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The Next Time You teach

Try the following next time you are getting ready to teach.

Start early.
It takes great communicators several weeks to prepare an effective message. Those who regularly stand in front of crowds with something to say have been thinking about, meditating on, studying, and examining their content for days. It is part of them and it flows like something they know, they believe, and are passionate about.

Don’t wing it.
You may get by with it a few times, but if you really think you can deliver a diet of half-baked talks that you really don’t know or maybe even don’t believe, then . . . well . . . I think you are most likely mistaken. One could even argue that people who wing it :: trust in themselves, don’t truly value their position, and aren’t honoring the audience. This is harsh, but it is borderline disrespect to stand in front of them and make it up as you go. You can do so much better than that.

Get help.
Get help as you prepare your next talk. Teams make things great. Inventions with impact are created by groups of people. Ideas that move a generation rarely flow out of individuals. The same is true for a great talk. Get together with a few people you have chemistry with and build the talk together. Get input, do research, brainstorm, create, craft, and form the message. It’s fun. You’ll grow. The group will feel empowered. Your audience will love it.

Hope this helps … sb

sahre

Thoughts about Evangelism

When I was in Seminary I would spend Tuesday nights walking through the streets of downtown Fort Worth, Texas sharing my faith with almost anyone I ran into. The stories were crazy and the people we met were almost always open to the Gospel and the things we had to say. I don’t remember being laughed at, spit on or made fun of for doing it either. Most of the time I found an openness to the love of Jesus. People were willing to listen and encouraged by the awesome news about Jesus!

Today … I don’t make a habit of going somewhere every Tuesday night, but I do share my faith as I feel the Lord leading me to do so. I teach students regularly about Jesus and I pray for God to open doors for me to share His love with the people I run into. Just like the days back in school, the people I meet are open and willing to listen and are usually encouraged by what Holy Spirit leads me to share.

My approach these days is to simply tell the person God leads across my path that I’m someone who prays and to ask them if there is anything they would like me to pray about for them. Most all of the time the person gets really excited and eagerly shares a prayer request or two with me before I leave — I have only had one person simply say no — After praying, I try and trace back my steps so I can run into them again and ask God to open the door for the discussion to go deeper.

BTW Some of my favorite moments have been with workers at Subway and 7 Eleven. 🙂

But is this enough? Has evangelism turned into a laid back approach of prayer and living a public Christian life in hope that someone will ask me why I’m different? Should I be actively looking for opportunities to share my faith with the people I meet? Is God asking me to do more and be more aggressive? Are all Christians called to evangelize?

I’m convicted about this subject. Frankly, I have let selfishness, a busy life and spiritual apathy have way too much control over me. I have not made this a priority and that bothers me. Praying for these people is awesome, but I need to push through and tell them the great news about Jesus!

This is the call from God to all Christians — the Bible teaches that we are all given the responsibility to tell people about Jesus!

Matthew 28: 16-20 

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I love Jesus and the world needs Him more than ever! He changed my life, gave me a reason to live and I want the world to know who He is … I’m praying specifically for the Lord to open a door for me to share my faith today!

Am I really supposed to share my faith? Of course I am!

Let’s share our faith with someone soon! The living water of Jesus is ready for someone you and I know today.

sb

 

I found three other articles about this subject that I think you’ll enjoy! See the linkable titles below!

Must every Christian share the Gospel? by Chad Barnes

Strategic Evangelism: 3 Effective Outreach Opportunities by Ed Stetzer

5 Reasons Why Christians Struggle to Evangelize By Greg Stier

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16 Children and their Bedrooms!

We found this today on Facebook … a post a lot of people are sharing by Maia McCann.

Some kids grow up in poverty, lacking food and sanitation, while others are born in countries where basic necessities are taken for granted.  Photographer James Mollison came up with the project when he thought about his own childhood bedroom and how it reflected who he was. Where Children Sleep – a collection of stories about children from around the world told through portraits of their bedrooms – stemmed from his ideas.

See the picture HERE

 

This link proudly brought to you by your friends at ymnow.com

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Atheist ‘Megachurches’ Crop Up Around The World

LOS ANGELES — LOS ANGELES (AP) — It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Hundreds packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational sermon, a reading and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.

Dozens of gatherings dubbed “atheist mega-churches” by supporters and detractors are springing up around the U.S. after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.

