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May 2011
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July 2011

An Explanation of Life

On the first day, God created the dog and said: "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past.. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years." The dog said: "That’s a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten?" So God agreed. On the second day, God created the monkey and said: "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span" The monkey said: "Monkey tricks for... Read more →

A Classic Senior Moment

I turn 50 later this year and I must admit, I already have the occasional 'senior moment' (or mental lapse). Here is the funniest senior moment I have ever heard of. This is supposedly a true account recorded in the police log in Sarasota FL. An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She dropper her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her lungs,I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: Conclusion

These practices can be seen as a single operating system for your church. Avoid competing operating systems and conflicting information that can cause a breakdown or paralyse ministry. Get an upgrade. Reformat your hard drive and install a clean system. Rewrite your internal code so that everyone is clear about what is important and how they should function. Make these practices an essential part of the style and culture of your ministry. They are not: Church growth principles, though they have an impact on how you grow. The same as your mission, but can be are strategic in helping you... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #7 Work on it

Practice #7 – Work on it Set aside some quality time to step back evaluate what you are doing and how effective you are being. ALL of us work IN our ministry. That’s what we do. But are we consistently carving out time to work ON our ministries? It is essential to work ON your ministry not just IN your ministry. Everyone needs training and practice, even the best and most talented people. Without it, the fundamentals start to break down. It isn’t enough to play the game; you have to work on your game too. It’s the same with... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #6 Replace Yourself

Practice #6 – Replace Yourself You can stop at practice number five and your organisation will last a good, long time. However, if you want your church and/or ministry to stand the test of time, then you have to be replaced. Just talking about this creates a lot of emotion for people. However, if you don’t eventually replace yourself, the church will fall apart. One day someone else will be doing what you are doing. Whether you have an exit strategy or not, you will exit. So embrace the inevitable and prepare now for the future. On that day, everything... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #5 Listen to Outsiders

Practice #5 - Listen to Outsiders Focus your efforts on those you are trying to reach, rather than just on those you are trying to keep. Listen to outsiders for answers, not questions. Listen to outsiders and make adjustments. Churches are full of ’insiders’ even though most of them start out as ‘outsiders’. If you don’t listen to outsiders you will be driven by the complaints and demands of insiders and ultimately the amount of people you reach will dwindle. Watch them and listen to them and they’ll tell you what they think and want. Then figure out how to... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #4 Teach Less for More

Practice #4 - Teach less for More The less you say the more you will communicate. You will be more effective if you only say what you need to say to the people who need to hear it. Most people confuse quantity of information communicated with the quality of implementation. We think that the more we tell people the better they’ll do. Sometimes we think ‘more is better’ when often it is just ‘more’. Instead, boil things down to the basics and do them with excellence. Teach people to love God and love others. Get the right information to the... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #3 Narrow the Focus

Practice #3 - Narrow the Focus Focus is the key to achieving excellence and making an impact. Each ministry should be designed to do one or two things well. Don’t try to do everything; do a few things well. This applies to the number of things you do and also the way you do the things you do. Keep each of your steps focused and make sure it does only what it was created to do. You can sometimes ruin something by trying to get it to do something else. Narrowing your focus may seem limiting but when you think... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #2 Think Steps Not Programs

Practice #2 - Think Steps not Programs All church ministries and/or programs should take people somewhere not just fill their time. Ask yourself, "Where do you want your people to be?" "What do you want them to become?" "Is your ministry or program designed to take them there?" Figure out how to change lives then do that one step at a time. In baseball, the ultimate goal is to get to home plate but you have to get to first base first then figure out how to get to second and third before getting to home. Thinks steps, not programs.... Read more →

The Apologist's Evening Prayer (C.S. Lewis)

From all my lame defeats and oh! much more From all the victories that I seemed to score; From cleverness shot forth on Thy behalf At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh; From all my proofs of Thy divinity, Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me. Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head. From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts of Thee, O thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free. Lord of the narrow gate and needle's eye, Take from me all my trumpery lest I... Read more →

