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Showing posts from 2014

Christmas for the City 2014...A Look Back...In Her Words

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There is no better way to describe the events of last nights annual "Christmas for the City" (www.christmasforthecity.com) than with the following email I received this morning...

Hey Mike!!

This was the second year Blair and I volunteered at Christmas for the City, and although we knew that our experience was going to be amazing (because it was last year) we had no idea what we were in store for.

We entered our station, Ezra's kitchen, around, a little disappointed that there were cinnamon rolls instead of cookies, but we were still excited about the night ahead of us. We smiled, passed out cinnamon rolls and wished Merry Christmas until about... And that is when this exhausted woman walked in with a mere look of help me in her eyes. On her back was a one year old who was fast asleep, and in her arms was an 8 month old who was also snoozing, and then closely behind her were two beautiful little girls ages 3 and 8.  When she made it to the cinnamon roll table, she immediat…

Short Term Missions - How to Help and not Hurt by Beth Gianopulos

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Recently, I have read a number of articles, books, and blogs questioning the importance of short term missions.  Some of the criticisms of short term missions are that short term mission teams often know little to nothing about the countries and people they visit, the teams often spend a lot of money that could be better used for other purposes, and in some instances, short term mission teams discourage and even hurt the communities they hoped to serve.  Often times, short term mission teams are accused of visiting a city or country once, and never helping the area again (this failure to support may be by failing to serve again, failure to provide financial support, etc.)  Finally, many short term mission teams are accused of getting more from the trip themselves than they actually give. 

I believe that there can be a strong argument made for short term mission trips if the trips are planned appropriately and if the trip has the right focus.  While I am not an expert on short term miss…

A Preacher's Cheat-Sheet for Prayer and Final Sermon Prep by Tim Challies

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Preparing a sermon is one of the most gratifying and the most difficult tasks you’ll ever face. There is joy in finding meaning in the text, in finding structure, in developing just the right outline, in discovering the perfect illustration. But there is also labor and, at times, intense spiritual warfare. I am a relative newcomer to preaching, and as I’ve prepared sermons I’ve relied on others to teach me how to pray and how to prepare. Here are two lists that have been very helpful to me. I combine them into what I affectionately call my Preacher’s Cheat-Sheet. Praying For A Sermon A couple of years ago Mike McKinley shared "8 Ways to Pray During Sermon Preparation." I found those eight ways to pray tremendously helpful and have been following them ever since. I pray in these ways at the beginning, middle and end of my time of preparation. 1. Lord, please help me to understand the meaning of this text and how it points to Christ. 2. Lord, please increase my love for the p…

Don't Kill Your Message! by Carey Nieuwhof

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If you’ve ever spoken in front of a group, tried to motivate a team, or if you prepare messages almost every week like many of us do, you’ve probably wondered what makes for a great talk. In fact, you’ve probably asked questions like these: What’s the difference between a talk that flops and a talk that people still buzz about years later? What’s the difference between a merely good message and an incredibly great message? What’s the difference between a sermon that changes someone’s life and one that no one can remember even as they drive out of the parking lot? If you’re like me, those questions might even bother you. I hope they do. They haunt me. And yet every week gifted communicators kill the messages they bring by making at least seven predictable, fixable mistakes. The good news is that once you identify the mistakes, you can address them. 7 Ways Communicators Kill Their Messages I’m writing from the perspective of a Christian who speaks. And as I wrote about here, I realize tha…

Thom Rainer: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Preachers

I sometimes listen to preachers with amazement, if not awe. So many of them are incredibly effective in communicating God’s Word, so much more effective than I ever was or will be. I certainly understand that assessing effectiveness is a very subjective assignment. But, simply put, a number of preachers I have observed are incredible in explaining and applying the Word. As a consequence, God changes lives and saves people. The best I can do is be a student of these preachers and share with you seven key habits I have observed in most of them. I regularly ask these preachers about the way they go about preparing, preaching and evaluating their messages. My list is fallible, but I do hope it’s helpful. 1. They give preaching a priority in their ministries. A pastor has a 24/7, always-on-call schedule. It’s easy to let sermon preparation slide with the demands of the moment. The outstanding preachers I know give preaching a very high priority. They make certain they put the hours in to c…

"11 Questions You Should Ask At The End Of Every Job Interview" By Jacquelyn Smith, Business Insider

It's important to remember that every interview is a two-way street. You should be interviewing the employer just as much as they're interviewing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.

So, when the tables are turned and the interview asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" take advantage of this opportunity. It's the best way to determine if you'd be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.

"The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager's perception of you," says Teri Hockett, chief executive of What's For Work?, a career site for women. "Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled."

Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there's another reason you should always prepare questions. "It's expected — and if …

"Sports Illustrated, Blockbuster, and Your Church" By Marty Duren

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Years ago there was a world-beating sports magazine called Sports Illustrated. It was the one thing that every football, baseball, basketball loving person could not wait to see weekly in the mailbox or on the newsstand.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the throne crumbled. An upstart cable TV network called ESPN became the must-watch channel for sports fans. ESPN provided sports updates all morning so people getting ready for work could catch up on the scores and highlights from the previous night. No more having to wait a week for Sports Illustrated. Fans did not even have to wait until the sports segment on the evening news.
Now ESPN boasts multiple cable channels, a partnership with ABC Sports (via parent company, Disney), its own Olympics (the X-Games), its own magazine, and a host of other properties. ESPN is now THE undisputed leader in sports. Sports Illustrated still exists, but its once dominant foothold is long gone.
What is the difference? Sports Illustrated mistakenly thought…

"8 Guaranteed Ways to Emotionally F*ck Up Your Kids" by Sherrie Campbell

Our children are the lights of our lives. We all start off as parents envisioning nothing but success, love and happiness for them. However, these dreams often do not manifest because they are not getting the important things they need to become disciplined, mature and motivated adults. The following are eight parenting f*ck-ups that will guarantee your child will suffer from depression, anxiety, anger, tense family relationships, problems with friends, low self-esteem, a sense of entitlement and chronic emotional problems throughout his or her life.

1. Ignore or minimize your child's feelings. If your child is expressing sadness, anger or fear and you mock them, humiliate them, ignore or tease them you minimize what they feel. You essentially tell them what they feel is wrong. When parents do this they withhold love from their child and miss opportunities to have open and vulnerable connections teaching them to bond and to know they are loved unconditionally.

2. Inconsistent rul…

Mark Batterson: How to Eliminate Boring Sermons

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A hint: It has nothing to do with delivery or style. It has everything to do with the most important kind of content. There is a world of difference between preaching a sermon and living a sermon. No amount of study can compensate for deficiencies in your life. You can “study it” but if you aren’t “living it” it’ll ring hollow.  The opposite is true as well. Jesus’ teaching was authoritative because it was backed up by his life. You can’t back up your sermons with a seminary degree. You’ve got to back it up with your life. My advice? Don’t just get a sermon. Get a life. Then you’ll get a sermon! Let me be blunt: if your life is boring your sermons will be, too. If you have no life outside of church—no hobbies, no friends, no interests, no goals—your illustrations will feel canned, your applications will feel theoretical instead of practical, and your sermons will be lifeless instead of life-giving. The greatest sermons are not fashioned in the study. They are fleshed out in the labora…

"7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders" by Kathy Caprino

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While I spend my professional time now as a career success coach, writer, and leadership trainer, I was a marriage and family therapist in my past, and worked for several years with couples, families, and children. Through that experience, I witnessed a very wide array of both functional and dysfunctional parenting behaviors. As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be.

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today — coddling and crippling them — and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming…