Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two silver candlesticks (redemptive endings)

At the beginning of the legendary musical, Les Miserables, Jean Valjean had just been released from prison after 19 years.  he came to a new town where he was forced to show his prison release papers.  The mayor and townspeople, as well as the local jail and other businesses refuse to help him or give him anything to eat.  The only one that will feed him is Mr. Myriel, the local Bishop.  He not only feeds Valjean, he invites him to spend the night.  Valjean returns the favor by stealing Bishop Myriel’s only “fineries” – silver utensils – and leaving in the middle of the night.
Valjean is caught by the police and brought back to face Myriel.  When the bishop sees him, he claims he gave Valjean the silverware as a gift.  Myriel adds, “You forgot to take the silver candlesticks that go with the silverware.
After the police leave, the bishop offers him forgiveness and tells him to live an honest life.  The rest of the musical is about Valjean’s attempt to do so.
We all love stories with a redemptive ending.  Why?  There is something in each of us that cries out for a redemptive ending to our broken lives.  The Bible is full of these redemptive stories, for instance:
  • Joseph – Gen. 50:20 “You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people.”
  • Moses – Acts 7:20-36 God brought Moses full circle to face his failure so he could learn to trust God to fulfill his destiny.
  • Woman caught in adultery – Jn. 8:1-11 She was rescued from a death sentence.
  • Prodigal son – Lk. 15:11-32 Welcomed home & forgiven by a loving father… even after committing the worst act of betrayal.
Now notice Heb. 4:16…
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Some people have endured unimaginable pain and horrors – betrayal, neglect & abuse – sometimes even at the hands of those they should have been able to trust.  God offers you grace to help you let it go.  Forgiving others will bring you freedom!  And, like Joseph, God can turn these horrible things into something beautiful, if we’ll let Him.
Others have been the ones causing the pain.  You need to come to the Father and, like the Prodigal Son, find mercy.  You will need to make things right, but you will find freedom and forgiveness.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Surreal airplane conversation

Image source: Rolf Wallner
On my flight back to Zurich last week I sat next to a young man named M. He is a homosexual clairvoyant (fortune-teller, tarot card reader, medium, etc). This lifestyle is the polar opposite of the way I was raised. Honestly, it was a surreal experience. But I learned a ton.
Some of my fellow pastors would have begun to tell this man how much he was "sinning." And, of course, the Bible is pretty clear about certain lifestyles. But I decided instead to get to know M.
I learned that he grew up in a very orthodox church, and even experienced the presence of God at one of their retreats. He is a very spiritually alert person. But this spiritual curiosity led him in a very different direction. This led to him walking away from the Church, and therefore, Christianity altogether.
He also described his relationship with his partner, and how they met. They want to move to a new area and set up a "spiritual guidance" shop. He found a group of "kindred spirits" in this new town and is excited about the move. He even described some of his hopes and dreams, and some of his pain and hurts. While M described a life that I had never even imagined, I got to see his heart and learn a little bit about who he is.
Eventually the conversation turned to what I do. After I explained our desire to start a new church, he told me I was not like any pastor he had met before, which I took as a huge compliment. I got to share a little about the change Jesus made in my life, and how my mission is to please God. I shared about how God loves people -- even people that the religious world has written off. And when he said he has never really read the Bible (because the King James doesn't make sense to him) but expressed an interest, I was able to recommend an "artistic" version of the Bible for him to read.
My point is this... if we write off people because of their current lifestyle or beliefs, we shut the door to God being able to use us to speak into their lives. I find it interesting that the very people who didn't fit in with a religious worldview ("sinners") were the very ones that seemed to love hanging out with Jesus. And Jesus defended them to the religious elite. (see Mark 2:14-17 and Luke 15) And I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with M.
We need to ask God to send more "sinners" into our path. And that He would give us wisdom in our dealings with them. After all, it's the kindness of God that leads men to repentance. (Romans 2:4) We cannot afford to be so "spiritual" that we avoid relationships with people that are in desperate need of God. After all, haven't we, too, been brought into a relationship with God by His mercy and grace?
This experience reinforced my belief that if you invest in a relationship with someone, you earn the right to speak into their life. Have you ever had any similar experiences?

We are visitors (part 11)

We visited another church in our area of Germany recently. We came just before the service started. Because we came at the last minute, there weren't five seats in which our whole family could sit together. Several ushers walked hurriedly past me. I finally flagged one usher down and I asked him if he had any more chairs. He never spoke a word to me, he just kept walking. Then, a few seconds later, he reappeared holding some chairs. I was glad that we could all sit together. However, instead of adding another row of chairs to the existing rows, he put them in the very back of the church along the wall. (There was PLENTY of room to add at least another 6 rows behind the existing rows.)

During the service, the pastor spoke about the value of bringing people into kingdom and how important each person is. Almost in tears he spoke so passionately about reaching this community for Christ.

Now the usher had no idea who we were. For all he knew we were just people coming into a church for the first time. My observation was that it doesn't matter how much you speak about or how passionate you are about winning the lost or reaching your community....the actions of your staff & volunteers speak louder than your words. While the pastor conveyed a passion, the usher's actions conveyed indifference. What if we were those lost souls that the pastor was speaking about?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day #15,568

I just discovered from an online "Days Alive Calculator" that I'm now on day #15,568.  That's a lot of days!  Kinda makes you think about what your life stands for...

A common theme when I’m speaking to young people is “What do you want on your tombstone?” (And no, I don’t mean the pizza!)  What do you want your life to count for?  What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?  What legacy will you leave behind?

As for me, I want to have the same thing said about me that was said about David: “He served God’s purpose in his generation.” (Acts 13:36)  And I want those closest to me (my family) to think the most of me.  I want my wife and kids to have seen Jesus through my words and actions.  I want to leave a legacy of reckless obedience to the will of God.  And at my funeral I want them to honestly say that I loved people even as God does.

What do you want on your tombstone?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The importance of faithfulness

Moses led the sheep to the backside of the desert – 40 yrs of his life are summed up in just a handful of verses. What happened during these 40 years? The Bible only gives us highlights of his life… just the big stuff.

