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Showing posts from 2013

Shrek the Sheep

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This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty …

Does Attending Church Mean You Must Carry “Buckets of Shame?” By Donald Miller

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When I was in a group-therapy session once, the therapist took us outside, into a field where there was a horse. She’d placed a half dozen, sealed buckets of oats around the field and said if we wanted to walk the horse we should pick up a bucket in one hand, then guide the horse anywhere we wanted. When we were done, we could offer the bucket and the horse to somebody else in our group. As each member of the group guided the horse, the therapist would ask us questions about how we were feeling. One girl discovered she had an incredible fear of strength and she didn’t know how to trust it. Another man discovered that he was too domineering and because he didn’t know how to work with strength rather than try to dominate it, he was getting less productivity out of his staff. When I guided the horse, I learned nothing. The therapist said I was good with animals and asked if I’d ever had a horse. I hadn’t. I was quite proud, actually. I’d finally passed one of the therapists little tests…

Christmas For The City - Winston-Salem

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There seems to be a lot of excitement about our part in Christmas For the City. Below are some quick facts about what it is and how you can be a part of it:
1) When & Where: Friday, December 20th at the Benton Convention center in Downtown Winston-Salem from 3pm-9pm (We will be setting up all day Wed, Thur)
2) Website: www.christmasforthecity.com 
3) What is it:Christmas for the City began as a dream in 2008: could we dare to believe that churches, businesses, musicians and artists would come together to create a meaningful Christmas experience for the whole community? Now, in its sixth year, CFTC brings together 1,000 volunteers to serve thousands from a broad cross-section of the city across all socio-economic, ethnic, and generational backgrounds. Teams from over 40 churches as well as scores of non-profits & businesses link arms to bring this wonderful evening to life...and it’s FREE for everyone!
4) What will be going on that nightPERFORMING ARTS Variety of groups from a b…

"Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better: 3 Reasons I'm Convinced God Most Often Builds His Church Small" by Chris Surber

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Most of the time I dismiss the whole "Smaller is better than bigger" argument as it pertains to church attendance. If for nothing else because the people usually debating it are bitter small church pastors that are angry their cross-town counterpart has 10x the average size church then theirs. But this blog post I found does seem to be looking at things rationally and not through the lenses of secret jealous feelings. I personally believe both large and small size church have a lot to offer a person and community. To me it's not an either/or argument but a both/and.

"Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better: 3 Reasons I'm Convinced God Most Often Builds His Church Small" by Chris Surber "Bigger is not necessarily better. When I need to tighten a screw in my glasses, I need the right tool for the job—a tiny little screwdriver. It’s the same with churches. God uses big churches for certain Kingdom jobs, and God uses little churches for specific assignments. Bigg…

Sermon prep...when is enough... enough?

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I found the following article very refreshing. I am more like a Mark Driscoll in that I usually spend 2-3 hours "working" over a sermon. I do send countless hours running over different aspects of it in my head (normally in the shower or car) but my actual prep/study time is pretty short. For years I felt guilty when I read how other pastors and speakers spend hours and days on their messages. I guess I just needed to hear it's different for everyone and for some a lack of quantity of time doesn't necessarily effect the quality of the message. 

Should You Take 2 Hours or 32 Hours for Sermon Prep? By Eric McKiddie
There are various opinions on how long it should take someone to prepare their sermon for Sunday. There are minimalists, maximalists and everything in between. No matter where you are on the spectrum, it should comfort you to know that well-known preachers span the entire spectrum. So how long do well-known preachers take to prepare a sermon? Here’s what I fo…

"Five Preaching Applications From the Movie Gravity" by Jacob Myers

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If you haven’t had a chance to see Alfonso Cuarón’s new sci-fi thriller Gravity, then you need to move it up on your action-item list. The film is as mesmerizing as it is harrowing. In fact, the film is so good that I am wary about sharing this synopsis with you; however, my worries about spoiling the plot are outweighed by my desire to draw your attention to the theological significance of the movie. So unless you are up against a tight deadline (Sunday is ever upon us!), I’d suggest that you stop reading now, go watch the movie, and then return to these thoughts after you’ve experienced the film for yourself. In brief, the film depicts Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer who is putting her expertise to use to enhance the Hubble Telescope on her first space mission. Stone is accompanied by veteran astronaut Commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who is enjoying his last trip to space. The work seems routine as Stone tinkers with the telescope and Kowalski runs lap…