7 Practices of Effective Ministry: #1 Clarify the Win

Andy Stanley is the Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church, a thriving multi-site church in Atlanta, Georgia. He has written a number of very helpful resources for churches and church leaders. One example is the book Seven Practices of Effective Ministry. In this book, the authors, propose that clearly articulated and established principles enable you to work through the fog of information and emotion in order to find clarity and make the tough calls. They provide a context for all discussions and decisions. Ministry is more of an art than a science. We need to know what to ask... Read more →

Exponential Conference: Multi-Site Church Insights

The Exponential Conference is an annual conference in the USA focused on motivating and equipping church leaders and especially church planters. This year's theme was On the Verge, which is the title of a new book by Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson. Podcasts of previous year conferences are available now, with this year's sessions coming soon. I attended this year's conference and it was very good, with a great variety of helpful workshops. A few of the workshops that I attended were related to multi-site church strategy. Click here to read a document summarising 10 insights gleaned. May God's church... Read more →

Improving Your Communication Craft (Pt.2)

6. Visualise the people you are speaking to As you prepare, think about the different types of people who may listen to your message. This would include unbelievers, new Christians, struggling Christians and mature Christians. It includes people young and old, men and women, single and married, employed and unemployed, rich and poor, as well as students and retirees. Visualise them and their world … and how your message relates to them. 7. Be a vision-caster In many ways, all teaching and communication has an element of vision casting to it. Seek to connect your message to what God is... Read more →

Improving Your Communication Craft (Pt.1)

Here are a few tips for those of us who communicate God's Word regularly. We need to commit ourselves to developing our God-given gifts and continually seek to be more effective in bringing about change in people's lives. 1. Choose one main BIG Idea for your message It’s better to say one thing well than to present a scattering of many things less effectively. The quantity of information presented does not necessarily equate to the quality of implementation achieved. Sometimes we think that ‘more is better,’ when in actual fact we should ‘teach less for more.’ Have one central topic... Read more →

Stephen Hawking Ridicules Belief in Life after Death

Stephen Hawking, popular British physicist and author, recently dismissed the notion of life after death (Time Magazine - May 30th, 2011 - p.5). He said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." My response: maybe rationalism is a fairy tale story for those people who are afraid to believe in God because he may hold us accountable for our lives, meaning that our choices have eternal consequences. Read more →

Highly Recommended - Evernote Software

Pretty much everyone I know has used a notebook of some sort at sometime in their life. A notebook is a great place to take notes, to write down ideas, to make yourself a task list, to write down things you want to remember or just to doodle. Paper notebooks are good but they have their limitations. A number of computer-based and/or on-line notebooks have recently been created. The best I have seen and which I now use extensively is Evernote. Here are some of the best features of Evernote: 1. It is FREE! Yes, there is a Premium version,... Read more →

Are Our Human Longings Echoes of a Voice?

Take a close look at people anywhere today and you'll see evidence of a variety of inner longings. Here are a few that stand out: 1. The Longing for Justice. Most humans long for a united world, for healthy societies, for people, for hope and for prosperity for all. Even children understand the difference between fairness and unfairness. We all want justice ... yet it seems so elusive. Sometimes it wins - tyrannies are toppled, slavery is abolished, criminals and convicted and the poor are helped. Sometimes it doesn't - bullies get away, victims aren't compensated, and the rich rule... Read more →

What is the "Gospel?"

Have you ever done any street witnessing before? It’s definitely not an activity for the faint of heart! I was involved with some street teams many years ago and we had some good conversations with people. I really admire people who still engage in street evangelism or door-to-door witnessing today and I have heard some amazing stories of people coming to Christ this way. However, it is important that we not see this as the only means of evangelism. Otherwise, we can wrongly think that evangelism is only for the courageous people who are bold enough to start up conversations... Read more →

Incarnational Mission

The God we serve is a sending God. God sent Jesus and then He sends us (John 20:21). We are a sent people. Mission is who we are not just what we do. It is part of our core identity ... even if we aren't sent very far. The incarnation of Jesus Christ (God taking on human form) informs us as to how we are sent on mission. AS the father sent the Son into the world SO Jesus sends us. Mission is about going out while incarnation is about going deep. Jesus is the best missionary that ever was... Read more →