Certainly there were stories… there must have been something happening. While we don’t know what actually did happen, we can fairly well assume it wasn’t Bible-worthy. Maybe a sheep got stuck in a ravine. It could be that he had to fight off predators on a regular basis. Maybe he helped solve some family differences, weathered storms, took journeys, etc.

But no matter what it was, he ended up as a shepherd. This was certainly beneath the dignity of a son of Pharaoh. He had certainly participated in chariot races, probably fought in military campaigns, studied in the best schools… being groomed to rule. Here he was in the middle of nowhere. How incredibly boring! What could it possibly matter if he had a sloppy work ethic or a bad attitude? But we see him being faithful in a place where it wasn’t easy to be faithful.

What do we actually see him doing in the desert?

  1. Rescuing (he rescued Jethro’s daughters from the shepherds…)
  2. Being husband/father
  3. Working as a shepherd
  4. …He was faithful to a boring routine.

Moses is the perfect example of faithfulness in the “desert” season of life. Jesus told us in Matthew 25 that when we’re faithful in the little things, God will entrust greater things to us. And these steps of faithfulness actually prepare us for the next “door of opportunity” that God wants to open for us. I’m convinced that if we’re not prepared, this door won’t open.

So, let me leave you with a question… Will you prove yourself faithful when it doesn’t seem to matter?

Our next step

As many of you know, we’ve been in southern Germany for a year now, focusing on developing European church leaders.  We do mentoring, coaching & workshops, as well as teaching in Bible schools.  And God put it in our hearts a few months ago to plant a church here.

He absolutely blindsided us with that one.  That wasn't even on our radar screen!  So we're praying out the place, timing and team...

We're excited to see what God can and will do here.  We're honored that God would trust us to plant a church, although we're a bit apprehensive.  This is definitely outside our comfort zone.  But we know His voice and we're willing to do whatever it takes to follow.  We know that our target audience is un-churched and the de-churched young adults.

Here’s the video we made of Freiburg:

We are visitors (part 10)

Another thing to consider is the overall sound.  The sound is another area that no one thinks about until it isn’t right.  Then everyone is distracted.  This is what I know…
  • If the sound is too loud, it’s distracting… and you’ll have people (especially older people) looking for ear plugs.
  • If it’s too quiet, it will be unintelligible.  No one will understand what’s going on.  It’s just as distracting as if it was too loud.
  • With the worship team, if the ones singing harmony are as loud as the lead vocal (or worse, louder) no one know will know what the melody line is… and they probably won’t sing.  Harmony singers are there to compliment the main vocal.
And do yourself a favor, change the batteries in the wireless mic before the service… no one wants to waste money, but you can reuse the used batteries in some other device that won’t make a difference in the service.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The death of respect

I was sent a link this morning by a friend showing Taylor Swift winning an MTV VMA Award (Video Music Award). I didn't watch the show, but I did check out the link.

In the video, Taylor Swift was given the award and was making her acceptance speech. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Kanye West (a successful rap artist) rushed the stage (where was security???). He took her mic away and stated that he thought Beyoncé Knowles should have won instead. Poor Taylor just stood there shocked and speechless. The accompanying story says that she just sobbed backstage afterwards.

I just sat there staring at the screen after the sound bite was over. I would have never dreamed something like this could happen. Culture is changing rapidly... there's no denying that. And today's young people have a different way of expressing themselves and doing things than we did when I was a teenager.

But what Kanye West did was far beyond a cultural expression. It was a total lack of respect. I may not agree with someone else's choice, or decision, but that doesn't give me the right to embarrass them publicly, or steal their "moment in the spotlight."

Pop culture has created a generation of young stars that believe the rules don't apply to them. Because of this our news (& gossip) shows are filled with these stars self-destructing (imploding) before our eyes). This problem has existed for generations (actually, since the beginning), but there has seemingly been a line that was never crossed at an event like this... one that respects other celebrities and their accomplishments.

I see this death of respect in the political arena, the cultural arena and the social arena. And it will ultimately bring the death of our society. I think believers have a responsibility to reclaim the God-ordained principle of respecting others.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. - Rom. 12:10

Show proper respect to everyone... - 1 Pet. 2:17

We are to honor others, realizing that they were created in the image of God (see Gen. 1:27). Every man, woman and child on the earth today bears the image of God, whether they are living like it or not. And as such, they deserve our respect. Isn't this what God did for us? He showed us respect that we didn't deserve by sending Jesus to die for us when we were separated from Him (see Rom. 5:6-8).

If we are going to impact our culture and bring a change, we will do it through our words, attitudes and actions. I encourage you to ask God to help you see others as He does: bearers of His image and likeness. And then respond accordingly!

PS. Beyoncé showed this kind of respect by inviting Taylor up on stage with her to finish her acceptance speech after she won her own award. Way to go!

Friday, August 28, 2009

We are visitors (part 9)

Another thing that visitors are looking for is a church that knows where it’s going and what it’s doing. If the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, there’s a problem. Everyone on the stage should at least have a basic idea of the order of service. One of the churches I visited had sixty second pause while they tried to figure out who was supposed to do their thing next. All that needed to happen was someone in leadership take the mic and just jump in.

We’ve seen worship teams trying to figure out which song to sing next during the “worship time.” The congregation just stood there watching while the leader flipped through the pages in his worship book and tried to decide. And there wasn’t any music to fill the empty space while he searched. The worship leader should have invested some time in seeking God about the song order.
It’s not that every transition has to be polished or perfectly executed… it’s just that some thought should go into how to get from one song or one part of the service to the next. Someone should have the final plan and then disseminate that info to everyone that needs to know it. We want to give our visitors the sense that we take our services seriously. We want to remove distractions so the people can focus on connecting with God.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The situation on the ground

I got a Facebook message from an old friend yesterday…

As I have shared I'm real interested in what God is doing in Europe. I NEED INFORMATION! Tell me what you know and what the Lord is saying to you...

Here’s part of my reply:

The situation on the ground is pretty grim, spiritually speaking. Only 1.42% of Europeans are Born Again. And for teens it's less than 1%! Centuries of hypocrisy, abuse and simply "going through the motions" have taken their toll. Christianity became a means of controlling the people, so it became absolutely irrelevant. Christianity - the religion - has run its course in Europe and has been relegated to history.

