10 Values of My Starbucks Visit

I got to Starbucks this morning and couldn’t leave.  There was too much ministry and other activities happening.  Here’s a recap of my hour and a half experience:

1.     Met three people who are “considering attending Grace Community Church”.

2.     Talked with a family who visited the Sunday prior and enjoyed it.  (I wasn’t preaching, so it was one of our good Sundays.)

3.     Answered over a dozen emails, including one about “once saved always saved”, one about baptism, one about a marriage struggle, and one about the church’s doctrine.

4.     Met a man who really kept wanting to talk, wanted my input in playing his online poker game, excitedly shared that he won  $6 gambling, told me he quit church because all they do is “waste money”, and may give our church a try this Sunday! 

5.     Talked with and tried to encourage a new city councilperson who is doing a great job and has a positive vision for our city. 

6.     Accepted 6 new Facebook friends.  Welcome! 

7.     Responded to 9 direct messages via Twitter.

8.     Took a call from a desperate man trying to save his marriage.

9.     Encouraged an Austin Peay professor I hear is very well liked by her students.

10.  Visited briefly with a local pastor.  Great guy! 

The same type experience happens every Sunday night when Cheryl and I make our weekly Wal Mart trip.  I am thinking I may need to do this more often.  

Do you have similar experiences when you are out in public?  How do your convert those experiences into ministry opportunities?  

The Difference in Men and Women

Men and women are vastly different. Have you figured that out yet?

I have read the following several times over the years from various emails.  This time it came from a fellow pastor in his weekly newsletter.  I don’t know the source of it originally, but I think it’s hilarious, and fairly accurate in most cases. 

Men VS Women

1.  NAMES

If Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.

If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Scrappy.

2.  EATING OUT

When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in a $20 , even though it’s only for $32.50.  None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the women get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

3.  MONEY

A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t need, but it’s on sale.

4.  BATHROOMS

A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Marriott.

The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 337.  A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

5.  ARGUMENTS

A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

6.  CATS

Women love cats.

Men say they love cats, but when women aren’t looking, men kick cats.

7.  FUTURE

A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

8.  SUCCESS

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

9.  MARRIAGE

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change , and she does.

10.  DRESSING UP

A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.

11.  NATURAL

Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

12.  OFFSPRING

Ah, children.  A woman knows all about her children.  She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

13.  THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Any married man should forget his mistakes. There’s no use in two people remembering the same thing.

What differences do you notice (other than physical, of course) in men and women?

25 Things to Hate About Facebook…Introduce Web 3.0

I love this video.  It reminds me of what I said about Facebook months ago. When people my age take over, the target audience may soon disappear. 

Sorry to take a funny video and turn it into a serious post, but recently I heard the term Web 3.0.  In case you aren’t familiar with these terms, Web 1.0 was the first wave of the Internet.  In that phase, the Internet first learned to make money on websites such as Amazon and Yahoo.  Then came Web 2.0, with sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube adding flash and opportunities to connect with others.  The problem has been trying to find a way to make money with these sites.  That fact alone may usher in the next phase of the Internet, Web 3.0. 

Personally, Facebook and Twitter have proven to be great resources for doing ministry, but if they never figure out how to make a profit, I’m not sure how long they will be around. The best potential for Facebook seems to be to sell the information you load on your page to other businesses so they can better market you, but when they recently changed their terms of use allowing them to keep that information if you delete your account, the users revolted and they reversed the policy. 

So, it all makes me wonder:

What do you like/dislike about Facebook? 

Would you pay to use it if it wasn’t free?

How do you think Facebook could make money? 

What do you think is next in the world of the Internet?

Which Do You Prefer: Production or Process?

Is it production or process? In terms of which is more important in your work, is it production or process?  In other words, is the end product being produced well more important than enjoying the process of working towards an end product or vice-versa?

I hear and read a lot of leadership discussion these days, especially in ministry, that seems to indicate that process is most important.  (Life’s a journey, not a destination.)  Answering that question, however, may depend on your personality, your generation, or ultimately your position. 

Here are a few thoughts on the subject: 

1.     My generation and older seems to work primarily for production.  We are project and program oriented.  It is hoped that we enjoy our work too, but if you have a job to do, you do it.  This generation is typically more loyal to the organization for which they work.

2.     Today’s younger generation certainly seems to enjoy the process of work as much as completing a task.  In fact, if they can’t enjoy their work they aren’t likely to stay in the job long.

3.     Some positions require a production focus.  I hope my surgeon enjoys his work, but if I’m under the knife I just want him to finish well.  Tax accountants can enjoy the process of filing the return all they want, but the product better be complete by tax day or someone is filing an extension. 

4.     Some positions require a process focus.  When I’m counseling a young couple experiencing marriage struggles, it’s the process of our time together, not necessarily an “end goal” that’s important.  If I work towards a forced agreement from the couple, it isn’t likely the changes they commit to will stick.   

5.     Some people, because of their personality, are naturally geared towards enjoying the process. Considering the Myers Briggs Personality Profile, a Perceiving person generally prefers the process and a Judging person generally prefers the production.  

The fact is that both production and process are important. In the end, we need production in order for the organization to succeed.  At the same time, if an organization wants to thrive and retain quality team members it must allow the process of production to be enjoyable.  

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  In what you do, is it more about process or production? Which would you prefer it be?  

The Kind Of Church I Want To Be a Part Of

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7

This verse is a motivational verse for me in church planting.  I want a church that blesses the city in which it is planted. 

The Israelites were promised prosperity. God had great plans for them. (Jeremiah 29:11) We love to quote the verse, but we often leave out the context in which it was written.  God did have big plans for the people, but that promise was given only after they were told they were facing 70 years of captivity. During their time of exile, the Israelites weren’t to roll over and play dead. They weren’t to complain and revolt against the city.  They were to work hard, build houses, plant crops, and have children.  Even more than that, they were to bless the people who were holding them in exile. (Read Jeremiah 29:1-13 for a better context.) 

