetzer.

Challenges Rural Pastors Face

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An interesting piece that appeared at The Christian Post Blog by Able Baker:  11 Challenges Unique to Rural Pastors.

20 Ways to Love Your Job

As Labor Day approaches, I believe it is appropriate to address a significant work related issue. A recent Gallup Poll says 71% of people hate their jobs (other polls even claim figures as high as 80%.) Now, with so much job hating going around, and it seems like something should be done about it.
If you hate your job, then you are the somebody who should do something about it. Things won’t get better if you just sit around wishing it would.
Now, I understand that some work environments are toxic and intolerable. In situations like that, the best thing you can do is seek an exit strategy. If you really hate your job that bad, then look for another one. Often, however, job dissatisfaction has much more to do with the worker’s attitude, than the dysfunctional environment. It is with this basis of understanding that I propose the following suggestions for learning to love your job:
1)Examine your attitude. Are you allowing negativity to poison your spirit towards thos…

If You Go, They Will Come

Early in my ministry, I taped the following note to myself on my desk:  "If you go, they will come."

In other words, if I go out to where people live Monday through Saturday, I'm much more likely to see them at church on Sunday morning.

The view of the world is extremely limited from behind a desk.  Get out there and see the world from the other side.  (As a church grows, the increasing administrative responsibilities make this much more difficult - -though it is still essential for effective, transformational ministry.)

In yesterday's sermon, Andreas Schroeter, missionary to the LCO Reservation who is soon departing for his home in Germany challenged us to be both missional and incarnational.  Missional means "joining Jesus in his mission field" and incarnational means "sharing your life and their culture."

As my friend, Mike Engle recently noted, "The Gospels recorded 132 contacts Jesus had with people -- 6 were in the Temple -- 4 were in Synag…

One Time, That Time, All Time

"A former professor at IWU used to say that some of the commands of Scripture were for 'one time' (go sell everything you have), some were for 'that time' (women veil your heads), and some were for 'all time' (love your neighbor). "

-- Ken Schenck in a wonderful, thought-provoking post, Look for the All Time.

I found this wisdom to be helpful in navigating and interpreting the Bible.  The only challenge is trying to figure out which part is which.

Don't Shrink Back from Change -- Live into It!

Change is a part of life -- and when you quit changing, you're through!  Though change is uncomfortable, we need to embrace it to thrive.  
Those who expend energy maintaining status quo, soon discover it's an uphill battle, going downhill fast.
Life is far more rewarding when we live into change rather than shrinking back from it.

Are You Drowning? Maybe You Need to Take a Fresh Dip!

A Daily Paper for Those who Serve in the Sticks

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Hear Ye!  Hear Ye!

Artie Davis has launched The Sticks Daily, an online paper designed for those who minister in rural and small town communities (leading big in the small.)

Kudos to Artie -- and may the new daily be a smashing success!

Hitting the Wall in Ministry?

David Drury is an outstanding leader, minister, and writer.  He serves as Chief of Staff for the General Officers at the Wesleyan International Center.  I've been especially impacted by Soulshift, a book he wrote recently with Steve DeNeff.

David is also a prolific blogger, and I appreciated his plug last week for my book, Filled Up, Poured Out: How God's Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose, in the following post -- Hitting the Wall in Ministry?

Jesus: A Theography

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I'm looking forward to reading Jesus: A Theography, by a couple of my favorite writers, Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet, which is now available for pre-order.  It promises to be as good -- even better than Jesus Manifesto, the last work they penned together -- and one of the best books I've read recently. What follows is a description from Frank Viola's blog, which I frequent regularly, a starred review by Publishers Weekly, the Table of Contents, a sample chapter, and pre-ordering links. Back Cover DescriptionJesus says, “THE SCRIPTURES POINT TO ME!” (JOHN 5:39 NLT) But what does that mean exactly? INTRODUCING A NEW KIND OF JESUS BIOGRAPHY In this compelling work, authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola reclaim the entire Bible as a gripping narrative about Jesus Christ. Virtually every other “Jesus biography” begins with the nativity account in Bethlehem. In this groundbreaking book, Sweet and Viola begin before time, in the Triune God, and tell the complete interconnected story o…

What Tomorrow Holds

I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know WHO holds tomorrow!

What an assurance for God's children.  He holds us -- and that means we're in good hands.

Reflecting on this beautiful truth this morning, I was reminded of this old Gospel song by Forest Stamphill:

I Don't Know About Tomorrow
I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day. I don't borrow from its sunshine, For its skies may turn to gray. I don't worry o'ear the future, For I know what Jesus said, And today I'll walk beside Him, For He knows what is ahead.
Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand; But I know Who holds tomorrow, And I know Who holds my hand.
Link to the entire song here

Hayward Locals Should Act Like Tourists

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A recent visitor from Chicago said, "I wish I could just quit my job and live in Hayward full time. It would be like living in heaven!"