The State churches are dying. The only churches that are growing are independent, protestant churches (and Islamic mosques) . And their growth usually is quite slow. Most churches are doing the same type of ministry that was done decades, if not centuries, ago. There is no connection to real life.

But Europe is ripe for a huge spiritual harvest! As I talk with people here, there is a great spiritual interest, even though it's tempered by cynicism. People are willing to talk about spiritual things if you're willing to get to know them (just like in America). If they feel you are simply proselytizing they will shut you down. They probably won't even be polite about it. But when you invest in a relationship with someone, it opens huge doors! You have to work a lot harder than in Central, South, or even North America to lead someone to Christ, but when you do, you know they've thought it through, and at least somewhat counted the cost.

I hope that answers some of your questions. We would appreciate your prayers as we attempt to change the spiritual landscape of a continent.

Friday, August 14, 2009

There is ALWAYS hope!

I came across something interesting recently during my quiet time.  I was reading a very familiar passage out of the Book of Jeremiah.

This is the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to what was left of the elders among the exiles, to the priests and prophets and all the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon from Jerusalem...

The letter said: ..."Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you'll thrive in that country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country's welfare. Pray for Babylon's well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you." ...

I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.'"

Jeremiah 29:1-11 MSG

I have taught that last verse dozens (maybe hundreds) of times over the years, but I never really caught the background until now.  Jeremiah's message is to Israeli exiles, war captives living away from their homeland.  They have been forced to learn a new language and foreign culture in a strange land.  He is writing to people that have no rights, no representation, no future and very little hope. 

But notice what God, through Jeremiah, says to these people: I have plans for you... good plans for a hope-filled future!

Notice what else he says to them: "Don't shut down and give up.  Engage the culture.  Invest your heart and soul - and your prayers - into it.  As you engage this 'hostile' culture, you'll experience My blessing."

No matter what you're going through, I have good news for you... there is ALWAYS hope!  As long as God is alive, there is hope!  The message of Jesus' resurrection is one of hope.  So get back up on your feet and cooperate with God to create a new reality out of your situation!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We are visitors (part 8)

...People shouldn’t have to learn a new language to come into a relationship with God.  There were two types of Greek language in use in Jesus’ day: that of business and politics –- basically “high-brow” Greek.  Then there was the other, more “earthy” type used for everyday things such as shopping, conversation, etc.  This is what Jesus and the Gospel writers used. (See THE MESSAGE introduction to The New Testament)

It was important to them to connect with their hearers.  They understood that if we don’t connect with them, our message won’t either.  We need to do those things that enable us to get the Word of God deep into the heart of those that attend our services.

Another thought, we need to use inclusive language, rather than language that separates… sinners, saved, heathen and pagan are all words that serve to reinforce the stereotype of Christianity as a religion of snobs.  I don’t see the Jesus of the Bible using this type of language, except with the self-righteous Pharisees and Teachers of the Law.  Actually, the “sinners” loved hanging out with Him, as He did with them.

We need to make our language as welcoming as possible without compromising the truth of the Word of God.  We want to remove anything that will detract from the life-changing message of the Cross.  We want to do everything we can to help people to discover the goodness of God… that’s what will lead them to repentance!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

We are visitors (part 7)

We have found that a church’s vocabulary is extremely important when it comes to the welcome factor.  The language used inside many churches is incredibly different from that in the outside world.

We live in southern Germany, just across the border from Basel, Switzerland.  The Swiss speak what is called “Swiss German”, which started out as High German, but has evolved into a separate language that most Germans can’t understand.

It’s the same way in most churches… they use a language that is so different that most visitors don’t understand it.  Many pastors, teachers and church leaders have been in church so long that they speak a language that I call “God talk”.  Besides the all-too-common “Hallelujahs”, “Glorys” and “Praise the Lords”, they talk about “who you are in Christ”, and use words such as righteousness, holiness, sanctification and other such words as if everyone should know what they mean.  But these often only serve to remind visitors that they are outsiders.

I’m not against these words… you’ll find them all throughout the Bible!  But we need to think through how to put spiritual principles into common everyday language.  The best way to do this is through illustrations/object lessons/word pictures.  And we need to explain biblical words such a "Hallelujah"…

Friday, June 19, 2009

The power of relationships

“So they [the descendants of Dan] took the things that Micah had made, along with his priest, and they arrived at Laish, that city of quiet and unsuspecting people. They massacred the people and burned down the city. There was no one around to help. They were a long way from Sidon and had no treaty with the Arameans...” – (Judges 18:27-28)

I read this yesterday and it hit me how vulnerable we become when we allow ourselves to become isolated. Why do we become isolated?

  • We shut down due to disappointment, hurt, betrayal, etc.
  • We are too busy or exhausted to invest in relationships.
  • We are too insecure or fearful to open up to others.

Allowing these or any other reason to keep us from developing our relationships will put us in a place where we are vulnerable to attack, depression, exhaustion, self-pity, self-defeating tendencies, and a myriad of other problems.

Relationships are the most valuable things we have!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We are visitors (part 6)

Often a church is bound to the personal style of the worship leader. Most musicians can’t see past their personal musical preferences to the big picture of the people God wants them to reach. Worship leaders and their teams need to grow up and embrace the big picture.
Many church leaders also forget that bad music can turn off visitors. Being a worship leader myself, this point is really close to my heart. We need to do the best we can with what we have, but we always want to keep raising the bar in every area of our church. After all, we are representing the God of excellence!
In other words, don’t just let someone keep playing/singing because they’ve been there for a long time, or because they love to do it. And keeping them on the team because they are a VIP (or married to one) is wrong. They need to have both talent and character.
Keeping a person in a place outside of their gifting is a lose/lose proposition, especially when it comes to music. No one that is musically talented want to be a part of a bad sounding worship team. Trust me, the congregation notices as well… and is probably wondering why it sounds so bad every week.

