The Game-Changing App for iPad

This will make you buy an iPad…or at least enjoy the one you have.

I’ll admit, I used my iPad only when I had to, but it wasn’t a necessary tool. That was until my friend Artie Davis introduced me to a game-changing application called iThoughts. It’s genius. I’m an introverted person, but I’m an extroverted thinker, so this program works well for me. I often brainstorm by drawing out the situation. With iThoughts, I’m able to sketch my thoughts into an easy to follow format. When I see it on “paper” it makes more sense.

I use iPad iThoughts to:

  • Create structure
  • Brainstorm projects
  • Visualize a complex organization

The picture is an example. Our organizational structure at Grace can be confusing. We don’t have the clearest lines. Sketching it out with iThoughts help me see it clearly, but also is helping me dream and plan for future growth. (I’ve got another version of this diagram that has some of the ideas I have for future development of our staff and structure.)

What other apps for iPad or iPhone would you recommend to increase efficiency and productivity?

They learned it from Epaphras…What about you?

You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ… Colossians 1:7

We have different methods of learning these days, than they had when Paul wrote this verse…

But I wonder…

Who are the Epaphras’ is in our day?

From whom are you learning these days?

Point me to the resources that are helping to shape who you are today.

What websites?

What blogs?

What applications?

What podcasts?

What books?

Which speakers?

What conferences?

Give a shout out to who/where you are gleaning wisdom these days…

It will honor them and bless others as we learn from them also.

Share a link if you can.

Go!

3 Benefits of Forgiveness

One of the most frequent issues I deal with as a pastor is the issue of forgiveness. There is so much hurt among people and the tendency is to bottle it up in an unforgiving spirit. It would be easier to hold a grudge, but Scripture is clear we have an obligation to forgive…just as we have been forgiven.

Whenever I address this issue, I get push back from those who say they can’t get over what was done to them. I remind them that the Bible doesn’t say we must forget, but to forgive. There’s a huge difference. It doesn’t even say we should allow forgiveness to be an open door for continued abuse by someone. The goal is to free our hearts by letting go of the anger, bitterness, and frustration with the person who wronged you.

This is not only because God commanded it, but practically speaking, the emotions brought on by failing to forgive begin to control you and serve no purpose to repair the relationship or you. Holding onto the pain certainly doesn’t teach the other person a lesson or make them a better person. Of course, when the other person keeps causing new injury it makes it even tougher, but it doesn’t release us from an obligation to forgive.

Forgiveness brings much to a person’s life:

Living in the Center of God’s Will

Too many people shy away from what God has called them to do…

They run because of:

  • Fear…
  • Uncertainty…
  • Past mistakes…
  • Selfishness…
  • ???????

Yet…

I’ve learned, however, that the sweetest days of life are when you are found within the center of God’s will for your life...

Even as scary, unknown, uncomfortable and risky as living that way may appear at first…

So…let me ask you…

Are you doing what God has burdened your heart to do?

Are you in the center of His will for your life?

If not, what’s your next move?

If you need help discerning God’s will, see these previous posts:

Knowing the Will of God

How to Hear God’s Voice

5 Ways to Determine if Your Plans are God’s Plans

Scripture Memorization: Week 12

I hope you are continuing to memorize these verses.  About this time, gyms empty out because many with a resolution to exercise have fallen out of the habit…or never gained a habit…as the case may be. The same is true here. Now is not the time to give up, but to press forward until a habit fully forms.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

I hope you and I will live by this verse this week and always…

When your “Gospel” is the risen Christ…you can face anything that comes your way.

The Difference in Knowing and Doing

There is often a difference in…

Knowing…

And…

Doing…

When it comes to right things…things we should know and do…

It’s true for all of us…some more than others…

You can know the right things to do…and never do the right things…

In my experience, not doing is often a bigger problem than not knowing…

Many people who know never do…

Yet…

The margin between knowing and doing may determine the degree of success you attain…

Understanding your margin sets you up to address the problem…

What is the current margin between your knowing and your doing?

7 Actions While Waiting on God

I’ve spent much of my walk with God waiting…

  • Waiting for Him to give direction…
  • Waiting on Him to open doors…
  • Waiting on Him to make things clearer…
  • Waiting on Him to supply the resources…

The waiting times are difficult to endure, but in times of waiting, I’ve learned there are 7 things I can do:

Prepare my heart – The silent times are the some of the best times to be seeking the heart of God. During the waiting period, I find I need to increase my prayer and study time, preparing my heart to receive God’s instructions.