I get tired of watching believers protest everything that moves contrary to their prescribed set of values rather than invest in the community around them in hopes of making it better.  If we spent half as much time helping others as we did complaining about what we don’t like or agree with, I wonder if those outside the church would be more interested in what happens inside the church.  

I want a church that is recognized in its community as a catalyst of positive change and influence that cares as much or more about people who aren’t even yet a part of the church.  A church like that will prosper as the city where it is located prospers.

If We Show Them Love…

Here are a couple of verses I have read many times, but today they made more sense than ever before.  At least how I’m interpreting them.    

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.  (Psalm 62:11-12)

I think what the Psalmist is saying is that God had shared His love with Him.  God had literally said, “I love you.”  He has to us also. Throughout the Bible we can see God telling His people and the world of His great love.  One famous verse, of course, tells us that “God so loved the world…. that He sent His son…”  (You probably know that verse!)  The Psalmist had heard others talk about God’s great love too!  It’s hard not to talk about such Amazing Grace! 

At the same time, the Psalmist had heard about God’s strength, yet God had never said to him, “I am strong!”.  God never bragged about His power.  I suppose He never had to.  When you can part the sea, raise the dead and put stars in the sky, you don’t have to convince people you have muscles. 

It also seems that Jesus lived His life that way as well. He was always telling of His love, but He never seemed to brag about His strength, but news of His love and strength spread quickly throughout the world at the time. 

I wonder if there is a lesson there for us as well, as leaders and as the church.  As we strive to be like Jesus, maybe we don’t need to brag about or even share with others how big, how powerful and wonderful we are.  Perhaps we just need to tell others how much we love them. News of that, and our majestic acts, will spread quickly without our help. 

Just a thought.  

(I realize the concept of a phrase or word being repeated in the Bible gives it double emphasis.  I love how a passage, though it has only one meaning, may have numerous applications.)  

How To Recover from Failure

In my personal ministry, sadly, I experience people more at their moments of failure than in their moments of success.  As an optimist, I plan for success.  I believe God desires success for His people. As a realist, I see failure all around me.  I believe God allows failure and uses it to draw us closer to Him and to teach us valuable insights into our characters and into the character of God Himself.   Failure has been a part of my life (a big part) and it is prevalent in the lives of the most of the successful people I know.  Therefore, we must learn how to recover from failure.   

 

Here are a few things to remember after and during your moments of failure.   

 

·         Take time to rest after your failure, but do not sit still for long.  Idleness often leads to temptations and worry. (I almost used another cliché’ involving idleness and the devil, but decided not to.)  Do something, even if it is volunteer work. 

·         Know that not everyone is talking about you, even if it may feel that everyone is. 

·         If people are talking about you, it will not last long until the new “failure of the month” comes along.

·         Take some time to re-evaluate what led to your failure.  Accept fault where appropriate and do not be too proud to say you made a mistake.

·         Learn from your mistakes and build safeguards in your life to keep from repeating the same ones.   

·         Keep your mind and body healthy.  Read, exercise, pray, and think.  It is important to stay fresh for your next opportunity. 

·         Begin to dream new dreams and set new goals.  (These goals can be the same goals you had before you failed if you are willing to take a risk on them again.) 

·         Make a decision in your heart to rise from your failure.  Prove to those who thought you could not (or at least you thought that is what they were saying) that you can succeed.  More than that prove it to you! 

·         Allow failure to make you stronger and better. 

What Language Are You Speaking?

Some people speak a language they share with the group of people who have a similar lifestyle, occupation or interest.  They use code words, anacronyms and phrases that only those within the group understand. Living in a military town, for example, I often hear a phrase like “he’s with the 82nd Airborne Division”, which to us civilians means????  Being married to an accountant wife means that having a tax conversation with her involves me knowing certain form numbers such as “W4 and W2”.   We tend to indoctrinate ourselves with the language and culture of the people we hang around, work with, and from whom we learn. 

 

Here is a short, random list of examples of people who speak a separate language. Feel free to add your own.

 

Accountants

Military

Physicians

Teachers

Christians

Pastors

Sports fans

Musicians

Techies

Cooks

 

Here is the reason this issue matters to us. It is perfectly okay and perhaps even necessary to have the language within a defined group of people.  It expedites the process and builds commonality and loyalty, but if we are not careful, we will alienate people outside our “group” who do not understand our language.  If we want to help people understand who Christ is and what He means to us, then we have to realize that not everyone understands what it means to be “growing in the Lord”. 

What phrases can you think of that Christians (or other groups) use that would be hard to understand outside the “group”? 

Jesus on the Economy

While reading Mark 5:1-20 this morning I struggled to find deeper meaning to the story. Jesus healed a demon-possessed man.  I get that, but why did He have to destroy the pigs to do so.  By doing so, the herdsman lost their ability to earn an income.  They lost part, perhaps a large part if not all, of their wealth.  Because I sometimes struggle with practical realism, that does not make complete sense to me. 

 

Then I read the story closer.  When Jesus sent the demons into the pigs, the herdsman scattered.  Their devastation drove them into the city to tell what had happened.  This brought all the people to Jesus to witness the miracle of the healed man.  Jesus brought glory to Himself and honor to God and helped some people believe that day by His willingness to sacrifice a herd (a large herd) of pigs. 


Therefore, here is my understanding of truth today: Jesus is willing to sacrifice the economy in order to save some souls.  He cares more about people, than even personal finances. (I know that is potentially shocking to many Americans.) 

 

Is any of that truth applicable to my life (and yours) today?