We are visitors (part 5)

One of the more “controversial” thoughts we have about visitors is concerning the worship style. One thing pastors and church leaders need to remember is that your music can either draw or repel visitors. It is a very up-front representation of your church. Whether your worship music style is country & western, rock & roll, pop, or even heavy metal, it attracts, and conversely, repels people, depending on their personal tastes.

You can’t make everyone happy… that is a given. But we need to be intentional in the style of music in our services. This is not a substance issue; it’s a style issue. As Eric Bryant says, “Style must always submit to Spirit.”

Most pastors are so used to church music, especially their own church’s music, that they forget what it’s like to be a visitor. If the music is straight out of the 70’s, the church will probably draw more senior citizens than young people. This isn’t wrong, but if you want to reach families, especially those with younger children, you have to adjust the style of your music to that which is comfortable to them.

We are visitors (part 4)

The next thing we found strange was the way we were treated after the service

In one service, as soon as the service was over, all the regulars went straight to the coffee bar for “fellowship.” Everyone had been invited (from the pulpit) to get a cup of coffee and get to know others.

This was the same church that ignored us as we were trying to find the Children’s Church. We thought maybe they could redeem themselves after the rough introduction we got from their church.
As we made our way to the coffee bar (after picking up our kids), we noticed it was pretty full of people. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get to know some of the people. Boy, were we in for a rude awakening!

The people formed a semi-circle around the coffee bar area. There would have been room for us to get through if someone had moved over to one side a bit. But no… that would have inconvenienced someone. And they were busy “fellowshipping.” We just stood there for about 30 secs, holding our kids’ hands, staring at the coffee bar from a distance, hoping someone would get the hint. No such luck.

We finally just left, deciding to never give them a second chance. Even my kids noticed how “unwelcomed” we were. I have mentioned a church’s BRAND before – what people are saying about the church, both insiders and outsiders. This church’s brand seemed to be “we take care of our own!” This is great if you’re part of the inner circle. Outsiders are just out of luck!

My point is this… the few minutes immediately after a service give us a PRIME OPPORTUNITY to welcome and connect with visitors. If we’ll capitalize on this, we can reap rich benefits! We have to both teach and model the value of visitors in our churches. Many churches work very hard to get visitors, it seems stupid to devalue them once they actually come!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We are visitors (part 3)

Another thing we found amusing, although detrimental was the greeter ministry in many of the churches we visited. Most church leaders seem to understand the importance of making people feel welcome, but this understanding doesn’t trickle down to the congregation.

In most of the churches we visited, we were greeted with a warm handshake and a “Hello” or “Welcome” at the door. The greeters were doing their job. But that’s where the welcome ended.
It was as if the church members expected the greeters – the professionals – to welcome the people. Everyone else was just there to enjoy the service. In one church we had to ask three different people where to find the Children’s Church service ministry.

We were wandering around with our “deer in the headlights” look, holding the hands of our two daughters who were obviously the right age for this ministry. We were either ignored or given a token smile by the church workers who were busy preparing for the service.

We have to remember what’s important: We exist for the people, they don’t exist for us! We have to train our workers – in whatever area, even the janitorial staff – that the people aren’t in the way. On the contrary, they are honored guests… and that includes the regular church attenders.
So often we get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget to notice the people around us – people that may be hurting or needing affirmation or even a genuine smile and welcome. Our people can minister BEFORE and AFTER the service, if we’ll just train them to do so. I’m so thankful that Jesus was willing to be interrupted – even in the middle of a church service!

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that my job isn’t to direct them to someone else (“Go talk to that guy over there…”). I personally take people to the other person and introduce them… “Joe, this is _________. She’s interested in ___________. Can you help her?”

Do you see the difference between the two approaches? One is simply fulfilling a job description. The other is showing respect and concern. We can’t afford to treat the precious people God has given us with anything less than the dignity He has invested in them.

We have to train our people!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We are visitors (part 2)

One of the first things we noticed when we went into the churches is what I call the welcome factor.  Actually this is comprised of many areas all coming together to give an overall impression of "welcome-ness."

One of these areas is obvious: the condition of the building.  So many "behind the scenes" people play a part in this one.  Cleaning/maintaining a church building is a thankless job -- and sometimes an unpaid one.

The funny thing about this area is that it goes absolutely unnoticed unless it's not done properly.  Most churches focus on presenting a clean foyer, sanctuary, offices, etc.  But sometimes the Children's Ministry rooms leave a bit to be desired... (and don't even get me started on the bathrooms!)

It's not uncommon to see the sides of a Children's Church room(s) stacked with toys, past object lessons, puppets, miscellaneous papers, etc.  This is especially difficult in the Children's Ministry because so many different activities take place in one room... and each one requires props, materials, etc.

But few things make a visitor feel more uneasy than sending their child into a room that is unkempt.  It gives the impression that the entire program is in disarray or second-rate, at best.

A simple solution is to provide closets or storage rooms specifically for the Children's Ministry to use.  Or they could be given storage cabinets that could actually be placed in the room.  But these need to be organized in such a way that they don't become giant trash cans.

Another solution, although one that requires more effort, is to regularly organize the storage areas.  Then you just need to find a place to either donate or recycle equipment that is either broken or no longer used.  If you ask for volunteers to repair damaged equipment, you'll often find willing ones.  And other volunteers with organizational gifts may be willing to help with cleanup and with rearranging the storage areas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We are visitors (part 1)

I have referred to this subject before, but Robin "encouraged" me to write a series of blog posts about this subject (read: "You should really write about this!"). When we moved down to southern Germany almost a year ago, for the first time we were outsiders looking in instead of insiders looking out. We were church visitors!

Before we had always been the ones welcoming, assisting, getting to know and following up on visitors. But everything changed when we went from pastoral ministry to mentoring, coaching and training. we now got to see what a church looks like to a visitor. It was almost as if we got fresh eyes.
The next few blogs will have some of our experiences as visitors (we visited quite a few different churches -- both German and English-speaking -- and most of these multiple times while looking for a new church home)... and suggestions for pastors and those in church leadership. It would do us all good to begin to look at our churches and ministries with these "fresh eyes!"

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to deal with disappointment

A friend of ours died a few weeks ago.  He was a fellow missionary living here in our area.  Actually, we had the privilege of helping his family get established here in Germany.  But it really got me thinking about how we react when things don't go the way we planned.