I smiled, and thought, "He sure doesn't know what it's like to live here!"

Later, relating this conversation to a Hayward native, I said, "Poor fellow doesn't realize that living in the Northwoods is a far cry from vacationing here."

To this, my Hayward friend replied, "If that's the way it is for you, then you're doing it wrong."

"I think the citizens of Hayward ought to act like tourists," he continued, "We should take advantage of all our community has to offer! We should jump in the lake, canoe down the Namekagon, hike in the Chequamegon Forest, go fishing, attend the Lumberjack Show, and buy candy at Trembley's. We should travel the bike path, drink java at Backroads, go camping, feast at Famous Dave's, window shop on Main Street, drive go karts, play…

Vultures and Humming Birds

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‎"You can be like a vulture that looks for and feeds on road-kill. Or you can be like a hummingbird that searches for and feeds on nectar each day. It's up to you, because you will find what you search for. You decide the destination of your mind. Choose to watch for places God is working." - Craig Groeschel

Trusting Through the Tunnel

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"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off.  You sit still and trust the engineer." -- Corrie Ten Boom
"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time." -- Oswald Chambers
"Confidence in the captain brings calmness in the cabin."  --  Filled Up, Poured Out

What Every Leader Struggles With

Perry Noble shared a great post -- Nine Things Every Leader Struggles With (And How to Overcome Them.)  This post is Part One -- so only half are listed here. . . more to follow.

Church Leadership Breakfast

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This Friday, August 17, I'll be speaking at a Church Leadership Breakfast sponsored by the Minnesota Church Ministries Association.

It will be held at Crosspoint Church (9801 France Ave, Bloomington) from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

Cost is $5.00, plus donation.

I'll be speaking on themes from my book, Filled Up, Poured Out: How God's Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose.  The public is invited.

The Power of a Compelling Vision

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Little Jimmy’s mother came into his room one night to tuck him into bed, and found him staring out the window, into the evening sky.
“What are you doing, honey?” she asked.
“I’m looking at the moon.”
“Well, Jimmy, it’s time to stop staring at the moon and go to bed.”
“Mommy, one day I am going to walk on the moon.”
“Sure Jimmy, now go to bed.”
32 years later Jimmy (James Irwin) actually did it! He reached the moon on Apollo 15. Not only did he step on the moon’s surface – one of the very few humans to accomplish this feat – but he also drove the first Lunar Rover.
First, Jimmy dreamed it – then, Jimmy did it! There is tremendous power in a compelling vision. An unknown philosopher said, “Do not follow where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
So, how do we find a compelling vision? Look Up. Pray and listen. All faith-inspiring dreams come from above. Look Down. What have your failures and painful experiences taught you? Failure isn’t final if you learn someth…

When You've Bitten Off More Than You Can Chew

Occasionally, all of us find ourselves overloaded. Sometimes, it’s the result of circumstances beyond our control. Mostly, however, it’s because of poor energy/time management on our part. As Momma used to day, “You’ve bitten off more than you can chew!”
This is particularly true for “can do” people with a bias for “yes.” They get a lot accomplished, and occasionally find themselves swamped in the process.
As one of those “can do – bias for yes” people, I’ve found myself in that condition numerous times along the way. I’ve gleaned a few insights from those experiences, and offer a few suggestions to consider when you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
1)Ask yourself – “Why am I doing this?” We assume unnecessary responsibilities because we don’t want to disappoint someone, or because we haven’t mastered the art of gracious refusal. If you don’t have a good reason why you’re carrying the load, that’s a good clue that you shouldn’t have picked it up in the first pl…

Chuck Warnock Reviews Filled Up, Poured Out

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It was a real honor to see such a positive review of Filled Up, Poured Out from Chuck Warnock, noted authority on small church ministry and one of my favorite bloggers:  "Filled Up, Poured Out Overflows With Stories and Insights."

Two Kinds of Dissenters

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Frank Viola posted a fascinating piece on those who challenge the status quo, saying there are two kinds of dissenters:

1)  The Disgruntled Dissenters
2)  The Sober Minded Dissenters

The first is dangerous -- the second is essential.

The Moorish Kitchen Maid

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Recently, while reading Steve Taylor's,The Out of Bounds Church: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change, I stumbled across a reference to "The Moorish Kitchen Maid", a painting by the great 17th Century Spanish artist, Diego Velazquez.

I found Taylor's description fascinating, so decided to search it out.

The young lady, eavesdropping on Jesus and his two companions as they converse over dinner at Emmaus  (see Luke 24:13-32), is startled as she realizes the identity of their house guest.  The other two haven't figured it out yet.