Learn all I can – I learn more from the struggles of life than I do from the easy times of life. The same can be true through the times of waiting for God to move.

Watch for His activity - God is always doing something, even when I can’t tell what it is. I’ve learned to be watchful for the hidden activity of God.

Stay active with what I know to be doing – The Bible is clear on some things I can always be doing…love my neighbor…transform my heart…make disciples…

Listen for His voice or the voice of others He sends - Isaiah 30:20-21 talks about a “voice” saying “this is the way…walk in it” during the “days of adversity”. I’ve learned to listen for that voice, knowing that the more I know Him personally, the more I’ll hear His quietest voice.

Heal…if needed – Many times the silent periods in my walk with God come after difficult periods. At times, I’ve learned, I can’t hear God because my emotions are clouded with the pain of my past. In those days, I try to heal my emotions so I can think clearly, discern His voice, and prepare for His next assignment.

Pray without ceasing - Prayer is my personal connection to the God upon whom I am waiting. As long as I’m praying, I’m less likely to worry and more likely to walk by faith.

Are you in a period of waiting? Have you been there before?

What would you add to my list?

5 Ways to Rebuke a Friend

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Wounds from a friend can be trusted… Proverbs 27:6

rebuke |riˈbyoōk|verb [ trans. ]
express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions

Years ago in high school, I had a friend tell me I was hanging out with the wrong people. I listened to the advice, switched my sphere of influence, and looking back, it’s one of the best decisions I ever made, considering the different paths our lives took.

That’s only one example. Thankfully there have been many other times a friend loved me enough to help me see the mistakes I was making. Usually I knew, but the rebuke challenged me to alter my ways. I’ve had to “return the favor” many times.

There are times when you have to rebuke a friend, in order to be a true friend. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to tell another where he or she is doing wrong. You may be the only one who cares enough to point out what everyone else sees, but refuses to address.

If you choose to accept the assignment of rebuking a friend, you should be sure you are correct in your assessment, you should pray through the correct timing of your approach, and you should address the person and not others to keep from spreading gossip.

When that time comes, here are 5 ways to rebuke a friend:

Be loving - As we should do with everything, rebuke should come in the context of a loving relationship. In fact, one standard might be to not rebuke people you don’t love.

Be truthful – Don’t dance around or use subtleties when addressing the issue. State the problem as you see it.

Be helpful – Be willing to walk through any necessary recovery with the friend or help them process where they are in life.

Be purposeful - The rebuke should not be vindictive in nature or driven by jealousy or selfish interests. The betterment of the friend should be your sole objective.

Be redemptive – Be willing to extend grace and forgive the friend for any wrong done. Make sure he or she knows you are still in their corner.

Help me with this post:

What would you add to my list?

Have you ever had to rebuke a friend?

If you are messing up…would you rather someone tell you…or mind their own business?

Do you have a friend you can count on to rebuke you if needed?

Reminder: This World Is Not My Home

But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you. Philippians 2:17 NLT

Would you be willing to die for another person’s spiritual growth? I’m not sure I’m with Paul on this one yet, because as much as I like to see people growing spiritually, I don’t know if sacrificing my life for their growth is yet an option.

Paul, though, was seeing life through an eternal perspective. Remember he said earlier in the same letter, “for me to live is Christ and to die is great gain.” He recognized that the purpose of his life was to encourage others in Christ.

I’m reminded of an old song. Perhaps you’ve heard it. I don’t think it has a copyright, so here goes:

This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures and my hopes are all beyond the blue
Where many friends and kindred have gone on before
And I cant feel at home in this world anymore

Over in glory land there is no dying there
The saints are shouting victory there’s singing everywhere
I hear the voice of them that I have heard before
And I cant feel at home in this world anymore

Oh lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home oh lord what would I do
Angel’s beckon me to heaven’s open door
And I cant feel at home in this world anymore

Heaven’s expecting me that’s one I know
I fixed it up with Jesus a long time ago
He will take me through though I am weak and poor
And I cant feel at home in this world anymore

Do you need to be reminded that this world is NOT your permanent home?

What’s one thing dragging you down for which I (and my readers) can pray for you?