As I was praying for his family (wife and four girls) I was reminded of this verse...

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” - 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT

Many church-goers know that this is in reference to what Paul called, "a thorn in his flesh," something the devil sent to make his life difficult.  We're never told exactly what this thorn is, or why he had to deal with it.  Some think this refers to a physical problem.  I believe it refers to the opposition he experienced in many cities.  Either way, things weren't as he would like.

Many times when things don't go the way we planned, we blame God... almost as if He has some sick sense of pleasure in our pain.  It can feel as if He's left us all alone, that He just doesn't care.  Many people speak of these verses that the Apostle Paul penned as proof that God wants us to suffer through some things.

I see it from a totally different angle.  In these verses I don't see a God that is uninterested or that leaves us alone to deal with our pain.  Rather, I see a God that gives us a special grace to deal with tough situations.

My friends, He is PRESENT in times of pain, disappointment and frustration (See Psalm 34, especially vs. 18).  He is actively involved -- although it may not seem like it.  And He provides us what we need to not just survive, but overcome such circumstances.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Want miracles?

I was recently at a minister’s conference in the Swiss Alps. (very cool!!!)  While I was there, I sensed God challenging me.  It was as if He was drawing a line in the sand and inviting me to step across it.

I wrote down what I felt He was saying to me:

Want miracles?  Then take risks for God!  They only happen in impossible circumstances… under extreme pressure!  You’ll never see God’s miracle power when you’re playing it safe.

It made me want to look at what we’re doing and how we can take more (acceptable, intelligent and intuitive) risks for Him.  And as my wife says, “After all, what do we have to lose?”

So how about you… Do you want miracles?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Missions Q & A (part 3)

Q.  What is the hardest thing that you face as a family?
A.  The schooling issue has been ugly for us since the beginning. We finally feel we're in a good place (educationally). The cultural adjustment was tough as well.

Let me finish by saying, if you feel like God will allow you to do anything else... do it. Missions work isn't easy... at times your family pays a very high price. Also, see our “Thoughts for Beginning Missionaries” articles on our website Free Materials / Missions section for more advice.

Missions Q & A (part 2)

Q. When is it the hardest to not be home?
A.  Right now...Robin's dad's not doing well and her mom needs help with some things. When Grandparents die, family and friends have problems, etc... it's pretty tough being so far away.

Q.  When you left for the field did you have a plan of when you might return home?
A.  Well... that's up in the air. We don't really have a re-entry plan. We know a lot of people that have come and gone. But we feel it's better to follow what you feel God is calling you to do than to live a safe life. Besides, our thinking was that if it didn't work out, we would just move back to the USA and start over. Making a mistake isn't the end of the world, although it really stinks.

Q.  Did you keep your house here for awhile?
A.  Nope... God told us to sell everything.

Q.  What made you feel like that you and your family really had something to give?
A.  We had years of experience at that point... we've always felt as if God called us to something, He knew what He was doing.

Missions Q & A (part 1)

We just received a list of questions on our Facebook page from a friend of ours.  This person is considering going into full-time missionary work.  I thought our answers could be a benefit to others considering missions or those that wonder what life on the mission field is like.  Enjoy! - JP

Q.  So how long have you been on the field?
A.  We've been here about 7 1/2 yrs now.

Q. What was the "call" that made it a final decision? In other words what made you say ok now is the time?
A.  We had been invited to speak at RHEMA Germany and were praying for our trip when God interrupted my prayer time with a booming "voice that isn't a voice" in my heart. He said, "Don't just prepare to go for a week... prepare to move your family there." After a week or so, Robin knew it too. We felt as if Oct, 2001 was the right time to go. We left three weeks after 9/11.

Q.  What made you choose Germany?
A.  Our call was specific. We knew we were to go to Bonn and help RHEMA Germany to start out.

Q.  Were there attacks to keep you home?
A.  Not any major ones that we can think of... there were some financial issues, but God really came through for us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 13)


When the parents of each child come to pick them up, have something positive to say about what their child did in the service that day. It’s a good idea to have the main leaders to be the contact person with the parents. It’s also a good idea to keep the parents informed of what the kids are learning…either in a small newsletter every month, a blackboard at the door that states the theme or main story or maybe a small slip of paper every week. Invite the child – by name – to come back next week, and remind them of something fun they did this week.

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 12)

Also, touch the children every chance you get. It’s so sad that I feel the need to clarify this statement. Because of some sick people out there in the world, we have to clarify good and bad touches. Give the children hugs….a lot! The older the children are, the more careful you need to be about giving hugs to the other sex. Let the women hug the girls and the men hug the boys.

This is another one of the reasons that you are to always have at least two people in each of the children’s church rooms. In they eyes of the public, there is no difference between an accused child molester and a real child molester. Churches never recover from accusations, whether they are true or not. So never let there even be a question…never be alone with a child. Adults should not go into the bathroom with any child. If a child isn’t fully potty trained, he/she needs to be in the nursery.

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 11)

If you are a helper, actively look for ways to help the children’s pastor. If you see that his/her attention is being taken by a child that needs ministry, you take some initiative and get a snack ready or begin a game. Always come to the service with a game in mind… preferably one that doesn’t need props. If you see a child that is misbehaving, you go sit right next to them and lovingly put your arm around them.

Always, always, always listen to a child that is telling you something. You may have 20 things that need to be done, but please remember that this child is your ministry! Don’t overlook the ones to whom you are sent, in the name of doing “ministry.” What they are saying may be something completely trivial to you, but to them it is important and sacred enough to share with the leader. Pray for the children every chance you get. If they ask you to pray for something, do it right then.