"7 Requirements to Be a Leader Today" By: Ron Edmondson

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To be a leader today requires more than knowledge… Especially today. Here are 7 requirements to be a great leader today: You have to be adaptable – Things change fast these days. Real fast. You must lead a team that responds accordingly. You have to be moldable – You must personally change fast too…or you’ll be left behind. (This doesn’t mean you have to change your values, beliefs or convictions. In fact, that will work against you these days. People would rather be on your team and disagree with you some…difference of opinion is more acceptable today…than for people to think you are whimsical in what you claim to believe. This is actually one culture change that can be a benefit for the Christian leader.) You have to embrace a team approach – There are no Lone Rangers today. (By the way…he wasn’t alone either. If I had a helper like Tonto and a horse like Silver…I’d have myself a winning team.) You have to consider social responsibility – People want their individual work to make a diff…

Preaching for Deep Change: Are You Sharing Information or Changing Lives? By Ed Stetzer

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Change is something we all need. It is an ongoing part of life. With its constant flux, life demands adjustments for our schedules and plans. Essentially, change is the new norm. But people’s spiritual lives call for more than slight changes to the calendar. Their lives are in need of transformation. As you know, transformation is not about trying harder or having a better life. Mark Twain reportedly said that church is good people standing in front of good people teaching them to be good people. The change people need is not simply about being a better person; that would be a gross misunderstanding of change and transformation. The gospel is bigger than simple moralism, and people need to understand the very nature of transformation. Sometimes, what they need is a universal translator that helps them understand words like “change” and “transformation.” It is much like what we need in a marriage relationship for spouses to understand one another. Let me give a few examples: 1. When a…

Leadership Development Insights From Ephesians 4

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One of the constant struggles church leaders face is determining how to achieve alignment between congregational and pastoral expectations. If you are reading this, you likely are a Christian leader. You also are likely to attend a church that expects the pastors to do the ministry of the church (most do).

After all, that’s what they hired you for, right?

Wrong!

Kind of…
Many churches hire their pastor looking for someone to do the ministry. People are busy, and the other staff is overloaded. The pastors are the paid professionals.

So churches hire more and more staff. Which is why you are right: most churches do hire their pastors to do most of the ministry. Here’s the problem: relying on pastors to do most of the ministry IS NOT BIBLICAL.
Ephesians 4:12 teaches that pastors and teachers are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ." A pastor’s primary responsibility is NOT to do the entire ministry. Those in pastoral ministry are to e…

Project:Re3 - The website

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A more detailed blog about how I got to this point is coming soon but for now here is a peek at the latest adventure God has my family on: Project:Re3

A Preacher's Voice: Overworked & Overlooked

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The following is a great reminder about a subject that's never really touched on. It's written by Hershael York and you can check him out at his blog: http://hershaelyork.blogspot.com/

Good musicians care a lot about their instruments. Neophyte students in middle school orchestras may not think much about the tone, craftsmanship or resonance of their equipment, but virtuoso performers do. The most magnificent refrain cannot be all that its composer intended when played on an inferior or out-of-tune instrument. Preaching is not so different. A listless, monotonous voice can suck the life out of the most profound biblical truths. Astonishingly, few preachers give any consideration to their most important and necessary instrument. They invest in computers, acquire books and employ many other tools for study and preparation, but ignore or neglect the voice, the one tool required for the delivery of every sermon. Contemporary professors and authors contribute to this vocational neglig…

It's Time To Move On

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With Mike W's recent retirement announcement there has been a lot of discussion and speculation as to what this all means for me at Main Street Baptist. Since last September when Mike W. first told me of his possible plans to retire this year, I have been in much prayer and counsel as to what I needed to do. God has shown Beth and I that now is the right time for a new adventure outside of MSBC. I announced two weeks ago that I have decided to resign. My last Sunday will be Sept. 29th. I am a much healthier and stronger man, pastor, husband, and father then I was six years ago when I first came to MSBC. Through MSBC, God has shaped me into the person I am today and for that I will be forever grateful for my time here. I can never express how much each one of you mean to me and my family. If anyone missed the announcement, I went into great detail during my 9:00am message as to what led me to my decision and what's next for the Gianopulos' family. You can click on…

My Favorite Movies of 2013

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1) Mud *****
2) Dallas Buyers Club *****
3) Gravity ****
4) Captain Phillips ****
5) Frozen ****
6) Oz the Great and Powerful ****
7) Star Trek Into Darkness ****
8) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
9) Catching Fire ****
10) We're the Millers ****
11) Warm Bodies ****
12) Despicable Me 2 ****
13) Iron Man 3 ***
14) World War Z ***
15) Monster University ***
16) Thor 2 ***
17) Clear History ***
18) Identity Thief ***
19) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2***
20) Man of Steele ***
21) The Conjuring ***
22) The Wolverine ***
23) The Call ***
24) Planes *
25) Turbo *

***** I would own this movie
**** I would watch again
*** Good movie but not worth seeing again
** Waste of time
* I'm dumber for having watched it