On Sunday, the inaugural Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles attracted more than 400 attendees, all bound by their belief in non-belief. Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without religion or ritual.

The founders, British duo Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, are currently on a tongue-in-cheek “40 Dates, 40 Nights” tour around the U.S. and Australia to drum up donations and help launch dozens of Sunday Assemblies. They hope to raise more than $800,000 that will help atheists launch their pop-up congregations around the world.

They don’t bash believers but want to find a new way to meet likeminded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.

Jones got the first inkling for the idea while leaving a Christmas carol concert six years ago.

“There was so much about it that I loved, but it’s a shame because at the heart of it, it’s something I don’t believe in,” Jones said. “If you think about church, there’s very little that’s bad. It’s singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people — and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?”

The movement dovetails with new studies showing an increasing number of Americans are drifting from any religious affiliation.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a study last year that found 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years. Pew researchers stressed, however, that the category also encompassed majorities of people who said they believed in God but had no ties with organized religion and people who consider themselves “spiritual” but not “religious.”

Sunday Assembly — whose motto is Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More — taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided, said Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont.

It also plays into a feeling among some atheists that they should make themselves more visible. For example, last December, an atheist in Santa Monica created an uproar — and triggered a lawsuit — when he set up a godless display amid Christian nativity scenes that were part of a beloved, decades-old tradition.

“In the U.S., there’s a little bit of a feeling that if you’re not religious, you’re not patriotic. I think a lot of secular people say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We are charitable, we are good people, we’re good parents and we are just as good citizens as you and we’re going to start a church to prove it,” said Zuckerman. “It’s still a minority, but there’s enough of them now.”

That impulse, however, has raised the ire of those who have spent years pushing back against the idea that atheism itself is a religion.

“The idea that you’re building an entire organization based on what you don’t believe, to me, sounds like an offense against sensibility,” said Michael Luciano, a self-described atheist who was raised Roman Catholic but left when he became disillusioned.

“There’s something not OK with appropriating all of this religious language, imagery and ritual for atheism.”

That sentiment didn’t seem to detract from the excitement Sunday at the inaugural meeting in Los Angeles.

Hundreds of atheists and atheist-curious packed into a Hollywood auditorium for a boisterous service filled with live music, moments of reflection and an “inspirational talk, ” and some stand-up comedy by Jones, the movement’s co-founder.

During the service, attendees stomped their feet, clapped their hands and cheered as Jones and Evans led the group through rousing renditions of “Lean on Me,” ”Here Comes the Sun” and other hits that took the place of gospel songs. Congregants dissolved into laughter at a get-to-know-you game that involved clapping and slapping the hands of the person next to them and applauded as members of the audience spoke about community service projects they had started in LA.

At the end, volunteers passed cardboard boxes for donations as attendees mingled over coffee and pastries and children played on the floor.

For atheist Elijah Senn, the morning was perfect.

“I think the image that we have put forward in a lot of ways has been a scary, mean, we want to tear down the walls, we want to do destructive things kind of image is what a lot of people have of us,” he said. “I’m really excited to be able to come together and show that it’s not about destruction. It’s about making things and making things better.”

 

By GILLIAN FLACCUS 11/10/13 04:46 PM ET EST AP

Link provided by your friends at ymnow.com 🙂

 

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Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs

Lead singer Jon Foreman was asked if Switchfoot is a “Christian” band.His response is worth pondering.

“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds.

The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty.

Many songs are worthy of being written. Switchfoot will write some, Keith Green, Bach, and perhaps yourself have written others. Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular: written for the simple joy of music.

READ THE FULL article here …

 

Link provided by your friends at ymnow.com 🙂

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#aftertheconference

The conference was amazing and at times it was like drinking from a firehose. One great speaker after another … incredible moments alone with God stacked up like a tower … conversations with likeminded friends that you never want to forget.

The pages of your notebook are full.

So, what do you do with all these notes, this new information, these experiences?

How do you transfer this treasure into the lives of parents, the team you lead, and the students you’ll see at your next gathering?

It’s going to take effort and strategy to move to a new place and transform to a new level in your ministry. So let me give you a few pointers.

 

1. Summarize your notes ::

There’s no doubt that you probably took some notes, scribbled down a new thought, and most likely tried hard to take what your ears were processing and put it down on paper.