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 10)


Many of us are overcommitted, overworked and just plain worn out on Sunday mornings. On a “free” day, sometimes ministry is the last thing we want to do. But, that’s when we have to make a choice.
Many of the Psalms say, “I will rejoice and be glad in Him”. We have to decide: will we just “go with the flow”, just getting by… or will we “be present”, ministering to the kids on purpose? We need to come to church having already prayed for the children and the service. We need to come early. There is nothing worse than a leadership team that shows up just in time for the service to start. The whole team needs to be there far enough in advance to be adequately prepared and “on the same page.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 9)

I remember a little boy in one of the churches that where we worked. He was basically uncontrollable. He was called out in front of the other children many times each Sunday morning. He was “talked to,” held back, put in time out and everything else that the workers could think of. But I came in and decided to make him my special buddy. Each week I would let him know how excited I was to see him. I sat next to him during every activity possible. I constantly told him how glad I was that he was in children’s church.

I made up things for him to do and called them my “special tasks” that only he was qualified to do. I made up a special nickname for him. I didn’t do any of this to where it was very obvious to the other children (because I didn’t want them to feel that they weren’t getting the “special” treatment). Remember that people normally like people who like them. It was so simple, but he responded just as I thought he would. He would sit still for me when he wouldn’t do it for any of the other leaders. And he ended up giving his heart to Christ!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 8)


All children, and all people for that matter, have the same basic desires, one of which is to feel wanted and loved. Some children experience very little security and encouragement at home. Their everyday environment is critical and discouraging, both in their schools and in their homes. Having served as both substitute and guest teachers in different classrooms in over a dozen different schools here in Germany, we’ve found that often the students are emotionally bullied and belittled by their teachers so that the teacher can maintain order.

Every child deserves to have at least one adult in their life that adores them unconditionally… one person that lights up when they walk into the room (every time they walk in the room). Since we don’t know if they get this acceptance at home, and they probably don’t get it at school, we have an opportunity to show the love of Jesus in a very simple yet profound way. When a child walks into the children’s church room, make sure that the look on your face is one of delight. They need to hear that you are so glad to see them. They need to hear their name spoken in a loving manner.
For those two hours, they are the star (not you)! Believe me, when you make them the star, you will be amazed at how much they will love you and do anything you ask. They want to feel needed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 7)

If redirecting doesn’t work, try taking the child aside later and honestly asking him/her what is going on in his/her life. Make sure that you really “hear” what the child is saying.

If you try everything positive in your arsenal and nothing works, take them to sit next to their parent in the main service (at an appropriate time during your service). Tell the parent that you would like for their child to have the opportunity to experience church with the parent for the next two weeks. Make this as positive of an experience as you can. (If you have to talk with the parents… but ONLY the main children’s pastor or leader should do the talking. Let the parents know the situation in the most positive way that you can. If necessary, wait until after the service to speak with the parents.)

*This may be the only opportunity that these children have to experience Jesus. You don’t know if you’ll ever see the child in one of your services again. There are so many bad experiences that children have to deal with…make sure that you and your team are providing good experiences. You represent Jesus to them. No matter how difficult a child is, you can put up with anything for a couple of hours!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 6)

So what should you do when you have a disobedient or distracting child? First, distract (redirect) them with something interesting that you are doing. You should have other leaders in the room with you for many reasons. One is that they can refocus the student on the task at hand so you won’t have to stop ministering to the group to correct them. We have also seen teachers that ask questions (pertaining to the teaching) of the student that is causing the distraction as a way of recapturing their attention.

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 5)


Some children’s ministers and leaders (I don’t like the word “workers” here because they are so much more than that) are overly concerned about discipline. Because children are… well… children, there will be times that they need to be corrected. But there are quite a few constructive ways of accomplishing this.

You should always avoid calling out a child in front of the other children for discipline reasons. This is extremely embarrassing for them. To me, it seems strange to even have to mention this, but we’ve seen this disturbing scene played out over and over again in children’s ministries.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 4)


The more you keep the attention of the children, the less you will have to correct them. Please remember this important rule: children only have the attention span of their age plus one. That means if you are working with 8 year olds, you only have their attention for 9 minutes, then you should go on to something else. This means you need to teach toward the attention span of the youngest ones in the class.

For example: If you usually have 20 minutes of music and you are ministering to 10 year olds, you should break up the music into two different times of 10 minutes each. You could possibly teach in between for 10 minutes and then go back into the music. It is not necessary or advantageous to make children sit there and listen to a teaching time for 30 minutes. You usually lose them after the first 10 minutes. If you are very creative (using props, songs, drama, puppets) then you may be able to extend the attention span time by a minute or two. But as a rule, 20 minutes is the most that you should do any segment of a children’s service.

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 3)


This is one of the most important parts of children’s ministry. When a child comes in the door, whether they are new or already established there, he/she needs to be greeted and walked over to the first activity/activities. The facilitator’s job is to ensure that all the kids are engaged and involved. If they see a child standing by his- or herself and only watching, they should encourage him/her to get involved (if necessary, taking him/her to one of the activities and helping him/her integrate into the group).

The child will determine whether they enjoy your ministry in the first minute or so of walking in that door! If you make a bad first impression, it may take the entire service to win them back…if they can be won back at all at that point. And if they don’t want to return, their parents probably won’t either.

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 2)


The first person that you will meet at any children’s ministry is the one standing at the door. Hence, if you don’t have a children’s “greeter”, get one! Maybe more importantly, the one who greets at the main entrance of the church should physically walk the newcomers to the children’s ministry greeter. Then, the children’s ministry greeter must “actively” engage the child and the parent (with a conversation, handshake, smile, etc.).

A simple example is, “Hello my name is Robin, what’s your name?” Once you hear the child’s name, say it back to him/her at least twice. “Hi, Amanda, I’m glad to meet you. Amanda, do you go to school near here?” Then, introduce Amanda to at least two other people while you tell them something about her. “This is Amanda, she goes to Roberts School”. This helps you and the others to learn his/her name, and it allows them to hear their name spoken in a loving manner. You can never go wrong asking questions (people generally love to talk about themselves).

Thoughts on Children’s Ministry (part 1)

(This series of blogs was written by Robin…)
This is the first time that our family has had the choice of which church that we want to attend. We have been on staff at churches since my husband and I were married 16 years ago. So, it was kind of fun looking for a new “home” church. We wanted one that the whole family was happy with. This was more of a challenge than we first thought. We would find a church that Jon and I liked, but the kids were bored. Then we found one with great Praise and Worship but the preaching was dull. Then we found one that the kids liked, but they wouldn’t be taught correct doctrine and the worship was …well, not our style.

