Scripture Memorization, Week 14

Are you struggling these days?

Are there more bad days than good days lately?

Do you feel like you are doing the best you can, but nothing seems to be going your way?

Do you need some inspiration?

This verse gives me a fresh perspective. I think it’s worth committing to memory.

Here’s this week’s memory verse:

What’s one thing/person/reminder that keeps you pushing forward?

Army Values = Church Values?

I had an awesome opportunity to speak to the ROTC Leadership Program at the University of Kentucky this week. As a proud supporter of our military, and loving to invest in young leaders, this was a real honor.

As I waited outside one of the classes, I saw the posters in this picture on the wall. When I inquired about them, I was told these are the Army’s Warrior Ethos, which are “guiding principles of our profession” according to my Lieutenant Colonel host.

If you can’t read them, they are:

  • I will always place the mission first
  • I will never accept defeat
  • I will never quit
  • I will never leave a fallen comrade

Another banner asked: Are you Army strong?

I couldn’t help but wonder: Could these work for a church also?

What do you think? Should we adopt an Army Warrior Ethos?

What other similarities are there between the military and being a believer?

Laughter Yoga: Are You Doing This?

I saw a news report on this recently.  I laughed. No pun intended.

There are clubs like this around the world. Laughing yoga has become somewhat of an institution. In fact, there’s an International Laughing Yoga association. See it HERE. Go to YouTube and you’ll see all kinds of reports on laughing yoga.

Here’s an excerpt CNN did recently:

What do you think?

Do you buy into the benefits of “fake” laughter?

BTW, I’m thinking we may try this at our next staff meeting. We are laughing anyway…may as well call it something!  Ha! In fact…Ha! Ha! Ha!

Give me your thoughts on laughing yoga!

Leaders Need a Platform

Leaders need a platform from which to lead.

That is…a platform from which they can lead.  They have an inner desire to lead people, take them somewhere, invest in others, improve the world around them, make a difference. Healthy organizations find a place to build that platform within the organization.

One nice part of the growth of the online world is the ability all leaders have now to build a platform. Leaders can lead online through blogs and Twitter and other forms of social media, all while being within the same organization.

Recently I heard of a church I respect limiting their staff’s public exposure. With their growth they apparently felt a need to get more control over what is being said about the church. Staff is no longer permitted to blog, Twitter or Facebook during “working hours”. That may seem to make sense now, to limit what leaders are saying outside the organization and make the organization more effective, but it won’t make sense longterm, in my opinion, for three reasons:

  • By limiting the leader’s ability to create a platform, they are stifling the leader.
  • The workplace now includes social media and we must learn to let this work for the organization not against it.
  • Ministry (and most professional organizations) no longer has clearly defined a “workday”.

But the greatest reality is…

We can either let a leader create a platform…or lose the leader…

If they can’t build that platform with you…they’ll find a way to build it elsewhere…regardless of the structure you attempt to place around them.

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment?

How does your church handle social media regulation?

Hanging out with Other Pastors

I recently returned from Ecuador where I was able to witness firsthand the work of Compassion International. It was a great trip, I learned a ton, and I’m now even more committed to Compassion International.

The best part of the trip, however, was the people with whom I traveled. For the week I was surrounded by other pastors. What a joy!

It’s great to be with people who understand the pressures, stress, frustration, and honor of being a pastor. Hanging out with pastors is something I need to do more often. I needed this week.

If you are a pastor, do you have other pastors with whom you connect frequently?

Do you see the value?

Do you wish you had such a group?

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