Information like this is rare and way too valuable to let slip away … so here’s how you can keep that from happening.

First … Take two hours, gather all your notes and put them in one place. Create categories … draw … paint your notes … take a picture of your notes. Do whatever you have do to save them in a way so they can keep on speaking.

A couple creative ideas would be to take your notes app on your iPad and digitize everything. The act of entering this information in a new place will cause this incredible data to not only be stored on your computer, but it will drive the concepts a little deeper in your brain.

You could also take the time to send yourself a series of daily emails containing your notes over the next seven days. Take a few minutes and schedule the emails so they land at a particular time each day. Don’t write them daily … write them all at one time and schedule them to deliver periodically.

The notes you took can and should be a spring for you to drink from for years to come.

 

2. Build a working list of pieces of the conference you want to hold onto.

Here’s a short bullet point list of simple things you can use to get started.

  • What resource ministries do you think can help you?
  • Write a short paper on what made the conference a great conference.
  • What creative things did you see that are easily transferable to your ministry?
  • What relationships would you like to build?
  • What books do you want to add to to your reading list?
  • What website do you need to bookmark?

 

3. Share what you’re learning with someone who couldn’t attend.

There’s nothing more exciting than sharing your conference experience with a friend. Schedule a lunch or a meeting long enough for you to unpack what you learned with them. Help them see what you see. Let them ask questions. Brainstorm.

Maybe something will surface that could ignite a movement in your city!

 

Finally, conferences have shaped lives and generated motion that has truly impacted entire generations …

Here’s to hoping it can happen again with you!

Scott

Personal God

Thinking about the greatness of a personal God today!

A God who holds us. A God who surrounds us with purity, hope, justice and peace.

A God who is full of all that is right and perfect. A God who knows all … is all .. controls all.

A loving Father.

A God who is so far above yet right in the middle of everything we face.

A God who sits on high and LONGS — to be good to us!

I’m challenged today in this ridiculously busy time of life to find the time to meditate on this awesome, personal God — who — cares — for — me … and loves the people I will cross paths with today!

Rest in His greatness!

sb

Love Does Stuff

Bob Says

“I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them.”

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”

“Failure is just part of the process, and it’s not just okay; it’s better than okay. God doesn’t want failure to shut us down. God didn’t make it a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sort of thing. It’s more about how God helps us dust ourselves off so we can swing for the fences again. And all of this without keeping a meticulous record of our screw-ups.”

“…love is never stationary.”

Click Here and see if Bob will come speak to your group.

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Volunteer Training at its finest!

Check out our friends over at www.volunteeru.com.

They’ve got everything you need to see incredible, revolutionary, and world changing ideas for you and your volunteers!

GOSPEL-FUELED COURAGE

What motivated the early church to press on under threat of rejection, persecution, and death? It’s the same thing we need to overcome our fear of sharing the gospel with our neighbors—gospel courage.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE 🙂

Never Say this to Your Daughter

Our good friend Andy Blanks has some awesome advice to parents of girls!

Read it here!

Faithful to the End, an Interview with Eugene Peterson

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Eugene Peterson is one of the best known theologians of our time. Most famous for penning The Message, a contemporary rendering of the Bible, he is also author of many popular books such as A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. With the release of his memoir, The Pastor, Peterson has begun reflecting on life and the ways in which Jesus-followers can respond to God’s call. Here, we discuss his unlikely call to ministry, the work of a pastor and what, if anything, he wishes he could change about The Message. SEE MORE HERE

Decoding Art by Seth Godin

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Decoding “art”

Of course, it started with craft. The craft of making a bowl or a tool or anything that created function.

As humans became wealthier, we could seek out the artisan, the craftsperson who would add an element of panache and style to the tools we used.

It’s not much of a leap from the beautiful functional object to one that has no function other than to be beautiful.

Art was born.

When art collided with royalty, religion and wealth, a match was made. Those in power could use art as a way to display their resources and to insist that they also were deserving of respect for their taste and their patronage of the artistic class. READ MORE

Catalyst 2013

“When you lead authentically, with an inner confidence birthed by your Creator, when you are willing to be true and vulnerable before God and others, you become a leader without pretense. A leader worth following. You can only know where you are headed, when you know where you’ve come from.” Catalyst Leader

Be a part of changing the world! ENJOY HERE