This is the reason that I wanted to write this article. When people are looking for a church, most of the time they are looking for something that their children like.

Some of the following ideas seem very simple to me, but as we were church hunting, you would be amazed at what we experienced…

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What do we stand for?

God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! - John 3:17

I came across this a couple of days ago in my daily reading time. It reminded me of a quote from Eric Bryant. He said, “The Church is known for what it stands against rather than what it stands for.”

Think about that… the Church has the greatest message this world has ever known: God loves people and has done everything possible to bring people into a relationship with Him. And yet we have the reputation for being anti-this and anti-that. In our zeal for God’s holiness, we have held the world around us accountable to the same standard as we have for those inside the Church.

I think it’s time that, through our attitudes and actions, we reclaim God’s reputation as a loving, forgiving God. Yes, He’s a holy God. Yes, sin separates us from God. And yes, there will come a day when He judges the world.

But the Jesus I read about in the Gospels was welcomed by “sinners.” They seemed to enjoy His company. And He didn’t seem in the slightest put off by them or their “sinfulness.” It was the religious elite that didn’t like Him. He didn’t care for their “holier-than-thou” attitude either!

We need to remember that it’s His kindness that draws people into a relationship with Him…

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? – Romans 2:4

Let’s represent, or re-present Him to a world in desperate need of His love!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Grow up!

Having had a close-up view of a church split a number of years ago, I came to a few conclusions.  One thing I discovered was that everything basically boiled down to two different groups -- the “haves” and the “have nots” – that were not willing to find common ground.  It was those who preferred the “deeper things of God” (expressive worship, spiritual experience, etc)  -- the “haves”, as in, “We have something from God that you don’t have” -- vs. those that preferred a more traditional style of worship and loved biblical teaching -- the “have nots”.

I had an excellent opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time both with the pastor and with one of the leaders of the “haves” group.  The “haves” group was pushing for “all that God has for us.”  They weren’t going to be denied… and didn’t want anyone else to miss out on “the deeper things of God”.

The other group felt just as strongly that these “radicals” were leading the church away from the pure Word of God.  From a “have not” perspective, the “haves” were only concerned with experiencing the love of God and seeing the “manifestation” of His presence.  The “have nots”, however, felt that the holiness and majesty of God was being overlooked.

The pastor, a gentle man and a true peacemaker, was caught in the middle.  And while he truly tried to make both sides happy, he really wasn’t satisfying either group.  And he was considered a milquetoast by both sides for not taking a stand on their side of the argument.  It got so bad that one group sat on one side of the church and the other group sat on the other side.  In the end, because neither group was willing to bend in its demands and the pastor wasn’t willing to take one side or the other, the pastor was asked to leave, and the church split in a very public and ugly manner. (Over the years I’ve seen this same scenario play out many times…)

For me it was especially sad because I could see the value of both viewpoints.  We do need to understand and experience the love of God.  But we also need to respect His majesty and holiness.  We need genuine “God experiences”, and we need to be grounded in His Word.

I saw that each side had some correct points in their perspective.  But they had totally lost sight of the Big Picture.  We are all pursuing the same thing.  Yes, we may prefer different methods; but aren’t we both pursuing a relationship with God?

I came across this in my quiet time recently…

…You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world. Some of you say that you follow me, and others claim to follow Apollos. Isn't that how ordinary people behave?
(1Co 3:3-4)

Other translations say that they were “acting like normal, sinful humans” or were “being unspiritual”.  While each of these groups had the appearance of spirituality, they were motivated by totally selfish motives.  The preceding verses said that they were being childish.  And according to Paul, this betrays the leadership and influence of Christ in our lives.

The point is this, when we get so caught up in our personal agenda we lose sight of what’s most important: representing Christ to a world that desperately needs His transformational love and forgiveness, even if they don’t know it yet!  God help us to grow up and see the Big Picture!

Friday, February 20, 2009

God knows what He’s doing

Sometimes we get frustrated when it seems like we’re not accomplishing much with our lives. Often this shows up in a mid-life crisis. This is especially true if you’re serving in some form of spiritual leadership. It seems as if you’re not really doing anything for God, even though you’re following Him and are striving to grow spiritually.

Even though it may not be plain to you what exactly you're supposed to do or how long you're supposed to do it, rest assured that God knows what He's doing. He's orchestrating the whole thing. And never underestimate the impact you're having on the people around you. As long as you're following God's plan to the best of your ability, He'll make sure your efforts count!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The purpose of light

Human nature is a funny thing. I read somewhere that the natural human tendency in relationships is to form a closed circle. In other words, we choose a set of friends and stay within this circle of friends. It’s comfortable, non-threatening and doesn’t require much extra effort.

During my teenage years, I was often told about the importance of not being “diluted” by those that don’t have a relationship with Christ. I was to go “preach” to the “lost”, but not befriend “them”. They would probably just bring me down and lead me astray.

How crazy is that? I mean, who would listen to someone that only wants to “preach” to them and not be their friend.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this…

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood (or overcome) it.” – John 1:5

Notice where the light shines… it doesn’t shine among other lights. It shines in the darkness. It shines where it can make the most difference.

This is how God has designed us to live. He desires that we not only connect with our friends, but that we actively engage with the world around us.

So how do we do this? Try being friendly! Get to know your neighbors, your co-workers (or fellow students), make conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, with the teller at the bank, with the waiter or waitress…

Let’s live the song many of us sang as kids:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bible translations

As the old saying goes, the best Bible translation is the one you'll read. I'm reading through the Bible cover to cover. This year I intend to finish my MESSAGE translation and move onto the New Century version. I find that reading in a new Bible and a new translation helps keep my devotional time fresh.

In addition to this, I'm working through a daily one-year Bible reading plan using the New Living Translation. I also read two daily devotionals... one on spiritual leadership and the other one on spiritual growth. And I'm always reading at least one book on the side.

Why is this so important? As a spiritual leader, this plan enables me to keep my edge. If I'm not growing spiritually (not just reading, but applying what I learn), then I have little (nothing) to offer those that look to me for leadership.

I'd be interested in hearing which translation is your favorite. And what advice do you have for others trying to keep their devotional lives fresh?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Great trip!

Robin and I got to go to Schweinfurt, Germany this weekend (four hours away… in Bavaria) and do a worship workshop.  We did the workshop for Schweinfurt Christian Center, a fun international church.  The pastors are Americans (that have lived there for about 20 yrs) and the worship team consists of a German, five Sintis (Gypsies) and a girl from Jamaica.  As you can probably imagine, they had a great musical sound!

They were very open to the training, even though some of it was a bit hard for them to swallow.  Artists (especially musicians) are not known as the most disciplined people in the world.  But especially when it comes to a church setting, the need for discipline is great if you want to elevate your game (do what you do better).

We absolutely enjoyed our time with the pastors as well.  Pastors Carol and Charles Furman are a lot of fun.  And we truly appreciated both their love for their people and their passion.  We laughed a lot with them.

Thanks to all of you that prayed for our trip.  It was a huge success!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ice collecting

Our youngest daughter, Emma, has recently started collecting icicles and other sorts of ice. She especially likes to find ice with bubbles in it. She understands that the ice won't last, but still likes it.

I began to think about the fact that all of us are collectors of one kind or another. Some collect money or stuff, others relationships, and still others collect accolades or recognition. Many ministers "collect" church members, church facilities, offerings or speaking engagements. Some even collect "miracles" or new converts.

We all have things that we value. And that's not a bad thing, as long as our priorities and our value system are based on the right things. But we can't allow our "collections" to determine our value. So many people consider themselves either a success or failure based on the size of their "collections."

If we allow ourselves to fall into this trap, we are setting ourselves up for failure. This will lead to weak leadership, at best, and in the worst-case scenario, compromise.

We need to remember that we are accepted and complete through our relationship with Christ (Col. 2:10). It is this connection that gives us true value. As a matter of fact, one of the best things spiritual leaders can do is to develop this relationship, and develop a deeper understanding of this relationship. I encourage you to take some time this week to ask God to reveal the wonders of this relationship to you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Job descriptions (part 3)

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There is a big difference between a job description and a policy. My mentor says it’s always easier to create policy than to deal with a person directly. Policies are simply rules. They enable us to set clear-cut boundaries, but they don’t encourage ownership or thought. Rules only require obedience.

Job descriptions, however, deal with things that are expected of our volunteers or employees. They establish boundaries, and enable us to evaluate a person’s performance against a set of clear expectations. They should also encourage initiative. They should empower people to do more than just cross off one more thing from their “To do list.”

Policy says, “Answer the phone like this: ‘Thank you for calling Perrin Ministries. How may I help you?’”

A job description goes more like this: “We expect our volunteers/employees to handle all of our customers respectfully, to have a positive, can-do attitude and a pleasant demeanor.” This encourages the volunteer/employee to be creative in their implementation of the expectation.
Sometimes it is necessary to create policy – especially the case of a recurring problem. This shows a lack of clear communication on our part. But this should be the exception, not the rule.

Job descriptions (part 2)

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Job descriptions enable us to share our expectations with those we lead. And we are able to do this in a way that is non-threatening. We are simply letting the employee know what we expect from them, and setting boundaries.

And when they fail to meet the agreed-upon expectations, it gives us a legitimate way to bring confrontation or correction, if necessary. We can bring them back to the job description and show them how they didn’t meet the necessary expectations. And we can do so in a respectful, relational way.

We need to remember the goal of confrontation: the restoration of relationship. When one team member fails to accomplish a necessary task, the entire team suffers. This creates stress and strain on working and interpersonal relationships. Confrontation, when done correctly, allows us to restore these relationships to more than just a functional level.

Job descriptions (part 1)

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While I was at a conference today, I had an interesting conversation with a lady about her company. She owns a music school and has recently started having to hire employees. She doesn’t have much experience with people management, so she asked me a few questions. One of them had to do with how close she should be to her employees.

She is a people person so, naturally, she enjoys relationship building. And she has an employee that has used that as an excuse to not respect her as the boss. It’s not that the employee is evil… it’s just that this other person didn’t follow through on an assigned task and it left the owner looking unprepared, and very frustrated.

When she asked me what she could do, I encouraged her to spell out her expectations for each employee and position – basically, I encouraged her to come up with job descriptions for each employee.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today we took the kids across the border to France for a grocery shopping/day trip.  While I packed the bags of groceries into the van (lots of American and American-ish stuff), Emma was amazed at how cool the snowflakes looked on the window.  It was still cold, so they hadn't melted off yet.  And each one looked so perfect!

It got me thinking about God's creativityEvery snowflake is different (and there were a bunch of them falling today).  How strange that God would "waste" His creativity on something as insignificant as snowflakes.  Yet He does it with a flair!

We are also unique... each of us has unique fingerprints & retinas -- even in the case of biological twins -- and DNA!  Not only are you different from every other person alive (nearly 7 billion people), you are different from every other person ever to walk the face of this planet.  God made you special!  He created you on purpose, for a purpose!

Not only do we each have a unique purpose, but we also have a unique way in which we connect with God.  Of course, there are the normal ways: praise & worship, Bible reading, prayer, solitude, etc.  But since we're one-of-a-kind creations, we are to have a one-of-a-kind relationship with God.  I encourage you to spend some time this week asking God to reveal your uniqueness to you... and how He has designed your one-of-a-kind relationship with Him to be.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's resolutions and the quick fix

We've added an article about New Year's resolutions and quick fixes to our website. Here's a teaser:

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, la la, la la la la…”(No one really knows the words to Auld Lang Syne anyway!) It’s that time of year again. Time to make the old New Year’s Resolutions. I wonder if I can remember last year’s resolutions… hmmm… Oh yeah: “Spend more time with my family”. Well, I did pretty good on that one. What about “Lose some weight”? Not so good… I gained a few pounds. What else? Uhhh… let’s see… umm… err… OK, I admit it: I can’t even remember most of them!

The point is this: we often make these resolutions quite flippantly. It’s not as if we don’t mean them when we make them. It’s just that we lack the follow through to complete them...

You can read the entire article by clicking here.